Episode 12

Mastering Hormonal Balance in Perimenopause with Ollie Matthews

In this episode of the Thriving Woman Project podcast, I welcome my first male guest in four seasons, Ollie Matthews. Ollie is a functional medicine practitioner and he brings a unique perspective on health and wellness. 

We discuss hot topics related to health and thriving:

  • Functional medicine and health coaching.
  • Unhealthy meat-eating diet.
  • Healthy habits and extremism.
  • Eating plant-based vs. qualitarian.
  • Methylation and nutrient conversion.
  • Parasitic infections and gut health.
  • Cortisol and gut imbalance.
  • Hormonal balance and adrenal fatigue.
  • Glucose and apple cider vinegar.
  • Fasting and women's cycles.
  • Awareness of food and self-love.
  • Living in integrity.

Get ready to geek out as we dive into the science behind our bodies and share valuable insights. 

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Welcome to the Thriving Woman Project podcast, hosted by myself, Wendy Griffith. This is the podcast for women who want to level up and thrive in all areas of your life, health, and business. Join us as we cover a range of topics, all inspiring you to thrive and not just survive. We are here to work on the project of you, because I believe the best gift you can give your family and the world is a healthy and thriving you. It's time to thrive. Hello, hello, and welcome back to the Thriving Woman Project podcast with me, your host, Wendy. And I have an amazing guest for us today. And it's funny because he's actually our first male guest that we've ever had in four seasons of this podcast. So he is very lucky, and he knows it, that he gets to be talking to us today. But you'll hear why in a sec. I wanted to get the incredible Olly Matthews on to talk to us today. Ollie and I actually connected last year. We both attend the same church and straight away people were like, oh Ollie you need to talk to Wendy, Wendy you need to talk to Ollie because we are both health coaches. Although I always say that like Ollie takes things to the next level. I mean he just does with all aspects of his life. But he is actually a functional medicine practitioner. So he takes the health coaching that we both do but he like really gets into it with the testing. really get stuck into the science behind what's going on in our bodies. And it is fascinating stuff. And having worked with a functional medicine practitioner myself in the past, I just know the value this piece brings to the full equation of health. So he and I have got some really hot topics to talk to you about today, because we do get very passionate when we get together. So this is going to be hilarious. But yeah, thank you so much, Ollie, for joining us.


My pleasure. Thank you for having me. And privileged to be the first guy on here.

You should be. And also Oli has a fantastic podcast of his own and he has some incredible resources which we'll share more about on the end. But how does it feel to be in the interviewing interviewer's seat rather today?


I like it. I just answer questions. You love it. Hopefully good information comes out.

You're totally going to geek out on me today. I can just see it. We're the idea. I mean, we've been saying for ages that we need to do a podcast together and, but it was actually a recent post that Ollie, Ollie gets really passionate on social media. You need to go follow him. He's hilarious. He's not afraid to put his opinion out there. And recently off the back of the new sort of net Netflix you are what you eat program that came out. Ollie got a little bit heated on social media about this and I said actually that's something that you need to come on and talk about on the podcast because I know there's been like lots of these shows over the years you know What the Fork and like Game Changers and all these ones and They so, like, on one hand, I love them because they get the conversation going. They get people actually thinking about things. And obviously they're great for my business because people are like, right, I need to get healthy. But ultimately, I think sometimes they can be a little bit skewed in their view. And obviously as health coaches, we're very much about the holistic piece of health and what that looks like for people. So, yeah, tell me what really got to you about this latest addition to the Netflix drama series.


And that's what it is, it's drama. Rather than being scientific, factual side of things, there's always an agenda. And I think that's what we need to look at this. This is a study which you can read the whole study. If you are like me and I like to geek out on studies, you can go on PubMed and find the study. But it's basically four sets of twins and they go from what they say is a omnivore diet, but you can see that three out of the four sets of twins are on a very unhealthy meat-eating diet, and then they spend eight weeks, so this is not a long-term study, this is eight weeks of going on to, one of them going on to a plant-based diet, and one of them going on to what they say is a healthy omnivore diet, and they compare the two. And you see anything with science if you look at things like meta analysis so when they have a study based on multiple studies. You can manipulate that so much because you leave out the information that doesn't say what you want to say and you put in the information that does say what you want to say.

I remember that from university when I used to do psychometric testing, which I hated. And it was always like, oh, I'm just going to leave that out because that's not helping me. I'm trying to prove it.


That doesn't help me. I need to change things. Yeah. I remember that as well. When you're trying to find information, you spend so long finding this information. And I feel also 8 weeks is not long enough to do a long term study which they say it is. If you went and said this was a long term study in your dissertation at university, you'd probably fail. And long term studies are over months, even a year or longer to actually give you the information you want. And even with that, they state it as they're switching to an omnivore diet. a healthy omnivore diet. But on the information they put in there and the pictures they put in, there's not much vegetables in there. It's more carnivore, shall we say. And this is going to the other extreme is that carnivores don't have as many nutrients in, just like plant-based is not going to have as much protein in potentially. And you look at the results and how they manipulated the results. They tell you the ones that they want you to say. And then there's at one point, where they say something increased, I think it was telomere length, so we can look at our biological age by things called telomeres. And they say the telomere length increased, but they wouldn't say by how much.

Okay, so it could be like half a cent or something.


Exactly, yeah, it's so minuscule an increase. And then the ones where there was like, there was two twins and they both admitted that they had essentially an eating disorder. And the one that had meat based diet put on something like seven pounds of muscle in eight weeks and the other one put on about two and a half pounds. So they completely just didn't talk about the seven pounds of muscle gain.

I was going to say, how great is that? I'd love a bit of seven pound muscle gain. That'd be brilliant.

But these are also, they're twins whose dad was a bodybuilder, a competitive bodybuilder years ago. So they, and they'd started weight training and things like when there were positive results for the meat eaters, they basically said that the, the vegan, the plant-based ones weren't that compliant. And that's completely like glossing over a lot of different things, but like,


I think with all of this, a couple of things spring to mind. I always think of that movie, Supersize Me that came out like, gosh, how long ago now? I'm really aging myself. But obviously a guy went from like a normal everyday diet, American diet to eating McDonald's every single day for 30 days. Now, obviously that is going to make you feel horrendous. Like whatever the fast food, if you ate a highly processed diet for 30 days, you would feel terrible. And I even know with myself coming off the back of January, January, December, rather, and, you know, even though actually I would say I was pretty, like, things didn't fluctuate too much, because nowadays I hardly drink, if that, because it just makes me feel rubbish now that I'm in my perimetopause phase. And I, yeah, like I ate, you know, obviously I had extra things that I wouldn't normally have, chocolates, cheese, that kind of thing. even with that small amount come January, I was like, Oh, I just might like my sleep was all over the shop. I was bloated. I was grumpy as like, I just, and now after a few weeks into January and I'm, you know, back to sort of healthy habits, eating clean, drinking lots of water, sleeping well, like I've got energy again, my skin's glowing. Like it's, it's not rocket science. And I think it like really frustrates me the whole sort of extremism of things and and that really gets to you as well and also like it frustrates me a lot on that and the whole the whole that protein is bad and look I appreciate that there are people that are following vegan lifestyles vegetarian lifestyles for cruelty reasons and those kind of things but if that's not something that's you know, a huge of a huge importance to you. I think this whole like meat is bad message that, you know, it's the whole fat is bad. Now we've realized, no, it wasn't fat. It was sugar.


Yeah. And even like you look deeper into it, this was done over four, four episodes. You could have done it over one if there wasn't so much information about poor farming methods. And I agree that we should be looking at wild fish rather than having farmed fish because of the better quality fats and things in there and what is being fed to the animals we eat. But Farming is so much less regulated in the U.S. than here in the U.K. And the same with Canada, it's much better than the U.S., like even those neighboring countries. And there's more hormones in meat because they have to produce more. So can we eat a little bit less meat, but better quality, and get our plants up? But there's something that, you mentioned game changers as well. And the biggest two things that frustrate me from Game Changers and this You Are What You Eat is if you look at the small print and you realize that Game Changers was created by James Cameron, who had just put, I think it was about $200 million into a meat processing plant, a vegan meat processing plant. And he'd had his friend, Arnold Schwarzenegger, who from a bodybuilding background I'm a massive fan of, said he follows a plant-based diet. And then two weeks later, he was on social media talking about how steak's his favorite thing. And then the other thing is that the main researcher, Dr. Gardner, from You Are What You Eat, was funded by Beyond Me. If someone is funding your studies, you're going to manipulate the data to show what they can then market, right? You're not going to then manipulate or change things like that. And I think we have to look at health on an N equals one, a one-person basis. And It's so, so, it's good to get your nutrients up with plant-based diets. Yep.


We all, we all, we need to have at least nine portions of fruits and vegetables a day. Not five, you know. Not the five. I'm not even doing five. When did you say nine come into it, Wendy? But that's the variety that we need. But, you know, who, like how many people are doing that?

Yeah, and the reason they said five is because they didn't think people would do nine. So let's make it easier. But then like, you know, so yeah. And then most of that will be veg rather than fruit as well because of glucose management. Right. So it's very much like, no, it's yeah. So yeah, that's my thoughts on that.

It's kind of always these extremes that frustrate me. I get it. And yeah, it's absolutely good to shed light on. And if anything, those type of programs inspire me to think, right, how can I eat more? So at the moment, I'm eating a plant-based diet as a little personal challenge I'm doing, because I did find my diet was very meat-heavy and I was sort of stuck in that rut. And it's been hard for me, I'll be honest. Like I have to put a lot of thought into what I'm eating every day. And so it's good, it's challenging me and it's getting my repertoire back up with cooking lots of vegetarian meals. But I think it is important to have that balance, you know, if you're eating sort of protein three, four times a week and then sort of eating, you know, more plant-based the rest of the time, or even if you're doing like a meat-free Monday. But I think you hit on it earlier with the farming practices. I think ultimately when people ask me like, how do you eat? I'll call myself a qualitarian. So I'm much more about the quality of the food that I'm eating, not giving myself a label of, oh, I'm veggie or I'm vegan or I'm protein, you know, whatever it is. And right on cue, Ollie's taking a sip of water, which is like the number one thing that all of us need to be taking in this day and age. So yeah, just talk to me about maybe some of the things that you see in a lot of the clients that you work with, because I know you work with a lot of men and women, but tell me about sort of a lot of the common things that you see. I know you help a lot of people who are highly stressed and you really use a lot of cool testing in that to really look at them, as you say, on a one person basis.


I'm actually, it seems to be I'm working with more women now as well. And I don't know whether that's because of the people I've connected with at church.

I'm in touch with your feminine side, Ollie.

Yeah. It's you, it's you pulling me into working with more women. But looking at perimenopause, which we've had many, many conversations about and hormone issues. I want to say hormone balance, but we know that you don't have the same levels of certain hormones. It's balance at the right levels of each hormone. I see so many issues with that. Autoimmune conditions are big things and how people deal with them. Like when we look at, I was speaking to someone at church yesterday.

Give us a few examples of autoimmune. So things like chronic fatigue syndrome or.


Yeah. Rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis. Yeah. You're going to have. so many different things. They're probably the most common ones. Thyroid issues.

And it's amazing to me when you talk to people like that and you say, you know, what are you doing to manage your gut health? And they look at you like, what?


Yeah. And like people with fibromyalgia, which isn't an autoimmune, but kind of appears as one. Yeah. Endometriosis is a big thing with inflammation. I see that a lot. Yeah. And these are all things that, I mean, I'm really diving in at is that And the personal journey with this is purely because I don't want my wife to be suffering with these things a lot as she goes through perimenopause and with her own health. My whole story why I got into health was my dad died when I was 15. And he suffered with migraines, had a stroke. He was 47 years old from stress impacting his body and pushing through. So that made me learn loads about how the brain works, how the gut works, how we can stop migraines and intolerances and stuff. I've suffered from migraines myself. But then going down this journey, I was thinking the other day, why have I started really, really working with women? And yes, there's a connection there. And working, with women and then I research these things like why do women have heavy periods and you look at your cycle and having stress the week before your period and then it comes through heavy and what what can we do to help that and how this works it allows me to then hopefully be able to support my wife and I'm probably a cause of a lot of the stress so I need to work on that myself, but there's those sorts of things. So autoimmune, hormone issues.


Or your dog is breaking into your freezer. That's hilarious, by the way. I can't believe your dog actually knows how to open the freezer.

It's hilarious for social media content, but not when you lose a bag of veg. And he ate a whole bag of frozen chips. And I mean, they'd been in there for a while. And then he'd come to me shivering. I was a bit stupid to eat frozen food. Yeah. So his belly was just so big. Yeah. Get a beagle they said.

Yeah I mean I've got a half beagle half pug and he is so naughty and so untrainable and I will never have anything remotely resembling a beagle ever again. So there we go a little bit of therapy for you and I there. Yeah I mean obviously just coming back to the testing piece because again like I will speak to women you know when I'm helping them as a perimenopause coach and you know they they would have gone to their doctor who will give them you know only if they're a certain age and don't even get me started on that whole thing as well because again it's a sliding scale isn't it? You know we can be in perimenopause for 10 to 15 years and it's managing that because that funny you say heavy periods because that was the first symptom for me and I just thought because I'd had a child a bit later on in my sort of 30s I thought oh well maybe that's just like my body you know after pregnancy and giving birth and you know shaking back to normal kind of thing. And then it was anxiety that I noticed, never having been anxious, really. And, you know, it's all those, and it's when you kind of zoom out, you're like, oh, okay. And you start to sort of understand. But yeah, if you are at the point that you've gone to your doctor and you perhaps feel like you are on that permanent pause journey and they say, oh no, you're not old enough, like, hold firm, stand your ground, but also they will give you a blood test. But talk to me about why that bugs you a little bit in terms of the tests


It frustrates me that with regard to the test, first off, we have to basically tell the doctors what we want on the test. If not, they might just test, I don't know, progesterone or something like that, rather than actually looking at estrogen, testosterone.

I was going to say, those are your three core hormones. For anyone who's maybe listening to this and doesn't know about the hormones and peritonopause, those are your three, your estrogen, your progesterone, your testosterone.

Yeah, and also they're not looking at different types of estrogen as well. They're not looking at your gut health as much. They then will see something like low iron or high ferritin or stuff like that, and then they just prescribe iron tablets. Rather than, this woman is getting heavy periods, that's probably a reason for her low iron because she's bleeding a lot more. So shouldn't we sort that rather than just giving her iron tablets when she's not bleeding the rest of the cycle? So then she gets high iron.

What I'm arguing for is I was offered the pill.


Yep. Which is then going to be another whole other can of worms we're opening there. And it's the testing I like to do. I mean, there's a full blood test, which I usually, for ease here in the UK, we can use Medichecks where you don't need a practitioner. You can get a blood test, the ultimate performance blood test, which I prefer to do rather than the female hormones one. just gives a few more markers, is around £200 plus £30, £35 blood draw, and it tells us a lot. But there's another test called the Dutch Test, or Dutch Plus, which is plus CAR, cortisol awakening response, which tests your hormones throughout the day and it will look at estrogen, progesterone, it will look at your cortisol and cortisone, your precursors to cortisol, it looks at melatonin, it looks at dopamine, it looks at your gut, your microbiome as well. to a little bit of a, what is stress doing to that? And can we also go for a thing called methylation? So test your methylation pathways to convert inactive nutrients, shall we say, like B vitamins, into active. Because a lot of people, studies have shown about 44% of people can't go through methylation well, because of stress, because of environmental toxins, and other things that are there.

Methylation is that process of converting like vitamins, minerals, like nutrients, into what they're supposed to do. So like B12 for energy, it's actually you could take B12, but it's whether your body's actually converting that into what it needs to give you the energy.

Yeah, we need to be able to convert it into methylcobalamin or hydroxycobalamin. Same with folic acid, we need to be able to convert it to methylfolate. And again, that's another frustration that all women when going through fertility treatment or pregnancy are told to take folic acid for neuro tube defects. However, if people can't absorb that, we could potentially be giving them an ability to get a deficiency in folic acid by taking exogenous, so external folic acid. So we need to look and see where someone's body is at, but I had one question.


And would that also come into play with progesterone? Because you can get the sort of body identical progesterone, but then you can get sort of the progesterone that's more kind of the man-made type progesterone.

Yeah, the chemical or bio-identical ones.

As working out, again, what your body is going to work best with.

of breast cancer, like one in:

So that was nuts anyway.


Yeah, it was less depth, so it was more protective against breast cancer. And the trouble with low estrogen is that there's more brittle bone, there's more osteoporosis. It's easier to test for breast cancer than it is for osteoporosis as we get older. So is it better to have the estrogen at the right levels, where there's better function, less impact of stress, than having that at low levels and more chance of osteoporosis?

Yeah, and this is where using science, using testing, using science, using testing is so key and powerful to the whole process of health. And, you know, I appreciate everyone might not be in a position that they can go and pay extra, you know, it's an investment, but I also think, you know, everything seems important until you're sick. And then that was the only thing that was ever important. And so if, if any of this is resonating with you and you're thinking, right, you know, I need to do some deeper digging here. Maybe you're not satisfied with what the doctor's telling you, or maybe you're not getting, you know, what you need, the support, you're still feeling rubbish. Maybe you're on HRT, but your levels aren't right, all that kind of thing. It's really important to look. holistically at what's going on in the body. It's not just the stuff that we take, it's our stress management, our gut health, everything synergistically. You know, I know for me having, you know, gone through difficulties with my health in the past few years when I have shared on the podcast before, but when I was feeling incredibly low in energy, I was feeling, you know, rubbish, just not myself. And actually when I went and did some further testing and, you know, out of my own pocket and at the time I was like, oh, I could do without this. But actually it turns out I had a parasitic infection I'd picked up from eating some unwashed food probably they could even trace like it wasn't a Northern Hemisphere parasite. So it must have been when I was traveling in South Africa or something. And that parasite was literally causing havoc in my gut. And again, I could have just been like self-medicating and doing all these things and taking supplements. Ultimately, my gut health was in such a poor state because this little parasite was literally sapping it all away from me. So I had to look at treating that root cause, but that was something that unfortunately the NHS would have never picked up on.


The parasites are a big thing, not literally a big thing, but they're very common. like the further you go away from home. Yeah, like when I got really sick when we went to Egypt and I then tested for parasites, luckily I didn't have any then, but I used to work for a big insurance company and they used to send people off to India a lot and they would come back and that whole like, the food there really impacted the microbiome and opened you up for parasites. and there was more chance of issues there. And there's H. pylori as well, is the most common infection amongst humans. And the amount of times people have this ongoing for a long while, it needs an antibiotic to, in most cases, to get rid of it, which then involves them having to like repopulate the gut and things like that. But doctors don't really test for it that much. And I've had it that I can't prescribe antibiotics, but I've had clients that weren't able to get results, done a cheap H. pylori test, it's like five or ten pounds from Amazon, comes back positive, so they go to their doctors, they get a proper test for it, I say proper, like a much more accurate test, to then say they've got it, get a prescription of antibiotics, we rebuild the gut microbiome, and they're so much better. Energy, issues with weight loss, all these certain things. Even things like with the Dutch test that I mentioned before, checking someone's cortisol rhythm.

I was going to say, we kind of glossed over that and I really want to come back to that because you threw a few names out there and I just really want to break it down for people. So cortisol is like your stress hormone. So that is your fight, flight, tigers coming at me, like run, run, run. which obviously we have very high cortisol living in this modern day and age. And at a basic level, like Ollie's going to be cringing in my explanations here because he's like so much more medical than I am. But you know, the way I say it is like the cortisol is literally attacks the serotonin, the happy hormone, and your dopamine, which is like your pleasure, your motivation hormone as such. And so, yeah, like you just end up being at a complete deficit. So when you slip it, you know, into low mood, depression, anxiety, like literally it's your gut imbalance and also having to sort of regulate cortisol. So I really want to talk about that for a sec, because I think so many of us have an issue here.


Yeah. I think cortisol has also been given a bad rep, like purely because we need cortisol as well. We need it. Yeah. We need it to wake us up. Like when we do, if you do this Dutch test, I don't want to be advertising a test in here, but it has a cortisol awakening response. So it does saliva samples straight on waking, 30 minutes, 60 minutes, around lunchtime, late afternoon, and then before bed. So we get a guide of where your cortisol should be. Now it should start off low and go up because your cortisol awakening response, that's the thing.

Otherwise you would not wake up, like you need cortisol to wake up.

And this is also why I do not like the snooze button. still trying to get my wife to stop.

I cannot believe it. But yeah, because they've shown the study linked to like, people who hit the snooze button of higher risk of like heart attack.

Yeah, heart attacks. Yeah, there's a study that shows that. But if we think about that's the starting gun. say you're on a racetrack, it's the starting pistol to say go. Every time we wake up, we have this slight increase in cortisol. We want that. If we're using a snooze button, sleep cycles are around 90 minutes. So if we're snoozing for 90 minutes, we should get a full cycle. But it's about 10 minutes before the next alarm goes off. So you go up, up, up, up, up, up. It's these false starts, which then is stressful on the body. So we should have a high rise of cortisol. It goes down. and then towards the evening it's really down. Trouble is, a lot of fake lights, a lot of evening stress, a lot of social media in the evening kicks it up. And what's the problem there is that melatonin is the hormone that will relax you. And it's directly related or indirectly related to cortisol. So when cortisol is high, melatonin is low. So if cortisol is low, we can get melatonin high. Now, if we're doing hard workouts late at night, kicks up cortisol, lowers melatonin. If we are having lots of false light, if we're having arguments, that's something to be aware of. If it's stressful at home, these sorts of things will increase cortisol and lower melatonin. And it takes around five hours to get that to maximum level again. So after we've relaxed and start building up, chances are you're going to have issues with sleep. Even if you can get away to sleep and switch off, you're still not going to get the deep restorative levels of sleep that we want in order to recharge. And as a result, I see people with hormone issues, people not able to detoxify as effectively, people that are suffering from anxiety. Then it goes into irregular periods as well. We then get the heavier periods that come on as a result. And I think that with us guys, we get it easy because our adrenals produce about 5% of our sex hormones.


Yeah, you heard it from him, ladies. You heard it from him.

Yeah, we get it easy. And women get about 20 to 25% of their sex hormones from the adrenals. So that stress management becomes so, so really important, not just beforehand when you look at the women's cycle, but when you actually get to perimenopause and then postmenopause is that you should be able to produce enough estrogen and progesterone. And progesterone, that should help you then to get the right levels of testosterone. But our adrenals are so burnt out. We're seeing it in guys getting low testosterone because they're so stressed. And with women, there's issues going on because their adrenals aren't functioning by getting the messages to them. So a thing called adrenal fatigue has kind of been debunked as your adrenals don't wear out. They just don't get the messages as effectively. and we need the raw materials, we need cholesterol, we need vitamin D, we need to make sure we're getting pregnanolone in there in order to then produce the right hormones. And a lot of times people aren't, and they're just getting told that they've not got an issue or they've got low iron and it's not being looked at deeper. And the frustration with the Dutch test is that it's not available on NHS. There's other tests available to look at nutrient deficiencies, organic acid tests as well, but this is just one that I wish that every client that came to me would do a full blood test and if they're women do a Dutch plus CAR. Yeah. And especially if they've got sleep issues, if they've got thyroid issues, gut issues, if they're feeling run down and especially perimenopause clients because it tells us exactly where they are. I had one client who I tried everything, tried so much stuff. She was in the US, always in the US, and she'd been doing everything for years. And then initially when she came, I was like, okay, we're just going to check the basics first. We'd done a Dutch test and I was like, you've been through menopause. She's like, what? And I said, no, you're post-menopausal. You have two options. We've worked long term to help support your adrenals and she's loving CrossFit and stuff, which are going to be intense workouts. She's running like a seven figure business, like going up to like eight figure business. Like she she's really high up. So has she got the time to pull back? and focus for maybe a year, 18 months to rebuild her adrenals. And then she ended up that she went to a doctor that I said, look, you need to find a doctor in that area who specializes in HRT, who will look at this test and be able to help you. And now I think she's dropped about 80 pounds in the last year after not being able to drop. And purely because she's now got hormonal support, And I see stories like that and how beneficial HRT can be when everything else is in place. So the problem that we see as well is that HRT needs good cell function. And a lot of people don't have that in order to utilize the medication that you're getting. And so if you're not working on good routine to help you sleep, If you're not got a good nutrient rich diet, if you're not going to be hydrated and working on stress management techniques, there's not going to be that much chance that the HRT is going to do the jobs that it needs to do. So that's where I think there needs to be some education on it, help people using it.


And that's true for any type of supplementation medicine that you're taking. It really comes down to the absorbability and that's where the sort of the gut health element is so crucial and making sure that your gut health is And that's why I'm always bleating on about it. And I'm so glad that that conversation is becoming more mainstream now and that more and more people are wising up to it. I even saw the other day, hilarious, that M&S are now doing like a gut health shot in conjunction with like, oh, what's it called? You know, the one that everyone's got, Zoe. And yeah, and I'm just like, I'm laughing it and I hope it doesn't go the other way of like everyone jumping on the bandwagon capsulizing, but you know how things go. But just to kind of finish off today, I really want to talk about glucose and things like Zoe, and I know you have your opinions on that too. So let's just talk a little bit because that has been quite a I know that the goddess, you know, glucose revolution is really kind of, you know, put that on the map. And I think, again, it's so important to be thinking about, so important to be having the conversation. But again, like one of the, you know, just one of the tips that she recommends, you know, around sort of having your sort of apple cider vinegar in the morning and stuff, and then you put something up where you were like, If you are such and such, do not do that to your body. You know, so again, you have to understand a lot of this information is generic for a wide group of people. But this is where sort of working with a health coach, working with someone like yourself is like on a one-to-one basis is so important. So yeah, tell me about your thoughts on the glucose revolution.


So I do like her stuff, but as we say, it's very generic when health is at, as we said, N equals one, like a one person study essentially. And if you are having things like acid reflux, I usually tell people to do an apple cider vinegar challenge. And that is to have two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, neat, as neat as possible. Some people need to water it down, but on an empty stomach, you have it and see if there's any burning. If there's burning and it's like intense, have some water cause it'll just pour it down and it should go away. But that tells me your stomach lining is compromised, and we need to work on that. And if you then go straight into having an apple cider vinegar every day, you're potentially going to do more damage. So that's where we would look at things like the glycerized licorice extract to help soothe the stomach lining, help it regenerate, and then you can go into some things like the apple cider vinegar. And reflux is usually low stomach acid, where the doctors prescribe lansoprazole for high stomach acid because we're just our esophagus sphincter, the doorway to our stomach essentially is inflamed and we haven't got the enzymes to break down the food so it putrefies. But the glucose side of things is that if you're waking up during the night, if you're suffering with brain fog, if you get hangry between meals, if you find fasting. The post I put out about the Daniel fast, there was someone mentioned about she'd passed out on it. And hopefully, in a nicer way, I hope it was a bug that she had which she mentioned, but it shows me there's something going on inflammation and glucose-wise. And the steadier we can have our glucose, the less because every time glucose drops, we mentioned cortisol, we need cortisol to keep our glucose up. Glucose is fuel for the brain.


As you say, glucose is what like it comes out, you know, when we eat food, it converts that process into glucose, which is energy for our cells, our muscles, our bodies to fire and do the things it needs to do. So we need it. And that's why, again, the whole anti-sugar revolution needs to be taken with a pinch of salt. Because yes, if you're eating a highly processed diet laden with sugar and excess sugars and fizzy drinks and chocolates and all that, of course, but actually our bodies and our brains especially need sugar.

Yeah, and we need to have good fuel adaptation ability to switch from glucose to fats, which a lot of people can't do because their body's too inflamed and stressed, to be able to go on long fasts. So this is where glucose revolution, we look at fasting, which is amazing. When you go on fasts, if your body's in a position to do it, it will help glucose management. If you've got a foundation of glucose management in the first place, So I, last week, I done a 72 hour fast and I didn't feel that bad. And the thing is that if I'd have done that 10 years ago when I was competing in bodybuilding, my glucose management was so bad.

How did you feel after doing a 72 hour fast? Did it reboot?

I felt a little bit better, but I don't think my body was in such an inflamed state to really benefit as much.


And can I ask you this? Because again, like I know intermittent fasting is very fashionable right now. It's something everybody's doing. and actually is something that I would actively dissuade women from participating in during their sort of perimenopause phase. So you can hear from Oli why I say that. Go Oli.

testosterone, but then around:

I do adjust my workout schedule around my cycle. And that's been such a game changer, not the game changers, but my game changer, um, in terms of managing my cycle, but also Again, I think it's not always just jumping on what the next thing is, because fasting may work really well for you, and I know it does for a lot of people, but if you don't have good glucose management, and then you're just going straight into a full 16 hours, not eating eight hours window to eat, just to break down the terminology. I just, I don't agree with that. I just don't think that's good for your body.


And one thing that I've noticed, because I've gone from that fast, so people, there's a period of fasting in our church, so 21 days of doing some kind of fasting to essentially bring us closer to God. And I've done the 72 hour fast because I already intermittent fast. because I've got that good blood glucose management. I don't drink alcohol, so I'm not going to cut that out of there. I'm not going to cut out meat. And so I look to say, can I do a longer intermittent fast? 20 to 22 hours every day, apart from the weekends. And the problem with that is that left two to four hours to eat all the food I needed in a day. And that's not enough to eat 2,500 calories of good food because you go to bed stuffed and you can't sleep properly. and that then impacts your energy. So we have to take that into account, someone's caloric needs as well. Are they getting low protein already? So actually lower in their eating window, they're going to get even less protein. So we have to take everyone's situation into account. But I do believe that managing glucose levels is the answer for so many health issues longer term. Like making sure if you want a dessert, having it close to your protein-based meal.

And that's what I do. It's like, it's the sandwich, isn't it? You're sort of giving it the support to release slowly. So it's not saying, don't have the dessert. I hate this whole deprivation. It's like, have the desserts. But actually, again, it's only the first two or three mouthfuls that actually we really want and that actually have any sort of benefit to kind of boosting the good stuff. And actually, the rest, your brain, your body just kind of switches off to the taste. So have two, three mouthfuls, but have it around your protein. And you could. Yeah.


And I think touching on deprivation there is a big one as well, because I had, I was running a women's group a couple of years ago now, and a question I always remember is that, Ollie, I don't want to cut food out because I don't want to deprive myself. And I said, look, if you're having a food that makes you feel bloated, that makes you feel sluggish, that impacts your sleep and puts you in a low mood, are you depriving yourself by cutting that food out or are you depriving yourself by having that food? And that's where awareness of food becomes so powerful. Like, do I love myself enough to feel good? But I touched on it when I spoke before in church that there's a thing in the Bible, a piece in the Bible that talks about loving your neighbor like yourself. And do enough of us love ourselves enough to be able to love our neighbor like that. And that got me thinking so much. And that has changed my thoughts on health over, like, someone who's been in this industry for 20 years, that changed my thoughts on health in the last 18 months just thinking about that. If I love myself more, I can love others. And if something's going to make me feel really, really bad, why would I have it? And don't get me wrong, Christmas time, I won't have gluten because it gives me migraines, but I'll have junk at Christmas time, Boxing Day, and then I'm done until New Year's Eve, and then I'm done. But apart from that, maybe birthday, but I won't really have loads and loads of junk. And afterwards, I think, I really didn't need that. But I see a lot of times people that are doing this all the time. And then we feel sluggish all the time. It's habit, it's social situations. So if someone's doing a certain nutrition protocol because everyone else is doing it, it's easy to stick to it. It's easy to stick to Veganuary. It's easy to stick to Dry January. But then why do we, if Dry January makes us feel good, Why do we then get to February and start drinking again? And that's where I don't think the problem is food, it's other things going on.


Like, it's so true, Ollie. It's a perfect place to end today, because, like, I just, again, it's just, I know people talk about balance, but it is really, and, like, the alcohol thing for me, like, two, three years ago, if someone said, like, give up drinking, I'd be like, no, I love my wine, I love my G&Ts, no way, I'll never give it up. But nowadays, it has gotten to the point where, when I do have a drink, and I still will, like, I end up waking up four or five o'clock in the morning, wide awake, can't get back to sleep, feel rubbish the next day, what do I do when I feel rubbish? I want to eat all the carbs, I want to eat all the crisps, I want to eat all the things that I don't normally like, crave, and then I just feel rubbish, then I feel bloated, nervous, you know, and I just, I'm not saying don't, and this is where I subscribe to such the 80-20 rule, 80% of the time I've got my healthy habits, my, you know, and I'm always adding to my repertoire of healthy habits, habits stacking on top of each other, But then 20% of the time, let go and let live. Like you're good, you're fine. But if 80% of your life is unhealthy, well, yeah.

If 80% is unhealthy and we switch it to 80-20 of 80% healthy. But one of the problems that we have is that so many people I see in the fitness world is that they want everyone to be on like an if it fits your macros approach because it is going to be flexible for a lot of people.


I've never tried micro in my life and I encourage that is my confession for today, everybody. Yeah.

To get to that point, though, I want someone to be able to be flexible, like you say. But if someone's health is in such an extreme state and they have to follow, I don't know, an autoimmune paleo diet, which is restrictive for two, three months to get them to there. I had to do a FODMAP. Yeah, like low FODMAP diet, but no nine shades and stuff. If we have to go through a strict period to get someone there, It's also being able to tell someone that if you want to get to this place, you have to be strict. You have to have two months of alcohol or so on. You have to follow the protocol because then you can be flexible. Yeah. And it's whether we want to go through that point, because I've made excuses myself with like cutting out protein bars, like that sort of thing. I don't need to do that. Well, actually, I wouldn't tell a client to do that. So here's a check in on myself. I've got Proverbs 10.9 on my screen, it's like, whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but he who makes his ways crooked will be found out. And I'm like, hang on a second, I'm making an excuse here. I'm not living in integrity. Then it gets me to switch and to really listen to that stuff. So like, we want people to be flexible, but we've got to get there first.


Yeah, regardless of your kind of Obviously, Olly and I are both Christians, but regardless of what your faith is, what your belief system is, I think all of us can agree, sticking true to your values, walking in integrity, they're all really important things to do, important habits to have. And I just think, wow, that was a lot that we covered today, but I think, and I know Like I know, like I know there are going to be messages from people listening to this going, I'm going to, I had no idea about that. I had never thought about that. I hadn't thought about that. And it's just going to be the light bulbs that people need. So I'm going to ask Ali, just finish off and tell us where we can find him. And then also please be sure that I will link to those tests he mentioned about in the show notes. Cause you're all like, I have to get a Dutch test. The biggest thing with doing any of these testing I would say is having somebody with the capability to interpret them correctly for you. So that is where you would need to work with a functional medicine practitioner like Ollie to do that for you. So yeah, please go through him if you are listening to this podcast.

So I'm on Instagram at Oli Matthews Health, so it's Oli with an IE, Matthews with a double T. And if you go to OJHealth.com is my website, so OJAYHealth.com, but drop me a message there and I'll happily answer any questions.


And I know you are so good about helping people, but you've also got a really cool quiz on your website that helps people. Would I just, did I just make that up? You gave me a quiz once. I thought that was.

No, the quiz, like the brain health and gut health ones is that when I go through with clients, it's a quiz zero one, two, three, that allows me to get. pointers of where to look without having to go deeper into testing because I don't want to spend like 300 pounds on a test for no reason.

Drop me a message if you would like to do that quiz. It's not on his website as previously advertised.

I used to do a help screening but now it's like someone wants to go through that quiz, drop me a message. I'll send a link to the quiz and I can say that this is where I would look. Okay, I can't go down how to actually like fix it 100% yourself, but I can tell you where to look. And the things for like the Dutch test, you have to have a insured practitioner on it. I believe that some places will sell it probably at a stupidly high markup without a practitioner, but I'm looking at doing a cost of the test and the interpretation. as a package and people can message me, say that you're in Wendy's community and I'll happily sort you out with that because it will help you get better work or better results with what Wendy's doing. And Wendy and I, we're quite close when it comes to chatting about this stuff all the time on social and in church. So we'll happily link up to see how we can help you more.

We're the health geeks. Yeah. Yeah. We love it. We love it.

And apologies if we confuse you by going down that road.


Thank you so much for your time today and for sharing all your knowledge. And I know people will get so much value from that. You're amazing.

Thank you.

Thank you for joining me for today's episode. If you've got value from this, please won't you take two seconds to take a screenshot and share a pic of this episode on your socials? Extra points if you'd like to rate and review this podcast on your preferred platform so that we can share the love with more women wanting to thrive in their lives. Do be sure to visit my website, wendygriffith.co.uk, to get all my free resources to support you on your thriving journey. Until next time, God bless, take care of yourself, and keep thriving.

About the Podcast

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Thriving Woman Project
For women who want to thrive in all areas of their life, health & biz!

About your host

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Wendy Griffith

Wendy is a certified Health & Wellness coach, specialising in peri menopause support for women. Wendy believes the best gift you can give your family and the world, is a healthy and thriving you!