Guest: Nicole Azzopardi
Presenter: Wayne Bucklar
Guest Bio: Nicole Azzopardi is a blogger at MummaCare.com and author of The Alchemy Cookbook.Her family business, Mumma Care, supports mothers with children who are food allergic, intolerant and/or have autism by teaching cooking classes and running retreats on Victoria’s Bellarine Peninsula, Australia.
Segment overview: In today’s Health Supplier Segment, we are joined by Nicole Azzopardi here to talk about their family business Mumma Care. After searching for the most nutrient dense, healing food she could find to help heal her eldest daughter’s damaged digestive system, journalist, author and foundational food advocate Nicole, found the very best medicine came from rediscovering some of our oldest traditions.Simple, elegant and beautiful, the practice of culturing vegetables, making stocks and hearty soups and stews has provided the restorative qualities she had searched for.
Health Professional Radio – Mumma Care
Wayne Bucklar: You’re listening to Health Professional Radio. My name is Wayne Bucklar and today my guest joins me from Australia, Nicole Azzopardi, joins me now. She’s a blogger at MummaCare.com and author of the The Alchemy Cookbook, she’s also a speaker this year’s Mind International Forum 2016 Conference and Expo in May, and at that conference world experts will be presenting to parents and patients and carers and educators on nutritional and environmental medicine, Nutrient Therapy, Bio Individual Diets, Nutritional Psychiatry, Brain Plasticity and Natural and Neuro Therapies. So Nicole is someone with a good spectrum of interest in this area, Nicole welcome to Health Professional Radio.
Nicole Azzopardi: Thank you Wayne, great to be here.
W: Now Nicole I know you’ve written The Alchemy Cookbook, what was it that led you down that pathway?
N: Well Wayne when our daughter was born, she was born via severe infection and very soon after my wounds became infected, and we were readmitted in hospital and I was there 5 days with intravenous antibiotic and then 2 weeks oral antibiotics. Now that was a lifesaving procedure that I’m very grateful for, it probably save both our lives, but there were complications that I noticed after that and I think that the antibiotics had something to do with it. After that first breastfeed when the intravenous, antibiotic went in my daughter started to scream, and it seemed like she never stopped screaming, she’s in pain and she was a poor sleeper, there’s a lot of unknown as there are when you have a new baby. But by 11 months, she was 11 months old when she was diagnosed anaphylactic to egg, nuts and sesame so that’s when I sort of thought “Oh okay thank God, we know that there is something wrong, I’m not crazy.” And to be honest those foods went out of my breastfeeding diet and we were 50% of the way there and it was feeling much, much better but there are still other things going on. She was constipated, she seemed unsettled, her sleep had not improved and she was getting hives around the mouth for basic everyday foods broccoli, noodles food and healthy foods, and that I just couldn’t understand I kept wiping her high chair, wondering where the allergens were. I’ve eliminated them from my house, from my diet what else could there be? So it turned out that… also had food intolerances, and being a journalist I was luckily in the practice of doing research and ringing up random strangers basically and asking them bold questions. So in that time I interviewed people from all over the world and I happened to speak to some clinicians at… Hospital who had, they have a particular diet where you can basically eliminate certain foods that have … And so I thought of this and then I could see my daughter in a happy healthy and totally that could sleep much better, she was not having melt downs throughout the day and at night and we were able to progress. But the problem is Wayne where do you go from there? You’ve have eliminated a whole lot of food, she was already allergic to three major areas, and we just couldn’t sustain it was like a moving target, and she was trying to shoot of a moving target. So we could not just live that way, she did things to get better for a time, but then again she would to plummet. She was banging her head on the ground everyday, it wouldn’t matter if it from the… she would bash her head backward and I could remember just feeling sick about it. And she was afraid of how household noises, she was winding up her plates where…she can’t have to be on one plate and then green beans would be on another. She was starting to show the foreign of neurologically difficulty and as I was worried about perhaps we were dealing with autism here.
N: Isn’t it Wayne she was 2 years old and from again my research I understood that most people are diagnosed with around 3 years old, the baby couldn’t walk, she could talk to you, she had a brilliant mind, and she had all motion skills. So I thought okay, we probably got a window here between 2 and 3 before we have to take care her in and get a further diagnosis, what can we do at home? And we were really, we tried everything by this point and we happened, a friend who had heard of the gut start, which I have not, and but are you familiar with the gut start, Wayne?
W: Well this is the one they use to eliminate potential problem foods isn’t it?
N: Well yes, it’s basically stands for Gut and Psychology Syndrome and it was authored by a Neuroscientist actually and she was a neurosurgeon who’s a child was diagnosed with autism and finding that there were no answers for her in her own profession she retrained and became a nutritionist. So she then put her own child on this particular diet, it’s a gut healing diet she was one of the first people to for me to have a make me aware of the fact that the gut and the brain are connected. And so then I started to realize “Okay you know perhaps this is not autism here, a classical autism. Perhaps my daughter is displaying sign of gut dysfunction.” So with nothing else to try we embarked on this gut diet, and lo and behold here we are two weeks in and my husband and I are looking at each other and the screaming at night hadn’t started… she would have start screaming by this point and which she would wake up screaming in the middle of the night, three times a night, every night and we just eliminated grain from her diet. We started her on soups, stews, fermented food, probiotics and the change has been transformational. She no longer shows any signs of autism, she has no food intolerances and she by about one year into the guts diet on subsequent visits to her pediatric allergist, she no longer needs her EpiPen. She eats eggs, she eats sesame, peanut is the final allergy to go and… So she got still got a peanut allergy but I am hopeful that as her immune system strengthens, as her gut heals given we know that 80% of the immune system withholding gut wall, as a mom it makes sense to me that perhaps we need to heal the gut.
W: It is fascinating Nicole that I’ve spoken to several researchers and senior clinicians recently about Crohn’s disease and about other gut related inflammatory diseases, and I do get a sense of the research is leading us to what’s going to be another bold new breakthrough. A bit like “ulcers” 30 years ago the hospitals were full of men with stomach ulcers and they were having surgery and bland diets and then one day someone discovered “Oops, one antibiotic and that’s all fixed.” I do think we’re on the verge of some extraordinary research outcomes around the way our gut works and particularly to do with gut flora. I’m fascinated by the idea that everything we eat is eaten by our gut flora before we get it, and I think we will find spectacular research coming out about that particularly as you say prior to antibiotics, you have the gut flora when you die pretty much that you have when your born with, you didn’t ever kind of…
W: Sterilize your bowel and start again. But as you’re saying with antibiotic versus you do alter that behavior in your gut quite regularly I think.
N: And how exciting is this for us as a patients and to clinicians. And to be honest as a journalist, and someone who finds dieting easy I could not help but to start to document these changes. And so I took what I find and every time we ate something I took a snap of it and bit by bit throughout this two year experience, I kind of record our daughters recovery and it was these posts on my Facebook page and through the support page, just the people who may be to egg free or nut free and there came The Alchemy Cookbook: transforming food into medicine.
W: And where is that available Nicole?
N: Now that is available via our website, so mummacare.com or you can order it on Amazon.
W: I am sure that will sell well for you for a long time to come, but congratulations on having got from the way I do things a few scrappy notes on an iPad to a book. That’s a major journey to take and congratulations on getting to that end.
N: Thank you. I mean the most rewarding thing Wayne is that this book it is changing lives. It is helping people’s thru an experience and it’s showing them bit by bit how some sort of gut brain transformation and healing can occur. It is very much in the hands of moms and dads and carers and I’m not saying “Go … and do this on your own.” I had excellent clinicians helping us, but how wonderful to have this kind of support in between doctor’s visits and to just show them that it’s possible. It’s not possible for everyone, this kind of outcome but it’s definitely possible and every day, I hear more and more parents telling me that their children are feeling better and might not have total recovery, some do … but and with this kind of evidence is still very, very valid. The quality of evidence from parents that I would really love for more clinicians and the public to take notice of.
W: And in terms of health politics, it’s not an area that tends to get a lot of funding because there isn’t a patentable drug at the end of it that can fund a whole lot of research and no one’s going to come along and get a TGA approval on broccoli, because it’s already there. So kudos to you for taking the time and effort to document it and congratulations on publication of The Alchemy Cookbook. And thank you for sharing your time and story with us today on Health Professional Radio.
N: Thank you Wayne. Thank you everyone.
W: Nicole Azzopardi, blogger at mummacare.com and author of The Alchemy Cookbook, has been telling us the story of her family’s journey to do with issues associated with food allergies – let’s put it that broadly to start with. Now the good news is if you missed the interview there is a transcript on our website, there is also a SoundCloud and YouTube archive of the audio of the interview and you can access all of those from the Health Professional Radio website at www.hpr.fm . If you’d like a copy of The Alchemy Cookbook or you’d like to know more about Nicole Azzopardi’s journey, head off to www.mummacare.com and you’ll find all the information you need there. Thank you for being with us today in Health Professional Radio, my name is Wayne Bucklar.