The health and wellness world has a whole new 'language' that's emerged as people sought products and activities to help reach personal wellness goals. But, important information shouldn’t only be available to biochemists or functional medicine experts (more on this later). Everyone deserves to be healthy and happy, and we can all learn the language in a jiffy.
Move over Google Translate, we're about to do some translating of our own. Let’s get to busting these buzzwords.
1. Functional Medicine
Health care that focuses on the root of patient symptoms by looking at their entire lifestyle. The focus is on what natural changes can fix health problems. These typically include sleep quality, stress levels, diet and exercise.
If you come across this in a product description, it’s a good one! A Functional Medicine Certified Health Coach has given it the thumbs up. You can find one of those right here.
‘Hydrolysed’ refers to the process whereby a compound is broken down by a chemical reaction with water. It makes the active ingredients easy for the body to absorb - look at hydrolysed collagen for example. Collagen exists in animal bones, but we can only access it once they have gone through a process of ‘partial hydrolysation’. That means when the bones are simmered in water, collagen is broken down from inside the bones and seeps out into the water. ‘Hydrolysed collagen’ is the classification given to collagen that is then further broken down for easier absorption into the body.
The main protein which 'glues' the body together. Responsible for more than just the famous benefits for better hair, skin and nails; it promotes cell, joint and gut health and helps detox our livers. This wellbeing-wonder is found in our bodies naturally - however, there are things that we can do to support our diminishing levels as we age.
5. Collagen Peptides
The form of collagen that is best absorbed into the bloodstream. These occur when collagen is broken down into its lowest form, and are found in our collagen powder supplements.
6. Amino acids
Amino acids are the building blocks making up our body's protein. Typically, 300 acids join to form just 1 protein! Now, proteins are continually being repaired and replaced - so just imagine the constant supply of amino acids needed to sustain this process. Luckily, we can get them easily with a proper well-balanced diet.
Look for mention of amino acids in product descriptions, because these products will help provide your body with the resources to create and maintain important proteins. One of our most important amino acids, glycine, is found in bone broth. Fun fact: Glycine helps you sleep better too!
When something is bioavailable, your body absorbs it easily and leaves nothing undigested. This means that you’re actually getting all the nutrients offered in the supplement. Nothing goes to waste.
Gelatin is derived from collagen; and is released when the collagen in animal bones, skin and connective tissue breaks down in liquid. Studies show that gelatin helps relieve joint pain, as well as contains a powerful glutamic acid which fosters tissue building and healing. This strengthens the stomach’s mucosal lining and binds to water, helping to move food through your system. A.K.A great for gut health. Gelatin (like so many other nutrients our bodies are lacking in) is found naturally in bone broth.
We can quickly grasp that organic carrots were farmed without chemical fertilisers, pesticides, and artificial chemicals. We also easily understand that organically raised animals are reared according to strict health standards.
However, it’s a little more tricky to grasp ‘organic’ in the context of supplements. Organic supplements come from natural sources that meet organic food standards. They contain the pure extract and the necessary bonding components, with nothing synthetic added.
This refers to products which come from cows that feed in open grasslands, as opposed to farms that pump cattle with hormones and antibiotics. Those cows are likely to lead stressful lives, which is unethical and unhealthy for us. Animal stress hormones are proven to lower the quality of meat and also build up some pretty toxic substances inside their bones.
Farm animals need movement for joints, muscle and bone health. What's more, a study of 400 chickens found that free-range hens had better gut bacteria and meat quality than enclosed hens.
This study gave an adequate amount of space to the chickens - however, that won’t always be the case. 'Free-range' classification requires no minimum time for an animal to have access to the outdoors.
12. Heavy metals
All of us are in a toxic relationship with heavy metals. These exist inside us and inside the food we eat. They can wreak havoc on thyroid and adrenal glands, insulin levels and immune systems.
Your body naturally works heavy metals out of your system, but you can help it along by reducing your intake of high-mercury fish and by eating organic foods. When sourcing meats and bone broths, it's important to look for "organic AND free-range" or "organic AND grass-fed" (not one or the other) If both labels are present, adequate measures have been taken and you won’t run the risk of ingesting heavy metals.
Shampoo, body wash, lotions. If you grew up with a TV, you've heard a voiceover’s silky tones extolling the virtues of antioxidants in beauty products.
Antioxidants are molecules keeping your free radicals in check. Free radicals are essential, but if you have too many they can lead to illness. And thankfully we get antioxidants from a healthy diet.
Bone broth helps our bodies make the master antioxidant, glutathione. This helps the liver expel metabolic waste and heavy metals.
14. Whole Foods
Think chicken breast over nuggets, brown rice over Rice Krispies.
Whole foods are eaten in their most natural state possible. They aren’t processed and are free of added sugars, flavourings or any other addicting nasties.
15. Elimination Diet
An elimination diet is what it sounds like. These eating protocols are standard for identifying allergies, intolerances and sensitivities- where a patient cuts out foods which are known to cause uncomfortable symptoms for a time, introducing it again later while noting the effects. Try out our 21 Day Challenge to get a taste of a healthy elimination diet protocol.
16. Whole 30
Need a fresh start? This elimination diet will heal the body from the ravages of the Western diet.
Sugar, alcohol, grains, dairy, legumes, and certain food additives can negatively affect our health. Whole 30 recommends 30 days without them. Off-limits foods are then reintroduced one at a time to see if anything triggers a reaction.
The explosively popular Keto Diet is a low-carb, high-fat diet. Here, the liver converts fat into fatty acids and ketone bodies, so fat becomes the main energy supply. This makes it more important than ever to support healthy liver functions with the right supplements.
18. MCT Oil
A nutritional supplement made of fatty acids found in coconut and other tropical oils. These fatty acids are the easiest fats to absorb, supporting cell growth and boosting energy fast.
MCT is commonly sold in the form of an oil, but can be found in a mess-free powder supplement. It dissolves into any liquid and is softer on the digestive system for first-timers.
MCT oil benefits:
- Better gut health
- Feel fuller for longer
- Improved energy
- Regulated sleeping patterns
19. Fad diets
Lose fat, like, yesterday! Eat dessert all day! Hate exercising? Get results without it!
Ah, the trademarks of a fad diet.
Without the backing of science, these quick-fixes are counterproductive at best and harmful at worst. They leave people ill-equipped to sustain a healthy lifestyle. We don’t endorse them. Can you tell?
20. BPA Free
Seen this on plastic containers before? That means the harmful chemical ‘bisphenol A' was not used to make it. Products must shout this out, because if BPA is present, it can seep into the packaged contents and disrupts natural hormones when ingested. This can lead to cancerous tumors and other developmental disorders. All Clean Living Company packaging is BPA free.
Genetically Modified foods have genes from other plants or animals inserted into their genetic codes.
Christy Spees from As You Sow explains that GM foods are dangerous "because the modifications are centred around resistance to toxic substances, such as pesticides and certain fertilisers. When dangerous chemicals are applied, plants use them to grow, and the food itself can be detrimental to our health." All Clean Living Company ingredients are non-GMO.
Phew. Well done. That was a lot to get through, but hopefully we've helped set the record straight around some of the many facets of the health and wellness world. But despite the confusing lingo, the most important thing to remember is that no matter your background, age, shape, or size - wellness starts from within.