#78 Brain Fog - Let's Clear It Up

The Holistic Nutritionists Podcast


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"Brain fog feels like constantly experiencing 'fuzzy thinking', a lack of mental clarity, poor memory, and an inability to concentrate. Common brain fog causes in women stem from a whole range of health and lifestyle factors, like sleep deprivation or poor sleep quality, blood sugar regulation, vitamin B12 deficiency, adrenal function, Thyroid function, gut health issues, and low sex hormones. It's really important to address the underlying root cause, rather using band-aid solutions (like 'coffee crutching') to cover it up."

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In Episode 78 of The Holistic Nutritionists Podcast, Natalie Douglas and Kate Callaghan discuss common brain fog causes and the best way to get rid of brain fog.
  • How to know if you are experiencing brain fog
  • Main causes and what it could be telling you
  • Blood sugar imbalances are real
  • Thyroid health and brain fog
  • Is it in my gut?
  • Foods to fight the fog
  • Supplements to enhance concentration and cognition
  • Essential oils to boost productivity
  • Non-Food based mental performance hacks

Are you looking for 1-to-1 support and a step-by-step healing process to overcome your:


Nat’s snobby mushroom cacao elixir recipe:

1 heaped tbsp. cacao powder
1 cup boiling water or warmed nut milk
1-2 tsp. MCT oil
1 tsp. Lion’s Mayne
1 tsp. Cordyceps
1 tsp. Ashwagandha 
1/2 tsp. of monk fruit extract or natural sweetener of choice

Blitz/blend and enjoy!

Intro 0:00
Hello and welcome to The Holistic Nutritionists Podcast, with your hosts Natalie K. Douglas, Thyroid Healer, and Kate Callaghan, The Holistic Nutritionist. Nat and Kate are degree-qualified dietitians and nutritionists, certified fitness instructors, speakers, and authors. If you love unfiltered banter, unedited bloopers, and authentic heart-sharing, then we are your ladies! Now it’s time to sit back, relax, and get ready for our latest tips on living your healthiest life possible.

Natalie K. Douglas 0:43
Hi, guys. Welcome back to the podcast. So, we had a bit of like a false start there. We’re just giggling like little school girls. Kate, what’s happening?

Kate Callaghan 0:56
I was still giggling.

Natalie K. Douglas
I know.

Kate Callaghan
Stress much. Or somebody would just press mute.

Natalie K. Douglas

Kate Callaghan
I held my breath.

Natalie K. Douglas 1:00
Did you say I held my breast or held my breath because I had breast?

Kate Callaghan
What if I said both?

Natalie K. Douglas
That would be totally fine. Sometimes when I’m thinking I hold my boobs, like, which is really inappropriate, like most of the time in public, or if I, I don’t know. I do, I think I do weird things all the time that I just am immune to. I wore my shirt the wrong way, like inside out at the acupuncturist last week, and it’s someone I also network with. So I was like, oh, gosh, like, should probably try and turn this around. As I’ve turned it around in the waiting room when there was some random guy sitting next to me. I think he was being very polite trying to act busy. I was just like oh, girls going to do what girls are going to do.

Kate Callaghan 1:48
Exactly. I think when you, so when you’re a mum when you breastfeed, you kind of just getting the habit of feeling your breast all the time, especially in the early days because your boobs kind of are exploding. You just walk around, unconsciously feeling your boobs.

Natalie K. Douglas

Kate Callaghan
Don’t realize that not everyone understands that you’re breastfeeding and just checking the fullness of your boobs for milk but it just looks like you groping yourself.

Natalie K. Douglas 2:15
Yeah, oh, well just got to get used to it. Hey. Never mind. So we need to jump in today’s podcast because we’ve already spent lots of time ranting off the podcast and we want to make sure to give you some information. So we’re actually talking about brain fog today because I don’t know about you Kate but I feel like it’s becoming increasingly common could be that I niched in thyroid issues and that it’s one of the key symptoms in gut stuff, but I also just feel like generally, we are, I don’t know less, less focused and more scatterbrain, could also be because I live in Sydney but let’s just pretend it’s not just a bias for me and that is, you know, the struggle is real for a lot of people. I thought where we would start is just maybe explaining how brain fog feels. So how would you describe brain fog’s feeling if you’ve never had it or can just describe it?

Kate Callaghan 3:16
It’s one of those things that, it’s a question that I asked clients when I see them a month’s that are experience brain fogginess, either one of those things, you either say, what do you mean or yes to? It’s not a yes or no because you only really understand it, if you feel it, I think, in my experience with clients.

Natalie K. Douglas

Kate Callaghan
So, it’s kind of, the way I described is kind of fuzzy thinking. So you might just not have that, that clear that mental clarity, you might lose your train of thought, you might go into a room and go, what the hell did I come in here for? Just fogginess, just not clear. An inability to concentrate, inability to think clearly is the way I would describe it. How would you describe it?

Natalie K. Douglas 4:00
Yeah, pretty much like that. Like, I just, yeah, I think examples of good as in like, yeah, they’re going into the room and being like, why did I come here or you know, having to read something a billion times and you know, something that happened that’s happening consistently like, you know most of us forget things from time to time and you know, everyone’s walked into a room and forgot why they’re there but we’re more looking for that consistency of of that happening. And I think another way that someone is described it to me once was when you’ve had too many wines, without the clumsiness, but just with the kind of inability to think really clearly, but I don’t know. I feel like the name in itself brain fog is. It’s just like trying to. Yeah, I don’t know. I feel like that’s enough of a good description. If it’s not resonating, you’re fine.

Kate Callaghan 5:00
Yeah. And you can switch off.

Natalie K. Douglas

Kate Callaghan
Don’t switch off, instead, there’s going to be.

Natalie K. Douglas
Yeah. No. Don’t.

Kate Callaghan
The information at the end .

Natalie K. Douglas 5:06
There is. I hope you’ve got something at your sleep. So, in terms of causes of brain fog, like what would you, what, like what are the first few things that come to your mind when it comes to yeah, this you know, this is probably why you have brain fog. What do you say the most because there’s quite a few.

Kate Callaghan 5:26
There are. The biggest thing that I would say and I’m sure you’re probably going to agree is thyroid. So underactive thyroid as a main cause of brain fog. Sleep deprivation, definitely a big one as well. Blood sugar regulation issues, adrenal issues, gut health issues, low sex hormones, they would be the main ones.

Natalie K. Douglas 5:49
Yeah, yeah, I agree with you. The only ones I’d add to that would be B12 deficiency. Like if you’ve been, if you’re someone that’s been on a vegan or vegetarian diet for quite a long time and not supplemented with B12 that can be an issue. I would also say like on the sleep side of things, not only is it overall kind of sleep deprivation, but if you’ve got, you know, really poor sleep quality, so undiagnosed sleep apnea or, you know, something is happening in that way, when you are sleeping. That’s another big thing that I see a lot. So I would say getting a sleep study done is a good idea. You know, if if you feel like you’ve got brain fog and you’re just being thorough and in Australia, at least I know that you can just get the. I don’t know if you need a referral or not now, nowadays, but I know pharmacy a lot of pharmacies have sleep apnea, that’s not sleep apnea, sleep study machines, basically and you can do it at home. There are also places where you can like go into hospital and stay but I just think why would I like, I wouldn’t, when I did my sleep study my dentist referred me but I just did it at home because I was like, I’m not going to sleep as in my, like, normal way when I’m in a hospital because I hate the feeling of hospitals. So anyway, sidetrack, those would be the main ones I’d say. And then the other one that came to my mind was histamine intolerance, heavy metals, viral infections, mold exposure, and dehydration. A really, really simple one that often kind of gets overlooked, but yeah, dehydration. So I think there are so many different reasons why someone can have brain fog. And I think for a fair few of them, it can come back to this increased inflammation and oxidative stress within the body. Not in every single case, but I’d say in a lot of them like in relation to the blood sugar imbalances, in relation to any kind of bacterial, or fungal, or viral infections as well. So, I think addressing that can be really helpful. But I would get, I would recommend that if you have brain fog, you write down the different causes that we’ve just mentioned, and maybe put a little rating out of 10 in terms of to what degree you think that that is a problem for you and start investigating into what is likely going to be causing yours. And it will, you know, often is more than one thing. So it’s really important to actually address the underlying root cause as opposed to just kind of trying to use band-aids to cover it up. And then I think what I wanted to chat about Kate is particularly the blood sugar side of things, because I think this is actually a lot more common than people realize, and maybe you could describe what blood sugar it like and brain fog imbalances feel like. Like I’m thinking of like that kind of hungry feeling but what do you think of when you kind of have a blood sugar imbalance? What would be the other signs besides brain fog that maybe would match up with someone’s symptoms?

Kate Callaghan 9:20
So, when we’re talking about blood sugar, so it’s the sugar, glucose that travels around in our blood that provides energy and it provides, it’s a brains main source of energy for most people unless you’re following a ketogenic diet and you’re adapted to using those ketones. Most people are going to be using glucose for their brain function and for most cells in the body to function as well. So when we’re talking about blood sugar imbalance, it’s we’re referring to either too much or too little glucose floating around in our system or either in the blood or its inability to get into ourselves to have that function to provide that energy for us. So most people have the ability to when their blood sugar levels drop, if they’re eating a solid, healthy diet, if they don’t have any underlying conditions, then they have the ability to tap into fat stores to help keep everything stable but if you’re not so balanced with your blood sugars. If you’re falling apart or have been eating poorly for a while, or if you have an underlying condition such as diabetes, polycystic ovarian syndrome, pre-diabetes, then you probably won’t be able to tap into those fat stores and you’ll feel that massive dip in blood glucose with symptoms like the brain fog, but also as you said, that hungriness so when you are it tends to happen a few hours after a meal. So your blood sugars will rise after you have a meal with that as those carbohydrates coming in, and then after a few hours they will drop down and this will particularly happen, the big swings will happen if you’re having a very refined carbohydrate diet. So safe had cereal for breakfast,. You’re probably going to notice it more. So a few hours later, you’ll feel those blood sugar levels drop and it that will feel like hungriness, like you need to eat something in the next five or 10 minutes or you’re going to bite someone’s head off quite literally.

Natalie K. Douglas
You will go like a, feel like a crunchy nut or at real special Kate.

Kate Callaghan 11:39
That’s good. That’s good. Yeah. That is good. Did you plan that?

Natalie K. Douglas
I’m not gonna lie. I’m going to use the joke before.

Kate Callaghan
I was thinking man, she’s quick.

Natalie K. Douglas 11:56
I can’t lie either. It’s actually, yeah. Yes, I do. I do joke recycle and sometimes I don’t even know who I’ve said the joke to first and then I’ll laugh just as much, but that’s okay. Have you heard one?

Kate Callaghan 12:05
I’ve never heard one before.

Natalie K. Douglas
There you go. Say, I did well, hopefully, no one listening has heard it from me before either.

Kate Callaghan
You should have said it was like it just came to me in the moment.

Natalie K. Douglas

Kate Callaghan
No brain fog here.

Natalie K. Douglas
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Well, I don’t have brain fog but I can’t lie so, unfortunately, but sorry to take away from your very good description. I feel like.

Kate Callaghan
No. No. This is good.

Natalie K. Douglas

Kate Callaghan 12:28
Relevant, perfect timing, and very, very, very witty. Funny.

Natalie K. Douglas 12:35
Thank you. Thanks. I do love a good pun.

Kate Callaghan

Natalie K. Douglas
So yeah, I think exact like, everything you said completely on point. So the only thing I’d add is if you want to know if you’ve got blood sugar imbalances, and you aren’t, you need like numbers and I would be looking at getting a blood glucose monitor from the pharmacy and you can take your blood sugar level after you ate and just track that for a couple of days. Like I wouldn’t do it just one day and make a call. I’d probably do it over a few days. It’s not like you just have to prick your finger, you get over the finger prick within a couple of pricks. Like as in you just don’t notice that it’s a little bit uncomfortable, and it can give you some good information. The other thing that you can do if you’re someone who’s like a real biohacker, you can get like a continuous blood glucose monitor as well. I think they’re about $100. But obviously, you don’t need to do that unless you’re super into tracking things. But there are a couple of options for you. But as as Kate described, you can also go off a lot of those those symptoms as well.

Kate Callaghan 13:42
Flakiness is another one as well.

Natalie K. Douglas 13:45
Hmm, yeah.

Kate Callaghan
And fatigue and low energy.

Natalie K. Douglas
And it’s really interesting because both high and low blood glucose levels look similar. So inability to think clearly, shakiness, sometimes sweating, and yeah, being a bit hungry. I remember I was the hungriest like person ever when I had an eating disorder. Oh my god, I’m like, I’m a little bit scared of like being my friend back then because if my like my family knew as well like they’d start sensing it and they’d be like, oh shoot it’s coming. I promise I’m not hungry anymore at all. I can go quite a long time without eating and not feel any of those symptoms except for like, normal hunger and I think that’s a really telling sign as if you really struggle to go more than you know, two to three hours without eating like, realistically you should be able to besides feeling natural hunger, should be able to go for quite a long time without eating if your body is able to balance your blood sugar. So yeah, definitely that. In relation to like back on the thyroid health side of things. I think that it is something that I see super super commonly in thyroid issues. And there’s a few reasons for it like, probably one is just that everything slows down when you don’t have enough thyroid hormone. That’s the simplest way to put it. Another reason would be that I do actually see a lot of people with blood sugar imbalances when they have an underactive thyroid, and then I also see a lot of inflammation and therefore leaky brain, which is like leaky gut, that in your brain. And when someone has Hashimoto’s, there’s always at least, you know. I would say at least two root causes that are contributing to that and, you know, those are things that can also cause brain fog. So I’m talking about, you know, chronic viral infections, chronic gut infections, or imbalances in the microbiome, heavy metal exposure, or mold exposure. There’s all these little things that also start to match up. And when you think about Hashimoto’s, which is the autoimmune version of an underactive thyroid, being a condition of a dysregulated immune system, that often has inflammation associated with it, as I was saying at the beginning, wherever there is inflammation, there is often a compromise, I guess, brain function is the really easiest way to explain that because of the impact of inflammation on your what’s called your blood-brain barrier and producing more basically oxidative stress, so which is just like stress in your in your brain and in your system. It makes it really hard for everything to function properly and clearly. So that’s kind of how it relates to thyroid. So if you found out that you had an underactive thyroid, or Hashimoto’s or you’re like, yep, that’s probably my course I wouldn’t stop there. I would be like, what is causing my underactive thyroid and or what is driving my Hashimoto’s or preventing me from, you know, coming into remission and stopping that for the progression of autoimmunity and thyroid antibodies increasing. So, that’s what I would say there. Um, what about the gut? So do you think that the gut like do you see the gut being a source of or a reason for brain fog being a problem and when have you kind of seen this play out?

Kate Callaghan 17:40
Yeah. Definitely, I think. And we spoke about this before, because there is that strong connection between the gut and the brain, you know, the gut health affects how your brain works, and vice versa. It’s kind of a chicken and egg situation. And I see this a lot with my clients and if especially if they struggle with the irritable bowel syndrome. So gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, all of the above, that tends to have that negative effect via the vagus nerve on their mental clarity and the ability to focus and their energy levels and their time to fatigue shortens the time to fatigue. And you know that if you have an imbalance of gut bacteria as well, so more negative bacteria, rather than beneficial bacteria, then you’re more likely to have those negative impact on your brain. And also knowing that your gut health affects your levels of serotonin, your immune system, so this is all going to have an effect on your mental health. Same with inflammation. So your gut health really impacts the inflammation throughout your whole body. And if there’s inflammation in your body, then the cells aren’t going to be working as optimally as they should. They’re not going to be responding to all of those little chemical messengers and nutrients the way they should and if that’s happening, your brains obviously going to cut the brunt of it as well. And then I would say if you have any parasites that can be causing huge issues with brain fog.

Natalie K. Douglas 19:26
Yes, hundred percent, I see that so, so much like and I think something to like further that is that what can happen is basically certain types of bacteria released something called LPS, which is, which can contribute basically to again, inflammation in your body, inflammation in your brain. So it’s just if, if if there’s a gut underlying gut issue or you suspect there is that is absolutely where I would start because it’s kind of like the gateway to everything else. As Kate was saying like it’s the gateway to this immune regulation and to nutrient absorption to all of these different things. So I always start in the gut with people even if I can see you know, all these other potential root causes. I will start in the gut because I know that by fixing up that environment, it’s going to make it a lot easier to correct all these other things and often you can work on more than one thing at a time but I would definitely say the gut is somewhere to start. Speaking of the gut and food, what foods come to mind for you in relation to you know, decreasing brain fog or or fighting that that brain fog?

Kate Callaghan
Coffee. No.

Natalie K. Douglas

Kate Callaghan 20:52
Actually, in all honesty, caffeine is something that is not what is known as a new tropic. So a new tropic is basically there’s substance that enhances mental performance and cognitive function. So yes, caffeine actually is beneficial but I wouldn’t be having it all day every day, because you probably going to have your highs and lows with that. I would say with brain fog, it’s probably more about what we want to minimize rather than what we want to include so much. So I would say minimizing your intake of refined carbohydrates and sugars, packaged and processed foods, refined vegetable oils, so your sunflower oil, safflower oil, corn, canola, soybean, processed soy products, highly processed dairy, low-fat products. If you’re following a low protein diet, you probably going to experience brain fog as well. Listening to your body, including lots of veggies is going to help with brain fog. Depending on what your gut health is like and depending on what your thyroid health is like, I think it can be beneficial to have more cooked foods, cooked vegetables than not. But if you have a really strong constitution, then you might deal better with more raw foods. But for the average person, I would mix up raw and cooked. But getting that balanced diet and minimizing the packaged and processed refined foods is going to be your best bet. What would you say?

Natalie K. Douglas 22:36
Ditto. I would agree with all of that. I think it’s more about you know what you’re taking out because I mean, if you’re taking out all those, those things, usually it’s it’s leaving the unprocessed foods to pop in there. So I would say, just having a balanced plate that is appropriate for you in general and I would say focusing on eating a diet that is going to balance your blood sugar quite well. So for most people, I would say most women that I speak to, that is just having, you know, a moderate amount of protein, a moderate amount of fat, and a moderate amount of, you know, kind of whole food unprocessed carbohydrates and that that source of carbohydrates can like is dependent on the person like some people will do best off just sticking to starchy vegetables, some people will do well off gluten-free grains, some people will do well off, kind of soaked legumes, it just really depends on on you, and some people can do a mix of all of them. I think all of those foods have benefit and it’s just a matter of figuring out well what works best for you. And yeah, decreasing any sources of likely inflammatory food. One thing I’d point out here is that what I see in myself and also in a lot of my patients, is that when it comes to gluten and eating that for a lot of people, especially when you know when it’s not celiac disease when it’s just a gluten sensitivity for a lot of people that actually manifests as more neurological kind of brain issues. So for me, if I have, I do have celiac disease, but if I also if I have gluten, I get like, I feel like hungover, as you know, really can’t concentrate and I, I noticed that in a lot of my clients when they do a trial range reduction of gluten, for example. They’ll just feel like a little bit more irritable, a little bit more struggling to concentrate. So that’s just something to be aware of that food intolerances are definitely a thing. And not they’re not isolated to gut symptoms, which I feel like is something people need to be reminded of because we’re so used to thinking of, you know, well, if something doesn’t sit well with me, my symptom is gut-related, but I would say that it can be anything related. And I would say mood issues, concentration issues, are something I see a lot of. So that’s all I’d really add there. Oh, actually the real thing I’d say is just when you’re choosing fruits and vegetables, choosing a variety of colors because they are all rich in different types of antioxidants and polyphenols, and those help to fight the oxidative stress that inflammation is causing and inflammation being at the root of what a lot of these problems as well.

Kate Callaghan 25:31
I would I would also add with vegetables to try your best to prioritize organic because the chemicals that are sprayed on your vegetables and in the seeds, that can affect your mental clarity and overall body functions as well.

Natalie K. Douglas 25:50
Yep, agreed. What about supplements like to enhance concentration so I suppose you can supplement with coffee. Let’s pretend where you’ve taken that off the table. What else comes to mind for you when you think enhancing concentration?

Kate Callaghan 26:07
So, I would say because our soil is so depleted, a really good quality multivitamin multi-mineral is going to be beneficial. For me and I started to taking this last week. I’ve been taking doTERRA’s new Adaptiv range which is a calming blend capsules, which might sound counterintuitive when you’re thinking about alertness and mental clarity, but it has something in it called sceletium. So, it’s a botanical extract from a succulent plant in South Africa. And it is, so it’s far to a chemical ingredient that brings a feeling of alert serenity. So the extract supports healthy emotional responses to everyday stressors and promotes feelings of happiness and well being. It balances healthy levels of mood-stabilizing hormones and improves cognitive function while combating occasional nervousness. So I initially got this to help with my anxiety, which it has because it’s called GABA, Gamma aminobutyric acid in it, but I have found a huge benefit in terms of my anxiety, but it’s not sedating it helps me to focus. Which is pretty awesome and I think it’s due to that sceletium. Have you ever heard of sceletium?

Natalie K. Douglas 27:16
I haven’t actually and I use quite a bit of like, herbal medicine stuff, but I can’t say that I’ve used that.

Kate Callaghan

Natalie K. Douglas 27:30
I like it. I must try it. Some days like a whole lot, like we both have a lot on our plate and some days I’m like, I nail it and then other days I’m like, have I already done this? I just, I definitely some of that in my life.

Kate Callaghan
On Sunday’s I stare at the screen.

Natalie K. Douglas 27:49
Oh, yeah. Oh, gosh. I want, I actually wants accidentally sent one of my patients. My brain MRI instead of her notes, which is this is quite a while ago. So, I promise guys I’m really good at my job but I am sometimes, I make things a mistake. And she’s like, she was actually like kind of a friend as well so she’s like I’m that look really glad to see that your brain’s fine but I don’t actually need this.

Kate Callaghan
It’s really interesting but where are my notes.

Natalie K. Douglas
Yeah, I was like oh, damn, mistake. Oh, anyway.

Kate Callaghan 28:26
I also love ashwagandha.

Natalie K. Douglas

Kate Callaghan
Which is an adaptogen and it helps your body to adapt to stressors and helps with alertness and mental clarity.

Natalie K. Douglas 28:36
Awesome. I love those. And I would say like to add to that probably one of my faves is Lion’s Mane which is a medicinal mushroom that’s really good with concentration. I actually put that in my coffee when I’m having coffee or I put it in my hot cacao if I’m having a break from coffee. So that can be one that can be really helpful other ones that come to my mind that are different to the ones you suggested that I completely agree with would be brahmi, gotu kola, turmeric, from the anti-inflammatory perspective can be really helpful. CoQ10 can help with like blood flow and therefore can also help with concentration to an extent. And then honestly, like with if you’re not going to take a multi like you for some reason you don’t there’s something in there that you don’t want to take like if you can absolutely take it but if you can’t, some bare minimums I would say that you’d find in the multi but that you could take separately would be activated B vitamins, game-changer, magnesium, game-changer, and zinc, and the reason that is is because those three nutrients are involved in so many reactions and processes in your body like, so so many and it is going to have what I call like a system-wide effect. So, there’s certain things that we use that are kind of system-wide and really have benefits in multiple areas. And then that’s usually where I start and I might add in one or two other things that are quite specific and targeted because obviously when you’re choosing to address something, you don’t want to be taking a billion things for a long time. I mean, sometimes you do need to take a fair few things just to get your body on track but what I usually try and do is kind of master the basics and cover really common nutrient deficiencies and I would say B vitamins, magnesium, zinc, and vitamin C would be the ones I see most commonly and then use those, you know, top up with those other things like you know, withania or the what is it called adapt youth. Is that what they called it?

Kate Callaghan

Natalie K. Douglas
Adaptive. Yeah, adaptive, Lion’s Mane you know, as a superfood in your coffee. You can get, I actually get my lion’s mane from RealMushrooms.com. We interviewed Jeff Chilton, who is the founder of that company on the podcast quite a while ago. If you want to listen to his wisdom and the interesting things around mushrooms, and then you know, you can use some of those other herbs as long as you’re checking that it’s not interacting with any medications that you happen to be on. And yeah, I definitely say that. What about essential oils because I feel like this is where they really shine in terms of, well, at least for me, I do find using essential oils to help me concentrate or to enhance or shift my mood if I’m on struggle straight, to be really helpful. I’ll say my probably, to just have, like off the top of my head would be Rosemary in relation to cognition, and peppermint, I guess because it makes me feel like a little bit uplifted and like you know what? I can soldier on and do this. I don’t need to procrastinate again but there, I’m sure there are many, many more that you use. So what what would be your some of your favorites?

Kate Callaghan 32:06
Oh, I would agree with rosemary and peppermint. Lemon is great for focus as well. Dr. Mariza, who I’ve interviewed for the podcast as well, she has a Brain Fog-Be-Gone blend and she’s written this awesome little blurb about it. So I’m going to read it out if that’s all right. So she says, so rosemary, peppermint, and frankincense are her go-to’s for improving focus and concentration. She said, especially when she was dealing with brain fog right before her Hashimoto’s diagnosis, and the thyroid plays a major role in how our brain functions. So she said, how does how does Rosemary work in the brain exactly? The terrapin levels in rosemary essential oil into the bloodstream and directly affect the body, easily crossing the blood-brain barrier. Rosemary has a chemical known as 1,8-Cineole, which has the ability to inhibit the enzymes that break down acetylcholine in the brain allowing more to remain and aid the brain in its function. Rosemary triggers improved working memory as well as increased alertness. Peppermint opens up airways delivering more oxygen to the brain and mitochondria along with improving alertness and energy. Frankincense is amazing for supporting important neurological pathways. And citrus oils are epic energy and mood boosters so her blend which is on our Instagram, it’s got wild orange, bergamot, rosemary, peppermint, and frankincense.

Natalie K. Douglas 33:29
Don’t mention this. I’m gonna put some of that in my diffuser this morning.

Kate Callaghan
Oh, yeah.

Natalie K. Douglas
While I upload the podcast. I love that. That’s so so good. And I really do think like it makes a difference but as Kate always reminds me, you actually have to use your oils if you want them to work so just remember that a little fact guys or you know you’re probably won’t get any benefit. And then so final thing is non-food based, non-essential-oil based packs, I guess, mine would probably be movement, breath like breathwork. And I’d say light exposure, light light exposure. So sunlight exposure or infrared saunas, because of the impact on inflammation and immune regulation, what would be some additional ones from you?

Kate Callaghan 34:28
Definitely agree with those. I really love the Pomodoro Technique. Have you heard of the Pomodoro Technique.

Natalie K. Douglas

Kate Callaghan
So, Google it. So basically, it involves working. So setting your timer and working for 25 minutes, and then getting up at that five minutes for five minutes after the 25 minutes and just moving around. So as you said, movement. Getting away from the screens, doing something else, moving your body get that oxygen flowing, get the blood flowing oxygen into yourself, sorry, and then going back for another 25 minutes of work and then have a 5-minute break. Doing that for four rounds and then having a 20 of the 30-minute break and then going again. And I finally has a huge impact on my productivity and ability to concentrate because if you’re staring at the screen all day there comes a point when you as I said before, you’re just staring, you know like, I don’t know what I’m doing.

Natalie K. Douglas

Kate Callaghan
You actually need to get up and go outside. And as you said, get some light in your eyes. Get your feet on the ground, take a break, go and sniff some peppermint and rosemary.

Natalie K. Douglas 35:33
Yeah, like, I so agree and I think what I try and remind people and myself of is that if you do that you actually like a lot of people like no, I can’t take a break because I’ve got so much to do, but you’ll be so much more effective and efficient if you actually do integrate these mini-breaks into your day because I think what can happen is we end up in this really tired but wired state by the end of the day and then that has flow-on effects in terms of our quality and quantity of sleep. And then you wake up the next day and you’re functioning at like, you know, 50%. Whereas if you really implemented stress management regularly throughout the day, breaks, you know, making time to actually seek and eat your food mindfully so you would digest properly. All of it has a flow-on effect. So, I think you really have to look at your week and your day on a bit of like, like, you just have to schedule these things in like I schedule in even I work for myself, I schedule in my lunch breaks, and I will take them and same deal with having boundaries around when you switch off. Kate, I know that you’re now switching off social media and emails between at 3:30 and 7:30.

Kate Callaghan 36:47
Yeah, during the week and then on the weekends, I completely switch off.

Natalie K. Douglas 36:51
Yeah, and you know it at first sometimes that can feel really anxiety-provoking because it feels like you’re missing out on potential opportunity to get stuff done but I know that when it comes down to it, it creates longevity in what you’re doing. And it also, you know, optimizes your ability to concentrate. So I think, just start to schedule little mini-dates and breaks in with yourself throughout the day, instead of thinking I’m just going to work really hard for you know, for the whole year and then just have four weeks holiday and that’ll fix everything. Like, no deal.

Kate Callaghan
No, no deal. And make sure your sleeps on point as well.

Natalie K. Douglas
Yeah, definitely. Definitely. Alright, last question is any updates. Anything else you want to add before we wrap up?

Kate Callaghan 37:46
No updates. But are we still doing that that thing?

Natalie K. Douglas 37:51
Oh, yeah, this looks like oh, the thing. Oh my God, I haven’t thought of mine. You’re gonna have to go first. So any, what’s something that you are loving at the moment that you could affect other people.

Kate Callaghan 38:03
Thanks for asking.

Natalie K. Douglas
No worries. Meanwhile, I’m like what am I loving at the moment.

Kate Callaghan 32:12
So, I’m actually really loving this podcast, which was recommended to me by Rachel. Thank you, Rachel, and called The Guilty Feminist. Have you listen to it?

Natalie K. Douglas

Kate Callaghan
Oh, it’s friggin hilarious.

Natalie K. Douglas 38:25
Love a good party.

Kate Callaghan 38:26
And so this episode that I’m assuming she was number six, and it’s called Drunk Guilty Feminists Solving Crime. It seems so ironic that I’ll be loving this now and I’m quite off the alcohol and you know, just come and listen to those. It’s hilarious. So The Guilty Feminist podcast.

Natalie K. Douglas
I love them.

Kate Callaghan
So basically, it’s nothing, one so as an example, one of the ladies started, they start each podcast saying I’m a guilty feminist. Oh, no, so I’m a I’m a feminist, but and so one of them she was American and she lives in London, I think, and she’s gonna, I’m a feminist but sometimes I walk down the streets of London pretending I’m lost just so I can ask hot guys for directions.

Natalie K. Douglas 39:15
Funny. It was so funny. Oh, my god. What a good strategy.

Kate Callaghan 39:18
Yeah, I’ll do that.

Natalie K. Douglas
Yes, same.

Kate Callaghan
Happily married. Happily married but you know.

Natalie K. Douglas 39:25
Happily married but happy you to browse isle.

Kate Callaghan 39:28
Happy to browse. And always appreciate a good looking man.

Natalie K. Douglas
Yeah. The same. The same.

Kate Callaghan
Anyway, you?

Natalie K. Douglas 39:40
Yes, me. So I didn’t pre-planned for this so I was. What am I loving at the moment? I hope I haven’t recommended this before but I’m actually really loving replacing, now that we’ve talked about coffee, replacing my morning coffee with a hot cacao that’s loaded with kind of mushroom. So I usually, I put in cacao powder, hot water. I use monk fruit as this as like the natural sweetener in it just because I quite like the taste of it and I’m happy of the safety research around it then I put in Lion’s Mane because I need to concentrate. Cordyceps which is another medicinal mushroom because it’s super beneficial for like your whole HPA quote-unquote adrenal system and then sometimes I also put in a bit of ashwagandha powder as well and I’ll put in a teaspoon of MCT oil which again is quite good for being able to focus and it also just makes it creamy. So, I blend it in a blender like I put all of those ingredients in a blender and blend it and it does make it really nice and creamy. And it’s just delicious. And sometimes what I put on top is you know how in cafes, they put that those chocolate thingy chocolate powder on the top, they put that in but what I do is I have some chocolate pea protein powder which I just use the newest one at the moment and I’ll sprinkle a little bit of that on top so it feels like I still get like the chocolate topping.

Kate Callaghan 41:13
Yeah, wild. That is wild.

Natalie K. Douglas
I know.

Kate Callaghan
You just made my recommendation really immature.

Natalie K. Douglas 41:22
Oh, I just couldn’t think of anything. I actually did just start a new Netflix’s that is most I recommend but I’ve only watched like an episode and a little bit. So, I just, I need to watch a little bit more before I own it as a recommendation.

Kate Callaghan
Well, I’m now, I want to know what it is and everyone’s probably hanging under the edge of their seats, going what is it?

Natalie K. Douglas
Well, you’ll have to wait till next. I’ll tell you a bunch. Everyone else, you’re going to have to wait. So that’s um, that’s a wrap.

Kate Callaghan
With your fancy pants drink. Do you think you can put the recipe in the notes for us, please?

Natalie K. Douglas
I can. I love it. It is a bit of a fancy pants like foods that I’ll be drinking, isn’t it?

Kate Callaghan
It is, meanwhile, we’re just going, pretend we’re tourists asking hot guys for the right direction.

Natalie K. Douglas 42:06
Maybe you could like. Yeah. Yeah, you’re right.

Kate Callaghan
Thanks for pushing me under the bus.

Natalie K. Douglas
No worries, mate. I’ll send you, I’ll send you a superfood mushroom cacao elixir.

Kate Callaghan 42:22
It’s not going to redeem me.

Natalie K. Douglas 42:26
I’m pretty sure that happened to me another time though. I recommended something that was like, super like to do with improving like mental health for like mindset and I recommended a Netflix series. So, finished what had happened.

Kate Callaghan
You were even out.

Natalie K. Douglas 42:43
We’re just friggin the Yin and the Yang. So good. All right, well, that is a wrap, guys. Thank you for listening. If you have any questions, any topic suggestions, as always, you know where to recommend, hopefully, [email protected] as an email or you can also just tag us on Instagram or DM us. That is all have a lovely day, Kate.

Outro 43:08
Thanks for tuning in to The Holistic Nutritionists Podcast. Remember, we love to make the show relevant to you. If you have any questions or topics you’d like us to discuss, just submit them to [email protected] and we’ll get them answered for you. Also, don’t forget to subscribe, rate, and review the podcast on iTunes and share it with your friend. And if you’re looking for more info about how we can accelerate your journey to your optimal health, you can find me, Nat, over at NatalieKDouglas.com, and Kate, at TheHolisticNutritionist.com. See you next time!


The Holistic Nutritionists Podcast - with Natalie K. Douglas and Kate Callaghan

Welcome to The Holistic Nutritionists Podcast!

If a professional, polished, well-edited podcast is what you’re after…then we’re not for you!

But if you love unfiltered banter, unedited bloopers and authentic heart sharing then we are your ladies.

We also have the most practical tips on holistic and alternative health care too 😉

Have a question that you want answered on the podcast or want to be interviewed? Get in touch!


Natalie K. Douglas | Thyroid Healer

Natalie K. Douglas | Thyroid Healer

Natalie K. Douglas ("Nat") is a Holistic Dietitian and Nutritionist dedicated to Thyroid, gut and hormone healing.

Nat shows stressed, burnt out, overwhelmed women how to value their worth again, change their mindset habits, prioritize healing, and reclaim their vitality. Guaranteed.

Her clients say she’s the right girl to see if you’ve tried the conventional approach and nothing has worked.

Kate Callaghan | The Holistic Nutritionist

Kate Callaghan | The Holistic Nutritionist

Kate Callaghan is a Holistic Nutritionist, Personal Trainer and Lifestyle Coach who specializes in women's hormone healing.

She recognizes that there is no “one size fits all” diet or “magic bullet” which is going to cure all illnesses.

She focuses on having a thorough understanding of your personal goals, needs, likes/dislikes, support networks and lifestyle in order to create a food and lifestyle approach that suits YOU.


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