Digestive Wellbeing Support Program (Short Course)



Digestion is a vital part of weight, and indeed, all health management. Our philosophy is that ‘you are what you DIGEST’ rather than the popular thought that ‘You are what you EAT’. We have seen that it is not supportive if we simply teach people to eat better quality foods, without identifying their capacity to assimilate their nutrients. We have adopted the Naturopathic approach to easy and free Home Tests, and we suggest that everyone does these in order to assess their digestive status.  

Stomach acid (Hydrochloric acid (HCl)

There is a common misconception that heartburn is mostly due to a high stomach acid status.  Unfortunately this misconception is also shared by many in the allopathic medical health care system, and many Doctors are inappropriately prescribing Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs) to reduce stomach acid, without testing the patient.  The assumption is made that you have heartburn, so your acid is too high.  The new awareness is that, once they are tested, people find that they are in fact too low on stomach acid.  The heartburn is the alkali – which burns as much as acid!! It is therefore critical to test your status – do not go out and buy over the counter drugs like Gaviscon etc, as you may be lowering your already too low stomach acid, which will lead to potentially serious health problems further down the line.

Animal protein, minerals such as zinc, magnesium and calcium, and B vitamins such as B6 and B12, are all vital for complete top-to-toe body health. They all have something in common – you need sufficient hydrochloric (stomach) acid to assimilate these nutrients from your food. Virtually all health aspects, from weight management to mental wellbeing, have stomach acid status critically implicated in their dysfunction.

Just one example of low stomach acid status is insufficient protein, which we need for:

  • Mood health
  • Enzymes to support digestion
  • Repair and recovery from exercise
  • Energy
  • Difficulties gaining weight
  • to name but a few…


Another example of low HCl (hydrochloric acid) is poor folate status, which we need for:

  • Mental focus and clarity
  • Mood health
  • Memory and concentration
  • Prevention of birth defects
  • Low iron (as iron assimilation requires folate (which requires HCl)
  • to name but a few…

Stomach acid is is often overlooked in nutritional health, as quality foods are typically recommended without checking the capacity to digest them.  Low stomach acid is commonly misdiagnosed as high acid, and inappropriate medications are either prescribed, or self-medicated with over the counter ‘antacids’ – acid suppressant medications, which only serve to further aggravate the condition. Low Stomach Acid (hypochlorhydria) has been connected with several severe health conditions that could possibly have been avoided, had the patients known about their true state of stomach acid health.  The stomach acid test (Burp test) is a quick and easy home test that you can use to check your hydrochloric acid status every few months once you have stabilised it.  We usually recommend a quality enteric coated hydrochloric acid supplement that people use for a short term to stabilize their status, and start producing their own stomach acid

BICARBONATE OF SODA BURP TEST (Stomach Acid (Hydrochloric acid – HCl) status)




This simple biochemical test can indicate if sufficient levels of stomach acid are present, by the reaction of adding an alkali (Bicarbonate of Soda) to your stomach  acid, and  detecting  how much  carbon  dioxide is produced. This is achieved by counting the number of burps in a given period. The way it works is that levels of stomach acid react with the Bicarbonate of Soda to produce a hearty belch





Put quarter to half a teaspoon of Bicarbonate of Soda into approximately 60 ml (half a glass) of water

Drink it FIRST THING IN THE MORNING, ON AN EMPTY STOMACH, before you eat or drink or brush your teeth.

Note the time it takes you to produce your first HEARTY burp. If you do not burp within 15 minutes, you can end the test and eat.      



If you burp:

    • Your stomach acid is probably TOO HIGH.
      • Can be rectified with supplements e.g:
        • Nutri West Hyper-D in the UK and USA.
        • Enzyme Process Supergest USA and S.Africa
      • Tips to improve your high HCl status through diet and Lifestyle choices:
        • Stop snacking! Practice Intermittent Fasting – Limit Your Meals to approximately six hourly intervals as this reduces the burden on the body to produce stomach acid all through the day if you are snacking. i.e Breakfast at 7am then lunch at 1pm and dinner at 7pm.
        • Do NOT drink a glass of milk!  This is popularly recommended, however it WILL exacerbate the problem – refer to the Cow’s dairy myth above.
        • Do NOT chew gum, as you will start to produce unnecessary amounts of stomach acid, without food in your stomach.  This causes the acid to corrode your gut lining and can lead to ulcers and heartburn.
        • Do not eat ‘on the go’ as this can create additional stress while you are eating, which can raise stomach acid unnecessarily. Incorporate the excellent ‘Mindful eating’ practice, to reduce stress on your digestive system. Simply focus single mindedly on what you are putting in your mouth.  Notice the sensations, textures and flavours of the food as you chew and swallow it. This means that you do nothing else while you are eating.
        • Consider a vegetarian diet for a few weeks until you have stabilised your high stomach acid status. Or choose more alkalising foods like low *GL (sugar) fruits, and vegetables and plant foods as these do not promote an acid stomach environment. Animal protein requires excessive amounts of stomach acid, and while these are good foods, can aggravate your gut if your HCl is too high.
          • *See explanation for GL in the Blood Sugar Section further down.
        • You probably have NORMAL stomach acid levels.
        • You probably have lower than normal stomach acid levels.
        • Can be rectified with supplements e.g:
          • Organic Apple cider vinegar (WITH the ‘Mother’)
          • Nutri West Hypo-D in the UK and USA.
          • Xymogen Gastracid or
          • Metagenics SpectraZyme Metagest  or
          • Enzyme Process Stomach HCL  – these products are available in the USA and S.Africa
          • Squeeze the juice of half an organic unwaxed lemon into a glass of room temperature filtered water and drink with each meal.
      • No burping.
        • This indicates very low levels of stomach acid.
          • Use the same programme as above for low stomach acid

Candida and Probiotic Health (Spit test)

Candida (Candidiasis Albicans) is a LIVE yeast-based fungus that clings to your Colon wall with little porcupine-like spines that perforate the colon wall, causing Leaky Gut Syndrome, and relies on YOU FEEDING IT, in order to survive. These ‘tiny ‘holes’ in your colon wall means that your Internal Rubbish Bin IS LEAKING back into your body! This places an enormous burden on your Immune system, your liver, your spleen, and lends itself to general body system depletion, mostly through the toxic burden placed on your systems. Toxins (like sugar) are stored ‘out of harm’s way’ by the body.  It cleverly stores them in fat cells, which are insulating, until your liver can get to that task, thereby, keeping weight on, until you ‘clean up your act, and give your liver a break.


Picture Courtesy: The Way Back (Jo Hampton)





Any foods containing yeast in the ingredients e.g

  • Bread (except yeast-free Rye, and sourdough breads, etc)
  • Various alcohols that work with yeast and sugar fermentation such as Beer and Stout
  • Many B vitamin supplements that are derived from Brewer’s yeast
  • NOTE: Not all yeasts are problematic and are in fact supportive of controlling Candida overgrowth. e.g. Saccharomyces Boulardii, which helps the probiotics to colonize better, heals the leaky gut lining, and supports the immune system.


Fizzy drinks, flavoured water, beer, wine, various alcohols that work with yeast and sugar fermentation, cakes, biscuits, sweets, chocolates, and anything with the suffix “-ose” on a word (e.g. lactose, sucrose, glucose, dextrose, maltose, etc).

This unfortunately must also include fruit like bananas and grapes and pears (and especially dried fruit like raisins, sultanas and dates!) due to the fructose (fruit sugar) in otherwise healthy fruit. The only exception to the fruit rule is the low GL (glycaemic load/’sugar burden’) fruit to ‘con’ Candida into thinking it is ‘safe’ to stay around.  


Because Candida is alive, it will retreat into a ‘safe house’ type spore form if it is being threatened (it IS after all, a life form), and it will be incredibly difficult to kill when it ‘retreats’ into spore form.

By REDUCING your sugar intake, but still eating low sugary (GL) fruits such as fresh or dried: berries, cherries, plums, kiwi fruit, which contain a form of sugar called Fructooligosaccharides (FOS) (which feeds the probiotics (gut bacteria) this should ‘con’ Candida into not feeling ‘threatened’. Therefore it does not retreat into spore form, remains vulnerable and exposed to be treated with effective anti-fungal herbal supplements e.g

  • Caprylic acid
  • Bioflora Vagiforte Plus (in South Africa)
  • Pau d’Arco
  • Nutri West Exspore (in the UK and USA)

Anything containing sugar in the ingredients must be avoided.  Remember that STRESS and SMOKING stimulates Candida on TWO levels:

It KILLS valuable B Vitamins, which help you cope with Stress levels, thereby INCREASING your stress levels, which overloads sugar production into the body by the adrenals, as the body goes into “Fight or Flight” syndrome and thinks it needs excess energy to survive the Stress! This in turn, feeds the sugar to your Candida! It is therefore essential that you manage stress levels and smoking habits (which are commonly linked. (See the section on Endocrine health)

Mould: (includes cow’s dairy products i.e. milk; cheese; coffee lattes, cappuccino’s etc) Try changing to the St Helen’s (UK) or other brands of Goat’s products. They are light and quite lovely, and MUCH healthier!  Please do NOT substitute Cow’s dairy with Soy or Rice Milk products!  Many more people are reporting soy allergies and thyroid and hormonal imbalances, which are all associated with weight gain and weight loss difficulties.  Never feed your infants soy formula as opposed to cow’s dairy formula.  One bottle of Infant soy formula is like giving your infant the equivalent of FIVE contraceptive pills! Goat milk formula is readily available, and as a similar ‘small animal’ to humans, is more gentle to your precious child’s future immune, hormonal and weight state of health.

Remember that mould also occurs in damp places, and leather products, etc, so if you SMELL mould, then remove yourself from the space, or clean it up completely, or throw away the suede shoes or that leather jacket… You are BREATHING IN THE TINY MOULD SPORES, which feeds Candida!


The jury is still out on mushrooms and the connection with Candida. However you may wish to err on the side of caution and eat the exotic mushrooms like Reishi, Maitake, Shiitake, etc – they are in fact, ANTI-fungal and immune stabilizing.


  • Antibiotics
  • Alcohol Consumption
  • Contraceptive Pill
  • Fried Foods/poor diet
  • Medication (various forms)
  • Smoking (raises blood sugar level)  
  • Stress (raises blood sugar level)
  • Sugar and blood sugar raising foods/drinks



1)     Kill!

2)     Detox!

3)     Restore balance!

4)     Put back the good stuff!

5)     MAINTAIN!



Avoid the Foods above in the “FOODS THAT FEED” section.

Garlic is excellent as a “Candida-killer”! It also detoxifies the body, aids circulation and restores balance to the immune system, thins the blood, aids circulation and can lower Blood Pressure and Cholesterol.

AFA Algae also kills Candida in that it alkalises the body. Candida can ONLY survive in an acid environment!


DRINK LOADS OF WATER… round  2 litres of GOOD QUALITY alkaline water per day. (TIP: Drink small bottles of water…they usually are easier to get through than one big bottle.)

Aloe Ferox (a wild Cape Aloe product) alkalises the body as well as detoxifies impurities and toxins released by Candida.

Restore balance!

Your Immune system will have taken a knock, due to the many toxins that Candida releases into your body, through your Leaky Gut!  This MUST BE REPAIRED. As it is essential to restore the gut flora (probiotics), enzymes and repair the perforations in the colon wall, supplemental anti-Candida yeast called Saccharomyces Boulardii is also essential to help the gut flora to colonize.  Remember to keep plant foods and fibre in your diet to a minimum while you repopulate your gut’s ‘good’ bacteria, as fibre feeds ALL bacteria – even those out of balance.

Put back the good stuff!

The quickest way to get rid of Candida is through an appropriate diet and lifestyle, coupled with an excellent probiotic, digestive enzymes that contain glutamine or S. Boulardii to aid gut repair, and an excellent antifungal herbal product. Turmeric is a vital part of the programme as it supports the liver to clean up faster without the resulting harsh detox reactions that are so often experienced. (See the Liver Function section, and the Academy of Wellness ‘Spice up your Life’ Tea recipe)


It is easy to fall off the rails from time to time! During these ODD intervals, don’t beat yourself up, drink enough water and Spice up your Life Tea to flush the toxins!!!   


In order to ascertain if you potentially have low gut bacteria or Candida, see the Candida Spit Test below.

  • Place a transparent glass filled with tap water beside your bed before you go to sleep.
  • In the morning, before you eat or drink anything, or brush your teeth, spit into the glass of water.
  • Leave it to stand for 20 – 30 minutes
  • Return to the glass and observe whether the spittle is still floating, has grown fine hair- like tendrils, or has sunk to the bottom of the glass.
  • If it has sunk to the bottom of the glass, you are probably free of Candida overgrowth in the gut.
  • If the spittle is still floating, and/or has grown fine hair-like tendrils, the likelihood is that a yeast overgrowth exists.
  • If  there are ‘sideways’ tendrils;  
    • This Can  be  rectified  with supplements:
      • Nutri  West  Exspore  (UK and USA)
      • Bioflora Vagiforte Plus  (in South Africa)
    • If tendrils grow downwards
      • Use  Dr Mercola Complete Probiotics (UK and USA)
      • BiofloraVagiforte Plus (in South Africa)

Signs and Symptoms of Digestive Imbalance

  • Shadows underneath the bottom lashes can indicate any or all of the following:
    • Low probiotic status
    • Candida (yeast) overgrowth
    • Low enzyme status
    • Stomach acid dysfunction
    • Intestinal Permeability (Leaky gut)
    • Helicobacter Pylori and/or SIBO (Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth) or other unbalanced bacterial internal ecology (Microbiome )
    • Intestinal parasites
  • A small vertical line running from the bridge of the nose towards
  • Tongue has a white filmy coating before you brush your teeth in the morning
  • Tongue has a ‘scalloped’ (wavy) edge
  • Tongue has a vertical line running sort of down the centre of the tongue, from the back of the tongue down towards the tip but right to the tip

Typical Symptoms of Digestive Imbalance:

  • Bloating within one hour after eating
  • Abdominal bloating 1 to 2 hours after eating
  • Stomach pains
  • Flatulence (passing wind)
  • Stools are not well formed
  • Constipation
  • Diarhoea
  • A sense of excess fullness about 1 hour after meals
  • Loss of appetite
  • Loss of a taste for meat
  • Feel like skipping breakfast
  • Feel better when you don’t eat
  • Heartburn or acid reflux
  • Sleepy after meals
  • Fingernails chip, peel or break easily
  • Stuffy head
  • Stuffy nose

Typical pathologies associated with Digestive Imbalance:

  • Airborne allergies
  • Asthma
  • Colitis and Ulcerative Colitis
  • Crohn’s Disease (which usually includes most or all of the above underlying imbalances)
  • Diverticulitis,
  • Dysbiosis, Yeast overgrowth (Candida)
  • Gastritis
  • IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome)
  • Sinus congestion, infections,

Additional foods that help your Digestive System:

  • Fermented foods like plain live full fat yoghurt.
  • Fermented vegetables (e.g.sauerkraut or any other vegetables that you ferment in brine (see easy homemade recipes in the Therapeutic Recipes section)
  • Fermented drinks like Kefir and Kombucha (see recipes in the Therapeutic Recipes section for easy home made drinks)
  • Onions (especially red), garlic, ginger, and kiwi fruit.
  • Replace coffee, sugary soft drinks and fruit juices with water, Matcha (not green) tea or herbal tea.
  • Probiotic supplements
  • Apple cider vinegar (with the ‘Mother’)
  • Lemon juice from organic unwaxed fresh lemons in water upon waking each morning.


Foods that hurt your Digestive System:

  • Alcohol
  • Sugary and fizzy canned drinks
  • Sugar in the hidden form like the starch in white root vegetables (e.g. potato, turnips, and parsnips).
  • Cow’s milk and cheese.
  • Wheat (e.g. bread, pasta, wraps, biscuits, cakes etc)
  • Fast foods or processed foods, foods deep-fried in hydrogenated vegetable oils
  • Avoid products containing hydrogenated and  partially hydrogenated fats and vegetable oils.
  • High Fibre plant foods: If you experience bloating or flatulence when you eat non wheat grains or beans, or healthy plant foods:
    • Fibre feeds ALL bacteria. Reduce or completely avoid all plant foods for 2 – 4 weeks, or until you have supported your pancreas and reinstated your good gut bacteria and your symptoms have improved.  Thereafter gradually reintroduce low to moderate fibre vegetables in a fermented form (e.g. sauerkraut)
  • Lifestyle challenges: Mould in a room, or on clothing that you are wearing, such as a suede or leather jacket, is composed of fine spores that you breathe in, which inflames and aggravates the digestive system and can lead to a yeast overgrowth (Candida)

Recipes that support your Digestive System:

At the Academy of Wellness, we recognise that providing information is not enough, when it comes to practical support.  As a result we have a created supportive eBooks:


If you have purchased the Short Course relating to this section, you will qualify for a discount on the Therapeutic Recipes eBook/s BY USING THE COUPON CODE: . These can be purchased independently of this short course/module by visiting by visiting the link below:

The following recipes in the eBooks support Digestive Well Being:

    1. Spice Up Your Life Tea


  • Drinks
  • Blood Sugar balance

  • Liver

  • Pain & Inflammation

    1. Summer Fruit Ice Blend
  • Drinks
    • Blood Sugar balance
    1. Sweet Kiwi Surprise Smoothie
  • Drinks
    • Blood Sugar balance
    • Digestion
    • Kallo brown rice cakes with Mackerel Pate
    • Wheat free bread or Oatcakes with Coriander or Sundried Tomato Houmous
  • Snacks/Light Lunches
    • Blood Sugar balance
    • Low GL Cereal Bar
  • Snacks/Light Lunches
    • Blood Sugar balance
    • Quality Fibre Guacamole with crudités, Almonds & Brazil nuts
  • Snacks/Light Lunches
    • Blood Sugar balance
    • Liver
    • Devilled Egg with a Difference
    • Apple and nuts
    • Snacks/Light Lunches
    • Blood Sugar balance
    • Dark chocolate and nuts/ pumpkin seeds
    • Snacks/Light Lunches
    • Blood Sugar balance
    • Creamy Water-based Power Oats Porridge
    • Breakfast
    • Blood Sugar balance
    • Scrambled Egg with Tomato and coriander
    • Granola with Low GL Fruits
    • Breakfast
    • Blood Sugar balance
    • Turkey & Bean Soup with Oat Cakes
  • Dinner
      • Blood Sugar balance
  • Salmon and Seaweed ‘Thyroid’ Soup
    • Beetroot, Fennel and Ginger Soup
  • Lunch
    • Liver
    • Kale, spinach and sweet potato soup
  • Dinner
    • Immunity
      • Blood Sugar balance
    • Pumpkin, Ginger and Apple Soup
  • Lunch
    • Spicy Lentil and Tomato Soup
    • Dinner
    • Blood Sugar balance
  • Spicy Tomato and Red Pepper Soup
  • Spinach, Lentil and Turkey Rasher Soup