Dairy and a2 – What’s the deal?

The advertising slogan is “dairy good.”

But is dairy really good for us?

I’d argue that for many people, the answer is no.

Generally speaking, I believe that cow’s milk is the ideal food for baby cows, and is preferably less than ideal for humans. Many of my clients love dairy foods, and I regularly hear them cry, “Oh, please don’t let me be intolerant to dairy!”

Dairy can be a problem for a couple of critical reasons:

One is lactose-intolerance, but another…less commonly known issue is the protein casein.

Is a2 dairy better?

Issues with casein are driving people to a2 milk. Regardless of what their food intolerance status is – I advise all of my clients that if they want to consume dairy foods, then they should choose a2 options.

But what the benefits are of a2 milk and why it is worth paying a price premium for it?

To start, let’s take a look at what cow’s milk is made of:

After water – cow’s milk consists of fats, proteins, lactose and minerals. The protein is of two general types; casein and whey.

With casein further broken down into three types:

1. Alpha
2. Beta
3. Kappa casein

Beta casein is the relevant protein for a2 dairy. There are eight variants of beta casein, each made up of 209 amino acids. The most common types of beta casein are a1 and a2. There is only one difference between a1 and a2 beta casein, and that is the amino acid at position 67: with a1, it is histidine, and a2, it is proline. Proline can form a strong bond, but histidine only forms a weak bond which allows seven of the amino acids to break off in a peptide chain called beta-casomorphin-7.

It is this peptide that causes problems. As the name suggests, beta-casomorphin-7 is similar to morphine. Yes, morphine!

For people with good gut health, this can be fine – but as we’ve established in past posts…modern life is damaging to the gut for many, many people. So, for someone with poor gut health, the peptide beta-casomorphin-7 is able to leak through the gut lining and cause an immune system response.

Dairy and digestion

The similarities to morphine also mean that dairy containing beta-casomorphin-7 can cause similar physical responses to opiates. A common problem is constipation and a slowing of the digestive process.

If you experience digestive upsets after eating dairy, I highly recommend switching to a2 dairy, including milk, butter, yoghurt and cheese. The milk and associated products of goats and sheep is also a2 and worth experimenting with.

Dairy-free doesn’t mean deprivation! Of course, if you’d prefer not to have dairy at all or are willing to try cutting it out and seeing what difference it makes for your symptoms – there are a vast range of alternatives.

As you may be aware, there is already a growing number of non-dairy milks available in supermarkets, or it’s easy to make your own nut milks with a high-speed blender.

Replacing the calcium found in dairy foods is also easy! With leafy greens, nuts and tinned fish all excellent sources of this mineral.

For many patients, it is dessert that is the most challenging meal to imagine without dairy. Well…embracing vegan desserts can blow your mind and leave you never even thinking about ice-cream again. The bonus is that these recipes often also use healthier sweeteners!

We cover the ‘dairy issue’ in the Gut Reset – come and join us today if you feel this is something you need.



Having a food intolerance just means you need to replace certain ingredient with other ingredients, its not that hard. These muffins are a great example, in another life I used to own a cafe, the first thing we did every morning was put a batch of muffins in the oven, we used whatever fruits and nuts or flavourings we had in the pantry. I have replaced a few of the ingredients to make them wheat free and a1 dairy free.

1 7/8 cups of wholemeal spelt flour
3 teaspoons of baking powder
1/2 cup sugar

1 or 2 eggs
1 cup a2 milk
1/4 cup of melted nuttelex

1 x banana cut up finely
1/4 cup sunflower kernels

Put the oven on 230 degrees, mix the dry ingredients together, add in the fruit and nuts, mix the wet ingredients together, add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, the mixture needs to remain lumpy, so don’t stir too much, put spoonfuls into muffin trays, turn the oven down to 200 degreess, put the muffins in and cook for 20 minutes.

Why water is essential for your digestive system

We all hear about the importance of water intake, and most of us carry around a water bottle, but how many of us actually drink the water from that bottle, or enough water in general. Water is essential to our digestive system and a lack of it really impairs digestion.

The amount of water that our bodies need is also controversial, and too much water can also be detrimental. Two litres, is the figure that is often quoted, but there are also calculations around that are based on your weight etc. Most of us do notice when we do drink enough water that our energy levels do actually increase, being well hydrated is important for skin health as well. Some people do not drink enough water as they find that they are always on the toilet doing a wee, your bladder will adjust and stretch once it gets used to the increase in water intake, so stick with it.

Ensuring that you are well hydrated also makes you less inclined to make poor food choices, as often people actually eat when they are actually really only thirsty, yes this often happens, people mistake the thirst signal for hunger and eat instead of drinking water.

As far as your digestion goes, water is really an essential part of keeping it in great shape. Your saliva glands can secrete up to 1.5 litres of fluid a day, saliva contains enzymes that start the digestive process in your mouth, it also contains electrolytes that are important for alkalizing the contents of your gut when it gets to the small intestine. The pancreas is another digestive organ that secretes a lot of fluids, up to 1 litre of fluid that contains enzymes, into the small intestine per day, this is extremely important for the digestion of your food and alkalisation of the contents of the small intestine.

Water, it’s important for many body functions, especially your digestive system, so please ensure that you are drinking enough.

Fructose Malabsorption – the what, how, and why.

Fructose malabsorption is possibly one of the more common gut problems that I see in clinic, and in our online programs. Fructose malabsorption occurs when your gut lining is in poor shape, and the fructose molecules cannot absorb through the gut lining – as they are rather large molecules. What then happens, is that the fructose stays in your gut and ferments. Then it expands, creating gas, bloating, pain as well as some or all of these other poor gut health symptoms; depression, anxiety, fatigue, tiredness, arthritis, itchy ears, constant runny nose, post nasal drip, smelly stools, smelly flatulence, constipation, diarrhoea, headaches, migraines, insomnia, itchy skin, hives, sleep disturbances, fluid retention and weight control.

That’s a pretty big list isn’t it. You may have only a few of these signs and symptoms or you may have most of them.

You may be wondering how does fructose malabsorption develop?

Allow me to explain. Fructose malabsorption develops because your gut lining is in poor shape. The gut lining may be in poor shape due to you having food intolerances that are undiagnosed, and you have continued to eat those foods unknowingly or knowingly plus ignored the symptoms.

Fructose malabsorption may occur due to you eating too many high fructose foods, and consuming high fructose drinks such as fruit juices and soft drinks. Stress can also play a large role in the development of poor gut health, but it is not the only contributor.

Fructose malabsorption can develop due to poor food choices, pharmaceutical medications, too much alcohol and caffeine, and gut infections such as gastroenteritis that often occur after a bout of food poisoning. Sadly, I often see fructose malabsorption often occurring due to eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa or bulimia. Sometimes a fructose malabsorption problem does not become apparent until you have decided that you are going to become healthier and start to juice lots of fruits.

You may have had a fructose malabsorption gut problem for many years and have just put up with the symptoms, not realising that your symptoms are from fructose, or you have known but have been unsure how to address the problem.

Poor gut health is commonly called leaky gut syndrome, but with a fructose malabsorption problem it is not so much the leakiness of the gut that is problematic, it is the damaged villi that cause most of the problems. What happens is – that the food that you eat that contains high amounts of fructose or fructans cannot pass through the villi, as it is too much for the villi to process and the molecules that need to pass through are too big. Fructose is absorbed through the gut lining passively, and when it cannot pass through it stays in the gut and ferments and creates large amounts of gas which then cause pain, bloating and other health symptoms that I have previously described.

The key with addressing fructose malabsorption is to drastically reduce fructose or fructan containing foods from the diet. Note: it is impossible to remove all fructose from the diet, but it is possible to reduce it enough for your symptoms to clear.

Your gut is then slowly able to repair as the problematic foods have been removed, your gut does also need additional help with healing and there are specific gut healing powders and herbs that will help to speed up the process. I always recommend this as a low fructose diet is not ideal for long term gut health, as many fructose foods contain inulin and other fibres that are important for your microbiome. The fibres in fructose foods, especially garlic, onions, bananas, lentils and artichokes actually provide your microbiome with the bacteria to grow your own good bacteria. This keeps your immune system in great shape, your gut healthy, and contributes to good mental health.

If you think it is possible that you have a fructose malabsorption problem you can buy our online gut healing program here, or you can make a time for a naturopathic consultation here so we can organise testing, confirmation and proceed with individualised treatment.

Ginger tea – a great way to help your digestion

Do you feel sluggish and bloated after meals?

Do you feel as if your food is just sitting in your gut?

Are you struggling with reflux?

Have you already been diagnosed with SIBO?

My suggestion is to try some ginger tea, it is a cheap and easy solution that can help.

Ginger tea is perfect for your migrating motor complex (MMC) which is what drives your small intestine to push the food through to the large intestine.

In many people with poor gut health the MMC does not work very well, what then happens is that bacteria builds up in the small intestine causing problems such as small intestinal bacterial overgrowth or SIBO for short. If the bacteria stays in the small intestine, it can then start to ferment causing gassiness, bloating, and pain, which can then lead to constipation and or diarrhoea.

There are a couple of things that can help the MMC to work better, ginger tea after meals is one excellent way to get the MMC working, all you need to do is slice up a couple of slices of fresh ginger, put them into a cup, pour boiling water on to the ginger, wait for a few minutes and drink it, after each meal, including breakfast.

thai green curry chicken

serves 2


2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons of green curry paste – Mai Ploy is a good brand

4 chicken thigh fillets

½ bunch coriander chopped

2 teaspoons chopped lemon grass

200ml coconut milk or cream


Mix paste, ¾ of the coriander, lemon grass and chicken together, heat oil in pan, cook on both sides until brown and add coconut milk or cream, simmer until cooked.

Serve on a bed of basmati rice and garnish with remaining coriander.

The Good Gut Girl Christmas e-CookBook

Having a restricted diet does not mean you need to eat boring food this festive season. It just means making a few small changes to what you would normally have.

I have put together some recipes for you to make life a little easier and your free copy of The Good Gut Girl Christmas e-Cookbook for 2018 is here, ready for download now.

All the recipes in The Good Gut Girl Christmas e-Cookbook are wheat-free and A1 dairy-free, and most are free from eggs and yeast as well. The recipes can be further adapted to suit your individual requirements if necessary.

Some of the recipes originally came from cooks such as Donna Hay, Jamie Oliver and Pete Evans, so you can be assured they are delicious.

For Christmas brunch, consider the delicious creamy bircher muesli – trust me, this is not a boring bircher muesli – Christmas breakfast tarts, chia seed pudding, breakfast fritters, or even oat and banana pancakes.

There are also ideas for cheese and crackers, and a pâté recipe.

For lunch or dinner, you might want to add some delicious macadamia maple ham to the menu, or Iranian roast beef, salmon ceviche, egg and beetroot salad, crunchy rice salad, or roasted pumpkin salad.

For dessert, you could have pears with coconut custard, lemon and lime cheesecake, Grand Marnier almond crepes or eggnog panna cotta.

These are just a few of the delicious recipes in the e-Cookbook, which you can download here.

I would also like to wish you and your loved ones a safe and happy festive season, however you choose to spend it. And let us hope 2019 is a good one for us all.

Egg and Beetroot Salad

serves 2


1/3 cup raisins
1 cup cold earl grey tea
2 carrots grated
1 large beetroot peeled and grated
1/3 cup roasted almonds roughly chopped
¼ cup flat leaf parsley roughly chopped
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 ½ tablespoons of red wine vinegar
sea salt and cracked black pepper for seasoning
6 soft boiled eggs peeled


Soak raisins in tea for twenty minutes, boil water for eggs when water is boiling add in room temperature eggs and cook for six minutes, when six minutes is up then put under cool water immediately to cool them, peel them and put to one side. Combine raisins, carrot, beetroot, almonds, and parsley together in a bowl, season with salt and pepper, add in red wine vinegar and olive oil and toss, serve on salad leaves if desired, slice eggs in half and place on salad. This is a Neil Perry recipe.

Iranian Roast Beef


2 kg piece of whole beef blade*
70 grams tomato paste
70 grams hot english mustard


Mix together tomato paste and hot english mustard, try not to get your nose too close as the mustard will be strong, put beef in pan you will roast in, apply mustard mix all over the roast, you want it to be about 3 to 5mm thick all over, cover and leave to marinade for at least 24 hours, then cook at 200 degrees until cooked as desired. Do not be fooled by the simplicity of this recipe, I have been asked for the recipe on countless occasions as it tastes so good. I called it Iranian beef as I used to work with a chef many many years ago who was Iranian who gave me the recipe.

*if you are serving this beef as your only meat I would allow 200 grams per person, if you are serving it as a part of a menu that had other meats allow 100 grams per person.

Christmas Breakfast Tarts

makes 24 mini tarts


2 cups of oats
4 tablespoons of coconut oil melted
160 grams of almonds
90 grams dessicated coconut
6 medjool dates pitted
pinch of sea salt
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
goat curd for filling or
coconut yogurt for filling
berries for topping, blueberries and raspberries taste great with the goat curd


Process almonds, coconut, dates salt and vanilla in a food processor until just combined, combine with oats and coconut oil and mix together, put roughly a tablespoon of mixture into a silicon cupcake mould and press into desired shape, only coming a centimetre up the side of the mould, put in the fridge to set for a half hour or so, when set gently remove from mould and fill with either goat curd and berries or coconut yogurt and berries, the cases can be pre made and taken out of the moulds so you do not have to buy 24 moulds. Store them in the fridge until ready to fill and serve.