Desi Carlos and the team at Tree of Life Nutrition are educated, experienced, dietitians and passionate gut health specialists. We believe that at the centre of your health, is the health of your digestive system. A healthy gut microbiome is so important to maintain if we want to feel well and live well. So how do you know when something’s not right with your gut health, and what can you do about it?
It’s all about balance
A healthy gut is made up of trillions of bacteria, fungi, and microbes, both good and bad. This diversity is the single most important indicator of gut health.
The diversity we need in this digestive landscape can be likened a little bit to the landscape in the natural world. It’s all about balance. A soil full of diverse life makes for a rich and nutrient-dense soil which sustains growth. To ensure good soil, we need to feed it good things and protect the diversity within it.
As in nature, so in our bodies. When we introduce chemicals, viruses, or toxins like stress into our physical environment, the diversity of our gut microbiome diminishes. The result? An unhealthy, out of balance digestive system which is not supporting nutrient uptake or sustaining vitality.
What might poor gut health look like on the outside?
Your gut is connected to your brain, and to your entire body via millions of neurotransmitters. What happens here can impact your entire body, from your head to your toes! An indicator of poor soil is a garden’s failure to thrive. An indicator of poor gut health is also our failure to thrive! A gut out of balance may present as a range of symptoms. If left that way, it may contribute to (or make worse) some chronic and debilitating conditions.
Possible presentations of microbiome imbalance
- Chronic nausea, pain, or bloating/gas
- Chronic bowel symptoms (constipation/diarrhoea)
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
- Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO)
- Crohn’s disease
- Ulcerative colitis
- Weight fluctuation and obesity
- Insulin resistance/Type 2 Diabetes
- Heart disease
- Increased hunger
- Skin problems such as eczema or dermatitis
- Autoimmune disorders
- Thyroid disease
- Colon Cancer
- Women’s health disorders
- Food intolerances and allergies, including FODMAPS, food chemicals
- Sleep disorders
- Central nervous system disorders, including anxiety and depression.
Restoring the diversity of the microbiome is not always simple
It’s not your fault your digestive system is shouting at you for some love! Our modern living is a major contributor to poor gut health. The prevalence of toxic chemicals, high stress levels, overuse of antibiotics, and processed foods all play their part. Sometimes, before we’re even born! Restoring balance is not always easy. It would be lovely if we could sip some kombucha and all would be well. However, for an increasing number of people, the protocol to restore this balance is delicate and lengthy. Enter allergies and intolerances, symptom flares, and irritations which seem to work against the best attempts you might make individually to try to fix your gut health. So, if this sounds like you, you are not alone, and we are here to help. The way forward often requires deep understanding and nutritional expertise. But with the right support, you can return to the state of wellbeing that you absolutely deserve to experience.
Gut health-related disorders we treat
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
IBS is a disorder which affects the bowel indicated by a range of symptoms which can alternate in severity from mild to debilitating. Commonly the condition causes stomach pain, and bowel changes, including constipation or diarrhoea, or a fluctuation between the two. Although there is no single cause for IBS, better gut health can play a significant role in managing symptoms. Desi and the team have specialised in supporting IBS sufferers since 1993, and are dedicated to finding the right treatment plan to help improve your quality of life. See more about IBS dietary management and treatment.
FODMAPs are short-chain carbohydrates that can trigger symptoms of IBS in some people. Determining whether FODMAPs are an issue for you is best done under the supervision of a trained FODMAPs dietitian, to avoid upsetting the delicate gut microbiome. Our dietitians take a gut health-first approach to FODMAPs protocol. Where necessary, we can support a specialised elimination diet, and reintroduction to ensure that you move through phases, and find answers as quickly as possible. See more about our approach to FODMAPs.
Women’s reproductive health
The health of your gut influences your entire system, and your reproductive health is included. Gut health is a significant factor in our dietary treatment plans for endometriosis and adenomyosis; PCOS; perimenopausal symptoms, as well as to support fertility, pregnancy and lactation. Gut health really is the centre of everything. Find out more on our approach to treating women’s health at Tree of Life Nutrition – at every age and stage!
Are you suffering from an auto-immune condition? We are experienced in supporting a range of conditions with diet. From coeliac disease to thyroid disorders, arthritis, IBD and lupus. Particularly in instances where gut lining may be compromised (leaky gut). Our Gut Repair Program, along with personalised food and nutrition therapy has been successful in helping patients manage symptoms and get a better quality of life.
Do your gut symptoms seem to improve on antibiotics? Maybe you feel worse when you take probiotics or fermented foods? Or feel worse when you increase your fibre intake? You may have Small Intestinal Bowel Overgrowth (SIBO)! The overgrowth of bacteria in your small intestine can cause a range of bowel symptoms. Including chronic diarrhoea, malnutrition, abdominal pain, nausea, bloating, skin rashes, fatigue, and weight loss. Tree of Life Nutrition’s gut specialist dietitians can help you manage a SIBO diagnosis. Helping to restore diversity of good bacteria in the lower intestine and digestive system and offering solutions to prevent recurrence.
Chronic conditions are complex. The general prescription of ‘eat less and exercise more’ gets more complicated too. Whether you’re experiencing heart disease, diabetes, obesity, kidney disease, or have metabolic syndrome, a tailored approach is best. And a plan that involves a healthier lifestyle that you love. Chronic disease management includes restoring the diversity of gut microbiota and/or gut healing. Helping to control blood sugar, regulate hormone production and establish good digestive function. Read about chronic disease management.
There is significant research around the gut-brain axis, and we understand this complex relationship can influence your mental health. We work with your current treatment plan to support you through great nutrition and a positive lifestyle with an individual approach. Improving the gut microbiome is top of our list in supporting you to manage symptoms of depression and anxiety as well as in disorders such as ADHD and ASD. Find out more about how a dietitian can support better mental health.
Look at some of the latest science on the role of gut health on a whole range of conditions.
Explore our Gut Relief Program
Addressing your wellness from the inside out
Tree of Life Nutrition’s Gut Relief Program is a proprietary protocol devised by Gut Health Dietitian Desi Carlos – an APD in private practice since 1993. The program draws on Desi’s deep experience and knowledge from these years of dedication to the field of nutrition and dietetics.
The Gut Relief Program is designed to work with your individual needs specifically and precisely. We treat and manage your symptoms or condition with precise nutrition, while at the same time working on repairing your digestive system. We carefully manage this delicate balance with you, supporting you towards freedom from chronic disease and vibrancy which comes from a blooming garden of wellness in your digestive system.
What does the program involve?
Gut microbiome testing and history
The first part of the gut repair process is about getting a clear picture of the landscape of your microbiome, as well as your condition (the impact it may be having on the rest of your system). We do this through the expert interpretation of a range of tests, including as required:
- Gut microbiome testing and analysis (Microba and Co-Biome)
- Blood testing
- DNA testing
- Detailed medical history from infancy
Anyone may acquire this information, but the key to moving forward with the results lies in the expert analysis of it. The beauty of this powerful program is that we look to your personal history and lifestyle to help understand the results we receive and apply them. We consider:
- Bacteria and virus presence
- Current symptom presentation
- Food and symptom assessment
- Fibre, sugar, and saturated fat analysis
Based on your individual needs, we tailor a personalised protocol to help repair your microbiome diversity and relieve your symptoms. This process includes:
- Specialised probiotics to increase microbiome diversity over 2-4 weeks
- Isolation of problematic foods from causal factors, also working with food intolerances
- Heal gut lining and leaky gut
- Create a healthy gut microbiome
- Focus on different fibre for different symptoms
- Decrease inflammation
- Improve blood results and nutrient uptake
- Improve energy, reduce anxiety, and stop fogginess
Gut health maintenance
The Gut Relief Program also involves empowering you to maintain your results for the long term. We aim to ease some of the food restrictions which may have been part of your life. We do this, through the implementation of the Mediterranean Diet, tailored to your individual needs. This works to:
- Fuel the microbiome daily
- Maintain low inflammation
- Maintain ideal fibre and nutrient levels from real, whole foods
- Offer you an enjoyable long-term eating plan
- Empower you with an easy way to maintain gut microbiome diversity
Why choose Desi Carlos and the team at Tree of Life?
Desi is an Accredited Practicing Dietitian (APD) and Nutritionist and has been in Private Practice since 1993. Tree of Life was one of Brisbane’s first private practices at a time when dietetics mostly existed in a hospital setting. This means, Desi has had the privilege of working with a host of patients with a range of dietary needs. Over the years, she has seen many changes in diet, in the presentation of conditions, and understands first-hand the connection between outside stressors, our gut and our overall health.
Desi and Eleni are both FODMAP Accredited and Trained (Monash University) and Certified, as well as Microba and Co-Biome Accredited and Trained. Desi is one of Australia’s leading Dietitians for the implementation of the scientifically proven Mediterranean diet.
Extremely passionate about their clinical work, Desi and the team derive huge satisfaction from helping to restore the health and vitality of their patients.
Let’s get your digestive health back on track
The best way to find out if this program is right for you is to make time to chat with our Dietitians. They can talk to you about your current symptoms, and get you moving in the right direction towards a more vital and satisfying life.