The Gut-Mood Connection: Preventing and Treating Depression with Food

FermentedVeggies-min.jpeg

Awareness and dialogue around mental health, and depression in particular, is growing all the time. It is heartbreaking that we have lost so many gifted, wonderful people to suicide, but the silver lining is that we’re actually talking about this out loud. Finally. We’re realizing that while people’s lives may appear idyllic on the outside, they are often suffering silently on the inside. Now imagine the impact that depression has on those who are not wealthy or famous and who may not have access to help.

As someone who struggled with depression for over a decade, I know what it’s like to think of death in terms of relief and escape. I am thankful that I had access to therapy coupled with a strong faith and a single mom who taught me and showed me that there is always a way out, even if it’s painful and difficult. I’m grateful that I witnessed people in my family who turned to alcohol and drugs as a means of escape and anesthesia and learned by watching them that substance abuse only made things worse. I am one of the lucky ones.

Many people don’t have access to therapy or treatment and don’t have a strong support system or a relationship with a higher power to lean on in the dark times. And even for those who do have these things, sometimes the pain is just too strong to break free of and they succumb to the overwhelming feeling that there is no way out. Sometimes drugs and/or alcohol are involved, and sometimes they’re not.

Depression is a complex problem and it’s causes can be both numerous and mysterious. To say it is simply due to diet or can easily be fixed with nutrition would be silly and short-sighted. However, more and more studies are showing that the impact of diet and gut health in preventing and treating depression are profound, and for some, dietary changes can mean the difference between life and death. Changing my diet made a huge difference for me and it helped give me the strength (both emotional and physically) to break free of depression.

Only recently has the medical community started to recognize and understand the connection between food and mood, and the data is really exciting! According to this study, our gut microbiota is linked to anxiety, depression, and even schizophrenia, and a poor diet is a risk factor for these conditions. Supporting a healthy gut microbiome with a healthy diet of unprocessed foods and probiotic foods and/or supplementation is not only beneficial in preventing and treating depression, but can be as effective as anti-depressant medications.

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter responsible for regulating our moods, sleep, and appetite and it also inhibits pain.  A lack of serotonin has long been blamed as the cause of depression, and this is often the case. However, we’re learning that the lack of serotonin can be a symptom of chronic inflammation and inadequate gut flora. We now know that 95% of serotonin is produced in the gut, and that the presence of enough beneficial bacteria is essential for proper serotonin production. So if we have a history of antibiotic use or were not exposed to enough bacteria in birth or childhood, we may not produce enough serotonin.

Another interesting factor is inflammation which is measure by testing C-reactive protein levels. In one studythat followed C-reactive protein levels in over 1000 women for several years, they discovered that the onset of depression was triggered by increased inflammation (higher C-reactive protein). A poor diet and inflammatory foods have been linked to increased C-reactive protein and mood disorders, so getting away from processed, high sugar foods is crucial.

The take home here is that by eating an anti-inflammatory diet and including probiotic foods or taking probiotic supplements, you can help prevent and/or decrease anxiety and depression. Do your best to eat whole foods including plenty of vegetables and moderate amounts of clean animal protein (pasture-raised, organic, wild caught, etc.) and limit or avoid processed foods and high glycemic/high sugar foods. Adding in some fermented veggies such as sauerkraut or kimchi that contain live cultures and possibly taking a probiotic supplement is also important. These foods can be expensive and aren’t always accessible, but local food banks and non-profits such as Got GreenFoodJustice.org, and othersare working to make fresh, real food more accessible to low-income and marginalized communities.

If you need support is this area or want to learn more about the food-mood connection and what you can do to feel happier and healthier, I’m here to help. Don’t suffer in silence! If you’re struggling with depression, I understand what you’re going through and I’m living proof that you can be free of it. Click here to book a free Coffee Talk session and we can talk confidentially about your concerns. I won’t try to sell you on working with me unless ongoing support is what you’re looking for. 

 

References:

Natural Approaches to Preventing Alzheimer's Disease

BrainFoods-min.jpeg

Is Alzheimer's Disease hardwired into the brain's destiny as we age?

It's a scary thought and many people believe it's true. But the good news is that we're learning more all the time about the root causes and progression of Alzheimer's and the factors that may protect the brain from this illness.

Alzheimer's Disease (AD) is the most common form of dementia, affecting a person's memory, thinking and behavior to the point where they don't recognize themselves and their loved ones. Approximately 5.5 million people age 65 and older have Alzheimer's Disease. Nearly 200,000 people under age 65 have "younger-onset" AD. Symptoms start slowly and worsen over time, ultimately interfering with independent living and quality of life. Signs to look for include:

  • Persistent forgetting of recently learned information and important dates or events

  • Difficulty planning, problem solving, completing familiar tasks, and understanding time

  • Difficulty processing visual images, object distance and contrast

  • Trouble maintaining a conversation

  • Social withdrawal and depression

  • Changes in mood and personality, usually becoming anxious, suspicious, or confused

Scientists believe the disease process begins when protein deposits build up in brain tissue and damage nerve cells. This can evolve over 10-20 years before symptoms are noticed. While family history can increase your risk, there are many other factors influence the onset and progression of AD. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle, as outlined below, can help alter your brain's destiny.

The Brain-Body Health Connection. Several illnesses are linked to an increased risk for AD, including heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, and diabetes. To protect your mind from cognitive decline, exercise daily, eat more vegetables and whole foods, learn new skills, meditate, read regularly, and get quality sleep each night.

Smart Food for Healthy Aging. Choosing fresh, nutrient rich foods is vital for brain health (and the body, too!). Select organic foods to decrease exposure to toxins that exist in conventional farming. Limit your intake of caffeine, sugar, alcohol, refined grains, and packaged foods to ensure optimal health benefits from your food.

Manage Stress. Stress elevates hormones in the body that increase inflammation which, over time, interferes with optimal functioning and contributes to illness. Relax with yoga, mindful walking, or guided imagery to help keep these hormones in balance.

Get Your ZZs. We need just as much sleep in our elder years as in our 30s and 40s. What does change is the brain's ability to maintain continuity and quality of sleep, particularly deep sleep. Maintaining healthy sleep habits throughout your adult life can make it easier to maintain sleep quality as you age.

A Personalized Approach, Naturally. Prevention is important, but once signs of cognitive decline are noticed, you need expert guidance. Though more long-term studies are needed, initial research shows that a personalized approach incorporating natural medicines plus lifestyle change can reverse cognitive decline for some people. For expert guidance in developing a personalized prevention or early intervention program, consult with a specialist in natural medicine treatments for Alzheimer's Disease such as a Naturopathic Doctor or Functional Medicine practitioner.

 

References:

7 Top Tips for a Sound Sleep

Do you sometimes have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep? Are you waking up in the middle of the night or before your alarm goes off? It’s important for you to understand what’s causing your sleep struggles, and use tips like the ones below to prepare for a restful night.

Getting enough sleep has a positive domino effect on our health; our bodies are in restore and rejuvenation mode while we’re sleeping; this can help us heal from illnesses and reduce aches and pains in our joints or muscles, for example. Deep sleep also helps reduce stress and anxiety, so we have more energy the next day.

And speaking of the next day, have you ever noticed that you’re hungrier when you’re tired? Research shows our appetite can increase up to 25% when we’re feeling exhausted, and many of us often turn to caffeine or sugar (or both) to give us a boost of energy. And that begins a roller-coaster of bursts of energy followed by energy crashes. That’s right – not getting enough sleep can actually cause us to gain weight or make it harder for us to lose weight!

Tonight, why not start some of these healthy sleep rituals?

1. Give yourself a bedtime. What’s your bedtime? Just like kids, we benefit when we have a consistent sleep time, because our bodies anticipate and respond to routine.

2. Close the kitchen. Make your last meal two to three hours before bedtime, so your body has a chance to digest the food. Digestion is a lot of physical activity – not what you want to be doing while you sleep! Ideally you should give your body a 12-hour break between dinner and breakfast.

3. Shut down electronics 30 minutes before bedtime. Turn off the TV, the laptop, the tablet, the Xbox, your smartphone… did I miss anything? According to the National Sleep Foundation (NSF), all of these devices can hinder your ability to sleep. One reason, explains the NSF, is that these devices emit blue light, “which our brains interpret as daylight. Blue light actually suppresses melatonin, a hormone that supports circadian rhythm and that should begin to increase when you are preparing for sleep.” So when you’re on your tablet or phone at night, your brain thinks it’s daytime, making it harder to fall asleep.

4. Set your smartphone to the “do not disturb” setting. In addition to the blue light, sending nighttime emails, scrolling through Facebook or posting on Instagram right before bedtime might be stressing you out or making your mind race. You’re not alone – NSF research shows that 71 percent of people sleep either holding their smartphone (!), having it in bed with them, or having it on their nightstand. Instead, place your smartphone where it is not within arm’s reach, and set it on airplane mode or “do not disturb” for the seven to eight hours of sleep you should be getting. Note: if you don’t want to miss a call from certain people – say you have elderly parents or kids at college -- you can set your smartphone to allow calls and texts from select contacts. Everything else can wait until morning!

5. Create a relaxing ritual. Very few people fall asleep the minute their head hits the pillow. Instead, you may want to create some rituals that tell your body you’re shutting down for the night. Try soaking in a warm bath with organic lavender essential oil. You can also listen to some relaxing music or do some deep breathing, restorative yoga, and/or meditation. My favorite meditation app is Headspace, and it’s free. Try the 10-minute meditations to help you relax before bedtime.

6. Dark = Deep. How many little electronic lights are glowing in your bedroom once the lamps and overhead lights are off? The darker you can make your room, the more restorative your sleep can be, because the darkness releases the sleep hormone, melatonin. Cover up those little lights with black electric tape or turn them face down or toward the wall. You might also try light-blocking curtains if light streams in from outside.

7. Help your hormones with a sleep mask. If your room is still bright, try wearing a sleep mask. It creates the total darkness our bodies need to release melatonin and get a healthier night’s sleep. I always recommend the softest sleep mask you can find, with natural fibers. It may not be attractive, but if it helps you sleep, you will feel and look your best with more energy. And that’s a beautiful thing! 

I’d love to hear how your sleep improves with these tips, and which ones are most helpful to you. Feel free to share on my Facebook page – just not right before bedtime ;-). Sending you sweet dreams!

The Daily Writing Exercise that Can Help You Lose Weight

If you'd like to understand, once and for all, the relationship between what you're eating and how you feel, try keeping a mind-body food journal. It's a powerful way to gain insight into your eating habits and how your food choices impact your mental and physical wellbeing. A mind-body food journal is different from a "diet diary" because the intention is different: it's not just about the fit of your jeans, it's about how food makes you feel physiologically and emotionally and how it fits (or doesn't fit) your lifestyle.

Too often we eat mindlessly - on the run, watching television, behind the computer. A mind-body food journal helps create clarity between what we choose and how we feel. It leads the way to improved choices and - because food is medicine - supports total mind-body health and healing.

What to Track in a Mind-Body Food Journal

Food Factors:

  • When did you eat?
  • What did you eat?
  • How much did you eat?
  • Why did you eat?
  • How did you feel after eating?

Mind Factors:

  • What was your overall mood before and after eating?
  • Did you have headaches, mental/emotional fatigue or any other symptoms?

Body Factors:

  • What did you notice about your body before and after eating?
  • Did your energy level change or did you experience sympotoms like gas or bloating?

Social & Environmental Factors:

  • Who were you with for the meal?
  • Did you eat hurriedly or calmly?
  • Were you feeling stressed?
  • Were you doing another activity while eating?

Review your journal at the end of each day and summarize your habits. Note the key factors for why you chose to eat the way you did, what was going on, how you felt and if there were any physical symptoms.

By keeping a mind-body food journal you will be able to connect the dots between your food, your emotions, and your physical body. I also find that it helps me make better choices because I'm less likely to go for that sweet treat if I know I have to write it down.

Start keeping your journal today. Track your eating habits for a few weekdays and at least one weekend day. Do this for at least two weeks and see what happens. You can keep a small notebook or journal on hand or use your notes app in your phone, whatever works best for you. I recommend avoiding most food tracking apps since they require you to enter macronutrients and/or calories which defeats the purpose of this exercise.

I'd love to hear how this worked for you and what you learned, so please comment below and share your experience. Happy journaling!

The Mind-Body Connection: Food for a Healthy Brain and Happy Mood

There's no doubt about it: what we eat, and how much we eat, has a direct impact on our physical health. But did you know that those same choices also influence mood, mental alertness, memory, and emotional wellbeing? Food can act as medicine, have a neutral effect, or it can be a poison to the body and mind.

When food acts as poison, it creates inflammation, which alters the body's balance of nutrients, hormones, and neurotransmitters. This directly affects your body's ability to manage and heal from stress or illness.

Below are four common culprits that can be detrimental to brain and emotional health and a list of foods that help support your brain and nervous system.

Foods that Impact Body-Mind Wellbeing

Gluten: Gluten stimulates secretion of a protein called zonulin which causes permeability in both the gut lining and the blood-brain barrier. This permeability allows undigested food molecules and pathogens to access the bloodstream which triggers an inflammatory immune response. This elevated inflammation in the gut and/or brain can cause short-term reactions like lethargy, "brain fog", and fatigue, and contribute to long-term issues like depression and dementia.

Caffeine: The most socially accepted psychoactive substance in the world, caffeine is used to boost alertness, enhance performance, and even treat apnea in premature infants. Caffeine is frequently added to other foods, so be mindful of total consumption. Too much caffeine (500-600 mg daily) interferes with sleep quality, which affects energy, brain detoxification, concentration, and memory. Caffeine can also aggravate other health conditions, cause digestive disturbances, and worsen menstrual symptoms and anxiety.

Food Dyes: Listed on ingredient labels as "Blue 2," or "Citrus Red," food dye has been documented to contain cancer-causing agents (e.g., benzidine). They're also associated with allergic reactions and hyperactivity in children. Dyes are sometimes used to enhance skin color of fruits and veggies. A number of dyes have been banned from use in foods and cosmetics around the world and eating organic will help you avoid these chemical compounds.

Sugars: Increased sugar consumption (as much as 30% over the last three decades for American adults), is linked to decreased intake of essential nutrients and associated with obesity, diabetes, inflammatory disease, joint pain and even schizophrenia. Too much sugar results in blood sugar fluctuations, causing mood swings, anxiety, irritability, headaches, and increased depression. There are even sugars that can act as poison including High Fructose Corn Syrup, table sugar, and artificial sweeteners such as aspartame .

MSG: Monosodium glutamate is a flavor enhancer common in packaged and prepared foods. Although the FDA considers MSG "generally safe," some individuals experience a complex of physical and mental symptoms after eating MSG-containing foods. Symptoms vary but can include headache, sweating, nausea, chest pain, heart palpitations, and overstimulation of the central nervous system which can lead to alterations in sleep, mood, and immunity.

Becoming aware of your food choices, why you make them, and how you feel mentally and physically is an important first step in understanding your personal body-mind food connection. Keeping a mind-body food journal can be very helpful in providing a clear picture of how your food choices affect your health.

The Gut-Brain Connection and Foods that Support Body-Mind Wellbeing

Healthy Fats: These include fats such as organic avocado, virgin coconut oil, ghee and other animal fats from organic, grass-fed animals, fish oils, olive oil, flax seeds and oil, chia seeds, hemp seeds and oil, and organic nuts and seeds. Fat is your best friend when it comes to brain health, and contrary to old beliefs, it does not make you fat. In fact, healthy fats support healthy hormones and a healthy metabolism which means they can actually help you lose body fat.

Colorful Vegetables & Antioxidant Fruits: Vegetables and certain fruits like dark berries are loaded with antioxidants. Antioxidants are compounds that prevent or delay cell damage and they help reduce our overall inflammation and prevent disease. By "eating the rainbow" and getting as many different colors of veggies as possible (mostly those that grow above ground), you will be giving your body a healthy dose of antioxidants to help support a healthy brain and nervous system.

Naturally Fermented Probiotic Foods: Foods such as kimchi, sauerkraut, kombucha and homemade goat or sheep's milk kefir and yogurt are great sources of probiotics. We know that these friendly bacteria are crucial for a healthy gut but they also have a major influence on our mental and emotional health. You've heard the expression "gut feeling" or "gut instinct"; Well, doctors often refer to the gut as the enteric nervous system, or the second brain. The enteric nervous system or ENS is made up of over 100 million nerve cells lining your gastrointestinal tract from esophagus to rectum. 

The ENS can also play a major role in emotional distress experienced by people coping with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and gut problems such as constipation, diarrhea, bloating, pain and stomach upset. “For decades, researchers and doctors thought that anxiety and depression contributed to these problems. But our studies and others show that it may also be the other way around,” says According to  Jay Pasricha, M.D., director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Neurogastroenterology. “These new findings may explain why a higher-than-normal percentage of people with IBS and functional bowel problems develop depression and anxiety,” 

In short, if you have a healthy gut, you probably have a healthy brain so eat the foods that benefit both and you can't lose. If you're experiencing symptoms that interfere with your quality of living, reach out and let's talk about the role these or other foods may play in your emotional and physical health.

References:

Stressed Out? Yoga May Be the Answer

 Attempting boat pose on my paddle board in the North Cascades. It's a lot easier on solid ground!

Attempting boat pose on my paddle board in the North Cascades. It's a lot easier on solid ground!

If daily hassles, constantly chiming cell phones, and past-due deadlines have you at the boiling point, simmer down to the yoga mat and find a little peace of mind.

I have to admit - I never used to find yoga appealing. As someone who grew up dancing and doing extreme sports I prefer higher intensity fitness like weight training or HIIT workouts, basically anything I can do to loud, fun, dancey music. But lately I find myself in a different state of mind and suddenly yoga sounds pretty darn good.

As an entrepreneur I tend to think about work all day, every day. I have to make a concerted effort each day to unplug, shift gears and actually stop working at a certain point because no joke, I could work 24 hours a day and still have more to do. Sound familiar?

As my practice has grown and I have a fuller and fuller plate I find myself longing for ways to check-out and enjoy some "me-time". Don't get me wrong, I'm thrilled that I'm helping more people get healthy and that my business is growing; but as a Wellness Coach I also need to be an example of good self-care while maintaining the emotional energy to guide and support my clients through their health challenges. Lately yoga has become a way for me to chill out, get in touch with my body and refocus on what's important. It doesn't feel as daunting as an intense weight workout does on days when I'm already feeling depleted, so I'm also more likely to do it. As I always tell my clients - the best workout is the one that you'll actually do.

The beauty of yoga is that it helps reduce stress hormones, of which most of us are producing far too much and too often. For those of us with stressful jobs and/or lives, yoga can provide a peaceful respite from daily life and help us handle stress in a more healthy way while increasing our strength and flexibility. Sounds like a win win to me!

Yoga is considered a "mind-body practice", combining physical poses (postures) called asanas, simple breathing exercises and guided meditation. And you don't have to be super flexible or athletic - anyone can reap the amazing benefits of practicing yoga, regardless of age or fitness level.

Benefits of Yoga:

  • Reduce blood pressure
  • Lower resting heart rate (so the heart works more efficiently)
  • Promote mental alertness
  • Better manage symptoms of anxiety and depression
  • Reduce muscle tension, pain and stiffness associated with stress and chronic health conditions
  • Improve recovery after workouts

There are many 'styles' of Yoga for you to try. Styles vary in the number or poses and the intensity of how the poses are performed. Some styles are more intense like Bikram, Power, and Iyengar, while others such as Kundalini and Ashtanga are more restorative. All yoga styles originate from Hatha Yoga, which originated in India about 5,000 years ago. Hatha Yoga is a good choice for managing stress and chronic health concerns and is also ideal for beginners.

A typical yoga class begins with breathing exercises and gentle movements to clear the mind and limber up the body to prepare for the "active postures." Next, you'll move through a series of poses or asanas (standing, seated, and lying down). During class an instructor may use the ancient Sanskrit (Hindu) names and the American names for poses, e.g., Mountain Pose (Tadasana) or Triangle Pose (Trikanasana). A certified instructor will also help participants modify poses to suit their unique needs, ensure proper form and prevent injury.

The focus of practicing yoga is not on how long or how perfectly you perform the pose. Nor is it competitive - so no making comparisons or judgments of yourself and others! Yoga is all about letting go of your mental chatter by focusing on the breath and allowing it to guide your body into a calm, centered state.

Yoga class concludes with a guided meditation or relaxation exercise. This may help you learn to be more mindful and aware of yourself throughout your day, not just during your time on the yoga mat.

References

Spend Less Time Cooking and More Time Enjoying

I don’t know about you, but everyone I know is super busy. Every client who comes into my office seems to be juggling long work hours, a demanding career and family obligations while trying to maintain a social life and some semblance of a healthy lifestyle.  The number-one reason people give me for why they don’t eat well or exercise is lack of time. Self-care seems to be the first thing to go out the window when we get overwhelmed and busy. 

Luckily you don't have to spend countless hours cooking or prepping meals each week to maintain a healthy diet. There IS a better way! In fact, if done right, meal prep can actually save you time while helping you look and feel your best. So why not give it a try? You’ve got nothing to lose (except maybe a few pounds) and who couldn't use more free time in their schedule?

Below are my top tips for streamlining your meal prep and making the most out of the time you spend in the kitchen.

1. Cook once, eat twice (or more!) You may have heard me say this before and that's because it’s the best way to make mealtime most efficient. Some of us refer to this approach as “batch cooking.” You'll do one set-up and one cleanup, but you'll end up with multiple meals. Here’s what you do:

• Pick a cooking day. Instead of cooking every night -- pick a day or two when you’ll make the recipes for the week ahead. Sure, you’ll spend a little more time in the kitchen on your cooking day(s), but you’ll get an extra hour or two the other days (or evenings) of the week! I recommend you also prepare snacks and lunches on your cooking day. I cook on Sunday afternoons or evenings which works for me, but you'll need to pick a day that works best for you.

• Double or triple your recipes when cooking. When you prepare more than you need for one meal, you have plenty to pack for lunches and you’ll find that dinnertime is fast and easy. Learn to love leftovers!

2. Have it your way. Try different ways to eat the same meal – if you’re grilling chicken breasts, make extra to chop and include in salads or soups. Make a large batch of quinoa and add it to soups, salads or use it in place of rice with a stir fry or curry. I even use it in place of oatmeal to make a hearty breakfast porridge by adding coconut milk and topping it with shredded coconut, walnuts and cinnamon. 

3. Plan ahead. We all know we shouldn’t go grocery shopping on an empty stomach, but you also shouldn’t go without a list! And the only way to have the most effective list is to plan your recipes for the week and get everything you need for those meals.

4. Delegate! Use grocery delivery services like InstacartAmazon Fresh, or Amazon Prime Now. For a small delivery fee you'll save all the time you would have spent driving to and from the store and shopping. You also won't be tempted by impulse items so that fee may pay for itself! And if your kids are old enough, get them involved! Teach them how to wash produce and safely use a knife, and give them a special reward if they help with cleanup. The more involved they are with the process, the more they'll want to try new and healthy foods. This applies to spouses too :-).

5. Invest in quality storage containers. Now that you’ve made extra food, you want to package it in single-servings or family portions, then freeze or refrigerate it. Don’t forget to label and date the container – I use glass containers with seal-tight lids (don't store food in plastic!), mailing labels and a Sharpie for this task. Then when you’re ready to prepare, just take out the number of containers you need for the number of people who’ll be eating with you; warm it up, and serve! See what I mean by less time in the kitchen on the other days of the week?

6. The freezer section is your friend. Many grocery and health food stores carry high-quality, organic, non-GMO frozen vegetables, fish, berries, and more. This will significantly reduce your cooking time and ensure you always have something healthy and fresh to eat. The same goes for pre-washed salad mixes and greens like arugula and baby kale. I keep organic arugula on hand at all times so I can throw together a quick salad to get my greens in when I'm short on time or energy.

7. Stock your kitchen with standbys. Foods I always have on hand include: organic arugula, organic, pasture-raised eggs and chicken breasts or thighs, pre-cut celery, radishes (great with guac!), bell peppers and cauliflower (SO versatile), avocado, salsa, guacamole, organic sauerkraut, brazil nuts, pumkpin seeds, organic extra virgin olive oil & raw organic apple cider vinegar. The pre-cut and pre-washed veggies really help reduce my prep time! With these standbys on hand, I can always make a salad or lettuce wrap. I also keep my kitchen stocked with coconut milk, quinoa, and frozen berries (which I use in my morning smoothies).

8. Prepare for the next day tonight. If you pack a lunch, select your favorite mix of leftovers the night before, and pack it in an insulated lunch box. Include everything you’ll need to enjoy the meal at work, school, or wherever you’ll be for lunch! Also include your snack(s) and water. Try to avoid microwaving your food if at all possible. I know this can be tough in the workplace but there are alternatives. This Lunch Warmer by Crock-Pot is a great and affordable option.

9. Fast times call for slow cookers. Invest in a high quality slow cooker and buy the biggest one possible. Throw in your ingredients in the morning, set the timer and voila! Dinner is ready when you get home from work. This is a super-efficient way to make several meals worth of a delicious and hearty dish that you can easily reheat on the stovetop or freeze for future meals.

10. Buddy-up and swap meals! Make arrangements with a family member, friend or neighbor to cook and swap! You make one soup or meal and they make another and you split them in half and share.

I’d love to hear how “cook once, eat twice (or more!)” is working for you! There are loads of benefits, including: 
- Sticking to your healthy eating goals
- Saving hours during the week
- Reducing the stress of those three little words: "What’s for dinner?"
- Saving money by sticking to your list and resisting “impulse” buys at the store
- Trying new recipes and food combinations
- Less waste by using up leftovers throughout the week
- Being more present with family at dinner time

Happy prepping!

Supporting Detoxification with Massage

I am going through some detoxification protocols right now and I was feeling pretty darn cruddy last week. My digestion was off, my body was achey and I just wasn't myself. Luckily I had a massage scheduled with the wonderful and gifted Molly Lampi, LMP after work on Friday, and although I was feeling guilty about spending money on what may be considered a luxury, I knew that I desperately needed it. And let me tell you, it was a Godsend! I left feeling like a new woman. My gut felt better, my aches and pains were gone and I felt more relaxed than I have for weeks.

After that massage I felt compelled to share with you the importance of supporting your body's detox pathways, and massage is a wonderful way to do this. Our body's innate detox system can get sluggish for a variety of reasons such as lack of regular exercise, too little fluids or fiber in the diet, inflammatory foods, infections, or high stress. A massage can rev-up your body's natural detox process by promoting proper digestion, lymphatic drainage and supporting our organs of detoxifcation.

During massage therapy, the rhythmic strokes and pressure applied to muscles, tissues, and organs stimulate your circulatory system. When pressure is applied to body tissues, toxins are released from in between the muscle fibers and cells. Toxins are carried into circulation throughout the body and are then eliminated in a variety of ways. This is why it's so important to drink A LOT of water after a massage - you want to give those toxins an exit from the body!

This increase in circulation during massage positively affects other systems and organs in your body as well. Massage helps move oxygen-rich blood and nutrients into your organs, especially your organs of detoxification - your kidneys and liver. Massage also facilitates relaxed, deep breathing - another important way in which the body naturally detoxifies.

Working in tandem with your circulatory system is the lymphatic system, which carries immune cells throughout the body to help defend against infection. The lymph system doesn't have a big central pump like the heart to keep things moving. Instead, it relies on gravity, exercise, breathing and massage to work efficiently.

If you're not feeling your best or haven't been as good about your diet and exercise routine lately, a massage can help you detox, and get back in balance-naturally. Check out my Recommended Natural Practitioners page for recommended Licensed Massage Practitioners. They are all highly skilled professionals who are amazing at what they do. I hope you will treat yourself to a massage soon!

The Power of Walking

Walking just may be the best-kept health secret today! It releases stress, reduces anxiety, helps clear your mind, increases blood flow, improves your energy, helps with weight loss, enhances your mood, and – along with healthy nutrition - can reduce or eliminate a host of symptoms, such as high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, diabetes, stomach distress, and more! And with daylight savings time and spring just around the corner, this is the ideal time to put on your sneakers and get out for a walk.

The President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports recommends 30 minutes of walking a day, at least five days a week (the equivalent of 10,000 steps daily) for the best health benefits. Here are more top tips to get the most health value from your daily walk:

• Make it your morning routine. Studies show that it feels easier to keep our commitment to exercise when we schedule it in the morning or early part of the day – before we are exhausted after work or get bogged down with other commitments.

• Eat a balanced dinner of organic veggies and anti-inflammatory fats to ensure your body has fuel for the morning. Make sure you stop eating two to three hours before bedtime, and skip the alcohol (which can interrupt your sleep cycle or make you feel sluggish in the morning).

• Prep the night before. It helps to have your walking shoes, bottled water, and morning smoothie ingredients (or a banana) ready to go.

• Include short, power walks as well as longer, more moderate-paced walks each week. Health experts have long recommended challenging yourself to keep a brisk pace, but that you should still be able to “talk and walk.” However, the latest research cited in Prevention Magazine, from studies at the University of Virginia, found that women who walked shorter, fast-paced walks three times a week PLUS two longer, moderate-paced walks “lost five times more belly fat than those who strolled at a moderate pace five days a week - even though both groups burned the same number of calories (400) per walk.”

• Take a moment! If you’re walking outside, take time to appreciate the beauty of the outdoors, the flowers blooming, the blue skies, the birds chirping. Walking is not just good for your body, it’s good for your mind! If you have a favorite playlist – great! That can also be meditative and relaxing. Just remember to pay attention to your surroundings and look ahead for any uneven payment, cracks in the sidewalk, or holes in the ground to avoid injury.

• Warm up and cool down. Within the first few minutes of your walk, stop and complete a few easy stretches to protect your hamstrings, knees and ankles. During the last 5 to 10 minutes of your walk, slow your pace and complete additional stretches, ensuring your muscles and heart have a chance to recover.

• Replenish with water. Believe it or not, most of us are dehydrated before we even head out the door in the morning. I recommend that you drink half your weight in ounces of water every day, and on those days when you exercise more, you’ll want to drink more water. One easy tip: Start by drinking eight ounces of water when you wake up. An hour or two before your walk, drink another eight ounces. During your walk, replenish with water every 15 minutes. This will not only keep you hydrated, but will also help you maintain your energy during and after your workout.

One of my favorite tips is to walk with a friend! It helps me keep my commitment to walking, while giving us time to catch up and motivate each other. Who can you partner with to step up your walking workout?

Secrets for a Healthy Heart

Long before the ancient Greek surgeon Galen carried out meticulous dissections of the heart, the Egyptians wrote about health and disease in relation to how the heart "speaks in vessels" with the rest of the body. Today, physicians may not associate the heart with the soul (or soul mates), but many credit early Egyptian medical knowledge of the heart as a precursor to modern cardiology.

The Heart: Powerful, but Vulnerable

A key element of a healthy body is a healthy heart. The heart is the center of our cardiovascular system and beats an average of 100,000 times per day supplying oxygen rich blood to the whole body. Every day we make choices that have a profound affect on the health of this vital organ. Most heart disease (HD) is linked to risk factors such as lack of exercise, obesity, smoking, stress, and poor eating habits.

One major condition that can develop with these risk factors is Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure. Often called the 'silent killer', Hypertension can cause significant damage throughout the cardiovascular and other body systems and ultimately results in over 80 million deaths each year.

The Silent Killer

Blood pressure is the amount of pressure exerted on the inside of blood vessels as the heart pumps the blood through the body. When there is resistance in the vessels, the pressure rises and hypertension results. The longer hypertension goes undetected and/or uncontrolled, the greater the damage to blood vessels and other organs. Hypertension can lead to heart attack, stroke, ruptured blood vessels, kidney disease or failure, and heart failure.

Warning signs for high blood pressure are rare but can include headaches, blurred vision, lightheadedness, shortness of breath and nosebleeds. However, there are typically no warning signs or symptoms for hypertension, which is why it is called the silent killer.

Hypertension is diagnosed by looking at 2 numbers in your BP reading: Systolic pressure (the top number) is the pressure in your arteries when the heart beats (contracts). Diastolic pressure (bottom number) represents the pressure in your arteries between beats.

  • Normal blood pressure is below 120/80
  • Prehypertension is 120 - 139 systolic or 80 - 89 diastolic.
  • Hypertension is 140/90 or higher

The Potassium Secret for a Healthy Heart

You've no doubt heard the best thing to do when you have hypertension is to reduce the amount of sodium in your diet. Did you know the average adult needs 4,700 mg of potassium daily compared to only 200 mg of sodium. Unfortunately for most of us, our eating habits give us way too much sodium - 3,300 mg a day - and not nearly enough potassium. This imbalance can increase your risk of developing hypertension.

What's truly important for your heart, and a more accurate strategy to prevent high blood pressure, is to balance the relationship between potassium and sodium (salt) in your daily diet. Proper sodium-potassium balance is necessary for nerve transmission, muscle contraction, fluid balance, and the optimal health of all the cells in your body. In regard to the heart, potassium is particularly important for regulating heart rhythm and maintaining blood pressure.

By reducing your sodium intake, you are often correcting the sodium-potassium imbalance without realizing it. To further support your heart health, eat more potassium-rich foods such as sweet potato, spinach, banana, peas, legumes, apricots, avocados, and molasses.

More Healthy Heart Tips

Heart-Healthy Diet Do's: Eat a variety of dark green veggies daily and use anti-inflammatory fats and oils, such as coconut oil, avocado oil, olive oil and fats from organic, grass-fed animals (butter, ghee, tallow) for cooking. Eat slowly and mindfully, not on-the-run. Eat real, whole foods and reduce or eliminate packaged foods, sugar, and non-organic, grain-fed animal proteins.

Walk, Don't Run: 30 minutes of daily, brisk walking lowers your stress levels and your risk for hypertension.

Be Calm: Learn to manage stress with healthy coping techniques, such as, deep breathing, yoga, meditation, gratitude journaling, and getting quality sleep.

Supplemental Support: Nutritional supplements shown to support heart health include Hawthorn, CoQ10, Essential Fatty Acids, Magnesium, Garlic and B-vitamins. Supplements you might have heard about - Natto-K (nattokinase), Guggul, or Niacin, should not be taken without the supervision of your health practitioner.

Because some blood pressure medications affect the potassium level in the body, be sure and discuss the best strategy for making this adjustment with your Holistic Doctor.

Just Breathe! Lower Blood Pressure, Reduce Stress

February is American Heart Month and when most of us think about taking care of our heart health, the first things that come to mind are diet and exercise. But did you know that stress has a major impact on your heart health as well?

When you don't manage stress effectively you place an unnecessary burden on the one muscle that keeps you alive: your heart. When you're stressed, your body goes into "fight or flight" mode. The brain then releases hormones that cause your heart to pump faster, thicken your blood, and raise blood pressure. If you constantly experience this stress response, it eventually changes the way your heart and blood system function--putting you at risk for heart disease.

But the good news is that there's a "cure" you can use anytime, anywhere to change the way you respond to stress and actually lower blood pressure and protect your heart from the deadly grip of stress. Cardiologist, Dr. John Kennedy, developed 'The 15 Minute Heart Cure'--a set of simple breathing techniques that creates a connection between the heart and brain. This method helps you calm down, reenergize, and protects your heart all at the same time.

To get the most out of using this technique, try to do it at the same time each day. I like to do it before bed to shake off a stressful day.

B in B-R-E-A-T-H-E = Beginning. Begin in a quiet space where you won't be interrupted for about 15 minutes. Begin with a positive attitude. View this time as a gift to your health. Seated in a comfortable position, try to clear all thoughts and bring focus to the your breath, slowly inhaling through the nose and exhaling through the mouth.

R in B-R-E-A-T-H-E = Relaxation. Relaxation brought about by this technique creates changes in brain waves and the rhythm of your heart. Visualize yourself walking on a 'path to relaxation', perhaps a beautiful hiking path. With each step, you become more and more relaxed.

E in B-R-E-A-T-H-E = Envision. Walt Disney, Steve Jobs and Deepak Chopra are called visionaries for good reason. Research shows envisioning is an important part of achieving a goal - be it a story, a revolutionary digital device, or a new paradigm in medicine. Imagine your heart as powerful and strong. Research also shows that imagery can lower your heart rate, lower blood pressure, and strengthen your immune system.

A in B-R-E-A-T-H-E = Apply. In Dr. Kennedy's book, there are heart-healing images and metaphors for you to apply during your 15-minute practice and during stressful moments. Tapping into the imagery, even from memory, can help break the cycle of stress in the moment it is happening.

T in B-R-E-A-T-H-E = Treatment. Your time spent with this technique is no different than taking time for a spa-treatment. See this time as a 15-minute oasis that you create.

H in B-R-E-A-T-H-E = Heal. This technique will strengthen neural networks that connect your heart and brain so that your body easily shifts from stress response to relaxation response. Healing is more likely to occur in a relaxed state, bringing more oxygen into muscles, lowering pulse rate and blood pressure, and enhancing immune response.

E in B-R-E-A-T-H-E = End. After 15-minutes of mindful focus on the breath and heart-healing imagery, you will feel deeply relaxed and energized and revitalized. As you end your session, quietly notice your surroundings and visualize how you can use the technique throughout your day.

References:

Boost Your Brain Health With Meditation and Prayer

Amazing changes happen to your mind and body when you meditate or pray. During meditation and prayer, there is a physiological shift that takes place called the "relaxation response" (RR). This response is exactly the opposite of the stress response that so many of us chronically experience in our daily lives. You may think you have lots of ways to relax - sleeping, watching TV, reading - but these activities don't have the same physiological effects as meditation and prayer.

In addition to changes in brain waves, heart rate and respiration rate, meditation allows you to disengage from the thinking process. You become a detached observer of the clutter that fills your mind and learn to let go of it all, one breath, one moment at time. Your troubles won't magically disappear, but your perspective about them will shift, even if you meditate just a few days a week. Prayer has been shown to have similar effects.

So how does Meditation work?

When you are stressed (and let's face it, who isn't?), your body releases hormones that have a negative impact on your health. Research shows that having stress hormones (e.g., cortisol) circulating through your body for prolonged periods is associated with certain diseases. Meditation and prayer bring about the Relaxation Response and reduce the levels of stress hormones your body produces. Now, your immune system is better able protect you from illness, recover quickly, and restore optimal wellbeing.

What can Meditation and Prayer Do For You? Alot!

  • Reduce tension-related pain
  • Strengthen the immune system
  • Improve quality of sleep
  • Strengthen neural pathways
  • Improve emotional stability
  • Enhance creativity
  • Boost brain chemicals associated with mood, memory and learning

Start a Meditation Practice

Begin with 5 minutes a day and progress to 20 minutes at least 3-4 times a week. Use sounds of nature, music, a candle, or a guided imagery to help you get started. Meditation is often done seated or lying down. Use cushions or a chair to support your posture. Eyes closed or open is up to you.

When you pray, begin with expressing gratitude to your higher power for all of the good things in your life. Then give all of your concerns over and ask for help and direction with all of your concerns. Visualize placing all of your worries, hopes and dreams in the hands of your higher power and allowing them to carry any burdens and bless you with your heart's desires. 

You'll soon discover that meditation and/or prayer is a state of mind involving awareness and acceptance, that you can do in the midst of any activity. Namaste!

How to Win Thanksgiving

Forget football! Here is YOUR game plan for enjoying a healthy, feel-good Thanksgiving weekend!

1. Don’t show up hungry. When you sit down for the Thanksgiving meal, you don’t want to be “starving.” Studies show that skipping meals on the big day won’t save you calories – in fact, you will end up eating more!

2. Start Thanksgiving Day with two things: : 1) A healthy, satisfying breakfast and stay hydrated. There is not one right meal choice for everyone; if you need help figuring out what breakfast is best for you – let’s talk. 2) An intention for the holiday, such as “I will have a 'plan' and stick with it; I will eat mindfully, and I’ll remember to breathe!"

3. Have a midday mini-meal. If your Thanksgiving meal is in the early afternoon or evening, have a healthy midday snack that includes protein, fiber and healthy fat to help you avoid overeating at the Thanksgiving table.

4. Skip any foods that you don’t absolutely love. Don't waste your calories or indulgences on foods that aren't totally wonderful and amazing. Enjoy that piece of pie but skip the rice or potatoes that aren't that special, and fill the rest of your plate with non-starchy vegetables and clean protein. When you do eat something indulgent, really SAVOR it! Eat it slowly and take time to notice the smell, taste, and texture. You'll be surprised at how much more satisfied you are if you are mindful and present in that moment vs. popping cookie after cookie in your mouth without really paying attention.

5. Make the good stuff. If you’re not in charge of the Thanksgiving meal, you can still bring a healthy dish to ensure that you have a healthy option that you enjoy. Use this tip when you are the host, too!

6. Limit alcohol to one drink or skip it altogether. The more alcohol you drink the worse your judgement will get so this can also keep you from “mindless” eating and drinking! Instead, sip water, sparkling water with lemon/lime, or herbal tea. 

7. Say no to unhealthy leftovers. If you’re hosting, buy disposable food storage containers and send your guests home with all the not-so-healthy leftovers. If you don’t have it in your house, you can’t eat it!

8. Get right back to your healthy routine. If you eat a little too much or make some poor choices on Thanksgiving, don’t sabotage the entire weekend! The next morning, head to the gym, go for a walk or a bike ride. Drink half your weight in ounces of water each day, and journal about whatever cravings or feelings you have. The faster you get back on track, the less chance you’ll have of gaining weight or suffering from food-related symptoms. It's not the occasional indulgence that sabotages your health goals, it's the habitual, daily choices you make that determine your long-term success.

9. Be good to YOU. The holidays are a busy and stressful time for most of us and self-care tends to go out the window. Schedule some time for yourself to get a massage, take a relaxing walk, or spend some down time alone or with your partner. Don't engage in negative self-talk or inner dialogue because it just makes you feel worse and less motivated to make good choices that truly serve you. You deserve to be well taken care of, especially by yourself.

By being proactive and using these healthy planning tips, you can have a happy AND a healthy Thanksgiving holiday!

Listen To Your Gut

ToiletSitting.jpg

As a nation, we spend $10 billion dollars a year on heartburn/acid reflux medicine such as Nexium and Pepcid AC (NPR, Healthinc, May 2015). Sixty million people have some form of IBS/Irritable Bowel Syndrome, while more than 5 million people suffer from daily constipation, resulting in 2 million doctor visits and $725 million a year for laxatives, anti-spasm meds and fiber supplements such as Metamucil (Gastroenterology Association). These remedies often have a yo-yo effect of days of alternating constipation and diarrhea, in addition to other side effects. And every day, millions of Americans complain of gas, feeling bloated, and/or ongoing stomach upset (Washington School of Medicine). So why all the tummy troubles?

According to many recent studies, research articles, and experience in my own nutrition coaching practice, it is clear that lifestyle, food choices and stress are the most common causes of these unpleasant symptoms. I’ve worked with dozens of clients to help them understand what is causing their tummy trouble and helped then improve their digestion and gut health. This is a major focus of my practice, and it is extremely rewarding because it affects so many of my clients experience these symptoms. Here are some of the areas we cover:

• What’s going on in your gut? The lining of your small intestine is comprised of trillions of bacteria that coexist in a complex balance that keeps you healthy. These trillions of bacteria in our gut are also known as intestinal flora. They help break down our food, protect us from disease, keep us functioning optimally, and even prevent weight gain. But things like antibiotics, certain medications, poor diet, food additives, and stress upset the balance of good bacteria to bad bacteria or yeast, creating what is know as dysbiosis. When your microbiome gets out of balance, your stomach reacts with gas, bloating, constipation, and/or diarrhea.

• Is your gut leaky? Many health coaches and nutritionists are aware of “leaky gut syndrome”, or intestinal permeability – although your doctor may not be. Leaky gut is a result of damage to the intestinal lining caused by several factors including dysbiosis, parasite infection, chronic stress, poor digestion or a bad diet. When the integrity of the intestinal lining is compromised, natural waste that would typically be absorbed or eliminated in your stool can “leak” from your digestive system into your blood stream. Like the lactose-and gluten-intolerances discussed below, a leaky gut causes an inflammatory immune response, and that can cause gas, bloating and pain, food sensitivities, skin rashes, joint pain and fatigue. Note that medications used for joint aches and body pains, as well as antibiotics, can cause chronic inflammation, which many experts believe can lead to leaky gut.

Chronic stress can lead to gut issues. Chronic stress can lead to a variety of gut problems such as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), ulcers, IBD, IBS, and even food allergies. Studies show that stress also contributes to leaky gut syndrome, slows waste elimination and encourages bacterial overgrowth, making stress management a top priority for anyone with GI health concerns.  Taking time to practice relaxation techniques such as yoga, meditation and breathing exercises can help reduce stress and anxiety. These exercises may actually alter the brain’s neuro pathways, helping you become more resilient to the affects of stress. There are many actions you can take to help reduce your stress; but the first step is to identify the source and take the necessary steps to reduce it as much as possible.

• Your bowels are irritable. About 20 percent of all women suffer from IBS, which can cause gas, bloating and painful yo-yo-ing between diarrhea and constipation. But your bowels don't just get irritable out of the blue. Diet and stress can both contribute to IBS symptoms and a study by Dr. Mark Hyman found that changing certain foods in your diet can eliminate up to 30 percent of your symptoms. I help my clients identify which foods to eliminate, which foods are not a problem, and guide you through an effective process for maintaining your healthier lifestyle. My first suggestion to clients with IBS is to keep a food journal – you can start doing this now! Write down everything you eat, making sure to mark the time, amount, and ingredients. This is a great investigative tool and helps you become more aware of what you’re eating and how you feel afterwards.

• Is dairy really your friend? About 25 percent of Americans have trouble digesting dairy products. Lactose (the sugar in milk) and casein (milk protein) intolerances get worse as we age and can cause gas, bloating, skin problems and other symptoms. If you want to take a self-assessment, try eliminating all dairy from your diet for one to three weeks, and see if your symptoms improve. This is not always easy to do without an expert’s help, because dairy or whey products are often hiding in foods that we would never consider “milk products.” Contrary to what the FDA and dairy industry would have us believe, we do not need dairy products to get adequate calcium in our diets. Dark, leafy greens, sardines, figs, almonds and sesame seeds are all great sources of calcium. For an excellent gut-healing food rich in calcium and other minerals, try making your own bone broth.

• What does your weight have to do with it? People who are overweight are 50 percent more likely to suffer from GERD and/or heartburn, and are more susceptible to gallstones (causing pain in the upper right-side of your stomach). The poor food choices that lead to obesity are often the original cause of gastrointestinal problems for many Americans. If these symptoms are treated with certain drugs like PPIs, it can make these problems even worse and cause additional long-term problems. Excess weight also puts more pressure on your stomach, which then puts pressure on the valve opening to your esophagus. By switching to a clean, whole foods diet you can slim down and reduce or eliminate your food-related heartburn and GERD.

• Could wheat be the culprit? More people are discovering their stomach distress is related to a gluten intolerance; studies show about 20% of Americans are affected, with celiac disease becoming more and more common. Celiac disease and gluten intolerance create an autoimmune reaction; the body produces antibodies that attack the protective “villi” found in the small intestine. Villi are what help you absorb nutrients, so when they are compromised, you get cramping, bloating and nutrient-deficiency. If your parents or siblings suffer from celiac or gluten-intolerance, there’s a greater chance that you might, too, as there is a strong genetic link. You can get a blood test to determine if you have celiac disease, but there is no definitive test to conclude if you are gluten-intolerant. Becoming gluten-free helps millions of sufferers eliminate symptoms, but eliminating gluten can be tricky and is best done with the help of a nutrition coach who can help you learn more about the foods you can and cannot eat. Foods you’d never think would contain gluten often do – such as soy sauce and ketchup! Plus, to truly reap the benefits, gluten-free is an all-or-nothing diet – simply “reducing” your gluten intake usually will not eliminate your symptoms.

If you have experienced stomach issues for years, or if your distress is recent, I would be happy to help you feel better and healthier! Click here to schedule your complimentary Coffee Talk session.

High Cholesterols Foods - Friend or Foe?

Originally published on the Sophia Health Institute blog on June 20, 2015.

For decades we have been conditioned to believe that saturated fats and cholesterol were the enemy responsible for heart disease, obesity and a host of other health problems. In the 80’s we all began ditching the bacon, nuts, and full fat dairy in favor of low-fat, high carbohydrate foods that were supposed to contribute to a healthy heart and a leaner body. But here we are, a little over 20 years later, finding ourselves hungrier, fatter, and sicker. So what went wrong?

It all began with a study published by Dr. Ancel Keys in 1970 who postulated that heart disease was directly related to high serum cholesterol, caused by high dietary fat intake. The model of his study was highly suspicious and recent studies have found that there is in fact no link between saturated fats in the diet and heart disease. However, Dr. Keys’ ideology was – and still is – widely accepted in the mainstream medical community. Many doctors continue to recommend low-fat, high carbohydrate diets in spite of the new, more accurate science proving that this approach is detrimental to our health.

Produced by the liver, cholesterol would still be present in your body even if you consumed no dietary cholesterol whatsoever. It is the most common steroid in the body and it is a crucial component of our cell membranes. In addition, cholesterol is required in the formation of Vitamin D, bile acids and hormones. Evidence suggests that without adequate cholesterol, our risk for heart disease and other inflammatory diseases increases; according to Dr. Joseph Mercola “Your body needs adequate cholesterol to perform a number of critical functions, and there is strong evidence that people have a higher risk for heart attacks by having their cholesterol levels driven too low, as is being done by drugs like statins.”

Cholesterol is also necessary for a healthy brain as it acts as a protective antioxidant, promotes neurogenesis (creation of new brain cells) and facilitates communication between neurons. According to Dr. David Perlmutter, author of Grain Brain, there is a correlation between higher serum cholesterol and increased cognitive function and a Mayo Clinic study found individuals consuming a higher saturated fat diet reduced their risk for developing dementia by a whopping 36%.

Not all saturated fats are created equal, especially when it comes to trans fats and animal fats. In a ruling on this Tuesday the 16th of June, the FDA declared that trans fat are not “generally recognized as safe” for use in human food. Trans fats or hydrogenated fats/oils are highly inflammatory and should be avoided at all costs.

Fats from animals raised by grazing on a natural diet (grass-fed beef, pasture-raised chickens and eggs, etc.) contain higher levels of beneficial omega-3 fatty acids, whereas animals fed grains or other foods foreign to their natural diet are higher in omega-6 fatty acids which are pro-inflammatory if we get too much of them. Ideally our diet would consists of a ratio of 1:1 omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids, but in the standard American diet, people consume over 25 times as much omega-6 as they do omega-3.

There are three types of omega-3 fats – ALA, EPA and DHA, and while there are good plant-based sources of ALA (hemp, flax, chia), our bodies need all three types. To get the necessary doses requires eating a variety of both plant and animal foods.

Refined vegetable oils can be equally problematic; these so-called  “heart healthy”, “cholesterol free” oils such as canola, soybean, peanut,  sunflower and corn are high in omega-6 fatty acids which can contribute to intestinal permeability (leaky gut syndrome), increase the risk of inflammatory diseases and negatively alter gene expression. These oils are also commonly made from genetically modified crops which destroy our beneficial gut bacteria, further compromising our digestion, immune system, and neurological functions. If you are already struggling with digestive issues or chronic illness you may already have too much inflammation in your body. By eliminating refined vegetable oils you can reduce your overall inflammation.

A diet high in healthy fats is also beneficial for digestive health. Ghee and butter from pastured animals are excellent sources of butyric acid. This fatty acid is an excellent anti-inflammatory source of energy for the cells lining our intestines and it helps to “seal” the gut and reverse intestinal permeability. In addition, bacteria, parasites and fungus do not eat fat which means that we can reap the nutritional benefits of healthy fats while starving any unwelcome bacteria or pathogens in the gut.

Great sources of cholesterol and healthy fats:

  • Nuts
  • Wild fish
  • Wild and grass-fed meats
  • Ghee and butter from pastured animals
  • Seeds (hemp, chia, flax)
  • Avocados
  • Whole organic pastured eggs (the yolk is the best part!)
  • Organic extra virgin olive oil
  • Coconut oil

People often ask me if eating more fat and high cholesterol foods will make them fat, and the answer is absolutely not! In fact, proper fat intake can help us lose weight and maintain healthy body composition by training our bodies to tap into our fat as a fuel source instead of burning sugar. Fat also keeps us feeling full and satisfied, enhances absorption of fat-soluble nutrients, helps reduce blood sugar and provides a steady flow of energy throughout the day.

Heart disease is less likely a product of high fat foods and more likely the result of chronic stress, a diet high in processed foods and poor lifestyle choices. When we are under constant stress our bodies produce more cortisol which then breaks down vitamin C. If we have a long-term vitamin C deficiency, it weakens our arterial walls which the body then attempts to “patch up” with available cholesterol from the bloodstream. This creates atherosclerotic plaque to protect the arterial walls which is often treated with statins. Sadly this approach does nothing to address the root cause of the problem which could most likely be resolved with proper diet, lifestyle changes, and natural interventions.

By choosing real, unprocessed, properly raised and cultivated high fat foods from both plant and animal sources we can greatly improve the state of our health and overall well-being. So enjoy that organic, grass-fed steak and full fat organic yogurt and don’t skimp on the avocado in your salad. You will enjoy your food so much more and your heart, brain, gut and waistline will thank you.

If you have trouble digesting fats or have had your gallbladder removed, talk to your practitioner about supplementing with digestive support such as digestive enzymes, ox bile and/or betaine HCl. Fatty or greasy stools that float or are pale and very stinky are good indicators that you’re not digesting fat properly.

References:

Dietary intake of saturated fatty acids and mortality from cardiovascular disease in Japanese: the Japan Collaborative Cohort Study for Evaluation of Cancer Risk (JACC) Study. - American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Yamagishi K., et al. 2010

Aglaée Jacob, M.S., R.D., Digestive Health with Real Food (Paleo Media Group, LLC, 2013)

Effect of Dietary Fatty Acids on Inflammatory Gene Expression in Healthy Humans*  - Kelly L. Weaver, et al.

The Diet-Heart Myth: Cholesterol and Saturated Fat Are Not the Enemy - by Chris Kresser 2013

Your “Healthy” Diet Could Be Quietly Killing Your Brain - A new book challenges convention with the latest science on brain health. by Max Lugavere for PsychologyToday.com 2013

Meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies evaluating the association of saturated fat with cardiovascular disease. -  American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Siri-Tarino PW, et al. 2010

The Great Cholesterol Myth, - Dr. Stephen Sinatra 2014

New Science Destroys the Saturated Fat Myth – Mercola.com 2014

The 6 Greatest Cholesterol Myths Debunked - James Colquhoun,2014

The diet–heart hypothesis: a critique - Sylvan Lee Weinberg, MD, MACC* 2004

Why Grassfed Animal Products Are Better For You – Dr. Joseph Mercola

FDA orders food manufacturers to stop using trans fat within three years, By Jen Christensen, CNN Updated 3:47 PM ET, Tue June 16, 2015

The Science is Practically Screaming... Don't Make This Trendy Fat Mistake – Mercola.com 2011

How too much omega-6 and not enough omega-3 is making us sick - 2010 by CHRIS KRESSER 

Dietary Fats and Health: Dietary Recommendations in the Context of Scientific Evidence - Glen D. Lawrence* 2013

Glandular Gladness - The Magical, Mighty Thyroid

The thyroid is part of the endocrine system, which includes the pituitary gland, hypothalamus, thymus, pineal gland, testes, ovaries, adrenal glands, parathyroid, and pancreas. It makes hormones (e.g. T3, T4, free T3 and T4 and reverse T3)) that travel through your bloodstream and regulate your metabolism, brain and heart function, and reproductive and menstrual cycles.

The thyroid is a butterfly shaped gland that lives just below your Adam’s apple and quietly does its thing without getting much attention until your doctor checks it with their hands during a routine exam. Unless something unusual is found (e.g., swelling) or symptoms manifest that indicate a problem, your doc probably won't take a second look at it. If they do check your thyroid on a blood test, they will often tell you only if your thyroid is within normal range, not if it is functioning optimally or not.

When the thyroid is not functioning properly, a chain reaction of hormonal events takes place that involves many other glands/hormones of the endocrine system and the bodily systems they regulate. The end result is one of two primary types of health conditions: hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid) or hypothyroidism (underachieve thyroid).

Common Symptoms of Thyroid Dysfunction

  • Depression
  • fatigue
  • weight gain
  • headaches / migraines
  • constipation
  • menstrual irregularities 
  • infertility and/or miscarriage
  • anxiety / panic attacks
  • poor memory
  • Inability to concentrate / focus
  • muscle & joint pain
  • decreased sexual interest
  • cold intolerance
  • swollen abdomen, legs, feet, hands
  • insomnia
  • sleep apnea
  • low body temperature
  • irritability
  • thinning hair
  • acne
  • allergies
  • iron and B12 deficiency
  • dizziness / vertigo
  • high blood pressure
  • gallstones
  • bladder & kidney infections
  • easy bruising
  • osteoporosis

I know, crazy long list, right?! And this isn't even a complete list of all the possible symptoms.

8 Ways to Keep Your Thyroid Healthy

1. Eat from the sea. The sea provides many natural sources of iodine, a building block of the thyroid hormone. Salt has a high concentration of iodine, but it can raise blood pressure. Instead, opt for saltwater fish, or try seaweed in a salad. Cod and halibut are high in selenium, which protects the thyroid gland during periods of stress and helps regulate hormone synthesis. Fish oil is also excellent since it provides essential fatty acids that reduce inflammation.

2. Eat foods high in B vitamins, which are precursors to thyroid hormones and influence cell energy. Balance your diet with pasture-raised meats and poultry, nuts (especially Brazil nuts) and seeds. Red meat provides iron, zinc, selenium, magnesium, and other minerals essential for thyroid hormone function, and the health of other bodily systems affected by thyroid disorders (skin, hair, metabolism).

3. Avoid dietary pitfalls that can compromise thyroid function. If your diet is too low in protein, fat or carbohydrates or too high in sugar, alcohol or soy products, you could be setting yourself up for thyroid problems. There is also a lot of talk about "goitrogens" or cruciferous vegetables being a potential enemy to the thyroid, but after a lot of reading and research I believe their benefits outweigh any potential problems, especially if they are cooked and not consumed excessively.

4. Love your liver and listen to your gut. If your liver is stressed in can inhibit your ability to convert T4 to T3 and produce thyroid binding globulin (TBG). Gut health must also be addressed and optimized to achieve healthy thyroid function.

5. Catch some rays. Vitamin D is also crucial for thyroid health and a plethora of other functions in your body. Try to get at least 10-15 minutes of sun exposure (without sunscreen) several times a week and take a Vit. D supplement if your live in dark climate or don't get outside often enough.

6. Take time to unwind. A daily relaxation practice, such as just 10 minutes a day of silence and deep breathing, can make a difference in the state of mind and body. Stressed adrenal glands are often at the root of thyroid problems, so adrenal health should be addressed before beginning thyroid treatment.

7. Move your body! Exercise at least 30 minutes a day. Yoga is particularly good for thyroid health, including poses such as butterfly, fish pose, shoulder stand, and child’s pose.

5. Get supplement-al insurance. Our diets aren’t perfect, so supplementing with a vitamin/mineral or botanical (herb) regimen can provide extra insurance against exposure to stress, toxins, and even genetic predispositions. Be sure to consult with your wellness practitioner about the best nutraceutical options for you.

If you suspect a thyroid condition, talk with your doctor or wellness practitioner right away. There are a variety of tests (micronutrients, thyroid-adrenal, hormones) that can help them create an appropriate treatment plan.

 

Resources

American Association of Naturopathic Physicians. “Natural Therapies for Hypothyroidism.” October 11, 2013. 

American Thyroid Association. ATA Patient Education Web Brochures. Accessed May 2015.

Hormone Health Network. “Your Thyroid: What You Need to Know.” Accessed May 2015.

Women to Women. “Alternative Hypothyroidism Treatment.” Accessed May 2015.

 

The information offered by this post is presented for educational purposes. Nothing contained within should be construed as nor is intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment. This information should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider. Always consult with your physician or other qualified health care provider before embarking on a new treatment, diet or fitness program. You should never disregard medical advice or delay in seeking it because of any information contained within this web site.

Hey Man! Top Tips for Men's Health

Most of you guys know the basics of a healthy lifestyle: eat more fresh organic foods, don't smoke, exercise, and get an annual health exam. But there's more to being a healthy, desirable dude than choosing organic beef and hitting the gym a few days a week. Below are some great tips for boosting your vitality, longevity and sex appeal.

Chill Out and breathe. Breathing deeply reduces stress, lowers blood pressure, increases energy, and improves memory and immunity. A relaxed man also has better sex. Slow down for just 10-20 minutes a few days a week: try deep, belly breathing, get outside for a walk, take a yoga class, or try out a meditation app.

Laugh it up! Need an excuse for a guys night out? Hit a comedy club with the boys! Laughing eases stress, creates closer friendships, and lowers blood pressure. It may even boost your immune system. So bring some humor into your life, whether it's with friends, a funny book, or a movie.

Fuel for success. Skipping breakfast will make you feel lethargic and give you cravings later in the day for sugar and other foods that don't serve you. A nutritious breakfast that contains plenty of protein, fiber, and some healthy fats - think veggie omelet or a protein and greens smoothie with hemp seeds or almond butter - will boost your metabolism and give you sustained energy throughout the day. Protein and fat will help keep you full and satisfied, while fiber will regulate digestion, reduce inflammation, cut your risk for diabetes, and promote healthy cholesterol levels.

Go green. Drinking a few cups of organic green tea daily can improve memory and cognition in men. Rich in cancer-fighting polyphenols, green tea is also credited with boosting immunity, firing up your metabolism, and lowering blood pressure. Low in caffeine, green tea is great for giving you a little energy boost without the harsh effects of coffee.

Eat the rainbow. Every meal should include a variety of colorful vegetables to give you the widest variety of nutrients. Vibrantly colored produce is packed with antioxidants and phytonutrients which reduce inflammation and prevent cancer and other diseases. They also help with weight management and healthy digestion.

Protect your peepers. You probably know the importance of protecting your skin with daily use of a non-toxic zinc or titanium sunscreen, but don't forget about protecting those eyes. Look cool and protect your eyes against cataracts, cancer, and even sunburn by choosing shades that provide 99-100% UV absorption or UV 400.

Go to bed. Staying up to watch your favorite show may be tempting, but being a night owl won't do much for your health. Research shows that less than 7 hours of sleep is detrimental to your health and well-being and even effects your ability to build muscle and burn fat. Quantity of sleep is important but what's most important is the quality of sleep you get. If you feel refreshed and ready for the day when you wake up, then you're getting good sleep. If you don't, it's time to change your bedtime habits: Turn off wi-fi and digital devices at least an hour or two before bedtime; eat your last meal 2-3 hours before going to sleep; stick to a regular sleep-wake schedule and ... use that DVR to watch your shows the next day.

Get busy. A relaxed, well-rested man has better sex. Healthy, safe sex can make you look and feel younger, reduce stress, boost immunity, enhance sleep, protect against prostate cancer, and improve cardiovascular health. Some studies even suggest a link between the frequency and enjoyment of sex with longevity. Yes sir, sex just might help you live longer.

Many men neglect their health and avoid regular check-ups, but not you! You're a modern, intelligent, enlightened guy who understands the importance of health and wellness, so be sure to check in with your doc once a year for blood work and blood pressure screenings, and get a colonoscopy and prostate exam (the easiest cancers to detect early and treat). Your nutritionist, trainer or doctor can help guide you toward good health, but ultimately it's up to you. Your everyday habits are what have the greatest impact on your long-term health and the more you practice these habits, the sooner they will become second nature.

Resources:
•    Authority Nutrition "10 Proven Benefits of Green Tea." Accessed April 2015.
•    Chang, A., et al."Evening Use of Light-emitting eReaders Negatively Affects Sleep, Circadian Timing, and Next-morning Alertness." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 112, no. 4 (January 27, 2015): 1232-1237
•    Glaucoma Research Foundation."A Guide to Sunglasses." Reviewed April 16, 2013.
•    Monash University "The Health Benefits of Meditation and Being Mindful." Accessed April 2015.
•    Talking About Men's Health "Secret to Better Sex? Get Better Sleep!" March 25, 2015.

 

SIBO and FODMAPs – What They Mean and How They Affect Your Health.

Originally published May 21, 2015 on www.drklinghardt.com.

SIBO has gotten a lot of press recently, most likely due to its increasing prevalence in recent years. SIBO stands for small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, and is defined as a chronic infection of the small intestine. The most common symptoms of SIBO are very similar to that of IBS - namely gas, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, leaky gut, fructose malabsorption and excessive fermentation of certain carbohydrates called FODMAPs. If you’re suffering from SIBO you may also experience eczema, joint pain, headaches, asthma, depression, autoimmune disorders and a multitude of food sensitivities. According to research by Dr. Mark Pimental, 84% of people with IBS have bacterial overgrowth in their small intestine which could suggest that most people who complain of IBS symptoms also have SIBO. (Most IBS patients are FODMAP intolerant, but while consuming FODMAPs exacerbates symptoms, it doesn’t actually cause IBS.)

But wait a minute, isn’t bacteria in our gut a good thing? Yes! But only if it’s in the right place. Our bodies have about 10 times the number of bacteria as we do human cells, but the large majority of those bacteria should make their home in the colon. When too many bacteria set up shop in our small intestines they rob us of nutrients such as B12 and iron. These bacteria also deconjugate bile acids produced by the liver which prevents proper fat digestion and absorption creating problems similar to not having a gallbladder. Not only do we miss out on the benefits of fats themselves, but we also cannot absorb fat-soluble nutrients such as Omega-3 fatty acids, CoQ10, beta-carotene and vitamins A, D, E and K.  So if you’re supplementing with these and not seeing the expected improvement, SIBO could be a potential culprit. Your doctor can administer a simple breath test or an organic acid urine test to determine if you have SIBO.

SIBO can also contribute to both weight loss due to malnutrition and obesity. If the excess bacteria are consuming all the carbohydrates in your diet, you may lose too much weight accompanied by nausea, vomiting and lack of appetite. Chronic diarrhea also deprives you of the nutrients in your food because it’s moving through your body too quickly to be absorbed. Insulin resistance and elevated cortisol levels can also be a product of the stress and inflammation from SIBO, resulting in weight gain, weight loss resistance and possible contributing to diabetes.

SIBO is often caused by dysbiosis – or an imbalance between beneficial bacteria and yeasts and harmful bacteria, yeast, and even parasites, but our diet may be the biggest cause. Bacteria thrive on the sugars and starches in the food we eat and the byproduct of this is fermentation. Aglaée Jacob, author of Digestive Health with Real Food describes the bacteria as creating “lots of microbreweries”. So just like the process of brewing beer, the more food we provide for the bacteria, the more fermentation they produce, which translates to gas and bloating. In turn that gas and bloating cause inflammation in the gut, eventually leading to the symptoms mentioned above.

Dietary Interventions for SIBO.

The trick when it comes to getting SIBO under control is similar to that of treating a candida infection – starve the bacteria without starving the person. In this case that means removing their favorite foods – sugar, starches and fermentable carbohydrates. Enter FODMAPs. FODMAPs stands for fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols and following a low FODMAP diet has proven to be extremely effective in the treatment of IBS and SIBO.

FODMAPs are all types of carbohydrates that are not fully digested and absorbed by the GI tract and are therefore more easily fermented by the bacteria who thrive on them. As a general rule of thumb, good bacteria thrive on properly digested food while undesirable bacteria thrive on undigested foods such as FODMAPs. Proper digestion of food by stomach acid, pancreatic enzymes and enzymes found in the intestinal “brush border” breaks food down into particles small enough to be absorbed by the body. If this process doesn’t work efficiently, bacteria can easily overpopulate in the small intestine and wreak havoc on our health.

When it comes to SIBO, the importance of reducing gut inflammation, adequate stomach acid and enzyme activity cannot be overstated. Healthy intestinal cells secrete immune system antibodies, or immunoglobulins, which act as natural antibiotics to kill harmful bacteria and prevent them from colonizing the intestinal wall. If someone lacks sufficient Vit. D, the secretion of these immunoglobulins is inhibited. Combine this with insufficient stomach acid, enzymes, bile secretions, and constipation and you have the perfect environment for bacterial overgrowth. You can read more about how to increase your digestive ability in this article

Other important factors here are hydration and the migrating motor complex or “cleansing wave” of the intestines. This process kicks in a few hours after a meal and acts like a push broom, sweeping undigested food and bacteria from the stomach, through your small intestines into the colon. These waves only occur when the body is not digesting, so eating more often will inhibit this process and promote growth of bacteria in the small intestine. Adding insult to injury, these bacteria then produce toxic secretions that can cause long-term damage to your intestines and migrating motor complex if left untreated. 

Drinking enough water throughout the day is essential for proper bowel motility and preventing constipation. You can increase and preserve your cleansing waves by staying hydrated and eating 3 meals a day, 4-5 hours apart. However, do not wait this long between meals if you have blood sugar regulation issues, are malnourished and/or underweight.

What to eat and what to avoid on a low FODMAP diet.

People with SIBO often develop intolerances to a multitude of non-FODMAP carbohydrates, and can benefit significantly from a low-starch, gluten-free, paleo type diet rich in low FODMAP vegetables, healthy fats and clean, organic protein sources. Happily this type of diet can also inhibit the growth of other pathogenic intruders such as candida and parasites.

Since legumes are one of the biggest offenders when it comes to fermentable carbohydrates, vegetarians who rely on them as a protein source will want to substitute plant-based proteins such as hemp protein powder, hemp hearts, pumpkin seed protein, spirulina and kale.

It is important to point out that while higher FODMAP foods may be problematic for those with SIBO, it does not mean that they are unhealthy. There are many wonderful and highly beneficial foods, especially vegetables that should be reincorporated into the diet once SIBO is resolved. If you do not suffer from IBS or SIBO there is no reason for you to avoid high FODMAP nutrient powerhouses such as broccoli and cauliflower unless you have specific intolerances.

On average it takes about 2 years and sometimes as long as five for SIBO to be completely corrected and for this reason many people choose to treat SIBO with a combination of diet and other treatments. Additional treatment options include antibiotics (usually refaximin and/or neomycin), herbal antibiotics (e.g. peppermint oil, grapefruit seed extract, berberine, etc.) and elemental diets (often very expensive and impractical). Talk with your doctor to determine the best option for you.

While using diet alone to treat SIBO can take much more time and effort than other treatments, some people may start to feel improvement within a few weeks. The overgrowth itself will take longer to resolve, but in the meantime people can enjoy some relief from their symptoms. Dietary treatments for SIBO should only be followed for an additional two weeks after being symptom-free, depending on the severity of the infection. It is not intended to be a permanent protocol and it can be detrimental to your healthy gut flora if followed for too long. 

The goal with this diet is to reduce fermentation, inflammation and undesirable bacteria in the gut. Once those components are under control we can begin healing the gut with specific treatments and begin adding certain foods back in to promote a healthy population of beneficial flora. 

Most Common High FODMAP Foods (see resources below for complete lists):

Vegetables: Artichoke, asparagus, bean sprouts, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, celery, garlic, sugar snap peas, onion, Jerusalem artichokes, potato (all colors), seaweeds, sweet potato, turnip.
Fruits: Apple, apricot, avocado, blackberry, canned fruit, cherries, cranberry, dates, grapefruit, mango, nectarine, papaya, peach, pear, persimmon, plantain, plum, prunes, watermelon.
Grains: Wheat and all gluten-containing grains, amaranth, barley, buckwheat, corn, millet, oats, quinoa, rice, rye, spelt, teff, wild rice.
Legumes: Cannellini beans, chickpeas/garbanzos, fava beans, kidney beans, navy/white beans, pinto beans, soy beans, peas, pretty much all of them.
Dairy products: All dairy products except butter, cheese aged 1+ months, dry curd cottage cheese, ghee, sour cream (homemade), yogurt (homemade).
Proteins/Meats: Bacon w/sugar or corn syrup, broth made with onion or garlic, deli/processed meats.
Nuts/Seeds: Cashews, chia seed, flaxseed, hazelnuts, pistachios.
Fats: Margarine, soybean oil.
Sweeteners: Honey (sage or tupelo), maple syrup, molasses, sugar alcohols (xylitol, erythritol), stevia with inulin or other caking agent, sucralose, sugar/sucrose.
Beverages: Almond or other nut milk w/thickeners, coffee substitutes, coconut milk w/thickeners, fruit juice, soda, chicory tea, licorice tea, pau d’arco tea, soy milk.
Seasonings/Condiments: Asafoetida powder, balsamic vinegar, carob, chicory root, cocoa, all gums/thickeners, spices with onion & garlic, soy sauce/tamari.
Alcohol: Beer, brandy, hard cider, liquors/cordials, rum, sake, sherry, tequila, wine (sweet/dessert), port, sparkling wine.

Additional tips for managing or preventing SIBO:

•    Eliminate foods you are sensitive or allergic to.
•    Omit grains, dairy and higher FODMAP foods.
•    Take digestive enzymes and/or HCl or other digestive support.
•    Eat 3 meals daily with 4-5 hours between each unless you are underweight or  hypoglycemic.
•    Supplement with Vitamin D if you are deficient.
•    Manage stress.

The list of foods to enjoy and foods to avoid is too long to list in detail here, but there are many great resources for low FODMAP diets, including Dr. Allison Siebecker’s web site and these helpful charts from Aglaée Jacob and The Whole 30. There are also two great smartphone apps which you can use to look up specific foods - The Monash University Low FODMAP Diet App and the SIBO app by Dharmaworks Consulting, LLC. I find these especially handy when I’m at the grocery store or a restaurant and need to see if a food is high in FODMAPs.

References:

Aglaée Jacob, M.S., R.D., Digestive Health with Real Food (Paleo Media Group, LLC, 2013)

The Elimination Diet: Discover the Foods That Are Making You Sick and Tired--and Feel Better Fast, by Tom Malterre and Alissa Segersten (Grand Central Life & Style ©2015)

A New IBS Solution: Bacteria-The Missing Link in Treating Irritable Bowel, by Mark Pimentel (Health Point Press ©2006)  

Low-FODMAP diets: are they safe in the long-term? By Aglée Jacob, MS, RD, Feb. 16, 2015 Radicata Medicine

FODMAPs: Could common foods be harming your digestive health?, by Chris Kresser, JULY 13, 2012

Review article: fructose malabsorption and the bigger picture, P. R. GIBSON, E. NEWNHAM, J. S. BARRETT, S. J. SHEPHERD andJ. G. MUIR, Article first published online: 3 NOV 2006

FODMAPs Diet by Dr. Stephen Gangemi, DC


*All articles and information on this website are for educational purposes only. This information is not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent any disease and is not to be regarded or relied upon as medical advice. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Results may vary per person. Discuss any dietary changes or potential dietary supplement use with your health practitioner and do not discontinue any prescription medications without first consulting your doctor.