When I don't feel like eating - I don't
There is a lot of power in fasting - not only healing power - but also power over food, power over hunger, power over time restraints. I love to try a longer fast every so often, but many years ago I would have never considered it.
It seemed to crazy to me to "starve yourself" for a day or two.
My opinion was formed in my college years when I was young, very active, ate like a horse (probably 5 times a day) and lived with a vegan roommate that fasted every Thursday. She was part of a religious sect whose swarmi, Sathya Sai Baba, asked of followers to abstain from food at least once each week, a custom my roommate's entire family followed. Every Wednesday night she made sure to overeat and then broke her fast Thursday night with another large meal and honestly she was not pleasant to be around every Thursday!
To shun fasting because of my roommate's approach 20 plus years ago wasn't the right thing to do.
Fortunately, there is now plenty of research going on around fasting for different lengths and with slight tweaks here and there that has convinced me to give it a closer look.
This week we (in my onliine Keto group) we are going to delve further into fasting and examine how it plays into ketosis and metabolic flexibility. But, before you jump in you should realize by now that there is no one way to approach this and it is different for everyone. So pay close attention to your body’s messages.
We have over a hundred different hormones in the body working in conjunction with your neurotransmitters to regulate all bodily functions and maintain homeostasis. The idea behind homeostasis, and all the mechanisms involved, is to keep the body's internal environment relatively stable while there are constant changes happening all around it. These changes in one’s surroundings include the food that you eat and the timing of your meals i.e. when you do and don't eat.
When you make sudden, and sometimes drastic, changes the body sends all sorts of hormonal and neural messages racing around the body trying to make sense of things. This may make you feel out of sorts but don’t fear. The amazing mechanisms that keep things in balance sort it out very quickly a long as you don’t interrupt the messages you are sending it.
5 important things to know before attempting your first longer fast
If you are interested in supporting me or joining me on my first 36 hour fast (and are not part of my online Keto group) join me at the Fitlandia Fitness Group Page on Facebook
There is much been thrown around on the internet these days about how you should eat for thyroid health. This post is not so much about the food as about how NOT to prepare foods.
Way back in 1975, Full and Parkins reported in the Journal of Dental Research that boiling water in teflon plans produced a “pronounced increase” in fluoride levels. An excerpt from this study is reproduced below. Teflon is made from fluorinated chemical = Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), and thus the relationship between Teflon use and fluoride contamination of food is plausible.
The following is an excerpt from the Full and Parkins study:
“The fluoride concentrations observed before and after boiling for each container and the change in fluoride concentrations are shown ... A pronounced increase was seen with the Teflon-coated vessel. The boiled water from the aluminum vessel showed notable decrease. Little change was noted in the fluoride concentration of the water boiled in the stainless steel and Pyrex vessels. The amount of water remaining in each vessel was estimated; in the aluminum, stainless steel, and Pyrex vessels water was reduced by a third and in Teflon by a half. . . .
The variation of fluoride content in foods prepared in cooking vessels of different compositions should be studied. The magnitude of the composition effects seen with the aluminum and steel containers suggests that significant alterations in fluoride uptake into boiled foods may occur.”
Despite the potential significance of these findings to the fluoride exposures of millions of Americans, there has been virtually no careful attempt in the subsequent 42 years to replicate the findings.
In 2010 there was a study that showed that the chemical compound PFOA, which is found throughout the home in products like fast-food packaging, and flame/stain-resistant coatings - and of course Teflon coated pans may be linked to Thyroid disease.
This study showed that those with higher levels of PFOA in their blood have higher rates of thyroid disease. The study also implied that women (who are more susceptible to thyroid problems) are at double the risk!
Personally I dislike Teflon and I'm not afraid of cooking with fat. Fats are crucial for healthy hormone function, just be aware of those nasty industrial seed oils and fat from unhealthy animals.
SOURCE: Full CA, Parkins FM. (1975). Effect of cooking vessel composition on fluoride. Journal of Dental Research 54: 192.
Here is a good article worth reading for those learning to cook or are looking upgrade their kitchen.
I have a confession to make in this blog post. Ready? Here it goes - I love what I do. I really do.
How many people can say that they truly love their work? How many people are doing the work that they know they are destined to do?
Now, you probably don’t think this is an earth shattering confession, but here’s the thing: I used to be deeply concerned about my future and finding work that I loved. I was in college forever, never clear on my career path dismissing options as either boring, unfulfilling, impractical, not aligned with my values, or too stressful. I pushed on regardless of not having a clear idea. I received my BA, became a massage therapist, a personal trainer, a nutritional counselor, a Doctor of Chiropractic Medicine, an educator teaching human sciences and nutrition, and ultimately a Certified Functional Medicine Practitioner. Obviously I’ve always had the desire to help people. I care about my fellow humans. I want us all to feel better, stronger, healthier, happier, and more fulfilled.
It wasn’t until I discovered Functional Medicine that I finally experienced a true sense of purpose in my career. It is within this realm that I can continue learning and growing and better serve those who have health struggles. No health challenges are too small to be ignored and none are to large to give up on. Together we can make a difference.
Anyway, the reason I started this post is that I see that many of my patients are not doing work that they love and I suspect this is a MAJOR reason why their health (our nation’s health) is less than optimal.
Not to get personal but, how about you? Do you feel uplifted, inspired, and fully engaged going to work every day? Or does your work leave you feeling depleted, anxious, bored, or stressed in your life? It’s usually one or the other, right?
I would like to make a suggestion: If you’re not doing what you love, life is too short to tolerate this for too long. You deserve more…And until your work aligns with your mission and values, your health will NEVER be at the level you want it to be.
You can eat the “healthiest diet”, get all of the “best exercise”, and do all of the stress reduction techniques you want - if you’re not passionate about your work, there will always be a hole in the foundation of your health. Really! Think about how many of your adult daylight hours will be spent at work.
Now the main reason why I love what I do is that I’m in a position to help people like you really take control of their health and life on all levels. I don’t think I can help everyone or that I have an answer for every mysterious malady. What I do know is that I love to learn and I love to help where I can.
Nothing makes me happier than seeing my patients make lifestyle changes that empower them and lead to more fulfillment and well-being. This IS possible for you!
Book your FREE 15 minute consult here if you’d like to discuss how I can help you in this regard.
I have been a expert contributor at www.fitlandiafitness.com since early 2016. Together, Fitlandia CEO Christa King and I recorded many webinars and presentations which are available to FitlandiaFitness members. Earlier this year we did a Nutritional Ketosis podcast which you can listen to here. Christa has also posted this article for my readers here. Enjoy.
CEO Fitlandia By Christa King
When he invited me to join his 7-week Ketogenic Intermittent Fasting Group Program, I jumped at the chance. After all, I love experimenting with new dietary programs out of shear fascination with how my body will be impacted by them. And, because I’m still battling my sleep issues I thought, “It couldn’t hurt.”
What shocked me was that for someone as knowledgeable about macros (fats, carbs and proteins) and a die-hard food-journaler (yes, I made that word up!), I knew very little about the carb count of veggies.
Sure I knew root veggies such as sweet potatoes, parsnips and carrots were higher on the carb scale, but I didn’t realize that my beloved onions could cost me 11g of carbs. When you’re targeting 20g total for the day, that’s a lot.
Without a super-easy reference guide to help, I figured I’d create a nice little chart – all in one place – to help folks on their keto diet make the easiest choices.
Please note, I’ve listed total carbs, not net carbs, which can be misleading. For those of you targeting 20g of total carbs, these are the best resources since I don’t list the net carbs below, but total for a more accurate count. If you’re targeting net carbs, then bonus – you can eat more!
Veggies with 3g or Less Carbs
It’s easy math; the more veggies you select from this list, the more you can eat throughout the day. And it’s always better to get your nutrients from the food itself than to rely solely on supplements.
My Continued Journey with Keto
Hopefully, this reference has been helpful for those of you venturing into keto-land. For me personally, it has been just amazing reaping the benefits that come with a fat-fueled day:
And I hate to say it, but since I’m a crazy-busy entrepreneur, working 12-14 hour days, I really appreciate not having a nagging hunger throughout the day. Having the additional focus has made me more productive and I can be more mindful about my meals because I don’t end up in a raging battle with dropped blood sugar.
I’ve been sleeping better too. I think because I am getting more accomplished in my day, which leads me to be better organized and prepared for the next day, I can rest a little bit easier. I’m also making some assumptions that my body is becoming keto-adapted and therefore knows how to grab some fat for fuel v. waking up from a drop in blood sugar.
Personally, I have never been one for New Years resolutions especially those that fall into the weight loss, dieting, and getting into "shape" categories. There really is nothing magical about that particular day in the middle of winter.
I have also launched a few missions to divert this attention from weight to something more important - to no avail. You can read my previous insights here, here, here and here.
In 2016 I also joined up with the positively persistent Christa King (of FitlandiaFitness.com) in her mission to end dieting. Fitlandia is keenly focused on changing those deep-rooted mental thoughts that drive 90% of human behavior. Through our joint mission we have done our best putting out hours of great content in hopes of educating people how their body's work and how they can make their nutrition work for them - whether their complaints are fatigue, hormonal imbalance, insomnia, or too much padding.
Back at the office I continue working one-on-one with individuals who come in with "weight loss" as a goal and I know I can help them when we agree that this really is not a goal worth chasing.
WHY YOU DON'T WANT TO LOSE WEIGHT
Weight loss is merely decreasing the gravitational force of your body on the planet.
Working with hundreds of "weight loss" patients I can tell you this is just the tip of the iceberg when examining goals that are worthier than "weight loss".
Time to rethink that tired old goal.
I have just returned from SE Florida where I spent Spring break with my family. It was so good to soak up the sun and the warmth and jump in the Atlantic ocean where the water temp was 71 degrees!!!
Typical during spring we saw temperatures jump up and down from day to day with thunder storms passing through dumping buckets of rain followed by sun minutes later. This didn't stop me and the family from swimming as much as possible and allowing our pasty white NW glow to turn pink in the soothing rays of the sun.
I'm telling you all this not to make you envious but to get to the point about sun exposure, vitamin D and skin cancers.
"Avoiding Sun as Dangerous as Smoking"
That was the headline of a journal report that I read while kicking my Vit D machine into high gear.
Have we become so afraid of the sun to the point that we are damaging our health? I think so.
Check out some the findings of this study that followed nearly 30,000 women over 20 years.
This study was supported by the Clintec at the Karolinska Institute; ALF (Faculty of Medicine, Lund University, Region Skane); the Swedish Cancer Society; and the Swedish Medical Research Council. Funding was also received from Lund University Hospital; the Gustav V Jubilee Fund; the Gunnar Nilsson Foundation; the Kamprad Foundation; and the European Research Council. The authors declared no relevant financial relationships.
J Intern Med. Published online March 16, 2016.
Another thing to note. Sunscreen does not prevent skin cancer - believe it or not there has not been any study to prove that the use of sunscreen decreases skin cancer rates. Why? Because we use it wrong. Using sunscreen so you can stay out in the sun longer is engaging in risky behavior. If you are going to be stuck out on a boat or cannot avoid the rays for hours on end have a hat, other clothing that covers you, and yes then sunscreen may have a place.
Health related New Year resolutions, like weight loss, often fizzle out by this time of year. Was there something wrong with the goal? Or was it the plan? Or maybe you "don't have the willpower"!
Change is rarely a linear process, life meanders, things come up, circumstances change, you constantly need to adjust your course.
Whatever you are telling yourself right now you need to check in with your emotions and assess your readiness for change.
Bellow are some important lessons no matter where you are along your transformation journey.
Lessons from models of change and stages of grieving when setting health goals.
As a Functional Medicine Practitioner working with my patients to overcome their health challenges and create positive change, I have to be aware of mind set and my expectations regarding their wants and needs.
It is never as simple as “tell me what to do and I’ll do it” or “this is the plan and these will be the outcomes”.
Creating health is really about changing lifestyle and that involves transformation of not only the physical, but the mental and spiritual practice that we engage in every day.
If you have had involvement with Psychotherapy or studied psychology in school you may have heard of the following two models. While I have not studied these in depth I have used these to help myself and my patients understand where they are in their desire to change.
No matter how much we associate transformation with what we do i.e. exercise, diet, sleep, therapy etc there is no denying that how we feel about the process is more telling of our future success or failure.
What has grief got to do with change?
While both models are controversial in their validity I feel that both patient and practitioner can use these stages to gauge commitment and track change so as to best reach their goals.
The person is trying to shut out the reality or magnitude of his/her situation, and begins to develop a false, preferable reality. People are not intending to take action in the foreseeable future, and can be unaware that their behavior is problematic. Unfortunately, this is where most people sit for too long until their health affects them negatively daily. For example a patient who is insulin resistant but not yet diagnosed as diabetic – “They have pills for that – I’ll be fine.”
People are beginning to recognize that their behavior is problematic, and start to look at the pros and cons of their continued actions. They recognize that denial cannot continue and may become bitter, the patient is very difficult to reason with due to misplaced feelings of rage and envy. The patient can be angry with self, or with others, especially those who are close to them. Certain responses of a person undergoing this phase would be: "Why me? It's not fair! I don’t want to give up my wine"; "Why do I have to do this. Jane lost weight without having to do any of this!” A common situation in my practice.
Patients intend to take action in the immediate future, and may take small steps toward behavior change. This often involves bargaining where the patient hopes that they can somehow avoid going down the path the practitioner has chartered for them. Seeking to negotiate a compromise is normal and it is important for practitioner and patient to truly examine whether this patient is ready for the next stage. Example “OK so I’m cutting out sugar but chocolate brownies made with honey are fine! Right?” This stage can go on for many months.
I know this sounds like a stalemate but I often see patients acquiring new healthy behaviors only to withdraw. “What if I succeed in kicking my diabetes?” “What if I really do lose 100 lbs?” Their friends can change, along with their habits, their clothes, even their problems.
It is natural to feel sadness, regret, fear, and uncertainty when going through this stage. Feeling those emotions shows that the person has begun to accept the situation. Becoming a different person requires an immense amount of courage!
Patients have been able to sustain action for a while and are working to prevent relapse. At this stage they have come to terms that they are better off this way and the changes have become the new lifestyle. This typically comes with a sense of peace, a retrospective view of self, and a calm stable mindset. I often hear “I can’t believe how much better I feel. I won’t go back to the way I used to eat!”
Individuals have no temptation to return to their old unhealthy habit as a way of coping. They are happy with the path they chose to follow and are comfortable with themselves and have been accepted by their peers old and new. This is ultimately where a good practitioner would want their patients to reach.
While termination sounds final it is here that a doctor and patient build a lasting relationship built on mutual admiration, trust and satisfaction. It is here where the true reward lies.
So, remember no matter where you are in life and in health, be aware of your motivation.
Your body continuously processes environmental and dietary toxins, chemicals, and waste products.
Do you really need to “Do a Detox”?
Yes it is true that the day-to-day functioning of the liver, kidneys, spleen, digestive tract and the entire circulatory and lymphatic system is to assist in detoxifying the body. While your body does an amazing job at this our environment and dietary choices often saddle us with more than we can easily handle. Can you help clean your system out?
You bet you can.
A detox, or cleanse, if done right assists the body clean up the waste and operate more efficiently.
People usually choose a “Detox Program” to recover from the effects of poor holiday food choices, or finally tackle some unidentified food sensitivity, improve you energy, aim for clearer skin, or just improve digestion.
If your detoxification pathways are impeded, you may experience a wide range of symptoms, such as:
Acne – Aches and pains – digestive issues including constipation or diarrhea, gas, bloating etc. – Fatigue - Hormonal imbalance - Depression - Insomnia – Mucus, congestions and breathing difficulties – frequent illness and immune dysregulation – persistent headaches and or migraines – frequent urinary tract infections – or Yeast infections.
If any of this sounds like you I believe you should consider a cleanse or detox over the next month – a way to start the new year out on the right foot.
There are some basic principles that should be followed and knowing how your system functions can go a long way to improving your health for the better. While most detoxes are typically short in duration they can be the catalyst that drives your focus to a healthier lifestyle.
BEWARE – maybe you’ve seen reports warning of the negative effects of detox programs. Maybe you have seen doctors debating whether this helps or is totally bogus?!
Yes, there are often negative side effects that are experienced by those who embark on calorie and fat or protein restricted programs! Especially on programs based on only fruit and vegetable juices for multiple days to weeks at a time. One should be aware that consuming significant amounts of fructose without fiber, fat, and protein can wreck havoc on insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance, which sets one up for low energy, blood sugar fluctuations, muscle aches, fatigue, lightheadedness, and nausea.
So, how can you support your body’s pathways to function most efficiently?
You need protein – good quality proteins. Too often Detox programs focus on raw foods, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and seeds at the expense of proteins. Maybe because protein foods are generally higher in fat, require cooking, and require more energy for the body to digest. Does this digestive energy need interfere with the use of energy for cleansing and rejuvenation?
The answer is NO. The function of proteins in our body is to repair, renew, and improve immune function. So why starve your body of protein when you are looking to heal and strengthen immune function?!
Up your intake of glutathione. Glutathione is a master antioxidant. Your body produces its own glutathione but unfortunately toxins from poor quality foods, pollution, medications, trauma, aging, infections and other stressors all deplete your glutathione. This leaves you susceptible oxidative stress, free radicals, infections and disease. This depletion of such an important molecule leads to increased stress upon your liver, making detoxification difficult.
B vitamins are essential for restoring the body's glutathione and lipoic acid necessary for antioxidant defense. Thiamine is depleted by chlorinated pesticides and formaldehyde, while Riboflavin helps block free-radical damage by recycling glutathione. P-5'-P, active form of vitamin B6, is depleted by many toxic substances which can lead to B6 deficiency making it difficult for the liver to detoxify.
Magnesium, one of the most commonly deficient nutrients in the chemically toxic individual and in the general population. Choline is needed for the production of liver detoxification enzymes, N-acetylcysteine increases glutathione levels in the body, MSM provides sulfur for detoxification reactions, and R-lipoic acid is a powerful antioxidant that increases glutathione levels and is neuroprotective. Taurine, vitamin C, betaine, phosphatidylcholine, inositol and l-carnitine have been shown to support bile production and flow.
Botanical extracts are also useful in detoxification programs. Green tea extract is a potent antioxidant. Milk thistle increases liver glutathione levels and protects the liver cell from damage. Curcumin/tumeric also protects the liver and broccoli extract and dandelion root also enhance liver detoxification.
The point is there is much to consider in structuring a good detox cleanse.
Feel free to contact me if you would like to join in with me as I start 2016 with a detox.
Here it comes - the time of the year that should be about celebration, joy and togetherness. But instead stress and sugar bombard us from every angle feeding the addictive beast within, and resulting in depression, anxiety and feelings of inadequacy.
The holiday season feeds the New Year Resolution industry.
No wonder New Year's resolutions are on everyone's mind around the holidays. Many people head into a holiday tailspin convinced there is no way to avoid the over consumption and weight gain that unfortunately coincides with the shortest, coldest, darkest days of the year.
We further compound our stress by creating the ridiculous expectation that we will be able to drag ourselves out of this funk and complete a major shift in our body and mind by making grand resolutions when we really should be hibernating.
Winter is a time of reflection - the perfect time to think, reflect and draft good plans for the coming year. I certainly don't believe this is a time for starting a juice cleanse, or deciding to head to the gym 6 days a week - that is just fighting nature.
So here is what I am asking of you for those of you who care about long-term health.
DO NOT CREATE ANY WEIGHT LOSS OR EXERCISE NEW YEARS RESOLUTIONS - JUST DON'T DO IT!!!
There is nothing miraculous about this upcoming January 1st, 2016 - it is just another day like today is, and like tomorrow will be, and the day after that.
Tomorrow is the disease of our modern culture.
Think about putting a system into place TODAY. Start with your mindset. Tell these truths to yourself.
1. Everything you put into your mouth is either building you up or taking your down.
2. Every cell in your body is dependent upon the food you eat - every neurotransmitter, every hormone etc.
3. A healthy body has an easier time shedding fat than an unhealthy body - there is no argument against that period.
4. Restricted calorie diets are not healthy. That is the truth.
5. Sugar is bad for your brain and body - and feeds negative emotions - just google "sugar and depression".
6. Guilt will not serve you.
So if you are looking for a little more guidance around this subject here is a 2 part article on getting resolutions/goals right.
Part 1 Weight loss resolutions - Don't do it
Part 2 That lousy weight loss resolution
And I recommend this short video to help keep things in perspective.
There was a study released in the middle of last month showing that the chemicals in our surroundings may lead to up to 20% of all causes of cancer!!!
No this is not another report from the Dept of DUH! (DOD) this report was compiled by 174 scientist from around the world and published in the journal Carcinogenesis. Logic tells us that many chemicals can have a vast array of effects on our health but this study was not really just about that.
The study challenges the existing beliefs and technique for measuring whether a chemical is carcinogenic, or cancer-causing, in isolation. What the scientist concluded was that we live in a chemical soup and that some
"harmless chemicals" that can combine with others can create a dangerous and unpredictable mix.
Some points to take away from this study are:
None of these substances is a known carcinogen in itself, but in combination with other substances could make a cancer-causing soup within you:
Watch this short little video below to see how we can start to protect ourselves from this chemical soup.
People are becoming more aware of what is being passed off as food these days and are questioning the use of MSG, high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated fats etc.etc.etc.
But maltodextrin is found in even more foods and flying under many people's radar.
About 15 years ago I became aware, of this now ubiquitous additive, when working as a personal trainer. You see Maltodextrin is often taken as a supplement in powder form by bodybuilders and other athletes, as it is a quickly digested carbohydrate that reportedly helps the body build muscle post-workout.
I saw many people consuming those "meal replacement shakes" for weight loss/muscle building. Yes I did too - briefly - had to but quit after I developed gut “issues”. Not knowing to ask back then and in light of this new information I can't help but wonder how many people in the gym experienced GI upset. Maybe you or someone you know has had a similar experience. They should read the study below.
Now new a new study shows why this happens. (link)
Maltodextrin is found everywhere these days in packaged foods. It is easily digestible, being absorbed as rapidly as glucose, and can be either moderately sweet (85-135 on glycemic index) or almost flavorless. It is commonly used for the production of sodas and candy and most other packaged foods but is also found in beer to improve mouthfeel and increase head retention.
In the US it is mostly derived from corn but can be created from any starchy grain and herein lies the problem.
Over 95% of corn grown in this country has been genetically modified. Much of it creates a toxin from a bacteria commonly found in soil Bacillus thuringiensis. This toxin known as BT toxin is hotly debated in the health community and there have never been any long term animal studies or human studies to measure the effects of this toxin on the gut microbiome. The verdict is still out but I ask you to consider this.
Does it seem wise to consume a plant that has bacterial genes artificially placed into its DNA to produce a toxin that paralyzes and dissolves the gut of the pests that chew on it?
Your gut microbiome is your first line of defense against pathogenic (disease creating) microbes. The balance of good and bad bacteria within us is widely believed to be associated with health or a host of diseases namely those of the autoimmune variety (i.e. MS, AS, RA, Crohn's, etc)
Back to Maltodextrin
The study above shows that the consumption of Maltodextrin
" impairs cellular anti-bacterial responses and suppresses intestinal anti-microbial defense mechanisms".
I for one try to eat a few packaged foods as possible. If you read lables I would start paying closer attention to this nasty additive.
Foods where you'll find Maltodextrin
" Maltodextrin impairs cellular anti-bacterial responses and suppresses intestinal anti-microbial defense mechanisms".
It was way back in 1998 that I had my first of many episodic attacks that would randomly occur over the years that followed. I remember it well, the headache from hell that started a few hours after dinner and increased throughout the night into my first ever “migraine”. The blinding throbbing pain resisted several doses of ibuprofen over night and when I woke early the next morning the intensity had me spinning and heaving. Evacuation from both ends provided much relief and later that day it was as if nothing had happened at all! Weird?!
Then it happened again of few months later. And again – randomly. What was causing this? Was it specific foods? Back then I worked in the restaurant business and part of the job was to sample the wines and rich foods. Not preparing my own foods made it impossible to figure out my triggers.
Fast forward to 2010 and my patients are exhibiting similar signs and symptoms. Many have visited their primary doc and are prescribed migraine medications that don’t always help. They experience unexplained headaches or anxiety and heart palpitations. They flush or develop hives when drinking red wine or beers. Itchy noses, throats and tongues when eating eggplant, pizzas or tomato sauces - but not always. I’ve met patients who stopped eating guava, pears, oranges, carrots, almonds etc. and then tried them again later to find out that those weren’t their triggers after all.
I first read about this about 5 years ago and then so much of my history suddenly made sense. I realized that the use of ibuprofen and antihistamines for my headaches and seasonal allergies all those years ago actually made things much worse.
Most know what an antihistamine is, but what is Histamine and what role does it play in perceived food sensitivity?
Histamine is a chemical produced by a type of white blood cell named basophils and by another immune cell known as a mast cell. As part of the immune system Histamine increases the permeability of the capillary walls allowing white blood cells and some proteins to engage invaders in the surrounding tissues. This increase in histamine levels is what can result in headaches and itchiness and flushing. All part of the natural immune response. This action also makes it important in the digestive system and central nervous system. It is here that histamine is considered a neurotransmitter where it is involved in communication up and down the gut brain axis.
The body puts histamine into action quickly and has a check and balance system where it also breaks down and clears histamine accumulation. It is when you don’t break down histamine efficiently, that you could develop what is known as histamine intolerance (HIT).
Being that it is primarily released from blood cells, it circulates throughout your body where it can contribute to a host of symptoms and problems throughout the circulatory system, skin, nervous system, and of course the gut.
Signs and symptoms of histamine intolerance:
Think bad allergy attack and you know what these signs and symptoms feel like; Headaches, migraines, flushing, nasal congestion, sneezing, difficulty breathing, hives, fatigue, swelling of tissues, especially of the mucous membranes.
Other signs or symptoms that are attributed to histamine that you may not think of are:
Sleeping problems (especially trouble falling asleep), being hot then cold, dizziness, nausea, irregular heart beat, anxiety, hypertension or hypotension, abdominal cramps and even an abnormal menstrual cycle.
What Causes High Histamine Levels?
Well obviously your immune system in the case of true allergies, as in the classic IgE reactions do. Also fermented beverages like wine, beer, champagne, kefir, kombucha and other histamine rich foods. But the really important factor is gut health and your microbiome. You’ll see HIT associated with Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO), Candida overgrowth, and intestinal permeability.
This is likely because the gut is the most important site of action for of an enzyme known as diamine oxidase (DAO) which breaks down histamine. With gut infection there is likely inflammation and increased histamine levels and compromised enzymatic function of DAO. So if the enzymatic activity of DAO determines the rate of histamine breakdown and you have a DAO deficiency you will not be able to clear enough of the histamine consumed in with foods and the symptoms of histamine intolerance will occur.
Histamine in Foods:
In addition to the histamine produced inside your body, there are also a variety of foods that naturally contain histamine, cause the release of histamine, or block DAO.
High Histamine Foods: Essentially fermented, cured, aged, soured, smoked, and pickled products especially from animals or yeast products. Also some dried fruits and nuts. Click Here for a list of high histamine foods or do an internet search. Complete elimination is very difficult and I guide patients through this process often.
Foods that raise your histamine levels: Alcohol and many food preservatives and artificial colorings. Bananas, strawberries, papaya, pineapple, and tomatoes. Shellfish and most meat eaten as left overs.
Foods that inhibit DAO: Alcohol (again) and caffeine.
This sounds like you - now what do you do?
If these signs and symptoms sound like you and you may be deficient in DAO. You can find this as a supplement on the internet and take DAO for a couple of months and see what happens. Better yet identify the cause of your histamine intolerance.
Don’t treat the symptoms. Treat the underlying cause.
Looking into your own immune response to foods is a good place to start. Peruse the list and consider cutting all the major offenders way down. You can have me run a food sensitivity test, but these test often have mixed results. After a consult I can guide you through an elimination diet that works for your lifestyle.
Medications such as NSAIDs (ibuprofen, aspirin), histamine (H2) blockers (Tagamet, Pepcid, Zantac), antidepressants (Effexor, Prozac, Zoloft), immune modulators (Humira, Enbrel, Plaquenil), and antihistamines (Allegra, Zyrtec, Benadryl) and others have been implicated in messing with the histamine balance and some by depleting DAO levels.
Fix your gut! As mentioned IBS, IBD, SIBO, LGS, and Candida are all associated with HIT. How do you know if you need to address this? Well if you experience heart burn, GERD, frequent gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, hives, rashes, hemorrhoids, depression, anxiety etc…or your symptoms are not even related to your gut such as anemia, fatigue or hypothyroidism. All disease starts in the gut.
Testing for Histamine Intolerance?
I can test this for you, but is this test ultimately the best bang for your buck? Thorough evaluation of the individual is needed before deciding on lab tests. If this is something you would like to talk more about please contact my office I would be happy to help.
“This year, it will be different!” She started by actually going to the gym where she had paid for a lifetime membership. She hired a trainer and followed the latest fad diet book guidelines.
But by the middle of January, Mary again found herself drinking triple shot crapaccinos to combat exhaustion, snacking on salt and vinegar chips, and a she had not put a dent into those 5 pounds she gained in the last week of December.
The first week on February she didn’t make it to the gym at all, but she gave herself a break because she was really, really tired. Maybe she had mono she thought.
By Valentine’s day she decided she just doesn’t have the willpower to do it alone. She joined a group of “like-minded” individuals who also confessed at their weekly meetings that they had failed to meet their 10 week target weight too.
Oh well there is always next year…
Does this common scenario (unfortunately) sound like someone you know?
Where did Mary go wrong? She followed the S.M.A.R.T.Y. goal outlined in part 1. She enlisted some professionals and joined a support group. She really put herself out there!!! What gives? *^#*!!???
I ended Part I by stating - The truth is a healthy body has an easier time shedding fat than an unhealthy body - there is no argument against that - period.
What happens she “get’s healthy on purpose and loses weight by accident”. Why?
Because a healthy body has an easier time losing weight that an unhealthy body.
Now if Mary is focused on health she is not going to suddenly quit a diet she was on. She is going to avoid the dreaded Yo-Yo because she is unlikely to go back and forth from working towards health to not working on health. She can now to build upon her progress for the long-term and age gracefully and hopefully avoid the chronic disease downward spiral that so many obese people fall into. Sad but true.
Excess body fat is a symptom of something not working right in your body. Whether the issue is primarily hormonal, auto-immune, digestive, poor diet, poor sleep, binge eating, excessive appetite, lack of exercise, or whatever else you have been told I am here to tell you that it is likely multi-faceted. So, don't just focus on the "symptom" (the weight) but the causes. Focus on fixing your health issues and the stubborn weight will likely become a non-issue .
Look at the big picture surrounding weight.
1) Nutrition – How one consumes, assimilates, and eliminates food is the basis of human health. Every single cell in the body is dependent on what goes in your mouth - nervous tissue, muscle, fat, hair, mucous secretions, bone, immune cells, and so on. Therefore it is not a stretch to say that food affects every hormone, every neurotransmitter, your energy, your sleep, your mind, and with the emergence of Epigenetics we now know what you eat affects your offspring too! Just eat real food. Ignore labels like “natural” and “low this or that” and buy foods that are not packaged or processed whenever possible. Learn to cook – it is necessary for health. I could write a book about this – but why there are thousands of them already!
2) Digestion – This is inherently linked to your nutrition. If you want to fix your health you have to fix your gut. How do you know if you need to address this? If you experience heart burn, GERD, frequent gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, IBS, IBD, hemorrhoids, etc…I am writing a book about this.
3) Sleep – Sleep is crucial for cleansing and rebuilding the body daily. It recharges your brain, helps with hormonal balance, controls appetite, the list goes on. It is no secret that those with poor sleep have a hard time losing weight. A simple Google search will give you more than enough reading material to convince you that improved sleep is a worthy goal and necessary process. And it starts with nutrition.
4) Exercise and movement - . I don’t care if you are a CrossFit fanatic or yogi, just move! The fact is movement is key, we are not designed to be sedentary beings. Haven’t you heard? Sitting is the new smoking! Even if you exercise an hour or more every day and sit for extended periods you may be undoing all the good. Move often and if you don’t exercise at all – shame on you for the self-abuse. Start simply even if it is 5 minutes a day.
5) Stress – yes you can’t avoid it these days but you can certainly mitigate the effects through conscious effort. Breath deeply often, stop trying to do everything and be everything for everybody. Focus on self and create quiet in our life daily. Stress has far reaching effects on everything I have already mentioned above.
Quit worrying about weight! If your doctor and family tell you the key to getting healthy is to lose weight. Tell them that it is the other way round!
The key to losing weight is focusing on health.
Now dump that silly guilt surrounding your failed weight loss resolution and create systems to restore your health. Be good to yourself.
A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (Am J Clin Nutr. 2012;95:1323-1334) reported that people who drank 2 glasses of red wine per day (dry red wine, not sugary dessert wines) had higher levels of beneficial bacteria in their gut and lower levels of pathogenic bad bacteria in their gut.
As you know from reading this page, your gut flora balance is so important from your digestion, immunity, metabolism, skin health, and much more.
The study concluded that while red wine consumption decreased pathogenic bacteria in the gut, it actually had a prebiotic effect in the gut in that it supported the growth and colonies of healthy gut microbes which protect your health.
But, I'm here to tell you to pay attention to those labels and that pervasive ingredient carrageenan!
You'll find it in foods containing milk, non-dairy milks, chocolate, cottage cheese, ice cream, infant formulas, dietetic beverages, low-fat meats and yogurts. It is used as a thickener and texture enhancer in food, but is also found in cosmetics, toothpastes, room deodorizers and pesticides.
So the FDA considers this a harmless food additive and at one point I never paid much attention to it myself. In 2003 friend was diagnosed with Crohn's disease and she found some info about carrageenan involved in inflammation. Together we looked through many conflicting reports and found no clear answers.
The conflict was mostly surrounding the two different forms that have been studied - degraded vs. undegraded. The degraded forms (the type not used in food) were linked to dysfunction, ulcerations and cancers of the gastrointestinal tract in several different animal and in vitro studies.
Many dismissed the concern surrounding these studies because:
So what - case closed. Forget those older studies and look at what is now happening.
In April 2012, Joanne K. Tobacman, M.D addressed the National Organic Standards Board on the carrageen issue and urged reconsideration of the use of this additive in organic foods.
Dr. Tobacman has published 18 peer-reviewed studies that address the biological effects of carrageenan and is convinced that it is harmful to human health. She specifically conducted studies linking undegraded carrageenan - the type that is widely used in foods - with malignancies and other stomach problems. Her studies have convinced her that all forms of carrageenan are capable of causing inflammation.
Now get this! Drug investigators actually use carrageenan to cause inflammation in tissues. Yes, it is referred to as carrageenan-induced cytokine production. Now we all know that chronic inflammation is associated with many diseases including heart disease, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and cancer. Blood sugar control is often linked with inflammation these days too. So how about this study that shows carrageenan impairs glucose tolerance, increases insulin resistance and inhibits insulin signalling
Dr. Tobacman maintains that all types of carrageenan are harmful and suggests that acid digestion, heating, bacterial action and mechanical processing can all accelerate degradation of food-grade carrageenan.
Now many researchers believe that it promotes irritable bowel, colorectal cancer, breast cancers and more.
Chemists have discovered that carrageenan suppresses gamma interferon, a cytokine crucial for tumor and infectious control (like hepatitis), as well as control of inflammation and autoimmune disease, arthritis, and more.
The average intake of carrageenan for most individuals is 100 mg a day.
So my take-away is read the labels on the foods and products you consume and stay clear of anything that has carrageenan listed especially if you already have inflammation, GI dysfunction or an autoimmune disease.
If you suffer from the following common symptoms it could indicate a thyroid condition…
If you already get 8 or 10 hours of sleep a night and are unable to function all day without a nap or stimulants (caffeine) that could be a sign of thyroid problems. If hyperthyroid, you may have nighttime insomnia leading to your exhaustion.
2. Weight Changes
The inability to maintain your ideal weight even if you have tried every low-fat, low-carb, low-calorie diet with little weight loss success; you might have hypothyroidism. Or those diets could have caused your The same goes for hyperthyroidism and the inability to gain weight while eating way more than usual.
3. Muscle & Joint Pain
Constant aches and pains in the muscles and joints, even without engaging in physical exertion can be symptomatic of a thyroid condition.
4. Swollen Neck
While goiter is rarely seen these days, swelling in the neck or a visibly enlarged thyroid that leads to neck pain and a gravelly voice can indicate thyroid disease.
5. Hair & Skin Changes
Dry hair, hair loss, and dry, thin, or scaly skin are often some of the first signs of thyroid problems that lead women to question their thyroid health.
Painful bowel movements or long-term constipation is often the result of total metabolic slowing.
7. Menstrual Abnormalities
Heavy, irregular, or painful periods can be indicative of hypothyroidism—while shorter, lighter or irregular menstruation can indicate hyperthyroidism.
8. Mood disorders
Depression or anxiety disorders can indicate thyroid disease. Usually hypothyroid is associated with depressive mood and anxiety, panic attacks and palpitations is associated with hyperthyroidism. Although this is not always one or the other.
The hypothyroid medication levothyroxine (Synthroid, AbbVie) continues to be the nation's most prescribed drug but as you'll see in my future posts many thyroid conditions can be resolved without pharmaceutical interventions.
Now don't get me wrong I am not saying goals are worthless, I'm just saying there is a better way and a worthier goal than weight loss that will ultimately help you on the path to satisfaction.
Everyone is familiar with the stats showing that 95% of people who lose weight gain it back within the year and then invariably you'll see "and then some". Here are a few explanations for this that you probably have not considered.
The YoYo effect
So you carefully outline your goal - maybe you are even savvy enough to make it a S.M.A.R.T.Y. goal.
An Example of a SMARTY goal would be
· Specific – 50 lbs weight loss
· Measurable – Yes. Easily done with a scale
· Actionable – Exercise and dieting seems to count as action for most.
· Risk – The idea of getting out of your comfort zone – giving up some creature comforts.
· Time – In the next 12 weeks. By your birthday - But does it really matter?
· Yours – You are doing this for yourself! Not because someone wants you to!
So, now what happens when you drop the 50 pounds as outlined in your goal? All your hard work and sacrifice is focused on that 50lbs, now what? What is going to keep you going forward after you crossed the finish line? You worked to get this far so now you let up! This is the “yo-yo effect” where you go back and forth from working towards a goal to not working on one. This yoyoing makes it difficult to build upon your progress for the long-term.
You try to plan how many pounds to lose and when you will reach a target. Why would you try to predict how quickly you can make progress, when you have no idea what circumstances or situations will arise along the way. This is particularly true when your sleep, hormones and stress are in flux which brings us to the truth of the matter.
Are you ready for the TRUTH?
You're chasing the wrong goal.
The truth is a healthy body has an easier time shedding fat than an unhealthy body - there is no argument against that period. So your focus should then be on health. Restricted calorie diets are not healthy. That is the truth. Living in pain is not healthy. Constipation and diarrhea is not a sign of health. High blood pressure, headaches, diabetes, migraines, gas, heart burn, bloating, rashes, hives, insomnia, reflux...the list goes on. Taking medications to mask these symptoms is not getting you closer to health. In fact masking symptoms is likely making the underlying cause worse and setting you up for chronic disease and a lifetime of pill popping.
Solution - face your truth.
Think about your health and truly look at diet and lifestyle. Not sure where to start? Stay tuned for solutions or attend on of my free presentations listed on the Calendar of Events page
What we can learn from models of change and stages of grieving when setting weight loss goals.
First introduced by American Psychiatrist Elisabeth Kubler-Ross in her 1969 book On Death and Dying, the 5 stages of grieving has been useful in navigating people through the grieving process. While these stages are not meant to be a complete list of all possible emotions they are helpful when facing a life-altering undertaking such as losing 100 pounds. In the transtheoretical model, change is a process involving progression through various stages. When setting goals that are life changing people forget to take into account the process and commitment that is involved. I feel that checking into these various stages can be helpful in committing to the process.
While both models are controversial in their validity I feel that both patient and practitioner can use these stages to gauge commitment and track change so as to best reach their goals.
1. Denial & Precontemplation (Not Ready)- The person is trying to shut out the reality or magnitude of his/her situation, and begins to develop a false, preferable reality. People are not intending to take action in the foreseeable future, and can be unaware that their behavior is problematic. This is unfortunately where most people sit for too long until health is negatively affecting them daily.
2. Anger & Contemplation (Getting Ready)- People are beginning to recognize that their behavior is problematic, and start to look at the pros and cons of their continued actions. They recognize that denial cannot continue and may become angry, the patient is very difficult to reason with due to misplaced feelings of rage and envy. The patient can be angry with self, or with others, especially those who are close to them. Certain responses of a person undergoing this phase would be: "Why me? It's not fair! I don’t want to give up my wine"; "Why do I have to do this. Jane lost weight without having to do any of this!”
3. Preparation & Bargaining (Ready)-Patients intend to take action in the immediate future, and may take small steps toward behavior change. This often involves bargaining where the patient hopes that they can somehow avoid going down the path the practitioner has chartered for them. Seeking to negotiate a compromise is normal and it is important for practitioner and patient to truly examine whether this patient is ready for the next stage. Example “OK so I’ve given up sugar but chocolate brownies made with honey are fine! Right?”
4. Depression & Action– I know this sounds like a stalemate but I often see patients acquiring new healthy behaviors only to withdraw. “What if I succeed in kicking my diabetes?” “What if I really do lose 100 lbs?” Their friends can change, along with their habits, their clothes, even their problems. It is natural to feel sadness, regret, fear, and uncertainty when going through this stage. Feeling those emotions shows that the person has begun to accept the situation. Becoming a different person requires a huge amount of courage!
5. Acceptance & Maintenance – Patients have been able to sustain action for a while and are working to prevent relapse. At this stage they have come to terms that they are better off this way and the changes have become their new lifestyle. This typically comes with a calm, retrospective view of self, and a stable mindset. I often hear “I can’t believe how much better I feel. I won’t go back to the way I used to eat!”
6. Termination – Individuals have no temptation to return to their old unhealthy habit as a way of coping. They are happy with the path they chose to follow and are comfortable with themselves and have been accepted by their peers old and new. This is ultimately where a good practitioner would want their patients to reach.
I love the movies that feature the uprising of the suppressed who manage to elevate and maintain their new heights. Typically I will support any resistance – but not Insulin resistance!
We have known for a while now that consumption of sugar and insulin resistance is definitely associated with obesity, diabetes and high cholesterol. What many don’t acknowledge is that sugar, and the inability to regulate it in your system, is also linked to fatigue, high blood pressure, fatty liver, atherosclerosis, yeast overgrowth, magnesium loss, acidic pH, mineral imbalance, systemic inflammation, PCOS and a slew of other hormonal problems. The real bummer is the association with Alzheimer’s and certain Cancers!
Yeah-yeah! We’ve all heard that the average American consumes over 180 pounds of refined sugar each year, and we know we Americans get half their calories from refined carbohydrates. We just can’t help ourselves!
I mean why stress about it when stress itself is just another factor that contributes to this disease Insulin resistance. You may have also heard that your poor sleep habits, your lack of exercise, and exposure to toxins is also driving you closer to the resistance.
I’m here to tell you that Diabetes is avoidable and reversible and does not have to include medications. It starts with food of course and doing your best to take care of the other stressors mentioned above.
For the rest of November check back for more information on how to protect yourself from diabetes the pandemic that has swept the globe in the past few generations.
The Institute for Responsible Technology (IRT) is offering a free screening of Genetic Roulette – The Gamble of Our Lives for one week in your state to support your current legislative initiative to label or put a moratorium on GMOs. The screening will start today and run through November 3rd, 20014.
The PW for the video is: GMOs2014
We hope that you enjoy this important film and share it with your friends and neighbors
Watch the trailer here.
Genetic Roulette – The Gamble of Our Lives includes never-before-seen-evidence that points to genetically engineered foods as a major contributor to rising disease rates in the US population, especially among children. Gastrointestinal disorders, allergies, inflammatory diseases, and infertility are just some of the problems implicated in humans, pets, livestock, and lab animals that eat genetically modified soybeans and corn.
Monsanto’s strong arm tactics, the FDA’s fraudulent policies, and how the USDA ignores a growing health emergency are also laid bare. This sometimes shocking film may change your diet, help you protect your family, and accelerate the consumer tipping point against genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Don’t miss this film!
SAFE eating begins with INFORMED eating!
Dr. Jerome Craig, DC