Category Archives: Nutrition Articles
The past week we stayed with a couple in Paris that are old friends with my husband. The wife was suffering terrible allergies and she seemed to think it was just an allergy to pollen. Oh how I wanted to set her straight but there was a language barrier that kept us from discussing complex subjects like how to strengthen the immune system.
Many times allergies to pollen and grass are due to over burdened protective linings of our gut, lungs, skin and even brain. I have worked with many clients who took some simple steps and eliminated their seasonal allergies all together (after consulting with their doctor first of course!) I did all I could to show my new friends what they need to eat and do improve their health, many times using sign language and charades. I guess they will make changes when they are ready.
Check your Vitamin D
Try to get your level of vitamin D level to 50 ng/ dl which will give your immune system and boost because it is more like a wellness hormone than a vitamin. Having adequate vitamin D levels will give you stronger defenses against seasonal pollen as well as cold and flu’s. It is best to take a liquid with a meal containing fat to increase absorption. Always check your level each year at your doctor. I take this brand of Vitamin D3.
Reduce toxins in the home
The more toxins clogging your liver the less able it will be to effectively deal with pollen in the air. The pollen becomes the scapegoat most people end up blaming for their allergies, when really is a result of their overall toxic load. Air fresheners, cleaning products, and perfumes are some examples of products where natural versions can help us to detox.
Get rid of artificial personal care products
Again these products are so full of chemicals that drag down your ability to effectively detox which will create a hay fever type reaction. Conventional shampoo, deodorant, anti-bacterial soap and toothpaste are all good examples toxic personal hygiene products. I like to use a combo of coconut oil , apple cider vinegar, and baking soda for just about everything!
Heal your gut
When eat a lot of hard to digest foods over time the small intestine becomes very inflamed. This process opens spaces between the villi letting undigested food particles into the blood stream. The immune system attacks these undigested foreign particles creating a deluge of activity that derails it from it’s normal job of dealing with pollen. The best way to so this is to remove gluten, grains, and vegetable oil products. Many clients who do this throw out their allergy medicine for good. Read about how my little bro got rid of his inhaler here.
Drink more homemade bone broth
The best thing for a weakened immune system is minerals and collagen which are both plentiful in bone broth. Also the material in bones and joints is the same as the lining of the gut which will facilitate faster healing reducing allergy symptoms .It so easy to make your own. Follow my recipe here.
Get more protein
Our immune system consists of our skin, linings of our lung, gut and brain. Many times our body is trying to repair these linings but it lacks the building material. You can’t build a house with no bricks, right? Same goes with your for immune system repair.
Increase essential fatty acids
Essential fatty acids like grass fed butter, fatty wild fish like salmon decrease inflammation which will allow our immune system to calm the reaction to pollen and other allergens. Most people have a very skewed ratio of omega-3/6 fats in their which will create many symptoms of illness such as frequent colds and spring allergies.
Increase Magnesium Rich Foods
Many fruits and veggies contain a lot of magnesium which is essential for healing the linings of the immune system. It is also crucial for cell turnover in the gut. Magnesium rich veggies are critical to liver detox which will open the door to being able to enjoy spring weather without a bad reaction. I love this natural magnesium product
Is a powerful anti-inflammatory flavanoid, that can help calm nasal congestion for a more a short term remedy. It is found in certain rich colored fruits such as well like blueberries, cherry, and blackberries. Roobios tea also has a lot of quercetin as well as elderberry, passionflower and licorice teas. Onions, broccoli, most leafy greens as well as fresh herbs are good sources of this healing antioxidant. I like this product to get 500-1000 mg per day.
Use Stinging Nettles
Nettles is an herb that has been used for centuries as an anti-histamine. I have used it a lot for colds and flu’s in a tea form. You can also take it in a pill about 300 mg per day, this is a good brand.
Get lots of sleep
Many times allergies are assign of over stressed adrenals that have had it up to here with your pedal to the medal lifestyle. Sometimes your body stops you before you have the good sense listen to the internal signals. The most important time for repair is between 10-2 am so don’t miss these essential hours for immune repair and allergy relief.
Increase Beneficial Bacteria
When you have a lot negative bacteria from a lifetime of eating SAD diet, overuse of antibiotics, and too much sugar/carbs, an environment of dysbiosis (too much bad bacteria) is created. These bacteria create waste products that slow down the bodies ability to detox outside environmental pollution and pollen making the person’s immune system to overreact with headaches, sneezing ect. The best way to get more good bacteria is to eat a variety of fermented foods like beet kvass, sauerkraut, raw yogurt, and kombucha. You can also take a good probiotic which can help. This is a good brand that many clients like.
Need some more help dealing with your seasonal allergies?
I recommend this book which is for Eczema but it has amazing crossover with seasonal allergies because they are both similar just manifesting in a different place. This book will take you step by step of how to heal your immune system so you can reduce or eliminate seasonal allergy symptoms. Click here
What strategies have helped you to naturally overcome seasonal allergies? Let me know!
This post is linked to Party Wave Wednesday
This is another guest post from my talented intern and nutrition student Coco Noel.
You’ve heard enough about the elusive “Omega 3s” to know they’re not a Christian rock band. But you’re still unclear:
Should you buy fish oil? Opt for the flaxseed granola? Atlantic or Alaskan salmon?
But what about mercury? Eat omega 3-enriched eggs? How about walnuts? Is the room spinning yet?
Before your confusion leads you to seriously consider the merits of eating green eggs and ham (hint: there are none), I’ll explain the basics of essential omega fatty acids, why they matter, and outline simple ways you can utilize them for good health.
What are they?
Both omega 3 and omega 6 are essential fatty acids, which means your body can’t make them on its own, so you have to get them from food.
Omega 3s are anti-inflammatory, slow down cell growth, and have anticoagulant properties.
There are two main types of omega 3s:
DHA and EPA are found primarily in fish and shellfish.
ALA is found mainly in plant sources (walnuts, flax and chia seeds), and doesn’t offer the potent health effects as DHA and EPA.
Omega 6s can increase inflammation, encourage cell growth, and aid in blood clotting.
Our bodies perform best when we take in a balance of omega 6 to omega 3. The ideal ratio falls somewhere between 1:1 to 3:1 of omega 6:omega 3. Unfortunately, the average American is taking in a ratio of about 20:1. This creates a continual state of inflammation in the body – prime conditions for chronic disease, cancer growth, and premature aging.
Fish Oil Supplements Aren’t the Answer
While ingesting large amounts of omega 3-rich fish oil supplements may seem like the obvious solution, it’s not. Omega 3s are very fragile and the extraction process almost always subjects them to high temperatures, processing, and chemical solvents to take away that fishy odor…you don’t really think that strawberry-flavored fish oil comes from a strawberry-flavored fish, do you?
It’s estimated that 25-50% of fish oil supplements are rancid before you even open the bottle. This means that once that oxidized fish oil is in your body, it’s going to encourage a state of inflammation –the opposite of what you want!
Recent research suggests that the best and safest way to achieve a healthy ratio of omega 6:3 isn’t by trying “even out” the balance by ingesting copious amounts of omega 3s – even if the supplement is of good quality. Rather, it’s recommended that you simply adjust your diet so that you’re taking in fewer omega 6s in favor of more omega 3s.
Eat Your Way to a Perfect Balance
- Eat seafood!
- Between 2-4 times per week,
- Reach for sustainable, omega 3-rich seafood such as:
Wild Alaskan salmon (avoid farm-raised salmon, which includes those labeled Atlantic or pink)
Albacore tuna—contains notably higher levels of omega 3 than chunk light (limit to 6 ounces per week)
Find a great quality online source for seafood here
The benefits of eating fish far outweigh any risks. While mercury toxicity is often touted as a reason to shy away from seafood, most ocean fish is very high in selenium, which is protective against mercury.
- Choose grass fed beef and dairy
While all cows have similar levels of omega 6s, milk, butter and meat from grass fed cows are higher in omega 3s than cows raised on grain. In fact, grass is full of the omega 3 fatty acid ALA, which grass fed cows convert to the higher-quality DHA and EPA. Amazing!!!
A great source of grass fed beef can be found here
- Eat Pastured chickens and eggs
An article from Mother Earth News found that eggs from pastured chickens – that is, those gals who are roaming the countryside eating seeds, bugs and grasses – contain two times more omega 3 than eggs from factory farmed chickens.
- Limit nuts.
Walnuts contain 10 times more omega 6 than omega 3. Almonds provide almost no omega 3 whatsoever. Because the omega 6 fats in nuts are packaged in a whole food with other nutrients, like selenium, fiber and vitamin E, which can prevent rancidity, it isn’t necessary to avoid them altogether. But moderation is key; they are fine snacks, but should not be counted on to supply a significant amount of protein or calories.
- Flax and chia seeds are plant sources of omega 3.
These are fine to include in your diet, but our bodies cannot efficiently convert the ALA to DHA/EPA.
- Keep flax refrigerated and buy the whole seed; if you want to grind it, do it yourself with a blender or food processor to decrease oxidation.
Run in the Other Direction
- Reconsider chicken as your main protein source: Eat dark meat poultry in moderation because this is where the omega 6 is concentrated.
- Avoid industrialized seed oils. Soybean, cottonseed, corn and anything labeled “vegetable” oils are very high in omega 6. At restaurants, request that your food be cooked in butter than rather vegetable oil.
- Avoid isolating the omega 6 in the form of nut oil, which is prone to oxidation and doesn’t come packed with protective nutrients that are found in whole nuts. Coconut oil, ghee, butter, and olive oil are better options.
Note: A cold-pressed fermented cod liver oil offers nominal amounts of omega 3, but is packaged as a multi-nutrient whole food and isn’t plagued by the same over-processing and striping of nutrients as fish oils.
-by Coco Noel
Be sure to check out Coco’s facebook page
Share this article with your friends who may be confused about omega’s 3s!
For more info about Omega 3 read my article about Fish Oil Do’s and Don’ts.
Find the only Fish oil I recommend here:
This is a guest post from my intern/assistant Coco: who is jazzed up about the benefits of Turmeric after studying it a lot in nutrition school. Be sure to follow her facebook page for more awesome info! It was great to be reminded of all the benefits of this powerful herb!
You’re in pain. Maybe your back hurts, or you have menstrual cramps, or are experiencing post-surgical pain. Which do you reach for?
PILL A: Will relieve your pain, but also increase your likelihood of heart attack, stroke and blood clots. It will put you at risk for gastrointestinal bleeding, perforation and ulceration of the stomach and intestines. It’s been linked to erectile dysfunction. Don’t choose this if you’ve ever had a heart attack! Kills 16,500 Americans and put another 100,000 in the hospital each year.
PILL B: Will relieve your pain, but if taken as directed for four days, you may be at risk for liver damage. Do not take if you regularly have more than three alcoholic drinks per day. Puts 42,000 people in the hospital each year.
PILL C: Will relieve your pain as effectively as Pill A. May protect your brain from Alzheimer’s, lower your cancer risk, and reduce inflammation. Good for your liver and safe to take with alcohol. Puts exactly zero Americans in the hospital each year.
Pill A is all NSAIDS (ibuprofen, Advil, Aleve, aspirin, naproxen).
Pill B is acetaminophen-containing (Tylenol, Vicodin, Percocet).
Wondering what’s with Pill C?
Is it illegal? Expensive? Made by distilling the blood of unicorns? Nope. It’s an antioxidant called curcumin. Even if you’ve never heard of it, chances are you already have some in your kitchen.
Curcumin comes from the turmeric root, which is an Indian spice often used in curry dishes. Curcumin is the pigment that makes the spice bright yellow.
Check out what the medical literature has to say about curcumin:
- Can relieve pain associated with Type II Diabetes, osteoarthritis, cramps, and surgery.
- A study showed 2 grams of curcumin to be as effective at relieving pain as 800 mg of ibuprofen (“Pill A” above).
- Kills cancer cells in laboratory dishes and slows the growth of surviving cells.
- Halts development of some forms of cancer in lab animals and has been found to shrink animal brain tumors by more than 80 percent.
- May reduce inflammation and delay or prevents obesity-induced insulin resistance.
- India, where people consume large amounts of turmeric, has 1/4 the rate of Alzheimer’s among people aged 70-80 as the United States. While not definitively proven, curcumin may help block the plaques and proteins that cause problems in the brain during Alzheimer’s disease.
The research surrounding curcumin is so promising, in fact, that many doctors now recommend it to their patients for pain relief.
Even though upwards of 10 grams of curcumin taken daily for upwards of three months has been documented as safe, unless you’re acting on the advice of your health care professional, it’s generally best to opt for whole foods (in this case, turmeric) rather than isolates (curcumin) for long-term and maintenance use. If you do opt for a curcumin supplement, run it past your doctor first, as curcumin hasn’t been cleared for use by pregnant women nor those with gallbladder issues, and it can interfere with blood clotting and some chemo drugs.
Turmeric is made up of about 3-5% curcumin. There are ways of incorporating this antioxidant into your diet that are easy (like taking turmeric pills), and tasty (like cooking with it):
- Our bodies aren’t effective at absorbing turmeric unless it is taken with black pepper. If taking a turmeric or curcumin supplement, be sure to choose one that contains black pepper or piperine. If you’re cooking with turmeric, add some black pepper to the dish.
- Turmeric can be added to many savory and spicy foods. Add a hearty sprinkle to tomato sauce, stews, soups, hamburger, sautéed vegetables, deviled eggs, and popcorn.
- Make turmeric hot tea: Starting with a base of hot green tea, add 1 Tbsp. coconut oil, 1 tsp. ground turmeric, 1 tsp. ground ginger, 1 tsp. cinnamon, 1/8 tsp black pepper and stevia or honey to taste. Stir and top with cream or coconut milk.
An overview published in Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology in 2007 recorded that: in addition to providing pain relief, “Curcumin has been shown to exhibit antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antibacterial, anti-fungal, and anticancer activities and thus has a potential against various malignant diseases, diabetes, allergies, arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease and other chronic illnesses.”
When was the last time you read that on the label of a drugstore pain killer?
Thanks for reading!
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Always be sure to add some Turmeric to food but also,
Get a great form of Turmeric/Curcumin here:
Research continues to tie the declining health of Americans to our poor diet choices. With too much sugar and too much unhealthy fats, we bulge, our hearts give out, and our brains begin to “go crazy”. Something as simple as a trans-fat-laden French fry may cause depression claims a group of Spanish researchers. Indeed, you are more likely to be depressed if you rely on a regular staple of packaged baked goods and snacks or items such as fast food French fries. When you look at a vending machine with a little packaged cake inside, that is what we are talking about here.
Your first lesson: Step away from that vending machine.
The most increasingly shunned trans fat comes in the form of vegetable shortening, a partially hydrogenated fatty acid that is cheap substitute for butter and lard in baking and for high heat oils in frying. If trans-fat is a cheap substitute for traditional forms of fat, it does beg the question: What fats should we eat to avoid depression? The Spanish study does not leave readers with a lot of wisdom on this key question, but we can look to other studies and to the history of the human diet for advice.
Omega 3 In Fish Does Fight Depression
The traditional human diet has been high in the Omega 3 fatty acid found in fish and seafood. In fact, Weston Price in his book Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, details how traditional peoples traveled great distances to get mollusks like crab and clam, rich in Omega 3 fats and abundant in minerals. These foods have a spectrum of nutrients that can help fill your health needs whether you are a toddler, teenager, pregnant mother, or an aging grandparent.
If your diet is high in vegetable oils, you actually need even more Omega 3s. The Omega 6s in your vegetable oils compete for space in your cells with Omega 3s — the Omega 6 oils win. Your best bet is to cut out sources of corn and other vegetable oils such as store-bought crackers and chips. You have surely already cut out trans fats as well but you should also know that your metabolism of trans fats interferes with your Omega 3 metabolism. If you eat a basket of crispy fish and chips, you need a whole lot of fish to make up for those chips.
Ideally, the fish will be wild — wild salmon for instance. Wild fish and seafood are higher in Omega 3s than their farmed counterparts and they are generally lower in the toxins that now proliferate our waters.
If you already struggle from depression, you may need even more Omega 3 for depression than that crab or salmon fillet can provide. In depression clinical trials, researchers have found high doses of Omega 3 fatty acids effective in lowering depression — on the order of four grams a day.
Omega 9 In Olive Oil May Fight Depression
Olive oil may help fight depression. This is a new area of research but there is a lot of evidence that olive oil is good for us. It is associated with heart health, longevity, and reduced instances of degenerative diseases. It may protect against depression as well.
One of my favorite meals combines Omega 9 and Omega 3 in the form of a healthy salad, with an olive oil-centered dressing, my favorite seasonal lettuce, and topped with salmon or crab. Make a dressing simply by combining olive oil with a bit of balsamic vinegar and chopped garlic. Add a bit of flax seed oil for additional Omega 3 fats.
Grass Fed Meat For Depression?
Wild game and pastured meats may help your struggle as well. In my book Rebuild from Depression: A Nutrient Guide I provide a list of “depression buster foods,” foods high in nutrients associated with depression. Wild fish and wild game top the list because of the fatty acid profiles and the density of vitamins and minerals.
Beef liver is actually a great example. All animal liver is loaded with B vitamins and minerals; it is also very high in fat. Note in the graph at right that the fat is more likely to be of the Omega 3 variety if the animal has been on a diet of grass. I rely on liver when I am under great stress because it helps keep my body replenished of an array of nutrients. You can find it at any health food store and will definitely want to look for the organic label in this case.
Foods For Depression
Food does affect your mood. Your brain needs the right mix of fats, vitamins, and minerals to be healthy. Some foods wreak havoc on that delicate balance and fast foods are a prime example. Other foods will help you fight depression, including fish and seafood abundant in Omega 3 and wild game with a healthy array of vitamins, minerals, and fats.
Incorporate these foods into your own diet and the diet of your family. You may be surprised to find a family a little less grumpy and on-the-edge. Over time, you may even protect your aging brain from decline if you nourish it well.
Support Grass Fed Girl by buying the Rebuild from Depression Book as part of
Amanda Rose, Ph.D., lives on five acres in the Sequoia National Forest with her two sons, the second of whom was born to a depression-free pregnancy. She works with her mother Jeanie on the Traditional Foods website providing nutritious recipes and food science and health tidbits.
Recently my buddies over at Carbsmart.com, where I am guest writer asked me to review their new book called The Fat Fast Cookbook. I was so excited to see the result of all their hard work! This easy read is by Dana Carpender, Amy Dungan and Rebecca Latham who are all seasoned low carbers. Dana has sold over 1 million low carb cookbooks in her career! The book also features several important articles from Jimmy Moore about how he achieved such great success in the past year losing 60 plus pound on 80-90% fat diet.
Great features about the book:
I have heard about the fat fast many time but I never understood what it meant in practical terms. Dana breaks down how to do the fat fast and how it should be used. It is something to be used as a kick start to weight loss plan or as a temporary plan for a special event. It is designed for several days up to one week and is a calorie restriction originally used by the man: Dr Atkins. Dana has a funny unassuming casual style that will instantly make you feel at ease. She will assure you that you can succeed on this plan. She even opens up about how she improved her own blood glucose numbers by dropping her protein and upping her fat to achieve ketosis.
Another use for the book:
This book is not only for fat fasting it is great for nutritional ketosis which is perfect for anyone on a low carb or paleo diet. Read my other article about ketosis here. Many studies have shown the benefits of low carb ketosis diets for cancer, alzheimer’s, epilepsy and of course type 2 diabetes. A great read for more details is the book Art and Science of Low Carb Performance.
Some great features:
Dana has a recipe for pro-biotic dairy free coconut sour cream. I am excited to try this! Another recipe I am excited about is trying to make my own coconut butter following Dana’s recipe. She also has me hyped up about her keto-mayo.
One thing I see in my work with clients is that people are still fat phobic from the 90′s so this book is refreshing. It shows us how to amp up the fat in new ways to burn off the pounds and by making our bodies lipid burning machines. There are some great news ways to use coconut oil in the book to up our MCT’s!
Some things to be aware of:
This book is a low carb book even though Dana just wrote a book called 500 Paleo Recipes so I know she knows her stuff. Some things to watch out for are the use of soy sauce which is easily substituted with Coconut Amino’s. Also they use low calorie soy noodles which can easily be substituted for kelp noodles or miracle noodles. One more thing to be wary of is artificial sweeteners which are common on low carb diets but in my view is that these can be neurotoxins. It is easy to use stevia in place of splenda/sucralose in these recipes. One last thing is it is always important to use the best oils for sauces and dressings which may mean making your own with approved anti-inflammatory oils. Also this book is pretty heavy on the dairy which can usually be substituted with coconut milk if you are dairy free. Also always use the best quality organic, raw and grass fed dairy you can find for the most nutrients and least amount of allergens.
One of the main reasons I wanted to write over at Carbsmart.com is that I wanted more low carbers to learn about how processed foods and common food allergens can shoot our dieting efforts in the foot because they are so inflammatory. I love that more and more low carbers are seeing the benefit in cutting gluten, soybean/corn oil and other low carb products out of their diets.
How to do a fat fast:
Dana lets us know what a real day on the fat fast looks like. She recommends the following tips:
- Eat every two to three hours about 200-300 calories
- Eat 1000-1200 calories a day
- Stay hydrated
- Eat plenty of high quality sea salt
- Never exceed 3-5 days of fat fasting
- It is only for special occasions or as jumpstart for weight loss
- Fat fasting is best for people who have already been on a low carb diet for at least a month
- Always check with you doctor before beginning because medication needs can fluctuate (very important)
- Keep your carbs very low about 20-50 net grams-mostly from green leafy vegetables
- Keep your protein to 10% of total calories
A sample fat fast menu:
7 am Keto coffee with grass fed butter, 200 calories
10 am snack 1 oz of Macadamia nuts, 200 calories
1 pm Lunch kelp noodles with beef broth pho and pork rinds
4 pm snack Steamed Asparagus with 2 tbsp homemade keto-naise mayo
7 pm Dinner: 1 cup grass fed beef curry
She also has some great looking high fat sweet treats such as:
- coconut candy
- pumpkin cheesecake
- low carb chocolate pudding
- warm “oatmeal” porridge
- yogurt parfait with pecans
- pumpkin pie
- lemon cheesecake
- chocolate mousse
- Mexican hot chocolate
- cocoa fat bombs
- chocolate whip
- coconut flax bread
- Mocha mascarpone mousse
Am I advocating that you try a fat fast?
It is a tool that can be in your tool box and I just want you to understand that there are many options out there. If you really are having trouble losing weight then I think you should look under the hood. Do you have an unidentified food sensitivity? Most people do and the stress of eating foods that don’t agree with your system can really pack on the pounds. Also check your thyroid levels with all the proper tests. Also it is very important to heal your gut and make sure you are free of parasites other gut bugs. Improving your gut flora is paramount for weight loss too. There are many steps for losing fat but the main things is staying positive, loving yourself with nourishing whole foods and not comparing your health journey to others.
I think if you have a photo shoot or a wedding coming up you really should have planned farther in advance! But in those cases a fat fast may be just the ticket!
Always check with your doctor before beginning any diet plan!!!!