healthy mind

Often times when we talk about fat in our foods we cast fat as the indelible bad guy—clogging arteries, elevating blood pressure, and generally ruining bathing suit season. However, it is important to note that not all fat is bad fat. In fact, our brain tissue is made of 60% fat, which means we need fat in our diet to support our brain tissue.

High quality fats, like monounsaturated fats, can address cognitive issues, and are actually heart healthy! The real villains are processed fats, like trans fats, corn oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil, soybean oil, and canola oil. These “bad fats” can be found in fruit rollups and processed Dannon yogurts, Nabisco cookies, donuts, muffins, and many other commonly consumed processed foods. Watch out for these fats because they are not food for the brain, or the rest of your body. Many processed foods that claim to be “fat free” are anything but. Manufacturers can claim a product is trans fat free, when in reality it contains up to .5 grams per serving.

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coffee conundrum

The subject of coffee and health has been a topic discussed forever in the media. Is it a healthy addition to your daily diet?

I have a love-hate relationship with coffee. I did not start drinking it until after I had my three children. I then became quite obsessed with my daily coffee intake. Then moving forward a few years and my diagnosis with IBS. UGH!! So, there is so much trial and error involved in finding your individual triggers when you have IBS. I have come to the conclusion that coffee is taxing my system right now and decided to do a trial 30 day detox from my daily coffee. The thought seems quite daunting but at the end of the 30 days I will reintroduce coffee into my morning regime and notice any reactions that my body may or may not have.

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apple cider vinegar

I was introduced to apple cider vinegar a few years back when I was struggling with symptoms associated with irritable bowel syndrome or IBS and systemic candidiasis.  Apple cider vinegar (ACV) has been touted for many years because of its medicinal properties. It is anti-fungal, antibacterial and antiviral so it can alleviate the occasional heartburn, soothe a sore throat and YES even get rid of persistent warts, as well as tackle an overgrowth of yeast just to name a few properties.

So what exactly is apple cider vinegar you may ask?? Well, they take crushed apples and add yeast. The yeast then ferment the natural sugar from the apples and turn it into alcohol. Then, bacteria are added to the alcohol solution which further ferments the apple solution. The result is acetic acid which is the main ingredient in ACV. My “go to” ACV is Bragg’s because it contains the “mother,”  or the blob that is rich in probiotics and strands of protein and enzymes.

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So, you may be wondering: what is a FODMAP?

Well, I have to begin by talking about bowels and digestion. FUN!!!

People who suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) or other digestive disorders have consistent abdominal pain, constipation, and/or diarrhea. IBS is not dangerous, but it can be uncomfortable and painful to many who suffer from the disease.

Even if you have not been diagnosed with IBS,  you may experience digestive distress on occasion. You may think you are alone – but let me tell you, so many people quietly suffer from IBS and various forms of digestive distress, and choose not to share this information with friends or family. There is no need to suffer alone, and there are many useful steps to take to alleviate the discomfort.

Symptoms of IBS:

  1. long lasting abdominal pain
  2. flatulence
  3. diarrhea and/or constipation

The criteria for diagnosing IBS, according to PubMed:

There are several different medical criteria for diagnosing IBS. According to one of the latest definitions, you have irritable bowel syndrome if you have had pain or discomfort in your bowel in the last three months, on at least three days a month, and these symptoms have lasted for at least six months. Two of the following criteria must also be fulfilled:

  • Symptoms get better after a bowel movement
  • When symptoms start, the frequency of bowel movements changes
  • When symptoms start, the appearance of the stool changes

These symptoms could be caused by other things too, though, like lactose intolerance (where people cannot digest dairy products properly). They may also be signs of celiac disease (sprue). This is an intolerance to gluten – a protein found in different types of grains and many other foods. Check out The Ultimate Guide for Gluten test if you suspect you are gluten sensitive.

The causes of IBS and digestive distress and the discomfort associated with them:

Digestion takes place mostly in the large intestine. The large intestine moves the food mass while removing nutrients and water. The indigestible food thickens as water is drawn out to produce our lovely stool.

If the food passes through too quickly, the mass does not remove enough water and the result is diarrhea. If the food passes through too slowly, the mass removes too much water and the result is constipation. There are many factors that can lead to either of these scenarios. It is believed that IBS could be the result of oversensitive nerves in the intestine, inflammation in the intestines, an overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine (SIBO, which I will discuss in a later blog), and/or a genetic predisposition, as well as one very overlooked trigger – STRESS. If the small intestine cannot absorb the nutrients, the mass moves on to the large intestine where the bacteria ferment the foods (in this case, fructose) to hydrogen, carbon dioxide, and short chain fatty acids. This is what leads to pain and bloating and gas.

Treatment:

Treatment for IBS and digestive disorders requires dietary changes and a better understanding of your triggers to various food and liquids (like alcohol, soda, sports drinks, and flavored waters). This is where the FODMAP intolerance protocol can be helpful to many who suffer digestive distress and IBS.

FODMAP is an acronym derived from fermentable oligosaccharides (a polymer of fructose – fructans and galactans), disaccharides (lactose), monosaccharides (fructose), and polyols (sugar alcohols). They are all different types of carbohydrates that are poorly absorbed by the small and large intestine, leading to an increased volume of liquid and gas, resulting in abdominal pain. Who wants that?

Here is a downloadable list of high FODMAP foods to avoid: DOWNLOAD PDF

Here is the downloadable list of low FODMAP foods to enjoy: DOWNLOAD PDF

FODMAPs are both dose dependent and cumulative. In other words, each individual will have their own threshold of tolerance, and once that threshold is surpassed, their symptoms will appear. Also, certain individuals may find they can tolerate avocados without having any reaction, while some people cannot eat them at all. Malabsorption is highly individual for the different FODMAPs! Initially, it can be helpful to remove the high FODMAP foods from your diet for 3 weeks, and assess if your symptoms have subsided. Then, gradually reintroduce them one at a time to discern which foods provoke digestive distress. It takes patience and due diligence, but would you rather be in discomfort?

Of course, before any diagnosis or treatment, you should discuss your concerns with your doctor.

There are many resources that can be helpful:

This app was developed by Susan Shepard and Peter Gibson, who created the FODMAP protocol. It costs 7.99$ to download:

fodmap

 

A few more helpful resources:

http://www.med.monash.edu/cecs/gastro/fodmap/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fructose_malabsorption

 

 

IF IT SCARES YOU, IT MAY BE A GOOD THING TO TRY

Have you ever tried fermented foods?

They are an amazing and nourishing addition to your new healthykick lifestyle.

I know it may sound distasteful but fermented foods are a powerhouse of nutrition. You only need 2 tablespoons a day to enjoy the health benefits. I have incorporated them into my diet to help alleviate the dysbiosis in my gut lining and tests reveal an improvement in the good bacteria vs.the bad bacteria. OH, SUCH A RELIEF!

So fermented foods go through a process called lactofermentation where the natural bacteria feed on sugar- glucose, fructose and sucrose and convert them into cellular energy in the form of  lactic acid. Through this process it preserves the food and creates beneficial enzymes, b-vitamins (especially B-12 which is primarily derived from animals), omega-3 fatty acids, digestive enzymes and other probiotic strains, as well as cutting the sugar content of the food. It is the same process that bacteria go through when wine is made but we are not talking wine now.

Eating fermented foods will add natural live probiotic strains that promote the growth of friendly bacteria in your gut. These probiotic strains have been shown to improve bowel health, aid digestion, eliminate toxins and undigested waste and improve immunity.

The bacteria Lactobacillus is naturally prevalent in the small intestine (Bifidobacterium is prevalent in the colon) and they produce lactic acid and hydrogen peroxide which promote a healthy pH in your gut. They also inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria so they are essential to a healthy gut lining. However, when we take antibiotics or during exposure to environmental toxins on a daily basis we can minimize or deplete the good bacteria. Eating these fermented foods, kefir and certain yogurts can help restore and balance the natural microbiome-AKA the bacteria that call you home.

Eating sugar and processed food feeds the bad bacteria that causes digestive distress, bloating, cramping so by implementing all your new healthykick suggestions by crowding in more whole and fermented foods, you will not be feeding the bad bacteria but replenishing the good bacteria.

Here are some suggestions for fermented, probiotic rich foods:

NOTE: it is important to ensure that the fermented food is not pasteurized as this kills off all the beneficial bacteria and essential vitamins! Also it is important to buy from a reputable company.

1. Kefir– a fermented milk drink. I prefer Sigg’s plain kefir and then add spinach, banana and avocado to make a delicious smoothie.

fermented foods

2. Greek plain yogurt– add sliced fruit and you will have perfection!

3. Sauerkraut– is shredded cabbage fermented in its own juices with spices and other vegetables. I buy Wildbrine as it is GMO free and not pasteurized. If you have candida overgrowth this is a wonderful food to add to your diet.

4.Kombucha– a fermented tea  made by adding healthy probiotic bacteria and yeast to a solution tea, sugar and sometimes fruit juice. After fermentation, the tea is fizzy and has a sweet-tart flavor.

5. Cheese made from raw milk

6. Tempeh- slightly cooked and fermented “bean cake.”  It is best to eat cooked beans as fermented because this makes them easier to digest and then you will absorb more of the protein content.

7. Unpasteurized miso- made from fermented soybeans, grains and koji spores. I use it to make asian style salad dressings, miso soup and marinades.

Probiotics and prebiotics, the non-digestible carbohydrates that help good bacteria grow and flourish, when taken together form a symbiotic relationship. Here are a few suggestions of soluble fibers that contain prebiotics that will help feed the good probiotics:

1. Dandelion greens

2. Garlic

3. Leeks

4. Onions

5. Asparagus

 

bone broth

Do you suffer from adrenal fatigue?

Do you have dry skin, and hair?

Are you fighting off an infection?

Do you have issues with gut health?

Well, chicken/bone broth has a plethora of medicinal qualities that can help alleviate many health issues. First and foremost, it speeds recovery and healing from illness. Remember, when you were younger your mom gave you chicken noodle soup for your cold??????

The secret lies in the bones and cartilage of the chicken. This is where all the amazing minerals are contained, such as, collagen, calcium, phosphorous, magnesium, sulfur, sodium, glucosamine (for joint pain and arthritis), chondroitin sulfates, keratin sulfates(for skin and hair) and hyaluronic acid (for skin, hair and joint health).

It also contains cysteine, which is an amino acid that thins the mucus in your lungs making it easier to expel any mucus when you have a cold.

If you suffer from gut issues, chicken broth helps to heal and seal the gut lining. The nutrients are easily digested and helpful in reducing inflammation along the gut lining.

Some of the medicinal properties include:

  • fighting infections, such as a cold or flu
  • reducing inflammation
  • producing beautiful skin and hair
  • promoting sleep
  • repairing gut health
  • alleviating adrenal fatigue
  • alleviating muscle cramps and spasms
  • reducing malabsortion issues

benefits of chicken broth

courtesy of  renowned Dr. Mercola

So you can actually save so much money by making your own bone broth instead of buying supplements to help with inflammation, joint pain and infection.

Enjoy your bone broth like you would drink a cup of tea or add to soup and stews or even use it as a medium for cooking rice or pasta.