When Food is Foe 😈

It certainly is a frustration and a struggle when you suspect that the food you’ve been eating is somehow contributing to the trouble you’re having with your gut, brain, muscles and joints, or skin.

A short list of common symptoms related to food-induced inflammation can range from heartburn and stomach pain to bloating and diarrhea. It could manifest as headaches or migraines, loss of focus, anxiety and/or depression. The symptoms could show in your achy points or in your skin as rashes or breakouts.

Your Personalized Diet

Everyone needs to eat according to their own needs, preferences, and lifestyle. A diet that works for a celebrity, your best friend, and even your cousin may not be what creates health for YOU.

Truly personalized nutrition doesn’t just take into account your height and weight, age, ancestry, activity level, or food preferences and lifestyle, it also means finding out which foods are causing an inflammatory response in your body.

Gut Permeability aka “Leaky Gut”

Having a “leaky gut” was a condition once unbelieved but is now well-documented in scientific literature. When there’s a compromise or breach of the cells lining the gut, there is a potential for all sorts of maladies, including poor nutrient absorption, food sensitivities, and many symptoms throughout the body.

Inflammation: the Good AND Bad

Just like stress, inflammation isn’t all bad. When you get a cut, the area of the trauma will start to swell and redden as the immune and circulatory system rush to the scene to stop the bleeding, prevent infection, and start laying new skin structures. The problem is when stress, or in this case, inflammation becomes chronic. This situation can ignite a host of disorders including arthritis, asthma, atherosclerosis, cancer, diabetes and, quite possibly, autism and mental issues.

How do you heal the painful symptoms associated with stepping on a nail? Sure, you could try covering it up, wrapping the area with pillowy gauze and taking aspirin, but you haven’t removed the root cause. So the first step to true, actual healing is to have the nail removed.

How might diet-induced inflammation show up for you? We’re all different so while soybean might cause one person a headache or migraine, for another it could cause joint pain or heartburn. Same with gluten, blueberries, or even green peppers.

Just because a food or diet is labeled as anti-inflammatory doesn’t mean it’s acting that way for you. In fact, surprisingly enough, we’ve had two clients in the past year for whom tumeric, a known anti-inflammatory, was actually INFLAMING them. One of the clients had been taking it everyday (!) in attempts to quell her joint pain.

The Multiple Problems with Elimination Diets

One of the keys in reducing diet-induced inflammation in the body is first identifying the foods that are causing the ‘fire’ in the body. Why not start with an elimination diet to try to improve migraines, autoimmune conditions or gut health? Why not try eliminating the most common allergens (e.g. wheat, gluten, soy, eggs, dairy, corn, and soy) or trying FODMAPs? While a particular food may relate to certain symptoms, it’s not necessarily the best course of action to subject clients to an elimination diet because they are difficult to sustain , are often inconclusive (do you have a mirgraine or heartburn because of the gluten or because you’ve been under stress or because of barometric pressure change in the weather?) and they don’t usually give the full relief clients need and desire.

1. They could miss a genetic component important for you to know and to share with your family. A good example of this would be a person who eliminates gluten from their diet and feels better. Unless they were tested for celiac disease, they wouldn’t know how stringently they might need to follow the gluten-free diet. Their relatives might also be unaware of how their expression of ‘silent celiac’ disease could be infertility, skin rashes, mouth sores, osteoporosis, and even lymphoma. 

2. Extra stress is another problem of elimination diets. They are frustrating and mentally demanding (trying to figure out a symptom’s cause might feel like a scene from A Beautiful Mind or this It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia meme), time-consuming and perhaps most importantly – they are not as successful as testing. The reason for this is that as you eliminate or add in foods, you may not do so slowly or completely enough AND since the immune system is in a heightened state of alert still responding to the foods you haven’t eliminated, you’re likely not going to feel 100% or even 80% better. Instead of spending 6 or more months removing foods from your diet – not feeling sure that you’re even getting better, or not getting a 100% resolution- you may want to consider another process. With our protocol, we guide clients through step-by-step, starting with 10 days of their ‘safe’ foods and then systematically expanding their diet in a way that allows us to determine other food reactions and intolerances.

3. Elimination diets don’t necessarily ‘put out the fire.’ Because our genetics and environment can play a role and impact our abilities to deal with inflammation, you can’t just avoid foods that cause you problems. Our body’s response to stress plays a role too. The great part of knowing your food – and food chemical – sensitivities is that they give a wider, more accurate picture …when it comes to discovering that molds, yeast,  FD&C Blue #2, or benzoic acid are also causing issues, perhaps in your household environment or products. Once we remove the ‘known offenders’ in your diet (including supplements and hygiene products), the immune system starts to calm down and then we can safely start food reintroduction and see more clearly what causes your problematic symptoms. Otherwise, with elimination diets, you’re mainly just guessing about the foods, supplements, and hygiene/household products you’re using and whether or not they are ‘safe’ for you.

Supplements aren’t the Answer

“Can’t I just take extra probiotics, collagen, turmeric, or fiber to help my gut?” You could play the guessing game and potentially waste time and money in trying to find the perfect supplement (or twenty). Here’s the problem: you’ll likely not see a great benefit from them if you’re still eating foods that irritate your gut’s lining and that cause inflammation in the body. As mentioned before, you could be reactive to turmeric and therefore adding that supplement could be your personal kryptonite.  

Want a faster, better way to help your gut AND body heal?

Consider comprehensive food sensitivity testing. Why comprehensive? Because, for example, just looking at IgG levels doesn’t mean that the food is the problem necessarily; IgG can be elevated for a number of reasons. It’s more important to look at multiple markers of inflammation being released by a cell in response to a food – including cytokines, prostaglandins, histamine, leukotrienes, interleukins and more.

If you’re tired of feeling “gross”, being so bloated you look 5 months pregnant, and have stomach pains that distract you from fully participating in the life you want to live, or have other ‘unexplained’ symptoms that could be related to the foods you eat regularly, consider a comprehensive program that includes your test results and implementing the proper protocol with expert guidance and support.

Food sensitivity testing is one of the most powerful tools we have to help clients finally improve life-long symptoms and get back to engaging in life more fully. Interested to see if the testing is a good option for you? Schedule your complimentary, 20-minute Discovery Call and let’s get your healthy journey started!

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Refuel your Body after Exercise

refuel your body

Thanks to an invitation from Columbus Fit Life to speak at the Arnold Classic, we were able to bring Refuel your Body after Exercise to athletes of all ages, shapes, and sizes. Here are some notes from the presentation:

Nutrition is said to account for about 70% of our fitness results, and it heavily influences the way we look and feel. In undergrad, we noticed that there was a bit of a schism between the exercise physiology and the nutrition majors. The former would tend to justify eating poorly by saying “I can burn this off later” and the nutrition students would say “I eat pretty well so I don’t need to exercise much.” Of course, the dietetics majors won. Just kidding, but they were on to the fact that food – something we eat 3+ times a day – does carry a significant impact on overall health. Also, if nutrition is responsible for about 70% of how we look and feel, it becomes easier to see why the person diligently jogging and profusely sweating on the treadmill everyday, but not making dietary changes, may not be seeing results.

Secondly, although training programs for athletes can be similar or even identical, variations in performance exist. Why? It is due to what happens during the recovery phase.

So how do we get the body to regenerate and recover quickly?  You guessed it: nutrition!

And what happens with better nutrition? The body is able to handle a shorter time between trainings and experiences quicker improvement. This is a huge advantage over your competitors.

Thirdly, never underestimate the power of knowing your own body. A former client on her way to living a healthier lifestyle enlisted the help of a personal trainer who told her to focus on getting lots of protein – including from a source that caused her an issue. She noticed her skin breaking out along the jawline more and had to schedule routine facials which she noted were relaxing but not fixing the cause of the acne. After a few sessions of gently recommending that she eliminate the offending food, she gave it a try. Here’s some of what she had to say:

“Had I not consulted Adrienne, I might have spent another $2250 on facials by now. I might still be fighting acne too.

For the record I’ve regained and lost the same 20 lbs. This time I’m fueling myself with great primary food, increasing my vegetables and fruit, seeds, and nuts, and scheduling exercise regularly with built in accountability. I’m hopeful that I’m finding my ideal body weight and that the weight will stay off this time.” Read full review here…

Finally, consider the importance of an overall reduction in inflammation. There are many causes of inflammation and food can be one of them. The foods that you think of as ‘healthy’ may not be healthy for your individual body. A quick way to figure out if bananas, eggs, gluten or gliadin, dairy, wheat, or raspberries are contributing to inflammation is to have a food sensitivity test performed. As with many clients, and in our own experience, you may be surprised.

A reduction in inflammation could result in more flexibility and range of motion, less joint pain and risk of injury, as well as an increase in efficiency.

Bottom line: at the end of the day, if you’re a high performance human being but your diet is not designed for your peak performance, then you may be experiencing lesser results on your rigid diet than you would experience with a more open, but personalized diet can provide. Consider finding a sports nutritionist to help you achieve a higher level of fitness and wellness.

Here are 8 tips to Refuel your Body after Exercise:

1. Drink water. Proper hydration is important before, during, and after exercise. Caution: sports drinks have quite a bit of sugar.
2. Consider having protein after a workout. This is easily accomplished with a smoothie, hard-boiled eggs, or hummus and vegetables.
3. Get more sleep, rest and relaxation. When you are tired or stressed, your body will not perform well during workouts and it will crave energy — usually in the form of sugar or carbs.
4. Plan your meals and snacks. We often tell clients, if you fail to plan, plan to fail. Having foods ready in your workout bag will help prevent breaking your healthy diet.
5. Evaluate the amount of animal food you eat. Eating too much as well as too little can influence your endurance and muscle-building. It could also contribute to acne breakouts. Your integrative nutritionist & health coach will help you sort this out. Experiment. Respect your body’s individuality.
6. Don’t skip meals. Too much time between meals can cause blood sugar levels to drop and not recover well from a workout.
7. Eat more vegetables and fruit. They are healthy and delicious while filling you up and providing important vitamins and minerals.
8. Remember the best food for you needs to be personalized. Factors such as age, being a man or woman, food sensitivities, genetics, or being on a special diet (i.e. vegan or vegetarian) all requires specialized nutrition.

 

 

 

Four Ways to Build Healthy Bones


Women should be getting the nutrients they need from their diet, but many do not, due to a variety of reasons. A study from the University of Michigan School of Nursing found that reduced estrogen levels preceding menopause can impair vitamin K’s ability to bind calcium to bone. Women can lose bone mass and density due to the acidity of the standard American diet.

1. Consider supplements. Research from Switzerland showed that potassium citrate improved the bones in post-menopausal women with low bone mass.
2. Make sure your diet contains more alkaline-rich plant foods.
3. Stop drinking soda – all of them. Regular, diet, or decaffeinated. Women 60 and older who drink soda had lower bone mass than those who didn’t and loss increased with each drink, according to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
4. Eat an anti-inflammatory diet. Chronic inflammation can weaken bones by forcing the osteoclasts (which break down bone) into over-drive…and can cause the minerals stored in the bones to be broken down. A study on conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) at the University of Texas showed that the compound slowed down the work of the osteoclasts and the loss of bone and muscle mass.