Design your DNA Diet ūüߨ

Food is fuel, natural energy, and it can also help provide the tools your body requires to repair itself. We all generally know what we should be eating – more vegetables, healthy fats and protein sources – and what we should be avoiding: processed and fast food, added sugar, sodium, and toxic fats. Beyond that, there is an amazing ability to further zero in on what your individual body needs and responds well to.

If you’re eating more vegetables but the corn or bell peppers are actually inflamming your body, that would be good to know; this is where food sensitivity can be very helpful. Additionally, your genes have lots of information to offer about your potential top health risks and how to mitigate them.

Curious about why some people with high-blood pressure respond well to a low-sodium diet while others don’t? Why some develop macular degeneration, acne, depression, or diabetes even when living similar lifestyles to others? Why are some people able to drink coffee all day and sleep whereas others are so sensitive that a morning cup o’ joe can lead to insomnia? The answer may well be linked to one’s genes. 

This discipline is called nutrigenomics (short for “nutritional genomics”) and examines the interaction between our diet, genes, and lifestyle choices. It originated from the Human Genome Project, which identified nearly 25,000 genes in the human body. An assertion of the nutrigenomics field is that, while genes play a role in the onset, progression and severity of certain diseases, dietary recommendations can help prevent, mitigate and potentially reverse disease. This is powerful perspective on our health!

A truly customized approach to eating which includes specific recommendations of food, exercise, and supplements based on the results of genetic testing. What might that look like?

Here’s an example: a 38-year-old female presents with low energy and acne, anxiety, and the complaint “I’m working out more but I’m not losing weight”. Upon review of her testing results, we found that the systems and areas most in need of support were cardiovascular health, brain health, and inflammation. While she doesn’t show symptoms of poor memory or a disease like Alzheimer’s at this point, knowing she’s at higher risk and discussing brain-boosting foods and supplements to incorporate was helpful to her. We also made recommendations for reducing inflammation in the body (including avoiding certain foods and ruling out food sensitivities) and for boosting her body’s detoxification (to also help with energy and acne). For her, weight loss is tied more to nutrient-dense foods rather than ‘burning off’ calories with exercise. Her genetic profile suggests she’s better suited for endurance activities (vs. power) and that she responds to training well (leading to better athletic performance, but not necessarily weight loss). This helped to reframe the role that exercise primarily plays in her life – it’s for her heart and overall wellness rather than a huge driver for weight loss.

So even if you have the family history and tendency towards diabetes, heart disease, cancer, osteoporosis, overweight tor obesity, macular degeneration, or other issues – you can still heavily influence whether you develop the disease, how it progresses, and how intense or severe it will be.

The beautiful aspect of a nutrigenomics program, in addition to knowing what you’re more at risk for, is that it’s not just food that can help. We look at modifying lifestyle habits and supplements you can take too. It’s a more comprehensive 3-pronged approach to influencing gene expression and structure.

Who would be a good candidate for testing? In short, everyone, even people who are generally well can benefit from knowing and potentially preventing disease. But also those who are not feeling vital and have a range of conditions, including:

  • Autism
  • ADHD
  • Migraine
  • Skin issues (including acne and rashes)
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Digestive disease (including Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis)
  • Autoimmune diseases (e.g. Hashimoto’s and rheumatoid arthritis)
  • Osteoporosis
  • Macular degeneration
  • Diabetes or blood sugar dysregulation
  • Brain issues (memory, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimers)
  • Weight issues

We here at One Bite believe that nutrigenomics is a game changer. With this emergent technology, we can go beyond the components of a general health and more intricately tailor a program to each individual’s needs. 

While the new year generally has everyone giving up alcohol or starting a running program, what is really beneficial is figuring out what works best for you now and for the long run. Ready to see what testing and individualized support can do for you? Schedule your complimentary, 20-minute Discovery Call.

Hungry to learn more about nutrigenomics first? Join our virtual classroom on Thursday, January 27th from 6:30pm-8pm.

We not only bring our stomachs to the dinner table, we bring our genes. Let’s learn how to feed ourselves properly. Now’s the time to ditch your calorie-restricted diet and design your DNA diet instead to improve your health and life!

When Food is Foe ūüėą

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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Beware the Ides of Starch!

pexels-photo

Source: Pexels.com

In William Shakespeare’s play, Julius Caesar is warned by a soothsayer to “beware the Ides of March.” During the middle of this month, we’d also like to warn about the ides of starch.

In the past decade, gluten has become somewhat of a buzzword, inspiring inquisitions and concerns from the public such as, ‚ÄúDo I have gluten-sensitivity? Is a gluten-free diet right for me?‚ÄĚ

Let’s start with the basics; what is gluten? It is a general term for the storage protein in certain grains such as wheat, rye, barley, spelt, and more. Gluten may be rather innocuous in the bodies of most of the population; however, if ingested by those with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, there will be a rather antagonistic bodily reaction with uncomfortable symptoms to follow.

There is a difference between celiac disease and gluten-sensitivity. The former is a genetic, auto-immune disorder in which the body attacks itself and damages the small intestine when gluten in consumed (or in the case of Hashimoto’s, the thyroid). When people with celiac disease ingest a product containing gluten, their small intestines rebel and, within an hour or two, they may suffer sharp abdominal pain, diarrhea or vomiting. Those who are sensitive to gluten report a variety of symptoms (stomachaches, reflux, even poor memory) which are typically similar, but less severe symptoms than people with celiac disease.

When it comes to symptoms of celiac disease, there are some classic signs: weight loss, abdominal pain, diarrhea, bloating, nutritional deficiencies, and short stature. The so called ‚Äúsilent‚ÄĚ signs of celiac disease include constipation, Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), weight gain, osteopenia, and anemia.

Although only about 1 in 5000 people are diagnosed with celiac disease , recent research indicates that as many as 1 in 133 people may actually have celiac disease. The average time period between experiencing symptoms and getting a diagnosis is 11 years. Most often, the determination of celiac disease is made from blood samples and a biopsy of the small intestine.

If you think you may have celiac disease, talk to your physician about getting the blood-work and endoscopy needed to confirm diagnosis. Alternatively, if you are seeking a less invasive way to determine how your body reacts to gluten, you could try an elimination diet and, upon re-introduction of the offending substance, document any undesired symptoms.

Treatment for celiac disease involves following the gluten-free diet for life. This may seem stringent, but the complications associated with non-compliance (i.e. infertility, osteoporosis/osteopenia, cancers of the bowel, lymphoma) are serious. Remember that following the treatment diet will also help reduce and possibly eliminate your symptoms.

People diagnosed with celiac must not eat products containing wheat, rye, barely, malt, bran (except corn bran), spelt, and kamut. Oats are problematic not because they inherently contain gluten (they do not) but because they may contain a small amount of other grains from milling sources.

Typical hidden sources of gluten include: medications or vitamin/mineral supplements, broth, cheese slices, beer, licorice candy, salad dressing, soy sauce, modified food starch, cake icing, lipstick, marinades, sauces, breakfast cereals, tortillas, chicken nuggets and hydrolyzed vegetable or plant protein. Because of gluten’s ubiquity, it is best to employ a trained professional when determining the risk for cross-contamination at home, assessing foods in the grocery store to ensure they are gluten-free, and minimizing the exposure to gluten from other unsuspected sources.

Since flour and grain products are often used in cooking, it is important to ask how foods have been prepared, especially when dining out. Cross-contamination with gluten is another concern, both in restaurants and at home.

Talk with a qualified healthcare professional regarding your risk for celiac and consult with a registered dietitian to learn how to follow a gluten-free diet safely and nutriously. Remember, if you are diagnosed with celiac disease, following a gluten-free diet is of utmost importance in preserving your health and preventing lymphomas, colon cancer, or other malignancies.

Side-note: gliadin is a protein found within wheat gluten and is thought to be the real culprit; but because gluten is the term most people are familiar with, we’ve used it in the article to avoid confusion.

Article originally featured in UWeekly March 2nd, 2011

Nutrigenomics – Science on your Side!

nutrigenomics

For most of our existence on this earth, humans have viewed food primarily as fuel. Over the past century, particularly after Upton’s Sinclair’s expose The Jungle was published, people have demanded that food be health-promoting¬†and safe. Now we expect more from our food – to help us keep our cholesterol down, improve bone health, and even prevent certain diseases such as diabetes and cancer.

Nutrigenomics is short for ‚Äúnutritional genomics‚ÄĚ and is a discipline that studies the interaction between our diet, genetics, and lifestyle choices

A discipline borne out of the Human Genome Project, nutrigenomics asserts:

  • A junk-filled, nutrient-less diet can be a factor for disease since dietary components can influence gene expression and structure
  • The degree to which diet can influence a person’s health and disease depends on their genetic make-up (some people who follow a ‘heart-healthy’ diet can reduce their cholesterol while others can eat fried and fatty foods and have normal cholesterol levels)
  • Genes can play a role in the onset, progression and severity of certain diseases but dietary recommendations can help prevent,¬†mitigate, and potentially reverse disease

This is BIG NEWS, people! The field of nutrigenomics is still relatively new and while most healthcare professionals are teaching a model of health (usually with the food pyramid), there’s waaaay more to the equation of living balanced and healthy.

Ever wonder why some people with high-blood pressure respond well to a low-sodium diet while others don’t? Why some people develop macular degeneration, acne, depression, or diabetes even when living similar lifestyles to others? Why are some people able to drink coffee all day and sleep whereas others are so sensitive that a morning cup o’ joe can lead to insomnia? The answer may well be linked to one’s genes.¬†

If you experience or have a family history of skin issues (including acne and rashes), autism, ADHD, migraine, depression, anxiety and other psychological disturbances, cardiovascular disease, inflammatory bowel disease (including Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis), virtually all autoimmune diseases such as Hashimoto’s and rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis, macular degeneration, diabetic complication, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimers, definitely consider how knowing your genetics could help prevent, ameliorate, or even reverse a health condition. A single¬†defect in the enzyme methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase, or MTHFR, can increase one’s risk of cardiovascular disease, impaired detoxification, decreased energy, and DNA repair. Wouldn’t it be great to have some personalized¬†dietary & lifestyle recommendations from a qualified expert who can help you abate or prevent those conditions?¬†

We here at One Bite believe that nutrigenomics is a game changer. With this emergent technology, we can not only educate our clients on the components of building a healthier diet and lifestyle – it can be even more intricately tailored to each individual’s needs.¬†

We not only bring our stomachs to the dinner table, we bring our genes. Let’s learn how to feed ourselves properly.

Hungry to learn more? Come to our Nutrigenomics class this Thursday evening  or contact us for more information.

Bad to the Bone- 6 Tips to Prevent Osteoporosis.

photo source & permission from:  American Recall Center

photo source & permission from: American Recall Center

Osteoporosis is a ‘silent’ disease in which the bones become weak and brittle; unfortunately, it usually only becomes evident when one fractures a bone. One reason why it is paramount to avoid such fractures is because it can involve surgical replacements that can be defective and cause needless pain. It’s better to protect yourself by learning about risk factors and making diet and lifestyle changes.

The disease has quite a few risk factors:

  • being female
  • age, older age increases risk of osteoporosis
  • family history of osteoporosis and/or fractures
  • having a small, thin body frame
  • being caucasian or asian puts one at higher risk
  • low estrogen for women, low testosterone for men
  • having an eating disorder such as anorexia nervosa
  • poor diet & lifestyle habits
  • certain medications can increase risk of osteoporosis
  • lack of exercise

Here are 6 tips you can follow to help protect yourself against the disease and healthily age:

1. Eat your greens! Leafy vegetables such as kale, spinach, and swisschard are packed with bone-building calcium and vitamin K. Try some spinach in your morning smoothie or mustard greens chopped up in your favorite chili.

2. Avoid smoking & drinking alcohol – both are detrimental to general health and to your bones.

3. Get your vitamin D. This nutrient helps calcium’s absorption in the body, preventing your bones from being fragile or misshapen (think rickets). Even a small amount of sun exposure a few times a week can help your body produce vitamin D, according to the National Institutes of Health. During the winter months, consider a high-quality vitamin D supplement.

4. Kick soda to the (trash) can! You know that cola is detrimental to your teeth, but it can also harm your bones. Studies have suggested a link between soda and lower bone density. Some experts accuse the phosphoric acid in cola being responsible for leaching calcium from bones. Others say caffeine can lower the absorptive capacity of calcium. In any case, it’s best to focus on hydrating yourself with water.

5. Eat more nuts! Not only do nuts contain healthy fat, they also contain the calcium and protein essential for strong bones. Protein deficiency, particularly in older adults, can also cause a loss of bone mass. Consider adding in almonds, walnuts, pistachios and some Brazil nuts.

6. Body movement builds bones! Strength-training can assist you in building muscle, losing weight, and creating stronger bones. A gym membership isn’t required for walking, jogging, push-ups, squats, or climbing stairs – so feel free to incorporate this into your daily life and in your home. With these weight-bearing exercises you can strengthen your bone tissue and maintain bone density. Additionally, exercising can help with balance and coordination both of which can prevent falls and fractures.

Remember, we start losing bone mass in our early 30s so do your best to create a strong, osteoporosis-free future!