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Help Identify Your Food Sensitivities or Intolerances

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Help Identify Your Food Sensitivities or Intolerances

If you want to ensure success in managing your Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism, facilitating weight loss, or supporting your fertility keeping a food diary is one of the best paths to success. Oh, yea, and no matter what you choose to do, ‘Stay Away from Gluten‘! Keeping a food diary keeps you honest It’s easy to think you are eating or behaving one way when the reality is strikingly different. Keeping track of everything you eat, portion sizes, and when you eat lifts the veil on bad habits you have managed to hide from yourself, such as how much sugar you really eat, how big your portions are, how frequently (or infrequently) you eat, or how often you eat a food that may be aggravating to you or your symptoms. Keeping a food diary for weight loss Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism poses its own weight loss challenges. Most people underestimate portion sizes or how often they eat. Recording what you eat can help give you a more accurate view of your habits. Knowing you have to record everything is also great motivation to stick to your plan. That tantalizing dessert loses appeal when you see how those extra calories or carbohydrates are going to kill your numbers at the end of the day. On the other hand, jotting down your exercise feels great! It’s also good to tie in timing, location, and emotions with your meals. You may notice waiting too long between meals predisposes you to a binge, make you more irritable, or that a particular person or situation increases your sugar cravings. Keeping a food diary for Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism Food diaries aren’t just for weight loss. Many people must make dramatic dietary changes to manage a chronic health condition. For Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism this means going on a strict gluten-free diet, or sometimes giving up grains and other foods entirely. Other autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis, psoriasis, and rheumatoid arthritis also respond positively to changes in diet. Tracking both what you eat and your symptoms not only helps with compliance, but also can show you if any foods flare up your symptoms. For instance, you may be following a gluten-free and dairy-free diet but notice your Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism symptoms worsen when you eat eggs. Keeping a food diary to help identify food intolerances, or sensitivities In fact, a food diary is an excellent tool for an elimination-provocation diet. These diets involve eliminating common dietary immune triggers such as grains (gluten in particular), dairy, eggs, soy, and sweeteners for at least 3, but ideally 6 months. After the elimination period you add in each food one at a time every 48 to 72 hours and monitor your reactions.  Make notes of any and all symptoms that may appear, even if they seem mild. Most people don’t realize they have a food intolerance because either they eat the food all the time or because reactions can happen up to 72 hours later. By removing the foods for a period of time and then re-introducing them one at a time, will allow the immune system to produce a noticeable reaction if that food is an issue. It’s important to record symptoms as they appear. They can be very diverse and affect the skin, digestive tract, respiratory system, mood, mental function, joints, and/or any other system in the body. Contact us to learn some of the best ways to identify and manage your food sensitivities and/or...

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Coffee and Hormones

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Coffee and Hormones

Do you have stress in your daily life, hormone imbalances, infertility, or Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism? Do you start your mornings with a “treasured cup of coffee?” As far as your body is concerned, that lovely and seemingly harmless cup of coffee could be tantamount to getting mugged or running from a hungry lion. The physiological reactions caused by caffeine are the same reactions triggered by fear, worry, or acute stress. Morning fatigue and adrenal glands imbalance We are meant to feel rested and alert in the mornings. Waking up and feeling unable to get out of bed, or needing a large cup of joe to get going may suggest a hormone imbalance, specifically when it comes down to your adrenals. The adrenal glands sit atop each kidney and release a hormone, called cortisol. This hormone keeps your body regulated during times of stress, supports blood sugar and the immune system regulation, as well as metabolism. Cortisol also plays an important role in the sleep-wake cycle, so that you feel tired in the evening and alert in the morning, and are able to sleep soundly through the night. In fact, the health of the entire body relies in part on sound adrenal function: immune health, digestive operations, brain function, and more. Proper adrenal function also plays a critical role in thyroid regulation and hormone balance (needed with fertility and overall hormone health). Depending on caffeine is a sign of adrenal imbalance. A morning cup of coffee stimulates the adrenal glands to release “fight-or-flight” adrenal hormones. This raises your heartbeat, dilates your pupils, tightens the muscles, raises your blood pressure, slows blood flow to the stomach, and releases glucose into the bloodstream. Together, these effects on the central nervous system boost energy. The body designed this response to help us get out of a dangerous situation by either running or fighting. However, these days, many use the same response just to get ready for work each morning. Coffee affects hormones Giving up coffee is hard and can come with unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. This is partly because caffeine also stimulates the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that activates the “pleasure and reward” centers in the brain and is associated with addiction. This also means over time you need more caffeine for the same effects. For the person suffering from adrenal dysfunction—producing too little or too much of adrenal hormone—caffeine can intensify your adrenal problems, which can worsen your thyroid issues, impact fertility, and worsen autoimmune disease. Although it gives you energy, it’s a short-term fix with long-term consequences making an existing problem worse. In addition to taxing adrenal function, caffeine can cause sleep problems, irritability, anxiety, and high blood pressure. It’s also a diuretic that can deplete you of important minerals and electrolytes. Because coffee makes many people sleep poorly, they feel terrible in the morning and drink coffee to get going, which makes them sleep poorly in a self-perpetuating vicious cycle. Restoring adrenal function is foundational to managing many health issues in functional medicine, including chronic disease, autoimmune disease, hypothyroidism, obesity, blood sugar imbalances (insulin resistance or hypoglycemia), fertility, and other disorders. Coffee affects Hashimoto’s In some instances, with autoimmune Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism, caffeine can actually worsen autoimmunity. This concept is well-discussed in Dr. Kharrazian’s book Why Do I Still Have Thyroid Symptoms When My Lab Tests Are Normal? This isn’t to say coffee is all bad. Although some studies show negative consequences from caffeine, others show its benefits. As with many things in health, it is something that must be considered on a case-by-case...

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Detoxification: Reduce inflammation, increase fertility, and improve autoimmune disease

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Detoxification: Reduce inflammation, increase fertility, and improve autoimmune disease

  I believe ‘health’ is a verb, it is something you do! Health is a journey, a process, and most importantly – health is a lifestyle. Optimal health is not an option. You can do a short-term detoxification program and feel great, yet the real long-lasting health benefits come from a long-term commitment to yourself and your health. I believe that a healthy lifestyle is a daily commitment and requires a regiment of a daily “detox”. To me, “detox” is defined as “movement”. This applies to every tissue, every muscle, every system, every emotion, and every cell in the body. Lack of movement leads to dis-ease. Clean water, clean food, regular exercise, and every lifestyle choice that you make on a daily basis affects your body in either creating movement or creating stasis (i.e. lack of movement). Detoxification Detoxification is the process of clearing toxins, or waste from the body. It is the process of neutralizing and transforming toxic substances into less harmful elements, and clearing excess mucus and congestion. Many of these toxins come from our diet, drug use, environmental exposure, and others, which may lead to both acute and chronic health issues like autoimmune disease and fertility. Internally, fats, especially oxidized fats and cholesterol, free radicals, and other irritating molecules can also act as toxins. Poor digestion, colon sluggishness and dysfunction, reduced liver function, and poor elimination through the kidneys, lymphatic system, respiratory tract, and skin all add to increased toxicity. Optimizing all basic functions of the body, helps to facilitate its normal pathways of elimination and detoxification. Given the appropriate environment, both internal and external, the body has the innate ability to heal itself. The basics of proper nutrition, exercise, rest, fresh air, and sunshine allow the body’s own healing to occur in stages. The body’s own wisdom is the true healer. Environmental Effects on Health We live in a polluted world: our environment, our food, our water, our homes, or the lifestyle choices that we make. I believe there are proactive steps you can take to minimize your exposure, to reduce your overall toxic load, and to help improve your health. Our primary sources of exposure come from both our external, but also our internal environments. Accumulation of toxins can lead to body aches, fatigue, weight gain, or premature aging. Toxicity may also worsen arthritis, cancer, and degenerative diseases. External Sources Pollution inside our homes, the food we eat, as well as the large numbers of medications that most people ingest. Eating and drinking out of plastic containers, using the microwave. Ingesting foods that have been grown with pesticides, drinking unfiltered water. There are studies and surveys of the metropolitan areas in the United States that have discovered high levels of prescription medications in drinking water. The list goes on. Internal Sources Our internal sources that contribute to the overall toxicity, include fermentation and putrefaction of foods, both of which are forms of chemical reactions resulting in conversion of substances (e.g. proteins, carbohydrates, others) into other forms of compounds. Toxic thoughts or emotions can also accumulate as waste inside the body and exacerbate health issues. The list goes on. Lifestyle Poor nutrition places a tremendous stress on the body, which results in the accumulation of toxic wastes. Adding caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, or any other recreational drugs overwhelms the system and the bodies accumulate even more toxic material. The list goes on.   Our 3-phase detoxification program helps to facilitate the excretion of toxins and support your body’s natural state of homeostasis (i.e. ‘balance’). It helps to reduce the overactive immune system, similar to that of...

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Consider These 5 Causes of Infertility

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Consider These 5 Causes of Infertility

The rates of infertility in both women and men are on the rise, affecting between 10 to 15 percent of couples. That is probably a conservative estimate. Although some causes are well known, couples should consider other important factors when trying to conceive. Some of the more common reasons include the mother’s age, obesity, endometriosis, uterine fibroids, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), varicose veins in the scrotum, and fallopian tube damage. However, addressing less commonly known causes of infertility not only can improve the chances of conception, but also lower the risk of giving birth to a child with asthma and allergies, or a brain development disorder such as autism or ADHD. Hypothyroidism Hypothyroidism, or low thyroid function, can cause infertility, miscarriages, or complications with pregnancy. Low levels of thyroid hormone affect reproductive function in women. Also, most cases of hypothyroidism are caused by Hashimoto’s, an autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks and destroys the thyroid gland. Research shows a correlation between infertility in women and autoimmune hypothyroidism. Women should have their thyroid function tested before trying to conceive as success rates improve when the condition is treated. Contact us to see how we can help you manage the underlying cause of hypothyroidism. Celiac disease Celiac disease is an autoimmune reaction to gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley. Research suggests undiagnosed Celiac disease is correlated with infertility in both women and men, and pregnancy complications. Couples wishing to conceive should be screened for a gluten intolerance using newer, more advanced gluten testing (conventional testing fails to diagnose many gluten-intolerant people). Because intolerances to other foods cause chronic inflammation, another barrier to fertility, it’s a good idea to rule out other food intolerances with testing or an elimination diet. Autoimmune disease An autoimmune disease is a disease in which the immune system attacks and destroys a part of the body. This process greatly imbalances the immune system and increases inflammation. Studies suggest that not only does the autoimmune thyroid disease, but also other autoimmune diseases can affect fertility as well. Additionally, an autoimmune disease can attack reproductive organs, directly impacting their function. For instance, women can have an autoimmune reaction to their own ovaries or men can react to their own sperm. Environmental toxins Many environmental toxins are linked with infertility in both women and men. Studies suggest environmental toxins impair semen quality in men, and affect various affects aspects of reproduction in women. If a couple does conceive, exposure to environmental toxins can affect the fertility of their children. You can minimize your exposure to toxins by eating a whole foods diet, drinking filtered water, and using non-toxic body and home care products. Also, certain nutritional therapy strategies, such as glutathione support, can help you become more resilient to toxins. If you are trying to conceive, ask my office for strategies on safely reducing your toxic burden. PCOS Although PCOS is a recognized cause of infertility, lesser known is what causes it. In functional medicine, we recognize PCOS as a hormonal imbalance caused by diet and lifestyle choices. Excess sugars and refined carbohydrates, lack of exercise, and chronic stress are factors that contribute to PCOS, which is linked with insulin resistance, or pre-diabetes. Pre-conception care lowers risk of asthma, allergies, and autism in children It is best to ferret out and address any health issues, some of which may cause no symptoms, before trying to conceive. Autoimmune disease, chronic inflammation, hormonal imbalances, and other health problems not only can hinder conception, but they also affect the health of the immune system and brain health of...

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The Effects of GMOs in Hashimoto’s

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The Effects of GMOs in Hashimoto’s

You’ve probably been hearing about GMOs, or genetically modified organisms. What is the big deal with GMOs, and can they really be that harmful to you since they are in our food supply? If you have Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism and are working to manage your immune and thyroid health, GMOs can have a significant impact. Therefore, a GMO-free diet should be incorporated in the support of autoimmune Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism. A GMO food has had its DNA altered through the insertion of genes from another species of plant, animal, bacteria, or virus. Examples of genetic modification include splicing fish genes into tomatoes and strawberries, jellyfish genes inserted into corn, or tobacco engineered with lettuce. Some genetic modification is done to create new medications or industrial products, but in agriculture it is used to increase resistance to herbicides, pests, or extreme weather changes. Why GMOs are dangerous if you have Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism Common GMO crops include soy, corn, canola, cottonseed, and sugar beets. Genetic modification creates new proteins the human body has never encountered. These new proteins are not food that our body’s immune system recognizes. Our immune defenses attack, destroy, and remove these perceived pathogens. This in turn, creates inflammation that can lead to a long list of health issues. For instance, an increase in allergies has been shown in populations after GMO foods are introduced, as well as in farm workers who handle the GMO foods. For people with Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism, this can create extra problems. Because Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is an autoimmune disorder, its treatment approach is to balance the immune system and dampen the autoimmune flare-ups. If GMOs trigger an inflammatory response, then it increases the work of the immune system and thyroid function regulation in people with Hashimoto’s. GMOs are legal in the United States because of the dearth of studies on humans. The only research on humans shows that GMOs transfer into the bacteria that reside in the gut, which should be cause enough for concern. This means that long after you have eaten a GMO food its foreign proteins could stay behind in your gut, with unknown outcomes. For instance, if a food is modified with an antibiotic, it could create an antibiotic-resistant strain of bacteria in your body. Or a food modified with a toxin designed to kill insects could turn your gut bacteria into a pesticide. These new proteins could also make it into other parts of the body, including potentially a developing fetus. The studies on animals are alarming enough that many nations require GMO foods to be labeled, or have restricted or banned GMOs. The FDA’s own scientists have warned of allergies, toxins, new diseases, and nutritional problems and urged long-term studies. In some studies GMOs have been linked to: Infertility, lower birth weight Immune problems Accelerated aging Insulin dysregulation Damage or changes in major organs and the gastrointestinal system The very real threats of GMOs only give us more reason to avoid processed foods. If you have Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism, you may need to be extra cautious so as not to provoke...

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Got Seasonal Allergies? Fix Your Gut

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Got Seasonal Allergies? Fix Your Gut

When the sneezing, sniffling, and runny eyes of springtime kick in, most people grab for the allergy pills, antihistamines, and eye drops. But did you know you can greatly relieve if not banish your allergy symptoms by fixing your gut? It may sound crazy that your gut health would affect your sinuses, but in fact the two systems are very intertwined. Both the respiratory tract and the digestive tract are immune barriers, meaning it’s their job to protect the body from outside invaders. The gut in particular profoundly influences the entire immune system. When gut health suffers so does the rest of your body, and the result for many people are allergy symptoms that flare up each spring. A common culprit in allergy symptoms is leaky gut, also known as intestinal permeability. Leaky gut is a condition in which the lining of the digestive tract becomes inflamed and porous, allowing undigested foods, bacteria, yeasts, and other toxins into the sterile bloodstream. The immune system launches an attack on these toxins, which creates inflammation throughout the body. For many people, this happens every time they eat. This inflammation manifests in different ways for different people. It can cause joint pain, skin problems, digestive complaints, autoimmune disease, issues with brain function, fatigue, chronic pain, and…seasonal allergies. What causes leaky gut and seasonal allergies? Leaky gut is very common today and can cause bloating, heartburn, gas, constipation, diarrhea, or pain. However, many people with leaky gut have no digestive symptoms at all. One of the most common causes of leaky gut is eating gluten, the protein found in wheat, rye, barley, spelt, and other wheat-like grains. Wheat today is not like the wheat from past generations. It has been genetically altered, processed, and stored in ways that make it very damaging to people’s guts. Sometimes simply removing gluten from the diet can profoundly relieve allergy symptoms by allowing the gut to recover and repair. Because leaky gut leads to food intolerances and food allergies, you may need to eliminate other foods, such as dairy, eggs, or other grains. You may find significant allergy relief by following an anti-inflammatory diet, or you can ask my office about a lab test to screen for food sensitivities. Another factor that contributes to leaky gut and allergy symptoms is an imbalance of gut bacteria. The digestive tract holds several pounds of bacteria that play a large role in immune function. When the bad bacteria overwhelm the good, inflammation and allergies result. Leaky gut repair includes nurturing your beneficial bacteria with probiotics and fermented foods to improve allergy symptoms. Chronic stress also weakens and inflames the digestive tract, causing leaky gut and seasonal allergies. Stress doesn’t just have to come from a stressful lifestyle or lack of sleep, although those certainly play a role. Eating a diet high in sugar and processed foods is stressful to the body, as is an unmanaged autoimmune disease, or hormones that are out of whack and causing miserable PMS or menopausal symptoms. These are just a few metabolic factors that contribute to leaky gut and seasonal allergies. Find seasonal allergy relief by fixing your leaky gut You don’t have to needlessly suffer every spring and depend on allergy medicines to function. In fact, you should see your allergies as a red flag that your body needs attention. Leaky gut can lead to much more serious conditions than allergies, such as autoimmune disease (Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism, rheumatoid arthritis, Type 1 diabetes, etc.), depression and anxiety, neurological diseases, and more. By repairing your leaky gut and improving your allergy symptoms, you can prevent or...

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