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Anti-inflammatory Foods for Weight Loss and Hormone Balance

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Anti-inflammatory Foods for Weight Loss and Hormone Balance

Counting calories, avoiding fats, eating small portions, living with hunger—dieting is a drag and the majority of people eventually gain back the pounds they fought so hard to lose.  Diet is limiting and restrictive. Consider nutrition.  The word ‘nutrition’ comes from Latin, which is ‘to nourish’. The goal of nutrition is to emphasize and maximize the amount of nutrients that your body needs for optimal health, hormone balance, and sustenance. Dieting can slow down the metabolism and affect hormones that control appetite. This may cause you to become hungrier, and lead to an unhealthy and a vicious cycle of yo-yo dieting. You’ll have better success if you eat with a focus on meeting your nutritional needs. Proper nutrition and avoidance of the ‘inflammatory’ foods can help reduce constant pain, digestive complaints, skin rashes, autoimmune disease, high blood pressure, depression, anxiety, hormone imbalances, and other chronic health issues. You may be surprised to find that not only do those symptoms reduce but you may also lose those unwanted pounds. Eating anti-inflammatory foods may cut out many of your favorites, but it does not require you to be hungry. In fact, hunger can work against you by causing low blood sugar. Basics of nutrition and anti-inflammatory foods  Eliminate the following, since they are designed to be addictive all processed foods fast foods sweets and desserts (helps to curb cravings and stabilize blood sugars) coffee drinks sodas Eliminate processed vegetable and hydrogenated oils Eliminate gluten, the protein found in wheat, rye, barley, and other gluten-containing grains You may have other food sensitivities and/or intolerances. Eliminate these foods for about 3 months and observe your reactions upon reintroducing them one at a time (every 3-4 days) dairy eggs soy nightshades nuts In some instances you may need to follow a stricter version of this diet, and eliminate grains, or foods with lectins Increase whole foods found in the produce and meat sections of the grocery store, with an emphasis on vegetables and leafy greens Increase healthy fats, including coconut, olive, or hemp seed oils, and avocados Get enough sleep. Studies show that lack of sleep promotes hunger, stress, and inflammation and is linked with obesity Get regular physical activity, not to burn calories but because it is vital to good health. Overtraining, however, can be counterproductive to your weight loss efforts or good...

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Seven Reasons of Why You May Be Tired

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Seven Reasons of Why You May Be Tired

Feel tired all the time? Having a hard time waking up in the mornings? Do you need a jolt of caffeine to get going? You may be experiencing “adrenal fatigue”, an issue where your body has difficulty meeting the demands of everyday stress, or life. Signs and symptoms of “adrenal fatigue” may include Persistent fatigue Headaches with stress, or regularly come on in the afternoons Frequent colds and flus; weakened immune system Allergies Slow to get going in the morning Craving sweets and stimulants Feeling lightheaded, shaky, or irritable between meals Eating to relieve fatigue Difficulty sleeping; or frequent wakings in the middle of the night Dizziness when moving from sitting to standing Low blood pressure Other Let’s look at a few possible reasons for your adrenal gland involvement. 1. Eating too much sugar and processed carbohydrates. When you eat sweets or starchy foods it causes your blood sugar and insulin levels to rise and then drop quickly. In response, your adrenal glands release the stress hormone (cortisol) to help those levels stay balanced. Repeated rises and falls of your blood sugar levels directly impact your adrenals. As a result of this exhaustive cycle, you may reach the state of“adrenal fatigue”, where you now suffer from perpetual low blood sugars, or reactive hypoglycemia. Aim for a lower glycemic, whole foods diet that does not spike your blood sugar, as well as healthy fats, protein, and plenty of fiber. 2. Using caffeine and other stimulants. Caffeine, energy drinks, cigarettes, diet pills, and other stimulants cause extra release of stress hormones and can further exacerbate the adrenal glands. 3. Overtraining. Exercise is vital to good health, yet over-exercising can aggravate the body, and taxing the adrenal glands. If your performance during workouts is suffering and you feel tired afterwards, you may actually be overdoing it, or exercising at the wrong time of the day for your body, this can further aggravate the health of your adrenal glands. 4. Food intolerances. Eating foods that trigger an immune reaction also has the capacity to tax adrenal function. One of the more common food intolerances is gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye, barley, spelt, and a few other type of grains. Dairy, eggs, soy, corn, and yeast are a few other common foods that can lead to inflammatory processes and impact your adrenal glands. Doing an elimination/provocation diet can be very helpful. In some instances, certain lab tests can also be useful in helping you decipher which foods you are sensitive to and should avoid. 5. Gut infections. It is not uncommon for many people to have gastrointestinal infections that include overgrowth of yeast, fungus, and/or bacteria. Many people may have these infections for years and not know about them. These chronic infections, however, can lead to chronic inflammation in the gut and the body, which leads to increased stress on the body and can further impact your adrenals. 6. Unmanaged autoimmune disease. Autoimmunity is when your immune system attacks your own body. For example, when the immune system attacks your thyroid gland (Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism), the pancreas (Type I diabetes), or the nervous system (multiple sclerosis).  Unmanaged autoimmune disease keeps the immune system on at all times, and this overactive state causes chronic inflammation. This perpetual inflammatory process leads to an increased stress on the body and its tissues, which can further aggravate the adrenal gland involvement . 7. Brain inflammation. Chronic inflammation in the body from poor diet, chronic stress, or autoimmune disease can also inflame the brain. Common symptoms of brain inflammation include brain fog, low brain endurance, poor memory, or slowed mental acuity. Contact us to learn...

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Glutathione: Help Manage Hashimoto’s and Support Fertility

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Glutathione: Help Manage Hashimoto’s and Support Fertility

Modern life delivers constant assaults on our bodies in the way of industrialized and processed foods, environmental toxins, chronic stress, lack of sleep, and even electromagnetic frequencies (EMFs) from cell phones, computers, and power plants. These and many other assaults can trigger autoimmune reactions in the body. These reactions can lead to developing autoimmune disease, like Hashimoto’s, or hormone disruptions in the body that lead to infertility. Our best defense to protect health and repair damage is to shore up glutathione, the body’s master antioxidant and detoxifier. Although the body naturally makes and recycles glutathione, modern life can overwhelm this system, depleting us of this vital compound. Glutathione as an oral supplement is not well absorbed by the digestive tract, but is well-obtained intravenously. However, most people are not able to dedicate enough time to receive regular intravenous drips of glutathione. Fortunately, many nutritional compounds act as building blocks to glutathione, and can help raise and maintain its levels inside and outside of cells. Optimize glutathione levels in the body The following nutritional compounds have been shown to boost glutathione levels that can help manage autoimmune Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism and support fertility: N-acetyl-cysteine is a precursor molecule to glutathione, and is a bioavailable building block. Alpha lipoic acid helps recycle glutathione already found in the cells. Milk thistle helps boost glutathione levels. Methylation nutrients–methyl folate (5-MTHF), methyl B6 (P5P) and methyl B12 (methylcobalmin)–are methyl forms of B vitamins can help boost glutathione production and recycling. Selenium helps with the production and recycling of glutathione in the body. Vitamin C helps to increase glutathione levels. Diet and lifestyle also affect glutathione levels. Sulfur-rich foods such as garlic, onions, broccoli, kale, collards, cabbage, cauliflower, and watercress can help boost glutathione. Exercise also boosts glutathione; aerobic exercise daily and strength-training two to three times per week. Preserve glutathione levels in the body One of the most important ways to maintain your glutathione levels is to reduce stress on your body. Glutathione’s job is to protect the cells, whether it’s from an autoimmune disease, sleep deprivation, or the toxic ingredients in scented detergents and fabric softeners. Healthy glutathione levels reduce your risk of developing chronic and autoimmune disease as well as food and chemical sensitivities. It is also helps better manage Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism and support fertility. Use the following techniques to preserve your glutathione: Find out what your food intolerances are and remove those foods from your diet. An elimination diet or a lab test can help you determine which foods stress your immune system. Eat a whole foods diet. Processed foods and fast foods contain chemicals, additives, genetically altered foods, antibiotics, hormone disruptors, excess sugar, and many other ingredients that are harmful to the body. Get enough sleep. Sleep deprivation is very stressful. If you have sleep issues, it may be secondary to something else. Contact us to find out what may be contributing to your poor sleep. Avoid common environmental chemicals. These are found in shampoos, body products, household cleaners, lawn care products, and so on. Minimize your exposure to EMFs, which are a source of “electrical pollution”. Cell phones, computers, WiFi, and other electronics. These are harmful to the body’s natural defenses (ie immune system), as well as responsible for hormone disruptions (ie...

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Eat Your Breakfast: Prevent Weight Gain and Hormone Imbalance

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Eat Your Breakfast: Prevent Weight Gain and Hormone Imbalance

Breakfast is the easiest meal to skip—mornings are rushed and many people don’t have an appetite when they wake up. Some people even feel nausea in the morning, which suggests a possible blood sugar dysregulation. If you skip breakfast you may be sabotaging your weight loss efforts, increasing your risk of weight gain, blood sugar disorders, hormone imbalances, and robbing your brain of energy. Skipped breakfast leads to weight gain and hormone imbalance Breakfast is the first meal after a long night of fasting. In the absence of food, the body must release stored glucose to fuel the brain or create glucose by breaking down muscle tissue. This process is made possible by by the stress hormone, cortisol. Skipping breakfast when your brain and body are starved for energy exaggerates this stress response, forcing the body to continually pump out cortisol to fuel the brain. This persistent increase of nighttime cortisol is what causes some people to wake up and experience nausea. Although it seems counter-intuitive, eating can actually relieve that morning nausea by inhibiting the stress response. The habitual stress response caused by skipping breakfast and other meals can promote weight gain, cause hormone imbalance, increase inflammation in the body, and decrease brain function. It can also lead to symptoms such as migraines, depression, mood swings, shakiness, lightheadedness, brain fog, and sleep disorders. Eating meals high in sugar and carbohydrates also contributes to this problem by causing energy to continually spike and crash throughout the day. Eating breakfast regularly is an important strategy when it comes to preventing weight gain and fatigue. 
Skipping breakfast leads to overeating and poor food choices Skipping breakfast can increase your chances of overindulging or making poor food choices later in the day. When your energy is crashing and your brain is starving for fuel. A well-fueled brain is better equipped to make healthier choices and not succumb to a mad grab for the nearest source of quick energy (like sugar, or something processed). A recent study showed that those who skipped breakfast were more likely to seek out high-calorie junk foods and that dieters who skip meals are more prone to gain weight over the long run. Their brain scans showed skipping meals stimulated the brain in a way that made high-calorie foods seem more appealing. Those who skipped breakfast also ate about 20 percent more at lunch. What to eat for breakfast Breakfast should emphasize healthy proteins and fat (avoid sugary, starchy breakfasts) to start the day on an even keel and maximize brain function. Eat frequently enough to avoid blood sugar crashes, and include protein, healthy fat, and fiber (vegetables) with every meal to sustain energy and prevent fatigue throughout the day. At our Portland natural health clinic we can help and support you and your health goals. Contact us with all of your questions and to schedule an...

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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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