brain injury inflammation

Inflammation and how it’s destroying everyone’s health

Inflammation is part of the body’s natural immune response. brain injury inflammationIt can be beneficial when you’re injured and tissues need care and protection. However, sometimes inflammation can persist longer than necessary, causing more harm than good. Chronic inflammation is at the root of so many illnesses we face today.

For example, brain networks in babies as well as future cognitive development reflect the degree of inflammation their mothers experienced during pregnancy, according to some new studies, leaving them vulnerable to conditions like autism, schizophrenia etc.

Inflammation cooks our genetics & accelerates aging, creating all sorts of pathologies (bipolar disorder, anxiety disorder, depression, epilepsy/seizures, brain tumors, obesity, arthritis, IBS, fibromyalgia etc.) Treating our inflammation can reverse many of these pathologies.

Common causes of inflammation:

1- Diet: Refined flour, refined and excess sugar, oxidized/rancid fats, trans fats, chemicals, preservatives.

2- Obesity: Obesity is an inflammatory state. Your body is struggling and it’s only going to get worse until you do something.

3-Poor gut health: Disruptions in the gut microbiome create intestinal permeability and contribute to systemic inflammation.

4-Stress: Stress stimulates pro inflammatory signalling. Chronic stress=chronic inflammation.

Dental disease, chronic infection, vitamin D deficiency also trigger inflammation in the body.

Our standard American diet is incredibly high in sugar. Sugar is inflammatory and makes our gut more permeable, creating even more inflammation. Inflammation leads to DNA damage, which leads to cancer changes. Reducing your carbohydrate intake, while getting the majority of your carbs from vegetables can really support your body, allowing it to slow and even reverse illness.

For those who need a lot of repair, studies are showing that ketosis repairs DNA, along with increasing mitochondrial function, and therefore increasing brain function. Intermittent fasting and eating high fat/low carbohydrate both put your body into ketosis (where it switches from carb fuel to fat fuel).

Exogenous ketones can be helpful in the beginning as they help to decrease appetite and make the insulin receptors work better (but they cannot replace doing the work). Once our insulin receptors work better, the body doesn’t have to produce as much insulin to get into the cell. So now we can produce less and that inflammatory cascade will start to go down.

How else can we lower inflammation?

  • Good omega-3 & other healthy fats (coconut, olive, avocado, nuts & seeds, fish, free-range eggs, grass-fed meat)
  • Turmeric and pepper together (spices in general are great for your health)
  • Vegetable based diet
  • Movement (30min 5x week min)
  • Sleep. Lack of sleep is really hard on the brain and creates plaque on arterial walls
  • Stress reduction. Make time for the things that feed your soul & help you feel grounded, peaceful, and recharged.

A healthy eating regimen, movement, stress reduction and proper sleep it’s really all we need to reverse most illness. The big people in charge are not interested in spreading this message, so we need to help each other♥️

If you’d like to learn more about how to turn the tables on your illness and paving the way to better health, send me a message and I’d be delighted to help you get started!

 

Eggs, prosciutto, kale, portobello

My Experience so far with Low Carb/Ketogenic Eating

I’ll be honest, I’d been pretty resistant to learning/accepting ketogenic eating as a sustainable option for myself or my clients. Everything I’d heard sounded so restrictive. This year however I decided to tune into the 2018 Ketogenic Summit; where everyday for 7 days you get 24 hour access to 4-5 different talks with various doctors, scientists and experts who offer their opinion and explain their reasoning.

I was already on board with the position that sugar & inflammation is at the root of so many illnesses we face today, so understanding that reducing your carbohydrate intake can be incredibly beneficial was an easy sell. I’ve also long believed that sufficient amounts of healthy fats are missing in many of our diets today. What was most exciting about this summit was learning the benefits of your body running off ketones instead of glucose.

Luckily I had already done the work of cutting out processed foods and increasing my movement (thanks to my Fitbit), so I looked for a bread substitute, made some cauliflower rice and I was off to the races!

Week 1: I did well 6 out of 7 days. I noticed that I woke up feeling awake, instead of my usual groggy I-don’t-want-to-get-out-of-bed usual feeling. I felt lighter and had more energy, but seemed to be getting afternoon headaches. My mood felt more stable and my stomach didn’t hurt (aside from feeling nauseous twice after eating package-bought spinach dip). I wasn’t hungry all the time.

Week 2: This week was a struggle. It started off by going to a friend’s place for a BBQ. I put some ribs and coleslaw on my plate but then my host added a baked potato to my plate and i decided to eat it instead of refusing it. I also had some red wine over the course of the afternoon/evening. I was surprised the next morning to see trace ketones on my test strip and thought all was well, but what followed was increased carb cravings, more falling off track and feeling tired, unmotivated & emotional. I tried to push though it with increased exercise & better food choices. I had a couple mini meltdowns, but after readjusting my expectations & reminding myself that not all progress in linear, I got myself back on track.

Week 3: This week was my best week. Everyday I kept my carbs at about 10%-15% of total intake (which is higher than what most keto experts recommend) but I felt great all week and my ketone levels were strong. I also found that snacking doesn’t make me feel so good so I started having larger meals and cutting out snacking (mostly). I also lost some weight; 6lbs total since the beginning. Most of it in the 3rd week.

This journey will be an ongoing learning experience for me as I come to understand why I can be in ketosis at higher carb levels than recommended, if this will be true for others, and how this shakes out long term. My intentions are to stay low carb indefinitely, but to continue exploring ketosis for the short term and periodically for health maintenance. I’m pleasantly surprised at how much flexibility it provides. 2 nights in week 3 I enjoyed a couple glasses for red wine, and another day I had some jackfruit that I found fresh for the first time since trying it in Africa in 2008; it was so worth it and didn’t seem to throw me off too much.

If you’re curious about low crab eating or ketogenic eating, send me a message and I’d be happy to offer some basic tips for starting out that can make your first few days/weeks a lot more enjoyable 🙂

Coffee, MCT oil, cinnamon Eggs, prosciutto, kale, portobello Fish, asparagus, cauliflower rice pure kitchen, royal with cheese, burger salad

cauliflower rice

Ketosis & Intermittent Fasting

Ketosis (which can be induced by eating a ketogenic diet or intermittent fasting) bring many benefits to our health:

  1. Ketones help modulate inflammation
  2. Ketones improve mitochondrial function
  3. Reducing carbohydrate gives your body a chance to modulate it’s insulin response
  4. Ketosis reduces hunger, increases energy & improves cognitive function (making intermittent fasting easier)
  5. Ketosis preserves lean body tissues
  6. Having more balanced blood sugar creates more stability (emotionally & physically)
  7. Ketosis & intermittent fasting help break sugar & alcohol addictions

    almond bread low carb keto

    Almond bread

It also helps with weight loss. A lot of people gain weight due to overeating carbs, especially processed ones, so ditching those carbs will help prevent further weight gain. In addition, being in a state of ketosis means your body will be burning through more body fat so eventually you will start to see the weight coming off.

Remember though, it takes time for your body to adapt to change, so the trick is to ease into it. For example, week one cut out all processed foods including soda, pastries etc. Week two remove added sugars (in your coffee, oatmeal, smoothies etc.). Week three make some almond bread and cauliflower rice and start reducing bread, rice and other grains etc. etc. As exciting as it is to start something new, there is nothing more discouraging than feeling shitty – and you will if you make dramatic shifts.

cauliflower rice

Cauliflower Rice Goes well with everything

While you are making these small & steady shifts, try and reduce your window of eating. If your first meal is typically 7am and your last intake of food is 10pm, try to shave an hour off each end, a week at a time. That being said, if you’re hungry, please eat, but slowly your body will adapt to this (especially as you increase daily fat intake and reduce carbohydrate intake).

Exercise also helps create ketones & improve brain function, so increasing your daily activity can help your body adapt to this shift. But don’t go crazy on the exercise, especially at first, as you don’t want to add more stress to your body as it is working to adapt to this change.

If you have a serious medical condition, talk to your doctor and have them support you in making this shift (hint: if they don’t want to, your should find a new doctor).

Lastly, be patient, enjoy the process, and remember that not all progress is linear. If you have a high-carb day, reflect on why, let go, and keep moving forward. Your good days will build momentum overtime and you will notice a huge difference.

I’ve been eating low carb and exploring keto eating since early May and I’ve experienced reduced hunger, increased energy and overall more emotional and physical stability. I’ve also lost 5 lbs, which is not what this is about for me, and I’m sure a big portion of it is water weight but it’s nice to look overall less puffy/inflamed.

If you have any questions or curiosity about the above info – send me a message! I’d love to hear your thoughts & help you solve any questions you may have!

gut brain mind body

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Inside our digestive tract lies the enteric nervous system, a complex web of neurons that links the gut to the spinal cord and brain.

Nicknamed the ‘gut-brain axis’, this connection often guides the instincts we experience deep within the belly. It also means that what’s going on in our stomachs can impact our brain function, and our thoughts, feelings and emotions can influence our digestion (including the amount of bloating, gas, diarrhea or constipation we experience).Continue reading

6 Brain fuel foods that help boost mental performance

teenage-brainLet’s face it, we all like to think we are in control. But the truth is, 90-100% of our decisions come from a primal, instinctual and sub-rational (below the level of conscious reasoning) part of our brain. The part of our brain responsible for conscious thought either provides rationalizations for our sub-rational decisions, or acts as an override mechanism that allows us to revise them.Continue reading