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!

 

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!

The Importance of a Balanced Microbiome

80-85% of our immunity is located in our gut wall. Our microbiome is like the right hand of our immune system. If it’s compromised, then your immune system is left to do it’s job with one hand tied behind it’s back. On top of that, exposure to a whole host of toxic by-products from the opportunistic bacteria that is now dominating your gut keeps your immune system fighting an uphill battle. Eventually the gut becomes damaged and leaky, allowing invaders and undigested food to escape the gut and enter your blood stream – which your immune system also has to deal with, in addition to being malnourished, compromised, unbalanced and intoxicated. This is also how many allergies/intolerances develop. Good news is once you restore a healthy balance, those allergies/intolerances often disappear!

Here are some key reasons we must support our beneficial bacteria

1-Our healthy indigenous gut bacteria can neutralize many toxic substances (like nitrates, indoles, phenols etc), as well as chelating heavy metals and other poisons.

2-Antibiotics wipe out good and bad bacteria, but leave some microbes untouched (like Candida) allowing it opportunity to overgrow

3-Without protection from a health layer of beneficial bacteria, we become vulnerable to anything that comes along, as well as the opportunistic bacteria already present (which require management from beneficial bacteria otherwise they overgrow & wreak havoc)

4-When our beneficial bacteria is compromised, not only do we lose its protection, but also the nourishment it provides in assisting digestion, producing vitamins, hormones and neurotransmitters. Did you know our gut derives 60-70% of it’s energy from bacterial activity?

5-If our microbiome is damaged, the best foods and supplements you can buy may not be broken down, digested and absorbed.

6-Our beneficial bacteria produce a constant steady stream of K2, B1, B2, B3, B6, B12, amino acids, hormones, neurotransmitters and much more. Without a healthy colony, there will be periods in the day where you’ll be deficient, even with supplementation.

So what damages out gut?

1-Antibiotics (whether prescribed, in our meat, or sprayed onto our produce)

2-Chlorine in our tap water

3-Other prescription drugs (steroids, birth control, sleeping pills, heartburn medication)

4-Diet (sugar and processed carbs support fungi, parasites and opportunistic bacteria)

5-Chronic stress

6-Environmental pollution/toxins

Our bodies are all capable of dealing with a certain level of exposure (some more than others), but every body has a breaking point, and in our current modern day lifestyle, many bodies are chronically being pushed past theirs.

If you’d like to learn more, and find out how to support your own microbiome, check out some of my other posts here & here, or book an appointment with me here.

Overnight Oats- A Must-Have In Your Diet

Overnight Oats with persimmons

Overnight oats provide magnesium, fiber, plant-based protein, potassium, essential fatty-acids, and they contain absolutely no sugar. They’re also an excellent prebiotic, meaning it feeds the good bacteria and helps maintain healthy gut flora. This makes them a solid go-to for healthy morning meals and they’re super affordable. Soaking them overnight breaks down their starches which improves digestibility, and their natural phytic acid (which all plants contain) is greatly reduced which makes them more easily absorbed by your body.

 

 

Plus, they’re sooooo versatile. You can soak them in plain water, coconut cream, yogurt, coffee, combine them with fruit, chia hemp or flax seed, nut butters, coconut cream, pumpkin & top them with cinnamon or maca powder, cocoa powder, vanilla bean..the list goes on and on. This makes for limitless breakfast ideas, even for every single day of the year. See how many different variations you can come up with!

 

Overnight oats soaked in blended strawberries and coconut cream, topped with Banana

Remember to choose organic, old-fashioned rolled oats (gluten-free options are great too) when you can. Rolled oats are higher in fiber than instant or quick cook oats and will provide you with sustained energy for longer. Organic oats are a smart choice to reduce pesticide and other chemicals sprayed on crops, and gluten-free oats are great for sensitive digesters that don’t tolerate gluten very well.

 

Easy Overnight Oats Recipe:

 

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 cup water or nut milk of choice
  • 1 tablespoon of chia seeds
  • 1 tablespoon hemp hearts
  • cinnamon (optional)
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened non-dairy yogurt
  • Toppings of choice (mashed banana plus coconut flour makes it taste like cake – just sayin’)

Directions:

Place all your ingredients in a jar or bowl, give them a stir, and soak covered overnight. Enjoy int he morning. Simple.

 

Try some overnight oats at home and let me know what fun flavor combos you come up with!

Mental Health, Digestion and our Microbiome

It’s now widely common knowledge that our gut microbiome influences our digestion, allergies, metabolism and mental health. We’re also realizing how much our brain can influence gut health.

gut-brain

Imbalances in our gut microbiome can eventually lead to systemic inflammation including in your brain, leading to brain fog, fatigue, anxiety, depression and so much more. Going in the other direction, stress (whether conscious or not, acute or chronic) inhibits our digestive function, leading to nutritional deficiencies and an imbalanced microbiome.Continue reading

What kind of Nutritionist Am I?

As a Holistic Nutritionist, I am trained to evaluate your main health concerns and/or goals, assess your symptoms and investigate the root causes that could be affecting your ability to achieve these health goals.

For example: Do you have acne or other skin issues? Instead of recommending creams and cleansers to help manage them, I investigate possible root causes such as food sensitivities, stress, hormonal imbalances and gut health, and nourish your systems through different holistic recommendations.Continue reading

Candida: a Likely Culprit to your Chronic Symptoms

Candida LOVES sugar!!

Candida is a microscopic organism that typically lives harmlessly in people. A single-cell organism, Candida reproduces asexually and thrives on some of the body’s byproducts: dead tissue and sugars from food. However, if your inner ecosystem is out of balance and your immunity is weakened, you are at risk for Candida overgrowth. Unless its environment is altered and its food sources eliminated, it quickly monopolizes entire body systems, such as the digestive tract, and causes moderate to severe symptoms.Continue reading

11 Reasons to Hire a Holistic Nutritionist

Nutrition advice is everywhere: talk shows, newspaper headlines, news feeds, personal trainers, friends, and even family members. But how do you know what information is accurate? It can be pretty overwhelming as what seemed healthy one week may be considered unhealthy the next. This is one of the many reasons you should hire a nutritionist – to help you sort out the fact from the fiction.

Nutrition and lifestyle changes have an incredible impact on your overall well being when you make small modifications over time (not all at once). I’ve seen people heal their digestive problems, overcome emotional eating, and reduce their dependence on over-the-counter medication for things like heartburn or chronic migraines. I’ve seen people become energized and vibrant simply by making small and steady changes to their diet and lifestyle.Continue reading

gut brain mind body

How our brain can influence our gut health

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