How a Low Fat Diet Can Harm your Weight and Overall Health

Fats are an essential nutrient and one of the primary energy sources for the body. They also play a big role in weight management, absorbing nutrients, maintaining healthy skin and hair, supporting immune function, and hormonal balance.

While a balanced diet that includes plenty of plant foods is key for long-term health, fats are actually needed to properly absorb the fat-soluble vitamins found in many plants — including vitamin A, D, E and K.

Most healthy sources of fat are also fat-burning foods. Their ability to make our food taste good, turn off hunger and stop overeating by making us feel satisfied, has a lot to do with zerofatweight management.

Fats Get a Bad Rap

For decades, we’ve been told to avoid fatty foods like coconuts, eggs, fatty cuts of meat and full-fat dairy. Since the government’s 1980 Dietary Guidelines were established over 30 years ago, dietary policy has focused on reducing total fat in the American diet to no more than 30 percent of a person’s daily calories. And many of the most popular “diet plans” over the years have reduced fat to much lower levels than this.

Not all fats are created equally and not all affect the body in the same way. While processed and refined fats found in boxed foods and most restaurant fare can be harmful, other types of natural fats have beneficial, life-extending properties. When we miss out on fats in our diets, we can quickly find ourselves feeling tired, moody, constantly hungry, unable to kick cravings and resentful over our restrictive diets.

Low Fat Diet Risks That May Surprise You

We hear much more about healthy fats in the mainstream media today but low-fat, diet and light products of all sorts continue to pack grocery store shelves — what are the real risks of consuming these foods over the full-fat varieties?

1. Poor Brain Function

The brain is largely made up of fat and requires a steady stream of fatty acids to perform optimally. Cholesterol has an important role as a critical brain nutrient, so despite what most people think, low cholesterol levels can be worse than high. This means that a major low-fat diet risk includes poor job performance, low energy, changes in your mood, “brain fog” and so on.

2. Compromised Heart Health

While we’ve been led to believe the opposite for many years, research continues to confirm that heart disease (including coronary artery disease, the leading cause of heart attacks) likely has much more do with inflammation — which is at the root of most diseases — than from high fat or cholesterol intake. This means that an inflammatory diet including lots of sugar, refined carbs, low-quality proteins and processed vegetable oils is actually more threatening to your heart that a diet high in fat — even saturated fat.

3. Weight Gain and Overeating

Recent research involving weight gain (or loss) and fat intake points to an established relationship between fat intake, your hormones and weight fluctuations. We know that many people who go on “diets” tend to gain back all of the weight shortly after. Why does this happen?

One explanation is that weight loss elicits biological adaptations that result in a decline in energy expenditure (adaptive thermogenesis) and an increase in hunger, both of which promote weight regain. But certain studies have found that a higher-fat diet with lower carbs can help prevent this from happening. In addition, most people find that diets higher in fat are more satiating and turn off hunger signals and appetite much more so than lower-fat diets do. This is because fats turn on your fat-burning switch by impacting ghrelin hormone levels.

4. Higher Risk of Insulin Resistance and Diabetes

Clinical studies have shown us that excess weight gain and insulin (or blood sugar control) are highly connected.  Lower-fat, higher-carb diets might pose a higher risk for insulin resistance (and weight gain). But we know that eating plenty of healthy fats is one of the keys to controlling insulin. We also know that diets that are higher in fat tend to be lower in carbohydrates and sugar, which is beneficial for diabetes prevention.

5. Hormone Imbalances (Including Sex Hormones Testosterone and Estrogen)

Eating enough fats is one of the most important things you can do to balance hormones naturally. Cholesterol and other fats play a fundamental part in building cellular membranes and hormones. Certain kinds of fats, including cholesterol, also act like antioxidants and precursors to some important brain-supporting molecules and neurotransmitters. These include vitamin D (which actually acts more like a hormone in the body more so than a vitamin) along with other hormones like testosterone and estrogen.

One low-fat diet risk is an increased risk for infertility and other hormonal issues in women. Some studies have found that low-fat diets raise the risk of menstrual problems and difficulty getting pregnant. For example, a 2007 study conducted by the Department of Nutrition and Harvard School of Public Health found that high intake of low-fat dairy foods may increase the risk of infertility whereas intake of high-fat dairy foods may decrease this risk.

 

If you’d like to incorporate healthy fats and nutrition into your weight loss plan, schedule a free 20 minute strategy session and start working on your weight loss goals now.

 

Is Your Sunscreen Toxic?

woman sunscreenIt’s that time of year when we all start enjoying the weather outside, but did you know that 4 different studies conducted in the 1990’s indicated a higher risk of malignant melanoma among individuals who used the most sunscreen!

According to research from the Environmental Working Group (EWG), more than 75% of the sunscreens tested contained toxic chemicals that can increase your risk of cancer and other health issues.

The findings from the EWG research conclude that some sunscreen ingredients may:

  • Absorb into the blood
  • Release free radicals in sunlight
  • Act like estrogen
  • Disrupt hormones
  • Cause allergic reactions
  • Cause skin irritation
  • Have no rigorous safety standards

A recent study published in Environmental Science Technology has also shown the common sunscreen ingredients oxybenzone, methoxycinnamate, and PABA to be estrogenic chemicals linked to cancer.

Beware of non-mineral, conventional sunscreens

Non-mineral sunscreens penetrate the skin, are potentially disruptive to hormones, are allergenic, and can release free radicals when they break down. Oxybenzone is the most common ingredient found in sunscreens. Scientists recommend not using sunscreens containing oxybenzone on children because of this hormone disruption.

What to Buy?

Mineral sunscreens are ones containing zinc, or titanium.  These do not breakdown in sunlight, are not usually absorbed (so do not disrupt the body’s hormones), are not allergenic and are more effective at blocking UVA rays than non-minerals.  These sunscreens are a good choice for children and according to EWG have the best safety profiles of the choices in the United States.

When buying sunscreen, you can check the EWG database. Two top recommendations are, Kiss My Face SPF 30 and Aubrey Organics SPF 30 Children’s Unscented Sensitive Skin. These healthier sunscreens contain Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide as a more natural form of sunblock.

The Benefits of the Sun
In truth, the sun is essential for your health. Getting a moderate amount of sunshine daily can actually help decrease your risk of certain types of cancers. When you get approximately 20 minutes of direct sunlight, your body naturally generates enough Vitamin D3 (Calciferol), and your body also knows the right amount to generate without overdose. Be sure to cover up with light clothing before you get burnt when getting direct sunlight.

Vitamin D3 has been one of the most researched nutrients over the past 5 years and it has been shown to naturally help boost the immune system, help fight cancer and improve mood.

 

The Fatigue Weight Gain Connection

If you’re dealing wfatigue personith an energy crisis and trying to lose weight you know how hard it is. There’s nothing more important that will have a direct impact on your ability to lose weight than your energy. Sub par energy shows up in many ways but they can all be summed in this way: one takes shortcuts because of the lack of energy. Shortcuts mean you take the easy way, the convenient way instead of putting the time in that it takes. This affects many aspects needed to lose weight such as putting the time in to plan and cook a good meal and taking the time to have a productive workout. When one is lacking in energy they conserve to get through the day, instead of taking on more. You know the feeling when you’re dragging through the day or need another cup of coffee, the last thing you want to do is exercise. That’s why it’s crucial to bolster sagging energy first before trying to lose weight.

Where to Look if You Need More Energy

  • Sleep-are you getting 7-8 hours a night?
  • Check bloodwork and rule out anemia, underactive thyroid and possible infections
  • Look at stress levels and consider doing a saliva cortisol panel to assess adrenal function
  • Look at nutrient deficiencies-common deficiencies include magnesium, b-complex vitamins and vitamin C
  • Assess blood sugar levels-are you steady throughout the day or do you have swings, are you craving sweets which is a sign of imbalanced blood sugar
  • Consider doing functional testing to uncover the root of poor energy. Organic acids is an excellent test which gives great information. To learn more about this test click here
  • Look at what you are eating-how much processed food vs whole food, are you getting enough protein which can also impact energy levels

Natural Energy Boosters

  • B-complex vitamins-B vitamins help convert the food you eat into energy. Especially important is B-5 pantothenic acid which helps make adrenal hormones. B12 and B6 are also crucial and will impact energy if deficient.
  • Vitamin C-the adrenal glands use up 97% of vitamin C and those with high stress levels are using it right up. Vitamin C is also an important co-factor for those with low adrenaline levels (epinephrine)
  • Adaptogenic herbs-adaptogens have been used for many years to help improve stress adaptation and increase energy. Examples of adaptogens include ginseng, rhodiola, ashwagandha, licorice and more. These herbs support cortisol balance which is very important for those trying to lose weight
  • Magnesium-magnesium supports the nervous system and is often used for those with high stress and tight/ tense muscles. Magnesium also plays a role with energy and is often deficient as it’s estimated up to 70-80% of the population is considered low in this mineral.

Losing weight is difficult enough but when one has fatigue it is nearly impossible to see steady progress. If you’re struggling and need help schedule a free 20 minute strategy session and start working on your weight and energy goals.

3 Ways High Stress Impacts Your Ability to Lose Weight

If you’re strugglinmp900400322-stressg to lose weight in spite of a healthy diet and exercise, one of the key areas to look at is stress levels. In today’s fast paced environment many of us are dealing with high stress levels. While many people can tell when they are under high stress, others do not recognize the impact stress is having on their health.

 

3 Ways High Stress Impacts Your Ability to Lose Weight

  1. Imbalanced cortisol levels-if your dealing with high stress levels you’ll very likely have imbalanced cortisol levels. Stress causes high cortisol levels in the beginning and if not dealt with eventually one will not produce enough cortisol. High cortisol levels are clinically shown to cause belly fat. Many people are able to recognize they need  to lose in the midsection and often this is where people tend to gain it the most. High cortisol also means you are in a catabolic state which means breaking down muscle tissue. Catabolic is the opposite of anabolic as in building muscle tissue. One of the keys to losing weight is to build muscle which will in turn increase the body’s metabolism and burn fat at a better rate. It is detrimental to be in a catabolic state breaking down tissue. This is one reason why many struggle to lose weight.
  2. Cravings-higher stress levels mean more cravings. Increases in cortisol often cause more cravings and imbalanced blood sugar levels. When someone is dealing with lots of stress they often will succumb to eating something they know they shouldn’t. Most often this something is sugar. High cortisol also causes low serotonin levels in the body. This feel good neurotransmitter helps our mood as well as our sleep patterns. When serotonin levels are low many will have more cravings and in particular chocolate cravings. Those with cravings need to support blood sugar levels throughout the day. Eating protein with quality fat and fiber is a great way to support steady glucose levels. High stress does a number on cortisol which also impacts blood sugar and sets the stage for more cravings.
  3. Low Thyroid-those with high stress often also have low thyroid output. The adrenal and thyroid glands are both impacted by stress. Clinically high stress causes a poor conversion of T4 to T3. T3 is what the cell utilizes and if proper conversion is not taking place, that person will be hypothyroid and likely prescribed thyroid hormones. Thyroglobulin joins up with 4 molecules of iodine to produce T4 or thyroxine. T3 is triiodothyronine containing 3 molecules of iodine and is the predominate thyroid hormone the body uses. One of the problems with standard testing is most only get tested for TSH levels and never see T4 or T3 levels. The bottom line is that high stress causes impacts the conversion of T4 to T3 and causes thyroid problems which make it much harder to lose weight.

For more information and support schedule a free 20 minute strategy session to learn how you can benefit from individual nutrition counseling with a functional approach. Click Here to Schedule Your Strategy Session

 

 

 

7 Secrets to Lose Weight Fast for Women Over 40

standing on scaleWe all know it takes time to lose weight but if you’re in a hurry these 7 secrets will speed things up. If you’re a woman over 40 these will help you increase your metabolism as well as support your overall health.

  1. Drink Green Tea-drinking herbal teas like green tea, white tea and even black tea can ramp up your metabolism. A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed drinking green tea is more effective than other teas at promoting weight loss because of it’s high levels of catechins. Aim to drink 1-3 cups of green tea daily.
  2. Complete a cleanse-doing a professional cleanse program is one of the best ways to lose weight fast. For women over 40 cleansing is a great way to support your liver and give your digestive system a rest. See below for upcoming cleanse dates.
  3. Increase protein intake-if you’re looking to burn fat and build muscle you need more protein. A good starting point is to consume half your body weight in grams of protein per day.
  4. Reduce/eliminate grains-grains contain large amounts of carbohydrates which break down into sugar that your body will store as fat. I’m not against all grains but if you’re trying to lose weight fast letting go of grains can help. Gluten and lectins are inflammatory for many and why letting go of grains at least in the beginning is a good idea.
  5. Know your blood sugar level-not just once a year at a physical. Knowing your blood sugar level means knowing your fasting and post-parandial (after meals) as a tool for optimal health. Your fasting level should be 75-89. After meals it should spike no higher than 110 and 2 hours after eating be down to your fasting level. If it spikes high, you know there are foods in that meal you should not be eating. Many women over 40 have insulin resistance and don’t know it. A glucometer is a great tool to know how your body is handling food and if you are maintaining a good blood sugar level throughout the day.
  6. Burst train-this is one of the most effective ways to lose weight fast. This method of exercise helps you burn fat faster because your metabolism stays elevated for up to 48 hours after exercise.
  7. Eat 90% of your meals at home-being in control of what you’re eating and knowing you are using quality ingredients will help you drop weight fast. Have at least 5-7 recipes you’re comfortable with and can whip up in less than 20 minutes.

Do you need more education and accountability around weight loss? Schedule your free 20 minute strategy session to learn more. click here to schedule

Mindful Eating and Weight Loss

MP900443279Mindful Eating and Weight Loss

Did you know that simply being mindful when you eat can help you to lose weight? There are two big reasons to be mindful when you eat:

  1. You will eat less and enjoy your food more.
  2. You will metabolize and burn food better rather than store it in your belly.

Study after study shows when we eat unconsciously, we eat more. In one particular study, participants were given snack food bags that automatically refilled from a secret compartment under the table. They were compared to people who just had a single bag full. The group that had the auto-refillable bags just kept eating.

Studies also show that when you eat in a stressed state, you store fat in your belly and don’t metabolize your food well. Same food, but eating this way creates more weight gain and inflammation.

Here’s what you can do to be more mindful and create better habits around food:

  • Say a blessing of thanks before each meal-gratitude and prayer help focus the mind and bring you to the present.
  • Always sit down and sit still-don’t eat while watching TV, talking on the phone, driving, standing or walking down the street with food in your mouth.
  • Eat from smaller plates-eating out of a package, bag or container is a good way to overeat and eat unconsciously.
  • Stop and breathe before eating-take 3-5 deep breaths in and out through your nose before every meal.
  • Create a peaceful environment-soft light, candles, quiet music-all of these encourage attention, slow eating and pleasure.
  • Chew each bite multiple times-you’ll improve digestion of your food and your enjoyment of it.
  • Serve food before you put the plate on the table-leave the serving dish on the counter rather than in the center of the table.
  • Don’t reward exercise by thinking, I just walked 3 miles, so I can have a (fill in the blank). Exercise is its own reward.You can’t exercise your way out of a bad diet.
  • Don’t shop hungry-if you are hungry when you shop, you’ll likely buy more quick snacks, processed foods, and fewer fruits and vegetables.
  • Buy in bulk-then put food into small bags or containers.
  • Make your home a safe zone-don’t keep tempting junk food, poor quality snacks and processed foods in the house.

 

Fat Cells and Sleep

Sick Young Woman Lying in Bed --- Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

In a study that challenges the long-held notion that the primary function of sleep is to give rest to the brain, researchers have found that not getting enough shut-eye has a harmful impact on fat cells, reducing by 30 percent their ability to respond to insulin, a hormone that regulates energy.

Sleep deprivation has long been associated with impaired brain function, causing decreased alertness and reduced cognitive ability. The latest finding — published by University of Chicago Medicine researchers in the Oct. 16 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine — is the first description of a molecular mechanism directly connecting sleep loss to the disruption of energy regulation in humans, a process that can lead over time to weight gain, diabetes and other health problems. The study suggests that sleep’s role in energy metabolism is at least as important as it is in brain function.

“We found that fat cells need sleep to function properly,” said study author Matthew Brady, PhD, associate professor of medicine and vice-chair of the Committee on Molecular Metabolism and Nutrition at the University of Chicago.

Brady said body fat plays an important role in humans.

“Many people think of fat as a problem, but it serves a vital function,” he said. “Body fat, also known as adipose tissue, stores and releases energy. In storage mode, fat cells remove fatty acids and lipids from the circulation where they can damage other tissues. When fat cells cannot respond effectively to insulin, these lipids leach out into the circulation, leading to serious complications.”

Esra Tasali, MD, assistant professor of medicine at the University of Chicago and co-senior author, led the recruitment of six men and one woman, all young, lean and healthy. Each volunteer went through two study conditions, at least four weeks apart. In one, they spent 8.5 hours a night in bed for four consecutive nights. In the other, they spent 4.5 hours in bed for four nights. Food intake, strictly controlled, was identical under both study conditions.

On the morning after the fourth night following both the long and short sleep conditions, each volunteer took an intravenous glucose tolerance test, which measures total-body insulin sensitivity. The researchers performed a biopsy, removing abdominal fat cells from the area near each volunteer’s navel. Then they measured how these fat cells responded to insulin.

The researchers assessed insulin sensitivity at the molecular level by measuring the phosphorylation of a protein called Akt within fat cells. Akt phosphorylation is a crucial early chemical step in the cell’s response to insulin.

After four nights of short sleep, total-body insulin response decreased by an average of 16 percent. The insulin sensitivity of fat cells decreased by 30 percent. This reduction is comparable to the difference between cells from obese vs. lean participants or from people with diabetes versus non-diabetic controls.

They found that the sleep-deprived study participants had a decreased response to a range of doses of insulin. It took nearly three times as much insulin to provoke half of the maximum Akt response in volunteers who had been deprived of sleep.

“Sleeping four to five hours a night, at least on work days, is now a common behavior” said study author and sleep specialist Esra Tasali.

“Some people claim they can tolerate the cognitive effects of routine sleep deprivation,” said co-author Eve Van Cauter, PhD, the Frederick H. Rawson Professor of Medicine and director of the sleep, metabolism and health center at the University of Chicago. “In this small but thorough study, however, we found that seven out of seven subjects had a significant change in insulin sensitivity. They are not tolerating the metabolic consequences.”

The study was one of the first to bring together sleep research experts and biologists focused on energy regulation and metabolism in adipose tissue. The impetus came from a sleep-research graduate student, Josiane Broussard, PhD ’10, lead author of the study and now a Society in Science-Branco Weiss fellow at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. She wanted to combine her interest in sleep and metabolism with research at the molecular level.

So she pulled together a team for this project that included the two sleep researchers, Tasali and Van Cauter, plus two specialists from the University of Chicago Kovler Diabetes Center, David Ehrmann, MD, and Brady, who studies how insulin regulates energy storage in fat and liver cells.

They focused on fat cells because of their direct links to metabolic disruption and weight gain. These cells store energy for the body, are exquisitely sensitive to insulin and help regulate appetite.

Witnessing the direct effect of sleep deprivation on a peripheral tissue such as fat at the cellular level “was an eye-opener,” Broussard said. It helps cement the link between sleep and diabetes and “suggests that we could use sleep like diet and exercise to prevent or treat this common disease.”

Brady said the study opens up many new questions.

“What signals from sleep loss affect the fat cell? What effect does dysfunctional fat have at the whole-body level?” Brady wondered. “And if we can deprive healthy people of sleep and make them worse, can we take sick people, such as those with the common combination of sleep apnea, obesity and diabetes, improve their sleep and make them better? That’s the missing link in the sleep-obesity-diabetes connection.”

This study is “a valuable contribution to the understanding of the causal pathways by which reduced sleep duration may directly contribute to diabetes and obesity,” according to an editorial in the journal by Francesco Cappuccio, MD, DSc, and Michelle Miller, PhD, of the University of Warwick, in Coventry, United Kingdom. “These results point to a much wider influence of sleep on bodily functions, including metabolism, adipose tissue, cardiovascular function, and possibly more.”

National Sleep Foundation

Toxic Sunscreens

sunblockThe Environmental Working Group (EWG) recently published their guide to safe sunscreens. They reviewed over 2000 sunscreens and over 257 brands. They found more than 75% of the sunscreens contained toxic chemicals that can increase your risk of cancer and other health issues.

The Dangers of Conventional Sunscreens
According to research from the EWG: Our review…shows that some sunscreen ingredients absorb into the blood, and some have toxic effects. Some release skin-damaging free radicals in sunlight, some act like estrogen and disrupt hormones, and several can cause allergic reactions and skin irritation. The FDA has not established rigorous safety standards for sunscreen ingredients. Sunscreens haven’t been regulated since 1978 in the USA, and the SPF factor only tells you how effective a sunscreen is against UVB rays which cause sunburn.

A recent study published in Environmental Science Technology has also shown the common sunscreen ingredients oxybenzone, methoxycinnamate, and PABA are estrogenic chemicals linked to cancer. Reading labels not only on food products but also sunscreen and body care products is very important because toxins are absorbed into the bloodstream.

List of Unsafe, Toxic Chemicals in Sunscreen

  • Para amino benzoic acid
  • Octyl salicyclate
  • Oxybenzone
  • Cinoxate
  • Dioxybenzone
  • Phenylbenzimidazole
  • Homosalate
  • Menthyl anthranilate
  • Octocrylene
  • Methoxycinnamate
  • Parabens

There are two types of sunscreens: non-mineral and mineral.  And some that combine both.

Non-mineral sunscreens penetrate the skin, are potentially disruptive to hormones, are allergenic, and like I mentioned earlier, can release free radicals when they break down. Oxybenzone is the most common ingredient found in sunscreens. Scientists recommend not using sunscreens containing oxybenzone on children because of this hormone disruption.

Mineral sunscreens are ones containing zinc, or titanium. These do not breakdown in sunlight, are not usually absorbed ( so do not disrupt the body’s hormones), are not allergenic and are more effective at blocking UVA rays than non-minerals. These sunscreens are a good choice for children and according to EWG have the best safety profiles of the choices in the United States.

Some of the best brands include: Kiss My Face, Jason and Aubrey Organics.

Actions Steps
1. Get 20+ minutes of sunshine daily
2. Cover up with light clothing before you get burnt
3. Wear natural sunscreen if you’re going to stay out for a long period of time
4. Eat a diet high in anti-oxidants to protect your skin
5. If you get burnt, use a mixture of aloe, coconut oil and vitamin E on your skin

 

Is Wheat Giving You A Belly

wheat before harvestMany of us are constantly struggling with the battle of the bulge and can’t just seem to get the weight off. We are not alone, as over 1/3 of the US population is obese. What many of us don’t realize is that a common “staple” of our diet may be a huge culprit in the obesity epidemic. The old food pyramid features bread, pasta, and other grains as the predominant food in our diets. But, many experts believe that an increase in wheat consumption and hybridization of wheat may be a big contributing factor to the obesity epidemic.

Modern wheat, which is different from the wheat found 50 years ago, no longer resembles the wheat of our ancestors.  Wheat has been hybridized which means it has been cross-bred with other grains and species so it has a higher yield and contains less nutrients and more carbohydrates.  The history of the genetic changes in wheat can actually be connected to the increase in chronic diseases and obesity across the globe. The hybridization of wheat has caused changes in the starch and gluten which has also made wheat highly addictive.

The Starch thats worse than Table Sugar

The carbohydrate found in wheat is about 75% amylopectin A which has been called a “super carbohydrate” as it has the ability to increase blood sugar faster than other carbohydrates. The molecular structure of amylopectin causes it to be more easily digested than other more complex starches. Ends up, due to this digestibility it can raise blood sugar even faster than a candy bar!

In this study from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, participants were given a diet of 70% amylose or 70% amylopectin. Those on the amylopectin diet had higher glucose and insulin responses after a meal. Chronically elevated insulin levels leads to fat storage, specifically in the abdominal area. The only way to get rid of fat is to allow insulin levels to decrease enough in the body so that your body will start burning fat again. So, due to its high amylopectin content, wheat causes not only excess weight, but a whole myriad of other health problems.

Gluten, the protein found in wheat, has also been modified into “super gluten” from its original form that has been linked to a whole host of health problems. The amount of gluten has actually been doubled in hybridized wheat. Gluten triggers inflammation system-wide which causes weight gain, diabetes, autoimmune disease, and multiple chronic diseases. In the digestive system, gluten can actually damage the gut lining triggering full-body inflammation and susceptibility to other bacteria or viruses crossing gut barrier. This syndrome is called “leaky gut” and can be a trigger for a variety of illnesses, especially autoimmune diseases.

Exorphin Addiction

Lastly, wheat is digested into short proteins called exorphins which act similarly to endorphins, the neurotransmitters released during a “runners high”.  Exorphins bind to and stimulate morphine receptors in the brain, making them just as addictive as any other drug. When we eat gluten, it soothes us and makes us feel calmer. This causes us to look for more of this food during stressful times to help calm us down, leading to overeating and weight gain. The FDA is actually looking into opiate blocking medication to help people lose weight.

If you are having difficulty losing weight, have an autoimmune condition, thyroid condition or diabetes, consider following a gluten-free diet for at least 6 weeks to see if you lose weight or if your symptoms resolve. But, don’t just remove gluten in your diet then add gluten-free junk food. Adopt a whole food, gluten free diet and avoid highly processed foods, even if they are gluten-free. Your body and your weight will thank you.

 Key Points:

  • Modern wheat has been hybridized and is different from the wheat commonly consumed 50 years ago.
  • Amylopectin A is the main starch in wheat and has been linked to weight gain and significant elevations in blood sugar.
  • Gluten, the protein in wheat, causes systemic inflammation and can also lead to weight gain and diabetes.
  • Wheat contains morphine-like substances that create an addiction.

 

Balancing Women’s Hormones Naturally

MP900443279Hormones affect every biological system.  They are the body’s chemical messengers and without them, nothing works correctly.  In women, they govern reproduction, plus metabolizing food, proper immune function, physical and emotional responses to stress and the aging of cells. Hormone imbalance can occur at any age.  In young women, imbalances are caused by obesity, and the presence of toxic estrogenic chemicals in today’s dairy products and meat, personal care products, plastics, food containers, pesticides and herbicides, as well as car exhaust.

During the reproductive years, weight gain, blood sugar imbalance and sex hormone imbalances occur due to the stress of modern lifestyles.  Women find it hard to properly take care of themselves as they are busy working and taking care of families.  They don’t get the amount of exercise they once did and are eating high fat and high sugar comfort foods.

Weight gain is a particular concern during perimenopause.  Too much estrogen causes weight gain in the belly area, and belly fat produces more estrogen.  It is a vicious cycle.  Some women in menopause are still experiencing hot flashes and other perimenopause symptoms.

At any age, getting blood sugar under control is key.  Diet and lifestyle choices need to be addressed. Using herbal supplements for hormone balance can be helpful.  Here are 8 steps to help balance hormones naturally.

  1. Clean up your diet by avoiding sugar and processed foods as much as possible.
  2.  Add plenty of organic fruits and vegetables to your diet.  Choose meats and dairy products that are organic or raised without hormones and antibiotics.
  3. Exercise regularly.
  4. Avoid plastic bottles and food containers whenever possible.
  5. Choose natural personal care products including shampoos, lotions & cosmetics.
  6. Use natural household cleaning products.
  7. Find a good stress management technique.
  8. Use phytoestrogens such as chasteberry or black cohosh to balance excess estrogen.