Category Archives: Health

10 Superfood Add Ins for a Daily Boost!

Superfoods are those foods unknowingly chock full of essential nutrients that our bodies crave to stay nourished. Here are some of my favorite superfood add in ingredients that can be easily added to your daily meals to help promote an overall well being!

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  1. Chia Seeds: These seeds are extremely high in Omega-3 fats, magnesium, protein, calcium, fiber, zinc, and antioxidants. You can add these to cereals, shakes or even make a pudding with them.
  2. Flaxseeds: Also filled with omega-3 fatty acids, lignans, and fiber, these are known to lower the risk of diabetes, cancer, and heart disease. Flaxseed meal is the ground version and can easily be added to daily breakfast foods, and is often used as an egg substitute in vegan recipes because of its binding properties.
  3. Hemp Seeds: Hemp is a complete food source and has more Omega-3s than any other food. It’s high in Vitamin E, has fiber, and contains magnesium, iron, calcium, and zinc.
  4. Sesame Seeds: Sesame seeds are filled with healthy fats, lignans, protein, copper, manganese, and calcium, and is a good source of magnesium, iron, phosphorus, and zinc. They are known to help lower cholesterol & prevent high blood pressure.
  5. Tumeric: Turmeric is a natural anti-inflammatory so it can help reduce joint pain and arthritis. It can also reduce menstrual cramps, aid with digestion and even help prevent cancer.
  6. Cinnamon: Cinnamon works to stabilize your blood sugar so it is great for diabetics. Like turmeric, it also works as an anti-inflammatory, so it is essential for those with joint issues or arthritis. It also helps naturally boost immunity and prevent disease with it’s antibacterial properties, so if you feel a cold coming make sure to get your daily dose. This superfood also helps reduce pms cramps, aid digestion and even increase energy levels.
  7. Cayenne: Cayenne is surprisingly high in Vitamins C, B, and A. This pepper helps stimulate digestion and aid in nutrient absorption, and also can help stimulate circulation and blood flow to those cold extremities. Cayenne also promotes heart and prostate health.
  8. Oregano: Filled with vitamin K, fiber, calcium, manganese, iron, magnesium and omega fatty acids, oregano should be eaten with more than just pizza!
  9. Coconut Oil: (Organic, unrefined) With high levels of lauric acid, capric acid and caprylic acid, this superfood protects against heart disease by lowering cholesterol, reduces blood pressure, helps diabetics by slowly releasing sugar into the bloodstream, kills disease causing bacteria, boosts metabolism and weight loss, and visibly improves the quality of hair and nail health.
  10. Apple Cider Vinegar: Made from fermented apples, ACV is high in probiotic properties. Drink a little a day to regulate your healthy bacteria, or even use as a rinse for super soft hair.
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Preventing Cancer with Iodine

What if I told you can help protect your own body from cancer? For example ladies, take breast cancer. According to breastcancer.org “About 1 in 8 U.S. women will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime.” Now I am not trying to scare you, but I am being realistic. We all will unfortunately face this challenge within our families, and historically we only see the risk increasing over the years. Now if we look at varying breast cancer statistics geographically, women living in japan have a very low rate. The major difference between Americans and Japanese being diet, with the average Japanese woman consuming 13-14mg of iodine per day.

Now Geoffrey T. Bouc, M.D., whom wrote a very informational piece called “Iodine: A Tale of the Shrinking Violet,” is a doctor that specializes in treating endocrinology issues with a more holistic approach than the typical trip to the pharmacy. He explains that 75%-95% of all americans are iodine deficient and this can be attributed to the fact that “Iodine intake has dropped from 500-800 mcg per day in 1940 to less than 135 Mcg per day in 1995,” and that “modern farming has made most productive soils very deficient in iodine so it is no longer in your produce.” He writes even further concerning the history of iodine consumption in America and how the supplement went from being commonly used to being replaced with the common toxin bromine in breads and flours. Thanks again food industry!

Since many Americans are deficient in this supplement, this leads me to question what effect this deficiency has on our health. Now Dr. Bouc goes into this as well, which I will here again abbreviate and say that the thyroid hormone is made of both protein and iodine and will not work properly without enough of it. Only a small percentage of our bodies’ iodine is stored within the thyroid, and the rest is stored within every other organ and tissue. As he writes, “Without it we are prone to forming nodules, goiter and cancer. Iodine is essential for the proper development of the fetus, brain growth and development, proper cognition, metabolism and temperature regulation.” Therefore iodine deficiency is linked to fibrocystic breasts, ovarian cysts and polycystic ovarian syndrome, Hypo and Hyperthyroidism, Cognitive dysfunction (Brain fog), Diabetes, Heart Arrhythmias and Breast Cancer.

Knowing that iodine deficiency can be a leading cause of a whole slew of ailments, reading up on the holistic success stories of people who begin iodine supplementation is even that much more satisfying. There are loads of online message boards filled with people explaining that with iodine supplementation they have cured their thyroid issues and no longer need to supplement with TSH and T4, have reduced their cysts and eliminated breast pain, have cleared their daily mental fog, or even have increased the strength of their hair and nails.

Of course being on my own health journey, a known contributor to gallbladder disease is a poorly functioning thyroid. Knowing that Iodine is a major factor for the optimal workings of this gland makes supplementation of high interest to me. Studies have shown that people need about a year of 12.5mg daily to achieve total body saturation and then to continue with the daily 12.5mg iodine maintenance dose (2 drops of Lugol’s or 1 tablet of 12.5 mg Iodoral). Beginning with small doses and gradually increasing your dose over the weeks is sometimes suggested in order to reach maximum dosage within only a few months. However many people as they increase their dose experience varying levels of detoxification and uncomfortable symptoms as the body begins ridding itself of the built up bromine and fluoride and replacing it with iodine, so for me the maintenance dosage is just fine.

I began to follow protocol and started taking a 12.5 mg Iodoral pill along with a 200mg selenium supplement (2-3 brazil nuts) which protects your thyroid. At first I felt very energized, almost jittery, but it was manageable. However as the week passed these so-called “detoxification” symptoms I thought I was experiencing began exhibiting themselves as classic symptoms of hypothyroidism. I continued researching and found that there shouldn’t be any serious issues with regular consumption of a small dose of iodine unless the subject has an underlying autoimmune disorder like Hashimotos or Graves Disease. As Dr. David Brownstein, a strong advocate of iodine supplementation states, “Iodine can aggravate autoimmune thyroid conditions. Iodine supplementation in those that have an autoimmune thyroid problem can be akin to pouring gas over a fire.” Now as autoimmune diseases do run in my immediate family with my sister being celiac, the likelihood of my sister or even me of having another underlying autoimmune disease isn’t that far fetched. As stated in Two of a Kind — Research Connects Celiac and Thyroid Diseases and Suggests a Gluten-Free Diet Benefits Both By Cheryl Harris, MPH, RD, and Gary Kaplan, DO, “Anyone with an autoimmune condition is predisposed to developing other autoimmune conditions, and there is a particularly strong connection between celiac disease and autoimmune thyroid disease (ATD), which includes Hashimoto’s and Graves’ diseases.”

Now for anyone like me questioning if they should still supplement iodine with the possibility of having an underlying autoimmune disorder, the key appears to be the adequate consumption of selenium for several weeks before introducing the iodine. Selenium works to protect your thyroid. As Dr. Harris & Dr. Kaplan write, “Selenium deficiency is the underlying prerequisite for iodine induced thyroid damage in Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis.  Selenium supplementation is protective and prevents thyroid damage from iodine. Iodine opponents such as Dr K and Chris Kresser as well as the studies they quote tend to ignore the role of selenium.”

Therefore I began again, and this time started supplementing with selenium for four weeks beforehand, and then finally reintroduced iodine into my diet. I began with half of one of my 12.5mg iodine supplements 5 out of 7 days of the week, and then increased it to the full dose for the next week. I am now on week three and I am no longer displaying the worrisome hypothyroid symptoms that I had when I hadn’t adequately pre-dosed myself with selenium. I have now figured out how to comfortably increase my iodine consumption which will help me ward off potential diseases while also detoxifying my body and regulating my thyroid and hormones. Best of luck to anyone else who is also looking into iodine supplementation, I do advise you to consult a professional or do your own research before you begin.

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Swiss Watch Fitness Tracker

The Fitbit has been the most popular fitness tracker for years. However it has always been a bit too bulky and not stylish enough for me, so I knew I wouldn’t wear it on the daily. But the convenience of tracking my activity on my wrist, motivating me to reach my daily goal, was something I really wanted!

At the same time I had been on the search for a new wristwatch as my last one had broken awhile back, so I began to wonder if I could find a stylish wristwatch that would do both. And then I found the Withing’s Activite – a beautiful waterproof swiss watch, that also tracks your steps. Access to the sleep monitoring and a whole range of other fitness features on the app are added bonuses that just make tracking personal health that much easier.

Although this is an investment piece, they do also offer more inexpensive options like the Withings Activite Steel, or the Pop which are still far more attractive than any other fitness trackers on the market.

Every time I check the time, I now also find myself checking my steps, determined to reach my daily goal of 10,000. I love this watch. Check it out.

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Beginners Guide to Going Paleo

Going Paleo seems pretty daunting. The key is to make baby steps. Small changes to your diet every day will allow you to not only adjust to eating differently but also maintain it. Even if you don’t have much time to cook, food prepping and lots of simple options makes the whole thing easier than you’d think.

Lets discuss breakfast;

  • Eggs are great. Buy organic and skip the usual cheese and bread you’d usually eat with it.
  • Sausage or other meats
  • Fruit or veggie salads
  • Fruit & nut bars,or Paleo granola instead of typical cereals (most food stores now carry plenty of prepackaged versions if you can’t spare the extra effort! Like the brand Paleonola with flavors like Apple Pie and Maple Pancake).
  • Grain Free Pancake, Muffin & Bread recipes allow you to eat these special treats as well!
  • Yogurt is fine. There are great substitutes out there like coconut milk yogurt, or the occasional raw, unpasteurized yogurt is okay too (some Paleo eaters disagree here,so do your own research).
  • Leftovers!

The dinner options are endless.

  • Meat or seafood (Just be careful about choosing organic & fresh water)
  • Vegetable dishes
  • Soups
  • Salads
  • Casseroles

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Why Eat Paleo?

Why eat Paleo? For me this is not about sticking to a strict diet, believe me I’m totally for indulging now and then (check out the chocolate cake recipe i just posted, it’s amazing), it is about being mindful of what I am ingesting. With the various carcinogens I am exposed to on a daily basis, the least I can do is limit the harmful causes of disease that I do have direct control of.

I have unfortunately been struggling with digestive issues for as far back as I remember. After discovering that my sister has celiac disease, about two years ago I decided to follow her lead and become gluten free to combat some of my symptoms. I found that limiting my gluten intake not only helped control digestive issues & maintain a smaller waistline, but also feel more energized and even see visible improvements within my skin and hair. Studies have even shown that more than just celiac patients react negatively to gluten. As published within the study “Gluten causes gastrointestinal symptoms in subjects without celiac disease: a double-blind randomized placebo-controlled trial” by The Monash University Department of Medicine and Gastroenterology, “34 individuals with irritable bowel syndrome were randomized to either a gluten-containing or a gluten-free diet. The group on the gluten-containing diet had more pain, bloating, stool inconsistency and fatigue compared to the other group.” I am not suggesting that everyone just stop eating gluten, but I am suggesting that anyone who has suffered from abnormal symptoms to experiment more with their diet to see if it is a contributor.

After recently discovering that many of my difficult symptoms were actually due to gallstones, I am now less focused on solely limiting the consumption of gluten and have been primarily focused on adjusting to digestion post surgery. I have found that by naturally limiting consumption of gluten, dairy, and processed foods I have less issues arise with indigestion later.

Not only this, but within my research of possible causes of gallbladder disease, both estrogen & thyroid imbalances are contenders. The prime cause of these imbalances are synthetic hormones. These are the types of hormones that are loaded within non-organic beef and dairy products. This can cause various adverse health affects. When researching how to limit the effects of hormonal imbalances and digestive issues like inflammation and leaky gut, I have found series of success stories by people who have used the Paleo diet as a roadmap to combat these symptoms and lead a healthier lifestyle.

It is estimated on average that Paleolithic humans consumed three times more produce than the typical American, more fiber, more protein, more omega-3 fatty acids, more unsaturated fat, more vitamins and minerals and less saturated fat and sodium. As Dr. Sarah Ballantyne writes, “By addressing important lifestyle factors and changing your focus to eating nutrient-dense foods that support optimal gut health (and optimal health of your gut microorganisms), that restore levels of important nutrients and provide all of the building blocks that your body needs to heal and properly regulate the immune system, that help resolve inflammation and support organ function, you create an environment in your body conducive to healing.”

A close friend of mine once told me that it is a shame to look at my body being sensitivity as a curse, it is a blessing. It is a blessing because it allows me to be more vigilant than the average person concerning my consumption and health, to ensure that I am treating my body right. I have chosen to share some of my findings, strategies, & recipes through this blog.

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