How Do I Know if I Have a Leaky Gut?

“Leaky gut” is a popular topic in the health and wellness spheres these days. It’s been blamed for many  symptoms and conditions that seem to be all-too-common. Allergies, intolerances, joint pain, even autoimmune diseases can all be linked back to leaky gut. But what exactly is leaky gut? What causes it? What kinds of issues are related to it? And most of all, what can you eat for leaky gut? What is a leaky gut? Simply put, your “gut” (a.k.a. “intestinal tract”) is a tube that makes up part of your digestive system. It’s not as simple as a hose or pipe; it’s an amazing tube made of live cells tightly bound together. Your gut helps your body absorb fluids and nutrients, digests your food, and houses billions of friendly gut microbes. It’s also selective to what it allows past its barrier. Your intestinal tract purposefully keeps some things from being absorbed, so they pass right on through to the other end to be eliminated as waste. You don’t want to absorb many harmful microbes or toxins into your body, right? FUN FACT: About 70-80% of our immune system is …

How to Beat Negative Self-Talk and Limiting Beliefs

A little self-criticism is a normal shared human mental pattern, and can even be healthy for the most part. But, we can also just as easily open the door to that overly vocal “negative nelly” voice in our head. However, if your negative voice is preventing you from doing what you want or need to do in your life, then it has to get booted back out the door. This kind of mental chatter has no right to set up shop in your mind. Deeply held negative beliefs, especially when they’re firmly rooted in your unconscious, stress you out, damage relationships and can greatly limit your potential for health and happiness. If you’re sick of having the same old conversation with negative nelly, then be sure to try some of the ideas I’ve outlined in this article on how you can shift away from this damaging mindset, and finally release yourself of these limiting beliefs. What are limiting beliefs? Limiting beliefs are the little, but persistent voices that convince you that you can’t be or do or have something due to a perceived inadequacy in some area of your life …

Vitamin K: The Amazing Nutrient You’ve Probably Never Heard Of

Vitamin what? K? Yup! Why’d they skip vitamins F, G, H, I & J? Great question! That’s because the “K” stands for “koagulation” which is the Danish spelling for “coagulation.” Vitamin K is the vitamin that helps the blood to clot or coagulate. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg of what this amazing, underappreciated vitamin does for our bodies. It’s one of the four fat-soluble vitamins: Vitamins A, D, E & K. Let me tell you about all those functions this little powerhouse does for us. Then I’ll list out some vitamin-K rich foods. Once you read this post, you can consider yourself officially in the know about this little-known vitamin. Vitamin K’s amazing functions As I mentioned earlier, the “K” stands for the vitamin’s ability to help clot our blood. And this is a critical life-saving measure to prevent blood loss from cuts and scrapes. Vitamin K also works hand-in-hand with calcium in the blood. It helps to shuttle the calcium to our bones and teeth where we need it. This reduces our risk of fractures and cavities. Having too much calcium in our blood can lead …

Ketogenic Diet 101

The ketogenic diet is a very low carb, very high-fat diet.  It has recently gained a lot of popularity in the wellness sphere because of some of its health benefits. A ketogenic diet has been shown to help some people lose weight (yes, even with high fat). It can also help improve certain health conditions, like epilepsy in children. Read on for some of the lowdown on how it reprograms your metabolism (for “ketosis”), and whether or not it’s something for you to consider. What is “ketosis?” Carbs (sugars & starches) are the preferred fuel for your brain and muscles. They use carbs first, whenever they’re available. This is why maintaining stable blood sugar can affect your attention, mood, and energy level. However, when very low amounts of carbs are available for fuel, your body starts making compounds known as “ketones.” These are your body’s “backup fuel.” And your body makes them from fat. Ketogenic literally means “the generation of ketones.” After a while being on a diet very low in carbs, your blood level of ketones increases. This is the metabolic state known as “ketosis.” It’s the same process …

What Makes a Food Processed?

The world of food can be so confusing at times. There was a time when it was clear what food was – it came directly from nature – whether foraging, hunting, or farming. Now there are so many things we eat that don’t resemble a natural food. Michael Pollan has a famous quote, he said: “Eat Food – Not too much – Mostly Plants” And in his famous book, In Defense of Food, he defines what food should be. He says, “Don’t eat anything your great-great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food.” And, we can all agree that some things are obviously not recognizable by our great-great-grandmothers: candy bars, fast food, and sports drinks. We can also say that many of the common health issues we face today: heart disease, diabetes, some cancers, cavities, etc. didn’t exist at anywhere near the rates before industrially processed foods became available. But, where do we draw the line? How do we define processed? How processed is processed? And what the heck is ultra-processed? Allow me to let you in on the internationally recognized classification system. And we’re going to go through it step-by-step with an …

Your Thyroid: Foods and Nutrients to Help

The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland in your neck that releases hormones. Thyroid hormones help your body regulate a few things – not a big deal – just the metabolism of ALL cells. And this is critical for maintaining a healthy body weight and having the energy to live your life. (Yes, your thyroid IS a big deal!) It’s estimated that at least 3.7% of US adults have an underactive thyroid. When you don’t have enough thyroid hormone, it’s called hypothyroidism. This can result in the slowing down of your metabolism and cause difficulty losing weight; and even weight gain. Some of the other symptoms can include fatigue, forgetfulness, dry hair and skin, constipation, muscle cramping, and feeling cold. An underactive thyroid can be diagnosed from a blood test from your health professional. How does the thyroid become underactive? There are many reasons why your thyroid may become underactive. The most common is autoimmunity, where the immune cells attack other cells in the body. In this case, the cells of the thyroid gland. It can also be the result of low levels of iodine, which is an essential mineral. Combining …

What to Avoid if You Get Migraines

Migraine headaches can be terrible. The pain, vision problems (including aura), nausea, etc. can be debilitating; especially if they stick around for hours or even days. Migraines affect about 15% of adults, so they’re fairly common. And, while the exact cause is not known, there are lots of known triggers. Many foods and drinks are common triggers of migraines. You may have noticed certain foods, and drinks trigger your migraines. Sometimes the migraine comes on within an hour of the food/drink. Other times it may happen several hours, up to a day later. Avoiding these triggers can help. One of the main ways these foods and drinks trigger migraines is by their action on the blood vessels in the brain. When the brain’s blood vessels constrict and then dilate (widen), this seems to cause migraines. Many of the foods I’m listing below affect the constriction and dilation of blood vessels during a migraine If you or someone you care about suffers from migraines, this post lists common triggers. Avoiding these can be a great tool to reduce these uber-painful headaches. You may be sensitive to one, or many of these …

Multivitamins: Are They Really a Waste of Money?

Multivitamins are exactly what they sound like: multiple types of vitamins. They’re supplements that contain several different vitamins in each one. They can also contain several minerals and other ingredients like amino acids or fatty acids. In fact, they are the most commonly used supplements in the world! There are 13 vitamins and at least 16 minerals that are essential to health. You need certain amounts of all of these nutrients for optimal health. In fact, nutrient deficiencies can impact reproduction, growth, and regulation of bodily processes. Lots of people say that if you follow a “balanced diet,” you’ll get enough vitamins and minerals. I personally would love to believe it … but it’s just not true. Many people are eating way too much processed food that is devoid of nutrition. There’s a lot of research that shows many people don’t get enough vitamins and minerals. Period. How do you know which vitamins and minerals are in your multivitamin? Read the label, and don’t be afraid to ask questions! If there are at least three different vitamins and minerals listed, it’s a multivitamin. Do multivitamins work? Multivitamins have been studied …

Red Wine: Is It Really Good For You Or Just Health Hype?

If you’ve heard that red wine is one of the healthiest of all alcoholic beverages, it’s for good reason. Thanks to the antioxidants found in the skins of grapes from which it’s made, red wine has been widely publicized as being “healthful”. The kind of antioxidants found in red wine, like RESVERATROL, have powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Inflammation and oxidation are considered the root causes of most disease, so consuming antioxidant-rich foods is a key component in disease prevention. Moderate consumption of red wine has been linked to improved heart health, along with other health benefits, like decreasing the risk of: Alzheimer’s disease diabetes certain cancers depression Some of the buzz around red wine’s health benefits comes from its prominent role in the well-studied Mediterranean diet. The Mediterranean diet includes lots of fruit, vegetables, fish, olive oil, and red wine, and is believed to contribute to a long lifespan and low incidences of heart disease and cancer among Mediterranean populations. The health benefits of red wine are also thought to contribute to low rates of heart disease among the French, despite this population traditionally eating a diet high in saturated fat …

What Makes Broccoli and Kale Superfoods?

Broccoli and kale are often touted to be “superfoods.” And, yes, they really are amazingly healthy for you. If you’re wondering what exactly is in these green powerhouses that makes them so “super,” I’ve dived into the research to give you some nerdy reasons to make these a staple in your diet. To start, they’re both considered cruciferous vegetables related to each other in the Brassica family. This family of super plants also includes cauliflower, cabbage, mustard greens, and Brussels sprouts. These superfoods have a ton of nutrition, and other health-promoting compounds, they’re relatively inexpensive and easy to cook too! Super nutrition Broccoli and kale are full of nutrition: vitamins, minerals, fiber, etc. They’re both considered to be nutrient dense which is a measure of nutrients per calorie – and these both have a lot! 100 grams of broccoli (about 1 cup, chopped) contains: 34 calories 2.8 g protein, 0.4 g fat, 6.6 g carbohydrates, and 2.6 g fiber. Good source of B vitamins (when eaten raw) >100% of your daily vitamin C Almost 100% of your vitamin K Good source of manganese Traces of all the other vitamins and …