What is a GMO? And why I should or shouldn’t worry about them…

What is a GMOI recently saw a press release from McCormick & Company INC. that they planning to expand their organic spice line and also plan to remove GMOs from 80% of their herb and spice lines by 2016. Another major company, General Mills, released a statement last year that they had made Cheerios Non-GMO…so what does all of this mean? And why are they removing these from products?

A GMO is a genetically modified organism. Basically they alter the DNA of a plant to be resistant to pesticides, produce higher yields, produce a more consistent product, be resistant to environmental factors (extremes in weather), etc. An organism is not considered GMO if it is altered through breeding processes…i.e. cross breeding two plants from the same genus. Instead, they directly alter the DNA, instead of cross breeding over and over to achieve the desired effect. For example there have been species of tomatoes and strawberries that have been developed, where they have added DNA from Salmon to make those plants less resistant to freezing temperatures…weird right??

So why is everyone so concerned about removing them from products? And why is everyone skeptical of these big companies removing them?

Well, McCormick and General Mills are under the big parent company Monsanto. Monsanto is the largest producer of GMOs, they control about 90% of seed genetics world wide, and is also know for their trademarked pesticide Roundup. So, why would a company, who has a large sum of money invested in GMOs suddenly start eliminating them from their products? That’s a good question, and unfortunately that is not one I have an answer to…but it does make me quite suspicious of their intentions.

The reason that everyone is concerned about removing GMOs from products, is not a simple question to answer. There are a few different reasons that have many in agreement, and some other opinions that are less cut and dry and depending on what sources you’re reading you will get conflicting information. So, we’ll stick to the most common reason and the one that can be backed up with scientific evidence…

Nearly all GMOs are engineered to be resistant to pesticides. These foods that are “resistant” to pesticides don’t deflect the pesticides…they still absorb them. They’re just designed to not die when they are sprayed. Roundup specifically kills the plant by way of the shikimate pathway, which humans and animals to do not possess…however bacteria do. So the glyphosphate contained in Roundup can kill bacteria. And guess what? Bacteria outnumbers cells in your body by 10 to 1…so all that good bacteria in your gut could take a hit from consumption of foods contaminated with glyphosphate. Once the bacteria in your gut is out of balance a series of complicated event can occur, including small perforations in the wall of the intestinal lining, also known as leaky gut.

Leaky gut has be directly related to gluten sensitivity as well as a number of autoimmune conditions, including Celiac disease. The problem is, when people find out that they are sensitive to gluten they typically start eating prepackaged gluten free foods, that are filled with corn…which is one of the most commonly genetically modified foods.traitsinfographic

Now you’re probably wonder what foods are genetically modified…according to GMOanswers.com the following are commercially available GMO foods: corn (sweet corn & field corn), canola, soybeans, rainbow papaya, alfalfa, cotton, sugar beets, and summer squash. According to the website potatoes and apples are the next to become commercially available. It may not seem like there are that many GMO foods out there…but if you really think about it, how many foods do

Click the photo to go to the original website and view the enlarged image.
Click the photo to go to the original website and view the enlarged image.

you find some type of corn or soybean in? Probably a lot more than you realize…anything that contains corn meal, corn starch, corn oil, soy protein, TVP, lecithin, soybean oil, etc are all made from these GMOs (unless they label it otherwise…which is RARE). 94% of the soy on the market is GMO and 90% of corn is GMO…those are HUGE numbers. Start checking your labels and see how many products you regularly consume that contain one or more of these ingredients. How many GMOs do you think you are consuming daily?

So how does one go about finding out what foods are free of GMOs? Well, there is a non-profit Non GMO Project LOGOorganization called Non-GMO Verification Project. they use third party testing to find if products are free from GMOs. By standard regulations, if a product contains the USDA organic logo it is supposed to be free of GMOs, however if it is processed there are some loopholes. They can display that logo, in some cases, if the main ingredient is certified organic. Look for the logo for the Non-GMO project to ensure your product is free of GMOs (click the logo for the Non-GMO Verification Project to go to their webpage). You can also visit the webpage: NonGMOShoppingGuide.com for a list of products that are free of GMOs.

As in many cases, there are some documentaries out there that are pretty extreme…but some of the information presented is interesting. So here are a few GMO documentaries you can check out. Some are available to stream on Netflix or Amazon Prime:

  • GMO OMG –“GMO OMG director and concerned father Jeremy Seifert is in search of answers. How do GMOs affect our children, the health of our planet, and our freedom of choice? And perhaps the ultimate question, which Seifert tests himself: is it even possible to reject the food system currently in place, or have we lost something we can’t gain back? These and other questions take Seifert on a journey from his family’s table to Haiti, Paris, Norway, and the lobby of agra-giant Monsanto, from which he is unceremoniously ejected. Along the way we gain insight into a question that is of growing concern to citizens the world over: what’s on your plate?”
  • Corn King — “King Corn is a feature documentary about two friends, one acre of corn, and the subsidized crop that drives our fast-food nation. In the film, Ian Cheney and Curt Ellis, best friends from college on the east coast, move to the heartland to learn where their food comes from. With the help of friendly neighbors, genetically modified seeds, and powerful herbicides, they plant and grow a bumper crop of America’s most-productive, most-subsidized grain on one acre of Iowa soil. But when they try to follow their pile of corn into the food system, what they find raises troubling questions about how we eat—and how we farm.”
  • The Future of Food — “The Future of Food distills the complex technology and consumer issues surrounding major changes in the food system today — genetically engineered foods, patenting, and the corporatization of food — into terms the average person can understand. It empowers consumers to realize the consequences of their food choices on our future.”
  • Genetic Chile — “A look at the world of genetically modified foods through the lens of New Mexico’s iconic chile pepper. The Chile pepper defines New Mexican cuisine and is considered a sacred plant by many cultures. Despite overwhelming evidence of gene flow, persistent safety questions, predatory multinational agribusiness corporations and potential economic damage, the State of New Mexico funded research to produce a GMO chile. It was the first time a state government directly targeted a crop for genetic modification. Because the funding is public, we were able to force a rare interview with a genetic researcher at NMSU. This film is packed with information about the harmful use of GMO technology and the ignorance shown by the proponents of GMO crops.”

How your diet is influencing your pain levels…

Diet and Pain JPGDo you suffer from back pain, fibromyalgia, chronic pain, or one of the many forms of arthritis? If so, you are used to dealing with pain daily, and have likely been searching for years for some relief. You may have also noticed that your pain levels fluctuate independent from activity and weather…so what could be causing it? It could be your diet…

Many people don’t realize just how much your diet influences your pain and inflammation levels daily…but it does influence it, a lot! If you suffer from fibromyalgia, someone at some point has probably told you to eliminate “nightshades” from your diet. Most people aren’t familiar with nightshades, but they don’t just effect fibromyalgia…they effect everyone, but people that suffer from chronic pain tend to be more sensitive…especially including arthritis sufferers.

So, what are these nightshade vegetables? Nightshades are a classification of vegetables (honestly, technically they’re fruits and vegetables…but for simplicity purposes we’ll stick with calling them vegetables 😉 ). They get their name from the type of plant they come from…the nightshade is a classification of plant that tends to be poisonous (like Belladonna), but the fruits of these plants are not poisonous. Foods that fall within this category include: eggplant, peppers, tomatoes, tomatillos, white potatoes, paprika, and tobacco (also Goji berries, but those aren’t commonly found in our diet because they are a berry from the Himalayan mountains). All of these vegetables interfere with enzymes in the muscles, and this can lead to muscle pain, trembling, in some it can even effect breathing! These vegetables are also high in alkaloids, and some research suggests these can cause inflammation and even some joint damage! Yikes. Although the jury is still out on joint damage, you can reduce the amount of alkaloids present by cooking your vegetables (preferred methods are steaming or sauteing, so you can retain most of the other nutrients…boiling just releases the nutrients into the water. So, unless you’re going to drink your veggie water, don’t do that 😉 )

With my job, I talk to a lot of patients that suffer from fibromyalgia, and many of them will tell you that when they encounter someone that is smoking or has just smoked…when they smell the cigarette smoke they almost immediately feel the onset of headache or migraine, sometimes flu like symptoms, many report fatigue, achiness, and so on…This is because the reaction with this enzyme is happening at a much faster rate because the reaction occurs by inhaling the substance, whereas when you consume it in food form, the body has to break it down before those components begin to interact. Because the reaction isn’t immediate, many don’t relate the occurring effects to food. Start keeping a food diary…track everything. You may notice that you are more sensitive to some nightshades over others. You may also notice that other foods are causing you to feel like junk too…that may be an underlying food intolerance.

One way to reduce inflammation and help keep your joints lubricated it to start taking and Omega-3 Fish Oil (click here for the blog on how to find a good fish oil…it is important to make sure you’re taking a good one). If  you have chronic muscle pain or bone pain, have your doctor check your vitamin D levels (click here to read more about the importance of vitamin D).

Something else to consider when trying to reduce inflammation in the body to help with pain, is gluten free JPGgluten. I hate to go there, because I’m not on the “everyone needs to be gluten free” bandwagon…but gluten IS inflammatory. Many people are overwhelmed by the prospect of going gluten free, but it’s not that bad…I swear. I tell anyone that is considering going gluten free to just give it 2-3 days. If it is causing issues 48-72 hours is enough time for it to dissipate from the system and see some alleviation of symptoms to be able to determine if it is adversely affecting the system. Most people are capable of substituting their breads and crackers with oatmeal, rice, quinoa, or sweet potatoes for a few days (for more information on going gluten free, click on the image to the right to enlarge it). If you feel better…try going at least 2 weeks, after that point add some gluten in at lunch and see what happens. If you notice you start having issues that you haven’t dealt with in two weeks, you could have a sensitivity or intolerance. I would definitely keep a food journal during this time tracking all of your symptoms. That way when you start incorporating it again you can track all of the side effects and take the journal to your doctor and discuss it. If your doctor feels that you have an intolerance or sensitivity…they can write a prescription for your records indicating this…and from that point forward, just keep track of your receipts for all of your gluten free foods. You will be able to claim it on your taxes, as it becomes a medical expense once you have the write up from the doctor.

A few other factors that can help with alleviating joint pain is staying properly hydrated. Ensuring that you maintain an optimal body weight…excess weight puts stress and strain on your joints, increasing pain. I have a few blogs pertaining to weight management ( check them out here, here, here, and here) if you would like to attempt it on your own. If you would like assistance with menu planning, feel free to contact me or schedule an appointment in the office.

Lastly, one of the most important factors for alleviation of pain is sleep… I know it can be difficult if you struggle with chronic pain, but there are some things that you can do to make sure you’re getting a more solid sleep, like taking a melatonin supplement. But getting a good nights sleep helps to lower inflammation levels, and when you’re body is less inflamed you are less sensitive to pain.

If you have any other questions about foods and how they effect your pain, feel free to send me an email or leave a message below 🙂

If you would like to read more on nightshades click on the following links:




Emotional Eating and binge eating…

Emotional Eating JPGIt’s the elephant in the room…we all know it’s there, we all struggle with it, but none of us want to admit that it’s an issue…emotional eating. Here you are…you’ve vowed to turn over a new leaf, you’ve been eating well, taking care of yourself, and then something happens. Financial troubles, family trouble, a fight with your significant other, and you are stressed out…all you want is that one comfort food…a donut, a chocolate bar, a cheeseburger, ice cream, etc. You resist…trying to talk yourself out of it, but you cave. That’s it, you’ve ruined your “diet”…might as well go all out, right? No, lets try again. How should you handle those moments of stress when all you want is some type of comfort food? Allow yourself to have something, and don’t get down on yourself. If you’ve been eating right, then your metabolism should be able to handle something like that.

So, first…let’s start off with why do we engage in emotional eating? Well, the answer is pretty simple…instant gratification. You see, our systems are equally complicated and simplistic at the same time, and on the simplistic side fatty foods=happiness. Thousands of years ago when we were still hunters and gatherers, our diet consisted of mostly roots, tubers, fruits, and vegetables (hmm…vegetarian paleo diet anyone? 😉 )…our diet consisted mostly of these things, because meat was much harder to come by, and we didn’t have any means of storage, so it was a rare meal. When we consume fats, endorphins are sent to the brain giving us that feel-good feeling. So, it makes sense that our go-to foods would be fattier because they, by proxy, are addictive (because endorphins are an addictive chemical) and because it satisfies one of our most basic urges…to build fat stores, for survival.

Obviously, most of us are not starving, and therefore REALLY don’t need to worry about storing more fat…but, it’s ingrained in our body’s most basic survival instincts to ensure we have plenty of fat stores. So, there you have it…it’s a natural instinct to want those foods.

So when we get stressed…on of our first reactions (especially in women!) is to confide in some good comfort food…SO…how should we deal with those cravings in today’s modern day society, where a void of fatty foods is non-existent. When you’re “dieting” (which you really shouldn’t be “dieting” see posts here and here …but, for lack of a better word we will use the D word 😉 ), it’s bound to happen…you’re going to crave those “forbidden” (or at least seemingly forbidden) foods. If I’m seeing someone for weight loss that has been pretty strict on themselves, sticking to their meal plan, I have been known to encourage them to go have that Cheeseburger and Ice Cream if they’re craving it…why? Because if they deny themselves long enough, it will spiral out of control…that one cheeseburger and ice cream will turn into a week long binge…and then we’re really in trouble. Because when you go on a binge like that, it’s quite easy to set yourself back a few weeks. It’s a lot easier to put on 3-5 pounds than it is to take it off…you can easily put that on in a week, but it will likely take you at least 2 weeks to take that off again. However, most of the time when someone does end up on that path of remorse and regret after a binge, they’re going to wallow for a while…they’re going to throw up their hands and say “Forget it, I’ve screwed up. Might as well quit! No way am I going to weigh in now!”….and what does that solve? Nothing! Absolutely nothing. The best thing you can do is satisfy the craving…but only satisfy those that are TRUE cravings, and move on without dogging yourself… A good way to test that out is, let’s say you really want a hamburger…is it from somewhere specific? If it is a really specific craving, you know you have a real craving…if you can’t think of a healthy alternative, or anything else that will satisfy it…THOSE are the ones that you can satisfy and not ignore. Those are the ones that you shouldn’t try to skate around. THOSE are the ones that, if ignored, can lead to a major break down.

Sometimes when we have a craving and we try to substitute it for something else, all we do is increase the intensity of the craving. If you just want some ice cream, but don’t really care about flavor/brand/source…then you should probably find a healthy frozen yogurt to substitute. If you want Breyers Chocolate Cookie Dough Ice Cream…then have a scoop. You’ll be less likely to binge on it if you just satisfy the craving 🙂 .

If you have the same craving at certain points in the day…perhaps you’re body is trying to tell you something is missing from your diet 😉 . Did you know that if you regularly crave chocolate, that is a sign of magnesium deficiency? Here is a nice little chart to help you out:


So weigh your options…try one of the alternative foods in the chart above if you think you could have a deficiency in your diet….which honestly, most of us do for a number of reasons. Even those of us that pay extra close attention to our diets have deficiencies…our soil isn’t as packed with nutrients as it used to be. Or, if you are craving something specific and you’ve been eating really well, then go ahead and satisfy that craving…If you have any questions, or would like to start on a menu plan, feel free to send me a message and we can get you set up 😉

BPA…what is it? And why people are avoiding it?

BPA Free PlasticBPA is an acronym for Bisphenol A. BPA is a chemical component of polycarbonate plastics. BPA derived plastics became popular because of their durability, resistance to heat, and clear appearance. They are used commonly in water bottles, CDs, glasses, computers, appliances, tool, medical equipment, and sports equipment…and it is commonly used to line cans.

So why are so many people concerned about this plastic? Well, research has existed for years that warns about BPA that leeches out of the plastic and into our food and drinks…and can even be absorbed into the system just by touch! When leeched into the skin, it acts as estrogen into the system and disrupts many processes in the body. Exposure to this chemical has been known to cause: fertility issues, hormone alterations in fetuses  (can effect development of sex organs in fetuses), babies, and children; brain and behavior problems including ADHD and Autism; Cancer- increasing risk for certain types later in life, as well as diminishing the effectiveness of chemotherapy; heart problems, including heart disease; obesity, diabetes, and thyroid function disruption.

There is also some newer research that suggests that the new BPA free plastics can actually be just as harmful, if not more harmful than plastics that still contain BPA! You see, they have to replace the BPA with something…So, how do you go about avoiding these chemicals?! Use as many glass and stainless steel containers and utensils as you can. Avoid canned foods, including fruits, vegetables, and tomato products. Use frozen or fresh vegetables. Fresh fruits or fruits that are canned in glass jars. Also, only buy tomato products that are contained in glass jars. Canned tomato products are often worse than others about BPA exposure because they have to have such a thick coating on the inside of the can to ensure that the acid from the tomatoes do not eat the aluminum can. The hardest thing to find in a glass container that is tomato based is tomato paste, but they do exist…

So, try to use as much stainless steel and glass as you can…avoiding plastics as much as you can, and that should limit your exposure BPA. Besides, glass and stainless steel hold up better overtime, than plastic 😉

Diet Sodas, Artificial Sweetners, and weight gain…why you should ditch the diet sodas, and go for the real stuff if you’re going to drink it…

Artificial Sweetener JPG

My last post (here) talked about a woman I saw that was walking out of a gas station carrying 3 Diet Sun Drops…I discussed the drawbacks to consuming brominated vegetable oil (BVO), but she was carrying a double whammy…not just a soda filled with BVO, but it also had artificial sweeteners in it. In this blog I will discuss some of the reasons why you should avoid artificial sweeteners, including how they can hinder weight loss…at the very end I will discuss a line of Sodas that I prefer if you’re looking for a 0 Calorie soda with out all of the junk.

One of the most popular artificial sweeteners found in diet soda is Aspartame…

Aspartame is made up of three components–aspartic acid, phenylalanine, and methanol–individually these components can be toxic; so, combined they’re even more toxic. Additionally, when aspartame is broken down by the body it is converted into formaldehyde, a known cancer causing agent. The formaldehyde is then converted into formic acid. When methanol is by itself, the body has a hard time ridding itself of this chemical, so it can build up and embalm living tissues, damage DNA, can cause cancers like lymphoma, leukemia, as well as other forms of cancer. If too much formic acid builds up in the system it can cause methanol poisoning, which can lead to death (which is unlikely to happen by drinking diet soda, but depending on other environmental factors and diet habits…not out of the realm of possibility).

In addition to toxic properties of aspartame, some studies are now showing that chemicals like aspartame can be more damaging because they can cause weight gain independent from total caloric intake (umm…no thanks! I don’t need help with weight gain!). One theory on why this happens is because they believe it alters the body’s production of hormones that regulate appetite and sugar cravings.

Consuming Aspartame can cause: headaches, muscle spasms, irritability, heart palpitations, loss of taste, joint pain, dizziness, weight gain, tachycardia, difficulty breathing, tinnitus, blurred vision, seizures, rashes, insomnia, hearing loss, depression, vertigo, nausea, blindness, slurred speech, fatigue, memory loss, numbness, heart attack, and sleep disorders.

Acesulfame-K (aka Acesulfame Potassium or Ace-K) is another sweetener that sometimes is used in addition to aspartame in “light” sodas, yogurts, protein powders, etc…but sometimes you will find it on it’s own or combined with sucralose. Ace-K is a potassium salt that contains methylene chloride, a known cancer causing agent. Ace-K can cause nausea, headaches, disturbances in mood, impaired liver and kidney function, problems with eyesight, some cancers, bladder issues, and hypoglycemia.

Sucralose– (Splenda) Sucralose is made by chlorinating regular refined white sugars (which should also be avoided…but are better than a sugar alternative!). The body has a system that naturally detoxifies it self of lots of chemicals and toxins, and it does a pretty good job of keeping your system clean…however, it does have a hard time detoxing itself of “organochlorine” substances, like sucralose.  There are lots of organochlorine substances that are banned because of their ability to stay in the system, build up and become toxic. These compounds have been linked to cancer, immune system dysfunction (auto-immune diseases), and birth defects.

Another issue with sucralose is that new research is suggesting that it can actually exacerbate diabetes. A study done by Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis found that participants that were given a drink solution with sucralose vs regular water, had higher insulin levels and higher blood sugar levels than those that drank water…which is exactly what sucralose is marketing toward consumers to prevent (you can read more about those studies here and here). So what exactly does this mean? This means that individuals that do not have diabetes are putting themselves at risk for developing the disease…because when they are consuming this substance it is causing their system to constantly produce more insulin…which can lead to the cells becoming immune to the hormone. Translation=insulin resistance…diabetes.

Research on diet soda consumption by the American Diabetes Association shows that individuals that consume diet soda regularly have larger waist lines than those that drink regular soda AND they have shown that there is an association between diet soda consumption and diabetes.

The moral of the story here is…drink water often. Drink soda occasionally…and if you’re going to splurge and drink a soda, rethink the diet soda (if you have diabetes and are sensitive to  sugars in soda, then skip it all together or look into Zevia)

Zevia is a soda company that makes sodas that are free of coloring and food dyes. They have knock offs for a lot of your mainstream sodas…like Mountain Zevia (Mountain Dew), and Dr. Zevia (Dr. Pepper)…these knock offs still contain the caffeine, so you’re not missing out on that, just all the other chemicals that go along with it. Zevias are also sweetened with stevia, so no worries there either. Kroger carries them (and regularly offers a coupon on their app)…you can also procure a coupon from the Zevia website. If you do venture into a Kroger to find these babies, look in the health food section and not with all the other sodas. All the Krogers that I have been into carry them in the health food section.

If you are interested in learning more about food chemicals, or if you are looking for an easier way to track down chemicals in your food….down load the “Fooducate” app. This app allows you to scan bar codes of food products and it will rate them on an alphabetical scale of how healthy or full of chemicals they are.

Brominated Vegetable Oil…what you need to know, and why you should stay away!

Bromintated Vegetable OilThe other day while on my lunch I ran to the gas station to get a bottle of water and a KIND bar, and just as I had gotten back in my car, another woman walked out of the gas station carrying 3 diet Sun Drops. This had me thinking…I wonder if she really knows what she’s drinking? Most people don’t…they’re totally unaware (aside from the regular, “Sodas are bad for you” thing)…So, I figured it was time to go ahead and address this issue.

When patients come to see me, no matter what it is for, I give them a list of things I like for them to avoid on their food labels. And guess what?? Brominated Oil is one of the lucky ingredients on that list 😉 .

A few years ago this little ingredient started getting a little media attention…someone wrote one of the big beverage companies about the risks of prolonged consumption, and said beverage company actually reformulated their drink…and it’s no longer in that beverage…the drink? Powerade. You’re probably wondering, so what is Brominated Vegetable Oil (BVO) and what other drinks is it in?

Well, as you probably guessed from the picture up at the top, BVO is found in: Mountain Dew, Mello Yello, Sundrop, Squirt (Multiple flavors offered contain it), Fresca, and Fanta (Multiple flavors in this one too). Another major drink that contains this ingredient is Gatorade. Now not ALL flavors of all of these drinks contain this ingredient, but you can pretty much guarantee it’s in anything that is a citrus flavored drink.

So what exactly is this stuff? And why should you avoid it?? Brominated Vegetable Oil is vegetable oil that has been brominated…helpful right 😉 lol. Well what does this mean? Bromine is an element on the periodic table. When bound to the oil (derived from corn or soy) it acts as an emulsifier to prevent the citrus from separating and floating to the surface (since citrus is very oily, it is known to separate). The FDA allows 15 parts per million of BVO in citrus drinks, and they used to consider it GRAS (generally recognized as safe), but it has been moved to “interim” status in the last 30 years because it has been known to cause issues and illness in people.

Dr. Mercola’s website says:

“Bromines are common endocrine disruptors, and are part of the halide family, a group of elements that includes flourine, chlorine and iodine. What makes it so dangerous it that is competes for the same receptors that are used to capture iodine. If you are exposed to a lot of bromine, your body will not hold on to the iodine that it needs. And iodine affects every tissue in your body, not just your thyroid.”

So what else do they use bromine for? They use it in pesticides, plastics (like those found in computers), flame retardants (at least your Mountain Dew isn’t flammable…yikes!), some hot tube and pool chemicals, as well as some anesthesia agents. Another fun little fact about bromine…it was given to Jewish prisoners in concentration camps because it made the prisoners lethargic and forgetful…they were forced to consume this stuff to keep them subdued, and now we willingly consume it?! Um…okay.

In addition to “dumbing us down” it can build up in the body and cause toxic effects. “In 1997, doctors were stumped by the case of a man who came to the emergency room with headaches, fatigue, and a loss of muscle coordination and memory. He continued to get worse over times, and eventually he lost the ability to walk. A blood test found sky-high levels of bromide. The source? The man had been drinking between 2 and 4 liters of soda containing brominated vegetable oil every day. He needed dialysis but eventually recovered.” There have been other cases where it has cause oozing sores, swollen hands, and halogen acne.

Now, back to the whole issue of displacing iodine…as mentioned above bromine competes for the same receptors as iodine, and typically wins out. Most people know that iodine is crucial to thyroid function and health, but what most don’t realize is how many other systems are effected by deficiencies. Iodine deficiency can lead to an increased risk for breast cancer, ovarian cancer, prostate cancer, and thyroid cancer…some of the most commonly found cancers today!

In addition to accumulating in your tissues it can cause issues with your central nervous system, build up in breast milk, and has been shown in some studies to affect fertility. When it effects the central nervous system is can act as a depressant and in extreme cases can cause acute paranoia as well as other psychotic symptoms. Bromine toxicity can cause skin rashes, severe acne, loss of appetite, abdominal pain, fatigue, metallic taste, and cardiac arrhythmias.

All of this sounds like fun doesn’t it? 😉 So, how about that Mountain Dew or Sundrop??? Having one once in a blue moon isn’t a big deal…but knowing all of this should definitely make you want to stay away.

Now this woman I saw the other day wasn’t just carrying Sundrop…she was carrying DIET Sundrop…that’s like a double punch of nastiness! If someone told me they were going to drink one of these citrus sodas, and they told me they were going to have diet…I would tell them to go for the real stuff…you’re still putting nasty toxins in your system, but there will actually be less of them. I could go on for days on sugar alternatives…but I’ll save that for the next one 🙂 

For more information you can check out Dr. Mercola’s article here

Or check out WebMD’s article here

Probiotics…gut health, immune system support, IBS, and…weight loss?? Hmm…

Probiotics Antibiotics JPGLikely, you’ve heard someone over the last couple of years talking about the benefits of probiotics…and if you do a little research you’ll find there are a LOT of benefits to these little strains of bacteria. There are many different strains of probiotics, each strain has a unique function and benefit to the gut and the body. So what are probiotics exactly?    Webmd Definition(click the inserted photo for more information on probiotics)

When you are ill, occasionally (depending on what is making you ill), you may start an antibiotic regimen…the purpose of the antibiotic that you are consuming is to kill whatever bacteria is causing your issue. Unfortunately, they don’t kill 1 specific bacterial strain, they will also in the process killing off the bad bacteria, kill off some of your “good” bacteria too. When starting an antibiotic regimen, most people will have at least one or two loose bowel movements…this is from the die off of bacteria. Depending on the type of antibiotic as well as the length of time that you take it, it can leave you immunocompromised. If you take a probiotic while on an antibiotic (at separate times of the day, so they don’t counteract each other), then it can help ensure that your good bacteria levels stay sufficient to maintain a healthy gut…a healthy gut allows your immune system to function at a higher level of efficiency and ensuring your digestive process (and nutrient absorption) is operating at a more optimal level.

What many people don’t realize is that not only can antibiotics effect the levels of good bacteria in your gut, so can your diet as well as many other factors. Raw greens and fermented foods contain probiotics…while a lot of the chemically junk in processed food can promote bad bacteria in the gut.

I personally, struggled with IBS for years. Now, while my diet wasn’t the best…it was better than most people my age. (Which just goes to show that everyone is different…some people’s gut can withstand junk, and others can’t.) When I moved off to college, it became such an issue I could not eat anything in the cafeteria or food court without getting sick (literally…nothing! EVERYTHING made me sick! To the point I was missing classes because of my stomach). My physician at the time put me on a prescription for IBS, which was barely effective for about 2 weeks, after 2 weeks it was like taking a sugar pill…it was doing absolutely nothing. So we tried a few other meds, to no avail. About 3 years ago, I had done some research on probiotics, so I decided to try them out. I went on a 85 Billion Probiotic with over 50 strains…I took one daily, until I had gone through the 90 capsule bottle. Within a few days I could tell they were working, but I continued until the bottle was gone. To this day, I do not struggle with IBS. Occasionally, if I eat out I may have an upset stomach (usually from salads, but this has a lot to do with how they wash it)…but I typically take digestive enzymes before I eat out. As long as I remember to take my digestive enzymes before I eat an abnormal meal (or a meal I know I shouldn’t be eating 😉 ), then I don’t have any problems at all! (I’ll do a blog on digestive enzymes soon!)

Now that we’ve talked about the more commonly known benefits of probiotics…lets get into the more juicy stuff! Research has been out there for years showing that probiotics can help with weight loss…and there is new research out there that backs this up! When they first started studying the effects of probiotics on weight, they took samples of the bacteria from individuals who were thin/lean and those that were overweight and obese…what they found is that those that are lean have different bacteria in their gut than those that are overweight/obese. There are some strains that cross over between these individuals, but there was clear difference in the combination and amounts of the strains contained in their gut. The two types of bacteria that are the focus of this research are Bacteroidetes and Firmicutes. Research shows that individuals that have a tendency to be lean by nature have higher concentrations of bacteroidetes in their gut and a small amount of firmicutes….however, the opposite is true for those individuals that struggle with weight. While there isn’t 100% definitive evidence out there on how to increase one while decreasing the others (besides doing a fecal transplant…yes, that is exactly as it sounds like…Gross, I know! But if done by an experienced physician, it works). One way that research shows can be helpful at reversing this balance is consuming more beans. If you have trouble digesting beans, research also suggests it’s because of a lack of this bacteria! One article suggests starting with as little as 1 tablespoon of beans at dinner for a week, then start working your way toward a full serving (see article here).

There is also another strain that has been researched in its effectiveness in aiding in weight loss, especially in women….Lactobacillus rhamnosus. One study on the effect of probiotics on weight loss showed that women who were taking a probiotic containing this strain, during a calorie restricted diet found that the group of women taking a probiotic containing Lactobacillus rhamnosus lost more weight than the group with out it. Conversely, they removed the calorie restricted diet and left the supplementation of probiotics the same…the group that was getting the probiotic continued to lose weight, while the group that was not getting it GAINED weight! So, the moral of the story…if you’re trying to lose weight, consider taking a probiotic 😉 . We carry two probiotics with live cultures that contain this strain, so if you have trouble finding a probiotic with this strain contact us and we’d be happy to provide you with one 🙂 !

If you would like to read more on probiotics and weight loss…visit the following links:

Mercola Peak Fitness


Mercola – this one is about how antibiotics early in life can effect metabolism

Huffington Post – this one talks about how to increase your Bacteroidetes

Melatonin…better sleep AND weight loss??

Sleep Diet

The idea that you can sleep AND lose weight is just too good to be true…right?! Well, it’s true…sleep is an often overlooked solution to a lot of health problems, including weight gain. Good, sound sleep can reduce inflammation levels, fatigue, and increase brain function during the day.

Melatonin is a hormone that our bodies release that stimulates Stage IV Sleep (aka REM Sleep). Supplementing melatonin is ideal for those individuals who don’t dream when they sleep, don’t sleep through the night, or just don’t feel like they sleep well, because they are always tired….independent from the amount of Zzzzs they got. Melatonin is a great supplement to improve sleep, and is the first thing I recommend people try if they are having issues with sleep.

Some research suggests that this hormone is related to increasing a type of fat found in the body called “beige fat”…now, before you leave me just bear with me! This is good news!! You see, beige fat is a type of fat that actually burns more calories! Other studies have shown that melatonin supplementation is directly linked to an increase of beige fat accumulation. The same study that showed this, also found that it increased the thermogenic process in the body, which raised the metabolic rate and burned more energy. These fat cells require more energy, so that’s why they burn more calories…leading to fat loss. Another research study found that cold can also turn white fat cells into brown or beige fat cells. So, theoretically, if you sleep in a cool room and are supplementing melatonin, you can burn more calories and may be able to lose weight in your sleep. (For more information, you can google these studies or visit these sites here and here)

Now, is this to say that everyone should take melatonin? Not necessarily. As with any supplement, you should check with your doctor.

If you are concerned about getting a quality melatonin…do your research before purchasing. We sell a prolonged release pharmaceutical grade melatonin here at Birk Grove Life Centre and Paducah Physiatric Partners…and it is the only melatonin I have ever taken that I can tell works! If you’re in the area, stop by and pick some up, or you can call and order it and we can ship it to you 🙂 !

Water…how important is it really?

water-tapNo matter if you’re trying to lose weight, gain weight, eat clean, lower blood pressure/blood sugar/cholesterol, etc. your doctor or dietician will likely tell you to make sure you drink lots of water. The human body is made of approximately 60% water, so staying hydrated is crucial to ensuring your body is functioning properly. Most people don’t drink enough water, and they count their tea and coffee as part of their water consumption…and unfortunately, it doesn’t really work that way. Caffeine, which naturally occurs in tea AND coffee (yes, even in decaffeinated there are trace amounts), will actually dehydrate you. Some signs and symptoms of mild dehydration are: increased thirst, dry mouth, fatigue, low urine output accompanied by a yellowish/golden tint, headache, dry skin, dizziness, dry eyes, etc. If you suffer from any of these symptoms and know you don’t drink enough water, then the solution is simple…drink more water 😉 ….64oz per day is the goal.

For those that are trying to lose weight, water is crucial! It flushes toxins from your system, makes sure that all of your organs are functioning properly (including your colon), and helps to keep you full! Most of the time when people feel hunger pangs in between meals, it’s because they are actually thirsty…not hungry! If you drink water with your meals you will eat less as well. In addition to helping you feel full, water helps to increase your metabolism! It allows your body to burn calories more efficiently; those that are at least mildly dehydrated tend to burn less calories and have a slower metabolism!

One issue that people complain about the most when trying to increase their water consumption is, “If I drink more water, I’m going to be in the bathroom every 5 minutes!” Yes, if you drink more water you will have to urinate more often, but that’s because your body is actually able to cleanse itself! However, just because the goal is 64oz of water per day, it doesn’t mean you have to drink 64oz of water tomorrow…what I tell all my patients and clients is start off with tracking how much water you currently drink. If it’s none, then start and see how much you get in over the course of a day. If it’s one 16oz bottle of water per day, then work toward 1 1/2, then 2, then 2 1/2, and so on… Eventually you will reach your goal of 64oz. Why don’t you want to start off immediately with 64oz?? You can, but you will be in the bathroom very frequently because your system is not hydrated. The example I like to give people is this….If it hasn’t rained outside in weeks, and we are in a drought, then suddenly we get a big rain storm that comes through with heavy rainfall…what happens? All that water rushes straight over the ground and into the drainage system because it’s coming down too hard and too fast for the ground to absorb it….same thing goes with your body!! If you are dehydrated, the best thing to do is to slowly hydrate yourself until you get to that goal of 64oz. If you are only consuming 8-16oz of water per day, it may take you about 2 weeks to get to 64oz. But, that’s okay! Progress is progress!! 16oz per day is better than 8oz per day!

So bottom line is…go get yourself a bottle of water and start drinking 🙂 It’s good for you!