What Your Doctor May Not Know About Celiac and Gluten Sensitivity

Talking to my friends and family that are MD’s, I have found out something incredibly disturbing. Ok, let’s face it. If you really talk to MD’s about food and disease in any format.. but especially when they are not “on”… you will most definitely find out some disturbing things.

 

But this was something I think people should know before they go and get tested for Celiac Disease. It also impacts those with Gluten Sensitivity or Gluten Related disorders and also with autoimmunity, neurological disorders, and even Type 2 diabetes.

But today, I am here to talk specifically about Celiac Disease and Gluten Sensitivity. But if you have any of those above diseases, I am including you in with the “gluten sensitive” group. So yes, this means you. And know this: if you had Celiac disease, then you are likely to not know it.

So back to the disturbing news: At best, a doctor in medical school spends between 1 and 15 minutes being educated on Celiac Disease.  In their residency, the chance of being further educated on it are as slim as the chances of a person being diagnosed with it. Properly diagnosed. Which is slim to none.  In fact, 95% of those who are diagnosed are only diagnosed after a relative is diagnosed, as a part of the family screening process. This means that in this highly undiagnosed population, that only a small percentage of Celiac’s  that know they have this disease are tested because of their symptoms.

Before we get to what you need to know about Celiac and Gluten Sensitivty, lets start with the difference.  In this comparison, we will discuss the first thing your doctor may not know about celiac and gluten sensitivity:

The difference between Celiac and Gluten Sensitivity

This difference is important to know and clarify before we really dig into what you really need to know. Celiac is a disease where the body attacks itself when gluten (a protein in wheat, rye, barley and spelt) is introduced into the system.  This concludes most of what your doctor knows.  What your doctor may not know is that the process of self-attack can be triggered by other foods or substances (we call these cross-reactives, see below).  To be diagnosed as Celiac, there must be a specific type of damage to the small intestine.  When this has happened, it is said that the “celiac gene” has been  “turned on”.  This damage always starts with gluten. For some, this is the only trigger.  For some, this damage to the small intestine produces symptoms (there are over 100 symptoms) and for others there can be no symptoms at all.  For some individuals, symptoms will be triggered by multiple foods or substances that the body sees as similar to both gluten and parts of the body.  But the body will only attack itself if these foods are introduced into the body through eating, breathing and sometimes, the skin. Celiac Disease is thought to only attack the small intestines but can also affect the brain and skin.  For these reasons, it is associated with several neurological and skin disorders.

Gluten sensitivity is when you have all the symptoms, but do not have damage to the small intestine, at least not that specific type of damage.  This phenomena can occur either because you do not carry “the gene”.  However, gluten sensitivity can also happen  to an individual who does carry the gene before it gets “turned on” and starts to damage the intestine in that very specific way. How do you know if you are gluten sensitive? There is a 95% chance you are. (see below for details)

Before we continue, let me give an example of what a typical experience with an “expert” may look like for some.

When I became celiac in 2009, I didn’t bother with getting diagnosed.  Some agree with my decision and some say I should have gotten diagnosed. In hindsight, the main reason to get diagnosed is for validation and tax write off’s.  It can also be educational to know which gene you carry, although this part is rarely part of the diagnostic process. (Some genes carry extra risk and some are linked to specific related illnesses, like Multiple Sclerosis or Bipolar Disorder. More on these diseases and their relation to gluten sensitivity at a later date)

In 2014, When I was hospitalized with what I now know were gluten related symtpoms, I asked about being tested in case it was a part of the problem.  I was told there was no point in getting tested.  I then asked if I should gene test: He had to go and look up which genes to look for and then realized he had no access to the technology to test for these genes. (It was a blood test).  When he got back to me, he told me that he found that DQ2 and DQ8 were the two genes associated with Celiac. Mind you, this was a gastroenterologist: He is supposed to be the specialist that you go to to get diagnosed with Celiac.  And even he had to google basic answers.  To make matters worse: the information he gave me was wrong on the following accounts. So let me dispell some myths right away.

    1. DQ2 and DQ8 are not the only genes associated with Celiac Disease.  There is research telling us that DQ1, DQ7 and DQ9 are also associated with Celiac Disease. While 95% of Celiac Cases are those who carry one of those first 2 genes, that means that the other 5% do not carry that gene.  Here is an article that discusses these genes in detail. It mentions the DQ1, DQ7, an DQ9 gene, specifically, in addition to the DQ2 and DQ8 genes.
      1. Let’s do the math here. if one percent of the population are estimated to have Celiac disease, then means that 3, 254,000 people have Celiac disease.  And yet, our doctors are not educated on this disease.  Even the “specialists”.
      2. So let’s do some more math. If 5 % of that 3,254,000 people do not carry the DQ2 or DQ8 gene, that means that 162,700 people have Celiac and carry one of the other genes.  While this number is not as impressive as over 3 million, it means that those that carry these genes not only will have a hard time getting diagnosed, but the specialist won’t understand that these can carry unique risks and complications. This deficit of understanding in our medical community leads to a group of people with either gene set, unable to protect themselves in regards to their health.  This means a patient will be severely handicapped in making informed decisions for their own health.


  1. Now let’s talk about related genes. Warning: this is about to blow your mind. So make sure you are sitting down.
    1. The latest research has been looking into Celiac and Non-Celiac gluten Sensitivity.  It has discovered that there are genes surrounding these other aforementioned genes. If you include the genes above plus the ones in succcession, you would basically have DQ1 through DQ9. Let me be clear, this is DQ1, DQ2, DQ3, DQ4, DQ5, DQ6, DQ8, and DQ9. Yes, all of them.   For those who are experiencing gluten sensitivity but not Celiac disease, this means you would have all the symptoms, but not the damage to the intestines. It is unknown if there is any damage being done but it is common to find that inflammation decreases when gluten is removed from the diet.  In recent years, leaky gut syndrome (which is partially caused by and associated with gluten consumption) has been linked with every major disease from Autoimmune, Alzheimers, ADHD, Bipolar, Schizophrenia, OCD, Parkinson’s, Alzheimers, Cancer, Type 2 Diabetes and more.  This suggests that even though there are not the consequences associated directly with Celiac Disease, that the gluten is still causing inflammation and consequences that we may not be willing to accept if we know what we are choosing.
    2. 99 % of the population carries on of these genes. Yes, that means there is a 99% chance you are gluten sensitive. Let that sink in for a moment.
    3. Every person I know who has given up gluten reports a decrease in inflammation, especially gut inflammation.  Inflammation is what leads to disease formation. Gut inflammation is the first step towards neuro-inflammation.

Why you have symptoms on your gluten-free diet:

There are 3 reasons why going gluten free may not have improved your health:

  1. You are not gluten free enough.
    1. For some, the conventional standars for gluten “free” foods are not gluten free enough.  The label in the United States allows for up to 20ppm (that is parts per million) in a food. I know for a fact that there are loopholes in labeling to help a food “qualify”.  For example, by changing the serving size in a product they can change the ppm’s .  While this loophole doesn’t fit my ppm definition, I have heard companies discuss the daily serving and explain that the servings were the reason why it did not qualify. However, by having 1 or more foods that are 20 ppm, a sensitive person can consume way more than 20 “parts” in a day” by accident. For some, even 5ppm can cause symptoms.  and let’s be very clear: even with no “symptoms” you can still be Celiac, and still be accruing damage as a Celiac or as one of the 99% who are gluten sensitive.
  2. You are cross reacting to other foods.
    1. This is something that many doctors have absolutely no clue about. .  But let me assure you that this is a very real thing. Not only in my own case but in hundreds and thousands of others on elimination diets have discovered the same thing.  These who have discovered this are not all Celiac, either.  I suspect this cross reacting would take place in any gluten-related disorder such as Hashimotos, Eczema, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Sjogrens, Multiple Sclerosis, other Neurological Disorders, and more.
    2. The foods that cross react are Milk and Cheese ( milk and milk products are usually the first cross reactive food to lose and the most common), eggs, Potatoes, Tapioca/Cassava/Yuca (these are all the same plant), yeasts and fungi of all kinds (these are separate into categories but one can react to all categories) and all seeds and grains.  Here is a list of the 19 most common cross reactives, but make no mistake: you can react to many more foods that are not on this list.
  3. You have not addressed the consequences from previous exposures.
    1. There are many side affects to having a gluten exposure that can cause some longer-term symptoms. These side affects could be nutrient deficiencies, stress to the body, damage to the body and more.  This is not to say these things cannot be reversed, but you will need time and the right tools to accomplish the reversal of these consequences.

One more thing you need to know that  your doctor may not tell you:


  1. if you are diagnosed with Celiac disease, it means you have an autoimmune disease.  There is a common misconception that all you need to do is to go gluten free and then go on with your life.  This myth cannot be farther from the truth.  Once you have one autoimmune disease, you increase your chances of collecting others and also increase the chances of related diseases like Cancer and Neurological Disorders.  It is actually quite rare for someone to have only one autoimmune disease, but as there are literally over 100 autoimmune diseases, they are difficult to get diagnosed.  Many just don’t know where to look for the others. So to keep this from happening to you, it is important to know the following:
    1. If you are diagnosed with an autoimmune disease, you have something called leaky gut syndrome. If you are Celiac, then you have further gut complications on top of having leaky gut syndrome. Everyone who has an autoimmune has this syndrome and if they heal it, will always be prone to having it become “unhealed”, so you need to protect yourself always. If you have been diagnosed with Celiac or are gluten sensitive, have a related disorder, an autoimmune or neurological disease or other reason to suspect you have leaky gut syndrome, then seek help through a qualified professional to guide you on this journey.
    2. You are at risk for losing other foods through the cross reaction phenomena I talked about above. When you lose a food: you lose it forever. You never get it back.  Healing your gut can keep you from losing more foods, in addition to gaining more autoimmune diseases.
    3. You need to be diligent.  Even with no symptoms, even a little gluten can be doing harm to your body. Be as diligent as possible.  Sometimes this means being brave and asking someone extra questions to make sure your food is “safe”.  It can also mean having to say “no” to a food you really want and having something else to eat instead.

While this article covers the basics of what you need to know, there is a lot more to the puzzle.  If you think you may need to heal your gut, get tested for Celiac Disease, get tested for cross reactions, or need help navigating your gluten-free path then get some help from an experienced provider. For more information and a free consult, feel free to contact me with the email address or phone number here.  Consults are free but not all cases are accepted.  There are a limited number of spaces and because of that, our patients must qualify. Contact me to see if you qualify to learn from someone who has already walked the path, knows the pitfalls, and help guide you safely to health.  Are you ready to take your body back?

If you enjoyed this article, then feel free to sign up for my newsletter.  You will recieve a free weekly newsletter with education, articles, recipes, offers and more. Fill out the form today to start receiving them this week! You will also be the first to know about my upcoming books– so stay tuned by signing up today!

Sources used:

  1. https://www.verywell.com/gluten-sensitivity-genes-562967

 

 

 

Summer Grill and Party Menu Ideas: A Recipe Round-UP

Summer celebrations are here and it is time to grill!  Memorial day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, Saturday, Sunday, everyday…It’s time to eat! First let’s set a menu.  We know there are going to be meats galore.. because that is how American’s celebrate! Right? First thing is first.. for your convenience, this post may contain affiliate links.  To read my full disclosure policy click here.

Summer nights are for grilling.. AIP menu ideasMain dish ideas:

  • Burgers- see my sliders post for inspiration for toppings! (and a sweet potato “bun”)
  • Shish Kabobs
  • Pork Shoulder
  • Ribs- Pork or Beef Short Ribs- Rub them down with garlic, lemon and herbs!
  • Steaks
  • Chicken Legs
  • Crawfish or Shrimp (Check out this AIP friendly shrimp boil recipe from Autoimmune Odyssey! Note: She uses black peppercorns which are an AIP reintro.  Omit these for AIP and consider onlon powder instead)
  • For spice blend ideas, the best source I have seen are in this recipe book here. (Honestly its the best cook book EVER! It will blow you away!)

BBQ is synonymous with 4th of July and it is definitely time to fire up the grill! (Make sure to make extra as part of your weekly batch cooking! Meat freezes also– hello, easy and delicious meals of my future!) To make this feel like an extra special BBQ day, try this AIP friendly BBQ sauce from Enjoying This Journey.  You can also buy this pre-made AIP friendly BBQ sauce.

Side DishesSide dishes (and more) for summer grill days!

  • Cole Slaw– use apple cider vinegar and oil, with a bit of sea salt and honey to season.
  • Apple Slaw– Same dressing as above but shred an apple with your cabbage.
  • No-tato Salad
    • There is a great paleo version of german potato salad over at Fast Paleo (click here to see the original)  But it is not AIP.  However it can be made AIP using these changes:
    • Ingredients
      • 6 Slices Bacon
      • 1/2 c. Yellow Onion, Chopped
      • 1/2 c. Coconut Vinegar
      • 1/2 c. Water
      • 1/4-1/3 c. extra ilght virgin olive oil (see notes)
      • 1/8 tsp. Stevia Extract or 1 tbsp honey
      • Celtic Sea Salt
      • Onion Powder
      Directions
      • Dressing: In a skillet, cook the bacon until crispy. Remove bacon and set aside. Pour bacon grease into glass Pyrex measuring cup.
      • Add onions to skillet along with a couple tablespoons of bacon grease and cook on medium high heat until browned and translucent.
      • To the cooked onions add the vinegar and water to deglaze the pan.
      • Add enough olive oil to the bacon grease to equal 1/2 c. and then add to the onion, vinegar, water mixture.
      • Whisk in stevia as well as salt and onion powder to taste.*
      • Crumble bacon and add to dressing.
      • Store refrigerated in glass jar or container. Reheat as necessary.
      • Salad: There’s really nothing to it, clean, chop and steam up a head of cauliflower, add as much Hot Bacon Dressing as you desire and garnish with some fresh or dried chives.

      *Changes made to some parts to make the recipe AIP.  Content taken from Fast Paleo (link above to original) There are several faux-tato salad recipes on Pinterest, but many need to be slightly altered to make them AIP.

  • Sweet Potato Fries (or any root vegetables: parsnips, turnips, carrots, etc.
  • Broccoli Salad.  Here is an AIP version from Adventures in Partaking.
  • AIP Caesar Salad (see Dressing Recipe Link Below).  Use these Pork Clouds for croutons.

Great condiments.

Condiments and Sauces make everything better!

Summer Grill out menu ideas

Snacks and Appetizer ideas

  • Plantain chips and Guacamole– omit the nightshades and add exttra lime juice and cilantro!
  • Pineapple Salsa– Pineapple, red onion and radishes mixed with avocado and lime juice. Mince finely and serve with plantain chips!
  • Grilled Veggie Kabobs– Onion and Pineapple with Ham with Coconut Aminos.

And of course, no celebration is complete without ….

4th of july menu

Dessert

  • Raspberry Coconut Popsicles from Pure and Simple Nourishment
  • Mango Popsicles (use the same recipe but switch the fruit!)
  • Egg Free Coconut Cookies (Ice cream sandwiches, anyone?) from Almost Autism
  • Nice cream: Here is a recipe from Diet Hood using blueberries.  But the blueberries can be subbed for other fruit like mango or strawberry.  You can also use just the banana and add things like Coconut cream or vanilla, apple sauce and cinnamon, or carob and mint extract.
  • Sorbet. Freeze fruit (maybe watermelon?) and stick it in the food processor to make it smooth.

 

 

 

 

Why Chronic Illness Is the Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me

benefits of chronic illness

Perspective is everything. When I first started researching how to heal, I came across one of the most beautiful perspectives I have yet to hear to this date concerning chronic illness.  I wish I could remember where I heard it but it made a profound impression on me.   I read this and immediately made a decision.  I decided that I would be the latter person.  (see the first quote below)  I decided that no matter how much work it was, regardless of how many bad days were in between, and no matter what I experienced, that I was going to choose my path.  I was not a victim.  I was not a statistic.  I would never give up hope and I would find the joy, the benefits, and the blessing inside this apparent curse of circumstance.  I feel like I have gotten 95% of my wish and I will die trying to receive the other 5% I am after.

3 years later, I agree: this is the best thing that could have ever happened to me.  Yes, it sucks to have things taken away, especially health and even most of my social life. Yes, I have bad days.. days where that 5% becomes more like 8%… but I made a decision and I make the same decision over and over again. The decision to not give up and to see the cosmic “bright side”.  To look at what this “curse” has blessed my life with. If you are tempted to think this means that things “weren’t that bad”, I encourage you to read My Story. Remember that I tell it abbreviated, leaving out most of the emotion and personal experience that quite frankly, was traumatizing in itself. But for now I’d like to focus on the points that have the power to help you.

There are 3 ideas I’d like to pose.

These ideas are for anyone who is either just diagnosed and beginning their journey or to one who has not had the opportunity to find their blessing among the loss just yet.

1.”Those with a Chronic Illness say it is the worst thing that has ever happened to them.  Those that beat a Chronic Illness say it is the best thing that ever happened to them”(1)

When I read this I was floored. I realized right then and there that I had a decision to make.  I could play the role of the victim– wailing about what had happened to me.  OR I could instead look for the opportunity. Maybe my new life would bring great blessings and fulfillment that my old life never could.  Maybe my life could be better? I now had the time to spend with loved ones.  I could sleep late. I could find a life that meant “following my dreams”. I was taken out of a career that was unfulfilling and didn’t pay enough. I could work on myself and create a whole new life of my own choosing and priorities. All of the sudden I had choices that my old life didn’t provide.  While I may not be able to do things I used to be able to do, I now could do things that weren’t a choice before I was sick.  This perspective only progressed as I got better.  As I got healthy again, I considered my dreams: new ones. And I got to figure out how to follow them.  I got a do-over at life!

2.”Why did you need to get this?” (1)

What is the Universe trying to tell you? How do you spend your time differently than you did before? How have your priorities changed?

In the country song “Live LIke You Were Dying”, the main character took the opportunity of getting sick to spend more time with his family and work on his bucket list.  He decides to open his heart and to tell people he loves them, be more giving with affection and quality time.  His priorities shift from being a workaholic to a family man who skydives and embraces life fully.  His universe was telling him to rearrange his priorities. I suppose that like me, he had probably known for a long time that he needed to rearrange these priorities but always answered that nagging feeling with “I can’t” or “Not today”.  So many of us say our priorities are our family but our actions say something else.  We believe we have no choice but to live our life that way.  We believe that this way of life is “the real world”. If it makes you truly happy, then great.  But for me this was  a limiting belief that filled me with resent.

My universe was trying to tell me to quit spending my time in a way that didn’t align with my morals or my own design.  The Universe was screaming at me, saying “spend more time doing what is important” and less time doing something that isn’t important.  In hindsight, being forced off my former life-path gave me the opportunity to create a life on my own terms, that fulfilled my purpose.  The universe was saying “Stahp it!!”. I had to be forced to listen. The nagging feeling in my gut wasn’t enough to get me to get out of my comfort zone, to step away from all I knew.

Maybe you worked too much and didn’t spend enough time with your family.  Maybe you were on a path in life that didn’t fulfill your purpose and your heart.  Maybe you were meant for more, or at least something more important.  Maybe your priorities and your actions were not aligned. Maybe you are still figuring it out.

3.”Your problem IS your gift” (2). 

I cannot tell you what that gift is but I can say there is a gift there. You may not have even found all of it yet.  You may be on your way to it.  But there is a gift. I haven’t found all of mine yet, but I could write a book (yes, literally) on the gifts I have received as a result of my problem.  And I see even more coming.

I encourage you to spend some time this week praying, meditating, or journaling about these concepts  Take some time to process the information and wrap your head around it in regards to your own life.  Don’t let your ego or negative thoughts keep you from finding the gift that comes with the curse.  The ego will want you to write this off as some “pollyanna crap” but I encourage you to explore it anyway. Open your heart and your mind.  If you write it off without exploring then you are missing out on a blessing. Only you can find the gift. After all, it is yours, nobody else’s.

If you like this content, sign up for my newsletter at the bottom of the page and enjoy a free gift: my 7 Day Healing Meal Plan.  You will also be given an opportunity to opt-in for my 7 Day Kickstart Email Series with 3 optional ways on how to start Taking Back Your Body at your own pace.  Feel free to contact me via my Contact Page. I love hearing from my readers.

 

  1. This quote came from an unknown source. It is not my original content.
  2. This quote is from Tony Robbins, from the documentary “I Am Not Your Guru”

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How to Reverse or Improve Your Chronic Illness.

knowing the steps is like having a road map to wellness. are you ready for your journey?

 

If you’ve seen any documentary on how food and nutrition affects health then you know that food can be a powerful agent of either good or bad.  It is said that “every bite you eat is one step closer to health or disease”. And a journey is made up of several small steps. I’m going to break those steps down for you below and at the end, I am going to give you an opportunity to receive a free healing menu plan.  I am also going to give you an opportunity to sign up for my free 7 Day kickstart, a 7 day email series to help you through your first week if you decide to start a healing journey.  But for right now, let me tell you  why these steps are the basics of healing most chronic conditions.


As a health coach I work with many chronic conditions and we work on many related parts that attribute to and are a part of chronic conditions.  We balance blood sugar, improve energy, reduce pain and inflammation, increase energy and mobility, identify food triggers, and we also improve digestion and cognitive function.  We even grow better hair and nails!  When you have a group of people with chronic conditions you often find that there are some overlapping categories that seem to pop up in most of your clients.  The individuality of each person is very unique but the causes are generally the same. So I wanted to give an overview: how does one reverse or improve a chronic condition?

While not every situation can be reversed, it is not unheard of to reverse type 2 diabetes, autoimmune disease, depression or ADHD.  If they cannot be reversed, then they can be improved most of the time.  Most of these chronic conditions can be improved by focusing most of all of the following health categories:

1. Improve Gut Health.

Gut health is being linked to every chronic condition from autism, ADHD, Alzheimer’s, autoimmune, diabetes, Parkinson’s, depression, anxiety and even hormonal imbalances.  So much of our immune system, hormone and neurotransmitter production, the ability to break down our nutrients and get rid of toxins (a source of physical stress and oxidative damage) is dependent on the health of our Gastrointestinal tract.  The “gut” includes the stomach, intestines, gallbladder, liver, and pancreas.  For this reason, we often start with gut health in our journey toward healing.

2. Identify food sensitivities.

food sensitivities are often undiscovered and causing inflammation

Food sensitivities have been linked to ADHD, depression, autoimmune diseases, arthritis, and other inflammatory disorders.  A food sensitivity is different than an allergy and can simply mean that a person feels better without the food than with the food on their plate.  This may mean that their digestion improves, their energy, or even their blood sugar or pain levels in their joints.  Identifying any foods that may be aggravating your health, is a key step in feeling better sooner.  Many food sensitivities can be reversed, which means removing them may be temporary.

 

 

3. Detoxify.

detoxify to reverse autoimmune and chronic conditions
our bodies have a lot of toxins to expel, and many of us can’t keep up

Toxic buildup can put stress on our bodies, causing inflammation, weight gain, pain and dysfunction.  It can affect any body part including the digestive system, the brain, or your joints. Supporting your body in getting rid of stored toxins can reduce inflammation, pain, weight, swelling, or dysfunction.  Also, avoiding exposure to toxins where possible can make it easier for our bodies to store less of these chemicals in the future.

 

 

4. Support the Immune System.

Autoimmune, chronic viruses, Chronic Fatigue, Lyme disease, and possibly others whose causes are “unknown” may benefit from boosting the immune system.  A dysfunctioning or suppressed (or even seemingly overactive) immune system can make one feel “yucky” all on its own.  By supporting the immune system, but not stressing it, we can possibly return it to its normal functioning state.  A normal immune system can fight the “bad guys” like chronic viruses and also knows when to “turn it off” so it doesn’t attack us!

support the immune system to reverse and improve chronic conditions like autoimmune
our bodies thrive when supported with the right (and enough) targeted nutriti

5. Support the Adrenals.

Let’s face it: Chronic conditions are stressful.  Even if you do not have adrenal fatigue, (but especially if you do) life and illness can be very hard on our bodies.  For this reason, supporting the adrenals can not only improve your sugar-handling (the ability to maintain healthy blood sugar levels), inflammation, wear and tear on the body, reduce heart attack and stroke risk, regulate weight and hormones, alleviate depression and anxiety, affect sleep, digestion, and much more.. it can help you heal from chronic conditions. It can also improve energy and the immune system.

6. Targeted Nutrition.

This is where things get even more unique to you. While each of the above categories are addressed differently for each person according to their own body and unique situation, this area is the most unique to you. In this category, we not only focus on specific foods to improve the health of a specific organ or body system (such as the thyroid, or the nervous system, or even the brain), but also have to address any deficiencies.  We may optimize a nutrient to manipulate the body into doing its job better, or your body may just need more of a specific nutrient to thrive than your mate’s body needs.  An example of this may be to focus on electrolyte rich foods to help regulate blood pressure or heart rate.  We may reduce high glycemic foods for a person with Diabetes, or incorporate bone broth for someone with leaky gut.

7. Bio-hacking.  

biohacking for chronic illness
spending time outdoors (especially at sunrise or sunset) can help you love your body

This area is similar to targeted nutrition but the “nutrition” in this case refers to lifestyle changes.  This includes working on “primary foods” a term coined by Joshua Rosenthal to refer to the things that feed you but don’t come on a plate.  It may refer to exercising to reduce inflammation or increase mobility. It may refer to prayer or meditation that helps you reduce adrenaline or cortisol.  It may mean incorporating social time into your schedule to increase your body’s ability to heal. It can also mean watching the sun set to help with adrenal fatigue, sleep and circadian rhythms.  Regardless of which areas of your life need help to improve your chronic condition or the symptoms that bother you, there are often “bio-hacks” to help you get the results you are looking for on your journey.

That was a lot of information, wasn’t it? And it is a lot to think about.. but I want to assure you that I don’t expect you to go out in one day and do all of this.  Remember above that I said that we often start with the gut.  And before that we often start with dietary changes.  If you haven’t gotten started with your gut health, then check out my beginner’s guide to healing your gut.  If you have a chronic condition of any type, I suggest starting there.  As always, If it is too overwhelming or you are feeling unsure, email me via the contact page and I’ll be happy to schedule a free consult for those who are ready to start taking their body back today.

If you just want to learn more but are not ready for one on one coaching, then  simply sign up for the newsletter at the top of the page.  This will ensure that you start receiving emails that tell you more about the above steps.

Feel free to comment below, I love hearing from my readers.  You can also contact me directly through the email in the top menu bar if you have any questions  about this article.

No matter which options you decide to explore above, I look forward to hearing from you and hope to get to know you better! Until then, enjoy your healing journey!

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Cauliflower 7 ways: A Cauliflower Recipe Round-UP for AIP

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In the Paleo world, cauliflower is king. I can’t speak for everyone, but this vegetable went from highly underrated to a weekly staple in my house; replacing rice and potato dishes that I didn’t even know I would miss.  Anyone who has been paying attention or reading this blog knows that I love me some cauliflower rice.  But I also love some mashed cauliflower: it is a serious comfort food that visits my dish when I am cold, tired, and want something delicious and warm.  So I have dedicated this article to this wondrous vegetable: I have included 4 pilaf recipes and 2 mashed cauliflower instructions (just in case you have never tried this before!).  In addition, I have included some links to instructions for freezing your cauliflower rice ahead of time to make weeknight dinners even easier! I also included a breakfast idea for a yummy bowl of comfort any time of day! That is 7 recipes and a batch cooking life-hack! Enjoy! I know I will….

For your convenience, I have included some affiliate links to help you locate items when necessary.  For my full disclosure policy, click here.

Lemon Caper Dill Cauliflower Rice Pilaf

 

Ingredients

  • 1/2 head of cauliflower, riced. This is about 3 cups riced if you are using a pre-riced cauliflower. I did not measure exactly.
  • the juice and zest of one lemon
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons of capers. In order to avoid a vinegar that is derived from corn or wheat, try these salt-packed capers.  They will re-hydrate in the lemon juice.
  • 1/4 cup of chopped, fresh dill.
  • 2 cloves of minced garlic
  • sea salt to taste
  • 1 cup of chopped leeks, bulb only (the white part). You could use onions, but I have not tried this and would probably start with 1/4 cup as they have a stronger taste.
  • Olive oil, about 2 to 4 tablespoons.
  • Optional: 1/4 cup bone broth

Directions:

Heat olive oil over medium heat, adding chopped leeks and minced garlic, heating until leeks are tender and stirring as needed to keep from burning or sticking.

Add the rest of the ingredients, except for the dill and the bone broth.  If more liquid is needed, then add the bone broth slowly.  You may or may not use all the bone broth or you may use none, depending on your skillet and how much liquid is needed or not needed.  Turn down low or medium low and let it steam until the capers and the cauliflower are moist but not mushy, about 5 minutes. Stir occasionally during this time to ensure that the moisture is evenly distributed.  Add fresh dill and fold into the hot “pilaf”, letting the steam wilt the green fronds.  Serve immediately.

This also good left over the next day, reheated or served cold as a salad or side. I suggest serving this with fish such as salmon or Mahi.  Asparagus is a natural addition to this meal.

For Scallopini Cauliflower Rice Pilaf, use the same recipe as above, replacing the fresh dill with fresh thyme and adding it with the rest of the ingredients if desired. Chicken is a suggested accompaniment with this dish.  An arugula salad is also a natural addition to this pairing.

LEMON DILL CAPER CAULIFLOWER RICE AIP

 Garlic and Herb Cauliflower Rice Pilaf

Ingredients

  • 1/2 head of cauliflower, riced. This is about 3 cups riced if you are using a pre-riced cauliflower. I did not measure exactly.
  • 1 cup chopped, fresh,  mixed herbs: I suggest any combination of basil, oregano, parsley, rosemary, thyme.
  • 5 cloves of minced garlic
  • sea salt to taste
  • 1 cup of chopped leeks, bulb only (the white part). You could use onions, but I have not tried this and would probably start with 1/4 cup as they have a stronger taste.
  • Olive oil, about 2 to 4 tablespoons.
  • Optional: 1/4 cup bone broth

Directions

Heat olive oil over medium heat, adding chopped leeks and minced garlic, heating until leeks are tender and stirring as needed to keep from burning or sticking.

Add the rest of the ingredients, except for the bone broth.  If more liquid is needed, then add the bone broth slowly.  You may or may not use all the bone broth or you may use none, depending on your skillet and how much liquid is required or not.  You do not want excess moisture.

Turn down low or medium low and let it steam about 4 to 5 minutes. Stir occasionally during this time to ensure that the moisture is evenly distributed and that none more is needed.

This also good left over the next day, reheated or served cold as a salad or side. I suggest serving this with chicken or pork.  This pairing lends itself to some hearty greens such as spinach, collars or kale as an additional side dish.

 Lime-Cilantro Cauliflower Rice Pilaf

Cauliflower Rice with pulled pork carnitas- AIP

Ingredients

  • Raw Cauliflower– 1 cup per person or 2 cups, measured in chunks
  • Cilantro, Fresh.  I suggest about a cup, but you may add according to your tastes.
  • 1 lime,
  • A lime zester
  • A food processor
  • A pinch of Sea Salt
  • 1-2 cloves of minced garlic
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons Cooking fat.  I suggest coconut oil.

Directions

Chop the cauliflower into chunks that are manageable for a food processor and add the vegetable chunks to the processor.  Turn the processor on and let it mince the cauliflower until it has a rice or couscous like texture.

Chop the cilantro by hand and reserve.

Heat the oil over medium to medium low and add the cauliflower, stirring and folding so as to evenly heat.

Add garlic and fold again.

Zest the lime over the mixture and fold that into the mix.

The cauliflower will absorb much of the fat, so you may find you need to add more fat, a little broth, or some water, being careful not to use enough liquid to make it “soupy”.

Add the cilantro and sea salt.  Fold  the mixture to mix thoroughly and serve immediately.

Suggested pairings: This side dish is great with pulled pork but is also good with fish. It makes a great addition to Mexican-inspired dishes such as carnitas or “taco” salads or as a substitute for rice in a Mexican “rice” bowl.

Also, if you haven’t tried my Asian Cauliflower Rice yet, then click here for the recipe.  It is truly my favorite one!

Mashed “Caulitatoes”

Steam desired cauliflower with a few cloves of garlic (I suggest 2 cloves per half a head of cauliflower) and add vegetables to the food processor after cooking  completely.  While food processor has been turned on, add olive oil, sea salt and additional herbs, being careful not to over-do it on the olive oil so as to avoid your “Caulitatoes” being too thin.  I like to add about 1 to 2 tablespoons for each 1/2 head of cauliflower.

Option: add some fresh or dried herbs to the food processor to add a “zest” or create a garlic and herb mash.


“Loaded” Caulitatoes.

Using the recipe above, replace the olive oil with bacon grease.  After mixing, top with crumbled bacon, sautéed onions, mushrooms and other vegetables of choice.

And more…

As promised, here is a great link to a batch cooking hack: This post by The Pinning Mama is a great way to know how to prep your “rice” ahead of time.  While her Mexican cauli-rice is not AIP compliant (includes re-introductions), her roasted cauli-rice is compliant IF you omit the black pepper (maybe replace it with some oregano or tarragon?).  The Indian cauli-rice also includes some re-introductions but could be altered if you are confident in your ability to do that.

I hear from others that you can buy cauliflower rice already “riced” and frozen from Trader Joe’s.  But if you do not have a Trader Joe’s or if, like me, yours does not carry this convenience, you can always create your own via this life-hack.  It is usually less expensive, also, to process your own vegetables and would be a great idea to do when you find cauliflower on sale for a great price.

For those tempted to rice and then refrigerate, I caution you against this.  Cauliflower has a tendency to mold.  Usually the mold is limited to the outside and can be cut off before using so as not to waste food unnecessarily.  “Riced” cauliflower has a lot of “outsides” and will mean having to throw away the entire bag if it is not frozen.

Also, I wanted to give a shout out to this recipe by Grass Fed Salsa.  Her picture makes me want to make a giant bowl of this “breakfast” for all 3 meals of my day.  It truly points out the comfort food status of this modern classic. Simply sub carrots  for the mushrooms and omit the coconut aminos and yeast if you cannot tolerate yeasts, fungi or ferments for any reason. Otherwise, enjoy this simple feast.


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Gut Healing Protein Bars- Key Lime and Lemon Cookie

Key LIme and Lemon Cookie flavored gut healing protein bars
Key Lime and Lemon Cookie flavored gut healing protein bars

So apparently there is this big debate as to whether or not vanilla is considered AIP: but this post from Sarah Ballantyne, also known as the paleomom, and author of “The” book om the autoimmune protocol says it is not. I tend to be a bit legalistic and really wanted to do things “by the book” this time around.  As a result, I found some variations on the AIP collagen bars that I actually like much better than the original recipe, (each to his own, eh?) which is vanilla and referred to as “cake batter” flavored.  I took a recipe that I was introduced to while at an AIP group meeting and remade them into other “flavors” to both avoid vanilla and in an effort to make things a little more exciting for me. For the original recipe, click here.  But if you prefer things to be a little less “vanilla” then keep reading!

As a result of some experimentation, I came up with these 2 recipes as a definitely compliant alternative. I love that in the recipe, the proteins and carbohydrates are naturally balanced and it has a healthy dose of good fats.  It has collagen, which is great for gut health and joints.  It is also full of healthy coconut fat that is also good for gut, and much more!  For your convenience, I have included some affiliate links to help you locate some items.  For my full disclosure policy, click here.

I love the textture of these, they are soft but not mushy, firm but not brittle!
I love the texture of these, they are soft but not mushy, firm but not brittle!

“Key-Lime” Collagen bars

Ingredients

  • Coconut butter – 1/2 cup
  • 1/4 cup + 1 Tbs. grass-fed collagen protein, also known as collagen hydrolyse – (not gelatin).  This brand is what I used and this brand is also highly recommended.
  • Honey – 1 tbsp
  • Coconut oil – 1 tbsp.
  • Pinch of salt
  • zest of one lime.
  • juice of one lime

melt the coconut butter by placing the jar in very hot water for a few minutes until it is able to be stirred easily and poured into a measuring cup. Add this to a bowl, followed by the collagen powder. mix thoroughly, then add honey and mix thoroughly again.  Add the coconut oil, either melted or slightly soft,  and mix that in thoroughly as well. Zest the lime then mix again.  Follow with the lime juice last, again mixing until it is well blended.

Take the batter and move it to a parchment paper lined baking dish and form it with your hands until it is a large, flat square.  Score the square and place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, or until the ingredients have reached solidity again. Cut all the way through and enjoy.  Makes about 3 servings.

This recipe makes a more tart, lime-y bar but for a more sweet version, you could increase the honey content.

These are perfect for tea time or just an afternoon/midnight snack!
These are perfect for tea time or just an afternoon/midnight snack!

For “Lemon Cookie” collagen bars, follow the same recipe as above, replacing the lime for lemon.

I am so happy with this recipe, that I have decided I am going to develop multiple flavors fashioned after my favorite desserts..recipes coming soon! So if you want to make sure you don’t miss a thing, sign up for my newsletter at the top of the page.  You will receive health articles, meal plans, offers, and more straight to your inbox.  Feel free to leave a comment below or shoot me an email. I love hearing from my readers!

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Orange Chicken Stir-fry

I am a little obsessed with Asian foods. I love the way they blend sweet with savory and sour with sweet. I love the easiness of mixing vegetables and meats together in a pan and with the right additions, making the simple and nutritious something quick yet delicious and almost mysterious.

chinese inspired Chicken with Orange sauceWhen I became allergic to soy (and more) and then fermented foods, I lost almost all my Asian favorites.  I mourned soy sauce and even fish sauce as I could only look at my favorite sauces and appetizers, soups and main dishes.

Luckily, I’ve found a way to make a few things that bring Asian flavors to my plate. I have, as a result, expanded my palate and embraced the flavors that are left to me- flavors highlighted by sweet, spicy, salty, savory and sour ingredients outside of the realm of the usual salty and fermented sauces.  In an effort to find new favorites, I continue to experiment in the kitchen and have created a few Asian-inspired home recipes.

I hope you enjoy this Paleo/AIP (if you omit the hot peppers) version of my Chicken with orange sauce. It is definitely something I will make over and over again, as it fits all my favorite requirements: easy, quick, nutritious, delicious, family friendly, and budget friendly. I think your family will enjoy it also.

Chicken with Orange sauce Asian Food made AIP/PaleoIngredients

  • 8 ounces chicken (or beef or pork), chopped into bite sized pieces
  • the zest of and juice of 2 oranges
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 5 large cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1-2 hot peppers such as jalapeno, Thai chile or Serrano (omit for AIP)
  • 1 inch of ginger, grated
  • 2 tbsp of coconut oil
  • optional cilantro for garnish
  • suggested to be served with Asian Asian Cauliflower Rice and sautéed kale.


Directions

  • slice carrots and put them in a pan on medium with the oil and put the lid on
  • mince the garlic and add it to the pan
  • Add the meat and give the pan a good stir
  • when the meat and carrots are almost done, zest the 2 oranges and then squeeze the juice over the mixture
  • grate the ginger and give the pan a good stir again
  • drizzle the tablespoon of honey and serve.  You can have the sauce reduce if you wish but this isn’t necessary.

This recipe is an easy weeknight dinner for 2 (with the cauliflower rice added).  Add a side of bok choy and you have 3 vegetables for a perfect meal.  And it won’t leave you hungry an hour later- even better.


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Sliders Makeover: Another Healthy Junk Food night.

Sliders

sliders aip/wahls/takeyourbodyback
Another “healthy” junk food night.. sliders with yummy toppings!

This post really isn’t really about sliders. I mean, it is.  But it isn’t.  We all know how to make burgers. We all know to make small burgers.  But the bun is made of White Sweet Potato Toast (not my idea but I really don’t remember where I got it, but here is a video on how to make it) and that alone makes it something delicious. However, it is what you  put ON a burger is what makes it your own.  So I wanted to share some ideas (ok, and some pictures) of great and fun, allergy free AIP/Wahl’s Friendly Recipes so you can have a junk food night and still stay on track.  Most of these ingredients you can find at any grocery store but if something is obscure, I went ahead and included some affiliate links for your convenience.  For my full disclosure policy, please click here.

AIP and Paleo Toppings:

Homemade Pickles

This is a southern tradition that goes back probably a few hundred years.  Simply slice cucumbers and some red onion and soak overnight in water with some Vinegar (for this recipe makeover we are using Apple Cider Vinegar) and some sea salt.  Black Pepper optional (AIP reintro).  The real flavor is from the red onions and vinegar.

Dairy Free and Nut Free Pesto:

A cup of Basil and approximately a 1/4 cup of olive oil with 1 to 2 raw garlic cloves placed in a food processor.  Add the olive oil gradually so that you can control the thinness or thickness of the pesto as you see fit.

Caramelized Onions and Sauteed Mushrooms:

Mashed Avocado

AIP catsup.

I’ve linked this to a recommended recipe.

Fresh grated horseradish.

This could also be grated into the ground beef before forming.

Zucchini Cheese

Recipe here.

AIP slider made with japanese sweet potato toast and veggie toppings!
this burger is ready for its close up!

Side Dishes

Homemade Slaw

chopped cabbage, Apple Cider Vinegar and Olive oil with a pinch of salt and a 1/4 teaspoon of honey make this dish simple.   For add-ins, you can add tomato (not aip) or avocado or fresh herbs like cilantro but that is certainly not necessary.

Marinated Veggies

Same dressing as above but with Italian seasoning and marinated overnight.  I suggest steamed asparagus, cauliflower, carrots, yellow squash and some fresh celery, red onion or cucumber.

Root Vegetable fries

You can make this with any root vegetable, tossed with olive oil and sea salt (extra seasonings optional) and broil or roast them until they are crispy.  You can use sweet potatoes, parsnips, turnips, rutabagas, carrots, or others to make your “fries”.

side dish to go with my paleo sliders
I made these “fries” in my toaster oven with the skins that I peeled off of my sweet potatoes. I used sea salt and lime juice.  I did 400 degrees for 30 minutes and stirred them half way through.

Ready for burger night yet?

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Weeknight Leg of lamb with Pesto

 Leg of Lamb with Pesto

This is a great way to eat lamb on a weeknight or special occasion.  This recipe is simple, delicious, nutritious and affordable. I bought all my ingredients at Costco (except for the lemons).  Their Australian lamb is pasture raised and I bought my organic olive oil at a great price! For my small family, the lamb was able to feed us for multiple meals as we keep our protein to smaller servings (most of the time) and fill our plate mostly with vegetables.  I suggest serving this with some sautéed zucchini, some wilted kale and some roasted garlic, or onions and mushrooms.  It would also go great with some roasted root vegetables or sautéed or poached pears for dessert.

Let’s keep this simple: If you want to make this-

lamb with aip/paleo pesto sauce

You will need

  • Leg of lamb or other cut of lamb.  If you do not like lamb, you could also use a rib roast or beef tenderloin or cut of red meat.  Red meat is more appropriate to stand up to the strong flavors of basil and garlic.
  • Fresh garlic.  You can sub garlic powder for the marinade but I wouldn’t do the same for the pesto.
  • Olive Oil.
  • Lemon(s)
  • Fresh Basil

Instructions:

1. Marinate the Meat ahead of time

Try to do this the night before or in the morning of the day that you will eat this. 24 hours ahead would be superb but even one hour is great.

  • Separate the excess fat off the leg as best as you can. For each person you will need between 3 and 8 ounces, depending on individual appetite. (children eat around 2 to 3 ounces and men usually eat around 8 but women usually eat around 4 ounces)
  • Cut the lamb into “steaks”.  Of course, you could use lamb chops, loin or roast a whole leg, but for a weeknight meal, I suggest steaks and the recipe is for that cut.  Cut appropriately and then place the meat in a Ziploc bag.
  • Garlic. Peel and mince a generous amount of garlic and place it into the bag.  If you are out of fresh garlic, you can sprinkle some garlic powder but fresh is better and more beneficial health wise.  We really like garlic so we used 4 large cloves for an 8 ounce piece of lamb.
  • Squeeze the juice of 1/2 to 1 whole lemon into the bag. For a 2 person serving I would use half and for a family of 4 I would use a whole large lemon.
  • Sprinkle with a pinch or two of salt.
  • Close the bag and massage the meat, spreading all the marinade ingredients evenly.
  • Simple leg of lamb dinner

2. Make the pesto right before you start cooking

  • This is so easy and delicious. You simply put the basil into the food processor, add the garlic and turn it on while slowly adding olive oil until you get the consistency you prefer.  You will want to add a pinch of sea salt.  This is the AIP recipe with no addition but if you have reintroduced other nuts or dairy successfully, you can add some for extra texture and depth of flavor.  I do mine plain and it is delicious.   Any leftovers can be diluted with additional olive oil and lemon juice to create a salad dressing that is good in the fridge for up to 3 days.

lamb with pesto sauce recipe paleo/aip

3.  Cook the lamb

  • If you are new to lamb, I HIGHLY suggest not cooking it past being pink in the middle. It is best rare to medium rare. My husband loves medium to medium well steaks but every time I cooked lamb this way for him he didn’t like the flavor.  He likes it only if it is pink  or more, even if I have to remind him.  So even if you think you want it to be medium or more, cook it to medium rare to medium (medium is still some pink left in the center) and try it that way first.   Remember- its easier to put it back on the stove then it is to “uncook” something that is too well done.  This may determine whether or not you like lamb or don’t like it.
  • To cook the lamb steaks you can simply put them in a pan (cast iron cooks these fabulously) with a coconut oil or palm shortening (the lamb doesn’t need a lot of additional fat) and cook to your desired temperature using your favorite method that you usually cook steaks.  We like to sear the steaks (about 2 minutes each side on medium high) and then shove them into a hot over (400 degrees) for about six minutes for rare, 8 for medium rare and 10 for medium.  Our steaks are about 1 -2 inches thick on average.  The thicker they are, the more time they will need but this will give you a ballpark idea ballpark of where to begin.
  • If cooking a roast, I suggest searing the roast on medium high in the same cast iron skillet and then placing into a preheated oven at 400 for the appropriate time.  Here is a good source for how long to cook a roast such as a leg of lamb or a prime rib.  You may want to use this method if cooking for guests or for a dinner party for a better presentation.

When your steaks are done, simply serve and drizzle with some pesto.  As you can see, I think it looks nice when they are cut and then the sauce poured onto the top.  It’s great with sautéed greens of any kind, zucchini, onions and mushrooms and the likes.

I hope you enjoy this recipe and if you like the content, be sure to sign up for my newsletter to receive more recipes, health articles, tips, recommendations and offers.  The sign up is at the top of the page.  I’d also love to hear from you so feel free to leave a comment or feedback below or shoot me an email with any thoughts, suggestions, questions or more. I love hearing from my readers!

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Are These Foods Causing You Pain?

One of the first things I suggest when someone is suffering from chronic illness is an elimination diet.  We do this for various reasons.  Certain foods are known for causing certain symptoms just as some are known for aiding in healing symptoms.  (Check out this video for natural solutions to pain)  I constantly see people who are dealing with chronic pain and these same people are trying to “eat healthy” but it is clear to me that they don’t know what that means for their body,  especially when every time they are in pain they just posted a picture of their food on Facebook.   It doesn’t take long for me to see that every time they are in pain, they have just posted a picture of a plate with the same food.  But they are not putting it together.  This is very common.   Some “healthy” foods may be great foods in general but if you are dealing with chronic pain or inflammation (and if you are in chronic pain then you have chronic inflammation on some level, whether systemic or local).

So what are the foods that may be causing pain?

  • Potatoes, Peppers, and Tomatoes.

Nightshades such as potatoes, peppers and tomatoes can cause inflammation and pain in some people.
Nightshades such as potatoes, peppers and tomatoes can cause inflammation and pain in some people.

These foods are part of what is called the “nightshade” family of foods.  Related to the infamous belladonna plant, these are notorious for causing pain associated with arthritic conditions. For a complete explanation of how these foods are connected to chronic pain and inflammation, click here.  Potaotes are especially problematic as they are also have a high glycemic index and a high glycemic load.  (see below for more information on this)

  • High glycemic foods like sugar, potatoes and grains (grains include foods like wheat and corn and rice).

refined foods cause inflammation
White flour, White sugar, White rice.= pain!

When something has a high glycemic index it is metabolized fast and effects the blood sugar quickly.  this number is calculated by how many carbs are in the food versus its fat and fiber content, which slow down the release of the glucose into the blood stream.  A potato is lower in fiber so it goes into the bloodstream quickly, as does sugar or flours.

The glycemic load is how much the food impacts the blood sugar after it gets into the blood stream.  For example.  A sweet potato and shredded wheat are only slightly different in how fast they go into the blood stream but vastly different in how much they spike the blood sugar when they get there.  This difference is why a sweet potato is metabolized differently than shredded wheat and why a sweet potato will not cause the inflammation that shredded wheat will cause.  ( Source 1, source 2)

  • Dairy

Avoiding dairy is the best way to find out if it is causing Inflammation.
Avoiding dairy is the best way to find out if it is causing Inflammation.

Dairy is notorious for causing inflammation for in the nuerological system.  But its effects don’t stop there.  Dairy has been tied to causing acne, mood disorders, and joint pain.   While the research both supports and diffuses the argument against dairy as a cause of basic inflammation, it has been linked to specific inflammatory conditions and this controversy may be supported by the theory of bio individuality.  For this reason, I suggest that the only way to know how your body reacts to any food that may or may not be causing inflammation is to remove it and observe the reaction.  Then upon reintroduction, you may observe again to see if there was a change nnot observed in step one (omission) .   This bio individuality is why omitting a food may be a “cure” for one person but create a deficiency in another.  (3 , 4 )

  • Legumes- including peanuts

Legumes may increase or decrease inflammation..
Legumes may increase or decrease inflammation..

Legumes are always touted as a healthy food.  And for some, they are healthy.  But for many people they cause inflammation (6).  One of the reasons for this is that traditionally, cultures have soaked and sprouted legumes to get rid of lectins.  Lectins are in all foods but there are ones that are harmful and ones that are not.  In legumes (and grains) there are a large amount of harmful ones, especially for those with autoimmune disease (5).  Depending on the individual, you nay need to avoid this group of foods or you may be able to consume them provided you return the traditional practice of soaking and sprouting. (6)  This would mean avoiding canned or frozen beans and instead buying fresh or dried beans that could then be soaked or sprouted to remove these lectins.  You would then cook these beans to further reduce these toxins before consuming.  I suggest omitting the food until you are pain free and then reintroducing then this way when you can observe how you respond to the food.

At the same time, beans can reduce inflammation in some people. (7)Confusing huh? For this reason, I suggest experimenting with how your body reacts to this food and soaking and sprouting the beans to get the benefits with the least amount of negatives.  I also suggesting reading the links provided, as they suggest that beans are good for inflammation in the joints but may be aggravating for those with gut issues.  This could be a decision to be made with a trusted healthcare advisor if you have a complex situation such as RA (gut issues and arthritic conditions) , as you would concerned about both issues.

  • Additional notes about the inflammatory properties of grains- and how to make it better.

Grains are notorious for causing inflammation
Grains are notorious for causing inflammation

Grains contain phytates and lectins.  These antinutrients steal minerals from your body by preventing absorption of the very minerals you may need to reduce inflammation.  Again, soaking and sprouting grains can reduce these but you will need to experiment or seek guidance to see if they are right for you.  Since they are low in nutrients to begin with compared to other whole foods, I am inclined to discourage their consumption generally speaking. (5,8)

  • Toxins coming from food- pesticides, antibiotics, hormones

The pesticides in GMO foods like corn, wheat and soy cause an inflammatory response when consumed
The pesticides in GMO foods like corn, wheat and soy cause an inflammatory response when consumed

Toxins come in many forms, including food intolerances and chemicals involved in producing foods.  A build up of toxins (when you have taken in more toxins than your body has been able to neutralize and dispel) can cause inflammation and pain.  For this reason, I suggest that everyone buy as much organic foods as possible.  If this is a stress on your finances, then I suggest taking a look at the EWG’s Clean Fifteen and Dirty Dozen, which lists the foods that contain the highest and lowest tested amounts of pesticide residue.  Starting with these two list, you can start with the dirtiest foods as the ones to definitely buy organic.  You can save on the clean list until if and when you are ready to take the plunge and embrace a fully organic foods diet.

GMO’s in particular, should especially be avoided as the pesticide has been engineered to be a part of the plant.  This can cause an inflammatory response in the body. (5 )

Hormones and hormone like substances can also cause inflammation in those who are sensitive to the effects of these on their own endocrine system.  Excess hormones or an inbalance of hormones can put a burden on our own detoxification pathways as our bodies are constantly cleaning out hormones and similar compounds as they are utilized by our body.

  • Food intolerances (much more common than you think).

Another form of toxins are food intolerances.  This may be to some of the foods listed here and I include allergies with intolerances in this group. (see difference here).  Certain foods may cause an inflammatory response in your body that are not on this list (but its a good place to start).  The best way to test for this is to get a food intolerance test and/or a food allergy test.  You will need to see a functional medicine doctor for these tests as they are new and I have found  allopathic or traditional doctors are often unaware of recent developments in this field of medicine, as it is not taught in medical school but in continued education such as fellowships or other additional learning opportunities.  Either one can cause an inflammatory response from the immune system, just in different ways.  If the food that irritates your body is eaten occasionally, it may cause a “flare” while if it is a constant food source (such as wheat, corn or soy on a standard American diet) it could be causing constant pain or inflammation.

The good news is that if the food is an intolerance, omitting the food while you follow a gut healing protocol can often reverse the intolerance.  Some of these foods are responsible for causing what is called “leaky gut” which can be a cause of food intolerances (a gluten intolerance, as opposed to a gluten allergy or celiac disease for example) as well as a cause for both leaky gut and the intolerance itself.  So depending on the intolerance, you may be able to enjoy the food again regularly or it may be suggested to be only an occasional food after healing.

If this information is overwhelming or intimidating to you, don’t fret.

Let me simplify this for you.

  • Eat organic or pastured meats from trusted sources/farms.

Eating from local farms is a great way to know what you are eating.  Getting to know your butcher from local markets is a great way to ensure that you can ask questions from someone who knows where their product comes from and they will often be able to contact the farmer to ask any questions to which they don’t already know the answers.  Things you may want to ask are: Do you feed the animals antibiotics, hormones or pesticides?  You are hoping the answer is that no unneccesary use of any of antibiotics or hormones are used and that no pesticides are used in the feed.  Ideal is that the “feed” is grass (for cows) or plants and bugs (for chickens) with maybe some supplemental pesticide free feed when needed.  Fish should be wild caught and pork pastured from a clean field and free of feed where pesticides are used.

  • Eat the best quality of fruits and vegetables you can afford- and LOTs of them- except for the ones listed above.

If you can afford all organic, then do that.  If you cannot, at least “splurge” on organic for greens (readily available), tomatoes, peppers and anything where the skin will be consumed.  Use the EWG’s Clean Fifteen and Dirty Dozen as a guide for when to splurge and when to save on organic.  Look for sales, grow your own or barter for pesticide free brands.  Some conventional brands are pesticide free but you don’t know unless you ask the farmer.  This may mean something as simple as making a phone call asking a question on their Facebook page.  So ask questions. ( Especially if you see the PLU code begins in a “9” but they are not officially organic!)

Try avoiding the foods that may cause pain until you see an improvement in how you feel.  Then, one at a time reintroduce a food and see how you feel as you eat it.  You may tolerate it fine, you may experience a flare.  A flare can show up quickly or it may show up only after the food is eaten in excess or after a few days, depending on the person and how fast their body reacts to that food at that time.  Keep the foods that do no harm and avoid the foods that hurt.  Even if you choose to eat the foods that cause you pain, at least you are making an informed decision, choosing the bagel at the cost of a flare.  This will help you gain control over your health.

The Perfect anti-inflammatory plate
The Perfect Anti-inflammatory plate

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