Green Smoothie for Energy and Brain Support

Energizing and Brain Supportive Green Smoothie

This Smoothie recipe is shared by Sarah S, a Cross Fit Coach and Elementary School Teacher.  I like this smoothie recipe for several reasons (see below).

Smoothies are a great way to start the day to boost your nutrients and they are quick and simple (and not just for breakfast!)

This Recipe is gluten, soy and dairy free with a nut free option

Ingredients

  • 1 c. of unsweetened almond milk
  • ½ c. filtered water
  • ½ avocado
  • 1 T. homemade walnut butter or nut butter of choice (see note below)
  • 1 scoop Bulletproof Collagen Protein Powder, chocolate flavor. Get one type here and here
  • 1 tsp. Four Stigmatic Matcha and Lions Mane Powder. Get it here
  • 2 c. organic raw spinach

Directions

  1. Place all ingredients in the blender and blend until smooth and serve.
  2. Makes two servings

Tip: If you don’t have time in the morning to put a smoothie together, put everything into the blender right before bed. Place in fridge. Put the base on the counter with your smoothie cup.  In the morning turn it on, go and do something for a minute, come back and there you have it.  Let the blender soak in water in the sink while you head out the door. When you get home, just rinse it out and make a fresh smoothie for the next day. 

For Homemade Walnut Butter: Soak walnuts for 2 hours, then roast in the oven for 30 minutes at 350 degrees F. Puree in food processor or blender with an added a pinch of cinnamon and coconut oil and puree until smooth. 

Quicker Option: There are many health stores that now carry freshly ground nut butters.  Look at the container for the date they processed it and try to find one ideally on the day of or day before your purchase for freshness. Store in fridge

Allergies: Sunflower seed butter makes a great alternate option if you cannot eat tree nuts. 

Almond Milk: You can make your own too.  Many boxed milk alternatives have added ingredients.  But they are super convenient.

If you want to make your own almond milk: Soak raw almonds overnight in filtered water.  Drain the water and rinse the almonds.  Combine almonds and fresh filtered water in a blender.  Blend at high speed for 2 minutes.  Line a strainer with cheese cloth (or like I do, buy paint strainer bags and use as nut milk bags), and after the milk has been poured through, twist the bag and squeeze out as much as possible.  Add a little honey or monk fruit to sweeten if need be. 

The longer you soak the almonds, say even for 2 days, the creamier the milk will be.  Almond milk only lasts about 2 days in the fridge so only make as much as you will need.  Use a ratio of 1 cup almonds to 2 cups of water.  

Collagen Protein Powder Benefits: Collagen protein powder is good for your joints, bones, skin, hair and nails. 

Matcha Benefits: Matcha is the young green tea leaves that have been steamed, dried, and ground into a fine powder. One cup of Matchan green tea can have the antioxidant benefit for 10 cups of regular tea.  It is not only antioxidant rich, but also boosts metabolism, can aid with anxiety, and can enhance mood and concentration. 

Lions Mane Mushroom Benefits: Lions Mane is considered a medicinal mushroom and for good reason.  It is knowns as being supportive for brain function and improving mental health and overall feelings of well-being. It also, it antioxidant rich and can reduce systemic inflammation. 

The Four Sigmatic Matcha Lions Mane powder (this brand has become of my new favorite product lines) also contains ginger and Astragalus.  Ginger has many benefits, everything from helping digestive issues to easing pain and inflammation to sea sickness and fungal infections. Astragalus is a powerful plant for its immune boosting properties.  It also has anti-inflammatory properties and can be used as a cold and flu remedy.  I also like from Four Sigmatic this one that my son drinks and this one I add to my tea and to foods  

Collagen Walnut Green Smoothie
Serves 2
This green smoothie has matcha for an antioxidant energizing lift, lions mane mushrooms for immune, mental health and brain support and collagen for bone, joint, hair, nails and skin support. The walnut butter provides healthy fats and additional protein.
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366 calories
26 g
6 g
25 g
12 g
7 g
348 g
80 g
13 g
0 g
16 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
348g
Servings
2
Amount Per Serving
Calories 366
Calories from Fat 208
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 25g
39%
Saturated Fat 7g
33%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 3g
Monounsaturated Fat 13g
Cholesterol 6mg
2%
Sodium 80mg
3%
Total Carbohydrates 26g
9%
Dietary Fiber 9g
35%
Sugars 13g
Protein 12g
Vitamin A
69%
Vitamin C
40%
Calcium
46%
Iron
21%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. • 1 c. of unsweetened almond milk
  2. • ½ c. filtered water
  3. • ½ avocado
  4. • 1 T. homemade walnut butter or nut butter of choice (see note below)
  5. • 1 scoop Bulletproof Collagen Protein Powder, chocolate flavor.
  6. • 1 tsp. Four Sigmatic Matcha and Lions Mane Powder.
  7. • 2 c. organic raw spinach
Instructions
  1. 1. Place all ingredients in the blender and blend until smooth and serve.
  2. 2. Makes two servings
Notes
  1. Tip: If you don’t have time in the morning to put a smoothie together, put everything into the blender right before bed. Place in fridge. Put the base on the counter with your smoothie cup. In the morning turn it on, go and do something for a minute, come back and there you have it. Let the blender soak in water in the sink while you head out the door. When you get home, just rinse it out and make a fresh smoothie for the next day.
  2. For Homemade Walnut Butter: Soak walnuts for 2 hours, then roast in the oven for 30 minutes at 350 degrees F. Puree in food processor or blender with an added a pinch of cinnamon and coconut oil and puree until smooth.
  3. Quicker Option: There are many health stores that now carry freshly ground nut butters. Look at the container for the date they processed it and try to find one ideally on the day of or day before your purchase for freshness. Store in fridge
  4. Allergies: Sunflower seed butter makes a great alternate option if you cannot eat tree nuts.
  5. Almond Milk: You can make your own too. Many boxed milk alternatives have added ingredients. But they are super convenient.
  6. If you want to make your own almond milk: Soak raw almonds overnight in filtered water. Drain the water and rinse the almonds. Combine almonds and fresh filtered water in a blender. Blend at high speed for 2 minutes. Line a strainer with cheese cloth (or like I do, buy paint strainer bags and use as nut milk bags), and after the milk has been poured through, twist the bag and squeeze out as much as possible. Add a little honey or monk fruit to sweeten
beta
calories
366
fat
25g
protein
12g
carbs
26g
more
TruFoods Nutrition http://trufoodsnutrition.com/
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Magnesium: Why You Need To Take This and Best Forms To Take

Magnesium:

Here is Why You Need To Be Supplementing With This Mineral

 

Magnesium is known as the calming mineral.  I wish I knew this when I was younger.  I had such a poor diet, was on many medications and had anxiety.  Looking back now, I realize that adding magnesium rich foods and a magnesium supplement would have helped me a great deal.  Looking back, I know I was deficient in magnesium.  

Are you lacking in the master mineral that is involved in over 300 enzymatic processes in the body?  It is found mainly in your brain, muscles and bones.   This is why an Epsom salt bath  is so good for sore muscles and after a strenuous workout.  

Up to half of the American population is deficient in magnesium and they don’t know it.  In fact, new research published in the BMC Bioinformatics indicates that magnesium plays a much larger role in our health than we previously thought.  Every cell in the body requires magnesium! 

And most people are not aware that magnesium is critical for proper brain function.  

Magnesium deficiency accounts for a long list of symptoms and diseases which are often easily helped by adding in this valuable nutrient.  In fact, it can be very beneficial for those with ADD/ADHD, anxiety, autism and insomnia.  Think of magnesium as the mineral that relaxes your body and mind. 

What Depletes Magnesium

The odds are that you are depleted. Take a look at this list. 

I know for me, in the past, sugar, antibiotics, calcium supplements, my diet, all the diet soda I drank, sweating from exercise and above all, the stress in my life, was definitely taking a hit to my magnesium levels.  Oh and I had (still get from time to time) restless leg, which is often (not always) attributed to low magnesium levels.  

Magnesium is not one that can be easily tested via blood work. Only 1% of the body’s magnesium is stored in the blood. This is why I like Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis for looking at mineral levels such as magnesium or using tests such as Spectra cell Test which looks at mineral levels in the white blood cells.  

If you are like me, you probably have more than one on the list that is impacting your magnesium levels.  

·        Stress, on-going, chronic, 

·         sweating

·         Alcohol intake

·        Sugar intake

·        excess phosphorus (from soda)

·         antibiotics

·        coffee

·        too much calcium intake, mostly from an “only calcium” supplement

·        diuretics

·        birth control pills

·        proton pump inhibitor medications

·         old age

·        processed grains

·        excessive D2

·        the Standard American Diet and

·        soil depletion

Signs and Symptoms that May Indicate You Need More Magnesium

 

You have

·        depression

·         feel irritable often, tantrums in children 

·         ADHD, confusion 

·        autism

·        insomnia, difficulty falling to sleep (difficulty staying asleep is usually something different)

·        have restless leg or muscle twitching or twitches, muscle soreness, muscle tension, fibromyalgia

·        PMS, cramping, PMS cravings for chocolate

·        heart palpitations, heart disease, arrhythmia, or mitral valve prolapse or hypertension

·        have migraines/headaches frequently

·         acid reflux, GERD

·        sensitive to loud noises

·        fatigue, lethargy

·         asthma

·        constipation

·         excess stress

·        poor diet

·        kidney stones

·        diabetes/insulin resistance

 

Those Who Are at Greatest Risk of Magnesium Deficiency Include:

 

 

  • Crohn’s disease
  • Celiac disease
  • Other gastrointestinal Disorders
  • Alcoholics
  • Elderly
  • Medications That Can Deplete Magnesium

  • This is not an exhaustive list.  Check the medication that you are taking to see if it impairs your magnesium levels. 
    • Acid blockers such as Tagamet, Pepcid and Zantac to name a few
    • Antacids such as Mylanta, Tums, Milk of Magnesia and Alka-Seltzer
    • Antibiotics such as the Z-pak, Ceclor, Cipro, Septra and many others
    • Antiviral Agents such as Epivir and Rescriptor
    • Blood pressure drugs
    • Ace Inhibitors
    • Diuretics (loop, Thiazide diuretics, potassium sparing diuretics, sulfonamide diuretics)
    • Central Nervous System Stimulants such as Ritalin
    • Cholesterol Agents
    • Corticosteroids including inhaled corticosteroids
    • Hormone replacement therapy including oral contraceptives
    • Immunosuppressant
    • Anastrozole (used for breast cancer)
    • Raloxifene used for osteoporosis

Magnesium Rich Foods

  • Think green!  Magnesium is the central atom in chlorophyll molecule
  • Nuts, seeds
  • whole grains
  • Beans and legumes
  • Avocado
  • Dark chocolate
  • Banana
  • Leafy greens such as spinach
  • Sea veggies/algae
  • Broccoli
  • Baked potato with skin on
  • Pink salt

Magnesium Supplementation

When looking for a magnesium supplement, be sure to read the back label. 

  • Whole food supplementation is best (i.e.: food based supplements/multi vitamin/minerals)  Innate Response is a reputable Whole Foods Brand
  • Magnesium can be taken in pill or powder form or transdermal 
  • Chelated forms are best (i.e.: forms of magnesium that end in “ate”)

Citrate is a better form if constipation is an issue

  • This is best for those who are not moving their bowels on a more than once daily basis.  Start low with the dose.  Mag Calm is a great brand for Magnesium Citrate.

Another form that end in “ate” is  Magnesium Glycinate which will not have much effect on stools

Magnesium oxide is not well absorbed and acts more as a laxative so it could be beneficial to use short term for bowels but this is not the form you want for daily long term use.  

Magnesium chloride best form to use for those with kidney disease. 

Magnesium l threonate can raise magnesium levels in the brain.  This is my preferred form to supplement with if you need more cognitive support, have ADHD, anxiety or depression since it is able to cross the blood brain barrier.  

  • Take magnesium with B6 as they work together.
  • Take an Epson salt bath to relax you, for stress, for sore muscles, muscle spasms. Use 1-2 cups of the salt in the bath water. When you soak in an Epson salt bath, your body will absorb the amount of magnesium that you need.  

Magnesium Orotate is known to be good for heart health.  It has also been shown to be good for endurance athletes, improving stamina.  

My favorite for overall health: Transdermal magnesium lotions and sprays for magnesium absorption via skin

o   This is my favorite way to get magnesium. My preferred brand is Ease by www.activationproducts.com  and I have this in my office for clients and you can also order direct from the company. Other sprays typically will sting when you spray them on and this can be due to  poor quality. 

o   I like transdermal also because it does not need to be digested and is great if you have digestion/assimilation/absorption issues.  (you may not even know that you do!)  It is easier to use with children since they don’t have to take a drink or swallow a pill and most don’t mind you spraying it on them.  

o   Topically can be fast acting. It can be great for PMS, cramping, restless leg and muscle spasms. Spray on the area that is giving you the pain. 

Hint: Crave chocolate around your period?  Chocolate has magnesium and your body may be trying to tell you something!

How Much Magnesium Do You Need

The RDA for magnesium is 310 to 420 mg. per day and this amount can vary depending on your age and sex.  Many experts in the health field believe that the daily amount should be closer to 600 to 900 mg. per day.  Dr. Mercola states that magnesium intake should be closer to 1 to 2 grams per day.  He feels that this higher dose is warranted due to our EMF exposure and that the increased amount of magnesium should help to lower the damage that we get daily from EMF’s.

I am more in line with Dr. Mercola and not with the RDA guidelines. If you have ever heard me speak, I mention that the RDA for vitamin C is to prevent scurvy.  (the Vitamin C RDA is 75-90 mg. which in my opinion is too low).  Thus, my assumption is that the RDA for magnesium is also too low. RDA guidelines are there to provide you the amounts needed to prevent disease.

 These are not recommendations for optimal health! This is very important!

 

Bottom Line: Decide which form is best for you and your situation.  If you need more help deciding which type you should get or which brand or if you want testing done, give me a call.  In the end, we all need magnesium, even if you have the healthiest diet.  This is because of mono crops, lack of rotation of crops and depleting the soil of magnesium.  

 

Sources

Anderson, R. Awang, D. et. al. (2000) Professional Guide to Conditions, Herbs, and Supplements.

   MA: Integrative Medicine Communications

Bauman, E. & Friedlander, J. (2014) Foundations in Nutrition.  CA: Bauman College

Gaby, A. (2006) A-Z Guide to Drug-Herb-Vitamin Interactions. NY: Three Rivers Press

Haas, E. (2006) Staying Health with Nutrition. The Complete guide to Diet And Nutritional Medicine.

   CA: Celestial Arts

https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/2018/01/29/how-magnesium-benefits-your-body.aspx

https://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/what-is-magnesium-orotate/

http://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/magnesiums-importance-far-greater-than-previously-imagined

http://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/magnesium-deficiency-symptoms-and-diagnosis

 

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Detox Workshop

Detox Workshop

Detox Workshop Coming Soon!

For those in the Colorado Front Range Area

WHY SHOULD YOU ATTEND THIS DETOX WORKSHOP: There are so many programs and products out there, that it gets confusing to know what it right and what is not. I’m sure you have invested a lot of time and money in various programs, diets and supplements hoping that this time it will work.

In 2 hours I am going to talk to you about what does not work, what others have been doing wrong and why they don’t work and may even have made your situation worse.

We will discuss the step by step plan to get your body working the way it was meant to. We are going to talk about digging deep to the cellular level which other programs typically don’t address. 

Even in detox you need to get to the root of the problem. A juice fast just isn’t going to cut it. Sure, you may lose some weight and have more energy…for a short period of time. Find out how to detox to recharge your cells! 

Bring your pens and a pad of paper to take notes!  I will provide snacks, beverages, show you what products, herbs and foods are best, and we will sample some. All information from the program will be emailed to those who attend after the workshop so that you won’t miss a thing!

 

WHO THIS IS FOR: If you are feeling fatigued, sluggish, just trying to get through your day, using coffee to function, can’t lose weight, have skin issues, feel blah, have bloating and gas or bowel concerns, feel stressed, overwhelmed, exhausted, anxious or depressed or have tried detoxes/cleanses in the past with little to no results then you should attend. 

 

WHEN: January 27th, Saturday 2:00-4:00 pm.

 

WHERE: Tru Foods location in Castle Rock, CO

 

What you will learn: You will learn what works, what doesn’t, what to stop wasting money on, why you haven’t been digging deep enough, what I do at the beginning of each new year, and much more. 

 

PRICE: $22 per person. Invite a friend and both will receive $5 off!

 

HOW TO REGISTER: email at trufoodsnutrition@yahoo.com, call or text to 303-522-0381 to let me know you will be attending.   I will provide the Castle Rock address and send you the invoice. Payment must be received prior to the workshop.

 

CANCELATION/WEATHER: If the weather is bad, it will be rescheduled for Feb 17th.  If less than 10 people sign up, I will need to cancel the workshop and will refund your money.  If you are unable to attend, you can use the payment towards consults, cooking workshop, pantry makeover or a shopping outing.

 

SPACE IS LIMITED!

 

If you are sick and tired of feeling sick, tired, fatigued, depressed, anxious and more and have given up hope then Karen’s simple, effective, individualized and sustainable approach may be what you need. 

Karen Brennan, MSW, CNC, Board Certified in Holistic Nutrition and Herbalist is the author of Tru Foods Depression Free Nutrition Guide; How Food Supplements and herbs can be used to lift your mood and If Life is So Good, Then Why AM I Still Depressed? Discover the root cause for your depression and learn what to do to feel better and owner of Tru Foods Nutrition Services, LLC. 

For more information visit  www.trufoodsnutrition.com

Want more information, like her fb page here

As a nutrition professional, Karen does not treat, cure nor diagnose. This information is for educational purposes only.

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Should You Go “Gluten Free” If You Feel Fine

Should you go Gluten Free or Is It a Fad?

I have read many articles stating why we need to eat whole grains and then these articles go on to say we need to be eating wheat unless you are celiac or have a gluten sensitivity. They state that we miss out on vital nutrients if we don’t eat wheat and other gluten containing grains such as rye, barley and spelt.  

These articles are misleading and don’t do you any favors.

Should you go gluten free if you do not have celiac disease or a gluten sensitivity?  Read on and I will let you decide the answer to that question. 

Gluten, Wheat, Your Body

Nutrient Deficient and Processed

When articles supporting gluten and wheat talk about why you should consume it, they always say “Whole grains”. This is important.  Yes, whole grains contain important nutrients such as iron, B-6, folate, and magnesium. 

Who reading this eats wheat as a whole grain, that you can actually see?  Didn’t think so? 

No, you eat wheat and other gluten containing products in a highly refined and processed form. When you consume it in this form, such as in your bread, bagels, pizza and pasta, you are consuming the starchy part of the grain. The nutrient dense portion along with the protein and the fiber have been removed. 

What you are left with is a nutrient deficient starchy product that raises your blood sugar rapidly since now it does not have the fiber, nutrients and protein to slow down the process when it enters the blood stream. 

But wait, the package mentions all these vitamins!  Read the label closely. It will say “enriched with” or “fortified with”. To be clear, enrichment means that nutrients that have been lost in processing have been added back in.  Fortified means added nutrients that the food never contained in the first place. 

Why would they need to add these nutrients into the product if it is such a healthy product to begin with?  They add it back in(enrichment) because the product is so refined that is has been stripped of all its original nutrients.  And do you think they are adding nutrients back in, in a high quality and absorbable form?  No, they add back synthetic forms of these nutrients. For instance, they may add back in folic acid. This is the synthetic form of folate and not as absorbable. 

The argument that you need whole grains to reap the benefit of vital nutrients is false.  Instead, eliminate these processed, packaged foods from the diet (even GF options) and instead add in more whole foods. 

Whole grains are not the only source of B-6, magnesium, iron and folate to name a few.  You can get these mineral and vitamins from other, much healthier sources, such as fruits, vegetables, leafy greens, beans, legumes, quinoa, teff, steel cut oats, nuts and seeds and grass fed, organic or wild caught meats, poultry and fish. 

Nutrients found in its whole food form is the way mother nature intended us to absorb and utilize our nutrients.  For instance, in an apple you have vitamins, minerals, macronutrients, fiber and phytonutrients in this perfect form. You don’t get that from a processed and packaged product. 

 Trust me, your diet is not going to be deficient if you skip the bagels, donuts, crackers, pasta and bread! In fact, your body is going to thank you once that blood sugar stabilizes, and you replace the nutrient deficient, highly empty caloric foods with healthier options. 

Chemicals/Heavily Sprayed Crop

Wheat is not a GMO crop. Many people will state that wheat is a GMO crop, and this is not true. However, wheat, along with barley, oats and edible beans, is a heavily sprayed crop right before harvest.  Many of you avoid GMO foods because they are heavily sprayed, wheat does fall into this category. 

What you don’t see can still hurt you.  The glyphosate that is spayed on the wheat crop is now classified as a probable carcinogen according to the World Health Organization.  California also classifies glyphosate as a probable carcinogen. 

If that is not reason enough to avoid wheat, then also know that research is showing that glyphosate can act as an endocrine disruptor and it can kill gut bacteria and lead to leaky gut syndrome. 

While the glyphosate residue in your bread may be small, think of the toxic load on your body over time when you consume wheat daily for years and years.  Add on top of that all the other ways that you are exposed to toxins daily. Your body and your liver may have a difficult time keeping up to remove these toxins from your body.  You are going to read elsewhere that the amount of glyphosate residue in your food is safe, but they never look at this in addition to the other toxins you are exposed to such as from water, soil, air and other foods.  Studies only look at the burden of one product, one chemical.

Chlorpyrifos is a organophosphate insecticide that can disrupt brain development and cause brain damage, reduced IQ, neurological issues and aggressiveness in children. This chemical is used in crops such as wheat and corn and non-organic fruits and vegetables.  

For this reason, I think everyone should at the very least, reduce the amount of gluten containing foods they consume to reduce this toxin overload.   Not every farm sprays wheat and barley right before harvest. If you order flour from a direct source, ask them.

 

Blood Sugar Disruptor

Gluten containing products can cause your blood sugar to soar and then crash.  Gluten Free foods can be just as bad for your blood sugar as they are also made from refined carbohydrates.  To support a balanced blood sugar, minimize or greatly reduce the amount of processed and refined products that you eat.  When you eat foods or meals that are high in simple and refined carbs with little to none protein or healthy fats in the mix, then your blood sugar can surge from these carbs that convert to sugar once they enter the bloodstream.  Eat carbs in the form of whole beans and legumes, vegetables and fruit. 

Wheat contains amylopectin A, a complex carb.  Having two slices of bread can increase your blood sugar higher than it would if you ingested 6 tablespoons of sugar.  At the very least, take off the top of bottom to your sandwich or have one half a bagel rather than a whole one. 

 

Addictive and Increases Your Appetite

Yes, gluten containing products (mostly from wheat) are highly addictive!  It is right up there with processed sugar. Every time you consume gluten containing foods such as a bagel it lights up your dopamine receptor just like sugar and cocaine does. When you come down from your processed grain rush, guess what, yup, just like cocaine or sugar, you want more to get that dopamine rush again.

Obviously, you don’t get the same high as you see in a heroin or cocaine addict. The addiction is instead that it makes you hungry and hungry for more wheat, starchy refined gluten containing foods. This is due to a protein in wheat called gliadin (an opioid). It was altered back in the 1970’s to increase yield.  This shift in amino acids produced not only high yield but also a food that can increase your appetite!

If you” have to have” white flour products on a regular daily basis, consider the fact that you may be addicted to these foods. 

Are There Health Reasons Other for Avoiding Gluten?

Just because you do not have stomach issues, does not mean you do not have a reaction to gluten. Look at the list below to see some more common conditions that can be caused or exacerbated by gluten. 

Testing is available for gluten sensitivity. But doing a trial elimination of gluten for 30 days can help to see if any of your health issues improve. 

Going Gluten Free may help with the following conditions

  • Autism
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • ADHD
  • Skin Issues
  • Autoimmune conditions
  • IBS
  • Migraines/headaches
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Joint Pain/arthritis
  • Fatigue

 

What To Do If You Don’t Want To Give Up Gluten.  The 80/20 Rule

It is not easy to give up entirely for most people as gluten is in everything now.  If you are traveling, out to eat or at someone else’s house, it can be difficult to avoid it.  Therefore the 80/20 rule works best.

For instance, Monday through Friday you avoid gluten and on Saturday night you have pizza and on Sunday night you have pasta, or you only have one piece of toast at breakfast and no gluten the rest of the day. 

Once you stick with the 80/20 rule long enough, you will start to notice that when you avoid the refined processed foods you don’t feel as bloated or you notice you have more energy.  For many, you just “feel better” but can’t really pinpoint why.  Being prepared always helps. Keep gluten free snacks,such as nuts and seeds and whole foods protein bars in the car, in your purse, in your desk at work.  Travel with your own snacks such as protein bar options and bags of nuts and seeds.  When ordering your sandwich or burger, ask for a lettuce wrap. 

Don’t Replace with Gluten Free Products

When you take out the gluten containing processed foods, replace them with whole foods that will fill you up, give you energy and balance your blood sugar. These foods include more protein and fats and whole food carbs. 

Do not replace your gluten containing bread, pasta, bagels and cookies with gluten free options.  Yes, there are many gluten free options out there and they can be useful for on occasion but don’t make these a daily habit. These products contain a high amount of sugar and non- gluten starches, so they will raise your blood sugar just as much and leave you to crave more.  Reserve these for treats as part of your 80/20 rule. 

Bottom Line

If you consume wheat based refined products or even gluten free processed products such as cookies, donuts, bread, pasta and pastries, you are not eating them for their health benefits but for pure pleasure or because you are addicted. 

There is nothing wrong with that, but minimize this to 20% of your diet.  If you are not able to reduce the amount because it is so addictive for you, then you may need to remove processed gluten products long term until you break the vicious cycle. 

If you want to consume whole grains, then do so. This means the grain you can see such as in rice, quinoa, millet and teff.

Going off the gluten is not easy since it can be so addictive.  Seek the help of a holistic nutrition professional who can guide you and who knows some tricks in how to reduce cravings and the “flu like” symptoms when you remove it. 

 

Sources

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3257612/

https://www.ecowatch.com/why-is-glyphosate-sprayed-on-crops-right-before-harvest-1882187755.html

http://www.nature.com/doifinder/10.1038/nature.2015.17181

https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2017/11/21/chlorpyrifos-found-in-newborns.aspx

 

 

If you are sick and tired of feeling sick, tired, fatigued, depressed, anxious and more and have given up hope then Karen’s simple, effective, individualized and sustainable approach may be what you need. 

Karen Brennan, MSW, CNC, Board Certified in Holistic Nutrition and Herbalist is the author of Tru Foods Depression Free Nutrition Guide; How Food Supplements and herbs can be used to lift your mood and If Life is So Good, Then Why AM I Still Depressed? Discover the root cause for your depression and learn what to do to feel better and owner of Tru Foods Nutrition Services, LLC. 

For more information visit  www.trufoodsnutrition.com

Want more information, like her fb page here

As a nutrition professional, Karen does not treat, cure nor diagnose. This information is for educational purposes only.

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Medication Tapering What you Need to Do First

Tapering off Your Medications

What you Need to Do First

pills

Many people are anxious to get off their cocktail of medications as they end up not liking the side effects and/or they don’t like the way the medications make them feel.  I have heard numerous times “I tried to come off my meds and I felt worse.  I guess I just need them.” 

As a nutrition professional, I cannot tell you to go on or off medications since I do not diagnose, treat or cure. But that does not mean I cannot help you with your goal to go off or reduce your medications. 

Here is What You Need to Know Before You Taper Off Any Medication

basket of veggies

 You need to address root health causes first, not after you go off your medications. If you attempt to taper and still don’t know why you have the mental health symptoms that you do, then once you go off your meds you are left with not only the same feelings you had prior and the same unaddressed root causes, but may also now have nutrition deficiencies (some meds can cause nutrient depletion of certain vitamins or minerals) that can exacerbate your condition.

 

You need to support your body with a healthy diet (one that is best for you) first. This does not mean change your diet one week and then attempt to taper off medications the next week.  This does not mean to follow a generalized diet in some book.  Depending on your health issues and how long you have had them, you may need to restore balance to your body and be on a whole food, supportive diet for 6 months to a year before you should consider the taper process.  Your diet (and supplement) plan should be individualized based on your needs. 

 

You need to taper very, very slowly. By this I mean, you may need to use a razor blade to shave off portions of your medication instead of cutting it, so that you do the process gradually and slowly under the guidance of your prescribing doctor.  Yes, it does mean the taper process will take longer, but your odds of remaining off the medication instead of going back on will be greater.

 

When you are ready to taper under your doctor’s supervision, let your nutritional professional know ahead of time-she can create a supportive protocol for you during the taper process to help ease into the transition.

Why Changing the Diet First Is So Important in the Taper Process

Look at the chart below to see what the Standard American Diet is doing to your moods and what effect it has on your neurotransmitters.

fast food burger

Food/Substance

What it Does
Skipping meals Lowers serotonin
Refined carbs Lowers serotonin and dopamine
Low protein diet Lowers all amino acids neurotransmitters (NT’s)
Low B complex status Lowers most NT’s
Low EFA status Lowers serotonin
Stimulant use Lowers serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine
Alcohol, metals, other toxins Lowers most NT’s
Artificial sweeteners Blocks production of serotonin
Glyphosate (Roundup sprayed on plants you eat) Disrupts gut microbiome (thus will affect serotonin production since over 80% made in gut)
Cigarettes

The paper contains cadmium which damages the brain, also raises free radical status in body which is significant risk factor for dementia

 

Medications and Nutrient Depletion

pills in hand

Do your homework on the medications that you are taking. If the drug depletes certain nutrients make sure you are getting it from food and/or supplementation. Don’t forget to include the other medications that you are on such as antibiotics, acid blockers or cholesterol lowering drugs as all of these can effect nutrient status as well. 

For instance

Lithium (used to treat Bi-polar): Depletes folate and inositol

Prozac, and some other antidepressants such as Paxil and Zoloft (used to treat depression and anxiety): Depletes magnesium, CoQ10, B vitamins and melatonin. (These drugs may not deplete B vitamins but B’s are needed to make serotonin and dopamine and thus you should make sure you are getting adequate amounts)

Benzodiazepines (used for anxiety): Deplete melatonin, B12, Folate,

Antipsychotics: Some can deplete CoQ10, melatonin, B2, B6, B12, Folate,

Bottom Line: Work with a holistic nutrition professional to get to your root causes, address them, support your body and get it to a “good” place for you. Then have the taper discussing with your doctor.  Be patient.  Depending on how long you have been suffering, how long you have been on medications and how many you are on, this process can take months to years.  Be kind to yourself, give your body the time it needs to get through this process. 

 

 

Sources

Bauman, E. & Friedlander, J. (2014) Foundations in Nutrition.  CA: Bauman College

Bauman, E & Friedlander, J (2014) Therapeutic Nutrition.  CA: Bauman College

Gaby, A.(2006) A-Z Guide to Drug-Herb-Vitamin Interactions. NY: Three Rivers Press

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9155210

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10896698

 

If you are sick and tired of feeling sick, tired, fatigued, depressed, anxious and more and have given up hope then Karen’s simple, effective, individualized and sustainable approach may be what you need. 

Karen Brennan, MSW, CNC, Board Certified in Holistic Nutrition and Herbalist is the author of Tru Foods Depression Free Nutrition Guide; How Food Supplements and herbs can be used to lift your mood and If Life is So Good, Then Why AM I Still Depressed? Discover the root cause for your depression and learn what to do to feel better and owner of Tru Foods Nutrition Services, LLC. 

For more information visit  www.trufoodsnutrition.com

Want more information, like her fb page here

As a nutrition professional, Karen does not treat, cure nor diagnose. This information is for educational purposes only.

 

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Zinc Deficiency Signs and Symptoms and What to Take

Zinc deficiency and its Role in Mental Health

steak-1445122_640-1

By now you are familiar with a deficiency in B12 here, Vitamin D here  or  low magnesium and how it can have an impact on mood and behavior such as its role in depression, anxiety and ADHD.  But you may not realize that over 2 people billion worldwide are deficient in zinc and this mineral deficiency also plays a role in your mental health. 

It has been shown that a zinc deficiency leads to changes in the hippocampus and the prefrontal cortex of the brain.  A zinc deficiency also leads to excessive amounts of glutamate activity in the brain.  This leads to brain inflammation and excessive free radicals and oxidative stress. 

View the symptoms below to see if this sounds like you. With a zinc deficiency, you may not only exhibit anxiety or depression but there are other tell-tale signs such as lack of taste or a skin issue.  

Zinc Deficiency Symptoms

woman-with-acne

I did not go into detail on each of the symptoms but I did address some of the mental health issues associated with a zinc deficiency in more detail. 

  • Weak immune system: When you first come down with a cold, take zinc acetate lozenges to reduce the duration of the illness. I like and use Enhanced Zinc lozenges by Life Extension.
  • Acne/adult acne: Zinc has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Research has shown that those with acne have lower zinc levels. 
  • Eczema, psoriasis: Rats and mice deficient in zinc develop a skin condition that is similar to psoriasis.
  • Hypothyroidism: Zinc is a cofactor mineral needed for thyroid hormone function. With decreased zinc levels, the thyroid can become underactive.  It also plays a role in converting T4 to T3 and is needed to bind active thyroid hormone to DNA cells. 
  • Depression: While it is known that B vitamins can make an impact for those with depression, it is not as well known that a zinc deficiency can also affect one’s mental health. A study found that rats fed a zinc restricted diet had depression, poor motivation and withdrew from social behavior. Zinc is also involved in the pathway for the body’s production of neurotransmitters.  Zinc is also necessary for B6 to be converted into its active form which in turn plays a role in the conversion of tryptophan to serotonin.   
  • Loss of appetite
  • Loss of taste/impaired sense of taste: This along with the decrease in appetite can often be the first clue that brain inflammation related to a zinc deficiency is present.
  • ADHD: Zinc assists with the production and regulation of melatonin. Melatonin is an important factor in the pathophysiology of ADHD due to its modulation of dopamine. There have been numerous studies looking at zinc levels and the relationship to ADHD.  These studies have shown that those with ADHD have significantly lower zinc levels.  Four studies have shown positive results for zinc in the treatment of ADHD. 
  • Aggression issues
  • Brittle nails, white spots on nails
  • Body odor
  • Hair loss
  • Fatigue
  • Slow wound healing
  • Sensitive to strong smells/strong odors
  • Anxiety: too much copper and too little zinc
  • Adrenal fatigue: uses up a lot of zinc
  • Psychiatric disorders in the elderly (65 and older) such as dementia, psychotic disorders, bipolar. One study found a high prevalence of zinc deficiency in the patient group versus the Control group.

Who is at Risk

  • Vegans/vegetarians: These diets tend to be high in copper and low in zinc.
  • Elderly
  • Athletes who sweat a lot
  • Pregnant women
  • Those with chronic digestive disorders (i.e.: low HCL, Acid reflux, GERD, IBD, IBS)
  • Chronic stress
  • During trauma, surgery, burns (to aid in healing)
  • Those with cataracts, macular degeneration
  • Those with celiac disease
  • Those who consume a lot of grains (the Phytates content blocks zinc absorption)
  • Those who eat the SAD and don’t get enough of zinc rich foods.

What Causes you to Lose Zinc

person smoking

  • Those who sweat a lot/athlete
  • Sugar/SAD
  • Alcohol
  • Smoking
  • Too much copper in the diet
  • Oral contraceptives
  • Infection
  • Puberty
  • Nutrient deficient diet/vegetarian or vegan diet

Foods that Contain Zinc

eggs

Many of your vegetarian sources of zinc are only as nutrient rich as the soil that it is grown in.  Our soil is depleted which means your food has less nutrients.  Plants sources due to the phytic acid may also not be bioavailable as zinc sourced from non -vegetarian sources such as seafood and beef. 

  • Beef/red meats
  • Eggs
  • Seafood (crab, shrimp)
  • Legumes
  • Spinach
  • Oysters
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Cooked split peas
  • Sesame butter
  • Lima beans
  • Pecans
  • Brazil nuts
  • Almonds
  • Walnuts

*Phytates in legumes and nuts may inhibit absorption. For this reason, soaking is always a good idea!

What to look for in a Supplement

Vegetarians may want to consider zinc supplementation due to the difficulty absorbing zinc from non- meat sources such as from plants, legumes, nuts and seeds.  According to the Institute of Medicine’s report, vegetarians require 50% greater intake of zinc given that the major source in the diet is grains and legumes which contain high amounts of phytic acid. 

It is best to choose a high- quality supplement that says zinc glycinate, zinc picolinate or amino acid chelated zinc.  For general health, take 15-20 mg of zinc per day and take it with food as otherwise it will cause an upset stomach.  Therapeutic doses are higher and depending on the need, range from 30-75 mg. per day.  This range is typically safe for several months or longer but use therapeutic dosing under the guidance of a professional. 

If you are using zinc for general health, it is best to take it within your multivitamin/mineral supplement since minerals are interconnected and balance amongst them is important.  If you are taking zinc for therapeutic reasons, be sure to look at how much is in your multi (and what form it is in) and then add in a supplement to get into the therapeutic range.

Zinc must be in balance with copper due to competition for receptor sites.  The ratio should be 15:1 of zinc to copper. The foods that contain more zinc in a bioavailable form and less copper are oysters, beef, lamb, crab, shrimp, sesame seeds and macadamia nuts.  Copper is much easier to get from the diet than zinc and you can find some supplements that are copper free. 

Many Americans are too high in copper and too low in zinc.  For instance, this unbalanced ratio has been linked to schizophrenia, anxiety, learning disabilities and autism.  Copper can come from copper IUD, copper pots, copper pipes, dental amalgams, pesticides and medications such as oral contraceptives. 

Copper is also stored in the liver so it is also beneficial to provide liver support such as with dark bitter greens, beets and lemon water. 

Bottom Line: If you are struggling with a mental health issue, hypothyroidism or a skin concern, look at your diet to see how much zinc you are getting from your foods. If you have digestive issues, take into consideration that this impacts the assimilation of your nutrients, including zinc.  In the end, zinc may help you but most likely your issue is multifaceted and zinc is playing a role but is not the only component of your health issue.  For instance, if you are a vegetarian, zinc may not be the only nutrient that you are deficient in. 

Sources

Bauman, E. & Friedlander, J. (2014) Foundations in Nutrition.  CA: Bauman College

Hoffer, A, Walker, M. (1978) Orthomolecular Nutrition. Keats Publishing. 156-7.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25290638

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25940914

http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0082793

https://www.ncbi.mlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3796297

http://www.mdpi.com/2227-9067/1/3/261/htm

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.3109/15569527.2013.808656

 

If you are sick and tired of feeling sick, tired, fatigued, depressed, anxious and more and have given up hope then Karen’s simple, effective, individualized and sustainable approach may be what you need. 

Karen Brennan, MSW, CNC, Board Certified in Holistic Nutrition and Herbalist is the author of Tru Foods Depression Free Nutrition Guide; How Food Supplements and herbs can be used to lift your mood and If Life is So Good, Then Why AM I Still Depressed? Discover the root cause for your depression and learn what to do to feel better and owner of Tru Foods Nutrition Services, LLC. 

For more information visit  www.trufoodsnutrition.com

Want more information, like her fb page here

As a nutrition professional, Karen does not treat, cure nor diagnose. This information is for educational purposes only.

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Fluoride’s Impact On Your Health

Fluoride and It’s Impact on Your Health

glass of water

 

Myth: Fluoride is Safe

 

On January 25, 1945, Grand Rapids Michigan became the first community in the US to fluoridate the drinking water to prevent tooth decay.  What was not realized by citizens at the time is that fluoride is now considered a neurotoxin and can have many negative health effects from ingesting it. 

Fluoride is found in water, processed beverages, toothpaste and some medications.  Many of us are led to believe not only that fluoride is harmless but that we also need to consume it.  Fluoride is found naturally occurring in some areas and can lead to naturally high fluoride levels in some water supplies. However, just because fluoride may be there naturally, does not mean it is safe. Fluoride is for the most part added to the water supply and is not a naturally occurring ingredient.

Most countries do not add fluoride to their water, including 97% of western Europe.  In the US, more than 70% of the water is fluoridated.

Findings

toddler boy

Research is showing that children being exposed to fluoride can have various health effects.  Fluoride is now being associated with ADHD and other mental disorders.  A study looked at 4-17-year old’s and data was collected in 2003, 2007 and 2011.  They found that water fluoridation in 1992 significantly positively predicted the prevalence of ADHD in 2003, 2007 and 2011. The states that have heavily fluoridated water also have high ADHD levels. 

Not only may it be causing ADHD in your child.  But it is impacting our health in many other ways as well. 

There is evidence that fluoride impacts the thyroid gland.  It has been found that there are higher rates of hypothyroidism in areas of fluoridated water.  Fluoride has been shown to block the uptake of iodine which is necessary for adequate thyroid function.

Fluoride has been shown to have lack of effectiveness in preventing tooth decay. The CDC claimed that dental caries declined in the second half of the 20th century but they did not mention that this happened in all western nations, regardless of whether they had fluoridated water or not.  Most of these countries they looked at did not have fluoridated water. Dr. Mercola, in his article “You’re still told fluoridation prevents tooth decay, but science proves otherwise” sites various examples of countries that have eliminated fluoridation yet rates of cavities continues to decline. 

What Fluoride Can Do to Your Health

 

  • Linked to the lowering of IQ in children
  • It accumulates in the body over time so even though you may ingest small amounts, this builds up over years and can contribute to health issues. (think of that small amount of toothpaste that gets swallowed, not just one time…)
  • Kidney disease
  • Cause calcification of the pineal gland (pineal gland is responsible for melatonin production) hint: sleep issues?
  • Arthritis
  • Bone disease
  • Ulcers
  • Infertility
  • Discoloration of teeth
  • Hypothyroidism (can block iodine uptake)
  • Disrupts the immune system
  • Uterine cancer
  • Cause ADHD symptoms

Where Fluoride is Found

toothpaste-

  • Toothpaste
  • Fluoride mouth rinse
  • Fluoride treatment from dentist office, applied topically to teeth (this may be the only benefit to using fluoride)
  • In your water
  • Medications such as Cipro (antibiotic), Flecainide (used to treat arrhythmia), Niflumic Acid (used for joint and muscle pain), Voriconazole (for fungal infections). These meds contain organofluoride which metabolizes into fluoride.
  • Processed drinks (that use fluoridated water to make their products) such as sodas, juice, sport drinks and some beers
  • Some dry infant cereals (more info at www.fluoridealert.org)
  • Teflon pans
  • Canned soups

Ways to Minimize Fluoride Exposure

cooking pot

  1. Switch to different cooking pots and pans such as cast iron, ceramic, glass, stoneware and stainless- steel cookware.
  2. Look for a toothpaste that does not contain fluoride. Just because it is a “natural” brand, does not mean it does not contain fluoride. The two that I like (no affiliation) are Revitin www.revitin.com  and Earth Paste www.earthpaste.com
  3. Use a fluoride filter system. I like the Berkey as it is cost effective and easy to use. (you will need to purchase the fluoride filter). (again, no affiliation) www.berkeyfilters.com
  4. Cut down on the processed drinks. You don’t need these drinks in your diet for many other reasons but this is one more good reason to avoid juices, sodas, plastic bottled waters and sport drinks. As for the beer, I will leave that one up to you. 

How to Flush out Fluoride

sushi roll

Dr. Mark Sircus states that chelation will not work to remove fluoride from the body and that the only method is to load the body with iodine as this will displace fluoride from cell receptors and will flush the fluoride out in the urine.  You can get iodine from seaweeds such as nori, wakame, kelp or dulse. Seafood such as salmon, lobster, scallops, cod and shrimp are also good sources of iodine. Foods that contain iodine, but in lower amounts, include cranberries, potatoes, strawberries and navy beans. 

If you decide to detox from fluoride, you should work under the care of a holistic professional as the detox may trigger some symptoms such as headaches, agitation and heart palpitations as the fluoride is being released.  In addition to that, most during the detox will also need additional liver support and nutritional support. 

If you are not sure if your water is fluoridated, request a water report from http://www.ofmpub.epa.gov

 

Bottom Line: You do not need to consume fluoride and in fact should avoid it as much as you can. If you have ADHD or hypothyroidism (or any of the above-mentioned health issues for that matter), consider the fluoride in your diet as a contributing factor. Minimize your exposure and detox safely under the guidance of a professional. 

 

Sources

http://www.thelancet.com/journals/laneur/articles/PIIS1474-4422(13)70278-3/fulltext

https://ehjournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12940-015-003-1

http://www.newsweek.com/water-fluoridation-linked-higher-adhd-rates-312748  

www.fluoridealert.com

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/01/20/fluoride-denialism.aspx

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3890436

https://www.hindawi.com/journals/tswj/2014/293019/

http://drsircus.com/medicine/iodine/iodine-protects-fluoride-toxicity#_edn3

 

If you are sick and tired of feeling sick, tired, fatigued, depressed, anxious and more and have given up hope then Karen’s simple, effective, individualized and sustainable approach may be what you need. 

Karen Brennan, MSW, CNC, Board Certified in Holistic Nutrition and Herbalist is the author of Tru Foods Depression Free Nutrition Guide; How Food Supplements and herbs can be used to lift your mood and owner of Tru Foods Nutrition Services, LLC. 

For more information visit  www.trufoodsnutrition.com

Get her Food Swap Guide here to get started on your health journey today! Want more information, like her fb page here

As a nutrition professional, Karen does not treat, cure nor diagnose. This information is for educational purposes only.

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Knowing What Fish is Safe to Eat

Choosing Healthy Fish to Eat

fish counter

 

With Summer here, we tend to eat more fish. Here is some information to help you make the best choices. 

Shrimp

Shrimp that you purchase in the grocery store often comes from Asian farms that over use antibiotics. Shrimp is bathed in a sodium solution to make its meat juicier.  Sulfites are used to prevent discoloration in the shrimp and some people react to the sulfites such as triggering a migraine.

Ask where you shrimp has come from and opt for domestic shrimp. The USA has stricter regulations regarding shrimp fishing and farming practices. 

Choose North American wild caught shrimp, north shrimp, pink shrimp, spot pawns and white shrimp.  

Salmon

abstract-1238248_1280 (1)

Farming practices have improved but antibiotics are still a concern.  Choose salmon that is wild caught from Alaska as there is no overfishing or contaminant risk.  Wild caught Alaskan salmon will have a great omega 3 ratio.  While vacuum sealed packs means more plastic waste, the benefit is that this flash freezing and packing process results in loss of very little nutrients. 

If you eat canned salmon, look for wild sockeye.  

If your salmon is being sold “fresh” in the winter months, it is probably a fraud.

Canned Tuna

tuna fish

 

Albacore canned tuna is high in mercury.  For this reason, limit the amount you consume to no more than 3 cans per month.  Smaller seafood such as scallops, sardines, oyster, shrimp and anchovies contain less mercury. 

Larger fish will contain more mercury such as swordfish, grouper, marlin, orange roughly, and shark.

Choose skip hack tuna or light tuna in water. Avoid tuna that is in vegetable oil. 

Beware: Some products may be mislabeled as tuna.  Nearly 60% of the fish labeled tuna in the US is not tuna.  84% of white tuna sold at sushi places was a fish called escolar, which is associated with acute and serious digestive effects if you consume just a couple of ounces.

Tilapia

tilapia

 

This fish does not contain any omega 3 essential fatty acids. Tilapia are fed a grain based diet when it has been farmed.  Much of the tilapia comes from Asia where they may still use banned chemicals.

Choose tilapia that has come from the US, Canada, Ecuador or Peru.

Pollock

This fish you have most likely eaten if you eat breaded fish sticks and breaded fish in restaurants. It can also be found in imitation crab meat. 

Choose Alaskan Pollock, also called Walleye Pollock or whitefish.

Buyer Beware!

Fish is often mislabeled and often when purchasing there is no information as to where the fish has come from.  Ask at the fish counter or in the restaurant what country the fish is from, if it was wild caught or farmed.  Sadly, many times the person will tell you he or she doesn’t know this information.  I went to an expensive restaurant one time and asked where their salmon came from and he said jokingly “the water”.  I never did get an answer.  Just because you are paying a high price in an expensive restaurant, does not mean the quality of your fish is better. 

Seafood from other countries is often factory farmed and the conditions are unhealthy. Often the fish are exposed to antibiotics and chemicals and are stored in bacteria-laden ice and may even be fed pig feces tainted with salmonella.  The US only inspects about 2% of all the seafood that comes from abroad. 

If you are pregnant, limit the amount of fish and seafood you consume and eat seafood that is the lowest in mercury such as wild salmon, sardines, mussels, rainbow trout and Atlantic mackerel. These fish are also rich in omega 3 essential fatty acids. 

Other Fish

We tend to consume the same type of fish over and over such as salmon and canned tuna.  There are other sustainable fish to choose from such as mullet and scup.

Bottom Line

Limit the amount of fish that you consume and do your homework prior to eating fish and seafood. 

Some helpful sites to use include

www.eatthesefish.com This site shows a wide variety of fish that is safe to eat.

www.vitalchoice.com This is a good source to buy your salmon, canned salmon and other fish as well.

For my local CO readers: check out http://www.northeastseafood.com You can place an order and pick up at their Denver location.  They send email announcements as to when in season seafood has arrived.  Their wild salmon is from Alaska.  Note that some companies may say that their salmon is wild but it is from the Pacific not Alaska. 

 

If you are sick and tired of feeling sick, tired, fatigued, depressed, anxious and more and have given up hope then Karen’s simple, effective, individualized and sustainable approach may be what you need. 

Karen Brennan, MSW, CNC, Board Certified in Holistic Nutrition and Herbalist is the author of Tru Foods Depression Free Nutrition Guide; How Food Supplements and herbs can be used to lift your mood and owner of Tru Foods Nutrition Services, LLC. 

For more information visit  www.trufoodsnutrition.com

Get her Food Swap Guide here to get started on your health journey today! Want more information, like her fb page here

As a nutrition professional, Karen does not treat, cure nor diagnose. This information is for educational purposes only.

Sources

http://seafood.edf.org/buying-fish-what-you-need-to-know#bmb=1

https://www.nrdc.org/stories/smart-seafood-buying-guide

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2015/06/01/best-seafood.aspx

https://experiencelife.com/article/how-to-choose-seafood-thats-nutritious-sustainable-and-safe/

https://experiencelife.com/article/fish-smarts-for-pregnant-women/

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Blood Sugar and your Mental Health

Blood Sugar Imbalance and its Impact on your Mental Health

roller coaster

Riding the blood sugar roller coaster day after day can impact your mental health.  The highs followed by crashes may accentuate the symptoms of a mood disorder.  Research has tied processed, refined sugar consumption to an increased risk of depression and can worsen the outcomes of schizophrenia. 

Blood sugar in the form of glucose is the basic fuel for all brain operation and activity.  If it is inadequate, mental health systems can start to shut down.  Glandular imbalances will result as the glands struggle to regulate the sugar level. This can cause symptoms such as high adrenaline which can look like anxiety, panic attacks or violence. 

Just by making tweaks to your diet you can improve your blood sugar regulation and your mental health.

The Impact of Blood Sugar Dysregulation on our Mental Health

By now, most of know that sugar and processed foods are bad for our heart, cholesterol and waistline.  But not as much attention is giving to what it does to our brain. 

Here is what Happens

bread pasta rice

  1. You eat a meal or have a drink with excess sugar. Say you start your day with a bagel, muffin or donut, or have cereal with milk, banana and some OJ.
  2. The pancreas releases insulin to bring glucose to the cells but because of the high amount of sugar, the insulin response is excessive
  3. About 2 hours later so much sugar has been put into storage that you now have low blood sugar and are feeling weak, shaky, brain fog, fatigue, change in mood (depression) and cravings
  4. The body responds to this as an emergency so it dumps adrenaline into the system. This causes anxiety, racing heart, irritability, anxiousness, panic, outbursts and more
  5. You reach for a processed carb or sugar product to get your sugar levels back up. Thus, the cycle begins again.

This cycle contributes to chronic inflammation in the body.  Chronic inflammation is not only associated with physical health conditions such as heart disease but also with brain function such as depression and brain fog. 

A surge of adrenaline is not always a bad thing. In prehistoric times if you were being chased by a wild animal you got a surge of adrenaline to run away.  Adrenaline prepares you for vigorous muscular activity.  It raises your heart rate and turns off digestion so now you are prepared for fight or flight.  In modern society it is not the wild animal that raises our adrenaline but instead the constant demands we put on our body such as stress from our processed, nutrient deficient, highly processed diet.

   Symptoms of Imbalanced Blood Sugar (highs and lows)

  • Fatigue, weakness
  • Abnormal weight (too high or too low)
  • waking after 2-3 hours of sleep at night and cannot fall right back to sleep
  • Dizziness
  • headaches
  • irritability if meals are missed
  • nervous habits
  • depression
  • anxiety
  • phobias
  • violent outbursts
  • Unable to concentrate (ADD)
  • Anti-social behavior
  • Crying spells
  • Nightmares
  • confusion
  • tightness in chest
  • constant hunger
  • tremors
  • obsessive compulsive behavior
  • poor word finding ability
  • brain fog
  • blurred vision
  • insomnia
  • cravings for sugar, sweets, soda, coffee, alcohol, refined carbs
  • fainting
  • cannot tolerate bright lights or loud sounds
  • joint pain
  • no appetite at breakfast, may wakeup feeling nauseous, skip breakfast
  • highs and lows/mood swings within a one day period

 

What Causes Blood Sugar Dysregulation (in addition to diet)

fast food burger

  • Standard American diet
  • Inadequate physical activity
  • Irregular eating patterns
  • Skipping meals
  • Eating imbalanced meals (meals with mostly refined carbs and little in the way of quality protein/fats)
  • Refined carbs (bagels, pasta, muffins, cookies, pastries, donuts, bread, rolls, etc.)
  • Gluten intolerance and other food allergies/insensitivities
  • Excess caffeine intake
  • Alcoholism
  • Endocrine disorders
  • Thyroid disorder
  • Stress
  • Excess blood sugar lowering medication
  • Insulin resistance
  • Birth control pills
  • Fructose

Physical Symptoms of Blood Sugar Imbalance

  • Darkened skin along jawline or neck (this occurs due to elevated insulin levels present with elevated blood sugar)
  • Extra abdominal fat-this can include fat on back, chest, sides of waist and shoulder blade area
  • Base of neck fat pad-this fat tends to be very inflammatory
  • Enlarged breasts in men (elevated blood sugar in men stimulates activity of enzymes that shifts testosterone to estrogen which promotes growth of breast tissue)
  • Note: you may not always see these physical signs

How to Balance Blood Sugar

balanced meal

Some foods that will help to balance blood sugar include almonds (very filling), quinoa (great substitute for rice), millet (it has a combination of fiber and phytonutrients), hummus (protein packed), avocado (filled with healthy fat), lentils (good source of protein) and walnuts (make a great snack with omega 3’s).

Consume foods that release energy slowly into the blood stream such as vegetables, berries, and nuts and seeds.

 

Treatment of blood sugar imbalances involves a combination of dietary and lifestyle measures that minimize the shock to the pancreas and the adrenal glands and stabilize carbohydrate metabolism.  It is better to address it now because highs and lows in blood sugar will eventually lead to highs only (meaning diabetes and insulin resistance)

  • Decrease the consumption of simple carbs and sugars, caffeine, alcohol,
  • Eat three meals per day and at least 2 additional snacks. DO NOT SKIP MEALS (once you have balance blood sugar then you can try intermittent fasting)
  • Provide a balance at each meal/snack of protein, complex carbs, healthy fats and fiber.
  • Eat foods closer to the form they are found in nature.
  • This can look like:

o   a protein smoothie with avocado and greens included for breakfast (skip the fruit or add in berries or ½ a banana)

o   snack on handful of almonds mid-morning

o   for lunch have chicken salad on a bed of lettuce (if you must have bread, opt for one slice only) with a Bubbies pickle and a side salad

o   mid-day snack on raw vegetables and hummus

o   for dinner have salmon, roasted sweet potato and a vegetable such as asparagus, broccoli or cauliflower. 

o   AVOID packages foods, sugary foods, artificially sweetened foods and drinks, refined carbs such as pasta and bread, white rice, dried fruits such as banana or apple chips and processed corn products

 

 

  Beneficial Nutrients

  • Protein: it is used to mitigate the symptoms of hypoglycemia because it can keep sugar stable while keeping metabolism high. Protein takes longer to be digested than simple carbs and this will prevent sudden drops and spikes in blood sugar levels.  The glucose from digested protein (and from complex carbs is released into the bloodstream gradually which helps to regulate blood glucose levels.)  Consume 2-4 ounces of animal protein or 4-6 ounces of plant protein at each meal. For snacks reduce the amount to half.  Protein amounts at breakfast can be slightly increased.  High quality sources of protein include grass fed meats, wild caught fish, bean/legumes and raw dairy. 
  • Cobalamin (B12): along with other B vitamins helps to convert consumed foods into glucose that can be utilized by the body.  Thus, a B12 deficiency can result in low blood sugar levels. Eating foods rich in B12 will help to increase energy levels by converting food into glucose.  In supplement form take 300 mcg. 3 times daily on an empty stomach.  Best forms include methylcobalamin, adenosycobalamin and hydroxocobalamin.  Most B complexes do not contain enough B12 so it is best to take an additional B12 supplement. Food sources include grass fed beef, lamb, chicken, wild game, organ meats, grass fed milk, cottage cheese and fish/shellfish.
  • Niacin (B3): It is needed to produce insulin.  It helps to promote proper digestion by helping with the production of stomach acid used in the metabolism of carbs.  It can also be useful for treating depression and anxiety associated with hypoglycemia.  Niacin will cause a “flush” within minutes of ingesting.  Food sources include fish, meats, peanuts, whole grains mushrooms, seeds, eggs and almonds. Supplement form take 100 mg. 2 timers per day with meals.  Check with your doctor. before taking, as it can interact with some medications.

 

Bottom Line:

just because you do not have diabetes does not mean you are safe from blood sugar ups and downs.  Balance your blood sugar by eating protein and fat along with your complex carbs.  Don’t skip meals and opt for a diet of 80% whole foods and 20% of your processed, junk food.  If you are suffering from any mental health disorder, this is a simple step to take. 

 

References

  1. https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/where-science-meets-the-steps/201309/4-ways-sugar-could-be-harming-your-mental-health
  2. http://www.alternativementalhealth.com/conquering-anxiety-depression-and-fatigue-without-drugs-the-role-of-hypoglycemia-2/
  3. http://diabeteslibrary.org
  4. http://www.askdrmaxwell.com/hypoglycemia-causes-and-natural-treatments/
  5. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2009/12/22/how-eating-sugar-can-cause-mental-illness.aspx
  6. Golan, R. (1995) Optimal Wellness. New York: Ballantine Books.

 

 

If you are sick and tired of feeling sick, tired, fatigued, depressed, anxious and more and have given up hope then Karen’s simple, effective, individualized and sustainable approach may be what you need. 

Karen Brennan, MSW, CNC, Board Certified in Holistic Nutrition and Herbalist is the author of Tru Foods Depression Free Nutrition Guide; How Food Supplements and herbs can be used to lift your mood and owner of Tru Foods Nutrition Services, LLC. 

For more information visit  www.trufoodsnutrition.com

Get her Food Swap Guide here to get started on your health journey today! Want more information, like her fb page here

As a nutrition professional, Karen does not treat, cure nor diagnose. This information is for educational purposes only.

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What to look for in a Omega 3 Supplement

What to look for in an Omega 3 Supplement

fish oil supplement

Fish oil is a rich source of EPA and DHA which are needed for our health for many reasons that will be listed in this article.  These needed nutrients are found in the fatty tissue of cold water, oily fish. These are essential fatty acids and the body cannot make them thus we need to get them from food or supplement (1)

It has only been in the past 15 years that the actions of EPA and DHA have come to be understood. (3)   Until now there is still more research on DHA than there is on EPA (2). Because of research we have a better understanding of how these fatty acids work in isolation and in combination. 

This article will discuss the benefits of both EPA and DHA and ways to get them in your diet including vegan sources. 

Do You Need More Omega 3 Essential Fatty Acids in Your Diet?

Most Americans are deficient in omega 3’s and instead consume an abundance of omega 6’s. While we need some omega 6’s in our diet, the current ratio contributes to inflammation and chronic disease. Add to that they most Americans are consuming their omega 6’s from processed, rancid oils instead of oils such as evening primrose. 

 

Signs you May Be Deficient in Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids

  • Growth retardation
  • Behavioral changes
  • ADD
  • Poor motor coordination
  • Poor vision
  • Poor learning ability
  • Excessive blood coagulation
  • Edema
  • Weakness
  • High blood pressure
  • Inflammation
  • Tingling in the arms and legs
  • Low metabolic rate
(8)

Why You Need Both EPA and DHA

mom with baby

  • EPA

o   Products that contain more EPA than DHA have been shown to be beneficial for depression. Supplements that had a lower ratio or EPA to DHA were judged to be ineffective.  Studies that showed promise had used 1 gram of EPA daily. (2)

o   EPA may also be helpful for heart disease and may aid to lower triglyceride levels due to its anti-inflammatory effects. (2)

o   Children with development problems may benefit from a product containing only high amounts of pure EPA (3)

o   After the age of 5 the development of the brain and the central nervous system starts to reduce the body’s need for DHA and the need for EPA increases (3).

o   EPA has been shown to help children with academic performance, focus, attention and reducing aggression.  (3)

o   Dry skin, allergies and eczema can also benefit from EPA use as it will help to reduce inflammation.

o   EPA has been shown to reduce cognitive decline and dementia

o   Aids in joint health (4)

o   Regulates insulin levels (4)

o   In one study, those with increased anxiety were given 2 grams of EPA daily and there was a statistically significant reduction in anxiety compared to those in the placebo group.  (11)

o   Increased EPA may help you to handle stress and may improve mood in the general population.  (11)

 

  • DHA

o   DHA is needed for healthy brain development and for the aging brain.  Low levels of DHA have been associated with cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s Disease (6)

o   Children require DHA for growth and development

o   Once dementia has set in and there is brain damage, at this point DHA becomes important again.  Look for a product that contains 250 mg. of DHA. (3)

o   A 12- week study of DHA supplementation was found to improve blood flow to the brains of healthy young adults during cognitive tasks.  (6)

o   For women, low DHA is thought to be responsible in many cases of postpartum depression. (6)

 

  • EPA and DHA

o   Both are needed for pregnant women to ensure optimal brain and nervous system development of the fetus (1)

o   The average adult should look for a fish oil supplement containing 700-1,000 mg. of EPA and 200-500 mg. of DHA (1)

o   ADHD: children may benefit from one gram total

o   These long chain omega 3 fatty acids can affect metabolism of mood related neurotransmitters such as your serotonin and your dopamine.  Since both EPA and DHA have anti-inflammatory effects both can contribute to reducing depressive symptoms (6)

o   Both EPA and DHA have been shown to improve symptoms of Bipolar. (9) One study showed that omega 3 supplementations reduced mania and depression in youths with bipolar.  The dose in the study was 360 mg. EPA and 1560 DHA for 6 weeks. (10)

  • Bottom Line: for your health, you need to opt for a product that contains both EPA and DHA or eat fatty fish.

Food Sources

abstract-1238248_1280 (1)

If you want to avoid consuming fish oil, consume 3 ounces of fatty fish 3 times per week for general health.  Check your sources when buying fish as fish can be very contaminated.  A good place to look is www.seafoodwatch.org (for you sushi lovers, they also have a great list of which sushi options are the best and which to avoid)

 If I know I am going to eat, say salmon for dinner that night, I will skip taking my fish oil on that day. 

  • Wild caught Alaskan Salmon
  • Mackerel
  • Sardines (I like Wild Planet Brand)
  • Herring
  • Black Cod
  • Omega-3 enriched eggs
  • Anchovies
  • Cod liver oil

What If I have a Seafood Allergy?

If you have an allergy to shellfish, you may be able to still consume fish oil.  Fish allergies are typically a reaction to the proteins and thus a purified true fish oil should still be safe. (7)  But if you have a serious allergic reaction to fish such as anaphylactic shock, I would avoid fish oil to be safe and use non-fish sources instead. 

Plant sources

flax seeds

If you are a vegan or vegetarian (or have a fish allergy) and do not eat fish or take a fish oil supplement, you can take an algae supplement for your DHA.  But you will still need a source for your EPA. (4) 

You can get ALA from plant sources such as flax seeds and flax seed oil, walnuts, hemp, purslane and chia seeds but the conversion rate of ALA to EPA and DHA is small.  The conversion of ALA to EPA is anywhere from 3% to 20%. The proportion of ALA converted to DHA is small. (5) 

A study measuring blood EPA and DHA in a vegan population showed that 64 % had insufficient amounts and some were severely deficient.  This population’s intake of ALA was above the recommended intake as well.  (6)

We need an enzyme called Delta 6 Desaturase to make the conversion from ALA to EPA and DHA.  This conversion process can be blocked by alcohol, caffeine, high refined carb diet, trans fats and poor quality oils such as canola and vegetable oil, meds and street drugs, deficiencies of B6, B3, vitamin C, magnesium and zinc; toxins and certain conditions such as diabetes and aging.  (8)

A newer plant oil called Ahiflower oil from Buglossoides arvensis, has reportedly the highest level of non-GM omega-3 essential fatty acids.  The plant oil combines ALA with stearidonic acid.  The stearidonic acid converts EPA at a ratio of 30-35%.  This may be a good option to consider if you are a vegan or vegetarian.  (5). However, keep in mind what can block the conversion from plant oils into essential fatty acids. 

 

When to Use Caution

  • If you are going in for surgery stop taking fish oil supplements and tell your doctor of your supplements
  • If you have a fish allergy avoid all fish oil products to be safe
  • Fish oil supplements can affect blood clotting so if you are on a blood thinner, talk to your doctor first before supplementing.
  • If you are pregnant or breast feeding, research brands and where your fish is from to avoid contaminants.
  • Go slow when using fish oil as starting out on a high dose may cause stomach and digestive issues.  Start low and work your way up slowly
  • Always take fish oil with a meal that contains fat. It is best to take fish oil with your biggest meal of the day.  Since it is a fat soluble nutrient it needs fat in order for you to absorb and utilize it.

Bottom line

When choosing an essential fatty acid supplement, choose one that contains both EPA and DHA as you will benefit from having both.  Much of your brain is made up of DHA fats and EPA fats are found in every cell in your body. 

 

 

Resources

  1. https://ww.drweil.com/vitamins-supplements-herbs/vitamins/fish-oil-and-omega-3/
  2. http://ww.nutraingredients-usa-com/Researach/EPA-stands-alone-as-a-depression-fighter
  3. https://igennus.com/nutrition/omega-3-science/epa-vs-dha/
  4. https://www.totalwellnesschoices.com/algae-vs-fish-oil-supplements/
  5. https://www.nutraingredients-usa-com/Markets/Powerful-PUFAs-The-many-health-benefits-of-omega-3s/?
  6. https://uintacountyherald.com/article/omega-3-fatty-acid-good-for-adult-elderly-brain-health
  7. http://www.marksdailyapple.com/fish-allergies-omega-3/
  8. Bauman, E. & Friedlander, J. (2014) Foundations of Nutrition. CA: Bauman College   
  9. http://www.greenmedinfo.com/article/there-strong-evidence-omega-3-fatty-acids-have-beneficial-effect-bipolar-disorder
  10.   http://www.greenmedinfo.com/article/omega-3-polyunsaturated-fatty-acid-supplementation-associated-reduced-mania
  11. https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/in-the-zone/201201/anxiety-and-omega-3-fatty-acids

 

If you are sick and tired of feeling sick, tired, fatigued, depressed, anxious and more and have given up hope then Karen’s simple, effective, individualized and sustainable approach may be what you need. 

Karen Brennan, MSW, CNC, Board Certified in Holistic Nutrition and Herbalist is the author of Tru Foods Depression Free Nutrition Guide; How Food Supplements and herbs can be used to lift your mood and owner of Tru Foods Nutrition Services, LLC. 

For more information visit  www.trufoodsnutrition.com

Get her Food Swap Guide here to get started on your health journey today! Want more information, like her fb page here

As a nutrition professional, Karen does not treat, cure nor diagnose. This information is for educational purposes only.

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