5 Ways to Achieve Weight Loss

5 Reasons Why You Are Not Losing the Weight

overweight-people

While I do not specialize in weight loss, I find that weight loss is still one of my client’s top goals.  I’m all about root causes. There is no one right diet for everyone and no one right diet for your entire life time.  I see people that are eating healthy, or eating very little yet they are still struggling to drop weight. Here are some things that could be hindering your weight loss from a root cause perspective

Undiagnosed Subclinical Hypothyroidism or Using Synthetic Thyroid Medication

You can be struggling with thyroid issues for years before your doctor finally diagnosis it.  And that is if she will do the correct thyroid testing.  The thyroid controls metabolism and hence when the thyroid function slows down so does the number of calories you burn up. 

Once you know that your thyroid is not functioning properly, and this includes the autoimmune condition, Hashimotos, work with someone to address your root causes so that you can support proper thyroid functioning and autoimmunity too if need be. While medications may help you, they do not help everyone and some need extra nutritional support.  In addition to that, while medication may be needed, it still does not address the root cause for your hypothyroidism.

Many also don’t get the results they hope for by using synthetic medication since it is made up of T4 which needs to convert into the active form, T3, for your thyroid to function optimally.  Seek out a health professional who supports using natural desiccated thyroid which has some T3, the active hormone in it.  (you may need to call around until you find an MD who has a more holistic view or opt for seeing a naturopath for your thyroid medication). One way to find the right doctor is to call the compounding pharmacy in your area and ask if they will give you the names of local doctors that prescribe natural desiccated thyroid hormone replacement.

Systemic Inflammation

Obesity has inflammation as a root cause.  What can trigger inflammation in the body includes your diet, toxins and food sensitivities to name several.  But let’s focus on how your diet can cause inflammation. 

A diet high in refined and processed foods such as sugar, flour, oxidized oils, and heavy on the starches such as from a diet of pasta and bread can all cause inflammation and lead to weight gain.  Ever see someone with a “puffy” face?  That is usually a sign of inflammation. 

Many people think that because they are “paleo” or “vegan” or “vegetarian” that they must be eating a healthy diet.  This is not always the case.  A paleo diet too high in meats (and not grass fed or organic), a vegan diet high in grains and a vegetarian diet high in dairy can all cause inflammation. 

Any diet, whether you are vegetarian, vegan or a meat eater, should be plant based.  Think 70-80% of your meals should be leafy greens, herbs, spices and crunchy vegetables.  Then you can add in your beans or your grass- fed meat along with healthy fats from avocado, EVOO or coconut.  If you want to reduce inflammation and lose weight, these changes need to be made. 

Avoid oils such as canola, soy bean and vegetable oil.  These are high in omega 6’s. While we need some omega 6’s in our diet, we are getting too much, and this leads to inflammation.  On top of that, by the time you use these oils, they are rancid, which contributes to free radical damage in the body (and again leads to inflammation).  Choose healthier options such as coconut, avocado or “real” extra virgin olive oil (avoid the fakes which are blends of olive oil mixed with cheaper oils such as canola). 

Hormone Imbalances

Having too much estrogen is more common today than people realize and if there is an imbalance of estrogen with your other sex hormones, this can cause weight issues.  This is not only an issue in women but is occurring in men with more frequency (i.e.: “man boobs”).

 

 Too much estrogen can be caused by our diet and lifestyle.  Too much sugar and excess alcohol

can lead to estrogen dominance.  Xenoestrogens, which come from plastics, are also hormone disruptors, and can create unbalance.  Foods sprayed with chemicals (GMO crops) are also a contributing factor.  If your weight gain is caused by excess estrogen, you will typically have the weight gain in the hips, thighs and upper arms.

 

A low- fat diet, which I think more people are now realizing, is not the healthiest diet, can reduce your cholesterol levels into the “too low range”. While western medicine may tell you that the lower your cholesterol, the better for you, studies indicate this is not true and in fact, cholesterol at 160 and below is linked to mental health issues and an increase in suicidal ideation.  We need cholesterol. In addition to this, having cholesterol that is too low can contribute to low testosterone.  Men and women both need testosterone (just in different amounts).  For women, PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome), which is associated with insulin resistance and elevated testosterone, can also lead to weight gain.  This weight is typically around your middle as belly fat. 

 

Constipation can also lead to hormone imbalances. My mantra is “you are what you do not eliminate”.  This is so important, because excess estrogen gets eliminated via the bowels. If you do not eliminate, it recirculates and makes its way to fatty areas of the body. 

 

Balance your hormones if you want to lose weight. Get rid of the plastics (and do not microwave plastic containers), eat plenty of fiber rich foods such as fruit and vegetables and reduce the alcohol and refined foods in your diet.  Avoid foods that contain added hormones such as beef and dairy that is injected with growth hormones (chose grass fed). Avoid GMO’s and sprayed foods as much as possible and include healthy fats in the diet. 

Poor Gut Health

asparagus

 

Studies have shown that those with specific strains of good bacteria in their gut are able to maintain a healthy weight. They also found that those who are missing these healthy strains and have more “bad” bacteria in the gut, tend to be overweight.  Thus, having good bacteria can aid in weight loss and having more bad bacteria and less diversity in the gut can lead to weight gain.  Some bacteria can cause inflammation while others can reduce inflammation. 

Think of your microbiome as a garden. Does your garden have a lot of plants, or just one type or is it filled with weeds?  You want diversity and more plants and fewer weeds!  Add in probiotic rich foods such as kefir, kimchee, kombucha and fermented vegetable. Add in prebiotic rich foods too. Think of this as the rich soil to help your plants grown.  Prebiotics are the food for your probiotics. These foods include asparagus (raw), onion, garlic (raw) and not too ripe bananas. 

In addition to this, food sensitivities that are undiagnosed, can lead to intestinal permeability and this can lead to weight gain.  You can do a trial elimination diet or you can get tested. 

Too Much Stress!

person holding binders stressed

Yes, just by being stressed, you can hinder weight loss.  When you are stressed, the adrenals increase cortisol production to help you manage the extra stress. This is a good thing, in the short term. The problem is that you may have chronic stress.  This leads to constant cortisol production. 

Think about it.  Synthetic cortisol such as prednisone is known for causing weight gain and diabetes.  This is an example of what high cortisol production caused by chronic stress can do to our bodies. 

While we all have stress in our lives, knowing how to control it can help reduce belly fat and elevated cortisol levels and other health conditions associated with stress such as high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes. 

To help manage stress you can add in meditation, yoga, deep breathing, emotional freedom technique (also called tapping), or just setting aside some time for yourself daily. 

Support your body when under stress with nutritionally dense foods (stress uses up nutrients such as your vitamin B’s, magnesium and vitamin C) and Adaptogenic herbs. Adaptogenic herbs help us to adapt to the stress in our lives.  My favorites are Ashwagandha and Rhodiola. 

 

Bottom Line: If you feel like you have tried every diet out there and still cannot keep the weight off and don’t want to spend more money on another diet book, diet plan and another exercise program, then work with someone who can address your root causes to weight loss and help you with an individualized plan to help you succeed.

Sources

Hoffman, R. 10 Reasons Why It’s Not Your Fault You’re Fat. Health E Times, Issue 2, 2017.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3313629/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22364157

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25538312

 

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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Candida, Depression, Brain Fog, Weight Gain and More

Candida and Its Impact on Your Health

sugar

Most people are unaware that they have a candida issue.  Candida normally lives in harmony with other gut bacteria but if this balance gets disturbed this is when problems can occur and the candida yeast can proliferate.  It normally resides in the intestinal tract, mouth, esophagus, and genitals. However, it can lead to leaky gut and then it will enter the blood stream and make its way to any organ in the body. Thus, every organ in your body is at risk of damage. To make matters worse, candida emits over 70 different toxins into the body. 

Yeast prefers dark, warm places to grow and thrive such as in your nose, throat, mouth, and intestinal tract and genital area.  It thrives on sugar for growth and development. 

The body will always have some yeast but the goal is to rebalance the body and recolonize the good bacteria in our gut so that there is less of the candida yeast.  At normal levels, candida is harmless.

How an Overgrowth of Yeast Can Lead to Problems

Candida can cause Leaky Gut Syndrome, impacting gut health.  The overgrowth of yeast can take over, dominate the good bacteria in the gut and thus fungal dysbiosis occurs.  This yeast can change into a more invasive form that will secrete enzymes that break down the cell membrane thus causing a leaky gut.  To learn more about Leaky gut syndrome click http://trufoodsnutrition.com/5157-2/

Now that the gut is more permeable, toxins, can leak into the blood stream causing symptoms such as brain fog, fatigue and depression.  In addition to this, partially digested food particles can now leak into the blood stream, creating inflammation and possibly food sensitivities.  When the yeast crosses into the blood stream, an area that it does not belong in, the body can trigger the creation of antibodies by the immune system, leading to an autoimmune disease such as celiac disease or Hashimotos since these antibodies can cross react with the skin (psoriasis), joint tissue (rheumatoid arthritis) or even the brain (MS, Parkinson’s disease). While most people would never associate an overgrowth of yeast with an autoimmune disorder, it is something that does need to be taken into consideration. 

While yeast may have been your original issue, now you are faced with a host of ailments, many which your health professional cannot figure out or just gives you a medication for. 

Common Causes of Yeast Overgrowth

fast food burger

(for more information see my article on Candida and ADHD here )

  • Standard American Diet. This refined, highly processed and high sugar diet contributes to yeast overgrowth
  • Antibiotic usage. Even just one round of antibiotics can upset the balance in the gut. Don’t forget the added antibiotics from CAFO (confined animal factory operations) meat. 
  • Elevated hormone levels. This can be caused by medications such as prednisone, birth control pill, pregnancy and chronic stress.
  • Acid Suppressing medications such as Prilosec and Prevacid.
  • Alcohol: If you are a heavy drinker, you automatically consume too much sugar. While the alcohol excess is an issue in and of itself, the candida from the alcohol can make a bad situation worse.

Some of the More Common Candida Symptoms

Please note that many of these symptoms can also be symptoms due to other health issues. Always work with your holistic health professional to get to your root cause.

  • Fatigue
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Headaches/migraines
  • Depression and other mood disorders
  • Brain fog, forgetfulness
  • Bloating, gas
  • Diarrhea, constipation
  • Urinary frequency
  • Itchy bottom
  • Sore throat
  • Athletes foot
  • White coating on tongue
  • Cravings for sugar, refined high carb processed snacks
  • Cravings for alcohol
  • Painful cracks at corners of mouth
  • Acne
  • Bronchitis
  • Chronic sinus infections

Restoring Balance in the Gut

gut

When addressing gut health and restoring balance, take into consideration other systems that have been affected due to the overgrowth of the candida. This includes (but not limited to) the adrenals, liver, blood sugar and immune system. 

  • Vitamin C: Add in foods rich in this vitamin as it is critical for the immune system. It also assists with the detox process. Foods to include would include broccoli, cabbage, watercress, and citrus fruits to name a few. 
  • Essential Fatty Acids (EFA’s): Essential fatty acids are used in every cell in the human body. Because candida overgrowth leads to leaky gut syndrome and systemic inflammation, it is important to add in foods that are rich in Omega 3’s since they have been shown to reduce inflammation.  They can reduce the cause of the inflammation and reduce the inflammation that exists. Food sources include wild caught Alaskan Salmon, pasture raised eggs and grass- fed beef.
  • Probiotics: These are the friendly bacteria that live in your gut and help to break down your food. They are vital for a strong immune system. There is constantly new research on the importance of various healthy strains that reside in our gut. Healthy bacteria strains have been associated with maintaining a healthy weight, reduces risk of allergies, asthma, depression, anxiety and much more.  Thus, having a healthy gut is vital to all aspects of your health! Add fermented foods to your diet. These are rich in the good bacteria. Fermented foods include raw fermented sauerkraut and other vegetables, kimchee, miso, kombucha, kefir and raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar. 
  • Prebiotics: Think of these as the food for your probiotics. For your probiotics to thrive in the gut, they too need their healthy food! This comes from foods that contain resistant starch.  Resistant starches go through the stomach and the small intestine undigested and reach the colon where it feeds the friendly bacteria in your gut.  Think of resistant starches as food for your gut to keep it healthy.  Resistant starches, also called prebiotics, can come from foods such as raw garlic, raw onion, leeks and chicory root. You can also supplement with products such as FOS or inulin.  These can cause stomach upset, gas and bloating for some.  Another option is to purchase acacia gum which is the resin from the acacia tree.  It comes in a powder.  This is a powerful prebiotic source and one that typically does not cause any digestive complaints. 
  • Caprylic Acid: This is a very effective antifungal. It is one of three fatty acids that are found in coconut oil.  It can kill candida cells and can restore stomach acidity to normal levels.  It is best to combine Caprylic acid with other antifungals during your candida cleanse.  Add in unrefined organic coconut oil into your diet. 
  • Antifungal Herbs: Herbs that have antifungal properties include olive leaf, oregano, Pau D’Arco, allicin from garlic, and grape fruit seed extract. You can start off by adding in raw garlic to your diet. Chop your garlic and let it sit for several minutes to activate the allicin.  Then use it raw such as in your salad dressing.
  • Enzymes: Once candida enters the blood stream and reaches into other parts of the body, such as your sinus cavity, or worse your brain, it can be difficult to eradicate. The candida has a sticky biofilm to protect it from antifungal herbs and medications. Because of the biofilm, the candida can continue to grow and flourish and the biofilm protects the candida from your immune system.  There are enzymes that can break down the cell wall, degrading the biofilm.  These enzymes include cellulase and hemicellulase. Thus, the body can now activate an immune response against the candida overgrowth. 
  • Foods to Avoid: the white stuff-think stuff made with flour and sugar. High simple carb foods convert to sugar in the blood stream, so not only do you need to remove the donuts and cookies but the pasta and the bread too.  While beans and legumes and non- gluten grains are a healthy addition to the diet, it is best to avoid them early on when eliminating candida.  They are high in carbs and should kept to a minimum at the very least.  Avoid and limit foods and meals such as beans and rice, quinoa bowls and non- gluten pastas and breads too.  Keep dairy and gluten out of the candida diet
  • Foods to Add in: Think whole foods! Add in more vegetables and proteins and fats. Limit starchy carbs such as potatoes and squash.  Meals could look like chicken, beef or salmon with a large salad with avocado slices with roasted asparagus or sautéed broccoli or steamed carrots with grass fed butter or ghee with a spoonful of fermented sauerkraut. 

 

Add in nutritional yeast to make cheesy recipes. Add in lemons and limes for more flavor.  Use spices and herbs. Try nuts and seeds in recipes and use them as a great snack. 

 

If you need to sweeten things up a bit, try stevia or pure monk fruit (read label as many monk fruit products are mixed with other ingredients)

 

Bottom Line: If you think you have candida, a health professional can order tests, use assessment and questionnaires and do a thorough health intake to determine if candida is causing your symptoms.  You don’t need to suffer with candida. It does take some time to eradicate, so be patient! Hopefully within a few months you will start to see improvements.

Sources

http://health.usnews.com/health-news/blogs/eat-run/articles/2015-12-23/5-signs-youre-suffering-from-candida-overgrowth-and-what-you-can-do-about-it

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

Hoffman, D. (2003) Medical Herbalism. The Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine. VT: Healing

   Arts Press.

Levin, W & Gare, F. (2013) Beyond the Yeast Connection. CA: Basic Health Pub., Inc.

Mars, B. (2007) The Desktop Guide to Herbal Medicine. CA: Basic Health Pub., Inc

Murray, M, Pizzorno, J, & Pizzorno, L. (2005) The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods. NY: Atria Books. 

Nichols, T. & Faas, N. (2005) Optimal Digestive Health. VT: Healing Arts Press.

 

 

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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What is Leaky Gut Syndrome and Your Mental Health

What is Leaky Gut Syndrome and Why You Should Know About it

gut

This is a buzz word lately along with gut health and the microbiome. Why is this such as big deal?  Should you even be concerned, especially if you do not have any stomach digestive issues? 

The answer is yes, you should know how your gut health impacts many aspects of your health, not just physical but your mental health as well. It is a very common health issue today yet many people are unaware of it and traditional medical professionals do not address it typically, most likely because they have never been taught about it in medical school

What is Leaky Gut Syndrome? (LGS)

Leaky gut syndrome (LGS) and intestinal permeability mean the same thing.  When you have LGS, food particles that should normally be broken down into their parts (usually these are proteins) are instead passed through the gut lining in their unbroken down state.  They then travel through the blood stream and can wreak havoc in your body. While there they trigger an over stimulation of the immune system and allergic reactions. 

In a healthy gut, you would have tight junctions along the gut wall so that food gets digested and absorbed via the normal digestion process.  This gut lining can become inflamed (for many reasons-see list below) and these tight junctions can separate creating holes in this protective barrier.  The toxins are now passing through these tears in the intestinal wall.  Once they enter the blood stream they can trigger an immune response which is protective rather than a healing response. 

Think of LGS as intruders invading your home.  If the door stays open (LGS) the intruders will constantly enter with nothing to stop them. Thus, if your root causes for LGS are not addressed, that door will continue to stay open and more damage will be done to your home.  Over time then the issue become chronic. 

Once the issue becomes chronic, it places stress upon the liver. The liver attempts to clean up this toxic overload but the liver may now be overburdened and cannot keep up.  This burden will lead to even more consequences over time. 

Over time this leads to low grade infections within the body and can affect your gut health but can also affect your brain and your liver.  It can contribute to autoimmune disease, autism and allergies. It has been linked to MS, chronic fatigue syndrome, acne, eczema, psoriasis, and IBS to name a few. 

LGS Symptoms

  • Gas, bloating, diarrhea, constipation
  • ADHD
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Autism
  • Bipolar
  • GERD
  • Poor immune functioning (get every cold that comes around or take a long time to recover form illness)
  • Brain fog, memory loss
  • Headaches
  • Excessive fatigue
  • Nutritional deficiencies (not absorbing your nutrients)
  • Allergies
  • Asthma
  • Skin issues (eczema, psoriasis, acne)
  • IBS
  • IBD
  • Other autoimmune conditions such as Hashimotos, celiac disease, fibromyalgia
  • Arthritis, inflamed joints, chronic pain
  • Changes in mood, weight, and appetite

What to Do if Have a Leaky Gut

The first thing to do if you know you have leaky gut is to identify what is causing it.

 Some causes of leaky gut include (not an exhaustible list):

GMO

  • NSAIDS
  • Anorexia
  • Candida
  • Old age
  • Alcohol abuse
  • Chemo and radiation
  • Parasitic infection
  • GMO’s, pesticides, herbicides, glyphosate
  • Antibiotic use
  • Food allergies/food sensitivities
  • Standard American Diet
  • Diet high in refined sugar and processed, refined carbs
  • Gluten (today’s gluten is sprayed)
  • Pasteurized dairy
  • Meats from CAFO (confined animal factory operations)
  • Chronic elevated cortisol levels

 

 

When you Have Identified your Causes (often there is more than one) Then Follow a Step by Step Protocol:

  1. Remove the identifying causes from your diet (if you need to, work with a nutritional professional who can help you identify your root causes and possibly order testing such as IgG food allergy testing, Stool testing, Organic Acid tests, zonulin or lactulose tests ).
  2. Add in supportive foods for your body, such as leafy greens, fruits, vegetables, quality fats and proteins. Eat whole foods as much as possible. Hydrate with filtered water and organic herbal teas. 
  3. Add in herbs and supportive supplements to promote gut healing and liver detox (it is best to work under the guidance of a professional at this point as some herbs and supplements can interact with meds or may not be suitable for some health conditions)
  4. Add in prebiotic and probiotic rich foods such as kefir, kimchi, fermented vegetables, miso and tempeh, raw onions and garlic, asparagus and Jerusalem artichoke.

How to Avoid LGS

The best way to avoid LGS is to avoid the list of roots causes above. In addition to that, supporting your gut health and your immune health is key with prebiotic and probiotic rich foods daily and stick to a whole foods diet as much as you can (I like an 80/20 plan).

Uses herbs and supplements as needed on an individualized basis.  I don’t recommend specifics here because everyone has different needs and a different constitution and thus each plan should be targeted for your health needs instead of generalized. 

Sources

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25734566
  2. https://chriskresser.com/how-stress-wreaks-havoc-on-your-gut/
  3. Bauman, E. & Friedlander, J. (2014) Therapeutics in Nutrition. CA: Bauman College
  4. Nichols, T. & Faas, N. (2005) Optimal Digestive Health. VT: Healing Arts Press.
  5. http://www.functionalmedicineuniversity.com/public/leaky-gut.cfm

 

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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