Tag Archives: gut health

Lyme Disease, what you haven’t heard

 

When you or your child gets a tick bite, fear goes straight to your heart. As well it should. Because some tick bites lead to Lyme disease. Lyme disease is caused by the bacteria borellia burgdorferi and it can wreak havoc on any and every part of your body, especially your gut and your immune system.

The symptoms of Lyme are widespread, and typically antibiotics are presented as the main and sole solution. Doctors hand out a prescription and send you on your way with no guidance on the healing. While antibiotics are necessary, they don’t provide a whole systems approach to recovery, which you definitely need. Additionally, antibiotics leave your microbiome in bad shape, and with a taxed immune system (from the Lyme), you won’t be able to fight out any bad yeast that cropped up during antibiotic treatment.

What does it look like?

It’s necessary to recognize the signs and symptoms of Lyme, as they are vast and could be masked under other diagnoses.

Early symptoms

  • bull’s eye type rash
  • fever and or chills
  • headache
  • stiff neck
  • painful muscles or joints
  • fatigue
  • swollen glands
  • symptoms can appear within 3-30 days after the bite

Advanced symptoms

  • fatigue (systemic exertion intolerance disease)
  • migratory joint and muscular pain
  • neck and shoulder stiffness
  • daily persistent headaches
  • neuropathies
  • tingling and numbness
  • disordered sleep
  • recurrent flu-like symptoms
  • cognitive dysfunction
  • mood and psychiatric dysfunctions
  • increased sensitivity to foods, smells, light and noise

Because the symptoms are so widespread, it makes sense that Lyme disease has a systemic burden, including ongoing inflammation, immune system exhaustion, cellular oxidative stress, and neurotoxin release.

What to do?

It is hopeful to know that the symptoms of Lyme can be attenuated through different lifestyle, diet, and supplemental protocols.

Sleep should be addressed within a holistic approach to Lyme disease. Sleep disturbances and chronic fatigue are prevalent with Lyme. And sleep is so necessary for healing and building the immune system up.

  • Arrange your schedule to allow for 8 hours of sleep.
  • Practicing good sleep hygiene is important: not using screens for a couple hours before bed, making sure you go to bed at the same time every night and sleeping in a cool dark room.
  • If falling asleep or staying asleep is a problem, there are numerous natural sleep aids: melatonin, passionflower, lemon balm, or GABA precursors.

Stress management is essential. External stress can further the stress inside your body and prevent recovery.

  • Meditation
  • Down time
  • Laughter
  • Deep breaths, taken throughout the day

Diet: the goals of being to reduce inflammation, rebuild the immune system, improve gut health (repair after the pathogens and antibiotics), and nourish the person.

  • Eat whole foods
  • Avoid high sugar and fat foods, such as processed starches, candy and junk food, fried foods
  • Increase intake of fresh vegetables, fruits, and grains
  • Choose organic when possible
  • Eat more anti-inflammatory foods (plant based, omega-3 fatty acids, Mediterranean diet)
  • Repopulate the gut with probiotic rich fermented foods (contraindicated in some people)
  • Address food sensitivities, such as gluten and dairy, as all food sensitivities can increase inflammation, weaken the immune system and worse Lyme symptoms

For gut health, we might need to kill off any yeast or other pathogens that are present. (There are many options for this, but I don’t recommend trying them without supervision from a qualified practitioner.) Then also heal the gut lining from any injury from the Lyme or other pathogens as well as reinoculate with probiotics.

Supplementation should be utilized in order to address and TREAT poor immune function, chronic fatigue, neurological symptoms, muscle spasms, joint pain, and gut and hormonal imbalances.

Some ideas to decrease overall inflammation and inhibit pro-inflammatory cytokine production:

  • Curcumin/turmeric
  • Quercetin
  • EPA/DHA (omega 3 fatty acids or fish oil)
  • Alpha lipoic acid
  • Tart cherry juice
  • Antioxidants
  • Coconut oil
  • Green tea

Some ideas to address chronic fatigue or neurological symptoms and boost general immune health:

  • High quality multivitamin
  • Co-Enzyme Q10
  • Acetyl L-Carnitine
  • Vitamin B Complex (with activated Bs)
  • Gamma linolenic acid (GLA)
  • Omega 3 EFA fish oil
  • Alpha lipoic acid
  • Magnesium

Here is a testimonial from a client of mine. She came to me, feeling like crap, after the doctor had put her on numerous rounds of antibiotics for the Lyme:

“My sophomore year of high school I was diagnosed with Lyme’s Disease. This led to multiple rounds of doxycycline and amoxicillin along with my 5 year battle of joint pain, fatigue, and the ever present stomach issues. I finally began seeking help, and was led to Dianne. She put me on a treatment plan, for the lifetime of stress my body’s been under due to the high amounts of antibiotics I had been on, and quickly began rebuilding my gut. Alongside the supplements Dianne recommended, I changed my diet and almost immediately began feeling a change! Within three months I felt like a new person. I have a new lease on life that I had never experienced before and began living a life without fearing of the pain that was coming. I am now studying abroad in France and have the freedom from suffering with fatigue, pain, or digestive issues.”

As you can see a functional approach to Lyme is much more comprehensive than what you will get from the doctor alone. Antibiotics kill the Lyme but don’t support the healing or clean up the mess that the Lyme (or the antibiotics themselves) created.

The Gut Healing Protein

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Glutamine is a nutrient that is involved in numerous biochemical processes that impact our immune system, muscles, digestion and other GI processes. Glutamine is an amino acid, a building block of protein, naturally found in food and in the body. Extreme exercise, infection, surgery, and trauma are all known to deplete our body’s glutamine stores, particularly in our muscle cells.

Glutamine is often used as a supplement for individuals with:

  • Diarrhea
  • Leaky Gut
  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Crohn’s Disease
  • Nerve pain
  • Stomach ulcers
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Athletic performance treatment

Glutamine and the Gut

The small intestine is the primary organ of glutamine use. Glutamine feeds the cells of the GI lining. This uses about 20-30% of our glutamine. Individuals with a ‘stressed gut’ should consider glutamine supplementation, as it is an essential component for the maintenance of gut metabolism, and function especially during trauma or when the stability of the gut wall is compromised. The gut can be compromised as a result of the following:

  • Consuming Trigger foods (foods your are allergic, or sensitive to. Often gluten, dairy, or soy)
  • Excessive sugar intake
  • Leaky gut
  • Overuse of antibiotics
  • Chronic Inflammation
  • Environmental Pollutants/Toxins
  • Smoking
  • Stress

…And these are just a few!

Glutamine supplementation is a support to the healing process and works to regenerate and repair the cells of the intestine. Because glutamine is the primary fuel for the cells of the intestine, high quality L-Glutamine can be absorbed directly into the cells- and the healing begins!

Glutamine and the rest of the body

Because our immune and intestinal cells rely on glutamine for energy, an individual who is deficient may experience fatigue as our cells become drained and functionality decreases. As cell function decreases, the inability to complete the necessary processes required to maintain optimal health causes our immune system to weaken, increasing the risk of infection and the common cold. This process is exacerbated during times of stress, trauma, chronic injury, or extreme exercise.

Glutamine is an essential component in the process of detoxing, as is helps to remove excess ammonia. It also plays a role in maintaining proper immune and brain function. Glutamine increases the production of Gamma-Amino Butyric Acid (GABA), a neurotransmitter that has a calming effect on the body and mind during stressful situations, permitting improved concentration and enhanced sleep.

Where to Find Glutamine in our Diet

Some of the best sources include:

  • Dark leafy greens
    • Spinach
    • Cabbage
    • Raw Parsley
  • Beans
  • Meat
    • Chicken
      • Beef
  • Fish
    • Pork
  • Dairy
    • Ricotta Cheese
    • Yogurt
    • Cottage Cheese

If you think supplemental glutamine may be something to consider, talk to your functional dietitian! Anyone with a compromised gut would benefit from glutamine supplementation. It comes in a powder form that can be added to smoothies, soups, or any drink. You can also click on supplements (above) and see my “heal your gut” powder-it is 100% glutamine.

 

Simple, Delicious, Nutritious…Chicken soup

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Those of us with digestive issues know that sometimes you can’t find anything to eat that is appealing and also easy to digest. And if you do know of such a meal, it usually takes effort to make. There needs to be something that fits into all those three categories. Here’s my easy-on-the-gut, easy-to-prepare, yummy meal. Gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar-free, low fat, low carb, processed-food-free, chicken soup.

To make it an EASY meal to prepare, we start with organic chicken broth, and go from there. (If you want, you can always make your own bone broth. You can find numerous recipes online)

Ingredients:

16 ounces of organic chicken broth

3 carrots

1/4 cup of parsley

2 celery stalks

1/3 of an onion

1/2 cup of water

1/2 of a chicken breast (I use whole foods rotisserie chicken-another step made easier)

Directions:

Put the chicken broth and water into a pot, and turn on stove on medium heat.

Chop the onion, parsley, carrots and celery and put them into the pot.

Cut up the chicken into bite sized pieces and put into the soup.

Let simmer for 30 minutes.

Enjoy!

 

 

Things you wished you knew about ADHD treatment

adhdAttention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) has three types: “inattentive” type, when focus and distractibility are an issue, but there is no hyperactivity, “hyperactive” type, when restlessness and impulsivity are an issue and focus is not as much of an issue, and “combined” when inattentiveness and hyperactivity are both a challenge. ADHD is on the rise in our culture. The number of children diagnosed with ADHD has doubled in less than 10 years. Additionally, 4.2 million kids are on prescription psychostimulants.

Some experts, myself included, believe the single biggest factor is lack of proper nutrition. Yet this is not usually addressed, at least not by doctors. Nutrition and sleep are the two pillars of a child’s brain health. These two foundational areas impact everything. They are so fundamental and need to be optimized so that a child’s brain can function at its best.

I want to make one thing clear: I am not anti-medication. Medication can be a very good treatment option for a child with ADHD. But medication alone or medication as the first or only treatment is a tragic missed opportunity. When we optimize a child’s health so his brain can work at it’s best, other secondary treatments, like meds, will have better success. Without addressing nutrition, no one’s brain or body can operate optimally.

For a complicated diagnosis such as ADHD, a comprehensive set of treatments is needed. Below I have outlined many areas of consideration and treatment for a child with ADHD. This is a long post because there are so many considerations. I have tried to be thorough yet brief (the vast amount of this info could easily fill a book, and has!).

Diet:

Overall healthy diet

  • Nutrition is so crucial for the body and brain to develop and function. A child needs to get adequate protein, healthy fats, and plenty of fruits and vegetables. Sugars and processed foods need to be limited.

Breakfast

  • In addition to maintaining overall healthy nutrition for functioning, there are specific diet choices that can be made to help improve daily symptoms. Sugar and simple starches, like those in cereals, breads and other typical breakfast foods, get digested and absorbed very quickly. This raises a child’s blood sugar and the body’s response is to process and get rid of that blood sugar, leaving a child with LOW blood sugar by mid-morning. As we all know, a person with low blood sugar can become irritable, inattentive and tired, so you can imagine how this affects someone who is already prone to impulsivity or inattentiveness. A good breakfast with plenty of protein is essential. The carbs should be in the form of fruit or dairy or, if need be, whole grains. Looking for breakfast ideas? Click here.

Snacking

  • Small frequent snacks are good for both keeping a child’s blood sugar stable and providing ongoing nutrition throughout the day. A snack should not be junk food, candy, cookies, or other nutrition-less foods. A snack should reflect the same standards as a meal: protein, healthy carbs, fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats. Click here for my kid’s snack list.

Water

  • Make sure your child has enough water. Dehydration can negatively affect every aspect of the body, especially the brain.

Food sensitivities

  • About half of all kids with ADHD suffer from food sensitivities. Food sensitivities are NOT the same as food allergies. An allergy causes an immediate immune system reaction (like those requiring an epi-pen). Sensitivities cause a slow inflammatory response and chronic symptoms. Food sensitivities can be the culprit for symptoms such as skin rashes, fatigue, digestive symptoms, respiratory symptoms, as well as mood and behavior disturbances.
  • Cutting out any foods your child is reactive to can improve ADHD.
  • An elimination diet, (when you eliminate a specific food in all its forms for one to three months, and then reintroduce it) is the gold standard for figuring out food sensitivities. This elimination can be done for one food at a time, or you can eliminate all the foods that are potential triggers, really calm things down, and then reintroduce one food at a time. This can be complicated, so it is wise to seek professional help.
  • The most common food sensitivities are to: gluten, dairy, tree nuts, peanuts, seafood, corn, eggs, and soy.
  • There are tests, such as IgG and MRT, for food sensitivities. They are both controversial, but have yielded some amazing results in some cases.

Gut health

  • Gut health and behavioral/brain health are linked. The gut-brain axis is a two way street, and the health of one affects the health of the other. If there are unhealthy bacteria or yeast in your child’s gut, those can be causing or worsening their ADHD symptoms.
  • If their gut lining isn’t healthy, toxins and waste products from the gut can leak into the body and dramatically affect the brain.

Additives

  • There are twenty-four types of food additives found in the food that we eat. There is a lot of controversy about the effect of these artificial chemicals that we consume with every bite of processed food. We don’t know for sure the impact of these chemicals on the growing brain and nervous system but there is some evidence that it is harmful. Most countries (besides the US) do not allow some of these additives in their food supply. Some examples:
    • Preservatives
    • Artificial colors (Red No. 40 for example) There is research that shows these additives cause hyperactivity. They are stimulating for the brain.
    • Artificial sweeteners
    • Artificial flavors

Picky eaters:

Picky eating, food aversion, sensory issues, and other eating-related behavioral problems are often present in ADHD. These need to be addressed. They all have the potential to negatively affect growth and development. Seek help from a dietitian and/or sensory specialist.

Vitamin and Mineral Deficiencies:

Almost all children with ADHD have nutrient deficiencies, sometimes more than one. The following are common deficiencies and/or nutrients that have been shown in research to help with ADHD symptoms.

  • Magnesium
  • Iron
  • Zinc
  • Vitamin D
  • B6 (should be in the form P5P-see below)
  • All B vitamins (should be given in their activated form-which are impossible to find in the store, even Whole Foods. The best place to get these is from a health care practitioner who has an account with a high-grade supplement company)
  • Focus supplement: I have developed a formula that contains most of these nutrients and more, in the right proportions. And I recommend it to all my clients with ADHD.

Other nutrients and supplements:

  • Omega-3 fatty acids, commonly known as fish oil. EPA and DHA are two fatty acids that are scarce in our diet and essential for brain health. There is tons of research on these, suggesting that they can aid in managing Fish oil pills, liquids or chewables can be found in many stores. Fish oil is better than flax seed, which contains ALA and isn’t as readily used by the body as EPA and DHA
  • This and other phospholipids are essential for cell membranes and might have a place in the treatment of ADHD. A new product, Vayarin, has phosphatidylserine attached to Omega 3s and has been shown to improve ADHD.
  • Gingko Biloba has been shown in research studies to improve focus in kids with ADHD.
  • Anti-oxidants naturally occur in fruits and vegetables, or they can be found in supplements. They are crucial for reducing the oxidative stress that is present in people with brain challenges.
  • Amino acid precursors to neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters are the chemicals that the brain uses to communicate. Neurotransmitters are required for thinking and focusing. Many people with ADHD are deficient in the neurotransmitter dopamine. This makes sense as dopamine is needed for focus, attention, and executive functioning. L-tyrosine is an amino acid (single molecule protein) that is the precursor to dopamine in the body. This is a safe, non-medicinal way to balance the brain.

**Both nutrient supplementation and herbal or neurotransmitter supplementation should be done under the supervision of a qualified health care professional.

Tests:

There are several tests that I offer in my practice, which can reveal important information about what’s going on inside the body and therefore aid in targeted individualized treatment.

  • Micronutrient test. By doing this test, we can determine which vitamin, mineral, or anti-oxidant deficiencies a child has and therefore need to be supplemented.
  • Neurotransmitter Test. This test measures the levels of serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine, epinephrine, GABA, and glutamate. By discovering which neurotransmitters are higher or lower than expected, we know exactly how much of which amino acids to provide in order to restore balance.
  • Genetics Testing can be very illuminating about the genetic factors relating to someone’s health. There are ways to combat or get around genetic roadblocks.
  • Heavy Metal Testing to see if a toxicity exists and needs to be treated.
  • Food sensitivity testing to determine if someone is reacting to certain

Other lifestyle factors:

  • Heavy metal toxicity
    • Lead, mercury, and other metals contaminate our soil, seafood, and sometimes our water. These can cause brain issues in susceptible people. Children are naturally susceptible, as their brains are still developing. Furthermore, genetics dictates that some people are worse at detoxifying than others, and may need extra help.
  • Exercise:
    • Physical activity-we know that exercise is good for the brain, and is very beneficial in helping with ADHD symptoms.
    • Yoga has been shown to be beneficial in this population too.
    • Martial arts can help with self-control and focus.
  • Meditation and mindfulness can be very calming and helpful to improve one’s control over their attention.
  • Biofeedback and neurofeedback: this takes another expert and his machinery, but can very helpful to reinforce when a child is focusing.
  • Screens
    • Limit all screens such as TV viewing, video games and iPad to 30 minutes a day (ideally).
  • SLEEP
    • Last but not least. Sleep is as foundational as diet. Without the proper amount and quality of sleep, a child simply cannot function optimally. 8-10 hours is usually optimal. Going to bed at the same time every night is a good idea too.

A condition such as ADHD requires a comprehensive and integrated treatment plan. There are many, many areas to work on before, instead, or in addition to treating with medication.

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Fibromyalgia and the Gut

Protected individual repelling bacteria and viruses show  on tablet  made in 3d software isolated on white

 

And yet another connection between the gut and a seemingly unrelated condition: Fibromyalgia.

Fibromyalgia describes a condition where a person experiences widespread musculoskeletal pain. Similar to IBS, a total work up is done, and if Rheumatoid Arthritis, Lupus or other diagnoses are ruled out, and there is nothing tangibly ‘wrong’, then a diagnosis of exclusion is given to explain the symptoms.  There are 18 tender points, and if 11 or more hurt for 3 months or more, that’s fibromyalgia. The symptoms of fibromyalgia don’t stop at musculoskeletal pain. They also include fatigue, brain fog, and memory issues. Fibromyalgia can begin suddenly after a trauma, surgery, infection or psychological stress, or it can come on slowly with no triggering event. There is usually a genetic predisposition.

Fibromyalgia seems to affect the way the brain processes pain. This is yet another similarity to IBS, where there are overactive pain signals, an overactive immune system and a hypersensitivity to pain.

But here is the third and most astonishing similarity: nearly all fibromyalgia patients have IBS and Small Intestinal Bacteria Overgrowth! In the case of these patients, the bacteria release toxins that get into the blood stream (b/c of damage to the GI track) and this causes the pain and sensitivity to pain.

If you have fibromyalgia, get to the root of the problem: your gut.

Lemon Water, the Best Superfood

pic lemon

Move over kale (and watercress…), there’s a new superfood in town. Lemon juice in lukewarm water happens to be one of the very best things you can put in your body.

I first learned about this through my research on digestion and gut problems. I was amazed and relieved that there was something I could actually do to help certain tricky gut issues (more on this below).  But I went on to discovered that there are many other benefits to drinking lemon water beside gut health.

Benefits of lukewarm water with lemon juice include:

  • Vitamins and Minerals
    • Lemons have Vitamin C, many B vitamins, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Potassium and Fiber
  • Weight loss and craving control
    • The fiber in lemon is pectin and it has been shown to reduce hunger cravings, possibly helping with weight loss.
  • Bad Breath
    • The acid in lemon helps kill the bacteria in your mouth that cause bad breath.
  • Better younger skin
    • This is possibly a stretch but has been reported. The likely explanation is that the Vitamin C helps with collagen which can keep skin younger, tighter and less wrinkled.
  • While lemon is acidic, it helps keep your body/blood alkaline (at a healthier pH level).
    • Removing uric acid from your joints
    • Reducing inflammation all over the body
    • Preventing UTIs and Kidney stones from forming
  • Caffeine substitute.
    • Warm lemon water in the morning has also been shown to be a stimulant. But a healthier one than dehydrating caffeine!
  • Hydrating.
    • Obviously it is the water, not the lemon per se, that will be hydrating you. But it is still very important and a wonderful benefit of drinking lemon water.
  • Gut health and Digestive Benefits:
    • Helps relieve constipation: warm lemon water in the morning gets things moving along
    • Increases stomach acid. Too little stomach acid comes with a lot of problems. Without it, food doesn’t break down properly so it can’t be digested and absorbed. This can lead to food sensitivities as well as indigestion and malnutrition. Also, we need a certain amount of stomach acid to kill the bad bacteria that enter our system via our food. This isn’t just our best line of defense against food poisoning, it is an essential part of keeping the gut flora in balance.
    • Increases bile production so we can properly digest and absorb fat and fat-soluable vitamins.
    • It loosens biofilms. What? Well, the bad bacteria are very crafty, forming little films around themselves, attaching to our gut lining. This poses an obstacle to antibiotics, good bacteria and other methods of trying to kill them. Lemon juice (or apple cider vinegar) actually helps remove these films so the bad bacteria underneath get exposed and removed from the lining, thereby allowing healing to take place.

Need any more convincing? Even my skeptic husband decided to try it!

Lemon water can benefit anyone. But for those with digestive problems (or a tendency for kidney stones), it is a miracle drug. I should mention one possible side effect-the acid can be hard on your tooth enamel.  To ensure no damage-you could drink it through a straw! There are also special toothpastes to use to strengthen your enamel. Another very effective trick is to rinse your mouth out with water (or better yet water with baking soda) after drinking your tall glass of lemon water. Important: do not brush your teeth for a half hour after drinking the lemon water. Rinse with water and then wait. This is due to the acid making your enamel soft. The toothbrush and paste can be rough on the soft enamel.

The best way to get all these benefits is to squeeze lemon into warm water, drink it first thing in the morning and not eat for 15 minutes. The way to maximize all the digestive benefits is to do this before each meal. The way to maximize most of the other benefits too is to do this throughout the day!

A half of a lemon a day is recommended if you weigh less than 150 pounds, a whole lemon if you are over 150 pounds.

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Image courtesy of voraorn at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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This salmon dish is my creation, but I hardly can take too much credit as it is so simple. This is such an easy recipe that only takes a few minutes to prepare as slicing the scallions is the only laborious task. I love this recipe at the end of a long day. Without a lot of work and time, I have a tasty and gourmet dinner. My husband is thrilled and eats it down, every last drop (yes he even drinks the sauce!). And I get my belly friendly dinner.

How is it belly friendly?

  • Omega 3 fatty acids. Salmon is high in them and they are anti-inflammatory and therefore ease the inflamed intestines
  • Ginger is also anti-inflammatory as strengthens the muscle movements of the GI tract
  • By only using the green parts of the scallions, this recipe can remain low in FODMAPs and therefore suitable for those with IBS or SIBO.
  • Gluten free soy sauce, so this is gluten free and good for those with gluten intolerance and Celiac

  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15-20 minutes
  • Servings: 2

Ingredients

1 pound salmon (halved)

2-3 scallions (green parts only, chopped)

2 heaping tablespoons ginger (grated)

⅕ cup soy sauce (opt for a low-sodium and gluten-free version)

1 tablespoon sesame oilIMG_3391

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. Place salmon in a small, oven safe pan or baking dish.
  3. Spread grated ginger over the salmon evenly.
  4. Sprinkle chopped scallions over salmon.
  5. Splash soy sauce over the salmon, enough to fully cover the sides and top (it will roll off, but that is why I use a close-fitting dish – so it doesn’t have far to roll).
  6. Drizzle with sesame oil.
  7. Bake for 15-20 minutes to desired doneness.

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Nutrition Information

Per Serving:  Calories: 409; Total Fat: 21g; Saturated Fat: 3g; Monounsaturated Fat: 7g; Polyunsaturated Fat: 9g; Cholesterol: 125mg; Sodium: 964mg; Potassium: 1278mg; Carbohydrate: 4g; Fiber: 1g; Sugar: 1g; Protein: 47g

Nutrition Bonus:   Iron: 20%

This recipe is mine, but was written and posted on Further Food. For more recipes from them, check out their website.

Photo credits to Further Food.

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How to Help Your Child have a Healthy Gut

 

I have written a lot about your gut flora, why it is important and what happens when it goes bad.

For us adults, we have to work on setting our gut right. But for us parents, we have to work on keeping our child’s gut right. The microbiome (all the bacteria and other microbes that share our body with us) can help prevent or help cause: allergies, cancer, obesity, autoimmune diseases, to name just a few. People in undeveloped countries don’t have any of these problems, because their microbiome has never been disturbed.

A vaginal birth is ideal, as the baby gets coated in tons of protective bacteria that lay the groundwork for a healthy microbiome. Breastfeeding aids in this too. But sometimes these two factors are beyond our control.

What else to do to help them keep and cultivate the good bacteria and stave off the bad:

  • Avoid antibiotics unless it’s absolutely necessary (They kill off the good bacteria)
  • Sugar and refined starches to a minimum (They feed the bad bacteria)
  • Plenty of green veggies (feed the good bacteria)
  • Plenty of fresh fruit (feed the good bacteria)
  • Yogurt or other probiotic containing foods
  • No juice
  • Avoid steroid medicines or NSAIDs (aspirin)
    • Use Tylenol instead

What happens in your young child’s life can get his/her microbiome set up or destroyed, having tremendous impact on his/her long term health.

Are Your Bacteria Working for You or Against You?

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I wrote recently about our 100 trillion bacteria living in our gut. If all circumstances are ideal, these bacteria are good and diverse. And keep us in good health

Good healthful gut bacteria are very delicate. And harmful ones are hearty. Here are the things that change your gut bacteria for the WORSE:

  • The foods you eat
  • C-section birth
    • A woman’s body actually pours tons of protective good bacteria into the birth canal during labor so that the baby is covered during birth. These protective bacteria are the baby’s first exposure to any microbes.
  • Antibiotics
    • Even one course of antibiotics can alter the ratio. Some species are killed off completely
    • Most of the antibiotics used are in the animal industry and we are consuming them in the meat we eat.
  • GI infections
  • Chronic stress
  • Environmental Toxins
  • Low stomach acid
  • Excessive hygiene

The term for having a poor ratio of good bacteria and low diversity of microbes is gut dysbiosis.

Gut Dysbiosis is associated with:

  • IBS
  • Bloating and distention
  • Celiac
  • Crohn’s and Colitis
  • GERD
  • Some cancers
  • Obesity
  • Allergies and food sensitivities
  • Heart disease
  • Mental disorders: autism, Alzheimer’s, schizophrenia, anxiety, depression

It’s important to get your gut health back! Book an appointment today to get your gut flora in shape!