Tag Archive for cortisol

You’re Not Lazy and You’re Not Crazy; It’s Just Your Hormones.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI recently tested my estrogen and progesterone levels – at home. ūüôā ¬†I’m 50 in a few weeks, and passed the “12 months no period = menopause” mark in January. I was curious.

It’s not the first time I’ve tested my sex hormones. ¬†Three times in the past, I went through my OB-Gyn for hormone blood tests, covered by insurance; and then 3 times I did both saliva and blood spot tests through a Functional Medicine doctor, and payed a fortune out of pocket. ¬†I also tested my cortisol levels throughout the day.

Not this time! ¬†Same lab, same tests, I paid $70, and had the results sent right to me. ¬†Freedom! I’ll explain how you can do this at the end of this post. ¬†First, let me explain why I think it’s a good idea to know what’s going on with our hormones.

Hormones Rule Us. ¬†This isn’t a Post on menopause, it’s a Post about body weight, and how we can use information to really tailor that whole “Food is Medicine” thing. ¬†It’s also a Post to reinforce that our body is a Chemistry Set, not a Math Equation. ¬†The whole calories in/calories out….. we don’t run that way.

Let me bullet point some facts about food and hormones to illustrate the futileness of believing that weight loss comes from calorie deficits, and the hormonal effects when we employ traditional diet methods, or even a Standard American Diet.

* The thyroid gland slows down production of thyroid hormone Рwhich slows down metabolism Рas soon as it even suspects a lack of food.  Our thyroid gland is supposed to protect us from starving.  The result of a few rounds of dieting?  A thyroid that stays sluggish even when calorie consumption rises.

* When we eat grains and sugar (all grains digest to sugar in the gut), the result is high blood sugar. ¬†High blood sugar induces high levels of the hormone Insulin. ¬†Insulin is a building, storage hormone, it’s also a caustic damaging hormone when in excess. ¬†For most Americans, insulin is in excess.

* Studies show that chronically high blood sugar actually destroys the thyroid gland, lowering metabolism even more via less thyroid hormone.

* When the hormone Insulin is elevated (say, after a breakfast of cereal, or a dinner of pasta), our cells are literally prohibited from burning fat for fuel. ¬†They’re only allowed to burn sugar. In our body, that’s a rule we can’t change. ¬†It’s part of our design.

* What happens when Insulin remains high – a la Insulin Resistance? ¬†Insulin resistance leads to Leptin resistance. ¬†Leptin is a satiety hormone. ¬†“Resistance” means the hormone can’t get into the cells to deliver it’s message. ¬† Leptin resistance means constant hunger.

* Ghrelin is a hunger hormone. It’s supposed to rise when our stomach is empty, and fall after we eat. ¬†Studies show that in people who eat “diet food”, ghrelin doesn’t fall, or fall properly. ¬†The result: ¬†we stay hungry. ¬†We need Real Whole Food to make the hunger hormones and the satiety hormones function correctly. ¬†Diet Coke with a Protein Bar won’t work; actually, that’s a recipe for hormonal disaster.

* Estrogen Dominance is pervasive today, in men, women, and children.  Too much estrogen causes low testosterone in men.  Excess estrogen causes low progesterone in women.  These are both hormonal situations that lead to weight gain.

* Cortisol is a hormone produced in the adrenal glands in response to the brains perception of stress, any kind of stress, even fake stress as in a scary movie.  Cortisol production inhibits sex hormone production.  Chronically high cortisol means chronically low sex hormones.  Chronically high cortisol is linked to insulin resistance ( it blocks insulin receptors on cells) and belly fat Рand heart disease.

* Lack of sleep messes up more hormones than we can count.  One of them is ghrelin.  Lack of sleep raises ghrelin, which increases hunger.

* Thyroid hormone Рagain, responsible for our metabolism Рis negatively affected by consumption of soy, fluoride, and chlorine.  Think protein bars, processed food, and municipal water.

* Drinking alcohol, any alcohol, causes an enzyme called aromatase to convert testosterone into estrogen. ¬†This happens to both men and women, and it causes “estrogen belly”, formerly know as “beer belly”.

*A diet full of processed foods, flour, sugar, and chemicals, severely disrupts our gut flora (even if this diet is low calorie). ¬†Our gut flora are highly involved in whether we burn predominantly fat or sugar. ¬†One example, and there’s many, is that the more diverse our gut species are, the better our liver gets rid of old hormones, like estrogen. ¬†Poor gut flora means poor elimination, and those hormones stay dangerously high in the blood.

* Numerous studies show that Vitamin D Рwhich is actually a hormone, greatly influences both weight loss and inflammation levels.  Vitamin D deficiency is epidemic!

* Numerous studies show that excessive exercise and chronic dieting raise levels of cortisol in the blood. ¬†Just like when Insulin is high, when cortisol is high, the body doesn’t burn fat, it burns sugar.

* Both Fructose and Trans Fats (present in most prepared foods, “diet” or not) both cause Insulin Resistance and raise markers of inflammatory hormones, again, inhibiting fat burning in the cell.

All that’s just the tip of the iceberg. ¬†Hopefully it was enough to convince you that losing weight isn’t about starving yourself, mini meals, excessive exercise, and diet foods. ¬†All that stuff does the opposite of permanent weight loss; those kind of diet efforts put you into a hormonal state that makes weight loss impossible.

How does this tie in with me testing some of my hormones at home? ¬†My health doesn’t come from my doctor; my health – and a healthy weight – comes from me paying attention to my body and making changes when I need too. ¬†Having normal levels of sex hormones is really important, to my weight, my brain, my energy, my immune system.

Everything is so connected. ¬†We’re not a bunch of individual parts that work independently, not even close. ¬†I also test my blood sugar, at least a couple times a month, and just recently I did an A1C ( which shows a 90 day average of blood sugar – a great marker for Alzheimer’s and inflammation ).

Food is medicine, or food is poison. ¬†When I know what’s going on in my body, I can literally use food as my medicine. ¬†For instance, now that I know how low my estrogen is, and that I’m fully menopausal, I’m using particular foods and herbs to naturally raise my estrogen, and progesterone. ¬†I’ll test again this summer and see how that’s working.

Last year I got really into Bikram yoga. ¬†A friend of mind wondered if that level of heat stress caused a cortisol release, which causes high blood sugar. ¬†So I took my glucometer to the studio and tested a couple times. ¬†I’ve also tested after I’ve taught some tough boot camp classes. ¬†Exercise doesn’t stress me, I know that now because my blood sugar was good each time.

However, I’ve also tested after tornados blow through my house and seen that my blood sugar is high. ¬†( we’re a big family who loves each other but … stress happens. )

Testing at home is fun, affordable, and while a full CBC panel can be confusing to interpret, a hormone panel, blood sugar numbers, and A1C aren’t, at all. ¬†And they give you some real black and white answers about the state of your health.

I encourage all my weight loss clients to regularly test their blood sugar as it’s such a strong tool for weight loss: ¬†if blood sugar’s high, the hormone Insulin is high. ¬†When insulin is high, fat loss doesn’t happen. ¬†Notice I said fat loss not weight loss. ¬†You can starve some weight off, but if insulin is high, and worse, if the hormone cortisol is high from the stress of dieting/hunger/excessive exercise, the weight comes mostly in the form of muscle tissue, not fat tissue. ¬†Less muscle tissue means a lower daily calorie burn.

Again, we’re a big cycle. ¬†Here’s the links to the tests, if you want help with using them to lose weight or get healthy, or both, contact me and let’s work together.

To order the hormone panel:http://www.johnleemd.com/store/prod_test_kits.html

To buy a glucometer/blood sugar meter:http://www.amazon.com/Diabetes-Testing-TrueResult-TrueTest-Active1st/dp/B00PX2T58I/ref=cm_cr_pr_sims_t

To buy an A1C:http://www.amazon.com/4303514-Bayer-hBa1C-Waived-Diabetes/dp/B00D7C6YWQ/ref=pd_sbs_hpc_1?ie=UTF8&refRID=0YN868HAH518CN8NCF45

Tough Mudder, Here We Come; Do You Have Low Thyroid?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOh Yea, my sweet husband has “won” us a position in the Richmond Tough Mudder, in 7 days. ¬†We just “won” this a few days ago, so training and preparing for this is going to be…… minimal?

Here’s a link to the course,¬†¬† I’m a little scared of the Arctic Enema, and the ElectroShocks, ¬†they sound dangerous and unpleasant.

If anyone has ANY advice as to what to do, what to wear, or how to conquer an obstacle, I’ll listen:) ¬†I’m all ears!

Has anyone been listening to the Thyroid Summit this week with Dr. Brownstein and Susie Cohen? ¬†It’s FREE, it goes through June 9, and it’s loaded with Doctors and Scientists giving us the latest Thyroid info. ¬†Considering how many Americans have low thyroid function or a full disorder, this is invaluable information. ¬†And most likely much more information than you’d ever hear in a 10 minute appointment with your regular doctor.

For instance, the standard test any of us would be given to determine the health of our thyroid is called the TSH, that’s Thyroid Stimulating Hormone. ¬†Here’s the problems with just looking at TSH: ¬†1) our pituitary makes TSH, not the thyroid. ¬†2) our Thyroid actually makes a host of other hormones, the primary ones are called T4 and a little T3; and these often aren’t tested. Or if they are tested, the “Free/Unbound/Useable T3 isn’t tested.

T3 is THE ONLY HORMONE THAT ACTUALLY GETS USED IN OUR CELLS. ¬†Our T4 is SUPPOSED to be converted to T3 in our liver, kidneys, and heart. ¬†It takes many different nutrients and enzymes to make this conversion, it also takes perfectly functioning organs. ¬†What if you’re missing those nutrients or enzymes, or you have fatty liver or poorly functioning kidneys? ¬†That conversion could be compromised.

Thyroid hormone ( T 4 and T3) are made from the minerals Iodine and Selenium, and the amino acid Tyrosine. ¬†What if you don’t eat enough of the foods that contain those nutrients, or you don’t have great gut function and you don’t ABSORB those nutrients? ¬†( do you really think you get enough Iodine? That’s a tough one!)

Do you see where I’m going with this? ¬†Our thyroid function is far more than taking a pill, whether it’s a synthetic, like Synthroid, or a desiccated natural thyroid like Armor. ¬† That said, I take a supplement by Biotics called GTA FORTE II. ¬†It’s desiccated thyroid with no T4 or T3, and it’s worked wonders for me.

Statistically, it’s pretty “normal” for a woman my age to have hypothyroid. ¬†I’ve had my TSH, T3, T4 and RT3 tested, plus an antibody test, ¬†and it’s confirmed: low thyroid function. ¬†I started supplements last year, and saw a big difference in my energy levels. ¬†That said, I also pay very close attention to my nutrients and digestion. ¬†It matters that I give my body what it needs to MAKE and ABSORB the hormones.

Here’s another important issue to keep in mind: ¬†thyroid function will ALWAYS come in second to ADRENAL function. ¬†In Nutritional Therapy school, they constantly repeated ” the adrenals pull on the thyroid”. ¬†It’s true. ¬†When we’re under a lot of stress, both mental and physical, our adrenal glands are making extra adrenal hormones. ¬†Hormones get made from nutrients; ¬†limited nutrient resources are always going to go to the Adrenal glands first. ¬†After all, our body can EASILY slow down the thyroid if it needs to, to show more support to the adrenals. ¬†Adrenal hormones are our Fight and Flight hormones, and our body prioritizes them over just about everything else. ¬†You can ask for a Saliva test to see what your Cortisol levels are, but you’re probably going to need to see an Integrative or Alternative doctor to get one.

What’s one sure-fire way to slow down your Thyroid? ¬†Go on a Diet and Reduce Your Calories. ¬†Your body will slow down your metabolism Every Single Time you do this.

Looking for a doctor who’s tuned into how important good thyroid function is to overall health, and willing to do all the right tests? ¬†Try here and here.

I thought this was interesting: ¬†one of the doctors on the Thyroid Summit said when she started doing Cortisol Testing in 1999, 17% of her patients had abnormal cortisol levels; in 2014, almost 99% of her patients have abnormal cortisol levels! Wow! That’s pretty shocking! ¬†I’ve talked about the dangers of excess cortisol before, it’s scary. That’s probably the result of us rarely ever unplugging anymore, right?

What’s my end advice? ¬†Eat Real Whole Foods, and take action steps to manage your Stress. ¬†Iodine, selenium, tyrosine, and all the other nutrients we need to make and rebuild our body don’t come from crappy, processed foods, which often are COMPLETELY devoid of any nutrients ( how many vitamins or minerals do you think are in a box of Fat Free Cereal or Crackers?); or have “nutrients” added, as in vitamins and minerals made in China? ¬†It matters what we put in our mouth.

Decide today that you’re going to take control of your health, your energy, and your food. ¬†Make a plan, write it down, shop, chop, pack. ¬†Stick to your plan. ¬†If this isn’t your norm, work on making it your norm! ¬†You can do this, other people have. If you want to learn more about your thyroid, listen to the summit while you drive/workout/clean/cook/ etc; or read this post from Dr. Mercola, it’s really good!

Stress can make you Fat and Sick

I’ve had several meetings in the past 2 weeks about health and weight problems that were stress induced. ¬†For those of you who wonder how stress could possibly make you sick or heavy, here’s a couple of reasons out of the many (you’d need text books to cover everything.)

Our adrenal glands, which sit right on top of the kidneys, make dozens of hormones.stessbinge ¬†HORMONES RULE US. PERIOD. ¬†When we feel stress from anything ( an argument, over exercising, traffic, kids, a project, illness/infections, work stress, dieting.. etc) our adrenal glands squirt some “fight or flight” hormones into our blood. ¬†There’s several, but I’m going to lump them all under the one called “CORTISOL”.

Follow me here: ¬†even though most stressful situations do NOT involve having to physically run/kill/chase/escape from a physical danger, the response from our body is as if that was the case. ¬†Cortisol/adrenaline prepares us for a physical exertion.¬†( It’s a very primal response. ) How? ¬†So many ways.. ¬† this is just a couple.

1) When “stress” is felt, sugar is immediately dumped into the blood stream. ¬†Sugar is FAST energy and fat is SLOW energy, right? ¬†If the body is preparing for a threat, it wants FAST energy. ¬†Where does the sugar come from? ¬†First, the liver shoots out it’s teaspoon or so of stored sugar, then, if the stress continues, the muscle cells will be easily converted to glucose/sugar (that’s called “muscle wasting”) and then fat cells will give up their fatty acids and they’ll be converted to sugar. ¬† ¬†************* ¬†What if you don’t actually need all that SUGAR/GLUCOSE because your emergency didn’t involve anything physical? ¬† ¬†YouGottaProblem. ¬† Excess sugar is ALWAYS CONVERTED TO TRIGLYCERIDES AND STORED IN THE MIDSECTION. ¬†ALWAYS. ¬†That’s why stress causes heart disease, because the cortisol dumps sugar in the blood that’s not needed, so it becomes dangerous belly fat. ¬†( The many dangers of belly fat are a whole nother lecture, seriously.)

2) Cortisol in the blood immediately causes the heart rate to increase, the blood pressure to increase, and it causes your cells to DUMP their Magnesium (remember, this is the short list). ¬†Studies are showing that most of us are Magnesium deficient, which is bad, because Mag has many, many jobs to do in our body. One of them is to relax our muscles. ¬†When Cortisol is present though, we’re in an “anti-relaxed state”; ¬†dumping Magnesium allows our muscles to contract quickly. ¬†Again, so we can zebra losing spotsrun/kill/chase/escape. ¬† Stay in a stressed state, and the Magnesium deficit just grows.

3) Cortisol shuts down stomach acid, which means it shuts down digestion. ¬†Digestion’s NOT a priority in a “fight or flight” situation. ¬†Stay stressed, and you become nutrient deficient. ¬†Nutrients run and build our body; ¬†consequences are inevitable.

4) Cortisol halts Sex Hormone production, because the same “ingredients” (aka nutrients) are used to make the fight / flight hormones and the sex hormones. ¬†There’s only just so many of those ingredients, and Reproduction is NOT a priority in a “fight or flight” situation. ¬†The body will ALWAYS choose to make fight or flight hormones over sex hormones. ¬†Hormones run and build our body: consequences are inevitable.

I could go on and on and on. ¬†There’s not one single part of us that isn’t negatively affected by TOO MUCH cortisol. ¬†That said, we need cortisol! ¬†It gets us up in the morning, and it’s supposed to be our bodies “anti-inflammatory” response to injury. ¬†Unfortunately, when the cortisol valve doesn’t shut off, the opposite response happens: ¬†INFLAMMATION. ¬†The cause of everything bad:(

If this post is ringing bells in your head because “this sounds like you”, ¬†email me. ¬†Your health, your weight, your moods, your energy, greatly depend on having healthy adrenal glands and normal levels of cortisol. ¬†When damage has been done, you need to undo it, as soon as possible!

Oh, you know what else causes stress/cortisol/inflammation?  Too much sugar, flour, and toxins.  Seriously.  Yet another reason to eat Real Whole Foods.

Our Weight, Our Health, our Moods, Our Sleep? Depends on our GUT BUGS.

igor scientistI got to spend all day Wednesday at a seminar called “The Gut Brain Connection”; I was in Heaven. There’s a LOT of new information on the bugs in our gut because the NIH and it’s European counterparts have culminated a multi-year, multi-multi-million dollar study that’s revealed all sorts of FASCINATING facts. ¬†It turns out that there’s a whole lot more to know about the bugs in our stomachs other than “antibiotics kill them, so eat yogurt”. ¬†A whole lot more.

I’m going to bullet point some facts, and highlight some resources if you’re interested in studying it further. ¬†Know this though: ¬†our gut bacteria interacts with and has ENORMOUS effects on our ENTIRE BODY. ¬†Way more than scientists and doctors had ever guessed.

* Our bugs send information to every cell in our body, even our DNA.

* Bad bugs send Bad information, and Good bugs send Good information.  What we have in there really matters.

* There are probably over a 1000 species of bugs, totaling over 100 TRILLION bacteria just in our intestines! ¬†Three to five pounds of bacteria JUST IN OUR COLON alone!!! ¬†You’ve got to admit that’s a fun fact.

* Statistically, if you’ve got Anxiety/Depression/”brain/emotional” conditions, you’ve ¬†got gut issues: ¬†you’re either low in good bacteria, have a leaky gut, and/or hosting too much bad bacteria, or all 3. ¬†Our bugs are DIRECTLY involved in making our Neurotransmitters, Dopamine and Serotonin (among others).

* Dopamine is made in equal parts in the gut and the brain. ¬† Here’s what Dopamine does: ¬†Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that helps control the brain’s reward and pleasure centers. Dopamine deficiency results in Parkinson’s Disease, and people with low dopamine activity may be more prone to addiction.¬†(LIKE FOOD ADDICTION)

* Serotonin is made primarily in the gut, 90%; only 10% is made in the brain. ¬†Here’s a brief explanation of serotonin:¬†Serotonin is a type of neurotransmitter that is found mainly in the central nervous system and the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Much of the serotonin is located in the GI tract where it is used to regulate digestion. Serotonin helps regulate mood, sleep, appetite, learning and memory.

* Our gut bacteria play HUGE roles in making sure adequate amounts of these 2 neurotransmitters are produced.

* What compromises our good gut bacteria, which should number in the 100s of TRILLIONS, and mostly populate our Large Intestine? ¬†So much: ¬†Sugar, Flours, Processed Foods, Antibiotics, EVERY SINGLE OTC AND PRESCRIPTION DRUG bayer¬†Chemicals, and Stress/Cortisol. ¬†Every thing on this list pretty much decimates our gut flora either directly or by changing normal pH levels. ¬† Look at the list again and go over your week, then go over your kid’s week.

* MSG, which is a known neurotoxin and has horrible effects on gut bacteria and brain cells, takes 10 – 14 days to clear the body. ¬†Other names for MSG: ¬†Natural Flavors and Yeast Extract. ¬†(FDA approved) (Read Your labels, and your kid’s labels)

* Being Diabetic and Pre-Diabetic ALWAYS CHANGES GUT FLORA. ALWAYS.  If this is you, supplement with a good probiotic.

* The toxic waste from both C-Dif and E Coli harm the gut wall (leaky gut, here you come). ¬†So does alcohol. ¬†Anything that harms the wall harms the body’s ability to make and maintain good bacteria and sets up an environment for bad bacteria.

* Gut bacteria have a direct link to normal weight or obesity.

* It can take anywhere from 4 weeks to several MONTHS to repopulate gut flora after antibiotics.  THINK ABOUT THIS BEFORE YOU POP SOME FOR YOUR NEXT SORE THROAT.  There are so many holistic, wonderful treatments out there you could use instead that are just as effective with no side effects.

* Anxiety and Depression increase BAD gut bacteria, it’s the Cortisol.

lard be gone* Starving yourself by either not eating, or eating very low calorie, initiates stress and anxiety, via the hormone cortisol, which tells the ¬†neurotransmitters and bacteria in your gut to signal your thyroid to SLOW DOWN, and then they signal fat cells to STORE MORE. ¬†The body will do ANYTHING not to starve. (there’s that communication I was talking about)

* Ghrelin is a hormone which INCREASES appetite.  Alcohol and sleep deprivation INCREASE ghrelin.  So does stress.

* Stomach fat is (1) VERY metabolically active (2) it produces a lot of ESTROGEN (3) fat bellies are full of INFLAMMATION, that’s why they’re hard (4) that inflammation is Inflammatory Cytokines that don’t just stay in the belly, the shoot around the Whole Entire Body through the blood stream, wrecking Havoc and creating disease.

* Probiotics are great, and now we know that specific strains can be used to specifically target specific conditions.  Cool.

* Nothing beats Probiotic Foods and Drinks: ¬†cultured and fermented vegetables, keifer, kombucha, and real yogurt. ¬†Numbers wise, there’s millions and millions more bacteria in food, and a wider range of species, than in any pill supplement. ¬†If you’re trying to correct a condition or improve health, use the pills along with the foods/drinks. ¬†***** Vinegar does NOT make a food cultured or fermented!!*****

* A single course of antibiotics can wipe out up to 20 species. ¬†Sometimes, they DON’T make a come back.

* Want to learn more? ¬†Here’s some of the most current revelations from different researchers involved in the study talking about everything from babies, to birth, to diabetes, the immune system, and IBS.

The take away?  What we eat matters.  How we stay healthy and well, matters.  It matters what we put in our body.  Really.  Everything we eat either helps us or harms us.  Be a Real Whole Foodie!

Estrogen, Cortisol, and Thyroid; GIRLS SCOUT COOKIES, Recipes

blood spotOkay, Full Disclosure: ¬†I’m Going Through Menopause. Ugh. This picture to the left? ¬†That’s a “Blood Spot” test I did this morning. More on that in another post, I promise. ¬†I’m actually just letting you know because today I’m tying Hormones to Health, Mood, and Food.¬†What We Eat Affects Our Body and Mind. ¬†I’m doing this after being inspired by a client email last night, asking if eating a few Girl Scout cookies would undue a “good” day. Let me tie my menopause, YOUR body, and her girl scout cookies together, because they are. ¬†Our body, our energy, our emotions, our health,.. they’re one big connection.

Here’s some interesting facts:

*The Ingredient list for Samoas:(Don’t be hatin on the Messenger!)

Sugar, vegetable oil (soybean and palm oil, partially hydrogenated palm kernel and/or cottonseed oil), enriched flour (wheat flour, niacin,reduced iron, thiamin mononitrate [vitamin B1],riboflavin [vitamin B2], folic acid), corn syrup, coconut,sweetened condensed milk (condensed milk, sugar),contains two percent or less of sorbitol, glycerin, cocoa,invert sugar, cocoa processed with alkali, cornstarch,salt, caramelized sugar, soy lecithin, dextrose, natural and artificial flavor, carrageenan, leavening (baking soda, monocalcium phosphate).

Pure Poison.

* Since our body could CARE A LESS about calories, and is DOMINATED by the hormones Insulin and Cortisol, does “food” like this undo a good day? ¬†YES!, ¬†“food” like this is ALWAYS harmful for your body. Always. ¬†After eating this, your blood sugar and insulin spike, your Immune System is suppressed for 24 hours, you’ve allowed in Cancer Causing Sugar and Flour (glucose – cancer’s favorite food), Chemicals (artificial colors, flavors), soy, hydrogenated oils and Omega 6/Inflammatory¬†vegetable oils. If ONLY the worst side effect was a little weight gain.

* What if you’re in the Majority of Women, and struggle with Bloat and Headaches; bile beanswhat affect will this “food” have on those issues? ¬†Bloat, which happens in the Small Intestines, is from Bacteria or Yeast that DOESN’T BELONG THERE. ¬†BLOAT IS NOT NORMAL. EVER. ¬†Eat “food” like these Girl Scout Cookies, and you’ve just fed that bacteria and yeast it’s most favorite, fortifying meal. ¬†It’s like when Popeye eats the can of spinach and then he can beat up Bruno. ¬†That’s what’s going on in your “dysbiotic gut” (overgrowth of the bad stuff, not enough good): ¬†you’ve just empowered it and prolonged your condition.

* Headaches are highly linked to Sugar/Flour/Insulin/Cortisol/Thyroid/Estrogen. ¬†There’s a cascade effect going on that’s too long to write about, but eat this “food”, and if you’re prone to headaches, you’ll get one.

* Eating “food” like this suppresses/destroys our beneficial gut bacteria. ¬†Here’s one surprising side effect from that: after our body produces estrogen,(this is for MEN and WOMEN) and uses it, it’s sent back to the liver to be broken down. ¬†After leaving the liver, the “conjugated” estrogen is sent to the small intestine to be further broken down, or actually consumed by, the bacteria “lactobacillus acidophilis”. ¬†If you’ve destroyed your gut bacteria with: SUGAR (the kind in Girl Scout Cookies), Processed Refined Foods (like a Girl Scout Cookie), Antibiotics, Cortisol/Stress, chemicals in water (fluoride, chlorine, etc), birth control pills, anti-inflammatories, acid suppressors, or Splenda, ¬†you’ve likely impaired your bodies ability to break down and get rid of “old estrogen”; ¬†back into the system the estrogen goes instead of being pooped or peed out of you. ¬†Not Good. ¬†(Bryan – there’s your favorite word again)

*The Sugar, Flour, and Chemicals in this product will ABSOLUTELY STIMULATE AND NURTURE the Addiction Centers in your brain. ¬†And your child’s brain.

*Eat enough of these to raise your blood sugar way above normal, and your pancreas will respond with a big dose of Insulin to push it back down. ¬†Unfortunately though, when blood sugar crashes, Cortisol is called in to correct it. Boom! ¬†Stress. ¬† Like I said above, Cortisol and Insulin are our 2 Dominant hormones, whether we’re male or female. ¬†Too much Cortisol and too much Insulin mean that Sex Hormones and Thyroid Hormones will have to take a back seat. ¬†Reproduction and Metabolism are not priorities. ¬†Balancing blood sugar ( because SUGAR IS TOXIC), and Fight/Flight (staying alive) are priorities.

What’s all this have to do with my peri-menopause? ¬†So far, my only symptom has been losing my period. ¬†I’m sleeping well, no hot flashes, no up and down moods. ¬†If pretend foods like Girl Scout Cookies were a normal part of my diet, I’d be a nut case. ¬†( to my husband and children, ……..) ¬†Being a hormonal nut case IS NOT NORMAL. ¬†It’s the food, it’s the food, it’s the food. ¬†It ALWAYS matters, always.

When you look at that cookie or cake or chip or whatever it is that’s calling you, STOP. ¬†Ask yourself, “how will I feel about this in an hour”; ¬†practice thinking about the long term consequences from our actions. ¬†Isn’t that what we tell our kids? ¬†It’s great advice for us too!

Parchment-SalmonHere’s a recipe we made last night, oh my gosh it was delicious! Samoras-2-0051¬†I used cod instead of salmon because it’s cheaper and I can always find wild caught. ¬†The parsley and lemon together were so good! ¬†Did you know that parsley helps the body detox heavy metals, and that’s it’s LOADED with Vitamin’s K, C, A, and Bs, and a whole bunch of minerals. ¬†And here’s a Paleo Samoa cookie Meg made – it was excellent! ¬†You can have a dessert that doesn’t shoot up your blood sugar and instigate destruction of your brain and body, or your kids brain and body. ¬†Real Whole Food is the answer.

Dieting Makes You Crazy

future of nutritionAre any of you listening to the free, on-line lectures this week via either Future of Nutrition or the Paleo Con? ¬†They’re great! ¬†What a wealth of information, motivation, and inspiration. ¬† If you want to improve your health or lose weight, you’ve got to change your brain. ¬†To do that, you’ll need to fill your brain with thoughts outside of your¬†normal thought patterns. ¬†If “diet mentality” has dominated your thoughts, then listening to totally different perspectives, over and over again, will help you shift to thinking of food as medicine/information/how we feel/chemistry; not math/calories/our enemy. ¬†These conferences are turning the Diet Industry paradigm on it’s head; I love it! ¬†¬†paleo con

Can you think of one other industry on earth that Fails so regularly, completely, perpetually, and yet is promoted, advised, trusted, and believed over and over and over again? ¬†Every year people spend BILLIONS of dollars on diet foods, diet pills, diet potions, diet programs, weight loss surgeries, and every trick in the book, to either lose weight and gain it back,¬†or not lose weight at all.¬†¬†It doesn’t make sense: ¬†fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me.

Diets don’t work. ¬†Ever. ¬†One of the speakers likened Dieting to holding a volleyball underwater: ¬†as soon as you let it go, KaBoom! ¬†He also said that when you’re a Dieter, you either have Good Days, or Bad Days. ¬†Who relates to that?? How many times have you said that to yourself: I was bad today. ? ¬†That’s a sure sign you’re in Diet World; you’ve either stuck to your low calorie diet magic foods, or you’ve blown it. ¬†You were either Bad or Good.

Ugh. ¬†Please please please, if you’re stuck in that world, you’re doomed to weight gain, lots of failure, and missing out on life because food, dieting, and weight hi-jack your thoughts. Low fat, low cal dieting also makes you fat, sick, and potentially crazy. Look around. ¬†Look at the evidence. ¬†70% of the U.S is overweight. ¬†70%.

Go back to when I said that the Diet Industry fails time and time again, yet continues to profit (greatly) and be promoted by main-stream medicine as the solution to your problem. ¬†Here’s an except from WebMd from googling, “how to lose weight”:

“You can safely lose 3 or more pounds a week at home with a healthy diet and lots of exercise, says weight loss counselor Katherine Tallmadge, RD.

How to Lose Weight Fast

If you burn 500 more calories than you eat every day for a week, you should lose about 1-2 pounds per week.

If you want to lose weight faster, you’ll need to eat less and exercise more.

For instance, if you take in 1,050 to 1,200 calories a day, and exercise for one hour per day, you could lose 3-5 pounds in the first week, or more if you weigh more than 250 pounds. It’s very important not to cut calories any further — that’s dangerous.”

Do you see the insanity of this line of thinking? ¬†It’s NEVER worked. ¬†Science has proven for years that reducing calories and withholding nutrients sends our body into STORAGE MODE, not burning mode. ¬†Even hours of exercise won’t work, trust me. ¬†Exercise for health, not weight loss. ¬†Besides that, 1,050 to 1,200 calories a day? ¬†Can you say, “starving frenzy”?? ¬†I mean, talk about a rebound binge waiting to happen.

When you reduce calories/diet, the body and mind become “stressed” because famine is perceived; when this happens, stress hormones like Cortisol are released into the blood stream. ¬†Cortisol increases triglyceride production, it inhibits sensitivity to leptin and insulin, it shuts down digestion, it prohibits the body from burning fat, it turns muscle tissue into sugar/glucose for fast energy. ¬†When that glucose isn’t actually used to “outrun the sabertooth”, then the body repackages that excess glucose into fat, and stores it in the belly area. ¬†(This is the connection between stress and belly fat.)

I’ve had two emails this week expressing sadness over saying goodbye to favorite foods. ¬†Expressing sadness over anticipated, up coming hunger and deprivation. ¬†This doesn’t have to happen. ¬†Eating a Real Whole Foods/Paleo/Primal type diet isn’t about low calorie, or low carb, or low fat, or hours of exercise. It’s not about small plates, counting calories, putting your fork down, or counting your chews. ¬†It’s about deleting processed foods and eating good sized meals of meats, fats, vegetables, some fruits, some nuts and seeds, and some whole fat dairy if you can digest it. ¬†It’s being a “nutrient seeker”. ¬†If you’re actually hungry, then you need to eat more at your meals. ¬†If you did eat adequately, then recognize that your hunger isn’t “hunger”, it’s just your brain wanting pleasure from the foods you’ve been spoiling it with, or it’s crying for the constant stimulation it’s used to.

That might sound a little harsh, but it’s the truth. ¬†There’s an upside to that though. ¬†Our body, our brain, our taste buds, our neural nets – they’re adaptive. ¬†They won’t adapt to starvation, or actually, they’ll adapt with negative patterns, habits, thoughts, and results, but they will adapt beautifully to a lifestyle that focuses on feeding yourself sufficient nutrients to build your cells, repair damage, fight virus and bacteria, and have normal, healthy levels of neural transmitters like serotonin and dopamine. ¬† You know, before “dieting” became a “thing” in the 1970s, very, very few people were overweight. It’s time to throw off the diet yoke. It’s never worked for anyone. ¬†Quit making yourself crazy, and focus on re-aligning your brain to accomodate planning, packing, and cooking. ¬†Start looking at food, even fat, for the nutrients it provides. ¬†Start looking at processed foods as the toxic chemical poisons they are.

You are not destined to be overweight, sick, or tired.  You can be a healthy weight, unbelievably well, and energetic.  Eat foods that nourish your mind and body.  Be a Real Whole Foodie.