What’s the Deal with Gluten?

So, what is the deal with gluten?  Is it the same as wheat?  Isn’t whole wheat good for you?  Do I HAVE to avoid it?  If I avoid it, what the heck do I eat??? Gluten is a sticky protein found in wheat and related grains.  It helps breads rise and have a fluffy texture that we have all come to love.  Unfortunately, it is also highly inflammatory. Gluten is a bit of a buzz-word lately, but there’s a reason for that.     You’re right in that we have been eating grains for a long time relative to human history, but it’s more the amount of gluten in our SAD (Standard American Diet) and the processing of the food prior to consumption that is the problem than the actual food itself – the quality.   If you think about it, we eat gluten at almost every meal!  What’s for breakfast?  Cereal (gluten), pancakes (gluten), waffles (gluten), toast (gluten)…  Lunch?  Sandwiches (gluten in the bread), hamburgers (gluten in the bun)…  Snacks?  pretzels (gluten), crackers (gluten).  Dinner?  Pasta (gluten), tacos (gluten in the wheat tortillas), pizza (gluten crust), etc… It’s really just too much of something that is highly processed and difficult to digest.   Over time, eating foods that are not easy to digest will lead to allergies and sensitivities.  People can go for YEARS without having any noticeable problem digesting gluten-laden foods.  Over time, there will be some bodily changes that can happen due to gluten’s effect in our bodies.  These changes can include: build-up of “gunk” in our digestive system, including intestines and gall bladder weakening of the thyroid gland weight...

Better Health With Pickles

There is something that other countries regularly include in their diet that the US does not.  Any idea what it is??? Pickled – or fermented – vegetables and foods.  Think about it:  the Germans have saurkraut; the Greeks were among the first to ferment grapes and make wine; the Koreans have kimchi; yogurt (fermented dairy) originated in India; China came up with soy sauce and tofu… Adding more fermented foods into your diet helps to heal your digestive system. The good bacteria found in fermented foods provide a protective coating to your gut lining.  From lack of breast feeding in infancy (or mother’s poor health or poor diet) and antibiotic and hormonal birth control use, our gut linings oftentimes lack proper balance.  When there is a lack of good bacteria, the resulting problems could include: Allergies such as sinus congestion or infection, allergic dermatitis, or food sensitivities Weight Gain Digestive Problems such as leaky gut, IBS, Chron’s Disease Thyroid Issues Frequent Fungal, Viral, or Bacterial Infection Auto-Immune Conditions such as Lupus, Epstein-Barr, Arthritis Mood Disorders such as Depression, ADD, Anxiety Brain Fog Muscle Achiness Fibromyalgia There are plenty of ways to include high-quality fermented foods into your regular diet. 1.  Eat plain (not laden with fructose), full-fat organic yogurt for breakfast (or for a midnight snack).  Ideally, you can use raw dairy which has not been pasteurized.  Pasteurization of dairy kills the beneficial enzymes that help you digest dairy.   2.  Use shoyu or tumari (fermented seasonings found in the Asian food aisle at the supermarket) instead of salt. 3.  Eat organic tofu instead of meat with dinner once a week. 4....

Secrets to Permanent Weight Loss

A funny thing happens when I do someone’s medical history in my office:  after we’ve discussed in great detail every thing my future-client wants improved or changed in regards to their health.  Then, one of the final questions I ask is “what specific health goals do you have for the next few months?”  At least 85% of the time one of the answers is “lose weight.”  …even when weight gain was not one of the health problems discussed! Even people who I perceive as thin seem to want to lose weight! The truth is, we *all* want to feel good (or at least better) in our bodies.  We want to be able to enjoy our bodies and look at our reflection and feel satisfied with the figure looking back at us. Here is my overly-simplistic guide in how to do that: 1.  Stop eating junk.  At LEAST 80% of what you allow into your mouth should be “healthy.”  What is considered “healthy” by one person is totally different from the next, so you may want to talk to a nutritionist about what types of foods would benefit your body constitution the most.  In general, stay away from food chemicals, excess sugars, processed junk, and deep-fried foods.  Eat plenty of vegetables and fruits (at least 5 colors a day), whole grains, and lean proteins. 2.  Pay attention to your body.  Your body – or “animal” – gives you subtle cues throughout the day letting you know what his or her needs are.  For example, sleepiness, hunger, or boredom give messages to your brain from your body in order to –...

Should Health Insurance Cover Wellness Care?

Insurance for healthcare costs is a relatively new concept in human society.  Before the 1920s, healthcare costs were relatively low.  A family could expect no more than 7% of their household income to cover the cost of medical care.  Mostly this was due to the fact that medical technology was quite basic – maybe a couple rounds of penicillin or fixing a broken bone… Now we expect our health insurance to cover – at the very least – emergency care in the event of a serious illness or injury.  Most insurance also covers annual, routine exams.  Insurance as a concept is a “shared risk” estimate.  Some people are going to use a lot of it; some use a little; and a few don’t use it at all. But should health insurance cover the cost of chiropractic, massage, acupuncture, and natural remedies?  The view that most insurance companies have is that, no, these services are considered “experimental” and unscientific, and therefore are not usually covered by insurance. For those of us with more knowledge and experience using natural medicine successfully to treat a wide variety of our health complaints, we know that it does work and that using natural medicine – along with healthy diet, stress management, and exercise – greatly reduce your need to take pharmaceutical drugs, see other medical specialists and get expensive testing done, and go to the emergency room or surgeon’s table.  Of course, there are always emergency conditions that do require medication, hospitalization or surgery, but those are (or should be) more the exception than the rule. The problem, then to my eyes anyway, lies...

The Single Herb to Treat Your Health Problems

It’s finally out of the bag!  It’s available in stores; you can find it online; in fact, you probably receive at least 1 junk email a day from someone trying to sell it to you!  What herb is it? It’s… Echinacea / Ginseng / Ephedra / Horny Goat’s Weed (no, I am not making up that name!) / Raspberry Ketone / Green Coffee Beans / Gingko Biloba / Mushrooms Extract / Tea Tree Oil / etc… Don’t get me wrong here:  I am in favor of all of these herbal supplements.  But what I am opposing is the notion that there is one cure-all herb for _____ (fill in your problem). Here are some concepts regarding herbology that are frequently misunderstood: 1.  Herbs have powerful side-effects:  just like prescription medications, herbs can have side-effects.  A good herbalist will minimize these side-effects by combining your herbs with other herbs that balance the total formula to make it very gentle on your body.  My favorite example is ephedra, or Ma Huang in Chinese.  In Chinese herbology, Ma Huang is used in very small doses, combined with other herbs to treat asthma and allergies.  Someone realized that in large doses, it suppressed the appetite, and sold it as a weight loss supplement.  Of course, so many people started taking it, and then they started having heart problems.  Now it’s illegal and nobody can use it! 2.  Your herbal needs will change at least every 3 months.  Rarely does someone’s body need the same formula for more than 2 – 3 months.  In the case of an acute injury or cold, the herbal formula...
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