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Lifestyle, diet and autoimmune disease seem to always travel together in the same sentence. Because so much research is being done today on autoimmune disease, we are finding out that lifestyle and diet have a whole lot to do with it.
So, just what is autoimmune disease? And how would lifestyle and diet come into the picture?
Don’t you just hate it when you’re trying to find out a definition of a word or sentence, and the answer is not only vague but the same vague answer is repeated by many over and over.
The classic answer would be that autoimmune disease is about your body attacking itself, but why does that happen? What does it mean that your body is attacking itself? How does this happen? What is the outcome of this happening? Who does it affect? What can we do about it?
So, with all the research, how much is being done about it?
Well, you know what they say…follow the money. Shall we?
Autoimmune Research Dollars
It’s estimated that 50 million Americans suffer from at least one autoimmune disease. Note to self: you can have more than one at the same time. And, it’s estimated that $591 million dollars are spent on researching the subject.
That may seem like a lot until of moola until you look at other diseases and their dollar statistics.
Other Diseases Research Dollars
Here are a few examples: 12 million Americans are estimated to suffer from cancer and the research budget looks something like $6.1 billion. 50 million estimated Autoimmune suffers; research dollars = $591 million.
Or, take heart disease, where 25 million Americans are estimated to suffer from with a $2.4 billion research budget. 50 million estimated Autoimmune suffers; research dollars = $591 million.
Is it that autoimmune disease is just not so important? Oh contraire, says the research. Here are a few things that are being uncovered.
Autoimmune Disease is Linked to Many but Hard to Detect
Autoimmune disease can be linked to a number of conditions. For starters: Graves disease, type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s, schizophrenia, cardiovascular disease, renal disease, neurodegenerative disease, osteoporosis, Crohn’s, ulcerative colitis, lupus and yes, even cancer.
There are more than 100 confirmed diseases that have their beginnings with autoimmune disease. Yikes!
So it seems autoimmune disease plays hard ball. But, just like it’s hard to see the pitch coming, autoimmune disease is hard to diagnose. Perhaps, that’s why it is so underdiagnosed so severely.
You and your doctor have to be like Sherlock Holmes to figure out where all the clues lead.
Too Small to Notice, Too Easy to Overlook
Autoimmune disease presents itself as a whole host of vague symptoms that seem commonplace and too small for us to pay attention to. At first glance, it would seem pretty unlikely that these symptoms could point to such calamitous diseases.
These symptoms show up as itches, fatigue, headaches, muscle aches, joint aches, sleep disturbances, etc.
These symptoms are easy to overlook and seem so unrelated to anything else that might be going on. So, we just endure and tolerate them.
In fact, we so just considered them to be such a ‘normal’ experience, even if they’re not so fun, we use them as small talk, they’re so commonplace.
Hard to Diagnose; Even Harder to Treat
Our attention to possibly having autoimmune diseases comes late in the game. If we haven’t pieced together the clues, this vague, small, commonplace symptom can, and often does, blossom into a full-on disease. This is when it gets our attention.
It’s at this point that we’re often prescribed immune suppressant drugs, or the whole pharma arsenal gets put into play as we immediately look to treating the symptom, not the cause.
As far as the immune system is concerned, we’re far down the road, and things can go sideways easily.
Let’s take a step back and look at some of the things we do know.
Environments and Our Immune System
Our immune system, which is normally our protectorate, experiences a sequence of events and when it reaches overload, it attacks our proteins, cells and tissues as a result.
It’s like a perfect storm, and it starts with a huge buildup of damage in the cells.
This buildup comes from the environment we live in (chemicals, pollutants, toxins, bacteria, viruses, fungal and parasitic infections) and the environment we create.
This includes our diet and lifestyle.
Keep in mind that a HUGE buildup of damage has been accumulating in the cells. Because of this huge buildup of damage, the immune system’s fail-safe triggers actually fail.
The third part of the perfect storm is that an event has to happen to trigger it all.
The Role We Play with Autoimmune Disease
Here’s where stress, emotional disturbances and things that we encounter on life’s highway comes in, again very commonplace.
Here’s the kicker. Autoimmune disease often runs through families.
If someone in your family has an autoimmune disease, you’ll likely have one, too. And, if you’ve been diagnosed with one autoimmune disease, you’re more likely to have another autoimmune disease.
Even though this is a big deal, the bigger role in autoimmune disease is played by the environment…the one we create and the one we live in.
Research shows that while our genes make up approximately 1/3 of the puzzle, the environment makes up approximately 2/3’s of the puzzle.
Here’s the good news…well, maybe not quite yet, but we’re on our way…
Lifestyle and Diet
Our diet and lifestyle plays a large role in how all of this manifests.
The diet and the lifestyle we subscribe to creates an environment in our microbiome, our GI tract, our gut, as it were. And, we are learning that a healthy gut equals a healthy immune system.
The microbiome or gut works to keep the peace and communicates with the whole body by working to maintain the balance between our immune system and keeping in check any invading microbes that wonder in.
Keeping our microbiome healthy gives us a much better chance at living a healthy vibrant life.
The key is by communicating with our body, our microbiome, in turn, creates a chain reaction with our hormones, chemicals, organs, brain, rhythms, etc. You could say that the microbiome pretty much rules the roost.
If our microbiome gets out of balance, the immune system’s fail-safe triggers fail, and we then experience an event that pushes us over the top
This event can take various forms, i.e., an infection, toxin exposure, emotional disturbances and stress, as we mentioned before.
But severe nutritional deficiency from a poor diet and a lifestyle full of stress, bad sleep with no recovery can also be a trigger.
Here’s the good news, for sure this time.
The Direct Influence of Lifestyle and Diet
Our diet and lifestyle have a direct influence to our gut and its balance (about 60% — now, that’s Huge!). This influence is so direct, it’s impossible to separate the two.
Food is information to our gut and thus to our body. And because we can make choices in our diet, we can then influence the outcome. Now, that’s good news!
How wonderful it is to have an opportunity to correct something that can go so terribly wrong just by switching some things.
We can actually hold back or minimize the responses of an autoimmune disease with a healthy diet and a balanced lifestyle.
This 60% switch is an approach that is:
- the least invasive,
- extremely available to us, and
- the least costly to take.
Not only that, there are so many other benefits that we haven’t even touched on that can come from such a directional change that it sometimes baffles me why we don’t do it.
It can’t be all about comfort, can it? Or, can it?
The Other Influencers
So if the composition of our gut bacteria is influenced by our diet to a tune of 60%, what’s the other 40%?
The other 40% consist of factors we have less control over, i.e., pollution, heavy metal exposures, toxins, etc.
Side note: with our current environmental crises, it’s time to shift our efforts into high gear. There are many ways to contribute to lessening these harmful substances in our environment.
Check out www.ewg.org as a place to start in our daily lives.
In the meantime, consider how much work our livers have to do to detoxify our bodies with such a huge onslaught of daily toxins just through the air we breathe and the water we drink.
Now add industrialized and processed food, a diet that doesn’t nourish us and a lifestyle with little activity and lots of stress, Aiyaya!
The SAD Diet
We can bring about a change in how our immune system reacts and the information it conveys to the rest of the body. Eating the standard American diet (referred to as the SAD diet), however, is not the path to follow.
While the SAD diet is energy rich, it is nutrient poor and contains lots of sugar, refined grains, processed oils; overall the SAD diet is generally devoid of vitamins and minerals.
It is possible to fix the deficiencies, roll back some of the damage and reduce the inflammation. First, becoming aware of how deficiencies can show up and recognize that making a change is on the menu.
Even if doing a deep dive isn’t on your radar quite yet, just by adding some superfoods to your diet and start cutting out the processed foods, you will begin to make headway into balancing your microbiome and adding support to your immune system.
Small Changes for Big Results in Our Diet and Lifestyle
In my life, as well as in my practice, we see that us humans have a hard time just letting go, whether it’s assumed ‘likes’ and ‘dislikes’, or built-in emotional responses, or bad habits…you name it.
Making a directional change in our diet is one of those that can be very uncomfortable.
Overall, we have to consider the types food choices we make to put in our bodies, the amount we feed ourselves, and the number of times during a day we feed ourselves.
I get that it’s not the easiest thing in the world, but making some small changes in your lifestyle can bring about big results over time.
I’ve have seen many successes with clients I’ve worked with to re-shape their path and they’re happy to say that they have trimmed their birthday suit. You can, too!
Begin your journey with our discovery questionnaire where you learn how to put a step-by-step plan into place, to make small shifts that over time that turn into big results.
Once you understand the process, place a priority on what is valuable to you, you can learn to make the evaluations about your diet and food choices with more confidence and sustainability. You’re then more likely to keep it up. You’ll be motivated because you’ll feel better, look better, your health will improve, your energy with abound, and you’ll be able to stay younger for longer!
You’ll feel so good experiencing and celebrating your re-discovered youthful zest, you’ll see that it’s these rewards that provide the oomph to create a long-lasting, sustainable lifestyle. Just think how many doors having better health can open up.
Now, that’s a thought that can stir things up.
Kale, with its amazing and impressive benefits, is the King of the Crucifers. It is a vegetable though that people sometimes shy away from because it has a bitter taste. But, it’s that very compound of an off-putting taste that carries all the wonderful health benefits. These compounds are called glucosinolates.
As it turns out, the more glucosinolates you have in a veggie, the better, and Kale has loads of them. Once you learn how to mix this terrific vegetable with other wonderful makers of health, you’ll see that it’s not so bad after all. In fact, it has become one of my favorites.
There was a time when a friend asked me if I’d like to taste her kale smoothie and I adamantly said “No!” But, she kept after me until I took an ever-so-slight little sip of a taste. Surprise, surprise, it was delicious. After that, I started making my own kale smoothies.
And then there was the time when I was standing at the deli counter patiently waiting my turn, when the woman next to me ordered the kale salad. I leaned over and asked her, “How does that really taste?” She told me that she had the same feelings about kale as I (judging from my scrunched up face, I suppose), but once she tasted it, she loved it. So, I had to try. And, by golly, it was delicious.
What sealed the deal for me on kale was during a cooking demonstration of how to make a kale salad, among a couple of other delicious treats. Once I tasted it, I had to get the recipe, which luckily she was handing out. I have shared that recipe with all my clients, and I make it all the time, adding in whatever I have available. My grands love it, too. That’s a real testament to its deliciousness.
One of the few veggies not Industrialized-Yeah!
Kale grown today (one of the few vegetables not tampered with very much by industrialized agriculture) is a great source of cancer-fighting and heart-protecting food. Remember those glucosinolates? These are doing the heavy lifting along with a rich source of antioxidants.
You want to buy organically-grown kale, store it in the vegetable crisper and use it within a few days. Getting it as fresh as possible is the key to preserving as much as possible of kale’s impressive benefits and nutrient value.
And you know why you hear or see kale in salads a lot? It’s because kale retains more of its antioxidants, Vitamin C and phytonutrients in a raw form than cooked, and chopping it releases its nutrients. Ever hear of kale being massaged? Same idea.
But, if you cook it, saute it slightly until it wilts. Best in olive oil and garlic to get even more wonderful health bennies. Steaming briefly also works.
Making kale chips can also deliver nutrition to your table and better than other ‘chips’. But, you do lose nutrients while baking it. So, don’t bake long and slow, rather a little higher and faster.
Perhaps all that talk about Kale and its impressive benefits got you to thinking.
Do you want to create a nutritional journey that will last a lifetime, where you’ll learn how to choose food that works for your body and not against it, where the weight peels off and stays off, all with easy step by step small adjustments that will add up to big results. If this sounds like you, a Lose Weight Without Dieting Discovery Session is a great way to find out more.
In our nutritional program, we will guide you to reshape your path and trim your birthday suit. Sign up for your Lose Weight Without Dieting Discovery Session now.
Load your fork full of good nutrition and longevity by including one of the heavy lifters of the nutrition world. Today, we look at an amazing compound called Anthocyanin. This compound is a heavy-duty anti-inflammatory fighting compound that you want on your side.
And, where do we find this Anthocyanin, you may ask…
ahhh, Sweet and Colorful Veggies
You’ll recognize anthocyanins in vegetables and fruits mostly by their blue-purple color. Their anti-inflammatory compounds bring major benefits to your nutrition and longevity. They can be found in eggplant, beets, red cabbage, blueberries and purple potatoes.
These anti-inflammatory compounds are also found in colorful varieties of rice like red, brown and black rice.
Good Nutrition and Longevity with The Purple Carrot
One place you wouldn’t think to look but will find anti-inflammatory compounds are in the purple carrots. Yes, purple.
In fact, the purple carrot has more anthocyanins, is more nutritious and sweeter than the typical orange carrot we eat today.
The purple carrot is often considered a perfect antidote to our larger waistlines, higher blood pressure, and insulin resistance. These conditions point back to the consumption of today’s SAD diet (standard American diet).
Gaining The Nutritional Benefit of The Purple Carrot
This veggie does some heavy lifting!
TIP: In preparation of loading your fork with all this nutrition and longevity, look for your carrots to have their green tops when you do your shopping. They’ll be at their sweetest and freshest with the green tops still on.
TIP: To keep those sweet fresh purple veggie full of nutrition and health, you’ll want to cut those tops off before you store them to preserve the moisture in them. Those tops are unwieldy and make a mess in the crisper. Besides, my chickens love them.
TIP: Carrots can be stored for weeks without losing their nutritional value, but best to keep away from those veggies and fruits that are heavy breathers and produce a lot of ethylene gas which can make the carrots bitter.
You can use a sealed plastic bag to store your carrots in the crisper of the refrigerator to protect them from the ethylene gas.
You can also store your carrots in a root cellar (a cool dark, humid place) like the one my aunt and uncle had in the basement of their home, back in the day.
TIP: Finally, in cooking them, you want to keep them whole as a way to keep the nutrients in place. They can be steamed or sauteed, but cooking them with a bit of fat actually increases the beta-carotene (by 8X) which is even better than eating raw.
Loving Those Free-Radical Scavenging Molecules
When it comes to loading up our fork with good nutrition and longevity, we look for molecules that will gobble up those free-radicals that bombard us on the daily. Here’s where anthocyanins come in right at the top. These free-radical scavenging molecules ward off oxidation and inflammation.
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been trying to lose for a while now? Learn how to choose your food, lose the weight and keep it off. Easy steps of small adjustments will add up to big results. Sign up to The Clinic – Time to Regain Fitness, and we’ll give you some easy-can-do TIPS. You’ll start shedding the pounds without dieting. Yup, you heard it right, no boring, hard to stick to diets. Real food. Real results. Check it out.
Strengthen and Protect Your Health
Anthocyanins provide protection against DNA cleavage. This is where the DNA strand splits the strand into two (sure doesn’t sound good). Anthocyanins also reduce the proliferation of cancer cells and inhibit tumor growth.
Anthocyanins help regulate immune responses and help protect from cardiovascular disease. TIP: Elderberries work particularly well for us here.
Anthocyanins also strengthen our cell membranes and they’ve shown to improve our vision, too. TIP: This is where bilberries and black currant work particularly well.
They have been credited with a role in preventing age-related decline in memory and motor functions, as well as, a preventative of obesity and diabetes. TIP: Here’s where purple corn works well.
Good Nutrition and Brain Health
By the way, cell membrane strengthening is important because they house our neurotransmitters. We want these neurotransmitters to be very sensitive and able to respond easily. They work within the operating systems of our brain and body, interchanging signals that flow back and forth. So keeping them strong is pretty important.
TIP: Resveratrol is a polyphenol compound that has anti-inflammatory and anti-aging. It has
disease fighting properties that can also help support brain and cognitive function.
While these anthocyanins can offer us a huge health benefit, they should be consumed alongside other foods. This allows more interaction between each of their phytochemical compounds. It allows for better intestinal absorption and more bioavailability of its nutrients.
So eat your veggies — which should cover about 50-75% of your plate and your fruits in moderation.
So, if you’re looking for a easy-can-do approach to creating a nutritional journey that will last a lifetime, then The Clinic – Time to Regain Fitness is where to start.
Let’s talk so that we can help guide you to reshape your path and trim your birthday suit. Talk to you soon!
Behind the scenes, food shapes and makes our bodies work better, from your consciousness to your metabolism. The options are awaiting us where we can make our bodies work better, particularly at the molecular level.
We are born with certain genes and can’t do much about that. It’s the environment that those genes live, however, in that determines their reactions and our health.
One of the biggest factors that makes up that environment is our food.
The constructs that make up our current food system can be alarming. With an industrialized agriculture system, the availability of good food, and the constant marketing of processed foods, our environment of food ends up making us sicker and at a younger age.
The fact is that we live longer, but we also live sicker. Add to that, our health system treats diseases, but doesn’t do much on prevention.
If food shapes and makes our body to work better, where are we on the scale of health?
An Indicator of How Our Body Is Working
Our microbiome or gut is an indicator of the ecosystem in our body and it also is an indicator of how well we are doing. It is the predictor of how we manage disease.
It also has the ability to cure some conditions because it can rebuild after a collapse. While this is truly amazing, it can’t do it on its own. It needs our help.
It needs us to be diligent and forever evaluating all things related to it. Understanding how our food shapes and makes our bodies work is a place available to us and one where we can exert some control.
Behind The Scenes
A good place to start is to investigate how our food is raised and produced. It would be great to have a farm like back in the day where we would’ve had a cow or a goat and a garden. I for one would love it, but that’s not feasible nor is it my life at the moment.
We still have choices that we can exercise that’ll bring us as close as possible to fresh, unadulterated and unprocessed. One of them is learning how to choose those foods to provide us with the biggest benefit possible in order for our food to shape and make our bodies to work better.
Making good food choices, however, often becomes a tug of war with a fast lifestyle and addiction to processed food.
And, if we’re relying on others to grow our food, there are other concerns as well.
Shelf Life Shapes Our Food
A big concern is what is applied or added to our foods often to make growing them easier or for foods to have more shelf life. Glyphosate, a weed killer, is one of the biggest concerns. Genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, are another where crops have been genetically modified for a particular end purpose. Glyphosate is used in a number of crops, fruits and seafood as a GMO.
There are various levels of health risks from consuming GMOs. That’s a much bigger topic than this blog. Note that a significant amount of processed foods are genetically modified. They’re not labeled as such so the consumer consumes them unknowingly.
Unpredictable and Unstable
“…genetic engineering enables genes to be transferred not only between different species but also between different kingdoms – for example, from animals or humans into plants. Therefore genetic engineering evades natural barriers between species and kingdoms that have evolved over millennia.”
We also know that genetic engineering isn’t precise and can lead to unpredictable changes in DNA, and in proteins, and it can be toxic both to us nutritionally and to the environment.
GMOs in our food can disrupt or alter gene structures and disturb normal gene regulatory processes.
An additional cause for concern regarding GM food safety is the potential presence of antibiotic resistant “marker” genes in the GM crop.
Toxins and Stress
Glysophate kills the eco-diversity in our soil, and it does the same in our gut. That translates into depriving our foods the nutrients we need. It also means that we have an additional burden of getting rid of the toxin from our bodies.
It is estimated that it takes 7 years (yes, you read that right), 7 years to digest all the chemicals that we receive in 1 (yes, you got that right, too), 1 fast-food hamburger. Aiyaya!
Add to that the stress levels of the animals, both cows and chickens, in the feedlots, and now fish in aquaculture. These stress hormones travel through the animals and into their meat which we then consume.
Research shows that one-third of our genome isn’t from our human source but rather from the bacteria and fungi that we get from the foods we consume. There’s still more research being done here, but what we know so far is that there can be dire consequences in the form of certain cancers as a result of this exchange.
Making Your Body Work Better
The hope lies in the fact that we can make better choices for better health. Choices that let us focus on our “health” span rather than our “life” span. Better food choices is how food shapes and makes our bodies work better.
Because the microbiome underlies everything in our body including how it responds to threats and diseases, and cures, it’s imperative that we take on the responsibility for what we eat as the first step.
We can take control over our food, and we can re-establish the eco system our bodies need by developing good bacteria instead of the bad.
One of the jobs of having a biome full of good bacteria is that there is better absorption of the nutrients you send down. Those nutrients, of course, are from the whole, non-GMO foods that demand the good bacteria in order to digest properly.
Keeping the Nutrients
Learning how to source, store and cook those whole, non-GMO foods is next so that you have as many nutrients available to consume as possible. Consuming as many nutrients as possible is the one of the best ways that food shapes and makes our bodies work better.
Even then, there may be more steps to do in order to balance your biome. But, you’re well on your way to bathing your cells in a health-enhanced and enriching soup.
There are foods we can consume that demand the good bacteria in order to digest. To get started, increase your vegetable intake daily in each of your meals. And, in choosing which vegetables to include, make a plate a veggie rainbow—full of color.
Now, there will be more to do, more likely than not, to restore your microbiome to a balanced state. Food is medicine. Make your choices whole and clean. It’s a good bet as to where to start.
Getting a full assortment of food types and colors in your diet requires a little learning, a bit more planning and organization. Let’s start with the learning…how to shop sans the GMO.
And, if you’re looking for a step-by-step approach to creating a nutritional journey that will last a lifetime, sign up for a Lose Weight Without Dieting Discovery Session and let’s talk so that we can help guide you to reshape your path and trim your birthday suit.