fbpx
How to Combine Foods to Improve Digestion

How to Combine Foods to Improve Digestion

Health begins in the gut. 

It’s common to feel digestive discomfort (bloating, gas, diarrhea, constipation, nausea) or fatigue after eating, but it should not be the norm. 

The gut allows nutrients to pass into the body and provides a barrier against harmful organisms. When this happens correctly, you feel energized and refreshed after meals. 

If that’s not the case for you, you may benefit from a few simple guidelines known to improve digestion and ease symptoms like abdominal pain and swelling, mental fog, intestinal gas, and fatigue. 

These are not rules, in that you have to follow them for the rest of your life, but becoming aware of how you eat certain foods together to improve digestion can help, especially if you suffer from digestive disorders like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). 

Combining foods to improve digestion works because our food (carbs, fats, and proteins) digests at different speeds and requires different digestive enzymes to break it down. You can create a little war inside if you eat foods that have different requirements for digestion and absorption… especially if you have underlying digestive problems added to the mix. 

 

Food combining guidelines 

 

Neutral Foods

Leafy greens and non-starchy vegetables contain their own digestive enzymes and can be paired with any meal. 

Citrus fruits, spices, and herbs are neutral foods and can be paired with any foods. Many of them aid in digestion. Use lemon, grapefruit, apple cider vinegar, ginger, garlic, oregano, basil, cilantro, and other healing herbs to add flavor and improve the health of your digestive system.

 

Eat fruit away from starchy carbs

Fruit, grains, and other carbohydrates (like potatoes and legumes) have a similar digestive rate, so they will compete with one another and lead to fermentation in the gut, which causes gas and bloating. The grain or starch will win this battle and the fruit will be left in the gut to putrefy and ferment while it waits its turn to be digested. 

Instead, try fruit with nuts, or eat it alone. Its simple sugars will digest very rapidly. It’s best to eat it about 30 minutes to 1 hour before or after meals. 

Some people also do well with fruit smoothies since the fruit is already broken down and it can be easily digested along with chia seeds, avocado, greens, and plant based proteins. Chewing your smoothies will also help you release the digestive juices necessary to digest with ease. 

Eat melon alone because it has a quick fermentation process and can cause bloating when eaten with any other food. 

 

Pair protein with non-starchy vegetables

Protein needs an acidic environment and plenty of digestive enzymes to break down and digest. It can be paired with cabbage, broccoli, greens, peppers, or other non-starchy vegetables because they have their own digestive enzymes.

Many people can digest protein well with starch. A lot of this will depend on the health of your digestive system, blood sugar imbalances, and your metabolic type. People with thyroid or adrenal disorders may need more carbohydrates with protein to help support energy.

When eating protein with a carbohydrate-rich meal, pay attention to whether or not your stomach feels heavy or you feel foggy and tired after meals. This is a sign that you had too much starch with your protein. 

 

Pair starch with healthy fats and vegetables

Grains, potatoes, plantains, and legumes play nice together at mealtime and all need an alkaline environment for digestion. They also pair well with non-starchy vegetables. 

 

Limit liquids during meals

Digestive enzymes are formed in the mouth when we chew our food. Drinking water or any other beverage with your meals can dilute these digestive enzymes and slow digestion. Drink water outside of meals and sip room temperature water with your meals. You can add a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar before meals and drink it about 30 minutes before you eat to improve digestion.

 

What if you still have digestive upset after meals?

Digestive upset can still happen if we overeat or if we don’t combine foods appropriately. It’s natural to want to reach for an over-the-counter remedy to give you a little relief. 

Here’s a few more things you can try:

  • Raw apple cider vinegar helps rebalance the pH in your gut  to help you digest better. Try  1-3 teaspoons in 4 oz of water.
  • Digestive enzymes before meals are beneficial if you know you have consistent issues. You may also try 2 capsules after meals that cause bloating.
  • Ginger tea before or after a meal can help calm nausea and bloating and relieve constipation

If you have indigestion after a meal, you can add a pinch of baking soda to about 4 oz of warm water to neutralize the acid.

 

Want to learn more about digestive health?

If you’re struggling with food sensitivities, low energy, thyroid disease, autoimmune conditions, or weight gain, it could all be related to poor gut health and particularly leaky gut. 

Functional lab tests and a good professional assessment can be life-giving if you have chronic digestive issues or health problems. 

Check out my services here and connect with me to learn more about whether our programs are right for you. 

 

 

(This blog contains affiliate links)

Are You Deficient in Magnesium?

Are You Deficient in Magnesium?

Did you know panda’s poop an average of 40 times per day? 

They have to eat a lot of fiber to get enough nutrients to sustain their health. 

It’s interesting how these animals have the natural instinct to eat enough to fuel their body with the right amount of nutrition to sustain life. 

Unfortunately, humans lose a lot of intuition around eating because we pick up certain beliefs about food growing up and carry both the healthy and unhealthy traditions from one generation to the next. 

Many times we blame genetics for a disease process when it may have more to do with our habits and environment. 

Today I’ll focus on 1 nutrient because it’s one of the most common deficiencies due to our depleted soil, poor quality animals, and over-consumption of grains and processed foods filled with anti-nutrients. This mineral is Magnesium.

 

How can you tell if you’re deficient?

If you’re like most people, you’ve tried a lot of diets. We want to find the perfect plan that works best and gives us the results we want with a simple, easy, fun, and doable plan. 

Many new fads (healthy or not) can lead to deficiencies because they’re restrictive and don’t provide enough nutrients. 

Another problem is that rapid weight loss can lead to nutrient deficiencies. 

The key to resolving this is to address the underlying cause. 

 

Here are a few signs you’re deficient: 

  • Inability to fall asleep or waking up throughout the night
  • Cravings for carbohydrates or processed foods
  • Low energy, especially in the afternoon
  • Headaches, anxiety, and/or depression
  • Inability to handle stress or feeling super stressed
  • Muscle spasms, soreness, or cramps
  • Bloating or chronic constipation
  • Low thyroid and low bone density
  • Bloating or chronic constipation

 

Could magnesium deficiency be deadly?

When I say the word malnourished, you likely think of those in underprivileged countries, and not your neighbor or family members who have access to plenty of food. But the sad truth is, many of the people we encounter on a daily basis are malnourished – and it results from having plenty to eat, but not enough nutrition.

A respected medical study reported that 77% of diabetics were deficient in magnesium, and at risk for deadly complications from this deficiency. Those with adequate levels have a 17% lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes. 

It is also important for the heart and regulating blood pressure. Those with the lowest levels of magnesium also have the highest risk of dying from heart attack

There’s a difference in addressing your labs in a traditional way versus exploring them from a holistic standpoint and addressing them in a way that offers insight into the cause of your health issues. When we address the underlying cause of these deficiencies, we can stay healthy, or maybe even experience it for the first time in a long time.

 

How can you support magnesium deficiencies?

If you’d like to take the first step in looking at your labs from a whole body perspective with a functional analysis, you can order a set of labs here and I’ll do a full analysis and interpretation for you. This advanced blood panel is designed to give you insight into your overall health. It comes with a single lab interpretation session so we can discuss next steps for addressing the underlying cause of your health concerns. 

(This is not available if you life in NY, NJ, or Rhode Island)

The other option I love for balancing electrolytes in the body in a balanced way that includes a little magnesium support is through the use of daily electrolytes. You can check out my favorite brand and receive a gift with your purchase here

Consume magnesium rich foods found in nuts and seeds like pumpkin seeds, almonds, and cashews. 

Avoid processed foods as much as possible since they are known to prevent the body from absorbing nutrients as it should. 

If you find you’re deficient, use a quality brand of magnesium for supplementation. Most people can benefit from a little bit, but all sources are not created equal. 

If you’re tired of trying to figure out your health on your own and are ready for a step by step plan so you can learn to tune in to your body and give it what it needs to get healthy and stay that way once and for all, complete this short application and we’ll schedule some time to see if one of the “Go With Your Gut” program options are right for you. 

4 Simple Ways to Naturally Reduce Inflammation

4 Simple Ways to Naturally Reduce Inflammation

You’ve likely heard how inflammation can negatively affect your health, but I bet you haven’t really thought about the role it’s playing in your current health situation.  

It’s sometimes referred to as a silent killer, and has a bad reputation, but inflammation is not necessarily always a bad thing. It naturally occurs in response to injury and is helpful when you get hurt or even if you over-exercise. It’s a healing response to injury that protects and heals.  

The big problem is chronic inflammation that comes as a result of the amount of stress your physical body is under on a daily basis. Under the wrong conditions, your body has a difficult time healing and can lead to symptoms caused by this inflammation like: 

  • Constipation
  • Bloating
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Autoimmune conditions
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Brain fog
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Sluggish thyroid

While inflammation does play a major role in the development of chronic diseases, the great news is, we can control chronic inflammation through lifestyle and daily behaviors. 

A few simple ways to naturally reduce inflammation:

1. Focus on whole food nutrition 

Toss out the processed and packaged foods that are filled with sugar and non-food ingredients. Gluten, dairy, sugar, and hydrogenated oils are 4 of the most inflammatory foods. Replace these with healthier alternatives anytime it’s possible to begin naturally reduce inflammation in your body.

Opt for more nutrient dense foods like pasture-raised meats, wild-caught fish, organic fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. Snack on fruit and vegetables and fill your plate with lots of color. 

Great anti-inflammatory food sources that naturally contain antioxidants include oranges, red bell peppers, kiwi, avocados, sunflower seeds, tuna, halibut, grass-fed beef, blueberries, blackberries, and acai. Sulforaphane rich foods are also an excellent source and include vegetables such as broccoli, broccoli sprouts, and foods in the cabbage family. 

2. Add herbs and spices to your meals

Spices not only add flavor, but they have great healing properties. Once you remove the inflammatory foods, you can add antioxidants to help protect your body from cellular damage. 

Using antioxidants to clean up internal damage can help boost your cellular health and that means you have more energy, you feel stronger in your body, you improve your mood, and your brain works better.

This can be as simple as adding antioxidant rich spices into your food. Those are things like turmeric, cinnamon, cloves, cacao, and oregano.

3. Make sleep a priority

Aim for a 10 p.m. bedtime. Your body runs on a circadian rhythm, which is around the sun. You release the most melatonin starting around 10 p.m. And your liver and organ repair starts shortly after. 

Deep sleep is responsible for making sure you feel fully rested when you wake up, and it occurs early in the evening. 

REM sleep makes up the last 4 hours and it’s when your body focuses on the mental and emotional aspects of healing. 

A solid bedtime routine will help set you up for successful sleep. Wind down by using softer lights or lamps instead of bright overhead lighting. This will mimic the natural going down of the sun. Turn off your technology and devices 1-2 hours before bedtime since artificial light can disrupt your sleep. 

Take a few moments before bed to process your day and take note of a few things you’re grateful for so you can fall asleep in a more joyful state.

If tomorrow’s to-do list is already running through your mind, keep a notepad beside your bed to jot it down and let it go. It will be there tomorrow when you rise. 

4. Spend time outside and move your body

Outdoor sunlight and fresh air helps you reset your circadian rhythm and helps you soak up vitamin D. Weather permitting, find an outdoor hobby you enjoy. You could go hiking, walking, swimming, kayaking. When weather is not permitting, bring nature indoors by using plants and stretch out on a yoga mat.

Nature has its own immune system and within a few hours of being outdoors, you can boost your immune systems for up to 30 days. 

Nature also reduces stress, which is closely linked with reducing inflammation and the symptoms associated with it. Make outdoor activity a priority for a few hours per week to reset your mind and body. 

When you pair daily movement with time outdoors, you will significantly improve your mood, reduce pain, increase energy, and reduce stress, which will greatly impact your overall health and reduce inflammation.

So before you pop another anti-inflammatory, give these a try. 

If you’re looking for a straightforward approach to improving chronic conditions such as thyroid disease, rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, extra body weight, or other digestive issues and hormone imbalances, research shows that working to naturally reduce inflammation in the body is a great way to improve the quality of your life and health.


If you’re looking for a personalized plan to address your overall health in a more natural way, you can check out the details of my services here.

Better than Weight Loss Pills for Menopause – A Success Story

Better than Weight Loss Pills for Menopause – A Success Story

Cheryl’s biggest accomplishment in life as she entered into menopause was her children – some still living at home and others had children of their own.

She watched them play outside and felt guilty because she didn’t have the energy to keep up with them and be the mom she wanted to be.

Cheryl was snippy at times but knew deep down that’s not who she was at her core.

She watched her family leave in the mornings to go to work and school while she cared for the home.

She spent a lot of time on the couch, scrolling through her phone with no energy to do the things she longed for in her heart.

Not only did she dream of being an energetic mom, but she wanted health. She also longed for a closer relationship with her husband so they could enjoy intimate date nights and travel. Cheryl wanted the energy to meet friends for mid-day coffee and serve in her community more.

Deep down, she knew she was created for more.

She had tucked away her personal dream of becoming an author, but still believed one day it could be possible. But that would have to wait.

At this time, Cheryl was:

  • Unsure what to eat and bloated after meals because she was attempting to follow conflicting dietary information on the internet.
  • Lacking confidence because she was more than 50 pounds overweight and didn’t feel good in her skin.
  • Tired during the day because she was waking up in the middle of the night multiple times drenched due to hot flashes from hormonal imbalances.

She had been struggling with her health and weight for 20 years.

As she planned a big trip to Israel, she knew it would be physically taxing on her body and mind if she didn’t work on her health in preparation for the trip.

She did everything she knew to clean up her diet and started walking to build her stamina. She even lost a little weight.

The trip was one of the best experiences of her life, except for the pain and swelling she experienced in her legs and feet, which only worsened when she got home.

It took several weeks to recover. She realized she couldn’t manage her health on her own and prayed for answers and someone to guide her.

Cheryl and I crossed paths at a conference shortly after her trip and she shared some wonderful memories.

A few weeks later, our paths crossed again and she shared a little more about her health struggles.

My question to her was simply, “can I help you?”

This was the day everything changed for Cheryl. Her eyes brightened as if she had hope for the first time in a long time.

She had a lot of questions and wondered:

  • Will I be able to do the work?
  • Will you be able to help me?
  • Will I be able to afford it?

These questions aren’t uncommon. They are great questions, and I’m glad Chery was able to meet herself where she was and communicate her concerns.

I shared more about my Go With Your Gut Method and how I help clients heal digestive issues and balance hormones naturally so they can feel good in their skin and get their life back.

She decided to go with her gut that day and hired me to help her 😉

A Better Weight Loss Solution in Menopause than Weight Loss Pills

We focused on cleaning up her diet and did a good cellular detox – the right way. Detox is a buzzword right now, but most people don’t get results because there’s more to it than drinking a tea you get from the local health food store.

After getting amazing results with step 1, we continued by looking at a few advanced lab tests and did a very focused gut healing protocol and worked to balance hormones with natural herbs.

Today Cheryl has:

  • Lost over 50 pounds and kept it off for several years.
  • Got rid of bloating and other digestive issues.
  • Gained confidence in what she needs to eat to fuel her body and metabolism.
  • Balanced her hormones naturally – and is free from fibroids, hot flashes, and mood swings.
  • Improved her relationship with her kids and husband and is able to keep up with them on the basketball court and on nature walks
  • Written and published her book, “Letting God Lead”

The best part for Cheryl is seeing her children and husband follow in her footsteps and improve their health right along with her.

Her entire family is thriving now because she took the first scary step and said, “I need help and I’m willing to accept it.”

If you’re experiencing something similar…

You are not alone!

My question to you is the same one I asked Cheryl the second time we met… “Can I help you?”

I help women improve their digestive system so they can balance hormones naturally and realize their full potential.

With over 20 years as a medical professional, studying the mind, body, and spirit from a traditional and natural standpoint, and 10 years dedicated solely to finding the missing pieces to this gut-hormone connection so women can truly heal, I’ve made it my mission to help others connect the missing pieces of their health puzzle so they can get back to feeling like themselves again… or maybe for the very first time.

Nothing is impossible when you have a strategic plan and a guide to support you through the process.

If you’re ready for an outcome like Cheryl, myself, and so many others, I’d love to see your application hit my inbox this week so you can take your life back. You can find health and weight loss during menopause without the weight loss pills.

Apply to work with me here at https://chelsieward.com/discovery-call-form 

And catch Cheryl’s interview about how her life has changed if you haven’t seen it.

Overcoming Estrogen Dominance Symptoms

Overcoming Estrogen Dominance Symptoms

Your hormones send little messages throughout the body, constantly working to improve the way it functions. Depending on the hormone(s) that are out of balance, you can expect different symptoms. 

We’ll talk specifically about estrogen dominance today and the unwanted symptoms you may experience when this hormone is either high in general or high in relation to its counterpart progesterone. This can happen in both women and men. 

Estrogen dominance can lead to:

  • Heavy/irregular cycles
  • Difficulty losing weight
  • Decreased sex drive 
  • Anxiety & depression
  • Endometriosis
  • Mood swings
  • Fibroids
  • PMS

After coming off birth control and starting bioidentical hormone therapy, I was plagued with symptoms of estrogen dominance. I didn’t realize that I had a stagnant liver because I was told my labs were normal. This excess estrogen that built up as a result played a huge role in my symptoms. 

My doctor’s answer was to give me more progesterone in an attempt to balance these hormones more. It was a dangerous combination for me that led to many sleepless nights, irritability, weight gain, and a lot of other symptoms I’ll discuss here. 

Introducing the role of estrogen and progesterone

Estrogen is the hormone that takes charge during the first half of your menstrual cycle and builds up the uterine lining to prepare the uterus in the event that you want to get pregnant. It prepares for a baby. 

If you’ve ever looked at hormone testing, you’ve probably seen that you have 3 types of estrogens that show up – Estrone (E1), Estradiol (E2), Estriol (E3).

These are important because they give us our girlish figure, balance our moods, strengthen our bones, improve our memory, and keep our skin looking great. 

Sounds like estrogen is amazing, right?

Well it is… when it’s in balance. And we want to keep it that way in respect to progesterone. 

Progesterone peaks toward the second half of the cycle and maintains the uterine lining. If you’re trying to get pregnant or did get pregnant while progesterone was at its peak, you need good progesterone levels to support a healthy pregnancy. 

Ovulation helps you produce progesterone, and its role is to balance out estrogen. Progesterone protects against certain cancers, helps with deep sleep, keeps you calm and collected, and makes you feel grounded. 

What is estrogen dominance?

Estrogen dominance is when estrogen levels are significantly higher than progesterone levels. In one case, you may have estrogen levels that are normal with low progesterone. Or you may have estrogen levels that are high with normal progesterone. 

Your symptoms will vary depending on how estrogen dominance presents for you. If your estrogen levels are normal and you have low progesterone, you could enter into early perimenopause or have signs of PCOS (Polycystic ovarian syndrome), or you may have your cycle monthly but may not be ovulating. 

If you estrogen levels are high and your progesterone levels are normal, you may have excess body fat, digestive issues, impaired liver detoxification. A lot of this could come from toxins in your environment in an external form of estrogen, often referred to as Xenoestrogens. Xenoestrogens are found in toxic makeup, skincare, body products, plastics, cleaning chemicals, and other environmental toxins. 

Either way, estrogen dominance will commonly have symptoms like those mentioned in the intro as well as:

  • Breast tenderness
  • Frequent headaches or migraines
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Memory and cognitive dysfunction
  • Sugar cravings

Estrogen dominance is the driver behind such disease processes like endometriosis, PCOS, Fibroids, and even breast and uterine cancer. It puts men at risk for prostate cancer, mood disorders, erectile dysfunction, and infertility

Estrogen Dominance Test

You probably want to know if you can reverse estrogen dominance. If you have symptoms of estrogen dominance, hormone testing can give you insight into how to best address it. The DUTCH test is a urine based hormone test that can help you determine how well you’re metabolizing estrogen. Depending on how well your body is utilizing estrogen and getting rid of the excess, you’ll have the information you need to address the symptoms you’re experiencing. 

Estrogen has the ability to take different pathways when the body is detoxing the excess. Depending on the pathway your body is favoring, you’ll be able to choose supplements that will create healthy balance instead of guessing. If you choose not to test, you could do more damage by taking supplements that aren’t needed in your particular situation.

For example, many people will tell you to take DIM if you are in estrogen dominance. But this could cause more harm to your body if your estrogen is already low or it may not be needed if certain pathways are working efficiently. Yes, you can have low estrogen and be in estrogen dominance.

If you’re curious about your specific needs and would like to know what your hormone pathways look like, you can purchase a test and consult with me to review. I’ll share the best next steps for getting long-term results with your hormone balance. 

How to get rid of estrogen dominance symptoms

Outside of testing to help determine the underlying cause, consider a few lifestyle modifications if you believe you have estrogen dominance. 

1. Eliminate alcohol and processed foods to help with the detoxification process. If your liver is taxed from unnecessary medications or other substances, it could impair estrogen detox. 

2. Eat foods that help with estrogen detox. Lignans in flaxseed help bind to estrogens and remove them from the body. Wild-caught salmon helps increase the formation of good healthy estrogen pathways. Eggs support the liver to help detoxify estrogen metabolites. 

3. Eat foods that help support the digestive tract. Prebiotic-rich foods like garlic, onions, leeks, asparagus, and artichokes become food for the good healthy bacteria in your gut. They also improve digestion and estrogen metabolism. 

4. Make sure your meats are ethically sourced. Conventionally raised meats are a known source of high estrogen levels and have a negative impact on our cortisol levels and can lead to imbalance in our bodies.

5. Poop daily to help get rid of estrogen metabolites. When you’re constipated, estrogens will recirculate in the body and contribute to high levels. 

6. Clean up personal care products! Opt for nontoxic brands like BeautyCounter or Lumvi (use CHELSIE for 10% off) since estrogens are found in the majority of skincare products. 

Final Thoughts

Hormone balance can be very disruptive to your life. These chemical messengers are responsible for running the show in the body, and when they are out of balance, we can feel like we’re falling apart. 

If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms and are ready to take your health to the next level and work to heal your digestive system and balance hormones naturally, that’s exactly what will happen when we work together. 

What makes this process different is that I will offer you an assessment that dives deep into your history and takes a comprehensive look at advanced labs as needed to look for risk factors as well as help you uncover the cause of your imbalances so we can address them at the root. If that’s what you’re looking for, complete this short application and schedule a time to meet with me for a consultation. We can determine if it’s a good fit for us to partner together to resolve some of your hormone imbalances naturally.