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
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.
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)
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.
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:
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.
You may not know this, but Estrogen dominance is on the rise.
Part of my role as a health and wellness coach is to look at hormone tests every day. And everyday, I see more and more estrogen dominance when I start investigating my clients’ hormone imbalance.
Many times, this imbalance gets overlooked on a standard blood test. It’s not only the cause of irregular menstrual cycles and PMS symptoms, but it can be related to issues like weight gain, decreased sleep, increased appetite, low energy, insulin resistance, low libido, and even mood disorders like depression in both men and women.
When my husband and I first started investigating our hormone health, we discovered we both were estrogen dominant.
And we’re not alone in that!
So many people experience this same type of hormonal imbalance.
For me, I knew my hormones were out of sync. It started when I got on birth control at the age of 11 to manage my debilitating cycles. Although birth control seemed to help, I wish I had known about the negative impact that daily pill had on my health long-term.
So why are you hearing more about estrogen dominance in the health sphere? And how do you manage it before it results in permanent damage? I’m covering all that in this blog.
What Is Estrogen Dominance?
In general, estrogen dominance means that your estrogen levels are high relative to other sex hormones. We particularly look at the estrogen to progesterone ratio in women and compare to testosterone in men. It’s a delicate balance between having too much or too little estrogen. And this is true for all the hormones!
The great news is, it doesn’t happen overnight.
And in most cases, it is preventable and reversible.
If you don’t get your estrogen dominance under control, it can contribute to a variety of health issues, such as the following:
Hormone driven cancers like breast cancer
Tumor-like growths like fibroids
Autoimmune conditions like hashimotos
Yeast and bacteria overgrowth and drive conditions like candida
So, how do you treat this hormone imbalance? I’ve put together a couple of tips that you can start to implement today.
Decrease Your Exposure
It’s nearly impossible to totally eliminate our exposure to these hormone disruptors, but you can take small action steps to help. Try any of the following to decrease your exposure:
Opt for Pyrex dishes and glass containers instead of plastic food containers (i.e. tupperware).
Make the switch to non-toxic beauty products. Unfortunately, a lot of the makeup and body lotions that women are using today have hormone disruptors in them – especially those plumpers. They are filled with these fake estrogens.
Use non-toxic cleaners for your home instead of toxic chemicals. They not only smell better, but they’re safer for your home.
Use a water purifier so you limit the exposure to toxic metals and chemicals in your drinking water. Our body is about 70% water. It’s vital that you care about what you’re putting in your body – starting with your water.
Rather watch a short video with the same information…
Detox Your Body
Depending on the severity of your estrogen dominance, I may recommend a complete detox protocol where we strategically remove all the toxins impacting your body’s balance. If you’d like to explore what a detox would look like for you, schedule a discovery call here.
Love Your Liver
When you’re cleaning up these toxins, it’s also important to address the health of your liver. One of the liver’s jobs is to get rid of excess estrogen. If you fully support the liver by making sure its drainage pathways are open, then you’ll more easily eliminate the toxins you’re exposed to on a regular basis that could otherwise raise your estrogen levels.
To support healthy estrogen levels by loving your liver, you can:
Eat naturally detoxifying foods that support your liver, like lemons, beets, and grapefruit.
Consume foods that regulate estrogen levels, like broccoli, cauliflower, kale, brussel sprouts, and arugula.
Use castor oil packs to naturally detox the body. It helps you sleep better, improves bowel movements (which helps you release old estrogen), helps with digestion, and reduces stress by activating that rest/digest state in the body. It has so many benefits.
Experiencing Estrogen Dominance?
If you’re experiencing hormone imbalance and it appears that you have estrogen dominance, these tips will not be enough (at least with my experience working with dozens of clients).
If you suspect you may have a hormonal imbalance and you want to gain access to the right lab tests and resources to help you get it under control, then take the time to schedule an appointment with me today. This could mean the difference between living a life traveling from appointment to appointment and experiencing freedom.
Are you dealing with a metabolism issue? That may not be easy to answer at face value. If you’re experiencing low energy, fatigue, brain fog, poor memory, and digestive symptoms, that may be an indicator for something more. The symptoms above paired with cold hands/feet, dry skin, and hair loss could be signs of a hypoactive thyroid. Many clients don’t seem to be getting better with their medications. Others experience the symptoms of a hypoactive thyroid, but their labs fall into normal ranges – indicating a normal thyroid. Then a few are masking each symptom separately with medications and supplements. We’re quick to blame the thyroid here, but it’s usually not the only piece to the puzzle – even if there is damage to the thyroid or an underlying autoimmune condition destroying the thyroid. If you’re searching for out-of-the-box therapies or want more for your life than pills and medications, discover where you should put your focus to heal your thyroid.
Find The Root Of Your Problem To Address Your Thyroid Issues
Our thyroid is the master of our metabolism; however, the symptoms we’re experiencing may not be caused by the thyroid alone. Instead of investigating the underlying causes – an imbalance of the gut, brain, adrenal glands, and/or cellular health within the body – we may be left with lingering symptoms. When we see a metabolism issue, we often blame the thyroid and treat those symptoms alone. When that doesn’t work, we typically get referred out to someone who “specializes in” a specific organ or condition. Unfortunately the root of the problem is never addressed. This is why people believe we must get sick before we die and that disease is inevitable. The truth is… If we address the underlying cause of our issues, then we can have a much healthier life.
Studying Your Thyroid From A Holistic Standpoint
Addressing the thyroid, or any other organ for that matter, from a holistic standpoint allows us to look at the person as a whole (instead of treating symptoms). When we approach the body in this way, it allows us to uncover imbalances that are leading to dysfunction in these organs. A thyroid problem is not always a thyroid problem. If we look at all the organ systems like the immune system, digestion, detoxification pathways, the nervous system, and even emotional health, we will uncover the stress that is actually leading to disease. When we uncover this stress and work to bring healing in those weak areas, we bring balance into the body. This balance gives us the results we are looking for as a side effect of good health. Of course, there’s a systematic process to accomplish this. That’s why so many people fail when they try to do it on their own. Most people I talk to have spent thousands of dollars trying to figure out their health on their own, when they could have hired a mentor to guide them through the process instead. Skip the heartache and empty wallet that comes with DIYing your health. Schedule some time to chat about your health with me today.
Rather watch a short video with the same information…
Why Is Thyroid Health Vital?
Your thyroid health regulates metabolism and energy production in the cells. It’s important for tissue repair, cardiovascular health, bone density, cholesterol levels, temperature regulation, and energy levels.
Two Types of Thyroid Conditions
When it comes to thyroid health, there are two different types of conditions – primary and secondary.
Primary Thyroid Condition
A primary thyroid condition is when the gland itself is not functioning at optimal levels. In these cases, medical supervision is required. When you include healthy lifestyle factors through nutrition, proper supplementation, the reduction of deficiencies, the use of stress reduction techniques, and gut healing strategies, you will improve your primary thyroid condition.
Secondary Thyroid Condition
A secondary thyroid condition is caused by toxicity from other areas in the body. This can also be due to chronic stress and inflammation in the body. Since this type of thyroid condition is caused by poor lifestyle habits or toxicity, medications typically will not bring the thyroid into balance because the thyroid isn’t the problem. The key here is bringing balance into all the organ systems of the body so you can experience health. When you address this from a holistic standpoint, medication may not be needed.
What Areas Should You Focus On When Healing Your Thyroid Health?
When someone comes to me with thyroid, metabolism, energy, or even autoimmunity, these are my biggest areas of focus:
Thyroid communication starts in the brain. The hypothalamus responds to the low thyroid hormone in the body and secretes thyrotropin releasing hormones (TRH). It sends a message to the pituitary gland to secrete thyroid stimulating hormones (TSH). TSH stimulates the thyroid to release more thyroid hormones into the bloodstream to bring the levels up. Keep in mind, TSH is a pituitary marker – not a thyroid marker. If your doctor is only looking at TSH to measure the health of your thyroid, you will not receive accurate results as to whether or not your thyroid is making enough hormones. Looking at TSH alone is a shot in the dark and does not give an accurate picture of thyroid health. Instead, acquire a full thyroid panel, and work with someone who understands how to interpret it to help you function optimally. You can see the type of results this type of investigation will give someone by reading Tina’s story here .
Your Adrenal Glands
Your adrenal glands play a big role here as well; they also get their messages from the hypothalamus and pituitary. They not only help to manage stress, but they also help regulate blood sugar and control mineral levels. Our adrenal glands are taking a toll due to the chronic state of stress we are in. Everything from mental and emotional stress to physical stress to environmental stress to internal stress inside the body… The adrenals are responsible for keeping the body in balance. Right now, they are overstressed – releasing large amounts of cortisol. The body then begins to break down. It will cause your thyroid gland to slow down so it can conserve energy. Your big takeaway here is that you must address your stress and your adrenal health if you want your thyroid to respond fully. Unfortunately, you may miss this point because you may not feel stressed. That doesn’t mean your adrenals aren’t stressed. The body wants to maintain balance; help it by addressing those disease processes from a holistic standpoint.
The liver is responsible for the conversion of T4 (inactive thyroid hormone) to your active form of thyroid T3. If there’s a problem with this conversion, then the T3 will remain low – leading to symptoms related to a hypoactive thyroid. This hormone gives your body fuel. When it’s low, you feel sluggish. The liver also produces a substance called thyroid binding globulin – which prevents thyroid hormones from being immediately absorbed into the cells surrounding the thyroid gland. In addition, the liver distributes and transports thyroid binding globulin into other areas of the body. When there’s a malfunction in this area, it can cause the T3 levels to appear high or low. Thankfully, there’s a sweet spot when it comes to your hormones. You don’t want them too high or too low. When the liver is doing its job, these thyroid hormones will come into balance. Utilize functional lab tests to discover if you have a liver issue and map out a healing plan with me.
My favorite area to talk about is the gut because as Hippocrates said, “it is the window to disease”. This is foundational when it comes to thyroid health. 20% of the free T3 that is used by the body is produced in the gut. Your good friendly bacteria play a huge role in the conversion of your active T3. Your gut is made up of billions of bacteria; they can either help us or harm us. The good bacteria helps to nourish us. On the other hand, bad bacteria produce toxins that make us sick. Poor diet, inflammation, medications, toxicity, food sensitivities, and low stomach acid can stress the gut. It leads to a condition called leaky gut – which allows toxins and other unwanted particles to pass into circulation. This puts stress on the immune system and causes an inflammatory response throughout the body. When food proteins spill into circulation where they don’t belong, the body begins to elicit an attack. Many of these food proteins look very similar to our organs, so the body may begin to attack specific organ systems. This leads to autoimmunity. And autoimmunity does not go away. While you can live symptom-free with autoimmunity, it is a condition you must work on to remain healthy.
My Recommendations For Healing Your Thyroid Health
If you want to start healing your thyroid health, here’s what I recommend:
Work with someone to access the right lab tests. Your doctor orders a lab test as a way to diagnose and treat a specific symptom or condition. Those lab tests do not address underlying causes of disease. Functional practitioners, like myself, use lab tests to see a clear picture of what may be causing a disease or condition. You want to make sure you address your brain, adrenals, liver, and gut.
Throw out the processed foods and focus on nutrient-dense foods that heal the organs. Try to include more good healthy grass-fed meats, organ meats, wild-caught fish, healthy fats (like ghee, coconut oil, avocado), dark leafy greens, and colorful vegetables into your diet.
Get your ZZZ’s. Get in bed by 10pm. The first half of the night is when the body is repaired, and the second half is for the brain. Don’t skip this!
Eliminate stress – not just emotional stress. Make sure you’re addressing physical stress as well as internal stress. The internal stress will require that you invest in yourself by hiring a guide. If you’ve been spinning your wheels for years trying to figure out how to get healthy on your own, and you’re still stuck in the same place you were years ago, it’s time to address your health in a holistic way. What is your other option? Are you going to spend the next five years doing the very same things that get you nowhere? What would your life look like if you actually reached your health goals? If you’re ready to tackle your thyroid, metabolism issues, autoimmunity, or any other chronic condition head-on, schedule a discovery call with me to strategize a game plan.