MEDITATION- WHAT DOES IT HAVE TO DO WITH NUTRITION?

sunrise is one of the nicest times for a good cozy meditation

sunrise is one of the nicest times for a good cozy meditation

MEDITATION

(what does it have to do with nutrition??)

Lately I’ve been strongly encouraging all of my clients to include at least 5 minutes of meditation daily as part of their protocol. Many have had a practice in the past, and have fallen off, or only practice intermittently. Some have never even considered doing such a ‘woo’ activity and are a bit perplexed as to why such a thing might be valuable- “Isn’t that a nap?” is one question I got recently.  😊

Well, here’s the deal. I have come to believe that having a daily meditation practice of any duration is one of the single most effective things you can do to move your health forward and reach your goals. And, I’m not alone in thinking that, but more on that in a bit.

From a purely nutritional therapy standpoint it may seem like a stretch, although I will always make the case that wellness is what you’re after if you’re here, and wellness is far more than just nutrition. But, I can actually draw a direct connection to the work we do in session, and that is via the concept of the parasympathetic and sympathetic modes of the nervous system.

PARASYMPATHETIC VS. SYMPATHETIC

Some of you might get tired of hearing me talk about parasympathetic mode- I’m like a broken record when it comes to this because it’s just so darn important and if we want deep healing we MUST access more time in the parasympathetic.

Parasympathetic mode in a nutshell is the ‘restful’ state we are in during meditation, massage, sitting on a log in a beautiful forest, enjoying a meal in the sunshine in the Italian Alps, having a cup of tea by the fireplace, acupuncture, and so on. It is a state that allows the body to focus inward and devote more energy to bodily processes. Sympathetic state, on the other hand, is more of a ‘go-go-go’ state, like driving in traffic, getting kids ready for school, running a race, making a presentation, cleaning a room. Anything that requires action and an outward placement of energy. Neither is good or bad; we need both, but they need to be in balance. Can you guess which one we get stuck in, here in our modern society?

The truth is our physical bodies are a bit of a mismatch to our current modern life environment, as much of us live it. Time spent at desks, in cars, with chronic stress that isn’t alleviated by outrunning it (like a bear could be), all of these keep us in sympathetic and exact a cost. We need to take action to tip the scales in the parasympathetic direction if we want to address our health at the root.  

Meditation allows the body to enter a parasympathetic state. Functions like digestion REQUIRE  a parasympathetic state. So does detoxification, cell repair, and peristalsis, the movement of the gut, all of the inward processes required for deep and true health and healing. It may not seem like 5 minutes is much, but 5 minutes consistently can retrain your neural pathways so that you can drop into that parasympathetic state with more ease. And, if you can do more than 5 minutes, by all means do so! But as I have heard well known health practitioner Chris Kresser say, 5 minutes done every day beats inconsistent longer sessions done intermittently.

BLOOD SUGAR AND MEDITATION

Meditation buys us choice. Over time, this practice can allow us a split second of choice before we react strongly to some outward situation. This choice over how we react (if we choose the less reactive path) can reduce chronic stress over time (and improve our relationships to say the least.)  Anything that reduces stress helps reduce blood sugar, which helps with inflammation and insulin sensitivity, among other things. (Remember that every stress response is a cortisol response.)

SO MANY BENEFITS!

But it doesn’t stop there. There are now all sorts of benefits from meditation that are being corroborated by science. They include increased will power (that certainly will help in the nutrition department!), and many other attractive changes to the brain. There is a wonderful new book out titled Altered Traits: Science Reveals How Meditation Changes Your Mind, Brain, and Body by Daniel Goleman and Richard Davidson that investigates this topic in detail.

Here are a few brain benefits of meditation listed in a Forbes article, link below: it can preserve the aging brain; it rivals antidepressants in effectiveness; improves concentration and attention; and reduces anxiety and social anxiety. https://www.forbes.com/sites/alicegwalton/2015/02/09/7-ways-meditation-can-actually-change-the-brain/#5115cf414658

And it can boost immunity, and who doesn’t need that this time of year? Studies linked in this article in Medical Daily detail how even a conservative meditation practice can boost antibody levels and strengthen the areas of the brain responsible for running the immune system.

http://www.medicaldaily.com/benefits-meditation-mind-and-body-reducing-stress-immune-system-382023

 

KEEP IT SIMPLE

And it doesn’t have to be complicated. You can just ‘close your eyes and do nothing’ as advocated by Susan Pierce Thompson in her book ‘Bright line Eating’ (yep, she brings it into her nutrition program too.) There are bazilions of apps and guided meditations out there if you want more structure. Two good ones are Insight Timer and Headspace.

I like to set the timer on Insight Timer for anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes, and then just settle into my comfortable big chair crosslegged or legs straight out onto an ottoman, and close my eyes and focus on my breath. You might like a regular chair, a cushion, or a meditation bench. I try to let thoughts flow by and focus on the present moment, just being and breathing. After a few minutes I can feel my mind quiet and my body relax. If I have time for longer sessions of 10 minutes or more, I can reach a wonderfully relaxed and contented state.

SUPPLEMENTAL SUPPORT FOR YOUR PRACTICE

I love two products together that I find AMAZING to support me in reaching a parasympathetic state for my meditation practice, and I am grateful for both of them. One is Vagal Tone essential oil (external) from Meo Energetics, and the other is nano-emulsified phytocannibinoid hemp oil (internal) from Prime My Body. I am amazed at how quickly and easily I can reach that relaxed state when I bring them into the picture. (I love to use them together, every day.) I keep both of these in stock if you want to try them out. But, don’t let it stop you if you don’t have these on hand. You can still get there just fine.

WHAT IS YOUR PRACTICE LIKE?

Now I’d like to hear about your meditation experiences, practices, questions, thoughts.

Do you have a daily practice? An occasional practice? How long have you been practicing?

What have you noticed has changed since you began?

Do you wish to start a practice? What is holding you back?

What do you hope to gain by doing so?

Does this post help inspire you to begin your own practice?

How can I support you in exploring your own practice?

NOVEMBER KETO CHALLENGE

NOVEMBER 2.JPG

November KETO CHALLENGE!


I recently completed a wonderful nutrition challenge with my new Crossfit gym and I thought we could all use something similar here (including me! I already miss it.) I've also long been inspired by the fitness challenges run by Rachel Debusk of Unstill Life Fitness here in Seattle.

So, I've decided to offer a month-long KETO challenge to those of you already doing keto, or wanting to get back to keto. This challenge is for you if you have already keto-adapted at some point and you are familiar with the keto lifestyle.

(If you don't know how to KETO yet- don't worry! Dr. Ian and I will be offering an online keto course in January. And we'll do lots more challenges after that and along the way.)

It's inspiring to be part of a group effort and feel both motivated and supported. So let's get this keto party started!

(and thanks to Rocket and Rachel for the inspiration. (www.unstilllife.org and www.rocketcrossfit.com They are both incredible resources.)


Here's how it will work:

First of all, let's be clear- this is all about supporting each other in our efforts to reach our maximum level of feeling great! ESPECIALLY right before the holidays.

The challenge will be all of November EXCEPT Thanksgiving day.   (right???)

The cost to enter will be $30 to be Paypal'd to andrea@nourishstrength.com. (Go to Paypal and use that email address as the recipient.) As soon as you have paid, which I will see by email, I will consider you entered.

The money will be divided as follows: 1/2 to admin, 1/2 to prize money. Of the half that is prize money, 50% to 1st place, 30% to 2nd place, and 20% to 3rd place.
 

TRACKING

This is the cool part, and the part I really owe to Rocket inspiration.

We will use a Google response form to self-track. The link to the form will be pinned on our secret challenge Facebook page, where you will also post daily.

The places will be determined by a point system that the daily Google report sheet will track.

Daily points will be awarded as follows:

5 points for eating 100% keto that day.

1 point each for proper hydration (at least 1/3 your body weight in ounces per day), sleep (at least 7 hours per night), movement (at least 20 minutes per day), meditation (at least 5 minutes per day), and daily posting meals and progress on the challenge Facebook page.

Once you have entered the challenge you will be added to the secret Facebook challenge page (when it is ready- soon!) where you will find the link to the Google doc and where you will post daily. I will post an example post before we begin, and be available to answer all questions.

I'll take part in the challenge with all of you but be ineligible for the prize money.

I hope you will join us in ringing in the holiday season with vibrant good health! I am looking forward to being inspired by all of you.

SOUND LIKE FUN? OF COURSE IT DOES! SIGN UP TODAY AT PAYPAL using andrea@nourishstrength as your recipient. $30. See you on the challenge page!

Top Causes of Death, Illustrated

causes of death 1.png

The things most likely to kill you, and the power that knowledge gives you

You have more power over your health than you can imagine.

In an article published earlier this year, there are infographics from the United Kingdom’s National Health Services showing in beautiful bold color and shape the leading causes of death and their corresponding leading causes.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/health/the-things-most-likely-to-kill-you-in-one-infographic-a7747386.html

I was struck by these visuals and bookmarked them to eventually share with all of you. What really fired me up about this article is that the top 6 causes (and a good majority of the overall by percentage) are all LIFESTYLE and DIET issues.

causes of death.png

This is powerful news. Let me rephrase that- most causes of death today are lifestyle and diet issues. That means you have the power to change the equation by changing your lifestyle and diet.

Here are the top six causes: heart and circulatory disorders, cancer, respiratory disorders, nervous system disorders, digestive disorders, and kidney disorders.

Now, their corresponding top causes: high blood pressure, smoking, high cholesterol, obesity, low fruit and vegetables, physical inactivity, and alcohol. YOU CAN CHANGE EVERY ONE OF THOSE BY ADJUSTING LIFESTYLE AND DIET. There are a few genetic influences possible in there, but even those are hugely influenced by your daily choices.

All of this underlines the concept that our body wants to be in balance, or homeostasis, and when we remove the STRESSORS (things like smoking and poor food) and add in the missing NEEDS (things like more veggies and fruits, the right ratio of macronutrients, a good amount of movement) our bodies can right themselves.

And besides death itself, life is a lot more joyous, creative, and engaged when we are feeling good. Isn’t it worth addressing these factors just for that, not just so we don’t die sooner?

My job is to help guide my clients through the morass of conflicting information, to be a light and an ally on the unique path for each person to find their way to optimal health. My message is that there is so much each one of us can do to reclaim and protect our vitality, and it is well worth the effort and investment to do so. If you agree, let’s get started!

Curious about hemp oil? ....me too!

Hemp oil- a remarkable product, a remarkable company

I recently was fortunate to be introduced to a very high-quality hemp-derived phytocannibinoid oil by a dear friend, and I love it. I have been using it now for about 10 days and I feel so grounded, relaxed, and focused. The more I learn about the possibilities the more fascinated I become. I can’t wait to tell everyone about it and bring it into my practice.

Just FYI, this oil has no psychoactive components (no THC) and is legal for sale and use in all fifty states.

The company producing this unique, highly-absorbable and bio-available oil is called Prime My Body, and it’s filled with smart people- naturopaths, chemists, former biochemists, chiropractors, holistic dentists, and more. The CEO is a former organic farmer. The energy around the company is as fascinating as the product itself.

Hemp-derived phytocannibinoid oil is a supplement- a remarkable supplement. It supports the body back to homeostasis, or balance, by providing cannabinoids that engage with the body’s own endogenous (meaning internal) cannabinoid system. As such, it can help support the body back to balance in many areas. Here is some of the verbiage from the company:

“How Cannabinoids work:


The science behind why PrimeMyBody's Hemp Extract is proving to be so effective is based on the Human Endocannabinoid System. This elaborate network is part of our immune system and when it is activated by taking phyto-cannabinoid diols, humans (and animals) have better ability to fight, resist, and assist in repairing the mind and body.
The endocannabinoid system also includes the “cannabinoid receptors” or CB receptors that they bind to.

There are two major types of cannabinoid receptors in our bodies: CB1 and CB2. Activation of the extracellular portion of these receptors causes conformational change and initiates intracellular biochemical reactions. The vast number of cannabinoid receptors and their prevalence throughout the body suggests a multitude of promising therapeutic targets.”

This is really cool stuff.

As I learn more I am starting to see that almost everyone could derive benefits from the balance supporting properties of this product. I won’t glaze your eyes over with more overly dense paragraphs but suffice it to say if you search Pubmed or other scientific studies for studies involving CBD oil you will find a lot of very interesting and life-changing applications.

I’m actually really excited about the possibilities of combining Prime My Body hemp oil with ketogenic diets. They both have many of the same effects: anti-inflammatory action, balancing of body systems, supporting clarity of thought and increased creativity, and returning the body to ‘factory reset’ and better able to do what it does best- maintaining optimum health.

There is also a business opportunity here for those who find they love the oil as much as I do. Prime My Body is an affiliate structured company and is growing through word of mouth by those who use it and love it.

I will be making this available for sale as a supplement in my practice. Let me know if you want to learn more about how this product might benefit you or purchase a sample bottle to try out for yourself!

And if the idea of being involved on a more engaged business level resonates with you, I’m happy to share what I’ve learned about those possibilities as well.

To your health,

Andrea

What is Keto?

 

What is keto?

What is a ketogenic diet and is it a good choice for me?

Maybe you’ve heard someone discussing their keto diet or you’ve seen an article or two on keto. Or maybe you’ve never heard of it at all! So what the heck is keto?

‘Keto’ or the ketogenic diet is a way to retrain your body to be a fat-burner. It is a metabolic adjustment. (Really it is regaining our metabolic birthright!)

The ketogenic diet is a high fat, moderate protein, very low carb way of eating.

Nutritional ketosis is not the same as ketoacidosis. Nutritional ketosis is a very natural state that is useful to human metabolism and survival.

Keto-adaptation is the process of retraining your body to burn fat instead of glucose (sugar) by eating a ketogenic diet for a period of time, usually 6-8 weeks. It is like training wheels for the metabolism! First re-learning to burn dietary fat, then relearning to burn our own stored fat. We are all born keto-adapted, and often lose this capacity due to a carb heavy diet and the resultant blood sugar dysregulation.

 

What are the benefits of keto adaptation?

            Weight loss without hunger

            Address insulin resistance and diabetes

            Detoxification

            Reduced inflammation

            Greater mental focus

            Improvement of acne and other skin issues

            Reduction of cravings and hypoglycemic hunger patterns

            Neuro protective

            Address brain injury & post-concussive syndrome

            Migraine relief

            Enhanced athletic performance in longer endurance events

            Ability to engage in intermittent fasting comfortably

                      

We are offering an 8 week keto-adaptation program in Seattle! I've developed a unique program in collaboration with Dr. Ian McLogan, naturopathic physician.

What is included in our 8 week keto-adaptation program?

            Five 90 minute classes

            A 30-minute private phone or Skype consult with Andrea

            Startup supplies: ketometer, 10 keto strips, log sheets

            Menu plan for 1 week with recipes and shopping guide

            Detailed class materials with lots of information and guides

            Tons of keto information, background, and resources

            Optional supplement recommendations

            Group support and email/FB support between classes

            Everything you need for keto-adaptation success!

 

Contact me for more information and come to our FREE info session on Monday, April 17th at 7pm in Columbia City. Email now to RSVP: andrea@nourishstrength.com

 

Testimonial:

 

          “Andrea's approach to keto-adaptation has helped me reach my lowest weight in years, 30 pounds down in the last 4 months and 30 pounds more to go to reach my goal. It's amazing to be losing weight without ever feeling intense hunger or a lack of energy. In fact, I feel like I'm indulging myself at times, enjoying delicious high-fat meals and snacks that I would have seen as "unhealthy" in the past, while avoiding the sorts of low-fat/high-carb foods that I used to eat all the time. Andrea has a knack for keeping things simple and helping me focus on what really matters, and it's exciting to feel like my weight is truly under my own control!”

-D.M.

 

LOVE AND PAIN AND PSYCHONEUROIMMUNOLOGY

To keep the body in good health is a duty, otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear. -Buddha

To keep the body in good health is a duty, otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear. -Buddha

LOVE AND PAIN AND PSYCHONEUROIMMUNOLOGY

-A CALL TO ACTION

“There are seasons in every country when noise and impudence pass current for worth; and in popular commotions especially, the clamors of interested and factious men are often mistaken for patriotism.”

 -Alexander Hamilton
 

My heart was broken last week by the events playing out on the national stage. I found myself feeling more helpless than I have in a long time. And with it, I felt nausea, tight lungs, physical heart pain, headaches, and finally exhaustion. I had no appetite for many days.

Did you feel it too? These are the effects of psychoneuroimmunology. Psychoneuroimmunology, or PNI for short, is the idea that our emotions and thoughts deeply affect our physical being through the action of chemical messengers from the brain. PNI is the study of the effect of the mind on health and resistance to disease. The official definition of PNI is: “a branch of medicine that deals with the influence of emotional states (as stress) and nervous system activities on immune function especially in relation to the onset and progression of disease.”

Perhaps you felt the results of this effect after recent events- now imagine the effects of chronic stress to the body over time, albeit perhaps a bit more subtle. PNI can affect healing time, gut health (anyone feel ‘gutted’ last week?) and the onset of conditions like irritable bowel syndrome, the ‘medical’ broken heart whereby longtime partners can be deeply affected or even die after a partner dies, the ability to successfully fight cancer, and skin irritations like eczema and psoriasis. Asthma has long been known to have an emotional component.

These processes are directly set in motion via the chemical messengers of hormones from the HPA axis- the control center of our brain. When under stress, this system signals for more cortisol to be released, keeping us in a state of emergency response, and suppressing the immune system to save energy.

But we are not just subject to the effects of psychoneuroimmunology- we can use this principle to profoundly benefit our wellbeing as well. Positive social interactions like love, laughter, and connection can result in the release of oxytocin, which has beneficial immune influences. We are a social being.

Meditation and stillness offer a path to quieting the messengers and reducing the amount of cortisol being released. The beneficial effects of meditation (which I consider essential to any wellness protocol) continue throughout the day as the meditator retrains neural networks and is more able to remain calm in the face of adversity.

This is my hope for the days ahead. This is where the need to be intentional comes in. In essence, the communication chemicals of the nervous system speak directly to the immune system. We can influence which chemicals are speaking by how we spend our time, how we shape our thoughts,  and with whom we connect. On a deeper level, our nutritional health and vitality plays a critical role in keeping these systems up to their full capacity. It is all part of the whole picture.

There is no separation between physical, emotional, or spiritual health. We must attend to all three to do the work we are here to do. The events of the last week are a call to action to bring your wellness to the highest level in all three categories. Nourish yourself with love, laughter, and the best quality of food you can find. Move your body. Nutrient dense is the phrase of the day, whether it be the quality of the food we are taking in or the quality of the interactions we have around us. Meditation and self-reflection offer nutrient density for the soul that directly affects the body.

There is no time to waste. Here is to your health!

For more insight into the actions of psychoneuroimmunology, read this:

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/305921.php

INTENTION

INTENTION- Where are you steering your ship?

 

Intention is shaping your thoughts in the form of your vision for your life. It is powerful because rather than focusing on what you DON’T like and complaining or despairing, you are focusing on what you DO want. Holding intention can create a cascade of decisions and actions that bring your intention into reality. Writing your intention can be even more powerful. Sharing your intention with others on a similar path increases that power by magnitudes, as you become a community with an intention.

I invite you to sit down today and write your intention for how you want to live your life for the next month. See if it shapes your reality in the weeks to come. Share it with others if you want to increase the power of your writing.

If your intention includes claiming better health and wellness for yourself and staying on your game in the midst of all of the upcoming holiday excess, consider joining my next RESTART group, gearing up for our first class session Monday, November 7th from 7:00pm-8:30pm in the Columbia City area of Seattle. I've just got a couple spots left and a GREAT group shaping up.

Details and signup here: http://www.nourishstrength.com/restart/

Here’s what a participant in my most recent class had to say:

“This class was great for me because making a commitment and having a group to show up to seem to be good motivators- and I reached results that were better than I could have expected. Also learning about digestion, sugar, and fats helped me be both better informed and successful. It’s such a relief NOT to count calories or be hyper vigilant about every nutrient. I’m so much more relaxed about food and what to eat.”

What’s YOUR intention?

 

Interested in Keto?

keto lunch cooked in lots of healthy fats. yum. just put an avocado on it

keto lunch cooked in lots of healthy fats. yum. just put an avocado on it

There is a growing awareness of the ketogenic way of eating, or ‘keto’, as evidenced by this recent article in the Seattle Times. http://www.seattletimes.com/pacific-nw-magazine/eat-fat-and-lose-fat-with-a-ketogenic-diet/  

I’ve been studying keto and applying it to myself intermittently in the past few months and I am very excited about it, and determined to see what benefits it might have. I am refocusing my efforts to stay committed to a keto lifestyle for a longer duration and I am developing a keto class so that I can share a condensed version of everything you would need to get started. Stay tuned for more info on that and make sure you are on my newsletter list if you are interested in finding out more!

But what is ‘keto’?

What is Keto?

Keto is short for ketogenic. A ketogenic diet is a very low carb diet that retrains the body to burn fat for fuel. Ketones are fat bodies produced by the liver and are great fuel for the body, including the brain. With keto, we swap glucose (blood ‘sugar’) for ketones (a type of fat body) as our main fuel.

Keto is a high fat, moderate protein, very low carb way of eating.  Healthful whole food keto includes plentiful low carb non-starchy vegetables like kale, cabbage, spinach, broccoli, and mushrooms (and so many more) for fiber and micro nutrients. It also requires a lot more dietary fat than many of us are used to.

Keto-adaptation is the process of retraining your body to use fat as fuel, which we are all born knowing how to do (think nursing babies- human milk is high fat, low carb!). Keto-adaptation allows us to burn fat very efficiently and to not need sources of glucose, or blood sugars, that are made from dietary carbohydrates. Once we are fully keto-adapted, we have regained our birthright of metabolic flexibility and can reintroduce whole food carbs to an amount tailored to our biochemical individuality.

What is it not?

Nutritional ketosis is NOT the same as ketoacidosis, a very dangerous state that insulin dependent diabetics can be susceptible to and must avoid. See below for a list of who should avoid keto-adaptation, including insulin dependent diabetics.

Keto is not a high protein diet; In fact, excess protein in the diet cannot be stored and will turn into glucose in the blood. Keto is a high fat, moderate protein, very low carb way of eating. (it's worth repeating.)

Once you are keto-adapted, it is actually a protein sparing diet, meaning you will need less protein. This is due to not needing to turn muscle protein into glucose via gluconeogenesis to address blood sugar dips. This is better for your body and the environment!

Keto is not necessarily Atkins, although Atkins is a form of keto.

Why do we want to do it?

Once we are keto-adapted we are no longer subject to the brief supply of glucose in our blood to feel good. We can use our own fat stores as well as fat from our diet to stay satiated and fueled for much longer. Our energy is steady and plentiful. We need less mass of food so it is very useful when traveling or hiking, or engaging in any endurance sports. We have ready access to the many thousands of calories in our stored fat versus just the 2000 or so available from glycogen (stored glucose) supplies.

BENEFITS (including but not limited to)

-Reduces inflammation

-Satiated for much longer without needing to refuel

-Weight loss without hunger or tracking calories

-Able to engage in endurance athletics with greater performance and lower event nutrition needs

-Able to better access own body’s fat for fuel

-Eliminate hypoglycemic energy patterns

-Improve chronic inflammatory conditions, insulin resistance, obesity, and diabetes

-Reduce metabolic disease factors

-Improve triglycerides and HDL cholesterol levels

-Very beneficial for Alzheimer’s and dementia as it provides an alternate fuel for the brain

Keto adaptation, metabolic flexibility, and ketosis maintenance

There are many schools of thought on keto maintenance; some prefer long term keto, and others use an approach that reclaims metabolic flexibility by reintroducing whole food carbohydrates and then finding tolerance by measuring speed of return to ketosis. Intermittent fasting can also be used to maintain flexibility while still incorporating whole food carbs. Being able to monitor your blood ketone levels will help you find your ideal keto way. Women especially often benefit hormonally by re-incorporating some whole food carbohydrate intermittently after full keto-adaptation.

How long does it take?

Keto adaptation is not for the faint of heart or the flighty; it takes 4-8 weeks to fully keto-adapt. Once adapted, athletic performance is equal or better than prior. However, during adaptation, athletic performance as well as general energy levels may be worse for a period of weeks. The body needs time to shift over and cross the bridge to keto-adaptation. Remember, this is regaining a capability that we all had at birth but many of us have lost due to our carbogenic food environment.

Caution list- who shouldn’t do keto?

It is advisable for everyone to get a basic checkup and blood work from your medical provider prior to embarking on keto. Once you are keto adapted it is beneficial to many body systems, but the bridge to getting there can be hard work for the body. There are some people who should not do keto. If you have any of the following conditions, you are advised to not do keto, or to explore further with your medical provider if you wish.

-issues with obsessive or disordered eating patterns

-advanced liver disease

-pregnant or nursing (ok to already be keto for these situations, but tougher to keto-adapt at this time, due to detoxing. Great if you are already keto-adapted.)

-insulin dependent diabetic

-kidney disease or dysfunction

-symptomatic cardiovascular disease

-history of gout with high uric acid

-severe adrenal fatigue and hypothyroid issues can be barrier to adaptation

Interested in finding out more about keto?

There are so many exciting things to learn and discuss about the ketogenic approach. If you are interested in learning more there are a lot of places to look, but one resource I’ve really appreciated is the book ‘The Art and Science of Low Carb Performance’ by Volek and Phinney.

As I stated in the beginning of this post (if you are still reading you get a gold star!)  I am also developing a keto starter class so if you are interested in that or in speaking more with me one on one about keto, let me know! There are a lot of tips, resources, and supportive techniques to assist in smoothly transitioning to keto-adaption and I am looking forward to sharing more of them soon!

RESTORATIVE WELLNESS PRACTITIONER

Earlier this year, I completed a rigorous functional nutrition and wellness training called Restorative Wellness, Level 1. http://restorativewellnesssolutions.com/

I am now officially a Restorative Wellness Practitioner, which means I get to add more initials after my name! It also means I have the great privilege of serving as guide and ally as my clients do deep work to discover and address the root issues of health imbalances in their bodies. As Restorative Wellness Practitioners, we seek to optimize the innate healing capacity of the body in re-establishing homeostasis (balance). We do not diagnose or treat; we identify and address unresolved stressors that continue to push the body out of balance.

Restorative Wellness takes the approach I have already been using as an NTP (nutritional therapy practitioner) and adds many more tools to my toolkit to enable me as a practitioner to be more accurate and precise in assessing imbalance and creating specific and finite healing protocols. Through this program I have added a deeper understanding of physiology and anatomy as well as the capability to add in information from various lab testing and assessment techniques. It is a powerful combo of investigative work that can accelerate the process of getting to the ROOT ISSUE and setting a course for healing.

In this level the focus included assessing and optimizing adrenal function, restoring digestive function, identifying and resolving food sensitivities, healing the gut, and how to customize diet to support healing protocols. The tests I now guide my clients to use include a cortisol saliva adrenal assessment panel, a GI (gastrointestinal) assessment panel, MRT food sensitivity blood testing, and also HTMA- hair tissue mineral analysis. I will speak to each of these in future blog posts.

Who benefits from this work?

This type of assessment ‘deep dive’ is particularly suited for you if you have not felt your best for some time or if you have a chronic condition that does not seem to improve. Chronic bloating, fatigue, skin issues, autoimmune conditions, digestive conditions, blood sugar imbalances, inflammatory conditions, unwanted weight, ongoing reflux, and similar. Perhaps you have seen practitioners and medical professionals but feel that the treatments have addressed symptoms rather than getting to the root cause.

But really, this work is for everyone who has a deep interest and commitment to taking their health to the next level. We know now that gut health is the root of total body health- and that if there is inflammation present in the body that we need to look to the gut. We also know now that most chronic diseases of the modern age can be traced back to inflammatory conditions in the body, and what does that lead us to? A need to improve gut health. I believe there is no one who would not benefit from this work.

If any of this resonates with you and you would like to have a conversation about how this new work might benefit you, do not hesitate to contact me to set up a phone call or email me with any questions. Here’s to your health!

Happy 2016! Refresh...Recharge...Reclaim Your Energy

Welcome to 2016! Whatever you have planned for the New Year, you will have more energy to accomplish it if you take the time now to set yourself on a path to greater health. Small changes can be more approachable and lasting and can make a big difference over time.

Here are a few steps you can take right now that can move you forward into your new year with ease and grace.

1)      Focus on putting good stuff in at the same time you are taking the stressful stuff out. We all know that sugar, refined flours and processed foods need to come out for us to feel our best. But, we gotta put good stuff in too, and that can be way more fun…and that leads to…

 

2)       More plants! No matter what your paradigm, Vegan, Paleo, or whatever looks good, most of us could use more vegetables in our lives. Roast them, cut them up raw and store them in your fridge, make salads without the dressing and keep bags of them in the fridge. Fill up half your plate with them at each meal.

 

3)      Sleep. By now you’ve heard this from every direction, but sometimes the simple things are the best. You need to sleep. You need to say ‘no’ enough times that you have time in your schedule to sleep. You need to turn off that dang TV/computer/phone and get to bed by 10. There is a rule of thumb that due to our circadian rhythms, every hour before midnight is worth two hours after.

 

4)      Laughter and connection. Another simple but often undervalued element of joyful good health, and another fun one. It’s ok to skip folding the laundry for now if it means you can spend some time with some people you love.

 

5)      Exercise. But wait- this doesn’t have to be strenuous! Just move your body. Commit to 30 minutes a day of anything. Walking, www.fitnessblender.com, swimming, yoga.  Just move. This post in the NYTimes details why just 5-6 miles a week of jogging can be hugely beneficial. http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/11/27/ask-well-how-many-miles-a-week-should-i-run/

 

6)      If you smoke, quit immediately. Nothing could be more important for your health. You know who you are. (yes, this means you. :))

 

7)      And last but not least…you know this is coming…hydration! Yep, simple but not always easy. I think a good policy is to have a big glass of filtered water on waking, then keep good water handy all day and let your awakened thirst impulse guide you.

I love this NPR article and the accompanying video for a summation of great simple techniques to keep yourself feeling great.

http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2015/12/16/459970110/keep-things-simple-for-a-healthy-long-life

Another thing you could do…

THE RESTART® PROGRAM

If you are in Seattle, I would LOVE to have you join my RESTART® group starting on Monday January 11th!  There is nothing like group energy to help you focus on making changes. If you’ve been waiting to make a decision about joining, now is the time. We’ve got a great group shaping up and you won’t want to miss it.

I know not everyone can work with me privately, so that is why I am offering  
The Restart® Program for groups, beginning this January.

In 5 weeks you will learn:
~How to prepare mentally, physically, and emotionally to make successful changes to your diet
~How digestion is supposed to work and simple ways to enhance your own digestion
~What sugar really does in your body, the stages of dysglycemia, and effective ways to reduce the risk of those conditions.
~The truth about fat and why healthy fats are essential for healthy blood sugar regulation as well as your overall good health. You will learn which fats to eat, which fats to avoid, and why!
~How to move forward from the sugar detox and re-introduce foods in a healthful way back in to your daily diet.

And there is a 21 DAY SUGAR DETOX-ELIMINATION DIET built in.

Side effects of the RESTART® Program may include (but are not limited to):
~Weight loss, Boosted immunity
~Better sleep, More energy
~Reduced cravings for sugar and starchy carbs
~Mental clarity, calmness and even temperament
~Reduced PMS and menopausal symptoms
~An appreciation for the taste of Real Food

You can find out more details and register here:

http://www.nourishstrength.com/restart/

 

Here’s wishing you a nourishing and satisfying 2016!!

BEAUTYCOUNTER: good clean products for our largest organ, the skin!

Pretty much every protocol I write includes a line about checking to make sure your personal care products are non-toxic and that you aren't increasing your toxic burden by what you put on your skin. We absorb materials through our skin as much as through our digestive system, and in fact a number of products I use in my work deliver their ingredients through the skin.

It might seem easier said than done to ensure the safety of your beauty products but one company has made it their mission to only use safe ingredients, and they also make lovely things. I have a sweet friend who is now representing Beautycounter products, so I've had a chance to get to know a few and I love them; I also think they make nice Christmas gifts! I asked Meggan to share a bit of info about this company so I could share it with you, and here is what she wrote:

 

"Being 19 weeks pregnant, now more than ever, I am very aware of what I put on my skin and body. I know I am not the only one that has spent years, not to mention countless dollars, on "organic" and "safe" personal care items that never delivered the results I wanted and always had a handful of questionable ingredients. This is because the regulations surrounding beauty and personal care items in the U.S. have not been updated since 1938! The very short legal document, created almost 80 years ago, has only 11 banned ingredients listed. By comparison, the E.U. has a list of over 1,300 banned ingredients, a list that is constantly being updated as further research is completed.

Beautycounter, however, has developed a chic and affordable line of products dedicated to safety and performance, with a current list of over 1,500 banned ingredients. In addition to our healthy products, Beautycounter has a social mission that is at the forefront of our brand: We educate families about the need for safer chemicals and advocate for true change in today’s marketplace. Not only is this part of the mission, it’s something our founder, Gregg Renfrew, fights for in Washington constantly.

I am excited to be a part of Beautycounter, not only because the products are fabulous--right now we have essential and anti-aging skin care and facial products, body & hair care products for children and adults, a beautiful make-up collection, and we are currently developing a deodorant--but because I love being part of a movement dedicated to placing consumer pressure in the marketplace to effect change in Washington. Just like with food, we deserve to know what we are putting in or on our bodies.

 

 

December is the perfect time of year to give the gift of beauty and safety. Beautycounter has an amazing holiday collection to help you shop for everyone on your list, including my personal favorite, our Lustro Sugar Scrub and Enrich Body Butter; it’s a little piece of pampering heaven that you can gift to yourself, or someone on your list."

 

-Meggan Godwin

Consultant

meggan.godwin@gmail.com

http://www.beautycounter.com/meggangodwin


 

So, if you are looking for some luscious Christmas gift ideas that won't increase your toxic burden, give Meggan a call. And, no matter what products you buy, do your best to educate yourself on how to introduce the least amount of toxins through your skin! You can check any product's ingredients here: http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/

 

 



 

 

RESTART® for the NEW YEAR

As we head into the holiday season, it’s a great time to be intentional about having fun now, and also about balancing it all out in January. Are you interested in getting 'back on track' in the new year?

I’m pleased to announce that in January I will be facilitating The RESTART® Program, a 5 week healthy eating group program that includes a 3 week sugar detox built right in. Past participants and teachers of this program have nothing but great things to say and it’s a fast reset to get you back to feeling your best! Plus, the knowledge you learn will help you feel great long after the session is complete.

It’s part nutritional education, part sugar detox, part support group. The 5-week RESTART® program is a simple, powerful to give your body a vacation from having to process toxins like sugar. The program focuses on how to use REAL FOOD to boost your energy and cut sugar and carb cravings.

I’ll be offering both a local in-person class and a virtual hangout.

The in-person class will be in Columbia City, Seattle, Mondays at 7pm starting on January 11th.

The virtual online hangout class will be on Tuesdays, at noon, starting on January 12th.

Classes will be about an hour and a half. Investment is $197.

Please contact me if you are interested (andrea@nourishstrength.com) and I will send you more information and save you a spot on the list! Participation is limited to 10 people per class.

GO here to register and pay online, at the bottom of the page: www.nourishstrength.com/restart/

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

I'm thankful for all of you who have made this journey possible

I'm thankful for all of you who have made this journey possible

HAPPY THANKSGIVING WEEK!

I hope you are looking forward to some down time with those you love and some good food.

 

80/20

I think Thanksgiving is a great time to reflect on the 80/20 concept- 80% on protocol, 20% wiggle room. It’s a great structure that is used across many fields. Celebration dinners are times to relax, enjoy the joys of life, family, friends, and delicious food, and not get hung up too much on what and how much you are eating and drinking.

However, a couple guidelines can keep things on the positive side of the line, and they are really simple. If you have serious food sensitivities, then those things should not be included in your 20%. And this goes to the second guideline- just ask yourself how you want to feel. If you can answer that question honestly, it will guide you. If you have food sensitivities, and you know gluten makes you feel awful for two days, then let that guide you to avoid gluten but find another treat to enjoy. Additionally, it can help you find the line between enough food/drink to feel really satisfied, and too much.

And don’t forget to drink lots of good, filtered water along with everything else.

JUST BREATHE

Down time over the holidays is a great time to de-stress.  My friend Baxter has been working hard with her team to bring a new breath-taking app into the world and has made the beta tracks available for listening. This group of qualified yoga therapists has designed a breathing practice to directly effect the parasympathetic nervous system (helping to calm symptoms of stress and anxiety, and aiding in digestion, detoxification, and cell regeneration.)

http://www.breathtakingapp.com/breath-tracks1.html  (have a listen!)

People with high blood pressure will especially benefit from them. Find the breathing track most suited to you, then measure your blood pressure both before and after the breath practice to see the effect it has.

Since they are measuring people's experience before releasing these practices in an app, they would appreciate you leaving your feedback at the end!

 

Have a great holiday!

STILLNESS PRACTICE

If you’ve been my client, you know that I include a recommendation for a simple meditation/stillness practice on every protocol. It’s not nutrition, so why is it so important?

We live in a modern environment that is typically busy, full, and at least partially chaotic (if you don’t, congratulations!). Our bodies are not necessarily adapted to these modern ways. As I love to mention, EVERY STRESS RESPONSE IS A CORTISOL RESPONSE. That means every time your brain perceives a stress response it signals the adrenals to produce cortisol, which signals the liver to put some glucose in your blood. It will do this with stored glycogen or, if it doesn’t have that, will get some muscle protein and turn that into glucose via gluconeogenesis. This whole process is designed to give you energy to run away from that tiger…the issue is when it’s not the occasional tiger, its email, deadlines, traffic, getting the kids to school, etc., over and over all day long.

One way we have to manage stress is a simple meditation practice. It is really not that hard to find 10 minutes: just set your alarm for 15 minutes earlier and find a comfortable place to sit. Use a timer on your phone, or one of many meditation apps like https://insighttimer.com/

You don’t need to know anything to meditate, just focus on your breath. There are many resources out there if you do want to learn more, but even a very simple practice will be incredibly beneficial in establishing a foundation of calm to your day, and creating a mental space that is easy to pop back into during the day. The more you do a simple morning practice the more it permeates the rest of your day.

Back to the nutrition aspect- meditation is one way to access the parasympathetic, or ‘rest and digest’ nervous system mode. We need to be in parasympathetic mode for a variety of functions to occur: digestion, cell regeneration, detoxification, peristalsis (the movement of the intestines, among other things.) Now you can see the important connection to nutrition and physiological wellness. There are many other benefits to meditation, but that is the direct line to this work and why I consider it a very important piece of a protocol.

Mark Sisson has a great take on all of this, and a fantastic list of alternatives if you are thinking, “there is just no way I am ever going to do that!” His view is that we are not spending as much time in nature as we have in the past, and this is why we so deeply need to proactively pursue some type of mindfulness practice. He has compiled a fantastic list of ideas, resources and links to help you get something going to encourage your parasympathetic mode even if you can’t seem to start a sitting practice:

http://www.marksdailyapple.com/15-alternatives-to-sitting-meditation/#axzz3r7DyuSCD

And if you’d like some resources on how to start a sitting meditation practice, check out these links:

http://www.tarabrach.com/new-to-meditation/

https://www.jackkornfield.com/meditation-for-beginners-3/

http://www.happify.com/hd/meditation-for-beginners-dan-harris-sharon-salzberg/#!

 

HEY, SUGAR

Eeeek! Step away from the Reeses...

Eeeek! Step away from the Reeses...

It’s the week after Halloween and I can’t think of a better time to bring up the subject of sugar again. Not that it isn’t around us all the time. I recently pulled together some facts around sugar for a talk and I thought I’d share some of it with you. One thing to remember as well is how political sugar is- the federal government subsidizes corn and soy, but not fresh veggies. A lot of that corn gets made into high fructose corn syrup, and that has to go somewhere! For more on this, check out Marion Nestle’s new book, Soda Politics.

Another factor to highlight is that modern sugar has only been with us for about 400 years, and even 100 years ago the average American consumption was only about 10 pounds a year. That has ballooned to estimates of around 150 pounds per year per person. Our bodies are simply not equipped to function properly with this kind of input, and a tremendous amount of damage is being done. If you want one thing that can really help move your health in a positive direction, it’s eliminating sugars from your diet.

I’ve always wanted to make a ‘sugar board’ to illustrate the amount of sugar in some common food items. My first try has some structural problems, but you can get the idea. A good rule of thumb when out shopping (other than just buying foods in as whole a form as possible) is that 4 grams of sugar equals one teaspoon of sugar. It is astounding to use this information to see just how much sugar is in some of our commonly consumed foods. A single serving size Tillamook flavored yogurt- 7 teaspoons. That’s almost half the container! A jar of Classico tomato sauce, 11 teaspoons in the 24 ounce jar. A single serving can of Pepsi, 10 teaspoons. A package of Krave beef jerky, 6 teaspoons. A Clif bar, 5 teaspoons.  Vitamin water? Not so healthy, at 8 teaspoons per bottle.

will have to use a little more tape next time...

will have to use a little more tape next time...

Here’s a few more ‘fun size’ facts for you:

-As stated above, the average American consumes close to 150 lbs of sugar per year, most of it as high fructose corn syrup. This translates to 22 teaspoons per day. Kids can consume up to 34 teaspoons per day. Nearly 1 in 4 teens is pre-diabetic.

-A can of soda/day increases a kid’s chance of being obese by 60% & a woman’s chance of type 2 diabetes by 80%.

-Some of the conditions encouraged by excess sugar consumption: insulin resistance, diabetes, cancer, dementia, depression, acne, infertility, heart disease. Sweet, huh?

-Sugar triggers a high release of insulin; when insulin is turned on, fat burning is turned off. Probably one of the more motivating factors for removal of sugars from the diet.

-Excess sugar consumption, due to its effect on metabolism, can cause you to be at a higher risk for cancer. Excess insulin and increased inflammation are both results of sugar consumption and are both risk factors for cancer.

-Sugar is highly addictive due to its effect on causing release of dopamine in the brain. Yes, you really do get a sugar high.

-It is sugar, not fat, that increases cardiac risk via the harmful effects of fructose on metabolism. Sugar can raise levels of triglycerides, oxidized LDL, glucose levels, and abdominal fat.

-Sugar can encourage gut permeability, which can lead to brain barrier permeability. Alzheimer’s is now sometimes called ‘Type 3’ diabetes due to its relationship with chronic elevated blood glucose levels. The good news here is that you can really foster brain health by eliminating sugars.

-Sugar can foster gut pathogens such as candida, other fungi, and incorrect bacterial balance by overfeeding these gut ‘bad guys’.

-Fructose is only processed in the liver…this type of sugar puts an additional burden on our already overburdened livers.  Especially avoid highly processed sugars like high fructose corn syrup!! Overloading the liver with fructose can result in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (even in children and teens) and also elevated blood triglycerides.

-Chronic spikes in blood glucose due to sugar consumption can imbalance hormones as the adrenals become overtaxed when blood sugar crashes; hormone precursors are shunted to manufacture more cortisol rather than the sex hormones. This is known as the pregnenolone steal, more on this in a later post.

-Hypoglycemic patterns caused by over-consumption of sugar can result in moodiness, unstable temperament, symptoms of “hangryness”

-Sugar depletes our magnesium, among other nutrients. (our body uses 26 molecules of magnesium to metabolize 1 molecule of sugar)

-Sugar suppresses our immune system. Just what you want in the winter months! As little as 1 teaspoon of sugar can suppress immune function for up to 12 hours.

For more reading on this subject (and more motivation to kick the sweet stuff) here are some other articles to check out. If you want help getting this insidious item out of your diet and reaping the health benefits, get in touch and let’s get to work!

http://www.nourishstrength.com/nourish-strength-blog/2014/2/5/sugar-just-say-no?rq=sugar

http://www.healthy-holistic-living.com/sugar-detox.html

http://authoritynutrition.com/10-disturbing-reasons-why-sugar-is-bad/

http://time.com/4087775/sugar-is-definitely-toxic-a-new-study-says/

SMALL CHANGES

from a tiny lettuce seed...

from a tiny lettuce seed...

Ultimately, small changes consistently practiced over time can add up to big results. What are some small changes that you could make today?

Could you eat 3 cups of leafy greens?

Could you just say no to sugar?

Could you have a hearty breakfast with protein, fat, and veggies?

Could you order a salad with lots of veggies and protein instead of a sandwich for lunch?

Could you stop at the store and buy ingredients to make a simple but nourishing dinner?

Could you eat an avocado?

Could you smoke one less cigarette?

Could you skip wheat today?

Could you drink one less soda?

Could you buy organic produce instead of conventional?

Could you just say no to that stress inducing task?

Could you go for a 30 minute walk?

Could you go for a bike ride?

How about a hike? A swim in the lake?

Could you make time during your day to meditate for 10 minutes? 5 minutes?

Could you call a friend you haven't talked to for a while?

Could you start your day with a big glass of filtered water?

Could you put your screen/phone/laptop away 1 hour before bedtime?

Could you skip the pastry and have some nuts and berries for your snack instead?

Could you add some fermented vegetables to a meal?

Could you make your first batch of sauerkraut?

Could you go to bed 30 minutes earlier?

Could you refuse to make an impossible to do list for yourself?

Could you get outside and get some sunshine?

 

What small changes could you make today? Could you do the same tomorrow?

THYROID LOVE

like a butterfly fairy...

like a butterfly fairy...

I’ve been thinking a lot about the thyroid. It’s always seemed a bit mysterious to me, wrapped up as it is in the intricate workings of the endlessly complex endocrine system. How to parse the functions of the thyroid as it interacts with the pituitary and hypothalamus and the adrenals and the gonads and all the hormone messengers between all of them…and the rest of our miraculous bodies.

Well, I have a long way to go to fully understand the thyroid the way I’d like but I’ve picked up a few things recently that I find fascinating, and I’d like to share.

THYRIOS

The word thyroid can be traced back to the ancient Greek word thyrios, which means shield like, shield shaped. It’s an apt analogy as it also closely guards our energy expenditures.

The thyroid is like two wings of the butterfly, nestled on the front of the neck just below the Adam’s apple. The thyroid is found in all vertebrates, including fish! The thyroid is incredibly vascular (many blood vessels) and also follicular (many small tubes- think hair follicles.) These follicles are meant to receive iodine, a critical nutrient for the creation of thyroid hormones.

FOLLICULAR

Isn’t that the best word ever? The thyroid, as stated above, is follicular, or partially composed of tiny tubes. These tubes are meant to receive iodine, a key component in the production of thyroid hormones. Guess what else they will absorb- other halides, like fluoride, chlorine, and bromide (found in soft drinks.) This is why drinking and bathing in municipal tap water and spending excessive time in chlorinated pools can adversely affect thyroid function over time. The other halides clog up the works. On the other hand, it’s also important we are taking in enough iodine, preferably in the form of seaweed or other clean sea sources.

THERMOSTAT

As far as function goes, the thyroid is like a thermostat, controlling how quickly the body uses energy. One of the famous symptoms for sluggish thyroid is that the person gets very chilly, even when others are not. Every cell in the body has receptors for thyroid hormone, and so thyroid function is critical because it affects every cell in the body!

Every act of energy involves the thyroid.

The thyroid is one in a long axis of endocrine organs. The hypothalamus at the top produces TRH (thyrotropin releasing hormone) which stimulates the pituitary gland, which produces TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) which tells the thyroid how much thyroid hormone to make, in the form of a small amount of T3 and mostly T4. T3 is what is usable in the body, and T4 gets converted to T3 mostly by the liver, and various other places.

There are many places in the chain where deficiencies can arise, and often anyone with a suspected issue will ONLY have their TSH measured. This can be the root of unresolved issues, as TSH is only one part of the picture- if a person is having trouble converting T4 to T3, for instance, they will still feel sluggish and off even though their TSH is measuring within clinical range. For a fantastic breakdown of several different ways these numbers can be off and more insight into other helpful measurements, check out this Chris Kresser post:

http://chriskresser.com/5-thyroid-patterns-that-wont-show-up-on-standard-lab-tests/

POSSIBLE INDICATIONS OF LOW THYROID FUNCTION

There are a lot of possible indications of low thyroid function. If you keep getting a ‘normal’ TSH result back but you have any of the following, you may want to dig a little deeper:

Trouble losing weight, depression, heart disease, chronic fatigue, cold all the time, constipation, hair loss, dry skin, low libido, memory problems, skin conditions like eczema and acne, lack of sweating during exercise, hoarseness, and missing the outer third of the eyebrow.

THYROID AND BLOOD SUGAR REGULATION

If your eyes haven’t glazed over yet, yay! This next concept is the one I found surprising and yet instantly applicable for all of us, and one that is squarely in the realm of nutritional therapy. The thyroid and blood sugar are linked. When we drive up our blood sugar repeatedly, through stress or sugar/refined carbohydrate intake, we often trigger the up and down roller coaster of reactive hypoglycemia.  When the body drops back down too low in blood sugar due to the subsequent over-release of insulin, it has to release cortisol to bring it back up. Chronic prolonged stress also causes the same pattern of repeated cortisol release. This repeated cortisol release suppresses pituitary function, and the thyroid cannot function properly if the pituitary is not functioning. And, if we are constantly revving ourselves forward with stress and cortisol, the cells will down-regulate, becoming resistant to thyroid hormone.

The other side of things is that those with a hypothyroid condition will suffer the effects of slowed down glucose metabolism, resulting in feeling tired all the time and cold.

As Chris Kresser says in the following post, “healthy thyroid function depends on keeping your blood sugar in a normal range, and keeping your blood sugar in a normal range depends on healthy thyroid function.”

http://chriskresser.com/thyroid-blood-sugar-metabolic-syndrome/

If you’d really like to delve more into the intricacies of thyroid function, check out the iconic book ‘Why Do I Still Have Thyroid Symptoms? When My Lab Tests Are Normal’ by Dr. Datis Kharrazian.

And if you’d like to talk with me about how nutritional therapy can support your thyroid health, let me know! I always offer a free one hour consultation to all. http://www.nourishstrength.com/freenutritionconsultation/

 

Thanks for making it this far and happy thyroid love!!

SEATTLE- Group Coaching Session Starting up Monday July 20th!

GET AT THE ROOTS

I am thrilled to be teaching the Get At The Roots Weight Loss Program, a nutritional therapy based approach,  here in Seattle. This program was developed by fellow NTP Nancy L. Rose, who had a similar experience as myself with significant weight gain after having her child and then working to learn how to regain her health and a more comfortable weight. The program is balanced and straightforward and is based on the idea of getting the body healthy, finding underlying potential weight issues, and helping the body to get back to homeostasis (balance). It's got a lot of the same info I use in my one-on-one sessions but in a group setting for group motivation and energy.

The program is 12 classes, one per week. The cost for the program is $239 for the 12 one hour classes, held on Monday evenings at 7pm in Columbia City. (location details upon registration.) As we dig deeper and identify group members' individual root issues, I may from time to time recommend nutritional supplements to support these issues; these would be at an additional cost if indicated. Class size is limited to 10 members max.

This is a great way to access Nutritional Therapy without the cost of a 3 month one-on-one session. I am very excited to be sharing this info with a group and reaching more people, and I hope you will join me!

 

Some of the issues that are explored in this in-depth program:

  • Digestive Problems
  • Food Sensitivities
  • Yeast Overgrowth
  • Unstable Blood Sugar
  • Dehydration & Mineral Imbalances
  • Fatty Acid Deficiency
  • Stress & Adrenal Fatigue
  • Hormonal Imbalances
  • Toxin Overload
  • Brain Chemistry Deficiency

 

Class will be limited to 10 members! Current clients will receive a 20% discount. Reserve your spot now:

http://www.nourishstrength.com/group-coaching-class-2/

More about Dr. Wahls and a Wahls Protocol Breakfast

I could eat this every day. Wait...actually I do.

I could eat this every day. Wait...actually I do.

In the last post 'Nutrition Pioneer Dr. Terry Wahls' I introduced you to the amazing Dr. Wahls and gave an overview of her work, now I'd like to give you a few more specifics. Of course, if you want to know ALL the details, you should check out her book, The Wahls Protocol. It's very approachable and even inspiring.

In a nutshell, she advises a whole foods, nutrient dense diet. She has 3 different levels to the diet, with varying levels of paleo-ness, but there are three simple principles to all of them:

1) What you will add to your diet

2)What you will take away from your diet

3) The quality of the food you eat

These are all things I talk about with clients every day, so I immediately resonated with these three simple things! Here are some of the other big ideas:

-9 cups of vegetables a day (yep!), including 3 cups of greens and leafy greens of any type, 3 cups of deeply colored fruits and vegetables (can have berries here too) and 3 cups of sulfur-rich veggies, like cabbages, onions, broccoli, mushrooms, and so on. This volume is needed to actually get the amount of nutrients our bodies really need to function on a daily basis. (see why this is for everyone?)

-Removing gluten and dairy. I find this to be important for so many of my clients. Some people can tolerate dairy, a lot can't and might not even know it. Gluten is not doing anyone any favors.

-Remove sugars and refined grain products.

-Organic, grass fed, and wild caught. The quality of our nutrition is everything.

Those are the main key precepts. There are a few more items to take the plan further, including introducing organ meats (so nutrient dense- more on these later), seafood, seaweed, and more good fats.

One other item that is a very important part of the protocol is some sort of daily stress reduction practice to allow the body to access it's resources for deep healing. More on that later as well.

Here is a great graphic I snapped from her book, a new type of food pyramid:

phone photo from the book 'The Wahls Protocol'

phone photo from the book 'The Wahls Protocol'

The breakfast you see at the top of this post has been my mainstay lately since I am trying to put Dr. Wahls principles into practice. It's a big gorgeous egg scramble (shoutout to my friend Charles for the awesome scramble inspiration) with onions, peppers, spinach, Shelton's turkey sausage, and avocado and fermented carrots on top. On the side is a coconut milk smoothie, made with real full fat coconut, a bit of almond milk, frozen blueberries, spinach, Amazing Greens cocoa greens powder, and Vital Proteins collagen protein powder. This is enough fuel to feed your cells and keep you going well until lunch.

WAHLS INSPIRED BREAKFAST SCRAMBLE

1 tablespoon coconut oil or ghee

3 pastured eggs, scrambled

3 cups raw baby spinach (leafy greens)

1 small onion (a sulfur rich vegetable)

1/2 red pepper (deeply colored vegetable)

3 small turkey sausage links, cooked, sliced

1/4 avocado, sliced (green)

fermented vegetables

salt and pepper to taste

Chop onion and pepper and saute in oil until soft and sweet. Add spinach and sliced sausage, saute until spinach wilts completely and water from spinach cooks off. Add scrambled eggs and cook until done, season as desired. Top with avocado and fermented vegetables.

WAHLS INSPIRED COCONUT MILK SMOOTHIE

1/2 cup real full fat coconut milk, Aroy-D or Natural Value brand

1/4 cup unsweetened organic almond milk

1/2 cup frozen blueberries (deeply pigmented)

1 cup baby spinach leaves (leafy green)

1 scoop Vital Proteins Collagen protein powder (optional)

1 scoop almond or cashew butter (optional)

1 scoop Amazing Grass cocoa greens powder (optional)

Blend all with immersion blender or similar.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

Nutrition Pioneer Dr. Terry Wahls

Dr. Wahls speaking at the NTA conference in March.

Dr. Wahls speaking at the NTA conference in March.

Welcome to a post about one of my new nutrition heroes!! Let me tell you why I think she is a true nutrition pioneer.

Recently I attended my profession’s annual conference, along with about 500 other NTPs. It  was absolutely thrilling to be among my fellow nutrition nerds. There were so many brilliant speakers that I am still processing much of it, but my favorite of them all was Dr. Terry Wahls. Dr. Wahls overcame (and is still fighting) the more severe form of MS (Multiple Sclerosis), a debilitating autoimmune disorder characterized by the immune system attacking the myelin sheath of the nervous system, causing multiple debilitating effects throughout the body that tend to worsen over time.

Dr. Wahls fought the disease for many years with the standard regime of pharmaceuticals, which are powerful, but work in many cases by dampening the immune system. This can cause a lot of other issues along with generally just not feeling very well. Even with this treatment path she continued to worsen until she was in a tilt recline wheelchair and very close to having to resign her position as the director of the brain trauma unit at the hospital where she was employed. She decided to do her own research to see if she was missing something that could help.

She knew that one characteristic of MS was brain shrinkage, so she started looking at other diseases with brain shrinkage, like Parkinson’s and Huntingdon’s. What she discovered after much research was that at the root these issues appeared to be a cellular disorder, a mitochondrial dysfunction. She compiled a list of nutrients that she felt would help provide the building blocks to rebuild her body from the cells up. From there, it was a short leap to simply redesigning her diet to include the most nutrient dense foods she could source, and ensuring to include adequate amounts of the nutrients she had found in her research to be helpful. She also included lifestyle changes that would help her body access the deeply relaxed mode necessary for cell regeneration. Within a year, she was out of her wheelchair and in fact had even completed an 18 mile bike tour. She has continued to improve from there.

Even more inspiring she has created a separate clinic within her hospital that is implementing these protocols with real world MS patients and seeing life-changing results. She is also implementing clinical trials to get this work into the official medical record, rather than it being just an anecdotal response of a few people. I believe this is truly pioneering as it underlines the power of nutritional therapy, and does so within the mainstream medical framework.

All of the principles she outlines in her work are applicable to those with autoimmune issues (which is currently 1 out of 4 women and 1 out of 6 men- a topic for another post); I believe they are all applicable in many ways to those without AI disorders. The root of the issue is that our typical diets are not providing our cells with the building blocks they need to function properly, and over time that can result in mitochondrial dysfunction, and illness will result. I find it incredibly inspiring that we can feed our bodies what they truly need to be at their best, and I find her work exciting because she lays out a specific, science-based road map for us to follow.

More on Dr. Wahls and some of her dietary protocols in an upcoming post, along with a breakfast recipe for a Wahls protocol compliant (and delicious) breakfast. In the meantime, if you wish to learn more about this incredible nutrition pioneer, you can check out her website http://terrywahls.com/about/about-terry-wahls/ or even better, read her book, ‘The Wahls Protocol.’ You can also watch her Ted talk, 'Minding Your Mitochondria'.