NSAIDS, leaky gut, and inflammation cures

So I had foot surgery a few months ago.I can finally move about but I still have stiffness and pain at times. So naturally, I am interested in inflammation cures.

My doctor recommended that I take several ibuprofen a day for this. No. And here is why. NSAIDs (non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) are horrible to take long term.

Some people know this. You may know this. But a lot of people don’t, or they don’t know why. There are many reasons – including the load on your liver – but today I want to talk about something else.

Women take NSAIDs in droves every month during their cycles – and there are far better ways inflammation cures and ways to reduce cramps or pain. It’s nuts. NSAIDs treat the symptoms but not the root cause. NSAIDs are products such as Motrin, Aleve, aspirin, Advil, etc.

I am not anti-drug or painkiller, but I know that NSAIDs do a number of your gut lining. Soon that pain in your neck is a pain in the butt!

Many of you may of heard of leaky gut.

Essentially it boils down to inflammation and tears in your intestinal lining. Food particles and other bacteria leak into your blood stream, causing a slew of issues including chronic inflammation as well as GI problems such as diarrhea, bloating, and pain.

The irony is that leaky gut can cause or exacerbate chronic body inflammation, autoimmune issues, depression, and anxiety.

Things that people with arthritis, PCOS, and PMS already have. Once you have leaky gut, you actually have to work to heal it.

Here are 5 natural anti-inflammatories (and the brands I recommend) that you should know about.

Yes – these are affiliate links. But as a nutritionist I would never link to any products I don’t personally use or recommend. One of the things that frustrates me are people who won’t invest in good quality supplements, but then don’t get the results they want. It’s like they are taking action, but it’s “half assed” action. With supplements and herbs, the brand really does matter if you want results.

And if you still feel the need to use NSAIDs short term due to an injury, combining them with one of the natural inflammation cures below can help you to reduce the NSAID dosage you take, and reduce the toxic load on your body.

1) Fish Oil

In fact Omega 3 Fatty acids can be used in many ways to help with inflammation and hormonal imbalance.

2) Arnica

3) Turmeric

In fact Turmeric is one of many Ayruvedic herbs I recommend for dealing with all kinds of issues, including PCOS and sugar cravings. Here are some others

4) Borage Oil

5) L-Glutamine

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3 herbs for natural pcos treatment

I manage my pcos naturally, and help many clients do the the same. here are 3 must have indian ayruvedic herbs to add to any natural pcos treatment plan

The basis for PCOS (at a very simplified level) is that there is too much insulin in the body, and this causes excess testosterone levels in the ovaries. Causing all the issues that ensue.

Doctors may argue that not all PCOS patients are insulin resistant, or that there are multiple causes, but I have found that for 90% of people – even those who are thin – this is the main issue.

​Sometimes insulin resistance is caused by excess weight, sometimes it is caused by genetic factors, but the bottom line is that managing blood sugar is a key part of any natural PCOS treatment plan. 

Here are 3 herbs that I use as part of my natural PCOS treatment plan to help me manage my blood sugar naturally. Of course these are used in conjunction with a low carb lifestyle. I like using herbs and spices in cooking because they are beneficial to the body, and make you feel nourished in way that non-home cooked food just can’t.

These are safe and natural, and can be used by anyone – even if you are just trying to reduce belly fat. You don’t have to have PCOS to benefit from these herbs. 

1) Cinnamon: 

Cinnamon is an amazing aromatic spice that has been used for centuries in India to treat muscle spasms, digestive issues, and diabetes. Not only does it add amazing flavor and aroma to all foods but is also has been shown to reduce fasting blood sugar in insulin resistant individuals and Type II diabetics, as well as improve the ability of the body to absorb glucose in insulin resistant individuals.  You want to make sure you are using Ceylon cinnamon. Why? This is true cinnamon. Cassia cinnamon is the most common form. But Cinnamon Verum (true or ceylon cinnamon) is the sweeter, and more beneficial of the 2 forms. It is also better for your liver over time.  Finding a good, organic (very important when it comes to herbs) is not that easy. I find that buying my herbs online in bulk saves me time and money.

Here is my favorite source.    naturalpcostreatmentcinnamon

2) Fenugreek: 

This is a spice you likely are not as familiar with. Fenugreek is commonly used in South Asia, East Asia, and the Middle East. It contains a hormone like compound known as diosgenin. Due to its hormonal properties, it’s often used to regulate menstrual cycles and increase libido. It helps increase breast milk and reduce inflammation. It’s an adaptogen – meaning it helps to balance the body and mind during “off times”. It’s been used for centuries to control blood sugar. Its has been shown to lower daily blood sugar levels, as well as A1C (the measure of sugar in blood over time). Fenugreek works by stimulating the insulin signaling pathway. In this way it helps to move glucose out of the blood and into cells – where it can be used. With herbals – if you are going to use the for medicine – getting a good potent source is essential. It has take me some trial and error to find the brands that work best.

here is the one I recommend most

Brands from the drug store, or even the India grocery store, are just not as pure or potent in my experience. 

3) Bay Leaf: 

Bay leaf is another Indian spice that is used for its aroma and flavor in cooking. But did you know that Basil is also great for reducing blood sugar? Individuals that took Bay Leaf supplements had bigger  drops in blood sugar levels over those who only took a placebo.

   bayleafnaturalpcostreatment

In addition to the many antioxidants in bay leaf, it contains bioactive compounds that improve insulin sensitivity (ability of the hormone insulin to move glucose out of the blood stream and into cells). You can find good quality organic bay leaves at Whole Foods or any quality grocery store for pretty cheap. 

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Reduce Sugar Cravings, Try Yakon Syrup Tea Biscuits

As someone from New England, when I think seasonal change I think baking.

I grew up making all kind of yummy cookies and cakes, and the smell of cinnamon to me = heaven. Fast forward 20 years. I am insulin resistant and avoid refined sugar and gluten. What’s a girl who loves her cookies and chai to do? Here is my current solution.

These are my Nourish biscuits made with Yakon syrup, coconut flour and almond flour. They are filling but still sweet and pastry like – making them perfect for tea time!

reduce sugar cravings

Ingredients:

2.5 cups Almond Flour

1.5 cups Coconut Flour

1/2 cup Shredded Coconut 

1/2 cup Coconut Oil melted

1 tablespoon of vanilla extract

1/3 cup Yakon Syrup 

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon Ceylon Cinnamon

Handful Cardamom Seeds crushed (optional)

A few squares of 85% or more Dark Chocolate (optional)

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Bake Time: 10 minutes

Makes: 25 Cookies

Instructions:

1) Mix dry ingredients together.

2) Mix wet ingredients together.

3) Mix both together. Using hands mash into a dough ball.

4) Create small balls the size of a melon baller. Place on parchment paper on baking sheet.

reduce sugar cravings

5) Bake in oven at 350 for 10 minutes. (half way through the baking can “smoosh” down balls with a fork)

6) Poor some melted chocolate over cookies once out of the oven

7) Enjoy with some gingery chai! It’s good to reduce sugar cravings!

 

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Vitamin D : A PCOS Natural Treatment

Vitamin D is actually not a vitamin. It’s a hormone!

“D” is actually something we produce on our skin when we are exposed to the sun. It is classified as a vitamin – but that’s not really correct. In this way it is quite the unique hormone – as we need outside exposure to produce it. We know that Vitamin D is good for our health, and raw dairy products are often touted as good for our bones, but there is so much more to the story that that. 

Vitamin D is critical to so many areas of health, and the truth is most of us are deficient in it!

pcos natural treatment

 


Vitamin D affects everything from our weight to our mood to our sleep to our fertility. It is also a PCOS natural treatment. It also bolsters the immune system, helps prevent cancer, and regulates insulin levels to name a few.

There are many things to know about Vitamin D – but here are five:

1) The form of Vitamin D that is most active and useful is D3. Often fortified foods that tout “high in Vitamin D” contain D2 – which is not really utilized by the body. The body has a limited number of D receptors – so consuming too many fortified foods and nut milks with added D2 is not ideal. 

2) While you can’t derive all of the vitamin D you need solely from foods, here are some whole foods that do contain it: wild salmon, sardines, mackerel, tuna, cod liver oil, shiitake mushrooms, egg yolks. Eating these regularly can help fill in the gaps and help your body produce more Vitamin D when you are out in the sun. 

3) Spend more time outdoors without sunscreen—aim for modest exposure to sunlight. Of course, you want to be careful about burning if you are fair skinned, but in general, 20 minutes a day on your bare face, neck, arms, or legs should is important. You need even more time if you are older or have dark skin

4) Vitamin D deficiency often does not have real symptoms. It may show up as depression or fatigue. Ask your doctor to test your levels. You will want to specifically request a 25-hydroxy-vitamin D (25 OH vitamin D) test. 

5) There are Vitamin D receptors in the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and testes that have a huge impact on our reproductive system. Supplementing or reversing low levels of Vitamin D can often help restore ovulation in PCOS, and help to mitigate or reverse endometriosis. This is why its is considered a natural PCOS treatment. 

The best way to achieve adequate Vitamin D levels is from whole foods such as fatty fish and eggs (along with the sun). Note: (Getting Vitamin D from dairy is only really ideal if the dairy is raw). Eating these foods is also a great way to get Omega-3 for natural hormone balance.The sun has gotten a bad wrap over the years – but in our fear of overexposure and our office based lives –  we are doing our bodies and metabolism more harm than good. Take some time this weekend to get outside and soak in the sun! 

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7 Tips to Maximize Hormone Health

Hormones are often the basis for many of our woes, including weight gain. But outside of puberty, pregnancy, and menopause, many people don’t give hormones much thought or realize how they are affected by diets, exercise choices, and lifestyle.

Today, our hormones are more out of whack than ever due to stress and disruptors such as xenoestrogens in our food and environment. Fortunately, there are some simple things you can do to help keep your hormone health in order.

Here are 7 of them:

1) Maintain healthy weight. Excessive fat tissue (called adipose tissue) can act as an endocrine organ, producing more estrogen in your body. By maintaining a healthy weight, your body is not stimulated to overproduce certain hormones.

2) Eat thyroid supportive foods. Foods that are rich in iodine such as kelp, Himalayan salt, seafood, organic strawberries can help with this. Try to drink filtered water, as the fluoride in our tap water binds to iodine and prevents our body from using it effectively.

3) Eat healthy saturated fat (such as coconut oil). Cholesterol is needed for the formation of healthy cell membranes and is a precursor to steroid hormones (progesterone, estrogen, FSH, etc.). You cannot have proper hormonal balance without adequate amounts of saturated fats.

4) Avoid refined grains, sugar, and processed foods. These interfere with the hormone leptin, which helps regulate appetite and metabolism. When leptin resistance sets in, you suffer from cravings and your metabolism slows down.

5) Avoid Bispheonol-A and phthalates. Commonly found in plastics and can liners, these endocrine disruptors mimic actual hormones, replacing the benefits with a toxic phony that provides nothing of value to the body.

6) Support your adrenal glands. The adrenals regulate the “stress hormone,” cortisol. To keep them in top shape, limit your intake of alcohol and caffeine, and commit to getting to bed by 10 pm. Your body creates growth hormones while you sleep, so prioritizing bedtime is an important step in staying balanced.

7) Keep stress in check. Take time to breathe fully and relax for a few minutes each day.  This is a big one these days. You can try yoga, meditation, essential oils, fun, laughter, massage, time in nature, journaling, downtime. Whatever works for you!


 

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Are you taking the wrong supplement in your PCOS diet?

Do you take a calcium supplement? Many women do. It is something that is drilled into us at a young age – the importance of calcium – and it’s role in the health of our bones. Yes…calcium is important.

But guess what mineral is even more important? Magnesium.

Magnesium serves a vital role in hundreds of enzyme based systems (including metabolism). Did you know that magnesium is one of the few minerals most Americans are deficient in? It’s hard to believe that we are actually deficient in anything in this country but it’s sadly true – and rarely tested.

Taking calcium supplements in the absence of sufficient magnesium is actually doing your body more harm than good!

I often use magnesium with my clients to address many hormone based issues. PMS, insulin resistance, sleep, and mood issues can often be traced to a lack of magnesium. Magnesium is an important part of any PCOS diet.

When you have PMS and would cut off your right arm for something chocolate…guess what? Your body is craving magnesium (that’s part of the reason…it is also craving serotonin and a slew of other things that chocolate provides). Magnesium helps to reduces PMS in all women, and the insomnia and another issues than often accompany PCOS. 

pcos diet

 

 

 

 

 

A handful of raw, organic almonds (high in magnesium) are an important part of any PCOS diet, and  might help to minimize or stave off that craving before you eat the entire bar/box/carton of something that will make you feel worse the next day.

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detoxing for pcos weight loss

pcos weight loss

We all want to be healthy and we are all busy.

A few weeks ago I had talked about cutting down on caffeine as a way to balance weight and hormones.  There is an easy way to do this and increase consumption of detoxifying herbs such as dandelion (multitasking!) through products such as DandyBlend.

Detoxing is a key part of PCOS and weight loss. I pretty much drink this stuff every day. It taste just like coffee  – and I add some almond milk and my choice of sweetener and its a great morning or nighttime non-caffeine treat. Plus it helps to detoxify at the same time! It’s made with barley but it’s gluten free.

If you want to go the full route – you can find fresh dandelion root at most health foods stores. Boil that on the stove in a pot of water and drink the tea!

Not just a weed

Did you know dandelion is a natural liver detoxifier? It cleans out our systems – promoting detoxification of the liver, skin, and digestive systems.

Our liver process all our junk. Just like the lint catcher in our dyer, the more often clean it out the more can help it do its jobs. The liver processes some sugars, as well as environmental toxins, hormones, and alcohol to name a few. So if it’s not operating efficiently – this can also show up as excess weight. One of the best ways to facilitate PCOS weight loss is to get rid all the extra hormones we tend to have. Detoxing our liver is a great way to do this. 

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Omega-3s For Dealing With Hormonal Imbalance

hormonal imbalanceOmega 3 fatty acids fight inflammation in the body. Inflammation is behind many of our “hormone” challenges – such as low moods, cramping, depression, and fatigue.

Omega-3 fatty acids also promote healthy and flexible cell membranes, ensuring hormones such as estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, and prolactin to reach and attach to the right places. This way it reduces the chances of hormonal imbalance. It also helps with issues such as PCOS and PMS.

Sources Of Omega-3 Fatty acids

Good sources of Omega-3 fatty acids are eggs and fatty wild caught fish such as salmon and black cod. There are vegetarian sources as well such as walnuts, flax seeds, and hemp seeds.

I recommend animal sources of Omega-3 to my clients, because your body can get EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) directly. Vegetarian sources contain ALA (alpha-linolenic acid) which your body has to convert into EPA. It’s less efficient. Also the rate of conversion goes down as you get older.

If you are vegetarian or can’t eat wild caught fish 2-3 times a week – try a fish oil supplement. Make sure you are reading labels. Many fish oils that are cheaper are lower in EPA (and contain higher amounts of DHA (docosahexaenoic acid)). EPA is the stuff you care about- when it comes to balancing hormones and fighting inflammation.

Here is a fish oil I use and recommend. It is high quality and has a higher percentage of EPA’s compared to other similar priced fish oils.

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herbs and other tips to lower blood sugar

tips to lower blood sugar

Rich in phytochemicals, many herbs and spices serve as anti-inflammatory. They are my top tips to lower blood sugar in clients naturally.  Here are two of my favorites.

Basil—Basil is commonly used as aromatherapy. Why? Basil has compounds in it that actually reduce stress in the body and normalizes levels of cortisol (your stress hormone). Your blood sugar spikes when you are under stress).

Using basil is one of many tips to lower blood sugar . When you reduce blood sugar fluctuations, you reduce weight gain, sugar cravings, and energy dips. And, when you reduce the effects of stress on the body, you are better able to stave off those nasty winter colds. So before you battle those holidays crowds, eat some basil!

Basil also has potent anti-inflammatory activity when compared to aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen. Traditional basil contains a compound called eugenol, which eases muscle spasms. Basil can also help relieve gas and soothe a turbulent tummy.

This is one powerful holiday superfood.

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Use it to boost cold weather immunity, to tackle stressful family, shopping, or travel plans, or to soothe your head and aching muscles after a sledding mishap or new year’s eve party.

Ginger—Known most for its ability to help with nausea and motion sickness, ginger increases digestive fluids and absorbs and neutralizes toxins and stomach acid. In addition, ginger helps ease inflammation in the body, with positive effects on arthritis and migraines. It helps with asthmatic symptoms or with severe cough. If you have a stubborn cold you can’t shake – some hot water that has been brewed with ginger can help to get things moving.

Ginger is quite versatile – you can use it in almost everything.

If ginger is not a big part of your diet – start sprinkling a little fresh ginger into your salad or sauces. Ginger is not just for gingerbread!

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Crazy for Quinoa: Help PCOS And Belly Fat

pcos and belly fat

I didn’t want the week to pass without posting a quick something.

This month I am on a “detox” as an experiment. Nothing fancy…just no gluten, alcohol, dairy, or sugar.

I guess you could call it “Paleo” but I am more focused on the veggie and smoothies part and less the meat part. It is not that different from the way I usually eat except I have never tried going gluten free before.

As a woman with PCOS, I shouldn’t be eating gluten anyways. It’s an inflammatory and women with PCOS test higher in C-Reactive protein (an indication of inflammation in the body).

But I am active and I need my carbs! I also need good “substitutes” that are easy to carry around or I will turn to bread. (Note: Unless you are actually celiac most packaged gluten free stuff is much worse for your blood sugar than gluten!).

Us PCOS girls really need to work harder to avoid PCOS and belly fat.

Quinoa is by no means low carb, but it is gluten and grain free (for those who have digestive woes with grains). It also has a higher protein/carb ratio, making you feel more satiated and keeping blood sugar levels more stable. This helps with PCOS and belly fat.

If you are actually celiac you will need to look carefully at packages. Quinoa if often packaged on the same manufacturing line as gluten containing flour, so there is a difference between a “gluten free” label, and a “made with no gluten ingredients” label.

Here is my Quick and Easy Quinoa salad.

I think it’s perfect for this time of year as it’s getting cooler but is still feels warm out. You want something fresh and light but hearty and filling at the same time.

For 2 servings:
-1 cup cooked quinoa (any color or combo will do). You can cook in a rice cooker “set it and forget it”…or make it on the stovetop according to directions. Some folks would say use sprouted quinoa and soak it to make it healthier. Go for it if you have time..otherwise if you are eating quinoa that’s good enough for me.
-1 tablespoon olive oil
-Juice of 1 lime (great source of vitamin C)

-Handful chopped mint (great source of minerals like magnesium and calcium)

-Handful of fresh chopped parsley (amazing source of Vitamin C, K, and A)

-Handful fresh chopped cilantro (flushes heavy metals out of blood)

-Handful of grape or cherry tomatoes chopped in half

-1/4 – 1/2 chopped red onion to preference (reduces blood sugar)

-Pink salt (or regular if you prefer) and pepper to taste

Toss and eat. I trust that you will love it AND make it more than once. Notice how the “simple” things used to season the food are so great for your health. These are the little things we leave out when we don’t cook!:)

Tip: If are like me and make many servings at once, keep the onion separate. It will “pickle” in the lime juice and get pungent after a day or so.

The jury is still out – but I will say after a week of no gluten I feel amazing and am swimming in my clothes. Note: This could also be from the sudden lack of constant chocolate eating. Stay tuned … I see a lot more quinoa recipes in my (and your) future.

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