Is Chocolate Healthy?

With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, let’s take a look at the potential health benefits of chocolate and some key considerations.

Everything that you eat effects your gut, the part of your body from your mouth all the way to the other end. Why is your gut so important? Your gut is where you take all the good stuff you eat and drink and transform it into the many building blocks your body needs to make energy, think clearly, sleep well, maintain a healthy weight, build muscle, and clear out toxins that need clearing out daily so you can thrive. 

It is my passion is to work with people like you whose health symptoms–like low energy, gut/digestive issues, excess weight, mood imbalance, and skin & sleep problems–are getting in the way of you living life fully and with a sense of freedom in your body. I help you to regain your health so you can feel great and free to enjoy life fully.

So let’s dive into chocolate!
 

Chocolate Health Benefits

Right off the bat, it’s essential to know that not all chocolate promotes health. I’m going to briefly explain the difference between chocolate and cacao, review some top health benefits, and then provide some suggestions for what to look for.

Okay so before chocolate is processed into chocolate, it starts out as a pod on a treewith beans inside. The pods are cracked open, beans taken out and they are fermented and dried under low temperature. They’re quite bitter at this stage! I’ve had cacao beans fresh out of the pod as well as fermented before they were powdered and processed further and they taste very different than the chocolate many of us are used to having. 
Much of the research on the health benefits of chocolate are actually referring to cacao and cocoa powder that hasn’t been heated at high temp (which lowers its beneficial antioxidants), not processed chocolate. 

Does that mean chocolate isn’t healthy? Not exactly (thank goodness!), but it does mean that there are some things to look for so that you’re choosing the good stuff.

Chocolate Health Benefits

When choosing chocolate or cocoa, choose 70% or higher cacao content and unsweetened raw cacao or cocoa powder. Why? It’s richer in flavonoids & it’s lower in sugar. These plant-based compounds exert numerous benefits on our health. A recent meta-analysis of 24 studies conducted at Harvard showed that flavonoids can reduce risk of heart disease and diabetes for several reasons, including:

  • Boosting HDL cholesterol (the lipid taxi that returns cholesterol back to the liver for recycling)
  • Stopping the oxidation of LDL cholesterol for improved cardiovascular health
  • Helping thin the blood (reducing the potential for dangerous blood clots)
  • Enhancing the function of red blood cells
  • Reducing inflammation
  • Reducing insulin resistance

Aside from the high levels of flavonoids, some of the greatest benefits of chocolate are the result of its potent antioxidant activity. Raw cocoa powder is off the charts high in antioxidants, but dark chocolate rocks too. In an article by Kelly Herring of Healing Gourmetshe explains that

“The best measure of a food’s antioxidant power is called the oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC). Foods that have a higher ORAC score have a greater ability to neutralize free radicals, the unstable molecules that damage cells and DNA and contribute to aging, heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s and more. The ORAC score of raw broccoli, for example, is 1,362. That’s pretty good. But it’s nowhere near blueberries, which rank near the top of all fruits and vegetables at 6,552. However, even blueberries don’t come close to cocoa, with an ORAC score of 80,933!”

Chocolate is good for your brain

As if we needed any more reasons to love chocolate, it turns out that cocoa is also rich in a natural chemical called epicatechin. According to The Journal of Neuroscience this compound helps to stimulate blood vessel growth and nerve development in the part of the brain responsible for memory and learning.  Epicatechin was also found to turn on genes that are important for cognitive function, while turning off the genes that play a role in inflammation and neurodegeneration. How awesome is that?!

Quality Cacao and Chocolate

There are many quality options to choose from with new brands popping up everyday so here are some general guidelines for choosing good quality chocolate products.

  • Short ingredient list (with easily identifiable, quality ingredients)
  • Says “minimally processed” on the label
  • Low in sugar (4 grams of sugar is equal to 1 teaspoon)
  • No soy lecithin. Soy lecithin is an emulsifier and so is used to enhance texture, but many people have issues with soy,
  • Dairy free if you have a dairy sensitivity…and it may go without saying, but if you have an allergy or sensitivity to cocoa, don’t eat it.
  • Avoid chocolates made with Dutch cocoa (they use some nasty chemicals to make this & the process reduces the antioxidants by half), preservatives, and/or trans fats.

Here are a few brands I like:

  • Navitas Naturals  OR Divine Organics raw chocolate powder
  • Alter Eco, (i.e. the Dark Blackout 85%) 
  • Equal Exchange Chocolates, their 80% Panama Extra Dark is amazing! Plus they are organic and fairly traded. Bonus!
  • Divine, fair trade cocoa from Ghana, 85% dark is truly divine!
  • Endangered Species, Extreme Dark 88% deeelicious
  • Dolfin Belgian Chocolate, Chocolate Noir 88% smooth and dark
  • Green & Blacks, 85% dark

Until next time, I’m wishing you unstoppable health!

~Rebecca

P.S.
If you are tired of being on the hamster wheel with your symptoms and you’re ready to take your health to the next level FOR GOOD, I’d love to connect with you. Apply for a complimentary Unstoppable Health Discovery Session. http://bit.ly/schedulinghealth (subject to availability).

References

Journal of Neuroscience (Society for Neuroscience), May 30 2007, Volume 27, Issue 22. “Plant-Derived Flavanol Epicatechin Enhances Angiogenesis and Retention of Spatial Memory in Mice” Authors: H van Praag, MJ Lucero, GW Yeo, K Stecker, N Heivand, C Zhao, E Yip, M Afanador, H Schroeter, J Hammerstone, and FH Gage.
Maron DJ. Flavonoids for reduction of atherosclerotic risk. Curr Atheroscler Rep. 2004 Jan;6(1):73-8.Knekt P, Kumpulainen J, Jarvinen R, Rissanen H, Heliovaara M, Reunanen A, Hakulinen T, Aromaa A. Flavonoid intake and risk of chronic diseases. Am J Clin Nutr 2002 Sep
ORAC Report 2007, USDA
American Heart Association’s Nutrition, Physical Activity and Metabolism/Cardiovascular Disease Epidemiology and Prevention 2011 Scientific Sessions.
Shrime MG, Bauer SR, McDonald AC, Chowdhury NH, Coltart CE, Ding EL.Flavonoid-rich cocoa consumption affects multiple cardiovascular risk factors in a meta-analysis of short-term studies.J Nutr. 2011 Nov;141(11):1982-8. Epub 2011 Sep 28.

3 surprising causes of fatigue

Feeling tired often? Today we’re going to look at 3 causes of fatigue that are often overlooked.
Feeling tired is a symptom that something in your body/brain isn’t working the way it was designed to work. It often overlaps (not always) with other symptoms like inflammation, weight imbalance, poor sleep, and gut issues. And in most cases of fatigue, the root cause ties back to gut health.

Your gut is where you take all the good stuff you eat and drink and transform it into the many building blocks your body needs to make energy, think clearly, sleep well, maintain a healthy weight, build muscle, and clear out toxins that need clearing out daily so you can thrive. 

Without this basic function, your energy doesn’t stand a chance.

It is my passion is to work with people like you whose health symptoms–like low energy, gut/digestive issues, excess weight, mood imbalance, and skin & sleep problems–are getting in the way of you living life fully and with a sense of freedom in your body. I help you to regain your health so you can feel great and free to enjoy life fully.
 

3 Surprising Causes of Fatigue

  1. Adenosine imbalance. Adenosine is a brain chemical that makes you feel relaxed/sleepy. You have lots of receptors on your brain (like locks on a door) for various chemicals including adenosine. Caffeine fits these same receptors! Like a key that can open a door, caffeine’s “key” fits the adenosine locks which blocks adenosine from fitting there and making you feel sleepy. That’s why caffeine is a stimulant. The bad news is that over time your brain adapts to caffeine by increasing both adenosine and adenosine receptors (this is why caffeine withdrawal can feel brutal–eventually your brain will turn back down adenosine production and you feel normal again. There’s much more to this process and if you’d like to geek out on it, click here).
  2. Low orexin. So orexin is your peppy, upbeat, happy brain chemical. When it’s up, you feel alert, focused, and energetic. When it’s low, you feel exhausted, depressed, and sleepy. What crushes orexin levels? Refined sugar, foods/drinks that cause big spikes in blood sugar, caffeine, and inflammation. True, you’ll get an initial spike in energy (from your “reward” brain chemical dopamine”, followed by depletion of orexin and all that goes with it.
  3. Inflammation. Sugar (refined sugar, blood sugar spikes and crashes) leads to increased cytokines from your immune system which suppresses orexin (remember, low orexin=low energy).

For more detail on these brain chemicals and fatigue, check out this podcast. It’s excellent.

There’s plenty you can do with diet and lifestyle to support robust brain chemicals (eat whole, unprocessed foods whenever possible, hydrate, get 7-8 hrs of sleep/night, move your body, etc). And it’s probably not a surprise to read that sugar isn’t a health food!  For many of you, you may know what to do but don’t have a system in place that allows you to do it consistently and experience the benefits: having good energy being one of them.
If you are tired of being on the hamster wheel with your energy or other symptoms and you’re ready to take your health to the next level FOR GOOD, I’d love to connect with you. Apply for a complimentary Unstoppable Health Discovery Session. http://bit.ly/schedulinghealth (subject to availability).

Until next time, I’m wishing you unstoppable health!

~Rebecca

3 surprising causes of fatigue

Feeling tired often? Today we’re going to look at 3 causes of fatigue that are often overlooked.
Feeling tired is a symptom that something in your body/brain isn’t working the way it was designed to work. It often overlaps (not always) with other symptoms like inflammation, weight imbalance, poor sleep, and gut issues. And in most cases of fatigue, the root cause ties back to gut health.

Your gut is where you take all the good stuff you eat and drink and transform it into the many building blocks your body needs to make energy, think clearly, sleep well, maintain a healthy weight, build muscle, and clear out toxins that need clearing out daily so you can thrive. 

Without this basic function, your energy doesn’t stand a chance.

It is my passion is to work with people like you whose health symptoms–like low energy, gut/digestive issues, excess weight, mood imbalance, and skin & sleep problems–are getting in the way of you living life fully and with a sense of freedom in your body. I help you to regain your health so you can feel great and free to enjoy life fully.
 

3 Surprising Causes of Fatigue

  1. Adenosine imbalance. Adenosine is a brain chemical that makes you feel relaxed/sleepy. You have lots of receptors on your brain (like locks on a door) for various chemicals including adenosine. Caffeine fits these same receptors! Like a key that can open a door, caffeine’s “key” fits the adenosine locks which blocks adenosine from fitting there and making you feel sleepy. That’s why caffeine is a stimulant. The bad news is that over time your brain adapts to caffeine by increasing both adenosine and adenosine receptors (this is why caffeine withdrawal can feel brutal–eventually your brain will turn back down adenosine production and you feel normal again. There’s much more to this process and if you’d like to geek out on it, click here).
  2. Low orexin. So orexin is your peppy, upbeat, happy brain chemical. When it’s up, you feel alert, focused, and energetic. When it’s low, you feel exhausted, depressed, and sleepy. What crushes orexin levels? Refined sugar, foods/drinks that cause big spikes in blood sugar, caffeine, and inflammation. True, you’ll get an initial spike in energy (from your “reward” brain chemical dopamine”, followed by depletion of orexin and all that goes with it.
  3. Inflammation. Sugar (refined sugar, blood sugar spikes and crashes) leads to increased cytokines from your immune system which suppresses orexin (remember, low orexin=low energy).

For more detail on these brain chemicals and fatigue, check out this podcast. It’s excellent.

There’s plenty you can do with diet and lifestyle to support robust brain chemicals (eat whole, unprocessed foods whenever possible, hydrate, get 7-8 hrs of sleep/night, move your body, etc). And it’s probably not a surprise to read that sugar isn’t a health food!  For many of you, you may know what to do but don’t have a system in place that allows you to do it consistently and experience the benefits: having good energy being one of them.
If you are tired of being on the hamster wheel with your energy or other symptoms and you’re ready to take your health to the next level FOR GOOD, I’d love to connect with you. Apply for a complimentary Unstoppable Health Discovery Session. http://bit.ly/schedulinghealth (subject to availability).

Until next time, I’m wishing you unstoppable health!

~Rebecca

Grain-free just got easier!

Every day I talk with people who want to release weight, have better digestion, and better energy. And who wants a temporary fix? Nobody!

A common source of struggle is finding foods that are convenient, tasty, AND promote these health goals. There are tons of recipes out there, but not everyone is willing to make all their meals from scratch or hire someone to do it for them. The good news? Food manufacturers are realizing that around 80% of the population in America does better on a lower carb diet. More and more people are looking for food choices that don’t keep them stuck at a weight they don’t like, with gas and bloating, and looking for an afternoon pick me up because they’re falling asleep at their desk!
For this to become your reality, you’ve got to take care of your gut. I’ll be sharing 3 great options with you in just a moment.

First, why do you need to prioritize your gut so much? Your gut is where you take all the good stuff you eat and drink and transform it into the many building blocks your body needs to make energy, think clearly, sleep well, maintain a healthy weight, build muscle, and clear out toxins that need clearing out daily so you can thrive. 

It is my passion is to work with people like you whose health symptoms–like gut/digestive issues, excess weight, low energy, mood imbalance, and skin & sleep problems–are getting in the way of you living life fully and with a sense of freedom in your body. I help you to regain your health so you can feel great and free to enjoy life fully.
 

3 Tasty, Nutritious, Grain-free Foods You Can Buy (and not make yourself!)

  1. Cauliflower Thins by Cali’Flour Foods (grain-free, gluten-free, dairy-free). Depending on where you live you may or may not find these in a local store but they do sell them on Amazon. I’ve tried both the Classic and Italian Herb flavors and they’re both good. They are a very crunchy cracker, great for dipping in egg salad, tuna, guacamole…you get the idea! They have other products like flatbread and pizza crust (haven’t tried them yet).
  2. Beyond Paleo Pizza Crust (grain-free, gluten-free, dairy-free). Kept in the frozen food section, 1 box has three 8-inch crusts with a nice herby flavor. These are thin crusts but they don’t fall apart when you pick up a slice, which is great.
  3. ProGranola by Julian Bakery (grain, free, gluten-free, dairy-free, super high in fiber & protein). My breakfast of choice. Simple, tasty, packed with fiber. My favorite flavors are the vanilla cinnamon cluster and espresso cluster.

Now, to be clear, I don’t recommend eating pizza or snacking on crackers every day, but these types of healthy alternatives sure make eating healthier an easier to stick to! It makes it easier when you are having cravings to pick a great option so you sustain your healthy changes over time and don’t yo-yo around.

What foods have you found that have made it delicious and easy for you to eat healthy? Email me at rebecca@choosinghealthnow.com and let me know!

Also, if you’re ready to take your health to the next level FOR GOOD, I’d love to connect with you. Apply for a complimentary Unstoppable Health Discovery Session. http://bit.ly/schedulinghealth (subject to availability).

Until next time, I’m wishing you unstoppable health!

~Rebecca

Gluten Decoded

Are you confused about what gluten is? What it’s in? What substitutions are available? Here’s a guest blog to explain!

Over the last few years, there has been a lot of focus on gluten-free diets. It seems that everyone knows someone who is either cutting back on gluten or cutting it out of their diets completely. There’s a lot of information on the benefits of going gluten-free, but it can be a difficult dietary change to implement.

After all, gluten is found in a lot of our favorite foods. According to the team at Med Alert Help, gluten is a type of protein. They go on to say that you can find it in bread, pasta, and sauces, as you’d expect. But there are also other items that you wouldn’t expect on the list, such as lipstick and shampoo, for example.

You can see the full list that the team came up with in the easy to follow infographic below. The infographic presents a complete overview for those who either suspect they are gluten-intolerant and those that know that they are.

Check it out and see whether or not you are displaying signs of being sensitive to gluten. Here’s a quick hint – the symptoms are not always as obvious as you might believe. For example, it makes sense that a sensitivity of this nature could lead to stomach upsets.

But did you know that around 31% of people with this condition also have regular bouts of fibromyalgia? Or that depression could also be a symptom of this condition? Check out the infographic for the full range of symptoms and see whether or not you might need to cut gluten out of your diet.

But What Should I Eat Instead?

That’s a little trickier. Gluten is a highly effective binding agent, and so it is valuable during baking and cooking. You can get rye bread that is very low in these proteins, but it doesn’t come out as fluffy and light as your standard baked goods.

Add in the fact that a lot of foods contain the proteins naturally, and it becomes more difficult to avoid them. However, it’s not impossible to do so. It will take some adjustment and some clever substitutions to get yourself on the right path.

The good news is that you should start seeing benefits straight away, though. And, once you get the hang of things, the dietary changes can be accomplished very easily.


Infographic URL:https://medalerthelp.org/gluten-free-life-infographic/

Study finds huge health & happiness benefits with this ONE thing!

A Harvard study has shed new light on the impact of social connection on health, happiness, and life satisfaction.

Check this out: Research has found that loneliness is as lethal as smoking 15 cigarettes a day! 
And: “Lonely people are 50% more likely to die prematurely than those with healthy social relationships.”

That’s pretty shocking, right?

Loneliness is now considered worse for your health than obesity. It’s been found to increase inflammation and risk of a variety of diseases including heart disease, arthritis, diabetes, and dementia.

You’ve seen me often write and speak about the connection between your emotional state and your gut health. This research is a prime example of this critical connection.

So, let’s define loneliness and also look at some actions you can take to keep yourself healthy & happy. 

As you know, keeping your gut healthy is extremely important. Your gut is where you take all the good stuff you eat and drink and transform it into the many building blocks your body needs to make energy, sleep well, maintain a healthy weight, build muscle, and clear out toxins that need clearing out daily so you can thrive. 

It is my passion is to work with people like you whose health symptoms–like gut/digestive issues, excess weight, low energy, mood imbalance, and skin & sleep problems–are getting in the way of you living life fully and with a sense of freedom in your body. I help you to regain your health so you can feel great and free to enjoy life fully.
 

Loneliness is different than being alone

Being alone doesn’t always mean loneliness. In fact, you can be surrounded by family and friends and feel lonely while others can live and work alone and not feel lonely at all. So it seems that if being alone doesn’t bother you, you aren’t lonely. There’s not a set amount of alone time versus social time that fits everyone. 

How do we define it then? According to psychology researchers Julianne Holt-Lunstad and Timothy B. Smith from Brigham Young University, who studied the links of loneliness and social isolation to cardiovascular disease, loneliness as “the discrepancy between one’s desired and actual level of social connection.”  In a nutshell, feeling a lack of social connection is considered loneliness and that’s what negatively impacts your health. Social connection on the other hand, benefits your health.

5 ways to improve social connection

  1. Practice emotional intelligence (the ability to mange your emotions). You can build your emotional intelligence and improve the quality of your social interactions. HeartMath tools are great for this! I practice emotional self-regulation daily and teach it to every client. You can also use active listening, meditation, and journaling to improve this area.
  2. Connect with people face-to-face or on the phone rather than online more often.
  3. Volunteer.
  4. Find a local group that shares an interest of yours or take up a hobby.
  5. When you interact with friends and family, notice what’s great about them and compliment them.


As you can see, improving health is a holistic journey and I know this information can make a positive impact in your life.

Please know that if you’re struggling with your weight, digestion/gut, mood, or energy, and you would love to feel like yourself again, I would love to support you.

I’m inviting you to set up a complimentary Unstoppable Health Discovery Session with me here. I have 3 spaces for sessions this month so please grab a spot so we can talk about how to help you take your wellness up a notch.

Until next time, I’m wishing you unstoppable health!

~Rebecca

Have you heard about sacha inchi?

Gut health is what it’s all about.

You see, your gut is at the root of both health and disease. When your gut health struggles, you’re going to feel it! Maybe you’ll feel it with low energy or poor mood. Maybe you’ll feel it with obvious digestive symptoms. Maybe for you it’s your skin or your weight that’s telling you something isn’t quite right.

You can’t be healthy and free of symptoms if your gut isn’t functioning properly and your gut needs the right foods for YOU in order to thrive.
Your gut is where you take all the good stuff you eat and drink and transform it into the many building blocks your body needs to make energy, sleep well, maintain a healthy weight, build muscle, and clear out toxins that need clearing out daily so you can thrive.

I care about all of these things because my passion is to work with people like you whose health symptoms–like gut/digestive issues, excess weight, low energy, and skin & sleep problems–are getting in the way of you living life fully and with a sense of freedom in your body. I help you to regain your health so you can feel great and free to enjoy life fully.

So what does all this have to do with sacha inchi? Well, sacha inchi is a superfood that delivers all sorts of key nutrients to your gut!

Sacha inchi


Sacha inchi is a seed native to Peru. It’s a complete protein that’s highly digestible, is high in the amino acid tryptophan which you need to make the feel-good neurotransmitter serotonin, is rich in Omega 3, 6 and 9 fats, and high in fiber (great for satisfying the appetite, promoting healthy blood sugar, and encouraging healthy bowels).
You can enjoy the nutty tasting seeds roasted or in powdered form. They can be added to just about anything from soups, salads, or your favorite smoothies. Some companies like Julian Bakery use them in products like their Pegan Thin food bars.
If you are looking for ways to increase your protein, fiber and healthy fats, sacha inchi is a great option. Look at your local health food store or get some online.

The more you are in touch with nourishing your body, you less deprived you’ll feel…AND the more likely you will want to keep feeling great. You’ll find ways to celebrate and be social that honor your health while still enjoying delicious food.

Until next time, I’m wishing you unstoppable health!

~Rebecca

P.S. Do you know someone who is struggling with their weight, digestion/gut, or energy?
Send them my way! They can set up a complimentary Unstoppable Health Discovery Session with me here

Is fiber actually healthy for you?

Today I want to talk to you about fiber. This can be such a source of confusion! Is fiber good for me? How much do I need? Could fiber be making my digestion worse?
There is not one answer that is true for every single person. Let me share with you some key facts about fiber that could help you to experience your best health.
Fiber is basically just the parts of plants (veggies, fruits, grains) that your body can’t digest . It passes through your body and your bacteria feed off of them (fiber is food for your gut bugs; we’ll talk about how this can be both good and bad).

So, keeping your gut happy is extremely important. Your gut is where you take all the good stuff you eat and drink and transform it into the many building blocks your body needs to make energy, sleep well, maintain a healthy weight, build muscle, and clear out toxins that need clearing out daily so you can thrive. 

It is my passion is to work with people like you whose health symptoms–like gut/digestive issues, excess weight, low energy, and skin & sleep problems–are getting in the way of you living life fully and with a sense of freedom in your body. I help you to regain your health so you can feel great and free to enjoy life fully.
 

3 Things You Must Know About Fiber

1) There isn’t a set amount that everyone should aim for. 
When we look closely at studies with any thousands of people, some show that increased fiber intake is protective against digestive-tract cancer and heart disease….some don’t show any protection. One study including over 80,000 women and followed them for 16 yrs and there was no association between fiber intake and colorectal cancer (and this same conclusion was found in a study involving 40,000 men). The Journal of the American Medical Association looked at 13 studies involving over 700,000 people. Once the researchers adjusted for variables like exercise, they found NO protective effect of fiber intake (of any kind) on colorectal cancer. Similar research exists for IBS, heart disease and obesity–the research is really mixed.

2) There isn’t one type of fiber (or one diet for that matter) that is right for everyone. The foods and types of fibers that are right for your body could make another person feel terrible. Cutting out processed foods and eating to control blood sugar tends to be more important than trying to eat a lot of fiber. For certain conditions like Celiac, lots of fiber can make symptoms worse. For constipation, upping fiber can be helpful. It’s not black and white and that is where getting some guidance can make all the difference.

3) Lower fiber might be better at reducing inflammation and weight loss. 
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition looked at 22 studies and found that “a diet that controls blood sugar is better at reducing inflammation than a diet that increases fiber.” Over 50 studies found that low-carb diets are better for weight loss than low-fat (higher fiber) diets. This doesn’t mean that if you’re eating a higher fiber diet and feeling awesome that you should lower your fiber intake. It does suggest that if you’ve been trying to add more fiber and your symptoms aren’t improving or even getting worse, you may want to try a different approach.

In a nutshell, the generic recommendation to eat more fiber isn’t universally supported in the research. I’ve definitely seen it make some clients feel worse and for other clients, it was really helpful. Your dietary needs are unique. If you are having symptoms, they can help point you in the direction of what needs adjusting. Sometimes it is a simple adjustment and other times, there are multiple adjustments that are needed.

Bottom line, your body was designed to be healthy and fiber is but one piece of that puzzle. If you’re struggling with your weight, digestion/gut, or energy, and you would love to feel like yourself again, I’m inviting you to set up a complimentary Unstoppable Health Discovery Session with me here.

Until next time, I’m wishing you unstoppable health!

~Rebecca

References: Healthy Gut, Healthy You by Dr. Michael Ruscio

Autoimmunity and being “too clean”

Today I’d love to share some helpful information on how you can support your immune system.
You or someone you care about may be struggling with your immune system (and I’m not just talking about getting an occasional cold: I’m talking about autoimmunity). Autoimmunity is when your immune system attacks YOU rather than invading germs. It affects about 14-22 million people in the United States (heart disease, the most common disease in the U.S. affects 22 million).

Examples of autoimmune disease are celiac disease (intestines), inflammatory bowel conditions such as Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis (intestines), Hashimoto’s and Grave’s (thyroid), multiple sclerosis (nervous system), and eczema and psoriasis (skin).

I’m reading this great book right now called Healthy Gut, Healthy You and there is a whole section on the research behind autoimmunity and hygiene.

Did you know that about 80% of your immune system is in your gut? Since a big part of how I help people to regain their health is through creating foundations for a strong healthy gut, I wanted to share a couple tidbits with you.

Your gut is the root of your health and it is where you take all the good stuff you eat and drink and transform it into the many building blocks your body needs to make energy, sleep well, maintain a healthy weight, build muscle, clear out toxins that need clearing out daily, and have a properly functioning immune system so you can thrive. 

Everything you eat has an impact on your gut health. So does your environment.

Why am I telling you this? Because my passion is to work with people like you whose health symptoms–like gut/digestive issues, excess weight, low energy, and skin & sleep problems–are getting in the way of you living life fully and with a sense of freedom in your body. I help you to regain your health so you can feel great and free to enjoy your life.
 

Hygiene and Your Immune System

What we’re realizing is that being too clean and disinfecting everything from our hands multiple times each day to every surface of our work and home could actually be a big problem.

Is it good to wash your hands after you go to the bathroom? Yes. Is it good to wash up before you eat in general? Yes. But the research shows that people “who live in non-Westernized societies have far less inflammatory, autoimmune and allergic diseases” (H. Okada The Hygeine Hypothesis, Clinical & Experimental Immunology).

Using anti-bacterial soaps, hand sanitizers, anti-bacterial household cleaners reduce our interaction with bacteria–because they kill them off. And we need bacteria in our lives: our lives depend on it. You are more bacteria then you are human cells! It is now believed that by constantly reducing our exposure to bacteria makes your immune system restless. It is also believed that those who develop autoimmunity or allergies have a strong immune system…but it doesn’t have the constant exposure to dirt and germs it needs to train it to function properly. So when that immune system is really strong, bored and poorly trained from having a sterile environment, it is more prone to react quickly and strongly to your own tissues (autoimmunity).

If you already have developed one or more autoimmune condition, absolutely work with someone who can help you dial in your diet and support gut function. This can help you from anywhere from managing symptoms to going into remission. If you are having symptoms with allergies, skin, gut, energy, weight, poor sleep…well, these are signs that your health needs support. You can make a huge difference to the direction your life and health are headed by taking action now before autoimmune disease develops.

Generally, you can support your body by getting regular contact with nature. Get outside in nature as often as possible. Get your hands dirty if you’re taking a hike. Breathe in the fresh air. Have plants in your home and a pet if you can and aren’t allergic. Your body needs interaction with bacteria! Wash your hands with soap (not anti-bacterial) and warm water.

This is the tip of the iceberg. There’s so much you can do to support your health in addition to this. 
Please contact me if you’d like to explore what you can do to support your health and immune system. I’d love to help you.

Until next time, I’m wishing you unstoppable health!

~Rebecca


P.S. Do you know someone who is struggling with their weight, digestion/gut, or energy?
Send them my way! They can set up a complimentary Unstoppable Health Discovery Session with me here and so can you!

“Fried” Chicken: Grain-free, keto & amazing!

I’ve got a fantastic recipe to share with you today!!!

Fried chicken has been something my family enjoys so I modified this recipe by Crunchy Mama and it is AWESOME!!! 

  • 3 lb chicken pieces with skin and bone (or boneless if you prefer)
  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 1 egg (or 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk for egg free)
  • 3-5 TBSP melted butter or olive oil (I used butter!)
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 4 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp white or black pepper
  • 1 tsp paprika

How to:

  1. Preheat oven to 400
  2. Spray a baking tray/cookie sheet or grill rack with coconut oil.
  3. On a large plate, add the almond flour and all spices and mix well.
  4. Whisk egg in a bowl.
  5. Taking one chicken piece at a time, dip in egg or almond milk and coat in flour mixture and set on baking tray. You can make this process go quickly by using one hand to dip the chicken in the egg and using your second hand to handle the chicken in the flour or use a fork (this is what I prefer).
  6. Drizzle butter or olive oil over all the chicken pieces.
  7. Bake for 40 minutes or until chicken pieces are nice and brown and cooked through

I hope you love this recipe as much as we do!

In health,

Rebecca