Category Archives: Detox

Do you have chemical sensitivities? Tips for improving

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Do perfumes or heavy fragrance make you gag or trigger your inflammation or autoimmune symptoms? Do scented products, gasoline fumes, car exhaust, tire stores, new rugs or carpet, or other sources of chemical odors give you headaches, fatigue, and other symptoms? You are not alone. An increasing number of people suffer from migraines, rashes, fatigue, mood changes, autoimmune flare-ups, and other symptoms when they encounter chemical scents, odors, or fumes. Even products we used to associate with freshness and cleanliness, such as scented dryer sheets, can trigger debilitating symptoms.

The toxins in environmental chemicals have myriad short and long-term health effects and should be avoided by all people. However, some people become extremely sick from even mild exposure, which can limit their ability to be in public, their careers, relationships, and where they live. Just a walk in the neighborhood can turn toxic when the neighbor is running their dryer.

These people are suffering from a breakdown in the immune system called toxicant-induced loss of tolerance, or TILT. This is a disorder in which the body is no longer able to tolerate chemicals. Also referred to as multiple chemical sensitivities (MCS), TILT is often accompanied by food sensitivities, autoimmunity, sensitivity to electromagnetic frequencies from sources such as cell phones and computers, and even jewelry.

This is because the same underlying loss of immune tolerance is at the foundation.

How someone with TILT reacts depends on how they express inflammation and immune dysregulation. Reactions include asthma, migraines, depression, anxiety, fibromyalgia, fatigue, brain fog, memory loss, incontinence, neurological dysfunction, and rashes.

Research shows primary reason people develop TILT is depletion of the master antioxidant: glutathione. If the body’s glutathione levels are healthy, the risk of TILT and other immune-based disorders is much lower.

A healthy gut microbiome is increasingly being shown as a vital factor in preventing chemical sensitivities. The gut is the seat of the immune system and our gut bacteria profoundly influence all aspects of health, including immune function. When gut bacteria are not diverse enough or over ridden with bacterial infection, the immune system cannot respond appropriately to threats and becomes overzealous, reacting to everything.

Addressing leaky gut, inflammatory foods in the diet, and gut inflammation are equally important.

Deficiencies in vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids, chronic system inflammation, and chronic or acute stress are other factors that can contribute to the development of chemical sensitivities.

If you have autoimmune disease, be especially careful with toxic chemicals in everyday household and body products. Autoimmunity means the immune system is already hyper reactive and thus more prone to TILT.

Reducing chemical sensitivities can require a thorough functional nutrition protocol. Strategies include boosting glutathione levels, eating a wide and ample variety of vegetables to diversify your gut bacteria, shoring up on vitamin D and omega 3 fatty acids, exercising regularly to boost immune-taming endorphins, practicing stress relief techniques, and following an anti-inflammatory whole foods diet.

Keeping your immune system resilient and stable with a customized functional nutrition approach can help prevent and reduce chemical sensitivities. Ask me for more advice.

Study confirms autoimmune paleo (AIP) diet works

717 AIP medical study

A recent study confirmed what functional medicine has long since known — the autoimmune paleo (AIP) diet is highly successful for managing chronic health disorders. The first-of-its-kind study showed the majority of participants quickly achieved and maintained remission of Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis on the AIP diet. A number of participants were even able to discontinue drug therapies.

Many people follow the AIP diet to manage not just Crohn’s but also chronic pain, Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism, irritable bowel syndrome, skin rashes such as eczema or psoriasis, high blood pressure, depression, anxiety, brain-based disorders, diabetes, autoimmune disease in general, and other chronic health problems.

People are surprised to find that not only do their symptoms fade but also they enjoy more energy, better sleep, weight loss, increased libido, less stress, and a general overall improvement of their well being.

A primary reason the diet is so effective is because it helps repair leaky gut, a condition in which the lining of the gut becomes inflamed and porous, allowing inflammatory compounds into the bloodstream. This creates inflammation throughout the body and brain and leads to a wide array of chronic gut, metabolic, and autoimmune disorders.

Anti-inflammatory is the key to the AIP diet

An anti-inflammatory diet focuses on whole foods and is free of inflammatory foods, additives, fillers, and artificial colors. It includes an accompanying protocol of appropriate sleep, physical activity, rest, and positive socialization and self-treatment. Certain nutritional compounds that gently cleanse and detoxify the body may boost the success of the diet.

AIP diet sites and articles abound, in fact, Balanced and Clear is a modified (less strict) autoimmune diet. Here are basics:

  • Eliminate all processed foods, fast foods, desserts, coffee drinks, sodas, etc. Your anti-inflammatory diet should consist of whole foods found in the produce and meat sections of the grocery store, with an emphasis on plenty of vegetables. Also eliminate processed vegetable oils and hydrogenated oils and stick with natural oils.
  • Eliminate common inflammatory foods, the most common culprit being gluten. Many people’s symptoms resolve simply on a gluten-free diet. However, dairy, eggs, soy, nuts, grain, and nightshades are commonly immune reactive as well. Eliminate these foods for about six weeks to see whether you react upon reintroducing them one at a time.
  • Eliminate sweets. On the anti-inflammatory diet you will avoid all sweeteners. This helps curb cravings, stabilize blood sugar, lower inflammation, and lose excess fat. Enjoy low-sugar fruits instead, such as berries.
  • Eat lots of vegetables. Not only do plenty of veggies load you up with vital nutrients and fiber, new research shows they create a healthy gut microbiome – the bacteria in your gut that profoundly influence your immune and brain health. A diet based around veggies creates an abundant and diverse gut microbiome and thus better health.
  • Get enough sleep and exercise. Sufficient sleep is a major inflammation-buster, as is regular physical activity. Overtraining, however, can cause inflammation so watch out for that.

Boost success with gut repair and detoxification

Adding in specific nutritional compounds can help repair a damaged gut, lower inflammation, support the liver, and detoxify the system. Ask me for more information about a detoxification and gut-repair program using the AIP diet.

Handling store receipts raises levels of toxic BPA

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A new study that had subjects handle store receipts showed BPA absorbed through the skin stays in the body much longer than ingested BPA. The study had subjects handle common store receipts for five minutes, then wear gloves for two hours before washing their hands.

BPA measurements in the subjects’ urine showed BPA levels highest for the first two days after handling the receipts. After one week, three of the six volunteers still showed BPA in their urine.

However, when the subjects ate a cookie with BPA, follow up urinalysis showed BPA levels spiked after five hours but was cleared after a day. The scientists concluded that the body can more quickly metabolize and clear ingested BPA than BPA absorbed through the skin.

BPA toxicity in everyday food and beverages

BPA (bisphenol-A) is the main component of polycarbonate and is found in water and beverage bottles, plastic lids, the lining of tin cans, food storage containers, dental sealants, contact lenses, and electronics.

Store receipts aren’t the only place people come in contact with BPA. Canned foods often contain significant amounts of the chemical — the lining in a soup can can deliver 1,000 percent more BPA than fresh soup.

Plastics beverage bottles are another common source of exposure, especially if the bottle has been exposed to heat, light, or acids (such as soda).

Plastic food containers, especially if they have been heated, are another common source. Plastic coffee lids, straws, and any other plastics that come in contact with foods deliver BPA as well.

BPA on store receipts

Store receipts aren’t the only source of BPA that can be absorbed through the skin. Other sources of thermal paper that contains high amounts of BPA include fast food receipts, ATM receipts, airline tickets, gas station receipts, lottery tickets, fax paper (if anyone still uses that), etc.

Although this latest study had subjects handle the receipts for five minutes, previous studies have shown handling a receipt for just five seconds transfers BPA through your skin and into your bloodstream. Your skin absorbs ten times as much if your fingers are wet or greasy.

You can even absorb BPA from handling cash that has been stored with receipts.

Why BPA is toxic to the body

Studies have shown BPA to be problematic to human health in various ways. It has estrogen-like properties that skew hormone balance. Rodent studies have shown BPA causes reproductive defects, cancer, and breakdowns in metabolic and immune health.

BPA is especially toxic to a developing fetus, raising the risk of causing chromosomal errors, miscarriage, and genetic damage.

The chemical is also linked to poorer sperm quality, early puberty, reproductive dysfunction, cancer, heart disease, thyroid problems, insulin resistance, and obesity.

BPA raises the risk of triggering autoimmunity

Recent studies have also shown that BPA can both trigger and exacerbate autoimmune diseases due to its disruptive effect on the immune system. It has been linked to autoimmunity to nerve sheathes, the common target of attach in multiple sclerosis, and to Hashimoto’s thyroid autoimmune disease.

BPA-free is no guarantee

Unfortunately, products listed as “BPA-free” are not a green light either. Many non-BPA plastics also contain synthetic estrogens.

How to reduce your body burden of BPA

Reduce your exposure to BPA as much as possible by not handling receipts and avoiding plastic food and beverage containers. Additionally, help buffer the damage of BPA and other toxins by eating a whole foods diet and supplementing with nutritional compounds that support detoxification and cellular protection. Ask me for more advice.

Everyday life is filled with toxins. How to stay healthy

It’s nice to think eating organic food and using “green” household and body products keeps us toxin-free. While those measures certainly help, the sad truth is we are nevertheless inundated with unprecedented levels of toxins in our air, water, food, and everyday environment.

Numerous studies link toxins with myriad health disorders, including autoimmunity, cancer, brain disorders, obesity, hormonal imbalances, and more.

Studies show humans carry hundreds of toxins in their bodies. The only reason it isn’t more is because of limits as to how many are tested. Children contain a higher body burden of toxins and toxins are found in umbilical cord blood and breast milk.

Though this is depressing, understanding the situation can help you better protect your body from the tens of thousands of synthetic chemicals in our environment.

Be aware of chemical sensitivity

Of course, we’d like our toxin levels to be as low as possible. However, it’s even more important that you do not react to toxins. People develop sensitivities to toxins the same way they do to gluten, dairy, or other foods.

A sensitivity to a chemical or heavy metal contributes to autoimmune disease, food sensitivities, and and an overall decline in health. Plus, since it’s difficult to impossible to avoid toxins, a sensitivity to them will leave you with an ongoing immune battle.

How to protect yourself from environmental toxins

Studies have turned up ample disturbing evidence on the effects of toxins on human health, and tens of thousands have not yet been studied. Nor do we understand how these toxins may work in combination.

Although there is no way to completely escape (the deepest parts of the ocean contain high levels of toxins), there are ways you can protect your body from toxins and prevent chemical sensitivities.

How to protect yourself as best you can from toxins

Start with your diet. Foods and beverages, even organic ones, contain toxins because of how prevalent they are in the environment. So avoid the obvious offenders of artificial additives and foods that contain pesticides, hormones, and antibiotics.

Beyond that, the goal is a balanced immune system. This requires eating a diet that stabilizes blood sugar (no sugars or sweeteners, not too high on carbohydrates, and avoid skipping meals, over eating, or under eating.)

It also requires avoiding foods that trigger an immune response. This is different for everyone although gluten and dairy are common offenders.

Resveratrol and curcumin

Toxins trigger inflammation and damage cells. Studies show high doses of resveratrol and curcumin can help buffer the body from the damage of toxins, especially if you take them together in a liposomal form.

Glutathione

Glutathione is the body’s master antioxidant that protects the cells from damage. Low glutathione raises your risk of chemical sensitivities and suffering damage from toxins. Nutrients that boost glutathione levels include n-acetyl-cysteine, cordyceps, Gotu Kola, milk thistle, L-glutamine, and alpha lipoic acid. Straight oral glutathione doesn’t work well, but liposomal, reduced, and s-acetyl glutathione are absorbed. Glutathione can also be delivered via IV, suppositories, or a nebulizer.

Boost detoxification

Another strategy against toxins is to improve your body’s detoxification. This can mean supporting the liver, lymph glands, kidneys, and bowel motility (so you’re not constipated). An inability to excrete toxins makes you more inflamed and raises your overall body burden.

Nutrients that support the liver pathways include methyl B12, selenium, molybdenum, dandelion root, milk thistle, trimethylglycine, Panax ginseng, and MSM.

Ask me about how best to protect yourself from environmental toxins.

A functional medicine viewpoint on birth control pills

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If you take birth control pills, it’s important to understand how oral contraceptives can affect your hormone balancing, your liver, your thyroid, and your brain. This functional medicine viewpoint can help you make an informed decision about contraception, or give you insight into buffering potential consequences.

Birth control pills flood the body with an unnatural amount of hormones that are also synthetic. This can imbalance the body in a number of ways.

Your body’s hormone balance depends on finely nuanced communication between the brain and the hormone glands. The brain determines how much hormone the glands should produce based on hormone activity in the body.

When you introduce hormones into the body, this tells the brain the body has plenty of hormone. As a result, the “feedback loop” of communication between the brain and the hormone glands slows down or becomes dormant, lowering the body’s natural production. This may create symptoms or problems when the time comes to go off the pill.

Functional medicine view of birth control and the liver

Excess hormones can stress the liver as it must break down those hormones for elimination. Chronically overburdening the liver causes it to become sluggish and congested, increasing the risk for inflammation, high cholesterol, and poor immune function.

Also, when the liver cannot properly detoxify estrogen, the hormone goes back into the bloodstream in a more toxic form, raising the risk for breast cancer, endometriosis, premenstrual syndrome, fibrocystic breasts, ovarian cysts, cervical dysplasia, and endometrial cancer.

Functional medicine support of liver detoxification may include the use of compounds such as dandelion extract and milk thistle extract to help mitigate these effects.

Oral contraception and methylation

Taking birth control pills can result in depletion of methyl donors. Methylation is a liver detoxification process in which a methyl group, which is a carbon atom attached to three hydrogen atoms, essentially tags a toxic compound so that the body can eliminate it.

About 20 percent of the population are already slow methylators. Taking birth control pills can compound this problem, making it more difficult to detoxify environmental compounds. Methylation defects have also been associated with an increased risk of breast cancer.

Functional medicine view of birth control and the brain

Depleting methyl donors can also lead to lower serotonin levels in the brain. Serotonin is the “well being” neurotransmitter that prevents depression, and healthy methylation activity is necessary for sufficient serotonin.

Compounds that can support methylation include methyl B12, P-5-P, MSM, and trimethylglycine. Compounds that support serotonin activity include 5-HTP, St. John’s Wort, and SAMe.

Birth control pills and the thyroid

Elevated estrogen from birth control pills can cause symptoms of low thyroid function by hindering conversion in the liver of inactive thyroid hormone (T4) to the usable form (T3).

Elevated estrogen can also create too many thyroid-binding proteins, which prevent thyroid hormones from getting into cells. Both these mechanisms can cause symptoms of low thyroid activity, or hypothyroidism.

Functional medicine risks of birth control pills

The more publicized risks of oral contraceptives include heart attack, stroke, and venous thromboembolism, however these risks are recognized as being minimal.

The purpose of this article isn’t to scare you, but simply to educate you in the ways birth control pills can affect your health so you can make an informed decision or understand how you may be able to mitigate their effects.

Although certain nutritional compounds may be helpful, it’s also important to use an anti-inflammatory diet and lifestyle approach to optimize the function of your body and reduce risks.

Schedule a visit with me for more advice on healthy hormone function.

Glutathione: A power tool in autoimmune management

Woman Eating Healthy Meal Sitting On SofaOur bodies have to work hard to deal with hundreds of toxic chemicals in our daily environment, in our food, and our water. Even if you eat a clean, organic diet and use non-toxic products, it’s impossible to completely avoid them. Thankfully, certain natural compounds can boost levels of our most powerful antioxidant, glutathione, in our bodies.

Glutathione is a powerful defense against toxins and inflammation. It protects the body’s cells from damage, it helps detoxify the body, and supports optimal immune function.

When glutathione levels drop too low, this makes you more susceptible to autoimmune disease, multiple food sensitivities, chemical and heavy metal sensitivities, chronic inflammatory disorders, leaky gut, and other immune-related issues.

By ensuring your glutathione levels stay at robust levels, you provide your body with an army of soldiers ready to “take a bullet” and shield your cells from the destructive forces of toxins and inflammation.

Things that deplete glutathione

In an ideal world, we have plenty of glutathione. Our bodies make sufficient amounts and the glutathione system is not overly taxed. Sadly, the modern world is far from ideal. Chronic stress, environmental toxins, diets low in nutrients but high in inflammatory triggers, sleep deprivation, smoking, sugar, excess alcohol, and other stressors slowly deplete glutathione levels. Glutathione levels also decrease naturally as a result of aging.

A straight glutathione supplement is not effective taken orally. Instead, people can take glutathione through a liposomal cream, nebulizer, suppository, IV drip, or injections. S-acetyl-glutathione, reduced glutathione, and oral liposomal glutathione are forms that can be absorbed when taken orally. These supplements will help raise glutathione levels and your general antioxidant status, which can reduce inflammation and improve health.

Another method that raises glutathione levels uses precursors to boost and recycle glutathione within cells.

Glutathione recycling helps guard against autoimmunity

Recycling glutathione entails taking existing glutathione the body has already used in self-defense and rebuilding it so it can work for us again.

Research shows a link between poor glutathione recycling and autoimmune disease. In other words, if you’re not recycling glutathione well you’re at more risk of developing autoimmune disease. Healthy glutathione recycling is a vital tool in managing autoimmune disease.

Glutathione recycling helps repair leaky gut

Glutathione recycling also helps repair leaky gut and protect it from permeability. Leaky gut can lead to or exacerbate autoimmunity, multiple food sensitivities, and chronic inflammation. When glutathione recycling is insufficient, a person is more prone to developing leaky gut and all that maladies that accompany it. Glutathione recycling is vital to good gut health.

How to boost glutathione recycling

The most important first step to boost glutathione recycling is to remove the stressors depleting glutathione levels to the best of your ability. Look at your life around sleep deprivation, smoking, foods that cause inflammation, sugars and processed foods, excess alcohol, and other factors.

In addition to addressing lifestyle factors, you can take a variety of nutritional and botanical compounds that have been shown to support glutathione recycling. They include:

• N-acetyl-cysteine
• Alpha-lipoic acid
• L-glutamine
• Selenium
• Cordyceps
• Gotu kola
• Milk thistle

Boosting your glutathione levels with an absorbable form and then supporting glutathione recycling can significantly help you manage autoimmune disease, inflammatory disorders, chemical sensitivities, food sensitivities, and more.

The mass extinction of species happening in your gut

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You probably already know the planet is experiencing an extinction crisis; scientists estimate we’ll lose up to 50 percent of current species during the next 20 years. But did you know there’s also an extinction crisis of gut bacteria happening among civilized humans?

The modern diet, which is high in processed foods, meats and sugars but pitifully low in plant fiber appears to have killed off a rich diversity of gut bacteria on which our health depends. The result? Inflammation and chronic disease.

Low fiber kills bacteria and increases inflammation

To prove the point, one study changed the diets of African Americans, who have a high risk of colon cancer, and native Africans in South Africa. They put the African Americans on a native diet high in plant fiber and the native Africans on a typical American diet high in processed foods and meats.

The researchers quickly saw a decrease in colon inflammation in the Americans eating increased fiber, and an increase in colon inflammation in the South Africans on a standard American diet. Continue reading

Fight underlying causes of allergies for lasting relief

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The end of winter seems like a good thing until your allergies go haywire. If you’re tired of allergy meds and always feeling stuffed up and zonked out, consider lasting relief by healing your gut to balance your immune system.

It’s hard to believe your digestive tract can affect your sinuses, but both systems are similar as they serve as the body’s defense from the outside world. Plus, the digestive tract serves as a hub for the immune system. When you’ve got allergies, it’s worth investigating gut health.

One of the most common links to allergies is leaky gut  also known as intestinal permeability. Leaky gut is like it sounds — the lining of the small intestine becomes inflamed, damaged, and leaky, allowing undigested foods, bacteria, yeasts, and other toxins into the bloodstream.

Whenever this happens, which can be with every meal, the immune system attacks these invaders. This causes inflammation and an over zealous immune state that plays a role in triggering or exacerbating seasonal allergies.

Some people get seasonal allergies, but others get other inflammatory disorders, such as joint pain, skin problems, digestive complaints  autoimmune disease, issues with brain function, fatigue, chronic pain, and more.

How do you know if you have leaky gut? Sometimes you don’t, as you may not have any digestive complaints.

For some, leaky gut can cause bloating, heartburn, gas, constipation, diarrhea, or pain. Others see a link between leaky gut and skin problems, joint pain, brain fog, or sinus symptoms and allergies. For instance, some people notice when they eat certain foods they get brain fog, a runny nose, aching joints, or other immune issues.

Causes of leaky gut

Chronic stress, certain medications, and excessive alcohol consumption can cause leaky gut.

One of the most common causes of leaky gut is gluten  For some people, a gluten-free diet allows the gut to heal, thus profoundly relieving allergy symptoms.

Because leaky gut leads to food intolerances and food allergies  many people need to eliminate other foods, such as dairy, eggs, soy, or other grains. Many allergy sufferers have found significant relief following an anti-inflammatory diet  You can also ask my office about a lab test to screen for food sensitivities.

Imbalanced gut bacteria and seasonal allergies

We all have three to four pounds of bacteria in our digestive tract. These bacteria profoundly influence immune health, digestive health, and even respiratory and sinus health. After all, the sinuses and respiratory tract are lined with bacteria, too. Poor diet and lifestyle stressors can cause too many bad bacteria to grow, crowding out the good bacteria and setting the stage for infection, leaky gut, and poor immune health. Probiotics and fermented foods can help populate your system with healthy bacteria.

Fix your allergies by fixing your gut

Leaky gut repair is based primarily on diet and lifestyle changes. Avoid processed foods, junk foods, sugars, and other industrialized foods. In other words, stick to a simple whole foods diet with plenty of vegetables (they nourish your good gut bacteria).

Certain supplements and nutritional compounds can help soothe and repair the lining of the digestive tract and calm inflammation in the sinuses and respiratory system.

Seasonal allergies are a red flag that your body needs care and attention. By addressing the underlying causes of your seasonal allergies you may also prevent the development of more serious conditions, such as autoimmune disease, depression, anxiety, or neurological disease.

Ask my office for more information on addressing the underlying causes of your seasonal allergies.

Get a candida infection under control naturally

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candida infection is an overgrowth of the fungus Candida albicans. It can affect the skin, mouth, throat, gut, genitals, or blood. Common expressions of a candida infection include oral thrush, a vaginal yeast infection, jock itch, athlete’s foot, and even brain fog and fatigue. If the infection enters the bloodstream, it is called invasive candidiasis and causes myriad, non-specific symptoms. This is because candida produces toxins that infiltrate organs and tissues.

What causes candida

Sugar. Candida can be caused by a variety of factors. The fungus thrives on sugar so diets high in sugars, processed carbohydrates, and alcohol feed allow a candida infection to take root and thrive. This also causes sugar cravings to increase to sustain its burgeoning population.

Antibiotics. Antibiotic use is another common cause. Although antibiotics kill off harmful bacteria, they also kill off the very beneficial bacteria in your intestinal tract that help keep candida from growing out of control. It’s important to reestablish healthy gut bacteria with probiotics or fermented foods after antibiotic use, and to avoid them whenever possible.

Poor gut health. If you have gut problems you are more susceptible to a candida infection. If you are not able to digest your food properly, you have an imbalance between good and bad bacteria, your gut is inflamed, you have leaky gut, you suffer from chronic constipation or diarrhea, and other digestive disorders, you are more at risk for a candida infection. Candida is like a weed that grows best in a sickly, neglected garden.

Hormonal imbalances. Hormonal imbalances that affect women in particular can upset the balance of gut bacteria and gut health. For instance, too little or too much estrogen can contribute to a vaginal yeast infection as proper estrogen levels keep the vaginal tract more resistant to infection.

Poor circulation. If you have cold hands and feet or the tip of your nose is cold, this indicates poor circulation. Poor circulation makes you more susceptible to a candida infection because blood carries immune cells that fight fungus and other infections. When the blood does not fully penetrate into the tissues with these immune cells, tissues become more prone to infection. A common example is chronic nail fungus. Low blood pressure is another culprit as the blood does not adequately push into body tissue.

Poor brain function from degeneration or past head trauma. One thing people don’t consider with a candida infection is brain function. If your brain is not functioning well due to a previous head trauma or because it is degenerating too quickly due to unmanaged health condition, you are at a higher risk for a candida infection. Why? Healthy brain function is necessary for a healthy gut –- the brain and gut are in close communication with each other. The brain also regulates immune function and general health of the body. When the brain suffers the body suffers, leaving it more prone to a candida infection.

A candida infection is a warning symptom

A candida infection is a red flag warning the body is out of balance. There are some very drastic candida diets on the Internet that seem designed more to provoke an eating disorder than cure a candida infection. You don’t necessarily have to go to excessive extremes. A candida infection requires you to adopt a healthy, whole foods approach to eating that eliminates sugar, junk foods, and too many carbohydrates and to focus on plenty of leafy green vegetables, healthy meats, and lots of filtered water.

In addition to a good diet, a variety of herbs and nutritional supplements are highly effective at combating a candida infection. You also need to remedy poor digestive health (this may require specific dietary modifications as well), boost brain function, or help balance hormones. Ask me for advice.

How to stick to the autoimmune, or leaky gut, diet

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So you’ve either just gotten the results back from your food sensitivity test or your practitioner says you need to follow the autoimmune diet, also called the leaky gut diet, to manage your autoimmunity. The autoimmune diet comes as a shock to many due its strict limitations and compliance can be tough. The trick to sticking to the autoimmune diet is understanding how to work with your mind to establish new habits.

Although a goal is important — say someone wants to manage her Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism, an autoimmune disease that affects the thyroid gland — research shows a goal alone is not enough to change your habits. We’ve all made promises to reform only to quickly succumb to the spell of temptation. Research shows we are more motivated by the daily habits toward that goal than the goal itself. The key is not in the big sweeping gesture fueled by fantasy, but instead the small, tangible things we do each day to move us toward our goal.

How to create new habits to stick to the autoimmune diet

It takes 66 days to create a new habit, so commit to a plan of supporting yourself and your new way of life.

Create a vision board of your healthier life. Create a vision board, a collage of images that represent what life will look at when you reach your goal of more successfully managing your autoimmune disease. For instance, your vision board can feature images of feeling energetic, having fun with your kids, doing a sport or activity you love, a place you’ve always wanted to visit, romance, and other images that capture the life you will lead when freed from your symptoms. Put it where you see it every day so that the images seep into your subconscious mind.

Schedule time for your diet. Schedule time each week to chop veggies, cook meats, put together crockpot meals, and make snacks. You’re most likely to cave when hungry, so create the convenience and accessibility ahead of time to ensure your success.

Check in with your habit building and stress levels. Big life changes are an eternal work in progress  not a destination. You will bring down your health if you make the diet stressful. So check in with yourself regularly to see how it’s working for you and whether it’s stressing you out, and tweak and modify as needed.

Get support from others. Social support is not only healthy in itself, but it’s also vital to your success. Join online groups of others on a similar path, enlist friends or family to encourage you, and don’t engage those who try to ridicule or sabotage you.

Change your subconscious beliefs. Our subconscious mind plays a significant role in our daily habits, good or bad. You may have unidentified belief systems that are working against your success. There are many methods and books available these days to help you, including EFTEMDR,
hypnotherapy  prayer, and books such as those by Joe Dispenza.

Practice positivity. Yes, the autoimmune diet can be challenging. But having a sour attitude will only set you up for failure. Studies show subjects who spend a little time regularly practicing positivity and gratitude have far better outcomes than those who don’t. It’s no different than learning a new skill — investing just a few minutes a day thinking about something that makes you feel good or about things for which you are grateful pays you back amply.