health

Common Mistakes We Make On The Elimination Diet

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An elimination diet is a short-term eating plan that eliminates certain foods that may be causing allergies and other digestive reactions – then reintroduces the foods one at a time in order to determine which foods are, and are not, well-tolerated.

Starting an elimination diet can be a great way to learn what foods are triggers for your condition, and it can ultimately help you feel better when you know what foods to avoid. I recommend starting an elimination diet that eliminates corn, soy, gluten, dairy, and eggs since those are the most common allergens.

However, there are a few common mistakes that people make that can cause an elimination diet to be less successful.

1. Not scheduling appropriately.

A proper elimination diet requires a time commitment of about six weeks, including the reintroduction process. Scheduling this over a vacation, wedding, or a bunch of parties can be very challenging. Sometimes it’s better to wait until you have the time to do it correctly.

2. Having too many processed foods.

Don’t just aim to follow trendy labels like “gluten-free” or “dairy-free.” Eating an excessive amount of processed foods, even if they’re free of the eliminated foods, may not lead to the results you want. Try to stick with all-natural, whole foods.

3. Not having enough healthy food.

Because you are eliminating foods, it’s important to plan and make sure that your body gets the nourishment it needs. An easy way to do that is to add in plenty of vegetables, fruit, and clean sources of protein. By doing this, you’ll also feel less restricted.

4. Loading up on certain foods.

Nuts, avocados, and honey are common staples that people tend to enjoy a little too much when on the elimination diet. Eating these in excess can cause GI distress, which can interfere with your ability to pinpoint food sensitivities and give your gut the rest it needs. These foods are also either high in calories, fat, or sugar, which can lead to unintended weight gain.

5. Restricting calories.

You can’t just take out the bad without putting in more good. For every calorie that you are removing from your diet, you should replace it with one from a nonprohibited food, particularly foods filled with antioxidants, fiber, and phytonutrients, which can help your immune system in a number of ways.

While some people do use elimination diets to lose weight, restricting calories can create unwanted symptoms like fatigue that mask how you ought to feel. You shouldn’t be starving yourself or skipping meals; rely instead on natural reductions from cutting out processed and inflammatory foods.

6. Failing to keep a written log of symptoms.

During the reintroduction phase of the process (when you add back the foods you’ve eliminated), you have to write it down and analyze everything you consume right away. Otherwise, you’ll never be able to remember accurately, you’ll never see the patterns, and the whole experiment becomes a missed opportunity.

7. Expecting that you will feel miraculously better.

Everybody is different, and it may take time to see and feel results. While many people do feel great, don’t expect to feel amazing on Day 1, Day 3, or even Day 15, but rest assured every day is a step closer to healing your gut and identifying triggers for chronic ailments.

If you’ve unsuccessfully tried an elimination diet previously, now may be the time to try again. By following the proper steps and avoiding these common mistakes, you will better understand which foods you should avoid and which foods fit into a balanced diet that can keep you feeling great.

health

Tired All The Time? Heal Adrenal Fatigue Naturally

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Have you ever caught yourself thinking, Wow, I’m burned out! It’s a feeling most people can identify with. But what does that really mean, and how does it happen? Do you go to sleep feeling exhausted, sleep 8 hours and wake up still feeling tired? Foggy brain, irritable? Are you drinking coffee throughout the day just to keep yourself going?

Adrenal fatigue is a phenomenon characterized by a disruption of your adrenal glands’ ability to make cortisol in the right amounts at the right times in response to stress.

The adrenals are the body’s hormonal powerhouse. Two little glands that sit on top of your kidneys, they’re the linchpin of a feedback loop coordinating nearly every hormone in your body.

The Three Stages Of Adrenal Fatigue

There are three stages of adrenal fatigue. Each one is associated with a different type of cortisol imbalance, and typically people progress from stage 1 to stage 3 sequentially over time.

Stage 1: Wired and tired

This stage is characterized by high cortisol levels, especially at night, leading to insomnia, insulin resistance and abdominal weight gain. People often feel energized but in an edgy “wired” way.

Stage 2: Stressed and tired

In this stage, many people wake up early in the morning (often around 3am) and are unable to fall back asleep. Later in the day some stressor kicks in, and they feel more awake. Their cortisol peaks early, flattens out, but often has midday or early evening rise.

Stage 3: Burnout

This stage is characterized by exhaustion regardless of hours slept, a flat cortisol curve, and in some cases low DHEA and thyroid hormone levels. I’ve been in stage three for a while now due to Lyme disease which is a dangerous place to be because it’s associated with higher risk of autoimmune disease.

So what can we do about it? 

1. Follow the adrenal diet.

This means getting rid of foods that you are sensitive to and foods that cause inflammation, and eating lots of brightly colored vegetables, lean clean protein, and whole grain gluten-free carbs.

Eliminating dairy, eating more vegetables, and eating more carbs. A strict no-carb diet can stress the body even more, worsening adrenal burnout. Of course, don’t eat cookies and cakes, but rather quinoa, lentils and buckwheat.

2. Go to bed early.

Getting to bed before 11pm is a must in any stage of adrenal fatigue. Many people get a second cortisol surge after 11pm, which further disrupts sleep patterns.

3. Flood the adrenals with B vitamins.

B vitamins (B5 and B6 in particular) are food for the adrenals and can be low in a high-fat, low-carb diet. B12 and folate also help with energy production.

4. Cool inflammation.

Using omega-3 fatty acids, curcumin, and vitamin C supplements lower systemic inflammation levels allowing the adrenals to recover.

5. Replace important nutrients.

Vitamin D, selenium, magnesium and zinc are all important for proper thyroid function and adrenal function.

6. Focus on hydration.

Dehydration is also a hallmark of adrenal fatigue. Try adding a multi trace mineral supplement to absorb more water into your cells. You can also add fresh lemon juice or Himalayan sea salt to your water instead.

7. Use adaptogenic herbs.

Licorice root, ashwagandha and rehmannia help balance and stimulate the adrenals. Always check with your doctor first.

8. Build rest into the day.

The last thing you need is high-intensity cardio that would further burn you out. Try adding yoga or walking into your schedule a few times a week. Take time to breathe and restore your body.

9. Change your perspective.

Is your definition of success killing you? In many cases, what you perceive as success is driving you into adrenal overload. We have to realize that “it” (whatever it is) doesn’t have to be perfect to be great.

For most people who live their way into stage 1, 2 or 3 adrenal fatigue, it’s just a matter of living their way right back out of it and into balance with their bodies.

 

 

 

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How To Deal With Negative Thoughts And Emotions

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Emotions are a normal part of life. I don’t think it’s normal to be happy all the time. It’s natural to feel depression, anxiety, sadness, grief, and anger at certain times in our lives. What I have found is that often it’s not the negative emotions that are bad, it’s that we don’t deal with them and let them linger in our minds.

Here are some things which have helped me when I haven’t been feeling great. I hope they help you, too.

1. No feeling is ‘wrong’.
There seems to be a common belief that negative emotions are “bad”, that we shouldn’t get angry, lose our temper, or ever get upset. Here’s the thing, though – our emotions are there for a reason. It’s natural for us to be angry or sad, the important thing is to find a healthy way of letting them all out, including the ones we have considered ‘bad’.

2. Emotions are always telling us something.
Hiding somewhere beneath the surface, we might feel not good enough, unsupported, or perhaps be grieving the loss of something or someone important to us. Listen to those feelings, and respond compassionately. If something is bothering you, ask yourself why. You’ll often find it’s something deeper than what you envisioned initially; and once you get to the root of the cause, it’s always easier to remedy.

3. Give yourself what you need.
Whether it’s a day on the couch with your favorite tv show or movie, snuggling up in bed with a good book, a hot cup of tea, or a warm bath – you know what you need. Slow down and take some time to do what nourishes you. The world won’t stop if you have a day off and relax. We live in a society of gritting your teeth and ‘getting on with it’, but self care is necessary. Taking time to slow down and listen to your soul and body may seem like it will be counter-productive, but I promise if you incorporate this into your lifestyle, it will work out better for you in the long run. I promise.

4. Crying is good. 

So many people respond to someone crying with “don’t cry”. They think they’re being helpful, but it’s commonly said because crying makes them feel uncomfortable. Think back to times when you’ve cried and how you felt afterwards. Chances are you felt better – lighter and relieved. Let yourself cry; it’s not a weakness – it’s a natural release and you’ll pretty much always feel better afterwards.

5. All feelings pass.
You’ve heard it before, and it’s such an important quote to me that I have it engraved on a ring I wear as a reminder – this, too, shall pass. It’s true, though, it may not feel like it, but all things pass. Happiness won’t last, and neither will negative feelings. Emotions are energy in motion. So the best we can do is feel them, and allow them. It’s okay to not feel happy every day. You’re human. But by the same token, it’s not normal to feel sadness and despair every day. If this is the case, I encourage you to see a doctor or a therapist.

6. A suppressed emotion will only get worse.
When you try to ignore a feeling, it’ll only get more intense and urgent as time goes on. It’s much easier to let the emotion out than try to push it down and hide it. If you keep forcing it away, eventually it’ll become a volcano inside you and will have to erupt; most likely scalding the ones you love most.

7. It’s normal to go through a range of different emotions during a day.
Have you noticed how pets can go from laying in the corner looking depressed, to bright and perky all within the hour? We all go through a range of emotions. We are trying to fit into this society where many believe they are ‘too busy to feel bad’. It is both normal and natural to experience an array of different emotions on a daily basis. You’re not crazy, you’re human.

8. Emotions are energy in motion.

So get moving. Walk and talk with someone you love, or even better – buy a punching bag or take up running, weight training or yoga. Whatever makes you feel good and gives you the release you need. Find something to channel your negative emotions into. It doesn’t have to be expensive, you can hit a pillow if it makes you feel better. Find passive ways to get your aggression out. Physical release is powerful, and finding a healthy way to let your emotions out without hurting anyone, including yourself, is a tremendously helpful gift to have.

9. Give yourself space to feel what you feel.
Walk away if you’re angry. Take some time out. Allow space for your sadness; if that means cancelling your afternoon plans and curling up with a movie, do that. Let yourself really feel what you need to feel, knowing it’ll pass once it’s done.

10. Substance only masks the issue. 
If you’re over-eating/having a cigarette/drinking alcohol/popping pills every time you start to feel something you don’t want to feel, you’ll end up with a habit on your hands. You likely won’t feel any happier and your feelings will be more intense when you’re not on the substance. It’s a band-aid solution and you know it. If there’s something unhealthy you do when you’re upset, try asking yourself what you’re feeling before you indulge. Simply asking and answering honestly is a big step to success.

11. Get outside.
Nature is balancing; allow it to balance you. Take your shoes off and walk in the grass or sand. Or just take your lunch to the park. Get outside when you usually wouldn’t. You’ll feel much better for it.