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http://www.midlifewithoutcrisis.com Sat, 13 Feb 2016 17:05:36 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Happy Valentines Day! Nina Talks about Sex and Vaginal Health After Menopause http://www.midlifewithoutcrisis.com/2016/02/happy-valentines-day-nina-talks-about-sex-and-vaginal-health-after-menopause/ http://www.midlifewithoutcrisis.com/2016/02/happy-valentines-day-nina-talks-about-sex-and-vaginal-health-after-menopause/#comments Sat, 13 Feb 2016 17:05:36 +0000 http://www.midlifewithoutcrisis.com/?p=1398

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Lost libido signals need for health tune-up http://www.midlifewithoutcrisis.com/2014/12/lost-libido-signals-need-for-health-tune-up/ http://www.midlifewithoutcrisis.com/2014/12/lost-libido-signals-need-for-health-tune-up/#comments Wed, 03 Dec 2014 11:53:14 +0000 http://midlifewithoutcrisis.com/?p=1195 Do you vaguely remember a time when you had a libido?

Sexual desire is a sign of good health and if yours is absent, it may be your body needs a tune up. Of course major stressors, traumas, bad relationships, raising babies, and other chaotic intrCouple after fighting turned away from each other in bedusions can squash your libido, but you should otherwise consider it a normal part of life. If yours has gone missing it’s your body’s way of raising a red flag to gain your attention.

People who use functional medicine to improve their health commonly report a return of their libido, even though that may not be what drove them to seek help in the first place. Instead they may have come for hypothyroidism, depression, fatigue, pain, or some other chronic condition.

When a chronic health issue has you in its grips, it’s no wonder libido disappears — coping with constant illness and discomfort leaves room for little else. On the other hand, some people’s chronic issues are subtle enough they don’t know their health is flagging, just that their libido is.

Factors that can cause low libido

Below are some factors that can contribute to your loss of libido:

Adrenal fatigue. Your adrenal glands sit atop each kidney and secrete hormones to help you cope with stress. Most people deal with so much stress the adrenal glands and the adrenal pathways in the brain start to falter. This is one of the primary causes of hormonal imbalances, especially in women, and can lead to loss of libido.

Leaky gut. Leaky gut means the small intestine has become overly porous from damage and inflammation. When the gut is leaky, undigested foods, bacteria, and other compounds slip into the bloodstream where they don’t belong. This has been shown to trigger inflammation, pain, depression, fatigue, autoimmune flare ups, inflammatory bowel disorders, and other chronic problems that leave one feeling decidedly unsexy.

Gluten intolerance. Gluten? Really? Gluten wreaks havoc on so many people’s health that sometimes it is the main cause of myriad health disorders, including autoimmune disease, skin rashes, joint pain, irritable bowel disorders, fatigue, depression, brain fog, and so on. Just removing this one food has restored enough vigor and vitality to many people that they are surprised to find their libido robustly returns. You may also need to avoid other foods, such as dairy, other grains, eggs, or soy. Getting the right food sensitivity test can help you determine which foods might be mooching your mojo.

Low blood sugar or high blood sugar. If your blood sugar is out of whack it’s going to bring the rest of your body down, particularly your hormone function. Skipping breakfast, skipping meals, and subsisting on coffee and pastries, pasta dishes, smoothies, or other high-carb meals is a recipe for hypoglycemia. This causes irritability, spaciness, fatigue, insomnia, anxiety, and other libido-sapping symptoms. On the other hand, overeating and eating too many sweets and high-carb foods can cause blood sugar to be too high, which can cause its own set of symptoms, particularly feeling sleepy after meals. Many people swing between the two, which is very stressful on the body and robs you of a healthy libido.

These are just some basic underlying causes of the many health disorders that often result in loss of libido. Of course it can be more complicated, but one must always start with the foundations of good health. From good health springs a healthy libido, which can in turn provide for a more satisfying relationship with your loved one.

And let’s not forget andropause and menopause as reasons for low libidos. Ask meCouple after fighting turned away from each other in bed for support in helping restore your libido.

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Have you been living without this? http://www.midlifewithoutcrisis.com/2014/10/have-you-been-living-without-this/ http://www.midlifewithoutcrisis.com/2014/10/have-you-been-living-without-this/#comments Sun, 12 Oct 2014 20:40:46 +0000 http://midlifewithoutcrisis.com/?p=1212 wow-fb-ad2014Many midlife women I talk to tell me that they’re “not sure who they are anymore.” It makes sense; at midlife so many things change that our old identities don’t really fit anymore.

When their kids leave home, when their parents and/or spouses depart, when they’re hit by a layoff and unemployed for long periods of time, when their money is scarce, when their bodies change unpredictably, midlife women ask: “Who am I now?”  I can’t blame them.

With each midlife change we become less of who we used to be, and more of someone new. Mostly these midlife changes are ones that feel like they were “done to us,” rather than ones we chose.  And because we didn’t choose them, that makes our identity changes harder. We‘re just not who we used to be in the same way that we used to be.  Some of us even catch ourselves wishing we could go back to being that person we used to be.

But why not create a new, improved identity for our midlife selves? One who is wiser and more evolved.  An identity that’s more interesting, more lovable, more attractive and even healthier than your old identity.

Want some help ditching the midlife identity struggle? Or any other midlife struggle? When you join me for my exciting event: FROM STRUGGLE TO WOW on October 25th and 26th you’ll have ample opportunities to ditch whatever you’re struggling with.

It will be a magical weekend in which you’ll get to step out of your everyday life. You’ll get answers to some burning questions, treat yourself to a menu of self-care options, learn some vital new strategies to help you ditch the struggle, and emerge with some clarity, new friends, and even new ideas.

Find out more at http://www.womenwowtheworld.com

Register today while there are still tickets available!

And while you’re at it – bring a friend so you can both enjoy what promises to be one of the most enjoyable weekends of the year.

 

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My Midlife Crisis had Nothing to do with Menopause http://www.midlifewithoutcrisis.com/2014/09/my-midlife-crisis-had-nothing-to-do-with-menopause/ http://www.midlifewithoutcrisis.com/2014/09/my-midlife-crisis-had-nothing-to-do-with-menopause/#comments Tue, 23 Sep 2014 13:20:12 +0000 http://midlifewithoutcrisis.com/?p=1203 wow-fb-ad2014It’s Menopause Awareness Month and many of us find ourselves with a daily awareness of some aspect of menopause. Some of us say we’re long past it, but we still get hot flashes occasionally. Some of us are in the midst of it ,and it’s driving us crazy. And some of us just breeze through it all. If you need to talk about menopause – let’s talk. My gift to you this month and next – let’s talk about what’s going on in your body and what to do about it. Write me an email and let me know when you’re available to talk nina@ninaprice.com

I always say that you know you’re in midlife when you’re doing what you’ve always done – except now your body isn’t letting you get away with it. You’re eating the way you always have – but now you’re gaining weight. You’re trying to sleep (or not sleep) the way you always have – but now you’re falling asleep in meetings or in other inappropriate places.

The fact that your body is changing is usually a tip off that you’re in midlife – and perhaps for some this precipitates some sort of crisis. My hunch is that is more true for men than for women. Women tell me that they now feel invisible because their bodies have changed and men don’t notice them anymore.

But my hunch is that for most of us the real crisis in midlife had nothing to do with menopause. Instead our crises had to do with relationships changing: children leaving home, or returning home because they couldn’t make it on their own, aging parents who need help or who have departed, spouses or partners who have departed or who are driving us crazy. Yearning for a new spouse or partner, for children we never had, for new friends who get what we’re going through, for something other than what we have.

Given the U.S. economy many of us found ourselves hit by layoffs, and unemployed for long periods of time, with rampant ageism making job opportunities harder to find than before. Many of us lost a chunk of our retirement savings and find ourselves wondering whether we’ll ever be able to retire or whether we would outlive our savings.

If your midlife crisis had nothing to do with menopause (or even if it did) please join me for a magical event I’m hosting on October 25th and 26th in Mountain View, CA. It’s called From Struggle to WOW and it’s all about taking care of yourself, for a change. You’ll meet new friends and learn some vital 21st century success strategies and have fun for 2 whole days.  Click here to register: www.womenwowtheworld.com

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Lazy and unmotivated? It’s a health issue http://www.midlifewithoutcrisis.com/2014/08/lazy-and-unmotivated-its-a-health-issue/ http://www.midlifewithoutcrisis.com/2014/08/lazy-and-unmotivated-its-a-health-issue/#comments Thu, 28 Aug 2014 04:07:21 +0000 http://midlifewithoutcrisis.com/?p=1187 Are you lazy and unmotivated? Do you have plenty to do, yet spend all your time watchincouch potato saying cartoong TV or goofing around online, and then beat yourself up for it? Your lack of motivation could signal chronic health issues more so than regrettable character flaws. Although we all need some degree of discipline, life’s daily duties shouldn’t feel like insurmountable chores. Good health means you have the energy, motivation, and desire to not only manage daily life, but also make in time for hobbies, sports, socializing, and special projects.

In functional medicine, laziness and lack of motivation are seen as symptoms of larger health issues that, when addressed and corrected, can make the couch feel like a prison and life outside a playground of adventures waiting to be experienced.

Health issues that can make you lazy and unmotivated

Below are issues that may be sapping your energy, motivation, and desire to more fully live your life.

Blood sugar blues. If you skip breakfast and other meals, subsist on coffee and energy drinks, or if the majority of your meals are based around rice, noodles, pastries, cereal, sugar, and other processed carbohydrates, you are probably riding a roller coaster of blood sugar highs and lows.  Eventually this causes fatigue, brain chemistry imbalances, depression, poor stress-handling, and other fallouts that will send you to the sofa.

Hypothyroidism. Hashimoto’s is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks and destroys the thyroid gland. It is the leading cause of hypothyroidism and causes symptoms that include depression, fatigue, weight gain, lethargy, and low motivation. If you have lost your get-up-and-go, have your thyroid screened using functional medicine lab ranges.

Brain chemistry imbalance. Brain chemicals called neurotransmitters relay messages between neurons and play a large role in how we feel and function. When the neurotransmitter dopamine is low it can cause poor motivation and low self-esteem. Serotonin, GABA, and acetylcholine are other neurotransmitters that affect mood, energy, and motivation. Hormonal imbalances, hypothyroidism, high or low blood sugar, and chronic stress are factors that can skew neurotransmitters.

Brain fog. Brain fog is a symptom of brain inflammation. It simply means your brain is firing slowly, causing that heavy, thick, tired feeling in your brain. Things that can cause brain fog include chronic inflammation, an autoimmune reaction in the brain (when the immune system attacks the brain), food sensitivities, hypothyroidism, leaky gut, and hormonal imbalances.

Gluten intolerance. Gluten intolerance has become more common and really drains the energy out of some people. It also causes inflammation, depression, fatigue, and other symptoms that make the couch awfully inviting. Other foods that may cause these reactions include dairy, eggs, soy, corn, and other grains.

Leaky gut. Leaky gut means the lining of the small intestine has become inflamed and overly porous, allowing undigested food particles, bacteria, fungus, and other pathogens into the bloodstream, where they don’t belong. This triggers inflammation in the body and brain. The result can be fatigue, lethargy, lack of motivation, and other couch potato characteristics.

These are just a few examples of how a subtle but chronic health issue can drain you of your drive. Of course, it’s hard to make drastic lifestyle changes when you have no energy or motivation, but start with something small and gradually add in new changes. Ask me for help on restoring the energy and vitality you were meant to enjoy in life.

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What is leaky gut and why should you care? http://www.midlifewithoutcrisis.com/2014/08/what-is-leaky-gut-and-why-should-you-care/ http://www.midlifewithoutcrisis.com/2014/08/what-is-leaky-gut-and-why-should-you-care/#comments Wed, 06 Aug 2014 06:12:41 +0000 http://midlifewithoutcrisis.com/?p=1178 Intestines SketchLeaky gut conjures unpleasant imagery of intestinal contents spilling into the body. Unfortunately, that is pretty much what happens, and the results are a wide array of chronic health issues. When compounds from the intestines pass through a damaged gut wall into the sterile environment of the bloodstream, they can trigger various health conditions: skin problems, joint pain, chronic pain, autoimmune disease, mysterious symptoms, puffiness, fatigue, brain fog, depression, anxiety disorders, poor memory, asthma, food allergies and sensitivities, seasonal allergies, fungal infections, migraines, arthritis, PMS, and more.

Leaky gut is also referred to as intestinal permeability, and means the lining of the small intestine has become inflamed, damaged, and overly porous. This allows undigested foods, bacteria, molds, and other compounds to enter into the bloodstream. Because these compounds don’t belong there, the immune system views them as toxic and attacks them. This in turn causes inflammation, which is at the heart of so many chronic health problems today.

Leaky gut now medically recognized

Leaky gut was once maligned by conventional medicine as naturopathic folklore, but researchers have now validated it and linked it with many chronic disorders. It’s fortunate this condition is gaining a foothold because the gut is our largest immune system organ. Studies have now linked it with inflammatory bowel disorders, gluten sensitivity and celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, type 1 diabetes, depression, psoriasis, and more. Given the influence of gut health on immunity, repairing leaky gut is vital to managing any chronic health disorder.

How to repair leaky gut

It’s important to know what contributed to your leaky gut when you work to repair it as this will better your chances of recovery. However, diet is foundational regardless the cause.

This is because the most common cause of leaky gut is a poor diet of processed foods and excess sugars. Food intolerances also play a major role, especially a gluten intolerance. A leaky gut diet, also known as an autoimmune diet, has a strong track record of helping people repair leaky gut. Keeping blood sugar stable is also important as blood sugar that gets too low or too high contributes to leaky gut. This requires eating regularly enough so you don’t “bonk” and avoiding too many carbohydrates that can send blood sugar soaring and crashing.

Other common causes of leaky gut include antibiotic use, overuse of NSAIDs such as ibuprofen, drinking too much alcohol, an imbalance of gut bacteria, hypothyroidism, and autoimmunity. Many nutrients can help repair a leaky gut, but it’s important to also address what caused it. If you have an autoimmune condition, managing leaky gut can be a lifelong process requiring food restrictions and careful attention to lifestyle to prevent provoking inflammation and flare ups.

A leaky gut protocol is foundational to improving health. Not only can it relieve symptoms but it can also improve energy, enhance well being, make you happier, and clear your head. Ask me for advice on implementing a leaky gut diet and protocol.

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8 lifestyle habits to better manage adrenal fatigue http://www.midlifewithoutcrisis.com/2014/06/8-lifestyle-habits-to-better-manage-adrenal-fatigue/ http://www.midlifewithoutcrisis.com/2014/06/8-lifestyle-habits-to-better-manage-adrenal-fatigue/#comments Wed, 25 Jun 2014 01:23:51 +0000 http://midlifewithoutcrisis.com/?p=1132 406 good adrenal habitsDo you always feel tired in the afternoon, wake up groggy, or feel flattened by exercise? You might suffer from a common condition called adrenal fatigue, in which the body can’t respond properly to life’s stresses. Some other signs and symptoms of adrenal fatigue include:
• Overwhelming fatigue
• Insomnia, especially between 2 and 4 a.m.
• The afternoon ‘blahs’
• Cravings for salt, sugar or stimulants, especially in the afternoon
• Lightheadedness upon standing
• Chronic low blood pressure
• Irritability and jitters when hungry
8 habits to manage adrenal fatigue
Below are eight lifestyle habits that can go a long way in supporting adrenal health.
1. Sleep. Regular, plentiful sleep is one of the best supporters of adrenal health. Even if you experience midnight insomnia or trouble falling asleep, it’s possible to create better sleep by sticking to these good habits:
• Go to bed at the same time every night, no later than 10 p.m.
• Try to get 9–11 hours of sleep every night; do it on weekends if it’s not possible on weekdays.
• Avoid computer, TV, and phone screens for the hour before bed; this allows the brain waves to shift gears in preparation for sleep. (If that’s impossible wear orange glasses that block the blue lights these screens emits. Blue light suppresses sleep hormones and can cause insomnia and a disrupted sleep cycle.)
• Eat a small snack just before bed that is strong in protein and healthy fat and low in carbs.
• Avoid sugar, stimulants, and high-carb foods before bed.
2. Relaxation Exercises. Think relaxation exercises are ineffective? Think again! Create at least ten minutes of quiet, stress-relieving activity for yourself every day, such as lying with your feet up, meditating, or breathing slowly. In addition, when you feel tired, respect the message your body is trying to send, and lay down for a few minutes.
3. Avoid junk food and excess sugar. Whether donuts or fruit, junk foods and excess sugar put the adrenal glands in overdrive, effectively sending them into energetic bankruptcy.
4. Avoid caffeine and other stimulants. Yes, that means coffee. Stimulants are one of your adrenals’ worst enemies! Like sugars, they drive the adrenals to work too hard, driving you into deeper exhaustion.
5. Gentle exercise only. With adrenal fatigue, prolonged, rigorous exercise will only drive you deeper into exhaustion. Try gentle exercise such as walking, yoga, or swimming. No matter what, avoid prolonged aerobic exercise. Caution: If you are exhausted after your workout, you overdid it.
6. Eat a breakfast strong in protein and fat, with no sugar or stimulants. Adrenal function, blood sugar, and energy levels are closely related. Eating a breakfast strong in protein and fat while avoiding sugars and stimulants allows the adrenals to get a strong start and remain steadier throughout the day. This can help you avoid the afternoon blahs and sleep better, too!
7. Take the stress out. Take a close look at what causes you stress, whether complaining friends, nagging bosses, or a crazy schedule. What stressors can you eliminate or minimize? Reducing stress is a huge factor in adrenal healing.
8. Avoid sugars and stimulants when you’re tired. When you hit the afternoon blahs, the first thing you might think of is a frothy cappuccino. However, that only serves to further bankrupt your adrenals. Instead, nourish your body with protein, healthy fats, and minimal carbs to support healthy blood sugar and brain function, which is what you really need to kick the blahs. Be prepared by having a healthy snack ready to go for the afternoon.
The bigger picture when you have adrenal fatigue
Adrenal fatigue typically happens secondary to another issue, such as anemia, poor diet, hormone imbalance, autoimmune disease, inflammation, or micronutrient deficiencies. It’s important to determine the cause of your adrenal fatigue and include these lifestyle habits as part of your adrenal treatment plan –- with them, you will move much faster toward optimum health and energy.

If you need help recovering from adrenal fatigue, write to me nina@ninaprice.com

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Cholesterol is often the wrong target in heart disease risk http://www.midlifewithoutcrisis.com/2014/06/cholesterol-is-often-the-wrong-target-in-heart-disease-risk/ http://www.midlifewithoutcrisis.com/2014/06/cholesterol-is-often-the-wrong-target-in-heart-disease-risk/#comments Tue, 17 Jun 2014 09:42:12 +0000 http://midlifewithoutcrisis.com/?p=1125 Harmful food - threat to health of heartEveryone has heard that high cholesterol is bad for heart health. But as it turns out, the association between cholesterol and cardiovascular disease has been somewhat misrepresented. Doctors are starting to accept that cholesterol levels do not necessarily predict risk for heart disease as much as we thought. Consider the following:

  • 75 percent of people who have heart attacks have normal cholesterol.
  • Older patients with lower cholesterol have a higher risk of death than those with higher cholesterol.
  • Countries with higher average cholesterol than Americans such as the Swiss or Spanish have less heart disease.
  • Recent evidence shows that it is likely statins’ ability to lower inflammation that accounts for the benefits of statins, not their ability to lower cholesterol.

We need cholesterol!

Cholesterol is a fat-like substance found in every cell in the human body. The liver makes 75 percent of cholesterol. Cholesterol helps produce cell membranes, vitamin D, and vital hormones, and is needed for neurological function. Put bluntly, we would die without it.

The cholesterol players

When we measure cholesterol levels, we are actually measuring the lipoproteins LDL and HDL. We refer to them as cholesterol, but they are actually small packages of fat and protein that help move cholesterol throughout the body.

High-density lipoprotein — HDL

This is considered “good” cholesterol. It helps keep cholesterol away from your arteries and removes excess arterial plaque.

Low-density lipoprotein — LDL

This is considered “bad” cholesterol. It can build up in the arteries, forming plaque that narrows the arteries and makes them less flexible (atherosclerosis).

Triglycerides

Elevated levels of these dangerous fats have been linked to heart disease and diabetes. Levels rise from eating too many sugars and grains, smoking, being physically inactive, excessive drinking and being overweight.

Lipoprotein (a) or Lp(a)

Lp(a) is made up of an LDL part plus a protein (apoprotein a). Elevated Lp(a) levels are a very strong risk for heart disease.

When testing cholesterol, total cholesterol is not as important as:

  • Levels of HDL “good” cholesterol versus LDL “bad” cholesterol
  • Triglyceride levels
  • The ratio of triglycerides to HDL
  • The ratio of total cholesterol to HDL

In order for cholesterol to cause disease, it has to damage the arterial walls. There are small and large particles of LDL, HDL, and triglycerides. Large particles are practically harmless, while small, dense particles are the dangerous ones, lodging in the arterial walls, causing damage and inflammation. The resulting “scar” is called plaque. Repeated trauma causes a buildup of plaque and chronic inflammation while your risk of high blood pressure and heart attack increases.

The biggest culprits in high cholesterol? Sugar and bad fats!

Although we’ve been taught that a high-fat diet causes problems with cholesterol, the type of fat you eat is more important than the quantity. Trans fats, or hydrogenated and saturated fats, promote abnormal cholesterol, while omega-3 fats and monounsaturated fats actually improve the type of cholesterol in our bodies. Eat your good fats, your body needs them!

The surprise: the biggest source of abnormal cholesterol isn’t dietary fat, but sugar. Sugar (and refined carbs, including processed white foods), drives good cholesterol down and triglycerides up. It causes those small particles, encouraging dangerous plaque buildup, and can lead to heart disease and metabolic syndrome or “pre-diabetes.” Doctors are starting to admit that sugar, not dietary fat, is the bigger cause of most heart attacks.

So, the real concern isn’t really the amount of total cholesterol you have, but the type of fats, sugar, and refined carbohydrates in your diet that lead to abnormal cholesterol production.

Inflammation promotes heart disease

Systemic inflammation plays a key role in heart disease and, in fact, most all chronic illnesses. Systemic inflammation can arise from poor diet, a sedentary lifestyle, stress, allergies, and more. Research at Harvard has shown that people with high levels of systemic inflammation (measured by a test called C-reactive protein, or CRP) had higher risk for heart disease than those with high cholesterol, while normal cholesterol was not protective to those with high CRP.

Clearly, multiple factors come together to determine your risk for heart disease, including diet, lifestyle, and environment. If you are concerned about your heart health, contact me for a comprehensive evaluation to help reveal the factors that may increase your risk for heart disease.

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Do You Know How to Avoid the Hidden Sources of Gluten? http://www.midlifewithoutcrisis.com/2014/05/do-you-know-how-to-avoid-the-hidden-sources-of-gluten/ http://www.midlifewithoutcrisis.com/2014/05/do-you-know-how-to-avoid-the-hidden-sources-of-gluten/#comments Sat, 24 May 2014 00:42:20 +0000 http://midlifewithoutcrisis.com/?p=1116 Words of CeliacCongratulations, you’ve gone gluten free to improve your health! Perhaps you have celiac disease, or non-celiac gluten sensitivity, both of which require avoidance of gluten for optimal health. You know to avoid wheat, barley, rye, triticale, einkorn, farro, kamut, spelt, farina, emmer, durum, and semolina, plus most oats because they are commonly cross-contaminated with gluten grains in the field or factory. That pretty much sums it up, right?

Well, not quite. Gluten can actually reside as a hidden component in many common food ingredients, which can make food shopping, restaurants, travel, and potlucks a risky business.

Navigating Food Labels

Manufacturers are not presently required to identify gluten as an ingredient on labels. Just because a product doesn’t list a gluten grain, doesn’t mean it’s gluten-free.

Your greatest tool in determining what is safe to eat is to read food labels, and become familiar with stealthy ingredients that may include gluten. Here is a (non-exhaustive) list of some common ingredients that can contain gluten:

  • Malt, and barley malt
  • Food starch and modified starch
  • Dextrin and maltodextrin
  • HPP = Hydrolyzed Plant Protein
  • HVP = Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein
  • TVP = Texturized Vegetable Protein
  • “Natural flavor”
  • “Spices”
  • “Artificial flavor”
  • Brewer’s yeast
  • Gelatinized and pregelatinized starch
  • Brown rice syrup

 

Pre-packaged foods can add a challenge as well. Below are some common foods that may have gluten in them. Look for a certified GF label if you aren’t sure; otherwise, pass it up.

 

  • Soy sauce (use coconut aminos, or wheat-free tamari)
  • Many salad dressings use gluten thickener
  • Gravies, sauces, marinades
  • Fish sauce (common in Thai restaurants)
  • Canned and boxed soups
  • Soup mix
  • Bouillon
  • Licorice candy
  • Instant coffee
  • Coffee substitutes
  • Condiments
  • Puddings and pie fillings
  • Processed meats (gluten is used as a binder)
  • Many reduced-fat and ready-made foods
  • Ice cream –- look for added gluten and scoop contamination where ice cream is served
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Imitation crab
  • Some wasabi
  • Vegan meat substitutes
  • Chips (factory cross-contamination)
  • Beer
  • White sauce (made from a wheat flour roux)
  • Worcestershire
  • Communion wafer
  • All Chinese condiments contain wheat
  • Some spice companies use glutenous fillers

The Restaurant Dilemma

Restaurants can pose their own challenges. Here are some things to look out for:

  • Fried foods may have been cooked in the same oil that fried the onion rings doused in wheat batter
  • Vegetables may have been par-boiled in pasta water
  • At Asian restaurants, you may ask for GF but the busy chef may not be looking at the ingredients on the hoisin or fish sauce; ask for no sauce if uncertain.
  • GF foods may be prepared on the same surfaces or with the same utensils that glutenous foods touch.

If you are uncertain at a restaurant, talk to the chef directly. If you aren’t happy with the answer, don’t eat there. Ask friends, and ask local online GF groups about recommended eateries.

Gluten Free Shopping: When In Doubt, Go Without!

When you are new to eating GF, restaurants and grocery shopping can be daunting, but the more you do it, the better you’ll get at determining what goes in your belly. If you aren’t sure, don’t eat it. Ask questions, read ingredient labels; just because those noodles say, “Rice” on the front, that doesn’t mean they don’t have a gluten grain added in. “Wheat-free” doesn’t necessarily mean gluten-free. Lastly, always check product labels for warnings that state a food is produced in a factory that also makes gluten-based products; if it is, cross-contamination could be an issue.

Gluten cross-reactivity with non-gluten foods

Non-gluten grains can cross-react with gluten in some people. This means their body recognizes them as gluten and responds with a reaction. An elimination/provocation diet or food sensitivity test  can let you know which grains are safe to eat. Dairy is another food that commonly cross-reacts with gluten, as is coffee. If your gluten-free diet is not helping you feel better you may need to consider cross-reactive foods.

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Manage diabetes with functional medicine http://www.midlifewithoutcrisis.com/2014/05/manage-diabetes-with-functional-medicine/ http://www.midlifewithoutcrisis.com/2014/05/manage-diabetes-with-functional-medicine/#comments Wed, 14 May 2014 03:04:28 +0000 http://midlifewithoutcrisis.com/?p=1109 vitality  word cloud on blackboardAnyone with diabetes knows it’s important to manage insulin levels. Functional medicine offers unique tools to manage insulin and blood sugar — including diet, exercise, stress management, detoxification, and maximizing essential nutrients. To understand how all these tools apply, it’s helpful to know how insulin works. Insulin and Blood Sugar: A Balancing Act Insulin helps keep glucose (sugar) levels in the bloodstream within normal range. When you eat, carbohydrates are broken down into glucose, our primary energy source. When glucose enters the bloodstream, the pancreas responds by producing insulin, which enables glucose to enter the body’s tissues. Excess glucose is stored in the liver; when needed to sustain blood sugar between meals, the liver releases sugar and the pancreas responds with more insulin to help it enter cells. This balancing act keeps blood sugar stable. When the pancreas secretes little or no insulin (type I diabetes), when your body doesn’t produce enough insulin, or when your cells are resistant to insulin (insulin resistance, common in type II diabetes), sugar levels in the bloodstream can get too high. Chronic high blood sugar can lead to complications such as blindness, nerve damage, and kidney damage. Managing Insulin with a Multi-Faceted Approach Certain factors increase the need for insulin: Diet What you eat affects your blood sugar and insulin levels.

  • Not eating regularly, and eating larger meals causes drops and spikes in blood sugar and insulin, driving insulin resistance  If blood sugar is a problem, better to eat smaller, more frequent meals to keep blood sugar and insulin levels stable.
  • Processed and fast foods drive inflammation, which causes insulin resistance and other disease processes. It also increases cortisol levels, which can increase blood sugar levels.
  • Food sensitivities cause immune and inflammatory responses, which causes insulin resistance. Many people have food sensitivities they don’t know about.
  • Pay attention to Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load. Glycemic index measures the insulin response your body has after eating a food. The higher the number, the more insulin your pancreas needs to secrete. Glycemic load is the amount of that food eaten.

Exercise Fat cells have insulin receptors. Exercise burns calories and fat; fewer cells mean less need for insulin. And, when you exercise, your muscles need more energy to fire and insulin receptor sites become more receptive. Even a short walk can reduce blood sugar levels and insulin demands dramatically. Stress Up to 90 percent of doctor visits are related to chronic stress. Stress has big impact on insulin by decreasing insulin receptor sensitivity, elevating cortisol, and causing the liver to raise blood sugar (the body’s way of increasing energy to handle stressful situations). Raised blood sugar means more insulin. Toxins Toxins are found throughout our environment — in body products, food, air, and water. The body gets overworked trying to deal with them, causing inflammation and increasing insulin resistance. Inflammation shuts down receptor sites, requiring the body to make more insulin. A Multi-Faceted Approach is Key For proper diabetes management, we must provide adequate exercise, proper nutrition, and manageable stress levels. As a functional health provider, I understand that you have unique needs and would be happy to help you develop a customized action plan to manage your blood sugar and insulin levels.

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