Posts tagged ‘Nutrtion’

Excerpt from “Mark’s Daily Apple”

Below is an excerpt from a great blog “Mark’s Daily Apple”. This blog that was sent to me by my husband as one to follow. We are always talking about this topic below and struggle wth reaching out to the people who mean the most in our lives. We wonder why they don’t understand our reasons and practices of “primal” eating. I could not have summed it up better than the blog below. I guess some things we just need to let go and and let people see the differences such practices can make in ones life. This blog was an emotional read for me and any other primal eaters out there I am sure you will feel the same way!

Enjoy ~HD

Monday’s “Dear Mark” sparked a great discussion about raising healthy kids, but the conversation really got going (in the comment board and forum) when readers lamented the hard-headedness of their parents.

Yes, we too often paint younger folks as the impulsive, devil-may-care madcaps or hapless Pied Piper targets. Truth is, there are plenty of those qualities in every age demographic. Kids aren’t the only ones who can dig in their heels after all. So, to take on the flipside of Monday’s question, what’s a Primal child (of any age) to do when Mom and Dad are the ones whose health needs a major overhaul?

I venture to say that many more people find themselves in the role of concerned progeny than those who commented Monday. Far too many of us, I imagine, have been grudging witnesses over the years to our parents’ destructive health habits – whether it be crummy diet, complete lack of physical activity, smoking, workaholic lifestyle, chronic stress, or – who knows – compulsive use of household insecticides. Sometimes it’s ignorance on their part. Other times it’s denial. In some cases, it’s flat out apathy.

We drop hints at dinner. We drop pamphlets, articles or whole books on their coffee tables. At turns, we find ourselves lecturing. We argue. We offer to help – to make dinner, suggest some relaxation techniques or pay for a gym membership. In the midst of the back and forth, some of us deal with the frustration better than others. Perhaps those of us who recently moved out or are in the process of doing so are just glad to be on our own, away from the influence for a while. However, for many of us it’s an ongoing source of disappointment and even an emotional roadblock in the relationship.

The questions nag at the back of our brains and maybe tug at the heart strings a little. Why won’t they listen to reason? Why don’t they value their own health? Don’t they want to live to be there for their grandchildren – for me? How can it not bother them to be giving up decades of their lives or at least the hope of some additional active and independent years? What am I supposed to do here? Will anything I do or say make any difference whatsoever?

Step Back
As difficult as it is, maybe the first step in dealing with the quandary is this: we should all take a step back. (A big breath helps too.) There’s a certain freedom in accepting that you aren’t responsible for another person’s choices. Although you certainly have a big stake in their health, in their independence, in their well-being, in their being in this world period, the fact is and will always remain that you don’t run their lives. If you genuinely worry for them, it’s a painful realization, but at least it can stop you from beating your head against the wall. It’s not your fault. It’s not under your control. It’s sad and horribly unfortunate that they stand a big chance of missing out on some of their good years as well as your life and your kids’, but there it is. Ultimately, it’s out of your hands. Que Sera isn’t a comforting concept, but it can be a liberating one.

Don’t Apologize for Your Lifestyle
Just as they are going to live their lives the way they want, make no bones about doing the same for yourself. Stop feeling guilty for refusing your mother’s pie at Thanksgiving if you don’t want it. Stop apologizing for bringing your own food to their house or turning down Sunday night get-togethers if that’s a good workout night for you. Stop caving to their pushing treats on the grandkids. Maybe the more you stand by your lifestyle, the more seriously they’ll take it. If not, you’ll at least feel more in control of your own life and less swept up by their choices.

Appreciate Small Changes
Just because you accept that you don’t control the ultimate outcome doesn’t mean you can’t leave the door open for them to change or that you can’t make the adjoining room all the more inviting. I’d never say give up encouraging your parents to get healthy. Nonetheless, it’s all about perspective. When you take yourself out of the role of health director or even rescuer, you’re in a much better mindset to encourage, see and appreciate smaller changes. You’re not caught up in the vision of deep and desperate change for them. Once you take the pressure off, they might soften up a bit and surprise you.

Offer Some Healthy Bonding Opportunities
So, your dad probably isn’t going to ever accompany you to a PrimalCon event, but maybe you can convince him to go for a walk on a nice spring day. Though your mother will never give up her carbs, she’ll love spending Sunday brunch at your house (with your food) when she can have fun with the grandkids. Invite your parents to participate in your life – and the lifestyle that goes along with it. Find things that both of you can enjoy and get something out of.

Finally, however frustrating or unchanging your parents’ choices are, enjoy your time with them. Live life to the fullest with them as much as you can. Show them you care and that you enjoy their company. Let them know they’re an important part of your life. In the best or worst circumstances, you’ll be glad you did. There’s an old fable in which the sun and wind compete to see who can get the coat off a man passing by. In the harshness of the wind, the man simply clutches his coat more tightly. In the sun’s warmth, he happily casts it aside. In the best circumstances, perhaps warmth and love provide the best inspiration for healthy change.

Have your own stories and strategies for prodding your parents or other family members toward a healthier lifestyle? Thanks for reading.

February 6, 2010 at 6:16 pm Leave a comment

Are you Gluten Sensitive?

Another Great Article from Precision Nutrition

The At-Home Test For Gluten Sensitivity
by Bryan Walsh, November 18th, 2009.

Everywhere you look, there’s a ton of discussion about gluten and gluten sensitivity. In fact, PN’s very own Ryan Andrews wrote a great article – All About Gluten – just a few weeks back.

But is gluten sensitivity really something you need to be concerned with? Or is it merely a “Hollywood fad” that’ll disappear as quickly as it came?

Well, a host of new research studies suggest that this whole gluten thing can be a pretty big deal. In fact, emerging research on gluten and its negative impacts on health, including brain function, is starting to look kinda scary.

Quick Gluten Review

Gluten is a sticky protein found in a number of grains that helps bind things together. Basically, it’s the “glue” that helps bread hold its shape, stops sauces from curdling, and gives cheese spreads, canned meats and many condiments their smooth texture.

Gluten is ubiquitous in our food supply today and is found in everything from oats, bran and cereal – to the not so obvious – ketchup, soy sauce, chewing gum and salad dressing. Truthfully, if you eat any type of processed food, you’re likely eating gluten.

For more on what gluten is and where it’s found, check out Ryan’s article here.

Interestingly, gluten-free foods are one of the fastest growing sectors in the nutritional world today – and with good reason. If you’re sensitive to gluten, yet continue to consume products that contain it, there is a strong likelihood that some aspect of your health will suffer.

Celiac Disease vs. Gluten Sensitivity

Before discussing gluten sensitivity in depth, some distinction should be made between it and its cousin, Celiac disease. Celiac disease is an autoimmune condition affecting numerous systems in the body. But its main target is the digestive tract.

Gluten sensitivity on the other hand simply implies that there is some type of immune reaction occurring to gluten in the diet. For you clinical types, this immune reaction can be detected by anti-gliadin antibodies in the serum, stool or saliva.

In the end, the primary difference between the two is whether or not there is intestinal damage.

Gluten sensitivity + Intestinal damage = Celiac Disease

Gluten sensitivity + No intestinal damage = Gluten Sensitivity

Now, you might think that gluten sensitivity only occurs in a small percentage of the population, just like with Celiac Disease. If so, you might be surprised to learn that in non-celiac disease patients, anti-gliadin antibodies can be found in as high as 35 percent of the population.

Gluten and Your Health

The seriousness of gluten sensitivity – with respect to everyday health concerns, as well as some atypical health issues issues – can’t be overstated. Really, it’s a big deal. But instead of taking my word for it, let’s take a look at some of the research.

Gluten and Women
Women with gluten sensitivity were found to have a higher incidence of stillbirths, spontaneous and repeated abortions, late onset of menarche, amenhorhea (no menses), anemia, and early menopause.

Because of the potentially negative impact of gluten on women’s hormone and reproductive system, one study recommended “celiac disease should be included in the screening of reproductive disorders.”

Gluten and Mood Disorders
Schizophrenia and depression have been linked to gluten sensitivity. In fact, gluten sensitivity seems to be a causative factor for schizophrenia in patients genetically susceptible to the condition.

In one study, “A drastic reduction, if not full remission, of schizophrenic symptoms after initiation of gluten withdrawal has been noted in a variety of studies.”

Gluten and Your Brain
Gluten has particular reactivity to our nervous system and is no longer considered to be a gut issue. Our brain and nervous system governs our perception, mood and quality of life. When our nervous system deteriorates, our life deteriorates.

Research has correlated gluten sensitivity to seizures, neuropathies, ADHD, Alzheimer’s, MS, migraines and even EEG anomalies (brain wave abnormalities).

One study concluded, “Gluten sensitivity can be primarily, and at times exclusively, a neurological disease.”

Gluten and Metabolism
Gluten sensitivity has been correlated with decreased absorption of critical minerals, such as zinc.

Zinc absorption occurs in the small intestines (duodenum and jejunum), the two areas most affected by celiac disease lesions. Researchers conclude, “These observations indicate that trace metal deficiency is another common nutrition complication of adult celiac disease.

Zinc has an important role in a variety of functions including our immune system, hormone production, brain function, taste, smell and our digestive function.

Gluten and Bone
There are numerous studies showing a link between gluten sensitivity and bone loss. Numerous mechanism have been proposed, including decreased calcium absorption. Researchers determined “Continuing long-term benefit of gluten withdrawal on bone metabolism in celiac patients.”

Gluten, Blood Sugar and Diabetes
Both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes have been linked to gluten. “This population-based study showed the highest reported prevalence of celiac disease in Type 1 diabetes in Europe. Patients with celiac disease showed clinical improvements with a gluten-free diet (GFD). We recommend screening for celiac disease in all children with type 1 diabetes.”

Gluten and Behavior Disorders
Partial peptide digests of gluten, called “exomorphins” have been shown to have psychoactive properties that have morphine-like properties in the body and brain. Studies have shown abnormal blood flow patterns in the brain in celiac patients at rates similar to ADHD children. Also, celiac disease has been found more frequently in children with dyslexia.

There are literally hundreds more studies demonstrating the negative impacts of gluten in susceptible individuals to virtually every aspect of their physiology.

That’s right, this isn’t some fly-by-night, tree-hugging, tie-dye T-shirt wearing hippy craze. Gluten sensitivity is very real and causing major health issues for a growing number of people, even if they don’t have symptoms – yet.

At Home Gluten Testing
As highlighted above – gluten isn’t something we should all be frightened of. After all, only about 35-40% of the population may experience gluten sensitivity. So please don’t get the idea here that I’m suggesting we all start on 100% gluten-free diets immediately.

However, and here’s the crux of the issue, many of us simply don’t know whether we fall into the 60-65% of the population that can tolerate gluten or into the 35-40% of the population that can’t. So it’s important that we find out.

Fortunately, there are numerous ways of getting tested, the best of which (at least, at the present) seems to be a combination of stool and saliva testing through a company called EnteroLab (

And here’s the cool part. You can actually do the test yourself. You simple order a test kit through the company’s website, perform the tests yourself at home, send the kit back to the lab, and receive the results a few weeks later.

Of course, it’s beyond the scope of this article to go into interpreting the test here, but should you look into this kind of testing, the tech support available at Enterolab will be able to help you with your results.

The Gluten-Free Lifestyle

So let’s say you do the test and determine that you’re sensitive. What’s next? Well, you’ll have to cut all gluten out of your diet.

But deciding to go gluten-free isn’t a simple lifestyle change. It is more akin to a meat-eater deciding to become vegetarian. Gluten is so pervasive in our society, it takes a conscious effort to avoid it. And, because many of our comfort foods are full of gluten, it requires a change in perspective as well.

When many of my patients are reluctant to go off gluten – they just don’t want to give up some of the foods they love – I simply ask them, “Your bagel or your brain?” It’s that simple.

If you have a proven gluten sensitivity, it IS destroying some part of your body every time you eat it. Your thyroid, your brain, your joints – it could be any or all of these. And you must avoid gluten permanently.

This doesn’t mean being gluten-free most of the time, or “I’m gluten-free all week except for my one Ms. Fields chocolate chip cookie.” There is evidence that gluten can stay in your system for up to 8 months making every exposure a long-term thing. Does that sound too doom and gloom? Totally, and it sucks, but it’s the reality.

In many ways, gluten sensitivity is akin to peanut allergy. Any little bit of gluten can be cause for some real problems. So again I ask – your brain or your bagel?

Additional Support
Once you’ve decided to avoid gluten, there are other things you can do to protect yourself.

Besides avoiding it everywhere you can, there have been a couple of novel enzymes found to help break down accidental exposure to gluten. However, it is not a license to eat gluten. Rather, if you know you are sensitive to gluten, you can take these enzymes on a daily basis to help avoid any gluten that may have snuck into your diet.

Research has shown that the digestion of proteins found in gluten requires an enzyme known as DPP IV (dipeptyl dipeptidase IV). This enzyme is normally found in intestinal cells and is known to be deficient in celiac patients. In non-Celiac patients, if there is any damage to the intestinal wall, DPP IV will be decreased, causing an increases susceptibility to gluten and therefore damage.

In gluten sensitive individuals following a gluten-free diet, it is recommended to take a few capsules of a supplement containing DPP IV daily to prevent damage from accidental exposure.

Gluten sensitivity is a very real condition. And if you test positive for gluten sensitivity, and you continue to eat gluten-containing foods, your health and performance are at risk.

Fortunately, we don’t have to employ any guesswork or speculate about gluten sensitivity. With the genetic testing available today, we can be sure about gluten problems.

If you’re are interested in optimizing your performance and preventing future health issues, get tested and find out.


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November 19, 2009 at 1:22 pm Leave a comment

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