Do you ever feel like you’re ALWAYS on a diet? Always counting calories, considering portion sizes and keeping active?
If you eat well and exercise regularly but still have a hard time losing weight, you may want to rethinkwhat you’re eating. Over the last few years, there has been a lot of buzz around food sensitivities. Food sensitivities can not only lead to digestive symptoms such as bloating, heartburn, diarrhea and constipation; they can result in other symptoms such as anxiety, irritability, headaches, fatigue, joint pain, eczema and you guessed it, weight gain or difficulty losing weight.
Let me break it down: the digestive system is filled with thousands of bacteria that live symbiotically and keep us healthy and happy. Lining the digestive system is approximately 90% of the immune system, separated by a wall of mucosa. When we eat a standard North American diet (SAD diet) filled with pizza, pasta, burgers, chicken fingers and fries, we foster the growth of bad bacteria that damage our digestive lining and produce toxins.As a result of the damage, food particles leak into the blood stream causing the immune system to react, creating substantial inflammation.As the cascade of reactions continues, the inflammation leads to a toxic fatty liver and insulin resistance thus leading tomore insulin being produced. Increased insulin promotes fat storage. In short, it stimulates the growth of pre-fat cells into fat cells. It makes it nearly impossible to lose fat if insulin is constantly being produced.
How do I know if I have food sensitivities?
There are two ways to find out if you have food sensitivities and both have their pros and cons.
The first way is to take a food sensitivity test. This is a simple blood test done with a naturopathic doctor, in their office.A few drops of blood are taken from the finger and sent out to a lab.The lab uses a method called ELISA testing to determine whether any food sensitivities exist and provides a full report.This method of testing food sensitivities is both accurate and reliable but can be expensive, ranging between $200-$500.
The second option is to do an elimination diet. Remove commonly reactive foods for 2-4 weeks and slowly reintroduce those foods, observing for any physical or psychological symptoms. This process takes more time and great commitment and is best done under the supervision of a naturopathic doctor or holistic nutritionist.Some common reactive foods include: gluten/wheat, dairy, eggs, soy, corn and sugar.
What is the difference between a food sensitivity and an allergy?
Food sensitivities and food allergies both elicit an immune response but the difference lies in the typeof response produced.A food sensitivity is a delayed immune response, sometimes taking up to 72 hours to occur, whereas an allergy is immediate and typically results in diarrhea, hives or an anaphylactic reaction (throat closing, difficulty breathing).The immune system produces the antibody IgG in response to a food sensitivity whereas in a food allergy, it produces IgE.These small differences in the immune response lead to major differences in when, what and how your body may be manifesting specific symptoms. Just because you may not experience a symptom immediately after eating something, doesn’t mean you won’t.
The bottom line:
If you eat well but can’t seem to lose weight, food sensitivities and chronic inflammation may be the problem. If you consider yourself a “yo-yo” dieter you should truly consider having a food sensitivity test done or speak to a health care professional to properly guide you through an elimination diet.If food sensitivities are indeed the cause of your difficulties, you will want to take specific supplements to bring balance to those thousands of bacteria and heal the damage caused to the gut lining. When you finally address the health of your digestive system, you will notice how easy it is for your body to start shedding unwanted weight!
Have more questions about food sensitivities? Lets talk! I’m happy to help!
We’ve all heard that the human body is primarily composed of water and that we need to consume a certain amount in order to survive. Your muscles and kidneys are composed of 73% water; your blood is composed of 83% water; your lungs are 90% water and your brain is made up of 76% water. We lose water when we breathe and daily through urine and sweat so replenishment is crucial.
Many of us have been told to drink between 6-8 glasses of water a day but when I ask patients about their water intake, I am told 2 cups is the daily average. Generally, males need to consume 3 liters (12 cups) per day and females need to consume 2.2 liters (9 cups) per day for optimal hydration. Failing to consume the recommended amount can lead to mild dehydration manifesting in multiple symptoms.
10 Signs You’re Not Drinking Enough Water
1. Your Urine is Dark Yellow :This is often the first sign that you are not drinking enough water. Generally, urine should be a light yellow-amber colour. When a person does not consume enough water, the kidneys excrete a “higher concentration of waste products in the urine, including dead blood cells, toxins, proteins and other products that need to be removed from the body”, resulting in darker urine.
You may also notice darker urine after consuming certain medications, B-Vitamins, beets, blackberries, asparagus or food colouring. If you notice a temporary change in urine colour, first consider if you’ve consumed something that would alter the colour of your urine. Next, increase your water intake and observe if your urine colour becomes lighter. If your urine stays dark for a prolonged period of time, it could be a sign of more serious health concerns such as hepatitis or gallstones.
2. Your Urine Output is Reduced :Most people urinate between 6-7 times within a 24-hour period. When you don’t drink enough water, there is less fluid available to replace the fluids being excreted from the body. The kidneys attempt to retain as much fluid as possible to prevent dehydration. If you urinate less than 6 times a day, consider your water intake and increase if necessary.
3. Constipation :
Dehydration is one of the most common causes of constipation, and constipation can often be resolved by increasing water intake. If you are not fully hydrated, your body will try to absorb water from wherever it can, including your colon. A sufficient amount of water in the large intestine is crucial for soft, easy-to-pass stools. Naturally, a lack of water will lead to harder stools that are difficult to pass.
To prevent or treat constipation, ensure you are consuming adequate amounts of water in addition to increased fiber found in fruit and vegetables. Constipation can also be the result of physical inactivity, hypothyroidism, intestinal inflammation and dysbiosis, food sensitivities and stress. If you are drinking adequate water, consider other causes of constipation.
4. Your skin is dry and wrinkles are more defined :Most women rely on expensive moisturizers to keep their body soft and smooth. Some pay high prices for procedures to reduce and eliminate fine lines and wrinkles. Prior to spending money, increase your water intake. According to Dr. Diana Howard, dehydration can lead to irritated, inflamed, itching and sensitive skin. In severe cases, skin can flake and scale or become severely red with cracks and bleeds. Simultaneously, when your skin loses moisture, the cells shrivel, causing wrinkles to appear more defined and making the skin look older. The best way to revitalize your skin is to nourish it with water.
5. Hunger and Weight Gain :The body is so intrinsically smart but has a glitch – it does not know the difference between hunger and thirst. The hypothalamus, the part of the brain responsible for regulating hunger and thirst, often gets confused, causing hunger pangs in response to thirst. Reaching for a snack instead of a glass of water leads to excess caloric intake and weight gain.
If you’re trying to lose or maintain your weight, make sure you are consuming adequate amounts of water. If you feel hungry, grab a glass of water before going for a snack and wait 10-15 minutes to see if the hunger has passed or if it’s still present. If you are still feeling hungry then it is true hunger and time for you to eat.
6. Thirst and Dry Mouth :Believe it or not, feeling thirsty for water is a sign that you are already slightly dehydrated. A dry mouth often occurs with thirst and signifies that the mucus membranes in the body need hydration. The only way to resolve thirst and a dry mouth is to drink water throughout the day.
7. Headaches :When you don’t drink enough water, your body will attempt to preserve and reabsorb water from all of your tissues to compensate for the lack of fluid intake. Subsequently, your brain tissue loses some of its moisture and shrinks, pulling away from the skull. Pain receptors are triggered resulting in a headache. Simultaneously, when you don’t drink enough water, blood volume drops, reducing the amount of oxygen being carried to the brain. Blood vessels in the brain dilate in response leading to swelling and inflammation, intensifying the headache.
8. Fatigue :According to a 2011 study, mild dehydration can cause fatigue, tiredness and low energy. When you’re dehydrated and the blood volume decrease, the heart has to work harder to push oxygen and nutrients through the body. Next time you start to feeling tired, skip the coffee (which is dehydrating!) and drink a glass of water instead. Coffee, tea, soda and sports drinks are not substitutes for water.
9. Joint Pain :Water acts as a lubricant to the joints, allowing two bones to slide over each other as the joint moves. When the body doesn’t receive enough water, the joint becomes nutrient deficient leading to damage of the cartilage cells. If you are chronically dehydrated, your cells will eventually reach a tipping point and the cartilage will degenerate beyond repair. If you suffer from joint pain, be mindful of your water intake and increase if necessary.
10. Weak Immune System :Dehydration increases the concentration of toxins in the blood, which can weaken the immune system. Optimal hydration is essential in assisting in the elimination of any illness byproducts and helps the immune system ward off infection.
You’re Not Sick, You’re Thirsty :
Many people believe that all liquids provide hydration but the truth is, not all fluids are hydrating! Some beverages, such as coffee, pop and juice can actually dehydrate the body because of their caffeine and sugar content (13). According to Dr. Batmanghelidi, a Medical Doctor and expert in the healing powers of water, many ailments classified as “diseases” positively respond to increased water intake. Based on his research, diabetes, elevated blood pressure and cholesterol, obesity, cardiovascular disease, asthma and joint pain, can all be cured by simply increasing your water consumption.
If you want to optimize your health, remember that small changes make big differences. Become mindful of your water intake and ensure you are consuming adequate amounts. If you’re having a hard time getting all your water in, keep a glass water bottle with you at all times and consider setting an alarm every hour as a reminder to drink! You can also invest in a neat new device called Pryme Vessyl.
I sometimes have patients who come to my office and boast about their healthy dietary habits but complain about their lack of weight loss success. Having been taught to ask the right questions, I always ask patients to clarify what a day of their diet looks like. Sometimes I am surprised by what people consider “healthy” and other times I am more than impressed by the knowledge some patients already have.
One of the reasons I got into weight loss and weight management care was because of my genuine interest in digestive health. I was curious to understand how the digestive system was linked to the other systems in the body, why its impairment could lead to a myriad of symptoms, both physical and psychological, and what factors could positively or negatively affect its functioning. I quickly learned that a healthy gut is an essential component of healthy weight. I’m thrilled to see more studies investigating this relationship and more articles being written by mainstream media sources! Below I’ve tried to give you a simplified explanation.
The Microbiome: Within the digestive tract are thousands of small bacteria called microbiota. They coexist amongst each other and work to help digest certain foods, produce some vitamins and maintain a strong barrier between the gut and the immune system (80% of the immune system lines the digestive tract). One third of the gut microbiota are common to most people while the remaining two thirds are unique to each individual (interesting, right??)
The digestive system cannot function properly without a well-balanced microbiome. The composition of the gut microbiota varies depending on many factors such as diet, stress and antibiotic use. A loss of balance, called dysbiosis, can lead to many symptoms including but not limited to: bowel disorders, allergies, inflammation, diabetes and …OBESITY.
Candida and Food Cravings: Candida (yeast) is a well-known microbiota that can overpopulate and lead to candidiasis. When this occurs, people often experience sugar and carbohydrate cravings, fatigue, brain fog and weight gain. In fact, symptoms of candidiasis can also manifest as constipation or diarrhea, bloating and indigestion, headaches or migraines and skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis.
Food cravings can be subtle or severe but are always satisfied with sugary snacks and refined carbohydrates. Sugary snacks and refined carbohydrates affect insulin and blood sugar levels and increase fat storage within the body. These foods are often high calorie, lack nutrients and filled with additives, preservatives and sugars; they neglect to provide any benefit.
Many people admit that cutting sugar from their diet is extremely hard because the cravings can be so extreme. What many people don’t realize is that sugar feeds candida so sometimes, the cravings are actually the microbiota saying feed me! If you cut sugar out for one week, your cravings will start to diminish and eventually go away. If you truly have candidiasis you will want to take additional supplements to help kill the overpopulated candida and restore a healthy and balanced microbiome. Self-prescribing supplements may lead to ineffective results, symptom aggravation and loss of money. If you live in Toronto and think you may have a yeast overgrowth book a FREE CONSULTATION with me.
Food Sensitivities: Over the last five years, people have become aware that some foods may be really healthy but may not be right for them. We often hear about food allergies and associate them with symptoms of hives, rashes, diarrhea, vomiting or anaphylaxis. Food sensitivities manifest as more subtle symptoms, sometimes only occurring 3 days after eating an offending food. When the body develops food sensitivities it produces an immune response causing inflammation. Chronic inflammation due to daily consumption of reactive foods can lead to weight gain and difficulty losing weight. Eliminating the most common reactive foods or taking a comprehensive blood test to determine specific food sensitivities, can be the key to healthy and long lasting weight loss.
The most important take home is that healthy weight loss is more than just counting calories. The digestive system plays a fundamental role in our body weight and for many people, it’s not about how much food they are eating, it’s about what food they are eating. Foods that feed candida, create dysbiosis and impair the digestive systems microbiome cause weight gain, fluctuation and make it difficult to lose weight. To achieve true weight loss and optimize your overall health, always consider your gut!!
If you have ever tried to lose weight, you’ve likely learned that in order to lose 1Lbs, you need to reduce your food intake by 3500 calories or increase your physical activity so that you expend 3500 calories. Every time you have a deficit of 3500 calories, you lose 1Lbs. The basic knowledge of reducing calories and increasing physical activity has been the cornerstone for many weight loss programs over the years.
Spring is finally here in full effect and you may be feeling added pressure to fit into your shorts or swimsuits. After a long and (very) cold winter, we all want to enjoy BBQs and patio play with friends and family. For many, it’s easy to indulge in food and drink.
Believe it or not, it ispossible to stay slim over the sunny seasons. With a little bit of mindfulness you can truly have your cake and eat it too! These 3 tips will make it easy for you to look and feel your best this Spring.
If you watch Dr. Oz you have likely heard of coffee bean extract, raspberry ketone and Garcinia Cambogia. There are so many weight loss supplements it’s hard to know which products are worth the money and which are completely worthless. If you plan on investing into natural herbs, it’s important to know exactly what you’re paying for. Below you will find a list of the top five common weight loss supplements, how they work and whether or not they are worth buying.
Lets admit it. We all experience some degree of stress. Between work, kids, finances and everything else we are constantly battling “stress mode.” Whether it’s good stress or bad stress, the body responds in the same way: we enter “fight or flight.”
Let’s get right to the point. We’ve found acupuncture is an effective way to reduce appetite and cravings. It’s been used for centuries to enhance sleep, improve energy, reduce stress, and bring balance to your life.
With the New Year often come New Year resolutions. Whether you decided to hit the gym, eat healthier or ditch a bad habit, you’ve probably realized that sticking to your resolution isn’t always that easy. According to an article in The Toronto Star, more than 68% of Canadians make New Year resolutions. Only 19% of people stick with their resolution for a whole year with 52% lasting only one month.
Have you met Zhanna yet? A Registered Massage Therapist and Body Contouring Expert, Zhanna Kryukova provides expert treatment for our clients wanting a healthy, pain-free life.
Disclaimer: *Individual weight loss may vary. Call for details. Compliance with our program is required.