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Why does Gut Health Affect so Many Things? Especially Autoimmune Diseases?

Evelyn, age 51, sat tearfully in my office. Her hands were in constant pain and she had trouble buttoning her clothes and typing on the computer.  She had just been diagnosed with a debilitating autoimmune disease and her rheumatologist had prescribed some heavy duty immune suppressing pharmaceuticals for her condition. He told her she was to be on medications for the rest of her life. Evelyn found me so that together we could unravel the cause of her autoimmune disease and hopefully find a way for her to heal and at the very least manage her condition. When I asked her about her digestion, she mentioned having lots of gas, cramping and bloating every time she ate. This was still happening even after she gave up eating gluten on the advice of a friend!

I personally have skin in this game against autoimmune disease! I watched my mother suffer from Rheumatoid Arthritis for over 30 years! At the end of her life she was utterly dependent on opioids and naproxen to manage her pain....

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How Stress and Lack of Sleep Makes You Fat!

sleep stress weight loss Jul 12, 2016

Ellen, a 44 year old IT specialist with 2 kids had been putting in long hours at her job. She wanted to prove to her boss that she could do a good job so she took on extra projects and as many of you know, salaried positions often really require that you work over 60 hours per week anyway. So her exercise by necessity had to be reduced due to work and family commitments, and her stress levels and the means she used to deal with her stress levels had exponentially increased.   Then she found that within 6 months she had gained 30 lbs! And her digestion was also really suffering! While a 30 lb weight gain is hard enough on your health, Ellen’s self esteem took a very big hit because she felt less physically attractive, felt exhausted and completely overwhelmed by the thought of losing all of the weight that she had gained.

She also found that with increased stress, even though she was utterly exhausted trying to balance her life, she had trouble sleeping too! She...

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Are you Wondering Whether You have Celiac Disease or Gluten Sensitivity?

celiac gluten Jul 07, 2016

You were just minding your own business and living your life when you went to a picnic on the 4th of July. You knew something was wrong as soon as you ate the cous cous salad. You felt sick to your stomach, or maybe you felt a nap attack coming on, or maybe some brain fog kicked in. Or you joints started hurting… Oh wait!!!! Cous cous has GLUTEN in it right? “D’oh! I did it again! I got cous cous mixed up in my mind with quinoa!”. “Maybe”, you think, “I just can’t handle any wheat or gluten at all, even a little bit!”

Janine, a 45 year old mother of 3 noticed worsening gas and bloating after she ate wheat. She had read online about celiac disease and asked me about it. Does this sound familiar? It seems like a lot of people are reacting negatively in their guts to wheat and gluten products. She did notice that she felt better when she took gluten out of her diet entirely. Her stomach didn’t blow up so much but she also...

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How to Get Rid of Bloating, Gas and Cramping

gut health sibo Jun 29, 2016
 

Many many years ago I was experiencing horrible bloating and cramping a few hours after eating. This is way before medical school and years before I know anything about food allergies and sensitivities, gluten, or any of the stuff people normally try on their own to heal their digestive issues. I was fresh out of college and I was living in a remote location doing an internship for a PhD student and I did not even own a car yet. I would make a foray to the closest health food store (in a borrowed car) 100 miles away and buy copies of all of the herbal medicine books I could find. I was making a huge batch of homemade bread with 2 rises and ate slices of them regularly slathered with butter! (They were delicious).   My stomach was killing me but I could not figure out why because, after all, I was “eating healthy foods” like whole grains, tofu, veggies…. Why did I have so many problems? And then…. I went camping!!!! And brushed my...

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Inflammation and Autoimmune Disease

autoimmune inflammation Jun 21, 2016

Erin, a 50 year old mother of 3 with a demanding full time job , sat in my office one day   last year feeling overwhelmed and sick.  Her job required that she spend a lot of time on the computer . Her hands were becoming so sore that she was finding it difficult to type on the keyboard. Every sentence felt like a Herculean effort.  In addition to the gas and bloating in her gut that bothered her, she was having knee pain on both sides so it was becoming difficult to run. Running was her favorite form of exercise!    And she was just so tired! When her schedule permitted, , she would go to bed at 9PM and still wouldn’t wake rested. Her life was a mess! She was not feeling well and wondered if this was the beginning of the end! Would she always feel this way, she wondered?

After we ran some bloodwork, I discovered that she had Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, an autoimmune disease. While we addressed the thyroid, I decided it was important to...

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What the heck is SIBO? Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth!

gut health sibo May 31, 2016

Martha , a 48 year old working mother, came to see me in my office because a few hours after she ate her belly blew up like a balloon. She experienced severe bloating , gas, and cramping. “I feel like I am 5 months pregnant!” she cried. “And then it hurts so much I have to go lie down for several hours!”   Because Martha was a mother of school-aged children as well has working a full time job, these symptoms were severely cramping her style (no pun intended)!

“It starts a bit after eating, like a burning sensation, then my belly blows up and I can’t do anything all evening! I am missing out on parenting and family time, not to mention that I can’t do anything fun with my family anyway because I am always out of commission!

I ran an entire battery of functional medicine tests on Martha: Food Allergy Testing, Stool testing, and I decided to have her do the Bacterial Overgrowth of the Small Intestine breath test as well...

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Who Wants to Eat an Organic Diet on a Budget?

nutrition May 24, 2016

Susan, a 45 year old mother of 2 sat on the couch in my office. She was frowning. She hadn’t been able to make any of the dietary changes I’d recommended because she had been told by her husband and sister that eating organic foods was “too expensive” and they didn’t believe that eating cleanly would make that much of a difference.   She wanted to reduce the prescription medications that she took for Rheumatoid Arthritis and Celiac Disease and wanted a more holistic approach. However making the changes she needed to make was hard for her to wrap her brain around without her family’s full support.

I explained to her some more that if it were simply a matter of finances, that she should also factor in the cost of all of her doctor appointments (including mine), supplements, prescription medications.   She would find that with today’s high deductible health insurance plans (in the United States),  the cost of staying well...

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Who Wants to Crawl Back from Fatigued to Fabulous?

Many years ago, fresh out of med school I was so fatigued that I needed a 2 hour afternoon nap almost every day because I would have a brown out around 3-5 PM. I would go home from work, crash out, and wake up in time to throw something together for dinner.   Even though I was relatively young I needed to nap just to function and take care of my work and living needs. Even when I would wake up every morning and go for a 3-5 mile run, or go to a yoga class, I would still come home from work and crash.   Something was definitely very off. Thankfully at that time in my life, I was still single and childless. In fact, until I met my husband who at the time already had a 3 year old child, I could not even fathom having the energy to bear or raise a child of my own. Watching my friends have their kids, I just knew I wouldn’t be up to the task because of my chronic fatigue issues.

I DID figure out and heal my fatigue issues eventually, and at the age of 41 my...

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What is the deal with eating grains?

Back in the not so distant past, the vegetarian diet was considered a cure-all for many illnesses. This was back when we believed that carbs were good and fats were bad. It all sounded like such a great idea… the problem was that clinically it just didn’t work!

We all read articles in magazines in the 1970’s and 1980’s about how vegetarians lived a long healthy life, or some marathoner who was a vegetarian etc. I was a vegetarian for over 20 years! 5 of those years were vegan! The problem was that despite my meticulous vegetarian supposedly healthy diet, I was fatigued, moody, spacy, with achy muscles and joints plus I needed a nap almost every day. If that weren’t bad enough I carried some extra weight on my hips that I was not so thrilled with.  But there I was trying to save the world by being a vegetarian. “Diet for a Small Planet” was a dog-eared well used book in my household as I was growing up. So was the “Moosewood...

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Leaky Gut – Sounds Gross! What is it?

I grew up having to swig Pepto Bismol in order to stop my digestive problems long enough to go to a slumber party with my friends without having excruciating stomach cramping ,bloating, and all around feeling sick. But I didn’t realize I was reacting to certain foods until I was much older. Because my immune system was so weakened from having so many unidentified food reactions, I caught every cold, viral infection and bacterial infection that went around. And our family doctor always prescribed antibiotics. Which almost always caused diarrhea.

As I got older I did the usual stuff, took probiotics, stopped eating wheat and dairy, etc. Then at some point the horrible bloating and stomach cramping started up again, brain fog set in, and the fatigue hit me big time. And I am a busy woman with a family and had so much to do. I would try to push and muscle my way through the fatigue but eventually I would just have to go to my bed and crash for an afternoon. Then a routine blood...

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