Health (35)

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I taught a class this morning where a gentleman asked me a question about a pre-Diabetes program that he is involved in. He was wondering my opinion on the eating plan that is being recommended. I won't go into detail on the description, but I told him I didn't agree that what was being promoted was optimal. But he is having good results - weight loss and improved blood lipids. So, why would I disagree with the recommendation?

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I was diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) the summer after my freshman year in college. At that time, I was not pursuing education in nutrition and didn't know much about how food impacted my health. I was 18 years old and certainly was not a good example of someone eating a nourishing diet. After testing to rule out a more severe medical condition, the doctor suggested I add a fiber supplement to my diet and manage the symptoms with over the counter medications. Even at that time, I knew this was a vague diagnosis with no attempt at understanding the cause. I felt simply dismissed with no answers.

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Do you hear about inflammation from your doctor or in the news, but not exactly sure what it means for your health? Acute inflammation is your body's natural response to an injury (a cut or break) or an infection (a virus or bacteria). This inflammatory response is crucial for your body to heal. Unfortunately, chronic inflammation is inflammation that persists over a longer period of time and plays a role in heart disease, Diabetes, Alzheimer's, some types of cancer and obesity.

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Do you feel bloated after every meal or even when you wake up in the morning? Do you constantly go back and forth between constipation and diarrhea? If so, you are not alone. According to data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services 63 million people have chronic constipation and more than 15 million people have been diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome. The cause of these symptoms is often overlooked, but rather symptoms are managed with chronic medication use, leading to side effects and additional health challenges.

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We took a short vacation this spring and with travel comes lots of eating out. It is a pleasure - not having to cook or clean it up, finding restaurant gems in an unfamiliar city. In many ways it is simpler than at home - meal planning, shopping and cooking. I do enjoy those things when I am not feeling time pressured, but it does get tiresome - 3 meals/day, 7 days/week. Vacation is a time to relax, and being more relaxed about eating naturally happens too.

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I see clients every day who have struggled for years to achieve a healthy weight. They have tried every diet on the market with at best minimal results. And so often they also live with chronic digestive issues. Their stories almost always include some or all of the following: a history of the Standard American Diet, regular antibiotic usage as a child or into adulthood, a period of time on the birth control pill, over-the-counter or prescription medications for reflux, constipation or diarrhea.

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If your gut is out of balance, it will have an impact on nearly every system in your body. It really is that important. You probably don’t spend a lot of time thinking about your gut, unless it is causing you discomfort.

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I was recently at the grocery store and took notice of how the struggle for weight control is failing miserably in our culture. There was a lovely woman who was very overweight and struggling even to walk across the store. If you saw her from the waist up she looked like a healthy weight, but from the waist down she would be considered obese. It was a reminder that the simple formula of calories in vs. calories out does not work for many women and men who have been fighting this battle for years and years.

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Instead of focusing on which box has the "best" nutrition label, get into the kitchen and experiment with healthful foods that have been used for hundreds of years and can benefit your health in a multitude of ways.

Turmeric is a great place to start! This spice used in Indian and many other cuisines is considered to be one of the most powerful healing spices found in nature.

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In the heart of winter in Minnesota, I am keenly aware of the lack of vitamin D we are getting from the sun. Vitamin D is an important nutrient that isn't found naturally in many foods. The body can synthesize vitamin D when exposed to sunlight, but in the winter months our exposure to the outdoors and sunlight decrease (depending on your climate). Supplementation with Vitamin D may be recommended for many whose diet is deficient and exposure to sunlight is minimal.

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In your busy life, do you take the time for breakfast every day? Breakfast is important for many reasons: it fuels your body for the day getting your body's engine (your metabolism) revved up, it prevents overeating later in the day, and with the right choices it can help keep your head clear for a productive day.

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You are on a road trip, headed to the family cabin for the weekend or off to a friend's wedding. You need to take a break, stretch your legs and grab a snack; but where can you stop for a quick bite that will not leave you with a stomachache, a sugar rush and excess calories that don't fit so well into your day?

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