Although the produce section at the grocery store may look vast, it only represents a fraction of edible, nutritious, and tasty plant foods. It’s estimated there are more than 20,000 species of edible plants, and that we only eat about 20 to 50 of them. As a result, this may be playing a significant role in the rapidly declining health of westerners. Our gut bacteria, or gut microbiome, is a foundation to our health, and healthy gut bacteria depend on a diverse and ample array of vegetables.
Ancient humans harvested wild fruits, nuts, and seeds that varied with the seasons. They also dug up underground roots and stems. Studies of the Hadza people, in Tanzania, one of the last remaining hunter-gatherer populations left on the planet, gives us additional insight into the human microbiome and health.
The Hadza have one of the most diverse gut microbiomes on the planet; Americans have the worst. The Hadza gut microbiome diversity is about 40 percent higher than that of the average person in the United States.
Americans consume an average of 15 grams of fiber a day, most of it coming from grains. The American Heart Association recommends eating 25 to 35 grams a day. Some microbiome authors suggest even higher amounts — at least 40 grams of fiber a day.
In contrast, the Hadza consume about 100 to 150 grams of fiber a day, with the average Hadza person eating almost 600 species of plants that vary with the seasons. They suffer almost none of the same diseases that have come to characterize the average American — obesity, diabetes, autoimmune diseases, and cancer.
If you would like help understanding Integrating ancient fiber to modern diet, you can schedule a FREE 15-MINUTE CONSULTATION with Dr. Celaya.
Studies show fiber also lowers heart disease risk by binding with “bad” cholesterol to remove from your body. A high-fiber diet also lowers high blood pressure and thus the risk of stroke.
They type of fiber you eat matters too. What gut bacteria need for optimal function are “prebiotic” fibers mixed in with a diverse array of produce.
Prebiotic fibers best feed the healthy bacteria in our guts, thus improving overall health. Good sources of prebiotics include all vegetables but especially:
- Jerusalem artichokes
- Dandelion greens
- Brussels sprouts
Not only do prebiotic fibers help with bowel regularity, they also change the composition of the gut microbiome in a favorable direction. They help strengthen intestinal walls, improve absorption of important nutrients, produce hormones that control appetite, reduce anxiety, and help protect you against chronic disease.
If you’re not used to eating high amounts of plant foods loaded with fiber, don’t double or triple your intake overnight. Your gut may rebel with constipation, diarrhea, pain, bloating, and gas. It takes your digestive system and gut microbiome some time to adapt and be able to adequately digest large amounts of fiber. Gradually increase the amount of fiber you eat by 1 to 2 grams a day over several weeks to give your system time to adjust.
Also, you may have noticed legumes, or beans, are especially high in fiber. It’s tempting to make those a staple in your diet as a result, and if they don’t disturb your health then go for it. However, many people cannot tolerate the lectins in legumes — they trigger inflammation or autoimmune flare-ups. For people with SIBO, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, they also cause intense digestive issues and inflammatory responses.
Also, some people need to avoid nightshade vegetables because they trigger inflammation, particularly in relation to arthritis. These include eggplant, potatoes (but not sweet potatoes or yams), peppers, tomatoes, tomatillos, hot pepper products (cayenne, Tabasco, etc.), and pepper-based spices. Simply removing nightshades from the diet has brought relief from joint pain for many, especially those with rheumatoid arthritis.
Lastly, some people have gut or immune disorders that make a high-fiber diet inappropriate until they resolve those. Ask me for more information if eating fiber makes you miserable.
What does a high fiber paleo diet look like?
Most people with chronic inflammatory and autoimmune disorders fare best on a paleo diet that eliminates grains and legumes. As grains and legumes are sources of high fiber, what does a high-fiber paleo diet look like?
The recommended produce consumption is seven to 10 servings a day. That may sound like a lot, but one serving is a half-cup of chopped produce, or a cup of leafy greens. Because sugary foods can be inflammatory, aim for veggies and fruits that are low in sugar and unlikely to destabilize your blood sugar.
Therefore, shoot for at least three to four servings of produce per meal – that’s 1.5 to 2 cups of chopped veggies or 3 cups of leafy greens. Or break that up into five meals if you eat more frequently to stabilize low blood sugar.
Ask my office for more ways to support your gut microbiome.
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People with eating disorders such as anorexia simply do not experience hunger and satiety in the same way people who have a healthy relationship with food do. New research suggests that the composition of gut bacteria, or the gut microbiome, may play a role in the behavioral aspects of anorexia and eating disorders. For instance, previous research shows a connection between mood disorders such as depression and poor gut microbiome diversity. Less than half of people with eating disorders fully recover, showing that conventional treatments are failing untold numbers of people, the vast majority of them women.
The study showed that patients with anorexia had lower diversity of gut bacteria than healthy individuals. They also found that the less diverse the gut microbiome was the more depression and anxiety patients suffered. The researchers also found that as a patient with anorexia began eating again their gut bacteria diversity was partially restored, which in itself aided in recovery.
Alterations in the gut microbiome can affect how a person’s body functions, how they think, feel, and behave, and how they interact with others.
The gut microbiome is critical not only to regulating mood and behavior, it also plays a vital role in regulating metabolic function, appetite control, and weight.
A better understanding of the role of the gut microbiome in anorexia can help researchers forge new directions in treatment around determining target weight goals, how fast the anorexic patient should gain weight, and what type of diet the anorexic patient should follow to best support the brain’s role in eating disorder behaviors.
The researchers are now investigating whether targeted probiotics could ease the renourishment and refeeding phase of anorexia recovery — many patients struggle with gastric and abdominal distress when reintroducing foods. Customized probiotic therapy could also support the mental and emotional aspects of recovery from an eating disorder.
Gut bacteria targeted in eating disorders
Past research has also shown a link between the gut microbiome and eating disorders, which affect an estimated 5 to 10 percent of the population. A 2015 study from France showed gut bacteria plays a role in eating disorders.
The study looked at mice who had an inflammatory reaction to a protein made by gut bacteria. In essence, the mice responded to these bacteria as if it were an allergy or sensitivity. This immune response caused eating disorders in the mice.
The gut bacteria that triggered this reaction is very similar in structure to a hormone called alpha-Melanocyte-stimulating hormone (a-MSH). a-MSH is a satiety hormone that tells you when to feel full. When the immune system attacks the gut bacteria similar to a-MSH, it also attacks the a-MSH due to their structural similarity. This immune reaction can then dysregulate signals around feeding, energy usage, and anxiety.
If you would like help understanding Gut Health, you can schedule a FREE 15-MINUTE CONSULTATION with Dr. Celaya.
When the immune system mistakenly attacks the body
This study is evidence of a “cross-reactive” immune reaction, in which the immune system confuses something in the body with something infectious and attacks both. This is a very common mechanism in autoimmune reactions, such as with Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism, type 1 diabetes, or multiple sclerosis.
The research suggests that some eating disorders may have an immune reaction driving the psychological disorder.
Tips on addressing eating disorders nutritionally
Although eating disorders are highly complicated and require intensive, sometimes multi-faceted therapeutic approaches, it’s still important to be mindful of nutritional strategies to support the brain and the gut microbiome:
Eliminate processed carbs and sugars as they trigger addictive tendencies metabolically.
Keep blood sugar stable to curbing cravings, food obsession, and relentless hunger. You may need to eat small, frequent meals that include protein initially.
Base your diet on plenty of vegetables and a wide, ever changing diversity of vegetables. This will increase the diversity of your gut microbiome, which promotes psychological health and stability.
Supporting your brain chemicals, or neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters affect your mood, thoughts about yourself, behavior, energy levels, and other aspects of how you feel and function. For instance, you may need serotonin or dopamine support. Serotonin is the neurotransmitter that allows us to feel joy and stave off depression. Dopamine, on the other hand, is necessary to feel self-worth, motivation, and to not experience constant cravings. Both serotonin and dopamine have been shown to play a role in eating disorders. If you have been starving yourself, binging and purging, undereating, or affecting your diet in other ways due to an eating disorder, there is a strong possibility you may be deficient in either one or both of these important neurotransmitters.
Ask my office for more advice on how to support a healthier approach to balanced approach to recovering from eating disorders.
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Numerous studies show a strong link between gluten intolerance and Hashimoto’s disease, an autoimmune disease that attacks the thyroid gland, causing hypothyroidism. This is because gluten has a molecular structure that closely resembles thyroid tissue — gluten sensitivity triggers an attack on the thyroid gland. Gluten (technically, the correct term is gliadin), is the protein found in wheat and wheat-like grains, such as spelt, kamut, rye, barley, triticale, and oats.
One of the immune system’s primary jobs is to protect the body from foreign invaders. Sometimes it may recognize a common food as a dangerous invader. When you eat that food throughout each day this can keep your immune system engaged in constant battle, making it hyper zealous, overly sensitive, and thus prone towards food sensitivities and autoimmunity.
Some people also have celiac disease, disease in which gluten triggers an autoimmune attack against the gut, the skin, or neurological tissue. Gluten sensitivity is more common than celiac disease, however, both show up in higher numbers in people with Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism.
If you would like help understanding Gluten Intolerance, you can schedule a FREE 15-MINUTE CONSULTATION with Dr. Celaya.
If you have been diagnosed with hypothyroidism you should first test for Hashimoto’s by screening for TPO and TGB antibodies — the majority of hypothyroidism cases are caused by Hashimoto’s.
You should also screen for gluten intolerance or celiac disease given how common these conditions are in patients with Hashimoto’s. Likewise, people who discover they are gluten intolerant or have celiac disease should screen for Hashimoto’s.
It’s important to give up gluten completely if you have Hashimoto’s and gluten intolerance. Cheats and little bites are not ok as they trigger an immune response that ultimately destroys thyroid tissue. Also, it’s important to avoid foods that have been contaminated by gluten. Be careful when in a kitchen where gluten is used, with restaurant food, or with questionable packaged foods.
Cyrex Labs offers testing to identify gluten intolerance. However, sometimes the immune system can be so depleted that it produces too few antibodies to produce a positive test, even though you react to gluten. You can screen for this with a total immunoglobulin test.
However, given the evidence establishing a link between gluten intolerance and Hashimoto’s disease, you may be surprised how much better you feel by simply removing gluten from your diet as a start.
Many people have to remove other foods as well, such as dairy, eggs, or other grains. Following the autoimmune paleo diet for about a month and then reintroducing restricted foods one at a time every 72 hours can help you determine which foods trigger an inflammatory reaction in you.
Many people are able to put their hypothyroid symptoms into remission simply by following a diet that eliminates gluten and other trigger foods. Although autoimmune diseases such as Hashimoto’s can be successfully managed through diet and lifestyle strategies, it’s important to understand they can’t be cured. It’s just a matter of taming the immune system.
Ask my office for ways to manage your autoimmune Hashimoto’s hypothyroid condition.
Want to know more? Schedule a FREE 15-MINUTE CONSULTATION with Dr. Celaya.
Trying out the liver cleanse recipe, Chickpea Quiche, from Medical Medium’s book – Liver Rescue. Love trying out different healthy recipes where food is your medicine. This dish is to prepare you for an eventual liver & gallbladder cleanse.
roasted broccoli, cherry tomatoes, red onion, and garlic (yum)
Who doesn’t love red onions? Try them roasted – even better.
If you want to know more about your health, and how to improve it, schedule a FREE 15-minute consultation with Dr. Celaya
The roasted veggies are added to a mixture of garbanzo bean flour, lime juice, and flavorings. Good hot, but also good cool and broken up on a salad.
This is made without oil or fats, which gives your liver a break from producing bile. This lets your liver store up the bile reserves which will be helpful when the liver is finally cleansed.
This does taste good but is different because it does not have any fat. We added additional flavoring to compensate. Go check out the book to see the recipes.
Food is part of being healthy. If you want to know more about how you are doing, schedule a FREE 15-Minute consultation with Dr. Celaya.
Your doctor says you have hypothyroidism and this explains feeling like crap, the crazy weight gain, and your distressing hair loss. But how do you know if Hashimoto’s is causing your hypothyroidism? Hashimoto’s is an autoimmune disease, meaning the immune system is attacking and destroying the thyroid gland.
Hashimoto’s is responsible for more than 90 percent of hypothyroid cases. Chances are strong it’s the cause of your low thyroid function too.
But if your doctor does not want to screen for Hashimoto’s or if you would like to be sure, here are some tips to help you figure out if you have Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism.
You feel worse despite taking your thyroid medication
One of the most common signs of Hashimoto’s is you still have symptoms despite taking your thyroid meds. In fact, your doctor prescribes ever increasing doses as your thyroid function deteriorates. You may even notice no difference if you forget to take your meds. Why don’t thyroid meds help in many cases of Hashimoto’s? Because the immune system continues to attack and destroy the thyroid gland even though the meds may make your TSH levels look normal.
You swing back and forth between low thyroid and high thyroid symptoms
Swinging back and forth between under active and over active thyroid function is another common sign of Hashimoto’s. One week you suffer from fatigue, headaches, constipation, depression, and low libido. The next week you have insomnia, a racing heart, anxiety, and tremors. This is because a flare up that damages thyroid tissue causes excess thyroid hormone to spill into the bloodstream. You may be misdiagnosed with anxiety or even bipolar disorder.
If you run blood tests during these surges and crashes you will see TSH also peaks and dips. TSH may even test as normal for short periods as its moves between these swings. This can lead to a misdiagnosis if you drew your blood during that time.
You have pernicious anemia, celiac disease, or other autoimmune diseases
Autoimmune diseases such as Hashimoto’s are the result of an imbalanced immune system. It’s very common for people with one autoimmune disease to develop more. This is because the imbalanced system becomes overly sensitive and loses tolerance to new tissues in the body.
If you have hypothyroidism and other autoimmune diseases, chances are you also have Hashimoto’s. Pernicious anemia (an autoimmune disease that causes B12 deficiency), celiac disease, or a gluten intolerance are all commonly linked to Hashimoto’s.
If you think you might have Hashimoto’s, see if any of these symptoms apply to you.
If you would like help understanding if your Hypothyroidism is Hashimoto’s, you can schedule a FREE 15-MINUTE CONSULTATION with Dr. Celaya.
Under active thyroid symptoms
- Feeling tired or sluggish
- Feeling cold — hands, feet, all over
- Require excessive amounts of sleep to function well
- Weight gain despite adhering to a low-calorie diet
- Gaining weight easily
- Difficult, infrequent bowel movements
- Depression and lack of motivation
- Morning headaches that wear off as the day progresses
- Outer third of eyebrow thins
- Thinning of hair on scalp, face, or genitals, or excessive hair loss
- Dryness of skin and/or scalp
- Mental sluggishness
Over active thyroid symptoms
- Heart palpitations
- Inward trembling
- Increased pulse rate, even at rest
- Feeling nervous and emotional
- Night sweats
- Difficulty gaining weight
Symptoms are important but a blood test provides the proof you may need to convince doctors or family members. Look for these markers:
Thyroid peroxidase antibodies (TPO Ab). In most cases of Hashimoto’s the immune system attacks TPO, an enzyme that triggers thyroid hormone production.
Thyroglobulin antibodies (TGB Ab). You should also test for antibodies to TGB, which the thyroid uses to produce thyroid hormones.
Thyroid stimulating hormone antibodies (TSH Ab). This test can identify Graves’ disease (hyperthyroidism), although sometimes TSH antibodies can be elevated in Hashimoto’s. On lab tests, this marker is often labeled thyroid stimulating immunoglobulin (TSI). If your autoimmune thyroid condition is advanced, you have multiple autoimmune diseases, and/or you react to bioidentical thyroid meds but not synthetic, you may also have antibodies to T4 and T3.
When your test comes back negative despite massive symptoms
Don’t despair if your test comes back negative even though you have all the classic symptoms. Because the immune system and inflammation wax and wane, you may have had your blood draw during a time the immune system is not attacking the thyroid gland. However, if you’re test is positive this confirms Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism and that the immune system should be a target for therapy. Ask my office for more advice on managing Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism using functional medicine.
Don’t take your health for granted. Schedule a FREE FREE 15-MINUTE CONSULTATION with Dr. Celaya.
Even if you eat all organic, many oat-based foods such as cereal, granola, instant oats, and bars contain glyphosate, the toxic weed-killer in Roundup.
The independent study commissioned by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) measured levels of glyphosate in 45 samples of products made with conventional oats, and 16 samples made with organically grown oats. The results were shocking.
Thirty one of 45 samples made with conventional oats had 160 ppb or more of glyphosate, higher than what the EWG considers protective of children’s health.
In the organic products, glyphosate was detected at concentrations of 10 ppb to 30 ppb in 5 of 16 samples — well below the EWG health benchmark, but still present.
Organic farming prohibits use of glyphosate, so how does it get in organic food? It could drift on the wind from nearby conventional crop fields or enter by cross-contamination at a facility that handles non-organic crops.
According to the EWG, “The EPA has calculated that 1- to-2-year-old children are likely to have the highest exposure, at a level 2x greater than California’s No Significant Risk Level and 230x EWG’s health benchmark.”
Glyphosate: Not just an herbicide
Glyphosate is the active ingredient in Roundup, the most heavily-used weed killer worldwide. Used widely in the US on at least 70 crops from corn, soy, oats, and wheat, to fruits, nuts and vegetables, the EWG states that more than 250 million pounds of glyphosate is sprayed on American crops yearly.
A systemic herbicide, when applied to the foliage of broadleaf plants, weeds, and grasses, glyphosate is absorbed through the tissues to kill them.
While most of the public knows of Roundup as an herbicide, it is also commonly used in a pre-harvest application called “dessication.” Applied 7 to 10 days before harvest, it has the following effects:
- Acts as a drying agent on crops where uneven drying might risk ruining the harvest.
- During wheat harvest it can result in slightly higher crop yield by triggering plants to release more seeds.
- Pre-harvest application can initiate early harvest if weather conditions threaten the crop.
- Encourages earlier ripening for earlier replanting of a new crop.
- Reduces green material in fields that would otherwise strain farm machinery during harvest.
The “dessication” method was first suggested in the 1980s and has become routine in North America in the past 15 years. It is also catching on widely in the UK.
Most people assume glyphosate and Roundup are used only on GMO products, but it is also sprayed just before harvest on non-GMO oats, barley, wheat, and beans.
If you would like help understanding about the risks of eating oats, you can schedule a FREE 15-MINUTE CONSULTATION with Dr. Celaya.
While for years glyphosate was thought to be safe, recent studies have pointed to major health concerns from cancer to the disruption of gut bacteria that underlies many chronic illnesses.
While herbicide makers and the EPA deny glyphosate’s dangers, in 2015 the World Health Organization classified it as “probably carcinogenic to humans.”
While hundreds of other Roundup-related court cases are pending, in a 2018 landmark case, Monsanto was ordered by a California jury to pay $289 million in damages to a man dying of cancer, reportedly caused by repeated exposure to Roundup and other glyphosate-based weed killers in his job as a school groundskeeper.
Cancer not the only concern being researched
In addition to cancer risk, glyphosate also harms our gut bacteria.
Glyphosate also enhances the damaging effects of other chemical toxins in the environment. The effects manifest slowly over time damaging cellular systems throughout the body.
Monsanto claims that Roundup is harmless to animals and humans because its mechanism of action (called the shikimate pathway) is absent in all animals.
However, this pathway is present in bacteria, which is key for understanding how it can cause systemic harm in humans and animals.
Glyphosate disrupts beneficial bacteria thus allowing pathogens such as the highly toxic Clostridium botulinum to overgrow and take over the gut environment.
Disruption of the gut biome is an issue which underlies many diseases and conditions including:
- Gastrointestinal disorders
- Heart disease
- Alzheimer’s disease
In addition to the direct concerns for human health, environmental concerns exist as well:
- Mounting weed resistance to the toxin, requiring stronger and stronger applications.
- Demise of the monarch butterfly population.
- Honey bees exposed to glyphosate lose some of their beneficial gut bacteria and become more susceptible to infection and death from harmful bacteria.
Despite resistance from herbicide producers, glyphosate has been banned or restricted by the following countries:
- Sri Lanka
- El Salvador
- Saudi Arabia
In addition, towns in many states have taken a stand against the chemical.
Organic or not, check your brands
What can you do to reduce the impact of glyphosate for yourself and your family? First, eat organic produce whenever you can. Secondly, look out for the following products from the EWG study and know their risk level:
Potentially dangerous to children:
- Back to Nature Classic Granola
- Quaker Simply Granola Oats, Honey, Raisin and Almonds
- Nature Valley Granola Protein Oats ‘n Honey
- Giant Instant Oatmeal Original Flavor
- Quaker Dinosaur Eggs, Brown Sugar, Instant Oatmeal
- Great Value Original Instant Oatmeal
- Umpqua Oats, Maple Pecan
- Market Pantry Instant Oatmeal, Strawberries & Cream*
- Cheerios Toasted Whole Grain Oat Cereal
- Lucky Charms (without marshmallows)
- Barbara’s Multigrain Spoonfuls, Original, Cereal
- Kellogg’s Cracklin’ Oat Bran oat cereal*
- Nature Valley Crunchy Granola Bars, Oats ‘n Honey
- Quaker Steel Cut Oats
- Quaker Old Fashioned Oats
- Bob’s Red Mill Steel Cut Oats*
Contains safe amounts of glyphosate:
- Back to Nature Banana Walnut Granola Clusters
- KIND Vanilla, Blueberry Clusters with Flax Seeds
- Kellogg’s Nutrigrain Soft Baked Breakfast Bars, Strawberry
- Nature’s Path Organic Old Fashioned Organic Oats
- Whole Foods Bulk Bin conventional rolled oats
- Bob’s Red Mill Organic Old Fashioned Rolled Oats
Contained no glyphosate in any tests:
- Nature’s Path Organic Honey Almond granola
- Simple Truth Organic Instant Oatmeal, Original
- Kashi Heart to Heart Organic Honey Toasted cereal
- Cascadian Farm Organic Harvest Berry, granola bar
- 365 Organic Old-Fashioned Rolled Oats
*This product underwent multiple tests and tested above the dangerous level in one or more and below the dangerous level in one or more.
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