3 DIETARY MYTHS BUSTED

MYTH #1 -  I SHOULD EAT A LOT OF FIBRE!
There is a lot of truth to this statement, but not everyone should be eating a lot of fibre.  The benefits of fibre are well documented and include pooping regularly, feeding your gut microbiome, and helping to clear debris and toxins out of your digestive tract.  But fibre can be very irritating to a damaged gut, especially insoluble fibre like that found in bran, whole grains, flax seed and legumes.

There are people who should actually be aiming for a low fibre diet.  If you struggle with frequent diarrhea, then you should be eating a low fibre diet.  Some conditions that can involve diarrhea include Celiac disease, diarrhea-dominant IBS, diarrhea-dominant SIBO, Crohn's, or colitis.  Other reasons might include the removal of your gallbladder, a parasitic infection, lactose intolerance, or colon cancer.

If you have ongoing problems with diarrhea, then it is important that you visit your healthcare practitioner to dig into the root cause.

A dietary approach to address diarrhea includes eating low fibre foods such as meat, fish, eggs, and a lot of meat stock or bone broth.  Fermented dairy or coconut products like yogurt and kefir are also good choices.  Low fibre vegetables include squash, carrots, beets, and turnips.  You can make other vegetables like broccoli, lower in fibre by removing fibrous stems. 

Once diarrhea subsides, then you can slowly add fibre back into your diet, and reap all of its benefits!

MYTH #2 - RAW FOODS ARE BEST!
Raw foods can be great, because they contain a lot of enzymes that can facilitate metabolic processes in the body.  Nutrients can be hard to extract from raw foods though, especially when your gut health is compromised.  You need optimal digestive function for the nutrients to be extracted from foods, and you need a healthy gut lining to absorb those nutrients.

fruits-1761031_1920.jpg

Leaky gut has been correlated to numerous chronic health conditions such as autoimmune conditions and systemic inflammation (Source), as well as many neurological conditions such as Parkinson's disease (Source).  When your gut is leaky, then the function of your intestinal cells becomes compromised, altering their ability to digest and absorb nutrients.  Given that leaky gut is correlated to many chronic health conditions, it becomes important to consume foods in an easily digestible format, and cooked foods allow for easier digestibility.

Cooking vegetables can break down cell walls making it easier for your body to extract many nutrients.  While some nutritional value is lost during cooking, it is important to consider the state of digestive function overall.  When digestive function is compromised, such as when leaky gut is present, then cooking foods ensures that nutrients can be extracted from foods.

Raw foods that are still easy to digest include soaked or sprouted nuts and seeds, fermented vegetables, and fermented raw dairy.

Once a leaky gut is repaired, and digestive function is optimal, then slowly adding raw vegetables and fruit back into your diet will allow you to benefit from all those great enzymes!

MYTH #3 - A VEGAN DIET IS THE HEALTHIEST DIET!
A vegan or vegetarian diet is a great way to detoxify your body, and to bring down inflammation.  It can work well for some people, but not if you are dealing with a microbial imbalance in your gut, or if you have leaky gut.

Vegan diets rely on a combination of grains with legumes, nuts or seeds to meet protein requirements.  The problem with grains and legumes is that they are also high in carbohydrates that will feed pathogenic species in your gut microbiome, and can perpetuate dysbiosis (an imbalanced microbiome).  In my clinical practice, I have seen the vast majority of my clients having IgG food sensitivity reactions to a variety of grains, which indicates that the proteins in them aren't being digested properly and are leaking through the gut barrier (leaky gut).  

Additionally, phytates in grains (Source) and legumes (Source) bind to minerals such as calcium, zinc, iron and magnesium making them unavailable for absorption, so a vegan diet will not optimize mineral intake into your body.  Soaking, sprouting or fermentation will make minerals more available, but you will still be left with the high carbohydrate content.

You can still have a plant-strong diet that is low in carbohydrates, and that includes animal proteins.  Think plant-strong instead of plant-based.  If you are vegan or vegetarian for ethical reasons, but suffer from chronic health conditions, then it might be time to switch to an ethically sourced plant-strong diet without grains and legumes.

MYTHS BUSTED
I hope that you are starting to recognize that some of our commonly held ideas about food don't apply to everyone, and may not be right for you.  Availability of nutrients is largely dependent on a food's matrix, which is a combination of a food's nutrients, and non-nutrients, along with their molecular relationship to one another (such as the way phytates bind to minerals). This is a growing area of study, and is helping us to bust common food myths.  It's important that you eat in a way that supports your health and that is customized to what is going on in your body, especially your digestive function and gut health.

Happy Healthy (and customized) Eating!
Tracey

 

 

COFFEE ENEMAS FOR CONSTIPATION

Do you have to add bran, flax seed, psyllium or take a supplement to help you poop?  Do you have to strain to initiate a bowel movement?  Do you have less than one bowel movement a day?  If you answered yes to any of these questions then you are amongst the many people who suffer from constipation.  Many people don't think too much about their regularity unless it gets to the stage where it becomes uncomfortable to pass stool or unless hemorrhoids develop from straining.

Constipation and Neurological Conditions

Constipation needs to be taken seriously!  Did you know that constipation occurs in people with Parkinson's before the Parkinson's symptoms show up.  It is an early indication that communication between the gut and the brain is compromised.  It is not uncommon for children with autism to only have one bowel movement per week.  Poor bowel function is associated with a number of other neurological conditions as well including Alzheimer's, multiple sclerosis and mood disorders such as depression and anxiety.

Constipation is both a sign and a complication of neurological conditions.  Changes in the gut are one of the root causes of neurological conditions, and once neurological symptoms appear communication between the brain and the gut can become impaired which further complicates the issue.

Constipation and Autoimmune Conditions

Constipation is also associated with autoimmune conditions.  As with neurological conditions, a change in gut health is one of the root causes of autoimmunity.  In autoimmune conditions the body is attacking its own tissue, and there are many conditions in which the gut tissue is under attack.  The most well known are celiac, Crohn's and colitis, but there are many other autoimmune conditions that are systemic and can affect the whole body such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis. So similarly to neurological conditions, a cycle can occur where poor gut health contributes to autoimmunity, and then the autoimmune response in the body further worsens the gut condition.

Enemas

Enemas are a fast way to resolve constipation, and they have been used for thousands of years.  Doing an enema involves purchasing an enema kit from a pharmacy.  A kit will have a bag or bucket with a hose and nozzle attached to it.  The nozzle needs to have a tap.  The bag or bucket gets filled with a solution, the nozzle gets inserted into the rectum, and the tap is opened to allow the contents to fill the colon.  Once the contents are in the colon, the tap is closed, the nozzle removed and the individual sits on a toilet to evacuate the contents.  This is a simplified description, so if you decide to do this yourself, make sure to get detailed instructions from a qualified practitioner.  

According to Dr Natasha Campbell-McBride, author of The Gut and Psychology Syndrome, enemas are completely safe if done correctly, and are useful for relieving constipation, reducing the toxic load in the body, healing hemorrhoids and for removing fecal compactions from the colon.

Coffee Enemas

Coffee enemas are done with coffee as the solution that fills the colon.  They are used extensively in the Gerson Protocol, which is a cancer treatment program, as well as for people seeking pain relief or relief from constipation.  Coffee enemas can be particularly useful in restoring normal bowel function.  According to Datis Kharraziac, DHSc, DC, MS, author of Why Isn't My Brain Working?, "distending the intestines with an enema activates the vagus.  The caffeine stimulates intestinal motility by acting on the cholinergic receptors."  He also states that "...enemas help develop positive plastic change in their vagal system pathways."  In layman's terms this means that coffee enemas can help you overcome chronic constipation by changing the signals your intestines receive from your brain.  Once your brain begins communicating normal bowel motility again, then changes start to occur towards more frequent bowel movements.

 This is one example of an enema kit.  They come in a variety of shapes and sizes.  The bag or bucket style is appropriate for adult use only.  Coffee enemas should not be performed on children.

This is one example of an enema kit.  They come in a variety of shapes and sizes.  The bag or bucket style is appropriate for adult use only.  Coffee enemas should not be performed on children.

If you or someone you know suffers from constipation that hasn't been resolved through conventional approaches, then coffee enemas may offer a solution.  If neurological or autoimmune conditions are present, then performing enemas under medical supervision is advisable.  Discuss your wishes with your MD or ND to find out if there is any reason you shouldn't try coffee enemas.

Thinking this might be an option for you or a loved one?  Talk to your doctor.

Have you ever tried any kind of enema?  What were your results?

Happy, Healthy Pooping!

Tracey

 

 

 

CREATINE - A BRAIN BUILDING SUPPLEMENT

Did you know that creatine can help your brain? Creatine is best known as a body building supplement, but taking this amino acid can also have huge implications for brain health.  Creatine is used in the body for energy production, and the highest concentrations are found in muscles and the brain.  Since it is highest in the muscles, it makes sense that body builders use creatine to support recovery from intense exercise and to build muscle mass.  It can be an important supplement for many brain conditions too.

Research has been done looking at creatine supplementation for a wide variety of neurological conditions, including Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, multiple sclerosis and muscular dystrophy.  Much of the research has been done on mouse models, but one practitioner who translated those mouse model dosages to human doses is Terry Wahls, MD.  Dr Wahls is best known for The Wahls Protocol, which she developed to reverse her multiple sclerosis.  In the initial stages of experimenting on herself, she started taking creatine along with other supplements including carnitine and CoQ10.  It is important to note, she did this under medical supervision.  As her protocol evolved she moved towards food sources of these nutrients.  Two of the best sources of these nutrients are liver and heart.

Who Should Consider Creatine Supplementation?

Food sources will always be better utilized by the body, so if you have any kind of neurological condition then consider adding liver or heart to your diet.  Pasture-raised versions of these can be found at health food stores, or you can talk to local farmers about sources.  Don't like liver or heart?  I hide them in meat loaf at a ratio of 3 parts ground meat to 1 part ground liver or heart.  You can also put the liver into a blender and liquify it and mix it into soups.

In acute stages of a disease, or where muscle wasting or muscle function is a concern, therapeutic supplementation might also be beneficial.  If you absolutely can't stomach the idea of consuming organ meats, then supplementation can offer an alternative.

If you think creatine supplementation might be of benefit to you then consult your doctor.  If you have any kidney problems, then this supplement may not be appropriate for you.  Any type of therapeutic supplementation should be medically supervised, whether it's with your GP or an ND.

Creatine Deficiency

Our bodies produce creatine from other amino acids, but there are genetic conditions that hinder the body's ability to use creatine.  These conditions are called cerebral creatine deficiency syndromes, and there are several different conditions that fall under this category: guanidinoacetate methyltranferase (GAMT) deficiency, and l-arginine:glycine amidinotransferase (AGAT) deficiency, and creatine transporter (CRTR) deficiency.

Who Do These Conditions Affect?

Since these disorders are genetic, a diagnosis can be made at any age, but males tend to be affected more due to the fact that it is an x-linked disorder.  These disorders primarily affect the brain including mild to severe cognitive impairment, and speech delays.  People with diagnosis such as autism, ADHD or developmental coordination disorder may have a creatine deficiency syndrome.  Other symptoms can include seizures, slow growth, and delayed motor skills.  A small number of individuals will also have microcephaly,  and/or unusual heart rhythms.

What Do I Do If I Suspect A Creatine Deficiency Syndrome?

If your child or loved one has the symptoms above then it might be worth exploring a creatine deficiency syndrome.  Talk to your doctor to see if it has already been ruled out, and if not, then a urine test can be done to measure creatine levels.  If levels are high, then it means that the body hasn't been able to use the creatine, and is excreting it instead.  If urine tests come back high, then the next step will likely be genetic testing.  Once a creatine deficiency syndrome is confirmed, then a supplement protocol will be suggested.  Supplementation may or may not be beneficial for individuals with these diagnosis, and it is not yet understood why some people benefit and others don't.

Creatine as a Brain Building Supplement

If you suffer from a neurological condition, then getting more creatine into your body is an important dietary step.  Adding liver and/or heart to your meals might just be what your brain craves.  Or talk to your doc about supplementing.

If a creatine deficiency syndrome is present, then testing might provide you with some answers to why symptoms are occurring. 

Start adding liver or heart to your diet today.  A homemade liver pate is hard to resist.  http://paleoleap.com/simple-and-delicious-liver-pate-recipes/

Have you ever supplemented with creatine?  What was your experience?

Happy, Healthy Eating!

Tracey

 

 

ORGAN TRANSPLANTS! WHAT ABOUT POOP TRANSPLANTS?

You are likely aware of organ donation, and may have even signed up on a registry, or if you are like me, and live in Alberta, you may have checked off the organ donor boxes on the back of your provincial health care card.

Or maybe you donate blood, because there is a need for blood and you know you are helping someone by donating.

But have you ever thought of donating your poop?  Not likely.  Why on earth would you donate your poop?  Or more importantly, why would you get a poop transplant?

Fecal Transplants

 Healthy fecal matter (poop) is needed for fecal transplants.  Fecal transplantation is exactly what it sounds like.  The fecal matter of a healthy individual is transplanted into the colon of an unhealthy individual.  Grossed out?  Don’t be.

Fecal transplantation has enormous potential in restoring the health of individuals where the gut microbiome is not in a healthy state.  If you’ve ever chatted with me, or been to my Gut Health = Good Health Support Group, then you know just how many health conditions are affected by our microbiome.  Fecal transplants provide a way for a healthy gut microbiome to be transplanted into an individual with a health condition.

While research has exploded in the area of the microbiome, not a lot of research has been done on fecal transplants.  You can easily do your own on-line search, but some of the health conditions that have been correlated to either excessive or deficient amounts of specific species of gut organisms include Parkinson’s, autism, MS, and heart disease. 

One area where the use of fecal transplants is widely accepted is with Clostridia Difficile (C. diff) infections that are antibiotic resistant.  If a person has C. diff and has not responded to antibiotics, then fecal transplants offer a very successful treatment option.  This procedure has been around since the early 1950s for C. diff, and is used in a growing number of hospitals.

If you are still grossed out, then think of fecal transplants as microbiome transplants.   By the time processing is complete for transplantation the end product doesn’t resemble poop anymore.

Broader Applications

 It’s time to broaden the application of fecal transplants.  Research has been done on fecal transplants in the areas of autism and Parkinson’s, and it is very promising.  Clinically it has also been used for multiple sclerosis (and likely a few other conditions as well), but I haven’t seen any research studies.

Donors have to be carefully screened, and it can be a bit challenging to find an appropriate donor.  Once a donor is found and they provide their fecal matter, then the poop goes through a process to make it viable for transplantation.

When Should Fecal Transplants Be Considered?

My clinical practice is built on teaching people how to eat to restore their microbiome.  Diet should almost always be the first approach used to bring the microbiome back to a healthy state.  The primary reason for this is to create an environment in the gut for the microbiome to be able to colonize.  For some people, there are also genetic reasons that make them more susceptible to microbial imbalances, so then it is especially important that the gut be in the best state it can be to accept a new, healthy microbiome.

For some people, diet alone can bring about huge changes.  In situations where a person’s health or quality of life has reached a critical stage where more drastic measures are needed, or when someone’s life is at risk (such as with C. diff), then fecal transplants can offer hope. 

Need More Information?

Send me an email with your questions.   mail@traceyreed.ca

Happy, Healthy Pooping

Tracey