My pre-60th birthday journey to improve my previous test results from Seasons of Farragut continues! This month I decided to focus on the first tenet in our Seasons wellness regimen – nutrition!
About two years ago I took the ALCAT test and was astonished at my lengthy list of reactive foods! The ALCAT is a fascinating food sensitivity test in which white blood cells are introduced to a variety of foods, chemicals, and herbs. The severity of the reaction determines if a substance is mild, moderate, severe, or normal within my body. Since knowledge is power, I decided to receive the news that gluten and dairy were on my “severe list” as a positive indicator rather than “buyers’ remorse” for having performed the test!
Lyn-Genet Recitas has written a book, The Plan, which explains how inflammation from food intolerance can cause symptoms such as joint pain, skin disorders, fatigue, weight issues, headaches, and digestive disorders. Whereas a food allergy can have almost an immediate effect, a food sensitivity may not show up for several hours to 3 days later. For weight gain, it’s not as much about the calories as the chemistry of the body. One person may benefit from last night’s salmon and broccoli but someone else may actually gain 2 pounds. Inflammation from food intolerance causes damage to the lining of the gut. As the lining becomes “leaky” with gaps present, foods begin to slip through not completely digested. This causes the body to attack undigested foods.
As we age, inflammation can increase which causes our systems to slow down. Many of us have much less stomach acid and digestive enzymes to break down food. This can ultimately alter our weight and our health. Reactive foods cause our bodies to produce more histamine which causes water retention via dilated capillaries. The brain responds by increasing the production of Cortisol. As more Cortisol is produced, fewer sex hormones are produced since both sets of hormones depend on the same building blocks. Increased Cortisol causes an increase in glucose which causes an increase in blood sugar! This domino effect alters the good bacteria in the gut and can increase yeast production. The altered gut flora leads to a weakened immune response since about 70% of our immune system is in the gut.
The thyroid gland can also be affected by food intolerances. White blood cells that attack undigested foods may migrate to the thyroid gland and begin to attack it. Hashimoto’s is an autoimmune disorder of the thyroid gland. This is determined by a blood test that measures the number of specific antibodies against the thyroid gland. As I began to avoid gluten, my own antibody level began to decrease. I was able to decrease my thyroid replacement dosage. This month, I repeated my ALCAT test and found that many of my food intolerances had improved. Not only had I attempted to avoid specific foods, but I also worked intentionally on healing my GI tract. I take a powerful probiotic daily as well as a digestive enzyme with my dinner. For one month of each season, I take a protein shake that is loaded with L-Glutamine. This amazing amino acid helps to heal the leaky gut. It is packed with anti-inflammatories and herbs to help my liver and GI tract detox.
Two years ago, I had about a dozen foods on my severe list. This year, I only have one – apples! So, I’m going to give them up for the next 6 months. My moderate reactive list contains 18 foods which I will have to have great discipline to avoid. These are healthy foods but for me, can cause hidden inflammation. Gluten now causes moderate reactions in my body. I have noticed that when I indulge in gluten, the next morning, my joints ache and my stomach hurts. I doubt if I will ever reintroduce gluten. Dairy is moderate also. Fortunately there are lots of great choices for me and I look forward to continual healing of my GI tract. Our Nutritional Consultant, Carolyn will keep me focused on this life-long journey of wellness. Be sure to check out her amazing recipes on our website!
Long term benefits with this specialized nutritional therapy will keep inflammation down and hopefully help me avoid chronic disease as well as weight gain. If you would like more information regarding the ALCAT test, call Seasons today. Let’s age intentionally with nutrition being our number one “medicine!”
“What is Seasons? And what do you do?”
These are questions I am often asked. In short, Seasons breaks free from the disease model of medicine. Our focus is wellness by optimizing your health. What does this mean? Just because you are free of disease does not mean you have great health. A wellness model of medicine is the only way to prevent disease and promote healthy living.
At Seasons, we work to achieve health and wellness with balance using our 5 Points of Wellness: Nutrition, Exercise, Hormones, Inflammation, and Detoxification.
Are nutrition and health related? Absolutely. We are what we eat. Hippocrates said it best, “Let food be your medicine and medicine be your food.” Your diet must be individualized to meet your metabolic needs, limit inflammatory responses, and meet your lifestyle demands.
We offer personalized nutritional counseling to develop a plan for disease management, disease prevention, and overall good health. At Seasons, your nutritional plan is individualized to meet your needs in a way that fits your lifestyle.
Exercise is an important part of any weight-loss or weight-maintenance program. Maintaining healthy weight is an excellent benefit of exercise, but it does so much more for your body. Exercise builds muscle, relieves stress, and helps to detoxify, just to name a few. However, too much exercise can severely harm the body.
At Seasons, we work to maximize your calorie expenditure, while reducing the damage to your body from excessive exercise. We do this in a way to match your lifestyle and your physical abilities.
Regardless of your age, your body needs hormones to function. Hormones are a means of communication with your body. And balance of those hormones is the key. Sure, it would be great if men were just a Testosterone sponge; or women just an Estrogen factory. But, that is not the case and the key is to create a balance. When your hormones are balanced, so are you. When your hormones are not balanced, your body will let you know.
Your hormone balance is unique and will change based on factors such as weight loss, weight gain, stress, and even nutrition. The only way to determine your imbalance is to share any symptoms you may be having with your healthcare team at Seasons. This gives us information on where to look for hormone imbalance issues. Only then can we identify your particular imbalance and formulate a plan to balance your hormones. Balanced hormones = better health.
Inflammation is the greatest obstacle to good health and is a part of the body’s immune system signaling department. Pain, redness, swelling, heat, and loss of function are common manifestations of inflammation. Inflammation is not new. The first four classical signs were described by Celsus (30 BC – 38 AD).
The source of inflammation is unique to each person. It may be due to deficiencies, such as vitamin D, poor dietary intake of antioxidants, such as resveratrol and curcumin, or even a deficiency of fish (low Omega-3 intake leads to inflammation). Your gut could also be the source of inflammation! Did you know that up to 75% of your immune system lines your gut? In many ways, your health starts with your gut.
The source of inflammation is as different as the individual. The only way to identify your unique source of inflammation is through symptom evaluation and state-of-the-art testing. At Seasons we can identify the causes of inflammation and implement specific therapy to eliminate inflammation, which can be as diverse as parasite treatment to dietary changes.
We live in a toxic world today. There is no way around that! According to a recent study, detectable levels of toxins were found in up to 99% of pregnant women even though many of these chemicals have been banned since the early 1970’s. This number will only rise with the approximately 1,800 new chemicals approved annually. This tidal wave of toxins are overwhelming our detoxifications systems proven by the exponential rise in rates of autism spectrum disorder and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Multiple Sclerosis.
The ability to detoxify is critical to health. Every cell must detoxify. At Seasons, we evaluate your individual ability to detoxify with state-of-the-art testing and treat those areas that are dysfunctional. We focus on your major detox organs — liver, skin, kidneys, lymphatics, and GI tract — through which every cell in the body must detoxify. We provide a detoxification plan to meet your specific toxic load and to support your identified needs.
At Seasons, we offer individualized therapy to aggressively eliminate the obstacles to good health and maximize your body’s performance. We are not your disease doctor, we are your partners in health. We work to restore your health and then maintain that good health.
As Aristotle said, “The whole is more than the sum of its parts.” And at Seasons, our holistic approach encompasses all the body’s functions creating one plan giving you the tools you need to pursue wellness.
Questions? Spend some time on our website getting to know us and what we do. Then call 865.675.9355 and speak with one of our Patient Relations Specialists. Remember, good health is a choice. And at Seasons, we offer you that opportunity. Don’t miss your opportunity to choose a health and wellness lifestyle.
“Oh the weather outside is frightful, but the fire is so delightful. Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!” -Let It Snow lyrics by Sammy Cahn
Wintertime in Tennessee is a great excuse to download or buy a new book and then get lost between its covers. My favorite for 2012 is “Wheat Belly” by Dr. William Davis. This is a fascinating and fun read describing how the amber waves of grain of our grandparents are barely recognizable as today’s genetically modified dwarf grain. This leads to potential digestive disorders, increased inflammation, and ultimately malabsorption of nutrients.
Did you know that wheat products elevate blood sugar more than Snickers candy bars or ice cream? As blood sugar (glucose) rises, more insulin is released from the pancreas. This allows entry of glucose into the cells of the body, converting glucose to fat. The higher the blood glucose after eating, the greater the insulin level leading to more fat being deposited, especially in the abdomen. The bigger your wheat belly, the poorer your response is to insulin, in turn leading to insulin resistance which can trigger diabetes.
Other effects of wheat include behavioral changes as well as documented tendencies to addiction! Digestion of wheat produces morphine-like compounds that bind to the brain’s opiate receptors. This can induce euphoria as well as unpleasant withdrawal effects. Dr. Davis states that wheat is one of the few foods that can alter behavior and generate a withdrawal syndrome upon removal. He describes it as a “powerful appetite stimulant” and cites cases of people continuing to snack from dinner to bedtime after wheat consumption.
Avoiding wheat can diminish food cravings and hunger, decrease calorie intake, and improve moods, not to mention decreasing weight and shrinking wheat bellies!
The book continues with such chapters as wheat and heart disease; cataracts, wrinkles, and elevated aging; and wheat’s destructive effect on the skin. Dr. Davis ends with wonderful resources and recipes that are wheat-free. So, when you are done with your daily exercise and are ready to nestle down with a book, check out Wheat Belly!
And the next time you are at Seasons, ask about our tests for wheat sensitivities such as ALCAT and our GI Panel.
The beginning of 2012 is a great time to get healthy. Lose the wheat. Lose the weight!
At Seasons, we know wellness is not about taking a prescription medication to control a symptom. True wellness is the result of balancing five key points: nutrition, exercise, hormone balance, inflammation reduction and detoxification. At Seasons Wellness Clinic we address each of the five points of wellness to help you achieve not only weight loss goals, but more importantly your health and wellness goals.
As a dietitian, it is very rare that I see a client that does not have a symptom of some sort. For example, most people tell me they have heartburn, gas, bloating, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, headaches, fatigue, insomnia or sinus pain. Any symptom that you are experiencing is a sign your body is telling you that something is not right. Our bodies are very efficient at telling us we need to address a problem. We can address each of your symptoms by correcting the cause not just covering it up with a medication.
Whole body transformation starts with a willingness to change. From my point of view, nutrition is the best place to start (being a dietitian, I may be a little partial!). One of the best things for your health is to eat local foods. Living in the south, we are blessed with the ability to grow beautiful and nutritious peaches. Not only are peaches great for reviving your skin, but they have benefits that include aiding weight loss, preventing heart disease and high blood pressure and they contain an abundance of antioxidants. This month, take advantage of the local harvest and enjoy a fresh peach or two!
Blueberry Peach Crisp
This quick and easy dessert takes only a few minutes to put together. It’s a delicious way to enjoy nutrient-rich blueberries. For a twist on the recipe, top with a little vanilla yogurt. This dessert recipe is good enough for company and easy enough to prepare regularly for your family.
Prep and Cook Time: 10 minutes, cooking time: 45 minutes
- Preheat over to 350F (175C). Place blueberries in the bottom of a square 8-inch baking pan. If you are using frozen, make sure they are completely thawed and drained of excess water. Place peach slices on top of blueberries. If they are frozen make sure they are also thawed and drained of excess water. Drizzle ¼ cup apple juice over fruit.
- Remove pits from dates and place in the bowl of a food processor along with oats, almonds and cinnamon. After running the food processor for a minute and the dates have blended with oats and almonds, add apple juice, and mix well.
- Place mixture evenly over peaches and blueberries, and bake uncovered for about 45 minutes. Serve warm or cool.