Candice Csaky, INHHC

Why Does Every Nutrition Pro Tell Me To “Heal My Leaky Gut” -- How Can It Be Leaking?!


There’s A LOT of talk in the health world about gut health these days. You’ve probably even heard that the key to reversing a whole host of health issues, ranging from skin issues to serious autoimmune conditions, starts with healing your so-called leaky gut. 

After all, Hippocrates is famously credited with stating that “all disease begins in the gut”.

 

Several factors are thought to disrupt the normal intestinal environment and contribute to a leaking gut.

 

But what the heck is a “leaky gut” – and how do I know if mine is actually leaking? (Eww!)


This refers to damage and/or thinning of the lining of the small intestine (aka, your gut). Your small intestine acts as the barrier between the outside world and the rest of your body – a pretty important job!

 

The small intestine is also where partially digested food from the stomach (and anything else you take in from the outside world, like medications and supplements) is further broken down and absorbed into the bloodstream, where it is then carried for use throughout the rest of the body.

 

If your intestinal wall is damaged, thinned, or has gaps in it – known as impaired intestinal permeability, the breakdown and absorption of the food you eat is also impaired.

 

Partially digested compounds, bacteria, and chemicals that shouldn’t be absorbed can quite literally “leak” across the intestinal membrane and into your bloodstream.

 

The immune system then kicks into action, reacting to these foreign substances that have crossed the intestine as dangerous intruders.

 

It is believed that this immune response (from leaky gut) may be the underlying cause of other diseases, like:


 

  • Systemic inflammation
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Food allergies and intolerances
  • Nutrient deficiencies
  • Celiac disease
  • Diabetes
  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Mood disorders
  • Skin conditions like eczema

 

Several factors are thought to disrupt the normal intestinal environment and contribute to a leaking gut.

 

Contributors to leaky gut include:

 

  • Excessive intake of calories, unhealthy fats, refined grains, sugars, and alcohol, which promote inflammation and digestive trouble.
  • The use of antibiotics and NSAIDs (i.e. ibuprofen). These can disrupt the balance of good and bad bacteria in the gut and cause damage to the lining of the gastrointestinal system, respectively, if used frequently.
  • Disturbances in the gut microbiome. Overgrowth of bad bacteria in the small intestine in relation to the good, healthy bacteria (your gut flora) that help digest your food.
  • Chronic stress, which can also cause inflammation throughout the body, including your gut.

 

Most healthcare professionals don’t recognize leaky gut as a real diagnosis and there isn’t a standard test to determine if you are suffering from it.

 

Whether the claims about leaky gut are true or not, gut health is something to consider when it comes to your overall health.

 

If you’re experiencing digestive woes, like bloating and irregularity, it’s possible your gut health and digestion may be impaired and that your gut is, in fact, in need of healing.

 

Good habits to support a healthy intestinal environment and properly functioning gut include:

 

  • Eat whole, minimally processed foods with a focus on fibre-rich plant foods.
  • Include fermented foods, like raw sauerkraut or kimchi, naturally cultured yogurt & kefir (unsweetened), or kombucha, which contain good-for-your-gut bacteria.
  • Sip bone broth or take a collagen supplement. Collagen is thought to help rebuild and restore the gut lining.
  • Take an omega-3 supplement or include 2-3 servings of fatty fish each week to help combat inflammation.
  • Take a daily probiotic supplement to support your gut microbiome.
  • Find natural alternatives to pain relief, like essential oils or meditation, instead of relying on over-the-counter NSAID’s which are known to damage the lining of the gut and cause digestive issues.

 


RECIPE

 

Gut Soothing Banana Berry Smoothie

 

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Ingredients

 

-       1 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk

-       ½ cup kefir (or plain, unsweetened whole milk, naturally cultured yogurt)

-       1 banana

-       1 cup berries, any kind

-       1/4 tsp fresh rosemary 

-       1 Tbsp chia seeds or ground flax

-       1 scoop collagen powder

 

Preparation

 

Place all ingredients in blender and blend until desired consistency reached.
Blend in a few ice cubes if you prefer a cold, frosty smoothie OR use frozen fruit.
 


REFERENCES

 

Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology 2009: Intestinal Barrier Function: Molecular Regulation and Disease Pathogenesis

 

BMC Gastroenterology 2014: Intestinal Permeability - A New Target For Disease Prevention & Therapy

 

Is Leaky Gut Syndrome a Real Condition? (An Unbiased Look)

 


Candice Csaky, INHHC

HFLC (High-Fat Low-Carb) vs. the Ketogenic Diet - What’s The Difference?


It may seem like everywhere you turn the ketogenic diet, or keto for short, is being hailed as a miracle diet for weight loss and increased energy levels.

 

Keto is the “it” diet of the moment, but before you decide to jump on the bandwagon yourself, let’s take a look at what this diet is all about.

 

Keto is an extremely low-carbohydrate diet that replaces carbohydrates with moderate amounts of protein and large quantities of healthy fats. The keto diet was originally developed to help manage seizures in children – really!

 

Anyone can eat fewer carbs and more fat, but doing so doesn’t necessarily mean you’re following a true ketogenic diet. Keto is one example of a low-carb diet, but not all low-carb diets are ketogenic.

           

The truth is, there’s a lot of confusion around what constitutes an actual ketogenic diet vs. a high-fat low-carb (HFLC) diet.

 

Both diets begin with reducing carbohydrate intake and increasing fat intake. So, what’s the difference?

 

It all boils down to ketosis - a metabolic state where your body uses fat instead of glucose as its main source of energy.

 

Ketosis is the main goal of a ketogenic diet. Your body prefers glucose as fuel, so the slightest change in daily carbohydrates or protein (yep, the body can make glucose out of protein when there’s enough of it) can shift the body out of ketosis and back to running on glucose.

 

The exact breakdown of macronutrients needed to keep your body in ketosis varies from person to person because we each have unique metabolisms.

 

The only way to know whether you’re in ketosis is to monitor your body’s ketone levels (via urine or blood testing strips). If you’re trying keto but not tracking your macronutrient intake and ketone levels, you’re probably following more of a HFLC diet.

 

A HFLC diet is less strict and focuses more on eliminating unhealthy carbohydrate sources, like refined grains and sugary foods, and including more whole foods, including healthy fats, moderate amounts of protein, some whole grains and fruit, and vegetables.

 

Here’s a run-down of the main differences between ketogenic and HFLC diets:


Ketogenic

○     Main goal - induce ketosis

○     Primary fuel source is fatty acids and ketone bodies from fat

○     Requires strict breakdown of macronutrients to maintain ketosis

○     Very little carbohydrate – usually 5-10% of total calorie needs

○     Moderate amounts of protein – about 20% of total calorie needs and NOT a free for all!

○      Lots of healthy fats (think avocado, nuts, olives, coconut, oils, and grass-fed butter and meats) – about 70% of total calorie needs

 

HFLC - high-fat low-carb

○     Main goal - reduce carbohydrate intake, but not necessarily induce ketosis

○     Primary fuel source is usually glucose from carbs and/or protein

○     No precise breakdown of macronutrients – less strict and many variations

○     Typically includes moderate amounts of carbohydrates and protein

○     Carbohydrate sources shift from refined and starchy, like pasta and sweets, to complex, like sweet potatoes

 

Whether you choose to follow a HFLC diet or the more rigid ketogenic diet, decreasing carbohydrate intake and increasing fat intake are linked to the following health benefits:

 

●     Weight loss

●     Improved blood sugar and insulin levels

●     Decreased blood pressure

●     Improved HDL/LDL cholesterol ratio

 

Our own clients are seeing phenomenal results in our brand ProEdge Program.  This program is customized for my clients based on their health goals and can be either HFLC or Keto based.  The preliminary results from our last group program are in and they are blowing everyone away! 

 

I've personally been following a keto way of eating during this challenge and I am back into jeans that I haven't worn in 4 years!  The results have been astounding!

 

Of the 600 respondents following our healthy HFLC program, 85.38% lost weight and 76.04% said they broke a plateau in the first week! 

 

The results have been so amazing that everyone is asking us to keep this group open and run another 30 challenge post Thanksgiving that will end right before Christmas. If you are looking for some accountability and a way to release weight or maintain your health over the holidays, this is totally for you!  You can register for the ProEdge Challenge today and get your ProEdge products here.

 

So, what do you think - are YOU ready for the HFLC and/or keto life? Perhaps just a taste of a great HFLC- and keto-friendly recipe? Try a spin on an old classic!


RECIPE

 

Avocado Egg Salad

 

AvocadoEggSaladRecipe-3_copy

 

Ingredients

 

4 large eggs, free range

1 medium avocado

2 tbsp real mayonnaise

1 tbsp each fresh dill and chives, finely chopped

Juice of ½ lemon

Salt and pepper to taste

Dash smoked paprika

Romaine lettuce leaves, for serving

 

Preparation

 

1.     Hard boil eggs with your preferred cooking method, then cool, peel and chop cooked eggs.

2.     In a medium mixing bowl, mash pitted avocado with mayonnaise, herbs, lemon juice, and salt and pepper.

3.     Add chopped eggs to avocado mixture and toss to combine. Serve egg salad immediately wrapped in lettuce leaves or chill and then serve. Best eaten same day.


Candice Csaky, INHHC

Practical Ways to Be Healthy This Fall

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With back to school and cooler temperatures, fall is always the time of year when focusing on your health seems to be put on the back burner. You don’t have to let this busy time of year take the wind out of your sails though. There are certain things you can do to have a healthier fall for you and your family.

 

1. Make the most of seasonal foods

We always think about apples and pumpkins in fall because it’s prime season for them. While pumpkin pie and pumpkin spice lattes aren’t so good for us, roasted pumpkin, pumpkin soup, or even mashed pumpkin is delicious and nutritious.  Apples don’t need to go in pies to be sublime. Slice them up with your favorite nut butter smeared on top. Look for other seasonal foods that will do your health good, and you'll find you can easily fill your plate with seasonal foods that you'll love.

 

Additional nutrients that can help to boost your immune season and keep you healthy through the season are zinc and Vitamin C.  You can find zinc in meat, shellfish, legumes, nuts, seeds, dairy, whole grains and eggs.  Foods that are high in Vitamin C are guava, cantaloupe, broccoli, oranges, strawberries, kale, papaya, tomatoes and snow peas.  

 

2. Prepare and protect from colds and the flu

Ideally, you should do this before you notice everyone around you sniffling and sneezing. Keep your hands off your face and keep them clean. Don’t forget good rest and a proper, healthy diet will help you, too.

 

But there is more to do to prepare and protect yourself from the upcoming cold and flu season. My top tips for getting through the cold and flu season relatively unscathed are as follows: 

 

Check your Vitamin D3 levels.  Low Vitamin D3 is linked to a weaker immune system.  Keeping your D3 levels in the upper end of the range will go a very long way in supporting a stronger and healthier immune system.  I personally take 10,000IUs daily as my levels are quite low right now but I also make sure that I take it with a Vitamin K2 as it is a co-factor to D3 - meaning, you will absorb more D3 when you take it with K2.  Depending on where your levels are, a Vitamin D3 supplement anywhere from 2,0000IUs for maintaining adequate levels all the way to 10,000IUs/per day may be necessary. 

 

Be sure your gut health is optimal.  We know that around 80% of your immune system is found in your gut.  If your gut health is less than optimal, this will set you up for a weaker immune system and more colds and possibly even catch the flu.  By taking care of your gut health, you naturally boost your immune system.  If you are struggling with digestive health or hormone imbalances (which are intricately connected to your gut health), be sure to take advantage of our FB group to learn more about what you can do to support optimal hormones and digestive health or schedule a free discovery session with me so that we can develop a plan to get your gut and/or hormones back on track.  

 

Adding in a daily probiotic will go a long way to also supporting better digestion and gut health. I recommend looking for a probiotic with at least 7 different strains and a probiotic count of 20billion if you can tolerate it. (You may have to work up to this amount). Eating more fermented foods and making them a regular part of your diet will also help.  Fermented foods like Kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, or kombucha are all great additions to a healthy gut diet.  Bone broths are also a favourite of mind and something that I love so much this time of year.  

 

Elderberry syrup is something that I never go without and always have on hand.  Even when sending our son off to his hockey academy prep school this year, we knew that in his little self-care kit, we had to make sure he had his elderberry syrup on hand.  Living in a dorm with 40 other boys and there is a high likelihood that if the flu hits, it's not going to be so easy for him to escape it, so we made sure he was prepared.  The bioflavonoids in elderberries inhibit viruses from being able to infect a cell. Elderberries, on the other hand, target bacteria and viruses making them much more effective at knocking out colds and flu. Having elderberry syrup in your arsenal of natural healing products is a must to reduce symptoms faster and to lower the severity of those symptoms.  

 

Oscillococcinum is a homeopathic remedy that has been found to temporarily relieve flu-like symptoms such as body aches, headache, fever, chills and fatigue and can reduce the length of time that you have the flu.  So again, if you find yourself coming down with flu like symptoms, this is another great item to have in your arsenal to help you get back on your feet soon, rather than later. 

 

Essential oils also have very powerful antimicrobial affects and can go a long way to destroying those nasty germs that might be trying to make their way to you.  I have two favourites that I like to diffuse regularly in our home this time of year. Coat of Armour by Essante Organics is a certified organic essential oil that supports the immune system. 

 

My other favourite is DefenseShield by Isagenix. Both of these oil blends are almost identical in their makeup but the Isagenix brand also has Frankincense in it which gives it extra immune boosting properties and it comes in just a little under the price of the Essante Organics oil. So if cost is a major factor for you when searching for essential oils to protect and support your family this season, Isagenix is the big winner with excellent quality oils to match even the biggest competitors but at a more affordable price point.  

 

By taking care of yourself, even if everyone else gets sick, you’ll be less likely to succumb to the germs.

 

3. Stay out of the candy trap

If one of your favorite things about fall is Halloween then this is for you. My best friend loves Halloween and will admit that it is her favourite time of the year!  She has always thrown the most amazing  Halloween parties and I have never seen anyone create a more elaborate or convincing costume than her.  It's a blast to decorate for and see all the kids in costume, but the most significant health problem we all face for this holiday is the surplus of candy. Tempting as it is to buy that big bag and stash it away for when the trick or treaters come around, don’t do it. If you can’t resist it, don’t buy it until just before Halloween, choose something you wouldn’t eat yourself, or even better, keep the neighbourhood happy and healthy by buying small sticker packs instead.  There are numerous healthy Halloween options to choose from!  And if your like me and want to just throw all that Halloween candy in the trash, you can come up with a fun game for your kids.  We have had the Halloween Goblin and the Switch Witch come by our house on Halloween night.  The kids simply leave their candy under the bed and in the morning find a gift that was left for them in exchange. 

 

4. Get into the great outdoors

With the colder weather, it’s nice to get outdoors and enjoy the crispness on your cheeks. It’s nice for hiking, biking, or just enjoying the change in the seasons. Staying active during the fall is an excellent way to keep your health in exceptional condition.  

 

5. Make wise celebration choices

Halloween is just the beginning. With fall comes the hockey season, football parties and then the holiday season where it’s an endless buffet of food, sweets, and ever-flowing libations. You don’t need to miss out on all the fun, but do choose wisely when you’re eating.  At parties, fill your plate up with veggies first before sampling sweets, so you’re too full to eat more than a bite or two. By doing that, you’ll avoid gaining weight by Christmas.

 

Don’t forget that fall should be fun, but if you fall into any of these fall pitfalls, take care and take steps to get back on track!

 

To join our weekly health challenges and grab more holistic health tips, be sure to join our HWHL - Holistic Nutrition for Hormones/Gut/Weight Loss & Safer Beauty, on Facebook.  We would love to meet you there! 


Candice Csaky, INHHC

Irresistible Healthy Camping Recipes

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With so many outside activities to enjoy in the sunshine, it can be hard to let summer go.  There’s still plenty of time to enjoy the outdoors before the cold really settles in, and one of my absolute favorite outdoor activities to enjoy as the weather cools off is camping.  Whether you go with your family, friends, or even by yourself, it can be the perfect getaway to rejuvenate and unplug. 



As you get ready to pack up for a big camping trip, you might be wondering how you can make delicious and healthy meals while in the great outdoors. Camping can indeed present some challenges for preparing tasty meals, but here are some great ideas to make every camper in your family a happy one!

 

Foil packets over the fire
One delicious way to make a healthy meal while camping is to pre-pack foil packets of food that you can lay flat in your cooler. Just use your favorite healthy food items, then add your favorite seasonings and olive oil. Seal them up tight and then throw them over the fire when you’re ready. Be very careful when opening them because of the escaping steam, it can present a burn hazard.


Pineapple chicken skewers
The prep is too easy on this one! Merely skewer chicken and pineapples together and stash them in zipper bags of teriyaki marinade. Take along lettuce for wrapping along with any other fun bits like crushed nuts to add a fun texture. Feel free to substitute the chicken with organic, non-GMO tofu for a meat free option. 



Chickpea salad
Mix tahini with a can of chickpeas and you have a healthy on-the-go salad that everyone will gobble up. Chickpeas are packed with protein and antioxidants too so they’ll help fuel your outdoor adventures!



Chili
Chili is a hearty meal that’s easy to make in your slow cooker first and tote along for easy heat-up anytime hunger strikes. Use ground turkey to lighten it up a bit or even make a meatless version of it. Chili is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser for any camping trip and can warm up any chilly night.



Fajita fun
Who says you need to go to your favorite Tex-Mex restaurant to get sizzling fajitas? Just marinate your chicken (or tofu) in a zipper bag with red and green peppers and onions and pack it away. Don’t forget the tortillas, salsa, and guacamole so everyone can customize it their way. If you want to make it even healthier, you can use lettuce for wrapping instead.


Banana s’mores
One tradition many campers have is to make s’mores, but it isn’t exactly healthy. Instead, use a banana as your vessel for creating this iconic camping dessert. Just split it lengthwise and fill it with a few dark chocolate chips and marshmallows. Then wrap it in foil and put it over the fire for about 7 minutes. It will get nice and gooey. You can include graham crackers to scoop out the deliciousness or just hand out spoons.



With these tasty recipes in your arsenal, you’ll be able to make that camping adventure delicious, healthy and fun. 



Our family loves camping and get a ton of use out of our old Scamp (some people actually call this Scamping!)  One of our best trips was to San Louis Obispo, CA last year in January!  It was pretty chilly at night and the car was covered in frost at 8am when we finally ventured outside to make some coffee but the weather was amazing and heated up to a sunny 25C (I think that's somewhere in the mid 70s for my US friends).   We spent a good part of our day kayaking in the ocean, exploring a beautiful lighthouse and taking our English Bulldog, Gracie, to play at the beach (you can see her below).  She loved it!

 

It's been too long since we ventured out with the Scamp and I'm hoping to bring it to Lake Tahoe in a couple of weeks.

 

Where’s the most beautiful place you’ve ever camped?  Reply and let me know, I’m always looking for a new place to explore.  Feel free to send a pic, too!  


Want more health tips and community support?  Be sure to join my HWHL - Holistic Nutrition for Hormones, Gut Health and Safer Beauty tips where I offer weekly health and happiness challenges, share my favourite recipes and support you on your health journey! 

 

gracie beach


Candice Csaky, INHHC

Four Tips To Help Balance Hormones

Balancing hormones is complicated. But you have to start somewhere and here are four things you can do to help which can give you a good idea as to how much work you have to do.

 

Four Tips To Balance Hormones

 

Tip #1

 

Lower Stress 

 

When we are stressed, the adrenals work overtime to protect us from what they consider physical stress (even though we are not really in danger). This is our fight or flight response. It causes the adrenals to produce higher levels of adrenaline and cortisol.

 

Because we can only produce adrenaline for a few seconds, our fight or flight response is dependent on excess cortisol, and this is where the havoc begins. Excess cortisol has been linked to depression, blood sugar problems, reproductive issues, anxiety and weight gain around the middle.

 

The key is to support the health of the adrenals with foods rich in B vitamins, vitamin C and potassium. Practising meditation or deep breathing also helps lower cortisol.

 

Tip #2

 

Support the Liver

 

Excess hormones like cortisol, estrogen and testosterone all need to be detoxed out of the body. This is a key process that the liver performs to make sure we do not suffer from the excess of these hormones. Supporting the health of the liver, therefore is critical. A milk thistle supplement helps liver function more optimally. Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and kale, apples, grapefruit, garlic, onions, Jerusalem artichokes, lemons, limes and berries are just a few foods that help support the liver.

 

Tip #3

 

Support the Gut

 

We also need good gut health to help make sure the toxins leave the body so supporting gut health is also important. This is easier said than done but it starts with adding probiotics and fermented foods such as kefir, yogurt, kimchi or sauerkraut. Prebiotic foods such as garlic, onion, potatoes, wheat, broccoli, berries and apples, just to name a few, feed our good bacteria and help keep our gut healthy.

 

Tip #4

 

Balance Blood Sugar

 

Bad eating habits and stress can cause our blood sugar to swing up and down throughout the day. When our blood sugar drops, we can experience anger, fatigue, weakness and depression. Normally, we then receive a signal to do something such as a sugar craving or a desire for a coffee or a beer. If we respond to the craving, and consume something, this will bring our blood sugar back up. Caffeine, sugar and alcohol all cause the blood sugar to swing up high. This causes a high insulin release. And too much insulin can affect other hormones.

 

If we do not respond to the craving, then our adrenals send a signal to tell the liver to release stored glucose and bring up blood sugar. Again, it tends to be a lot of glucose since adrenaline is a powerful hormone. Blood sugar swings high and again, large amounts of insulin are released.

 

To keep blood sugar stable, eat small meals throughout the day with fiber and/or protein. Blood sugar stabilizing foods such as Jerusalem artichokes, cinnamon and legumes can be very helpful. Lowering stress also helps keep blood sugar stable.

 

These are just three simple steps. Give them a try and see the difference they can make.


Candice Csaky, INHHC

What Do Hormones Do?

Hormones are chemical messengers and without them, proper functioning in our body does not occur. They control everything from reproduction, digestion, metabolism, emotions and even hunger and satiety. When our hormones function properly, we feel great and when they do not, we can have health issues that make us miserable.

 

For three years, I struggled with hormone imbalances and I honestly just didn't know what was going on with me.  I was exhausted all of the time, even if I slept twelve hours at night.  I could barely make it through the day.  I relied heavily on my husband to help out more around the house and with dinners because there was nothing left in the tank by dinner time to keep going.  I had gained an incredible amount of weight in a short period of time, despite doing everything "right" or "by the book" when it came to weight loss and a healthy lifestyle.  Nothing worked to maintain my weight or to release weight.  To say I was frustrated was beyond an understatement.  I became embarrassed to leave my house. I came very close to not telling friends and family when I was in town, so that I could avoid visiting them - even lifelong friends - because I couldn't have them seeing me this way.  It was one of the most difficult times of my life. It affected every aspect of my life from my relationships with friends and family to my job.  Everything!  It wasn't until I learned about adrenal fatigue and subclinical hypothyroidism that I started to finally put the pieces together. 

 

But just having this information didn't fix the problems.  I spent thousands of dollars are naturopaths and saw multiple functional and integrative doctors and still, nothing was helping but my stockpile of very expensive supplements was starting to take over!  The exhaustion was getting worse. The brain fog was worse. I was losing words mid sentence! I thought I was losing my mind.  I couldn't remember what day it was - on a regular basis.  It was getting scary.  That's when I took my health into my own hands.  I literally took a deep dive into hormone rebalancing. I read every book on the subject of adrenal fatigue, the HPA axis, the adrenal/thyroid connection and I took training after training in functional and integrative nutrition on the subject until I knew exactly how to support my body in getting back on track.  It only took 3 years to figure this all out and to put together a program for myself and my clients that has finally allowed me to start to see some improvements in my own thyroid numbers and my energy is actually starting to improve.  The brain fog has lifted, most days and I feel so much more like the old me than ever before.  My clients that have followed this program have had very similar results.

 

I've personally released 11lbs in just the last couple of weeks by implementing my own protocols (it took some major adrenal support and healing before the weight would start to budge by the way).  This isn't a "quick fix" solution.  Rebalancing hormones and supporting the adrenals to get back to being healthy can take 1-2 years depending a lot on you and how advanced your hormone imbalance may be.  That said, the improvements started to show almost immediately in terms of the brain fog and energy.  If you are ready to take back your health and rebalance your hormones, you can start with either our free 7 Day hormone rebalancing reboot linked at the bottom of this article or you can grab our totally done for you 6 Week Healthy Hormone Program that will teach you everything you need to know about how to reset your hormones and get your body back on track.  You can learn more about the 6 Week Healthy Hormone program here. 

 

So let's dive in and take a look at a few key hormones systems and you will get the picture as to just how important they are.

Hypothalamus: It signals the production of other hormones and in doing so, helps regulate things like hunger, moods, sleep, body temperature and sex drive.

Thymus: It produces the hormone thymosin, which help regulate the immune system. The thymus shrinks as we age but scientists are not sure if it is supposed to, which means that, perhaps, good nutrition could help maintain immune function as we age.

Pancreas: Insulin produced in the pancreas is a key hormone and its sole function is to help blood sugar get into the cells so we have the energy we need for our cells to function. However, too much insulin has been implicated in many health issues.

Thyroid:  Hormones produced by our thyroid are associated with metabolism and heart rate. If you have trouble losing weight – your thyroid may not be functioning optimally.

Adrenals: There are many hormones produced by the adrenal glands but their main function is to help us cope with stress, both physical and mental. Because of this, the adrenals rule the roost in the body. This is because protecting us from danger is considered to be one of the most significant systems in the body and because of that, when we are stressed, the adrenals can cause all kinds of havoc with other systems.

Pituitary: This is a master endocrine gland that produces hormones that tell other glands and organs to produce more hormones. However, hormones from the adrenals like cortisol or insulin from the pancreas can exert pressure on the pituitary and interfere with other hormones relationships where the pituitary is involved.

 

Of course, the hormones that often concern most people are the reproductive hormones.

 

In women, the ovaries produce estrogen, progesterone and small amounts of testosterone before menopause. After menopause, it is the adrenals that produce these hormones to keep women healthy.

 

For men, the testes produce testosterone and small amounts of estrogen and progesterone.

 

These are just a few hormonal relationships – it really is complex and often hormone problems are a result of several hormones exerting influence in a way that causes more than one issue. Food and lifestyle can help immensely to feed the various body parts so they work in a more balanced way. This is an area that I am passionate about helping my clients with.  If hormone imbalances are an area you are struggling with, you can book your free Discovery Session with me to find out if our Hormone Rebalancing Program is a good fit for you so that you can get your hormones back on track. 

 

Balanced hormones are the key to a having a body in balance. Even small imbalances can cause an issue. Getting a proper diagnosis is key and from there decisions can be made to help correct the issues.

 

Feeling like you could use a hormone reset?  Follow this link to our home page and sign up for our FREE 7 Day Healthy Hormone Reboot.

 

This is an incredible 7 Day healthy hormone reset that will help you to get started on the path to healthy hormones! 


Candice Csaky, INHHC

Benefits of Nutritional Cleansing


Candice Csaky, INHHC

The Symbiotic Relationship of Probiotics and Prebiotics

If you want to improve your gut health or maintain the good gut health you already have, there are two things you must do. Consume probiotic foods and prebiotics foods and they are best consumed together, creating what is now being called “symbiotic” foods. This is easier than it may sound and can actually be fun.

 

I personally  love this topic and information that I am about to share.  So many people that are struggling with gut health may run to a doctor or a pharmacy looking for that quick fix when they may just have everything they need in their own home.  We don't all need to be spending money on expensive probiotics and prebiotics (I will add the caveat here that with extensive gut healing work, sometimes the investment is very necessary).  Sometimes, just simply adding in the right combinations of prebiotic foods and probiotic foods is all you need for a healthy, happy, balanced gut! 

 

Probiotic foods contain beneficial organisms that help our gut perform its duties and have amazing health benefits for us. Prebiotics are types of fibre like inulin, resistant starch, GOS and FOS that help feed our good bacteria.

 

We have two types of bacteria strains in our gut: residential and transient. Residential bacteria strains are the bacteria that live in our gut naturally and we must have them re-populate to stay healthy. Transient strains of bacteria pass through us (usually within 3 days) but while they are there, they help the gut do its work and keep us healthy.

 

Probiotic foods contain transient bacteria.  We need prebiotics to help us feed and increase our residential bacteria.

 

Getting some prebiotic and probiotic foods on a regular basis is the key and that is quite easy to do. Some examples of probiotic foods are sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, yogurt, kefir, miso, natto, pure apple cider vinegar (with mother), true balsamic vinegar, wine, unpasteurized beer, crème fraiche. In order to deliver beneficial organisms from fermented foods to the gut as well as the enzymes these foods also contain, do not heat past a temperature of 118 degrees F (48 C).

 

Prebiotic foods are Jerusalem Artichokes, chicory, garlic, onions, beans, lentil, citrus fruits, pears, apples, bananas, berries, almonds broccoli which contain soluble fibres like inulin and FOS. Resistant starch found in legumes, potatoes, wheat, corn, rye, barley, rice, spelt, kamut, and other grains and GOS is found in dairy products. The list of foods that are prebiotic is going to expand as research continues to discover more foods containing elements that are probiotic. It could turn out that all whole foods have some prebiotic benefit but we do not know that yet.

 

Prebiotics are not just food for good bacteria. They also enhance the absorption of calcium and magnesium and are involved in appetite regulation as well as lipid metabolism. As research continues, it is even more fascinating how these simple substances in food, and together with our good bacteria, are involved in a complex relationship to help us be healthy.

 

Consuming prebiotics with probiotics can be as simple as mixing banana slices into your yogurt or serving sauerkraut with a meal that contains garlic and onions. Maybe this is why we traditionally constructed meals as we did.

 

Check out our Fermented Green Smoothie Recipe here for a delicious dose of both prebiotic and probiotic foods in one healthy meal!  Enjoy! 

 

green smoothie

 

 

References:

1. Inulin-Type Fructans: Functional Food Ingredients1,2 Marcel B. Roberfroid, 2007 American Society for Nutrition

2.Health effects of probiotics and prebiotics A literature review on human studies, Henrik Andersson, Nils-Georg Asp, Åke Bruce, Stefan Roos, Torkel Wadström, Agnes E. Wold, Food and Nutrition Research, Vol 45, 2001

3. Probiotics, prebiotics, and synbiotics: approaches for modulating the microbial ecology of the gut 1,2M David Collins and Glenn R Gibson, 1999 American Society for Clinical Nutrition

4. Lowbush Wild Blueberries have the Potential to Modify Gut Microbiota and Xenobiotic Metabolism in the Rat Colon

5. Alison Lacombe,Robert W. Li,Dorothy Klimis-Zacas,Aleksandra S. Kristo, Shravani Tadepalli,Emily Krauss, Ryan Young,Vivian C. H. Wu mail Published: June 28, 2013 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.006749

6. A Systematic Screening of Total Antioxidants in Dietary Plants1, Bente L. Halvorsen et al, Institute for Nutrition Research, Faculty of Medicine, University of Oslo; Akershus University College, Bekkestua, Norway; †Agricultural University of Norway, Ås, Norway; and the ‡Division of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota

7. Current knowledge of the health benefits and disadvantages of wine consumption, John F. Tomera, Trends in Food Science & Technology – TRENDS FOOD SCI TECHNOL 01/1999; 10(4):129-138. DOI: 10.1016/S0924-2244(99)00035-7


Candice Csaky, INHHC

Coffee - Who can drink and who should avoid?

Coffee is one of those things - you either love it or hate it. You know if you like the taste or not (or if it’s just a reason to drink sugar and cream). You know how it makes you feel (i.e. your gut, your mind, etc.).

 

Not to mention the crazy headlines that say coffee is great, and the next day you should avoid it!

 

There is actual science behind why different people react differently to it. It's a matter of your genetics and how much coffee you're used to drinking.

 

NOTE: Coffee does not equal caffeine. Coffee contains between 50-400 mg of caffeine/cup, averaging around 100 mg/cup. Coffee is one of the most popular ways to consume this stimulant. But… a cup of coffee contains a lot of things over and above the caffeine. Not just water, but antioxidants, and hundreds of other compounds. These are the reasons drinking a cup of coffee is not the same as taking a caffeine pill. And decaffeinated coffee has a lot less caffeine; but, it still contains some.

 

Let's look at caffeine metabolism, its effects on the mind and body, and whether coffee drinkers have higher or lower risks of disease. Then I’ll give you some things to consider when deciding if coffee is for you or not.

 

Caffeine metabolism

 

Not all people metabolize caffeine at the same speed. How fast you metabolize caffeine will impact how you’re affected by the caffeine. In fact, caffeine metabolism can be up to 40x faster in some people than others.

 

About half of us are “slow” metabolizers of caffeine. We can get jitters, heart palpitations, and feel "wired" for up to 9 hours after having a coffee. The other half is "fast" metabolizers of caffeine. They get energy and increased alertness and are back to normal a few hours later.

 

This is part of the reason those headlines contradict each other so much - because we’re all different!

 

The effects of coffee (and caffeine) on the mind and body

 

NOTE: Most studies look at caffeinated coffee, not decaf.

 

The effects of coffee (and caffeine) on the mind and body also differ between people; this is partly from the metabolism I mentioned. But it also has to do with your body’s amazing ability to adapt to long-term caffeine use. Many people who start drinking coffee feel the effects a lot more than people who have coffee every day.

 

Here’s a list of these effects (that usually decrease with long-term use):

●     Stimulates the brain

●     Boosts metabolism

●     Boosts energy and exercise performance

●     Increases your stress hormone cortisol

●     Dehydrates

 

So, while some of these effects are good and some aren’t, you need to see how they affect you and decide if it’s worth it or not.

 

Coffee and health risks

 

There are a ton of studies on the health effects of coffee, and whether coffee drinkers are more or less likely to get certain conditions.

 

Here’s a quick summary of what coffee can lead to:

●     Caffeine addiction and withdrawal symptoms (e.g. a headache, fatigue, irritability)

●     Increased sleep disruption

●     Lower risk of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's

●     Lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes

●     Lower risk of certain liver diseases

●     Lower risk of death (“all cause mortality")

●     Mixed reviews on whether it lowers risks of cancer and heart disease

 

Many of the health benefits exist even for decaf coffee (except the caffeine addiction and sleep issues).

 

NOTE: What’s super-important to note here is that coffee intake is just one of many, many factors that can affect your risks for these diseases. Please never think regular coffee intake is the one thing that can help you overcome these risks. You are health-conscious and know that eating a nutrient-rich whole foods diet, reducing stress, and getting enough sleep and exercise are all critical things to consider for your disease risk. It’s not just about the coffee.

 

Should you drink coffee or not?

 

There are a few things to consider when deciding whether you should drink coffee. No one food or drink will make or break your long-term health.

 

Caffeinated coffee is not recommended for:

●     People with arrhythmias (e.g. irregular heartbeat)

●     People who often feel anxious

●     People who have trouble sleeping

●     People who are pregnant

●     Children and teens.

 

If none of these apply, then monitor how your body reacts when you have coffee. Does it:

●     Give you the jitters?

●     Increase anxious feelings?

●     Affect your sleep?

●     Give you heart palpitations?

●     Affect your digestion (e.g. heartburn, etc.)?

●     Give you a reason to drink a lot of sugar and cream?

 

Depending on how your body reacts, decide whether these reactions are worth it to you. If you’re not sure, I recommend eliminating it for a while and see the difference.

 

Recipe (Latte): Pumpkin Spice Latte

 

Serves 1 

 

latte

 

 

3 tbsp coconut milk
1 ½ tsp pumpkin pie spice (or cinnamon)
¼ tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp pumpkin puree

½ tsp maple syrup (optional)
1 cup coffee (Swiss Water decaf if decaf is preferred)

 

Instructions

 

Add all ingredients to blender and blend until creamy.

 

Serve & enjoy!

 

Tip: You can use tea instead of milk if you prefer.

 

References:

 

https://authoritynutrition.com/coffee-good-or-bad/

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/all-about-coffee

http://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/a-wake-up-call-on-coffee

http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/can-your-coffee-habit-help-you-live-longer-201601068938

http://suppversity.blogspot.ca/2014/05/caffeine-resistance-genetic.html

https://authoritynutrition.com/how-much-coffee-should-you-drink/

 


Candice Csaky, INHHC

Healing from Costochondritis & Tietze's Syndrome Naturally - a Multifaceted Approach

Costochondritis and Tiezte's Syndrome are essentially the same condition, with one key difference - Tiezte's presents with swelling and Costochondritis does not. 

 

Whether you've been recently diagnosed or you've been living with this for years, in my opinion, the path to healing from costochondritis s a multifaceted approach.  In this day and age of a "pill for every will," most people are looking for that quick fix solution so they can get on with their lives, but I am here to tell you, that simple does not exist with costochondritis.  

 

If you've had this for years, like I did, then you likely already know this.  I personally tried everything from anti-inflammatory diets, acupuncture, to 6 different physiotherapists (physical therapists for my American friends), 3 different chiropractors, Traditional Chinese Medicine doctors, osteopaths, massage therapy and at one point, when I was in more pain then I could handle, I even tried the pharmaceuticals (gabapentin and tramadol - neither of which did anything to touch the pain I had).  

 

Okay, so here is what I believe, as someone who lived with severe and acute costochondritis for 8.5 years before I found my healing path. These are some (if not ALL) of the most important systems to implement to support healing in the body, literally from any condition, but specifically costochondritis.

 

1) Mindset/Mindfulness

 

You must have a mindset that shifts from "I am in so much pain" to "I am healing". You must believe it is possible. If you use costochondritis as a "crutch", if it protects you in life from any fears that you may have, then this is deeper work that is required to identify and break through this. This is the NUMBER ONE reason that I see people staying stuck in their illness. Who would you be without costochondritis? What would other's expect of you? What additional responsibilities might you have? What are you afraid of achieving or doing that having this condition protects you from? Without busting through these thought patterns, people are content to stay where they are. It's not often a conscious decision so I invite people to sit with this.

 

2) Stress 

Stress is similar to mindset here as our mindset can really determine how we handle stress.  Stress is the number one factor in people returning to balance and can interfere with healing in the body more than most people know.  Adding stress management tools into your life will go a long way to supporting balance and optimal health. This could include deep breathing techniques, meditation and gentle, restorative yoga. It could also include grounding and getting out in nature, spending time by the ocean (if you live near one) or in the forest. The fresh air, sounds of the ocean or stillness and life in the forest are all healing and provide excellent benefits to our body. Many of us do not slow down enough any more and now is a time to make time for this. 

 

3) Nutrition 

 

Most holistic nutritionists would place nutrition in the number one spot here - but I don't. While it is a huge tool in promoting healing in the body, without healthy thought patterns and belief that you can heal, or without stress management, all the broccoli and greens in the world cannot protect the adrenals or the protect the body from the damaging affects of stress. We just get our nutrition right for our body and then the cells can do what they need to do. If there is gut damage and inflammation in the body, then we must work on gut healing so that nutrient absorption can be optimal. If it's not, all the supplements and greens in the world are not necessarily going to make a huge difference because the body can't absorb the nutrition from them. So healing the gut can be included in this for some people. People may also have leaky gut - which is allowing toxins, food proteins and waste to get into the blood stream which can then start an auto-immune response, including inflammation in the body - again - gut healing work. This brings me to Triggers.

 

3) Triggers

 

Eliminating triggers - this could be food sensitivities, scents and smells that you are sensitive to or anything else that can trigger a reaction or a flare up - identifying and eliminating these is huge.

 

4) Identify the Mechanism of Cause

 

This will not be the same for all people with costochondritis but it will help you to identify what healing path to take.  Many people with costochondritis will tell you that it just came on out of the blue. There was no injury or known cause.  They just woke up with this excruciating pain one day.  Many others end up in the ER believing they are having a heart attack because of the symptoms only to be diagnosed with costochondritis.  Many have used tools like my friend Steve's August "Backpod" to unlock the rib hinges and promote healing, and in some it works great while in others, it doesn't make a difference.  If the cause is injury related, then the body work is going to be even more important for you.  However, in many people, the cause is related to a very stealthy virus - the research is still new in this area, but Epstein Barr Virus is being implicated in connective tissue disease and neurological disease - as well as autoimmune and thyroid disease.  While you may not have EBV, I high recommend getting tested to see if you have an active case.  If you do have an active case, then we can absolutely talk about lowering your viral load naturally and what you can do about that! 

 

Another known cause or perhaps precursor to costochondritis is autoimmune disease.  As many as 70% of fibromyalgia patients will eventually end up with costochondritis.  If this is you, then gut healing work is on the menu!  Remember were I mentioned above about gut inflammation and toxins getting into the blood stream that can create an autoimmune attack or "flare".  

 

I personally have scoliosis and hyperflex mobility - unfortunately, those are necessarily things that are so easy to change as they are something that people are often born with or develop as they grow.  They are, however, things that put the risk of costochondritis at much higher risk.  So implementing the other strategies is going to be super important for people like me.  

 

4) Body Work

 

This one is very specific to costochondritis - you MUST find a hands on practitioner that knows and understands costochondritis or, at the very least use tools like the backpod, a foam roller and learn the exercises and stretches that can support you in healing from this. It's no surprise that people with costochondritis also tend to be people who are under high levels of stress, spend a lot of time on the computer, smart phones or other devices that allow their posture to keep them in a hunched forward position for many hours during the day. If you work in an office, a standing desk might be a good fit for you.  It took me years to find a physical therapist that could help and even working with  him two days a week for 4 months, I was not seeing any improvement.  I was so close to giving up on him helping me when I made a change - I implemented all of the steps above at the same time - and that is when my haling began.  

 

For the previous 8.5 years before I healed, I had tried everything - but not all at the same time!  That's the key difference here.  I had to implement everything together.  I took all the tools I knew I had as a holistic health practitioner, the tools I use when working with my clients, and I treated myself as though I was my own client.  I went to work on all of these areas in my life.  I implemented a nutritional cleanse to address inflammation and toxins through nutrition, while working on my mindset.  I added in a regular routine of daily meditation and shifted my mindset from "I am in so much pain," to "I am healing."  And while doing all of these things, I continued with my physical therapy and active release technique, and within 4 days, I had a major shift.  It would take another 2-3 months before I started to do the things I had given up because of the "pain" that usually would come with them.  I just kept waiting for it to come back, but it never really did.  

 

I am not 3.5 years past the last time I had a flare up and I still implement these practices, because I know if I don't make these life long habits, that costochondritis could come back.  

 

If you are looking for support in healing from Costochondritis, please feel free to reach out to Candice.  She is an Integrative Holistic Nutritionist and passionate about supporting her clients in returning to balance. 


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