Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Celiac Disease

Why Haven't Infertile Couples Been Told These Facts?
Posted by: Dr. Mercola
February 23 2010 | 106,819 views

Millions of people have celiac disease, but most don’t know they have it, in part because symptoms can be so varied. It is an often overlooked digestive disorder that causes damage to the small intestine when gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and rye, is eaten.
Infertility seems to be more common in women with untreated celiac disease. Other gynecological and obstetrical problems may also be more common, including miscarriages and preterm births.
For men, problems can include abnormal sperm -- such as lower sperm numbers, altered shape, and reduced function. Men with untreated celiac disease may also have lower testosterone levels.
The good news is that with proper treatment with a gluten-free diet and correction of nutritional deficiencies, the prognosis for future pregnancies is much improved.


  New York Times February 3, 2010

Dr. Mercola's Comments
Celiac disease -- which prevents your body from properly digesting gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley – may be far more common than previously thought. A decade ago, it was believed that celiac disease affected just one in 10,000 Americans.
But a 2004 report by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) estimates that as many as one in every 133 Americans have it. That equates to roughly 2 million people suffering from gluten intolerance in the US alone.
There are many millions more that suffer from sub-clinical gluten intolerance – some estimate as many as 30 million Americans -- so there is a very real possibility that you or someone you know is affected by this.
Unfortunately, celiac disease can manifest in so many ways, it’s frequently misdiagnosed and/or mistreated. One study showed it takes an average of 11 years for patients to receive a correct diagnosis!
What is Celiac Disease?
Celiac disease (CD) is an autoimmune disease, much like lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. To get the disease, you must have both a genetic predisposition plus an environmental factor that triggers the disease.
In this case, the environmental trigger is gluten.
If you have celiac disease, eating gluten triggers an autoimmune response, provoking your body to attack itself and destroy healthy tissues, especially the villi in your small intestine. This can also have a detrimental effect on your body’s ability to absorb and process nutrients.
Some of the most common symptoms of this disease process include:
• Chronic diarrhea
• Gas
• Bloating
• Acid reflux
• Constipation
Even a small amount of gluten can trigger a response.
How Celiac Disease Can Affect Your Fertility
In the New York Times article above, Dr. Sheila Crowe, a professor in the division of gastroenterology and hepatology at the University of Virginia, provides information about a slightly lesser known side effect of celiac disease, namely infertility, which can affect both men and women with the disease.
Studies from various countries indicate that fertility problems are indeed more common in women with untreated celiac disease, compared to women who do not have it.
The risk of suffering other gynecological and obstetrical problems like miscarriage or preterm birth is also higher for those with celiac disease.
In addition, other common menstrual disorders that frequently affect women with celiac disease include:
• Later onset of menstruation
• Earlier menopause
• Secondary amenorrhea (a condition in which menses starts but then stops)
These menstrual abnormalities, along with other hormonal disruptions they cause, can lead to fewer ovulations, which in turn results in a reduced chance of pregnancy.
Men with the disease, especially if it’s undiagnosed, can also face fertility problems due to:
• Abnormal sperm (reduced sperm count, altered shape, and reduced function)
• Reduced testosterone levels
How to Diagnose Celiac Disease
As Dr. Crowe recommends, it might be wise to get screened for celiac disease if you suffer from repeated miscarriages or are unable to conceive for unknown reasons – especially if you suffer any of the most common symptoms.
Just remember that symptoms can vary widely, and symptoms are easily confused with those of other diseases, such as irritable bowel syndrome, iron-deficiency anemia, or even chronic fatigue syndrome.
Fortunately, there are now more reliable blood tests that can screen for the disease, so that you’re not left guessing and wondering.
People with celiac disease have higher than normal levels of certain autoantibodies in their blood. So to diagnose celiac disease, your doctor will need to test your blood for high levels of anti-tissue transglutaminase antibodies (tTGA) or anti-endomysium antibodies (EMA).
Please keep in mind that you need to continue eating a diet containing gluten, such as breads and pastas, in order to obtain an accurate test result! If you go on a gluten-free diet prior to being tested, the results may come up negative for celiac even though you might in fact have the disease.
If the test is positive for celiac disease, a biopsy of your small intestine may be performed to confirm your diagnosis. The biopsy checks for damage to the villi, which is a sign that celiac disease is damaging your intestines.
The Case for a Low- or No-Grain Diet – Whether You Have Celiac Disease or Not
The prevalence of celiac disease is yet more evidence that contemporary humans simply aren’t equipped to consume mass quantities of starch and sugar rich foods many modern diets consists of.
Most people simply consume far too much bread, cereal, pasta, corn (a grain, not a vegetable), rice, potatoes, snacks and junk foods, with grave consequences to their health.
A diet high in grains causes insulin resistance which causes far more problems than this dangerous autoimmune response. It’s also a leading factor of obesity, which now affects a whopping two-thirds of all Americans.
Many of you are still focused on fat intake, but it’s really not the fat in the foods you eat but rather the excess carbohydrates from your processed food diet that is making you overweight and unhealthy, and contributing to epidemic levels of other diseases such as diabetes.
How to Treat Celiac Disease
In my experience, gluten intolerance can be treated quite easily by eliminating gluten and most grains from your daily diet.
It’s important to realize that gluten can be hidden in many foods including soups, soy sauce, candies, cold cuts, and various low- and no-fat products, so check the labels before you eat it.
Also watch out for malt, starches, hydrolyzed vegetable protein (HVP), texturized vegetable protein (TVP) and natural flavoring.
Some pharmaceuticals, vinegars and alcohol can also contain gluten.
If you have celiac disease, it’s imperative that you do not eat gluten in order to avoid further damage to your health. But it’s not only people with gluten intolerance who would benefit from avoiding grains--in my estimation over 85 percent of the population would benefit from avoiding them, and this includes even whole, organic grains.
Remember, if you stick to a diet consisting mainly of whole foods, preferably locally-grown organics, you’ll reap all the other beneficial side effects as well, such as increased energy, an enhanced mood, and a lower risk of other chronic illnesses.
Once you realize how good you can feel on a gluten-free diet, you’ll probably have no problem avoiding it and living a full, healthy life!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Probiotics:The untold truth

About 80% of your immune system lives in the pit of your gut.

To get on the track toward building a solid foundation for your best health, I believe the best place to start is where good health begins – in your digestive tract.*

And the best way I’ve found is by introducing billions of tiny microflora (good bacteria) into your digestive system through the use of high quality probiotics.*But some probiotics don’t survive your stomach’s acidity and
others get damaged in the manufacturing process.*What happens is that the good bacteria go to work keeping your entire digestive system working at its peak while boosting the health of your immune system in the process.*
How do I know? Because scientific research shows that 80% of your immune system actually lives right in your digestive tract.

Amazing, isn’t it?
But that’s not all…
A healthy and happy digestive system may also help regulate your weight, keeping your waistline slim and trim.*
That’s where high quality probiotics come in.
Recent scientific studies† also show that supplementing with probiotics may help reduce fat.*
In fact, if you’re pregnant or just had a baby, taking a probiotic supplement during your pregnancy – or starting soon after giving birth –  may help you drop that extra weight you might have gained.†*

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Coconut Almond Fudge recipe

My wife made a new recipe this week from The Maker's Diet and I wanted to share it with you because it turned out really well and I enjoyed it.

Coconut Almond Fudge

1 cup extra-virgin coconut oil
3/4 cup carob powder (or non alkalized unsweetened cocoa powder)
1/4 cup raw almond butter
1/4 cup unheated honey
1 tbsp vanilla

Place all ingredients in small saucepan and stir until melted. Spread paste on buttered parchment paper or small dish; allow to cool in refrigerator. remove and serve immediately.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Raw What?

I have always been a fan of protein shakes and fruit smoothies. As you may know we enjoy a berry smoothy packed with Perfect Food green powder made from some of the best sprouted greens available. Aside from that I enjoy a goat, almond milk or raw milk kefir protein shake about twice daily. These shakes depending on what I am feeling, as to what I put in it, but it always has raw eggs, and cocoa.

I have recently been introduced to Raw Meal shakes! I follow and distribute products for Garden Of Life so when I saw the new Raw Meal I was curious as to what it was like. I purchased some and have been using it in between my meals, as I believe strongly in "flirting" with your metabolism to keep it at optimum levels. I place this shake with my already delicious protein shake, but not at first. When I got it and read the instructions I saw that they company (GOL) recommends that you place it in water. This was not the best flavor, I mean I could have got used to it. I also knew that it would be way better for me in the protein shake, so together they went.

My first reaction was "this is like drinking mud" but the benefits and the feelings afterward were far better than I expected. My energy levels are probably as high as ever, this is because of the rate of digestion is faster. Given it's raw state, my body was able to move and digest it quite fast. That plus the great nutrients in the Raw Meal leave me feeling pretty awesome!

Here is what the break down is for protein:
Regular protein shake- 24 grams of protein
Raw Meal mixed with my protein shake - 57 grams of raw protein!

This is just protein alone, not to mention the other great raw nutrients in the shake. For those go here
Read More Here!

My conclusion is: though it may be hard to get used to, the benefits are worth the price both financially and taste wise. You just can't get a better full meal replacement anywhere.
I still feel full over an hour after having it.
Try and let me know what you think!

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Monday, February 8, 2010

Drop That Bagel!!

Food labels can tell you a lot. For instance, they can indicate how many calories, carbs, proteins and fats are found in foods. What they don’t tell you, however, is how your inflammation levels may be affected by that food.

Inflammation? You may be wondering what inflammation has to do with the foods we eat.

The answer? Plenty.

The truth is that some foods—such as foods high in omega-3s, antioxidants and other important nutrients—are better for your inflammation levels than others are. One expert in the area of foods and their inflammation-influencing abilities is Monica Reinagel, a well-known nutritional researcher.

Reinagel’s book The Inflammation Free Diet Plan provides helpful dietary guidelines for selecting foods that can support healthy inflammation levels in the body. In fact, Reinagel created the IF Rating™ system that is utilized to give an inflammation factor for various foods.

Simply put, foods with a positive rating can support healthy inflammation levels, while foods with a negative rating can foster unhealthy inflammation levels.

The foods we eat influence inflammation through chemicals called prostaglandins from the foods’ nutrients. Foods like wild fish, cruciferous vegetables, green, leafy vegetables and some spices like ginger and garlic may be especially healthy for supporting normal inflammation.

Other foods may not be particularly healthy for inflammation levels. Let’s say, for example, that a typical American breakfast includes a plain bagel (-186 on the inflammation scale), a cup of corn flakes cereal (-182), with maybe a glass of low-fat milk (-33)—perish the thought. According to Reinagel’s rating system, a breakfast like that comes in at about a -401.

If a person picks up a Caesar salad from a fast food joint (a -42 rating) and a small soda (ranging from -53 to -58 for a small order), the negative numbers begin to accumulate. Throw in chicken nuggets, french fries (a whopping -336 rating) or some pizza for dinner with a chocolate ice cream dessert and you have negative numbers that go way over the top!

Here’s a surprise. Even many “good inflammation” foods like salmon have ratings that have to do with whether they are farm raised or wild. According to Reinagel’s rating, three ounces of farm-raised Atlantic salmon weighs in at a -180, while three ounces of wild Atlantic salmon comes in at a +493.


Other foods that rank positively in supporting healthy inflammation levels include: extra virgin olive oil, broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, kale, almonds, chia seeds, walnuts, pecans, blueberries, blackberries, strawberries and onions.

So, if you’re looking to support healthy inflammation levels through your diet, then you might want to rethink your food selections, including that bagel for breakfast. Maybe you’d like some fresh berries instead?

Dr. Jordan Rubin

Friday, February 5, 2010

Reasons For Avoiding Wheat Part 4

Healthy Whole Wheat Products

Ideally, one should buy whole wheat berries and grind them fresh to make homemade breads and other baked goods. Buy whole wheat berries that are grown organically or biodynamically--biodynamic farming involves higher standards than organic.34 Since these forms of farming do not allow synthetic, carcinogenic chemicals and fertilizers, purchasing organic or biodynamic wheat assures that you are getting the cleanest, most nutritious food possible. It also automatically eliminates the possibility of irradiation31 and genetically engineered seed. The second best option is to buy organic 100 percent stone-ground whole-wheat flour at a natural food store. Slow-speed, steel hammer-mills are often used instead of stones, and flours made in this way can list "stone-ground" on the label. This method is equivalent to the stone-ground process and produces a product that is equally nutritious. Any process that renders the entire grain into usable flour without exposing it to high heat is acceptable.

If you do not make your own bread, there are ready-made alternatives available. Look for organic sourdough or sprouted breads freshly baked or in the freezer compartment of your market or health food store. If bread is made entirely with l00 percent stone-ground whole grains, it will state so on the label. When bread is stone ground and then baked, the internal temperature does not usually exceed 170 degrees, so most of the nutrients are preserved.28 As they contain no preservatives, both whole wheat flour and its products should be kept in the refrigerator or freezer. Stone-ground flour will keep for several months frozen.28

Sprouting, soaking and genuine sourdough leavening "pre-digests" grains, allowing the nutrients to be more easily assimilated and metabolized. This is an age-old approach practiced in most traditional cultures. Sprouting begins germination, which increases the enzymatic activity in foods and inactivates substances called enzyme inhibitors.1 These enzyme inhibitors prevent the activation of the enzymes present in the food and, therefore, may hinder optimal digestion and absorption. Soaking neutralizes phytic acid, a component of plant fiber found in the bran and hulls of grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds that reduces mineral absorption.32 All of these benefits may explain why sprouted foods are less likely to produce allergic reactions in those who are sensitive.1

Sprouting also causes a beneficial modification of various nutritional elements. According to research undertaken at the University of Minnesota, sprouting increases the total nutrient density of a food. For example, sprouted whole wheat was found to have 28 percent more thiamine (B1), 315 percent more riboflavin (B2), 66 percent more niacin (B3), 65 percent more pantothenic acid (B5), 111 percent more biotin, 278 percent more folic acid, and 300 percent more vitamin C than non-sprouted whole wheat. This phenomenon is not restricted to wheat. All grains undergo this type of quantitative and qualitative transformation. These studies also confirmed a significant increase in enzymes, which means the nutrients are easier to digest and absorb.33

You have several options for preparing your wheat. You can use a sour leavening method by mixing whey, buttermilk or yogurt with freshly ground wheat or quality pre-ground wheat from the store. Or, soak your berries whole for 8 to 22 hours, then drain and rinse. There are some recipes that use the whole berries while they are wet, such as cracker dough ground right in the food processor. Another option is to dry sprouted wheat berries in a low-temperature oven or dehydrator, and then grind them in your grain mill and then use the flour in a variety or recipes.

Although our modern wheat suffers from a great number of indiscretions, there are steps we can take to find the quality choices that will nourish us today and for the long haul. Go out and make a difference for you and yours and turn your wheaty indiscretions into wheaty indulgences.

The Weston A. Price Foundation

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Reasons For Avoiding Wheat Part 3

Modern Processing

The damage inflicted on wheat does not end with cultivation and storage, but continues into milling and processing. A grain kernel is comprised of three layers: the bran, the germ and the endosperm. The bran is the outside layer where most of the fiber exists. The germ is the inside layer where many nutrients and essential fatty acids are found. The endosperm is the starchy middle layer. The high nutrient density associated with grains exists only when these three are intact. The term whole grain refers to the grain before it has been milled into flour. It was not until the late nineteenth century that white bread, biscuits, and cakes made from white flour and sugars became mainstays in the diets of industrialized nations, and these products were only made possible with the invention of high-speed milling machines.28 Dr. Price observed the unmistakable consequences of these dietary changes during his travels and documented their corresponding health effects. These changes not only resulted in tooth decay, but problems with fertility, mental health and disease progression.30

Flour was originally produced by grinding grains between large stones. The final product, 100 percent stone-ground whole-wheat flour, contained everything that was in the grain, including the germ, fiber, starch and a wide variety of vitamins and minerals. Without refrigeration or chemical preservatives, fresh stone-ground flour spoils quickly. After wheat has been ground, natural wheat-germ oil becomes rancid at about the same rate that milk becomes sour, so refrigeration of whole grain breads and flours is necessary. Technology’s answer to these issues has been to apply faster, hotter and more aggressive processing.28

Since grinding stones are not fast enough for mass-production, the industry uses high-speed, steel roller mills that eject the germ and the bran. Much of this "waste product"--the most nutritious part of the grain--is sold as "byproducts" for animals. The resulting white flour contains only a fraction of the nutrients of the original grain. Even whole wheat flour is compromised during the modern milling process. High-speed mills reach 400 degrees Fahrenheit, and this heat destroys vital nutrients and creates rancidity in the bran and the germ. Vitamin E in the germ is destroyed--a real tragedy because whole wheat used to be our most readily available source of vitamin E.

Literally dozens of dough conditioners and preservatives go into modern bread, as well as toxic ingredients like partially hydrogenated vegetable oils and soy flour. Soy flour--loaded with antinutrients--is added to virtually all brand-name breads today to improve rise and prevent sticking. The extrusion process, used to make cold breakfast cereals and puffed grains, adds insult to injury with high temperatures and high pressures that create additional toxic components and further destroy nutrients--even the synthetic vitamins that are added to replace the ones destroyed by refinement and milling.

People have become accustomed to the mass-produced, gooey, devitalized, and nutritionally deficient breads and baked goods and have little recollection of how real bread should taste. Chemical preservatives allow bread to be shipped long distances and to remain on the shelf for many days without spoiling and without refrigeration.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Reasons For Avoiding Wheat Part 2

Hormones on Wheat?

Sounds strange, but farmers apply hormone-like substances or "plant growth regulators" that affect wheat characteristics, such as time of germination and strength of stalk.11 These hormones are either "natural," that is, extracted from other plants, or synthetic. Cycocel is a synthetic hormone that is commonly applied to wheat.

Moreover, research is being conducted on how to manipulate the naturally occurring hormones in wheat and other grains to achieve "desirable" changes, such as regulated germination and an increased ability to survive in cold weather.12

No studies exist that isolate the health risks of eating hormone-manipulated wheat or varieties that have been exposed to hormone application. However, there is substantial evidence about the dangers of increasing our intake of hormone-like substances.

Chemicals Used in Storage

Chemical offenses don’t stop after the growing process. The long storage of grains makes them vulnerable to a number of critters. Before commercial grain is even stored, the collection bins are sprayed with insecticide, inside and out. More chemicals are added while the bin is filled. These so-called "protectants" are then added to the upper surface of the grain as well as four inches deep into the grain to protect against damage from moths and other insects entering from the top of the bin. The list of various chemicals used includes chlorpyrifos-methyl, diatomaceous earth, bacillus thuringiensis, cy-fluthrin, malathion and pyrethrins.14

Then there is the threshold test. If there is one live insect per quart of sample, fumigation is initiated. The goal of fumigation is to "maintain a toxic concentration of gas long enough to kill the target pest population." The toxic chemicals penetrate the entire storage facility as well as the grains being treated. Two of the fumigants used include methyl bromide and phosphine-producing materials, such as magnesium phosphide or aluminum phosphide.14

Grain Drying

Heat damage is a serious problem that results from the artificial drying of damp grain at high temperatures. Overheating causes denaturing of the protein26 and can also partially cook the protein, ruining the flour’s baking properties and nutritional value. According to Ed Lysenko, who tests grain by baking it into bread for the Canadian Grain Commission’s grain research laboratory, wheat can be dried without damage by using re-circulating batch dryers, which keep the wheat moving during drying. He suggests an optimal drying temperature of 60 degrees Celsius (140 degrees Fahrenheit).27 Unfortunately, grain processors do not always take these precautions.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Reasons For Avoiding Wheat Part 1

Wheaty Indiscretions: What Happens to Wheat From Seed to Storage

By Jen Allbritton, Certified Nutritionist

Wheat--America’s grain of choice. Its hardy, glutenous consistency makes it practical for a variety of foodstuffs--cakes, breads, pastas, cookies, bagels, pretzels and cereals that have been puffed, shredded and shaped. This ancient grain can actually be very nutritious when it is grown and prepared in the appropriate manner. Unfortunately, the indiscretions inflicted by our modern farming techniques and milling practices have dramatically reduced the quality of the commercial wheat berry and the flour it makes. You might think, "Wheat is wheat--what can they do that makes commercial varieties so bad?" Listen up, because you are in for a surprise!

It was the cultivation of grains--members of the grass family--that made civilization possible.1 Since wheat is one of the oldest known grains, its cultivation is as old as civilization itself. Some accounts suggest that mankind has used this wholesome food since 10,000 to 15,000 years BC.2 Upon opening Egyptian tombs archeologists discovered large earthenware jars full of wheat to "sustain" the Pharaohs in the afterlife. Hippocrates, the father of medicine, was said to recommend stone-ground flour for its beneficial effects on the digestive tract. Once humans figured out how to grind wheat, they discovered that when water is added it can be naturally fermented and turned into beer and expandable dough.2

Botonists have identified almost 30,000 varieties of wheat, which are assigned to one of several classifications according to their planting schedule and nutrient composition3--hard red winter, hard red spring, soft red winter, durum, hard white and soft white. Spring wheat is planted in the spring, and winter wheat is planted in the fall and shoots up the next spring to mature that summer. Soft, hard, and durum (even harder) wheats are classified according to the strength of their kernel. This strength is a function of the protein-to-starch ratio in the endosperm (the starchy middle layer of the seed). Hard wheats contain less starch, leaving a stronger protein matrix.3

With the advent of modern farming, the number of varieties of wheat in common use has been drastically reduced. Today, just a few varieties account for 90 percent of the wheat grown in the world.1

When grown in well-nourished, fertile soil, whole wheat is rich in vitamin E and B complex, many minerals, including calcium and iron, as well as omega-3 fatty acids. Proper growing and milling methods are necessary to preserve these nutrients and prevent rancidity. Unfortunately, due to the indiscretions inflicted by contemporary farming and processing on modern wheat, many people have become intolerant or even allergic to this nourishing grain. These indiscretions include depletion of the soil through the use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides and other chemicals, high-heat milling, refining and improper preparation, such as extrusion.1

Rather than focus on soil fertility and careful selection of seed to produce varieties tailored to a particular micro-climate, modern farming practices use high-tech methods to deal with pests and disease, leading to overdependence on chemicals and other substances.

It Starts with the Seed

Even before they are planted in the ground, wheat seeds receive an application of fungicides and insecticides. Fungicides are used to control diseases of seeds and seedlings; insecticides are used to control insect pests, killing them as they feed on the seed or emerging seedling.7 Seed companies often use mixtures of different seed-treatment fungicides or insecticides to control a broader spectrum of seed pests.8

Pesticides and Fertilizers

Some of the main chemicals (insecticides, herbicides and fungicides) used on commercial wheat crops are disulfoton (Di-syston), methyl parathion, chlorpyrifos, dimethoate, diamba and glyphosate.9

Although all these chemicals are approved for use and considered safe, consumers are wise to reduce their exposure as much as possible. Besides contributing to the overall toxic load in our bodies, these chemicals increase our susceptibility to neurotoxic diseases as well as to conditions like cancer.10

Many of these pesticides function as xenoestrogens, foreign estrogen that can reap havoc with our hormone balance and may be a contributing factor to a number of health conditions. For example, researchers speculate these estrogen-mimicking chemicals are one of the contributing factors to boys and girls entering puberty at earlier and earlier ages. They have also been linked to abnormalities and hormone-related cancers including fibrocystic breast disease, breast cancer and endometriosis.13