B L O G

All work and no play makes Jill a dull girl...but it also renders her susceptible to dysfunction in her hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal-thyroid-gonadal axis, dysregulations in digestion and immunostasis, and vulnerability to infections—which was the case with me recently.

A confluence of factors, including sleep disruption, escalating stress, and a higher intake of refined sugar intersected to compromise my immune status and I recently came down with a recalcitrant upper respiratory infection—which hung on through much of my vacation in California.

I recognized changes in my executive function—those cortical brain functions that coordinate higher-order neurological functions including organization, decision-making, problem-solving, synthesis and assimilation of information, abstract thinking, perceptual experience, self-awareness, planning, word recall, mood regulation, and memory retrieval.

Alongside the normal physiological expressions of a cold, I was more forgetful, constantly losing m...

This chicken vegetable soup is perfect for digestive flares. It incorporates bone broth, which is not only soothing to a distressed digestive tract, but also provides minerals (selenium, magnesium, calcium, phosphorous, potassium), amino acids, and other nutrients required for gut repair.


In addition, bone broth contains amino acids like glycine and proline that are found in limited supply in muscle meat. Glycine is a precursor to glutathione (the master antioxidant of the body) and stimulates production of stomach acid and bile acids essential for digestion. Bone broth is also rich in protein found in the tendons, ligaments, and other flexible tissues that are degraded during the cooking process.

Moreover, bone broth contains collagen, glycosaminoglycans like hyaluronic acid, glucosamine, and chondroiton sulfate, all of which have a regenerative effect on connective tissue (joints, tendons, ligaments).

Due to its healing properties, bone broth is an ideal adjunctive agent to he...

Turmeric is the venerated rockstar of all the culinary spices and a staple of traditional Ayurvedic medicine. A member of the Zingaberaceae family and a relative of ginger, turmeric contains various active constituents called curcuminoids (Chainani, 2003).


Six human trials have demonstrated that curcumin in particular, a diferuloylmethane in turmeric, elicits significant anti-inflammatory activity, and is safe at doses up to 8000 mg (8 grams) a day for up to three months with no toxicity (Chainani, 2003). 

At a mechanistic level, curcumin mitigates inflammation by inhibiting an array of pro-inflammatory signaling molecules, such as the eicosanoids known as leukotrienes, thromboxanes, and prostaglandins, which elicit deleterious effects ranging from pain to blood clotting to airway constriction (Chainani, 2003).

Curcumin likewise suppresses production of monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1), interferon-inducible protein, tumor necrosis factor (TNF), and interleukin-12 (IL-12), cyt...

© 6/20/17 GreenMedInfo LLC. This work is reproduced and distributed with the permission of GreenMedInfo LLC. Want to learn more from GreenMedInfo? Sign up for the newsletter here http://www.greenmedinfo.com/greenmed/newsletter. Originally published on GreenMedInfo here

By now, I'm sure you've seen USA Today article entitled, "Coconut oil isn't healthy. It's never been healthy". Fear-mongering, attention-grabbing headlines certainly sell copy, but do not make for evidence-informed quality science reporting. As I expressed in my recent post on social media,

The internet is full of erroneous claims. Science writers who forgo the nuances of empirical findings in the interest of sensational headlines.

False extrapolations made by people unequipped to interpret the research. Speculations by bloggers who missed the correlation-does-not-equal-causation lesson in epidemiology.

Over-generalizations from poorly designed, low quality in vitro and animal studies and studies that failed the test of sta...

This low fuss, quick-prep, savory dish is chock full of anti-inflammatory benefits due to its inclusion of two of my favorite vegetables super-foods, beets and purple sweet potato.

Nomato Sauce:

Ingredients:

3 celery stalks, diced

3 large carrots, diced

1 large beet, cooked and diced (or use 3/4 can of beets)

1/2 cup fresh basil

1 teaspoon oregano

1/2 teaspoon rosemary

1/2 teaspoon thyme

3/4 cup bone broth or chicken stock

1 teaspoon of garlic powder or 3 garlic cloves

1 tablespoon organic extra virgin olive oil

Sea salt

Instructions:

1) Saute chopped celery and carrots in olive oil over medium heat for several minutes.

2) Add chopped, cooked beets along with bone broth along with all the Italian herbs and spices.

3) Simmer on low, uncovered for twenty minutes.

4) Puree in a food processor.

5) Add sea salt to taste

Crispy Chicken with Mashed Purple Sweet Potatoes and Roasted Asparagus:

Ingredients:

1 lemon, juiced

1 tbsp. garlic powder

1 tbsp. onion granules

1 tsp. mustard powder*

1 tbsp. Italian seasoning

2 tsp...

Now that you know why I'm so crazy-for-beets, and why I've ditched the glycoalkaloid-laden nightshades, let's talk my obsession with sweet potatoes, the world's seventh most important food crop (Shekhar et al., 2015). In fact, in developing countries, sweet potatoes rank fifth in terms of caloric contribution to the human diet and third in terms of production value (Shekar et al., 2015).

Whereas the white- and cream-fleshed cultivars are predominately grown in the Pacific, the yellow- and orange-fleshed sweet potato is primarily harvested in the United States (Shekar et al., 2015). Compared to white-fleshed sweet potatoes, orange-fleshed sweet potatoes tend to have superior nutritional signatures, with increased levels of carotenoids, anthocyanins, flavonoids, and total protein compared to their white counterparts (Shekhar et al., 2015). Biochemical screening has indicated that white-fleshed sweet potatoes, on the other hand, have higher reducing sugar, carbohydrate, and phenolic conte...

Lemme tell ya folks, these nightshade-free cabbage rolls hit the spot. I've been tomato-free for four years but I don't even miss them now that I have this faux-mato sauce substitute perfected.


Although not a concern for most people, the glycoalkaloids in nightshade vegetables (potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant, bell peppers, paprika, goji berries, and aswaghanda) can be problematic in people with autoimmune disease and especially those of the rheumatological variety, such as rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).

According to scientists, "Glycoalkaloids, the natural components of potato, clearly are toxic to both humans and animals" (Korpan et. al., 2004).

These toxic steroidal alkaloids, which primarily consist of alpha-solanine and alpha-chaconine, are thought to protect the crop against pests and diseases induced by fungi and insects (Korpan et al., 2004).

Glycoalkaloids, also known as alkamines, are found in several fruits and vegetables (including beets, apple...

For all my nightshade-free foodies, thank goodness we have beets. They impart the savory umami flavor of tomatoes without the inflammatory lectins and saponins that disrupt intestinal tight junctions---leading to pathologic paracellular intestinal permeability, the precursor to all autoimmune disease (Fasano, 2012). 

What's more, Dr. Kara Fitzgerald, a luminary at the Institute for Functional Medicine, calls beets a "methylation superfood," along with organ meats, shellfish, eggs, mushrooms, and spinach. Methylation, a fundamental epigenetic process whereby carbon groups are attached to DNA to either silence it or promote its expression, is quintessential to cellular processes including detoxification, metabolism, neurotransmitter synthesis, mitochondrial energy production, central nervous system function, cell cycle regulation, cellular integrity, and immune homeostasis---and derangements in methylation have been implicated in many diseases (Robertson, 2005).

Beets are rich in beta...

Avocados and bananas go together like peanut butter and jelly---or for those of us enmeshed in the paleo-sphere, like bacon and dates  (let's be real...like bacon and everything). So much so that avocado-banana mash is often recommended as one of baby's first foods.

This Key Lime Avocado-Banana Pudding recipe is a creamy, decadent, nutrient-dense dessert or mousse made with two magnesium- and potassium-rich fruits. I adapted the recipe from nutritionist Natalija Clark, who you can find at www.nclarknutrition.com and on Instagram at the account @nclark.nutrition.

But first...can I get a hallelujah that the low fat dietary dogma of decades past has finally been ditched and debunked? It's just plain silly to think that back in high school, my mom was warning me to limit consumption of avocados, my favorite fruit, because it was 'fattening'. In sharp contrast to this antiquated nutrition lore of decades past, studies indicate that indulging in an avocado a day or so can keep the doctor away.

...

It makes me cringe to see people adopting unnecessarily restrictive diets. 

Recently it has come to my attention that some bloggers in the autoimmune paleo realm are recommending a low FODMAP diet as an "anti-inflammatory" protocol. This approach is just flat out not supported by science. Period. 

Unless you have fructose intolerance or SIBO, or are pursuing an oligoantigenic elemental diet due to acute gastrointestinal damage, please do not undertake a low FODMAP regimen. 

Even in cases of SIBO, a low FODMAP diet provides symptomatic relief only and does not treat the underlying dysbiosis.

Moreover, a low FODMAP diet low in fermentable fibers (food for good gut bugs) leads to local EXTINCTIONS of colonic microbiota populations---and it has been conclusively demonstrated in the literature that permanent re-inoculation of these species with probiotic supplements just does not happen (Staudacher et al., 2012). The ONLY way to recover lost microbial diversity is with a fecal microbiota transp...

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