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DO YOU SUFFER FROM CHRONIC BLOATING?

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low fodmap dietIf you are constantly bloated seemingly no matter what you eat, and have gas pain and discomfort, this post is for you!

As I child I suffered from chronic stomach pains.  After enduring a bunch of medical tests in my teen years, I was finally diagnosed with IBS and was told by my Doctor to avoid caffeine, spicy foods, fried foods, chocolate and popcorn. Giving up these foods – I did so for about a month – didn’t help at all and if you read on, you’ll see why.

If you don’t know what IBS is, it stands for “Irritable Bowel Syndrome” and in the medical world basically means “we can’t find anything seriously wrong with you, but your intestines are irritated for some reason – possibly stress and anxiety and too much spicy food – and we have no way to fix it other than to offer meds that may or may not help, but in all likelihood will make your symptoms worse in the long run.”  OK, fine maybe that’s not exactly what it means, but you get the point. tongue

All joking aside, IBS is diagnosed when other serious gastrointestinal diseases such as celiac, bowel cancer, chron’s disease and also some gynecological conditions are ruled out.

The most common symptoms of IBS are:

  • lower abdominal discomfort/pain
  • bloating
  • excessive gas
  • distention
  • altered bowel habits (diarrhea and/or constipation)

Well, as it turns out, the folks at Monash University have been researching this a long time and several years ago came out with a program that really, REALLY helps people with IBS.  It’s quite remarkable how much better you can feel while following this simple program – you will notice a change within the first WEEK!  Even if you haven’t officially been diagnosed with IBS, if you have the symptoms mentioned above and have ruled out other issues, this program may help and is certainly worth a try.

The program I am referring to is known as the Low-FODMAP diet.  FODMAP stands for Fermentable Olig-saccharides, Di-saccharides, Mono-saccharides and Polyols.  These sugars can be poorly absorbed in the small intestine and fermented by bacteria to produce gas.  Current research strongly suggests that this group of sugars contributes to IBS symptoms.

Even though many FODMAPs are poorly absorbed in ALL people (think of what happens when you eat beans, cauliflower, or brussel sprouts), the reason such strong symptoms only occur in those with IBS may be due to:

  • Gut Hypersensitivity – the amount of gas produced may be greater OR the gut is more sensitive to the gas produced
  • Bacterial Overgrowth in the Small Intestine – In some individuals, some of the bacteria that are normally located in the large intestine, move up in to the small intestine which creates the symptoms of IBS.

Note that not all individuals diagnosed with IBS react to ALL of the different types of FODMAPs.  Some of the FODMAPs ie. fructose, lactose and sorbitol, can be tested using a special breath test that can determine malabsorption but others cannot be tested and should simply be avoided to help relieve symptoms.  (Ask me about this test if you suffer from IBS and don’t want to unnecessarily avoid foods from this program).

Here is a general list of foods to avoid if you have IBS:

  • Artichokes
  • Garlic (garlic infused oil can be used instead: simply cut up 1 whole bulb – not clove – of fresh garlic, add to 1 cup organic cold-pressed olive oil and gently heat on the lowest setting until fragrant; remove from heat, let cool and strain the oil into a glass bottle)
  • Beans
  • Onions (the green part of the spring onion and chives may be used instead)*
  • onion and garlic powders*
  • apples
  • nectarines
  • white peaches
  • persimmon
  • watermelon
  • barley
  • rye (as a major ingredient; small quantities are ok)
  • wheat (as a major ingredient; small quantities are ok)
  • chicory (often used as a coffee substitute)
  • FOS: Fructo-oligo-sacharides, often found in Probiotic supplements
  • inulin fiber (made from chicory)
  • cashews
  • pistachios

* Note: For many people, onions and onion powder cause the MOST painful symptoms.  While this is hard to avoid when eating out, it is very easy to replace with green onions or chives in any recipe calling for onions.  There is also an Indian spice called  Asafateda powder that may be used and is said to have a strong onion/garlic flavor, but I have not personally tried it.

Other foods should be limited in quantity, such as:

  • asparagus
  • beets
  • broccoli
  • brussel sprouts
  • butternut pumpkin
  • peas
  • corn
  • pomegranite

For details on the quanities of the foods to be limited, as well as other foods that may or may not be a problem in your particular case,  you can purchase the official Monash University Low Fodmap diet booklet HERE or by clicking on the picture above.  For breath testing, and/or to discuss your particular health challenges and food sensistivies that may also play a role in IBS, Book an Appointment and I will be happy to help you. happy

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10 SUPPLEMENTS TO HELP BUILD LEAN MUSCLE

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Lean muscleSome people can literally look at a free weight and get beautifully sculped and defined muscles.  Others, like myself, can lift a lot heavier weight than we seem on first glance and yet the muscle growth and definition takes a longer time and a lot more hard work.  Mind you, I’m not talking about the muscle-bound women found in bodybuilding magazines, (sorry, but ew), rather the lean and defined muscular look like the girl shown at right.

So, how does one put on lean muscle?  Well, with commitment to the right exercise program  you CAN change the shape of your body but there are also a number of supplements that can help get you there. These supplements can be used to boost energy levels. That being said, if you aren’t eating a clean, healthy diet (no chemicals, additives, preservatives, artificial sweeteners, refined sugars, GMOs, etc), then don’t waste your money ordering a truckload of supplements because all it will do is add further stress to an already exhausted liver.  Once you are committed to these lifestyle changes, then adding some of the following supplements is the next logical step.  While these are not the only beneficial supplements for weight training by any means, they are simply the ones I either personally use and/or have recommended to my clients with good results (in no particular order):

1. BCAAs: Branched Chain Amino Acids are 3 amino acids (isoleucine, leucine and valine) that may help you have increased energy during your workouts.  They are also involved in creating new muscle tissue and can help protect your muscles from the catabolic (muscle breakdown) effect of dieting.

Preferred brand: The powder form from AOR, which has no other ingredients; It tastes a little bitter on it’s own though, so I recommend adding a tsp of TruviaDosage: 1 scoop with water before and/or after your workout.

2. CLA: An omega 6 fatty acid, Conjugated Linoleic Acid is different than other omega-6 fats in that it supports fat loss while promoting muscle growth and strength.

Preferred brand:  Genestra  Dosage: Take 1 cap  3x/day with meals.

3. B-Complex: B-vitamins help your body derive energy from the food you eat and helps get oxygen to muscle tissue.  Certain B vitamins also help the body use the protein you’re eating to help build muscle properly.

Preferred brand: While many professional brands make good quality B-complex formulas, I like Orti B from Genestra  Dosage: 1 capsule/day with a meal, but there are plenty of other protein products that you can get yourself.

4. Magnesium: Without Magnesium the body cannot produce adenosine tri-phosphate (ATP). ATP transports chemical energy within cells for metabolism and is critically important in building lean muscle.  If you have muscle or joint pain or spasms, magnesium may help to relax your muscles and ease the aches. Additionally, magnesium helps to block excess calcium from depositing in your muscles.  I recommend Magnesium Bisglycinate since it’s readily absorbable and easier on the digestive system than other forms.

Preferred Brand: CanPrev.  Dosage: 1 – 2 capsules/day.

5. Matcha Tea: While you can take Green Tea Extract in supplement form, I prefer to drink it in my tea! Green tea extract contains EGCG – epigallocatechen gallate – which helps muscle recovery after intense workouts, and increases metabolic rate and fat burning.  To learn more about matcha tea and how to make the perfect latte to replace your morning coffee, click HERE.

Preferred Brand: DoMatcha  Dosage: 2 cups/day

6. Bovine Colostrum:  Yep, that’s exactly what it sounds like but it’s not as weird as you might think! Colostrum is the initial type of breast milk mothers produce during pregnancy and for several days after giving birth.  It has high levels of protein, fat-soluble vitamins, minerals and antibodies called immunoglobulins. (The molecular structure of colostrum from cows is identical to human colostrum).  Several studies suggest that colostrum supplements may improve exercise performance and increase lean body mass, especially during periods of high-intensity training and recovery from high-intensity training.

Preferred brand: SurThrival, which is not de-fatted like other brands, is verified 6 Hour Colostrum, tested to be free from herbicides, antibiotics and hormones, and taken only after baby calves have had their share.  You can purchase SurThrival Colostrum HEREDosage: 3 capsules, 2x/day on an empty stomach.

7. Vitamin C:  Vitamin C fights free radicals created by weight training, reduces cortisol production (cortisol breaks down muscle tissue and tends to promote extra abdominal fat storage), and helps decrease muscle soreness.

Preferred brand: AOR – Vitamin C with Bioflavanoids  Dosage: 1 capsule/day with a meal.

8. L- Glutamine: An amino acid, L-glutamine has many benefits including improved muscular recovery, lower levels of muscular pain, and reduced risk of muscle breakdown.  Additionally, it’s very beneficial for intestinal health, so you will be able to utilize all the nutrients you eat in your diet, which in turn helps build lean muscle.

Preferred brand: AOR  Dosage: 1 capsule, 2x/day.

9. Coconut Oil:  Coconut oil improves endurance and athletic performance, promotes fat burning, and maintains muscle mass.  What this means is that it is one of the best ways to get lean AND ripped.  Many people are afraid of the fat content in coconut oil but I assure you it’s very different than other types of fat.  Learn more about the benefits of coconut oil HERE.

Preferred brand:  Spectrum Naturals – Coconut Oil Unrefined  Dosage:  1 teaspoon, 1 – 3 times per day, preferably before and after your workout.

10. Whey protein: Due to its complete protein content, Whey protein, derived from cow’s milk, helps increase muscle mass while decreasing body fat.  It also helps enhance exercise performance and protect against free radicals.  While there are many brands and types of whey protein, one thing is certain: steer clear of brands made with artificial sweeteners such as aspartame and Aculfame K.  There is also some debate as to whether it is better to use Whey protein in concentrate or isolate form – each have pros and cons.  For example, whey concentrates contain high amounts of lactose, which many people are sensitive to, however they contain more health promoting compounds.  Isolates, on the other hand, are more rapidly absorbed and contain higher amounts of protein.

Preferred brand:  (Kosher-certified)  Integrated Supplements; For those who do not require Kosher certification, I prefer the comprehensive combination of healthy ingredients in Shakeology (they have 2 vegan options as well which contain plant-based proteins instead of whey if you are sensitive/allergic to whey protein and want to help build lean muscle).  Dosage: 1 serving per day.

[Note: unless indicated otherwise with a website or Amazon affiliate link, items discussed above are available for purchase in our Online Dispensary.  If you sign up for our monthly newsletters, you will receive 15% off all available supplements.]

Have you tried any of the above items? I’d love to hear your feedback on the supplements that worked for you and the ones you felt were a waste of time or money.

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HOW TO EAT HEALTHY ON PASSOVER

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Cottonseed oilI wrote this article last year for the Toronto Family Magazine, and I wanted to post it here a week ago but I have been so busy cooking and preparing that I totally forgot! surpriseops: .   Hopefully it’s not too late to incorporate some of these healthy alternatives:

Buy organic potatoes: I know what you’re thinking: “A gazillion pounds of organic potatoes will cost me a fortune!” But this isn’t the case; organic potatoes are really not much more than conventional ones.  The reason to spend a little extra? A 2006 U.S.D.A. test found 81 percent of potatoes tested still contained pesticides after being washed and peeled, and the potato has one of the highest pesticide contents of 43 fruits and vegetables tested, according to the Environmental Working Group.  So with all those potatoes being eaten, wouldn’t you feel better knowing you were giving your family a lot less potentially harmful substances?

Eggs should have no hormones or antibiotics in the feed:  While I don’t recommend buying organic eggs, because there are too many blood spots found in them, the next best thing when consuming as many eggs as we do on Pesach, is eggs with no hormones or antibiotics in the feed. The only brand I have found to specify this on the label is Earth’s Best, which is found in most supermarkets.  Note that eggs labeled Omega-3 are not the same thing and this causes a lot of confusion among consumers.  The Omega-3 label simply means that flax seeds have been added to the feed; it does not mean that hormones or antibiotics have not been given as well.

Use spelt matzah instead of wheat:  Spelt is nutritionally superior to wheat and easier to digest.  While spelt does contain gluten, the gluten content is less, and many people sensitive to wheat find they can tolerate spelt.  (Note that spelt is not suitable for those with celiac disease or those on a gluten-free diet).  Even if you aren’t sensitive to wheat, another benefit to choosing spelt instead is that it remains unaffected by concepts such as ‘agribusiness’, ‘cross-breeding,’ ‘hybridization’ and ‘genetically modified’ – words that have come to dominate our modern food supply.  What does this mean to you? Less toxic substances and chemicals being consumed, better for your health.  It is easy to find Organic Spelt Matzoh at you local grocery store.

Cook and bake with grapeseed oil instead of cottonseed oil:  According to most health experts, cottonseed oil is one of the unhealthiest oils around.  Cottonseed oil contains natural toxins because in order to extract oil from cottonseed, these seeds have to be modified genetically.  The oil also contains unacceptably high levels of pesticide residues, since cotton is not classified as a food crop and farmers use many agrichemicals when growing it.  Additionally, since there is a similarity in the molecular structures of the composition of cottonseed and peanut oil, some people who are allergic to peanuts also suffer from the same allergic reactions after consuming cottonseed oil.

In contrast, grapeseed oil is rich in proanthocyanidins (OPC) a compound that is high in antioxidants which are 50 times more effective than Vitamin E and 20 times stronger than Vitamin C.  Grape seed oil is also able to handle high-temperatures without smoking, burning or splattering.  This means it can be safely used for high-heat stir-frying and baking.  Another great benefit – Grapeseed oil has a light nutty flavor lacking the heaviness of other oils, so it will not affect the flavor of your food.  While Kosher for Passover grapeseed oil is difficult to find in Canada,  De La Rosa Kosher Italian Grapeseed Oil, which has an OU-p, can be ordered from Amazon in the U.S.

Bake, don’t buy, Pesach cakes:  In addition to saving you lots of money, baking your own cakes for Pesach has many benefits over purchasing ready-made ones.  First, you can decrease the amount of sugar in almost every Pesach cake recipe, without affecting the final result.  Second, you can use Organic sugar according to most halachik authorities, as long as it has a reliable kosher symbol, no special Kosher for Passover certification required.  Third, commercial Pesach cakes are loaded with chemicals and preservatives in order to increase their shelf life, contains food coloring, unnatural flavoring and cottonseed oil.  Baking your own allows you to use grapeseed oil and the healthier eggs discussed above, eliminates the need for chemicals and gives you the opportunity to incorporate ingredients like raw almonds or walnuts (if there are no nut allergies in the family) to add healthy fatty acids as well as fiber.  Choose recipes that have the lowest amounts of potato starch for the healthiest result.

Drink dry red wine:  Dry red wine has some antioxidant properties as well as bioflavonoids, which help to fight free radicals — the damaging agents in your body that can lead to heart disease and cancer. What this means is that the cups of wine you consume for the Seder do offer some health benefits in addition to all those calories.  Speaking of calories, avoid sweet wines, which contain more than 45 grams of sugar per liter and therefore a lot more calories, as opposed to the 4 grams of sugar per liter that dry red wine contains.

If you or your children are drinking grape juice at the Seder, brands like Kedem and Concord now make organic grape juice with no sulfites. Sulfites, or sodium/potassium metabasulfite as it is commonly labelled, are a potential food allergen that can cause headache, facial flushing and itching and are found in all wines and grape juice unless it specifies “sulphite-free” on the label.  It is more difficult to obtain wine without sulphites, but if you tend to get any of those reactions after drinking wine, you might consider making the switch. That being said, some people get a reaction due to other substances in wine.Since white wine often has a higher sulfite levels than red wines, if you don’t react to white wine, then you know that it’s something in red wine other than sulfites that is causing the problem. (Note that organic wines are not necessarily sulfite free).

Stick to whole foods:  Simply put, eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, salads, roasted vegetables, fish, chicken and lean meat and drink plenty of water.  This way, you won’t find your health adversely affected by this holiday!  Check out the Recipes page for healthy recipes suitable for Passover.  While you’re at it, see this previously written post about what to eat on Passover.

Wishing you all a Chag Kasher V’sameach! happy

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MY REVIEW OF 21 DAY FIX

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I completed the 21-Day-Fix in March, along with 9 members of my Online Fitness Challenge Group (for more about our Online Fitness Challenge groups and how you can join one, please CLICK HERE).

Before I tell you about our experience with the program, take a look at this quick intro video:

Seems too good to be true, right? Well, here is the lowdown on this program as well as my overall opinion.  The weight loss in my group over the 3 weeks varied from 2 lbs. up to 9 lbs.  So I think it’s fair to say that unless you are extremely overweight or never ever cheat during this program, 15 lb. of weight loss is a little high.  That being said, from a Nutritionist/Personal Trainer standpoint, 1 – 2 lb. a week (or 6 lbs. over the 3 week period) is very reasonable and very attainable with this program.

There are no gimmicks with this program.  Autumn Calebrese is a serious, no nonsense trainer who doesn’t crack a lot of jokes and has a tendency to say “Yeah?” a lot.  She also says “You give me 21 days and I’ll give you the body you always wanted!” which is kind of irritating, because if I was 30 lbs. overweight and wanted to have the body of a supermodel, that isn’t going to happen in 21 days, I don’t care how good the program is! tongue  That being said, looking at her amazing body is motivating enough, and she does come across as being encouraging and caring, without being annoying or condescending.  She is a stickler for proper form which, as a trainer, I really appreciate since some trainers are “go go go” without taking the time and attention to make sure you are doing the exercises properly in order to prevent injury.

The program outlines the exact workouts to do each day and the exercise sessions, at 30 minutes each, were very varied and more challenging than I expected considering it is marketed to all fitness levels.  There is a modifier (Katie)  in every workout though so technically anyone CAN do it;   just don’t be discouraged if you are only following Katie all the time because eventually you will get better and be able to follow Autumn.  I found Upper Fix, Lower Fix and Pilates to be moderately challenging, while Cardio Fix and Total Body Cardio Fix were killer workouts with a lot of cursing going on (mine, not Autumn’s).  Yoga Fix was really easy, but considering it’s for the 7th day of the week, or the “rest” day, that’s to be expected.  The 10 min. Ab Fix bonus workout was pretty good but a little too much concentration on the upper abs and not much for the lower.  All the “choreography” is simple so it’s also perfect for those who have, shall we say, co-ordination challenges.

The program came with a bonus Plyo Fix workout, which is a decent workout but I just didn’t love it as much as the other workouts.  The Ultimate Kit includes 2 additional bonus DVDs, the 30 minute Flat Abs Fix and the Barre Legs, both of which are excellent and definitely worth the extra money.  They can also be purchased separately HERE if you already have the Base Kit or if you don’t need the additional extras from the Ultimate Kit (a tote bag, large to-go container and resistance band).

Now let’s talk about food, but more specifically, the infamous 21-Day-Fix containers: most of the members in my group completely freaked out when they first saw the containers that are included with the program.  They seem much smaller in person than they do in pictures and I think everyone’s first thought was “Holy crap, I’m going to starve!” but I assure you that’s not the case at all.  Not only do you get a few servings of each container per day, depending on your start weight (there’s a very easy to follow math equation that leads you to the specific calorie and container chart you will be following) but when you actually empty the contents of the containers into a normal plate, the portions are very reasonable.  The lowest calorie level for the program is 1200-1499 calories, which is very reasonable for weight loss according to Health & Nutrition experts.  I would never recommend eating less than 1200/calories per day and neither do the smart folks over at Beachbody, creators of this (and many other) programs. Personally, I found it much more difficult to be in the 1200-1499 calories range than my group did since I am used to eating close to 2000 calories a day (a necessity when exercising an hour a day and training people as well).  I ended up bumping up to the 1500-1799 calories/day and still managed to lose the 2 lbs. I gained during the previous month when stress led me to eat one to many bowls of coconut ice cream, so I was very pleased. winking

There are no weird or crazy foods to consume, no difficult recipes to follow, and you can print the super easy to follow program tracker sheets HERE.

Overall, I really enjoyed this program a lot and recommend it to anyone motivated enough to do daily workouts (it’s only 21 days!) and to lose weight in a short amount of time.  The program is definitely more geared towards women but I see no reason why men wouldn’t enjoy this program as well – just don’t expect to put on muscle as this is strictly a weight loss regimen. You can repeat the program as many times as you want if you have a significant amount of weight to lose, but I recommend to take a few days break in between each round and bump up the calories a level so your metabolism doesn’t slow down as it gets used to the calorie deficit.

Let me know in the comments if you have done this program and what you thought of it, or if you are planning to do it – I would love to help you reach your goals!

Below you will find details of what comes with the program (you can click any of the links to order):

Product Kit & Equipment Details (Base & Deluxe)

21 Day Fix Essentials (Base) Kit 30-day money back guarantee

Free Gifts Start Here Guide with Workout Calendar 3-Day Quick Fix** Eating Plan**24/7 Online Support** g

Work Outs 7 workouts on 2 DVDs (VHS not available)Dirty 30 workout** Total Body Cardio Fix Upper Fix Lower Fix Pilates Fix Cardio Fix Yoga Fix

Ultimate Workouts No

Equipment No

Nutrition Samples No

Containers 7 color-coded portion-control containers Shakeology shaker cup

**Free Gifts with purchase to keep

21 Day Fix Ultimate Kit 30-day money back guarantee

Free Gifts Start Here Guide with Workout Calendar 3-Day Quick Fix** Eating Plan**24/7 Online Support** Insulated Tote Bag

Work Outs 7 workouts on 2 DVDs (VHS not available)Dirty 30 workout** Total Body Cardio Fix Upper Fix Lower Fix Pilates Fix Cardio Fix Yoga Fix

Ultimate Workouts Flat Abs Fix Barre Legs

Equipment 1 Pro-Grade Resistance Band (Pink=15lbs)

Nutrition Samples No

Containers 7 color-coded portion-control containers Shakeology shaker cup Large on-the-go container

Recommended Equipment: Yoga Mat or Beachbody miniMAT are helpful but not required.

Required Equipment: Dumbbells or a resistance band are used in some of the workouts.

PRICES:

Base Kit: 59.85 US or 53.87 US if you are a Club Member

Ultimate Kit: 119.70 US or 107.73 if you are a Club Member

Challenge Pack is also available which includes 30 days of Shakeology (For my orthodox Jewish followers, please note: Shakeology has 2 vegan options – the others are made with whey protein – but it is NOT certified Kosher) and 30 days of Club Membership: 160.00 US

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SHOULD YOU AVOID NIGHTSHADE FOODS?

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Nightshades

We know vegetables are part of a healthy diet, but what about nightshade vegetables?  And what the heck are nightshades anyway?

Nightshades are in the Solanaceae family of plants.  They include:

White Potatoes
Tomatoes
Peppers  – red, yellow, green, jalapeno; also includes paprika & cayenne pepper (but not black pepper or white pepper)
Eggplant
Nicotine
….and the lesser known nightshade, Goji Berries

So what is it about Nightshades that make them potentially problematic?

Plants produce alkaloids primarily designed to help protect them from insects. The active alkaloid in nightshades, is a drug-like alkaloid that may compromise function in the bodies of sensitive individuals. There is no solid research evidence showing an impact on the nervous system or joints, but it there are many people, especially those with joint pain, but also many with digestive complaints as well as nervous system disorders, who feel a lot better when nightshades are eliminated from their diet, as it seems to relieve a variety of conditions.

Some researchers believe that arthritis is often misdiagnosed in people who may in fact only be experiencing the effects of nightshade consumption; in fact, one in three arthritics will react badly to nightshades.  Though not yet understood how, nightshade foods may remove calcium from bones and deposit it in soft tissue, setting the stage for arthritis. For this reason, researchers have recommended that all individuals with osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis or other joint problems like gout eliminate nightshade foods from their diet.

My Personal Experience with Nightshades:

As a young child I had psoriasis on one of my knees.  If you aren’t familiar with psoriasis, it is an autoimmune skin disorder that sort of looks like eczema but generally occurs on the outer elbows and knees (although it can occur anywhere on the body) as opposed to the inner elbows and knees as typically characterized by eczema.  There are many different types of psoriasis, but the common type has clearly defined borders and the skin flakes in round white patches, which causes it to itch – a lot.  Sounds delightful, I know.  🙄  It is notoriously difficult to treat, but a healthy diet and a well functioning digestive system is of utmost importance; I believe it is for this reason that mine cleared up almost 20 years ago when I began my journey towards living a healthier lifestyle.   Unfortunately, about a year ago I was hospitalized for a few days with a severe bacterial infection in my leg (that’s what happens when you scratch a cut on your leg with not-so-clean-hands, folks surpriseops: ) and was given massive doses of antibiotics; not surprisingly, since antibiotics destroy the balance of gut flora, especially at those high doses, the psoriasis returned.

Since many experts believe that Nightshades should be avoided not only by those with joint pain and problems, but by people with autoimmune disorders in general, I decided to give it a shot and gave up ALL nightshades for 3 months.  Want to know what that’s like? Well, never mind the fact that I LOVE eggplant and tomatoes/tomato sauce but eating at a restaurant or at a friends house became almost impossible.   Restaurants love using Paprika on EVERYTHING – and friends just thought I was more nuts than usual as I picked the peppers and tomatoes out of their salads.  I stuck with it, though, because I had to see for myself if this was a contributor to the problem.  After the 3 months although there wasn’t much of an improvement in my skin condition, I did learn that high amounts of nightshades, tomatos in particular, did make the itching worse.

So what’s the bottom line?

For as many articles as you will find that nightshades are bad for you, there are an equal number of articles you can find that say it’s simply not true and there is no scientific evidence to support this theory.  Ever the practical realist, here’s my simple take on it:

If you have any of the issues above, especially joint pain, arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis or other autoimmune disorder, eliminate nightshades from your diet for 3 months to see if it makes a difference.   Less than 3 months just isn’t enough to really come to a good conclusion, although if you are sensitive to them you should feel some improvement right away.  If it doesn’t make any difference at all, enjoy.  If it makes somewhat of a difference, than have them in moderation, cooked, for this lowers the alkaloid content by 40-50%.  If you have noticeable improvement in your symptoms, then obviously stay away!

Have you tried avoiding Nightshades and did it help you?

Share in the comments below!

UPDATE JULY/2014: I recently had a skin biopsy and, as it turns out, I was mis-diagnosed as a child and never had psoriasis.  What I have, in fact, is eczema.  While health experts believe that it the same leaky gut that contributes to both psoriasis and eczema,  there are other differences pertaining to these conditions and it may explain why avoiding nightshades did not work for me.

 

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