IS YOUR GUT MAKING YOU CRAZY?

We Welcome Guest Blogger and Friend Sarah Bingham founder of Fast Food Healing.

Sarah is a licensed nutrition consultant with a master’s degree and more than thirty-five years experience counseling and lecturing on all aspects of nutrition throughout the country. Her current focus is in family nutrition, helping parents recover their children from conditions like autism, ADD, ADHD, asthma and other learning/behavior issues. She is also a dynamic and passionate speaker who communicates with clarity, humor and inspiration the simplicity of achieving wellness.

Sarah works as the Director of Nutritional Programs for Valle Counseling in Tampa, FL. She is a certified GAPS (Gut and Psychology/Physiology Syndrome) practitioner (see www.gaps.me). Sarah is the founder of Fast Food Healing LLC, a personalized in-home nutrition counseling business. Sarah always addresses body, mind and spirit as they are all critical to a healthy body.

Following is an article Sarah shared with us.  Did you know that 80-90% of your neurotransmitters (chemicals that effect your mood and brain function) are created in your gut? Also, the seat of your immune system is in your gut. Hence, that old saying, “I’ve got a gut feeling” is quite accurate. Hence, what research is beginning to put together is if your mood, mind or behavior are off, you have a very good chance of having a gut that is off and a poor immune system.

What do I mean by “off”? Your gut is loaded (about 4 pounds) with good guy bacteria. This good guy bacteria keeps in check the potentially bad guy bacteria that is also present. All of these microbes have important functions, like creating B vitamins, neurotransmitters, and anti-cancer substances. When the good guys are winning, your mood and ability to think are in great shape. Your immune system is also in good shape. But, when the bad guys are winning, you could be suffering from any one of these conditions: Irritable bowel, reflux, ADD, ADHD, asthma, autism, bipolar disease, food allergies and intolerance, depression, dyslexia, autoimmune disease and more.

What causes your gut to become out of balance? Antibiotics, stress, the birth control pill, most prescription drugs and a diet high in processed foods. So, take a mother to be who has eaten a processed diet her whole life, has had a few courses of antibiotics and is now pregnant. Her gut “flora” or bacteria are more than likely out of balance. A baby’s gut is sterile until going through the birth canal. At this point, the baby swallows some of the mother’s vaginal fluid, which is reflective of her gut balance or imbalance. Thus, the baby’s gut is inoculated with either good guy bacteria or bad guy bacteria. And the cycle begins again.

Sometimes it’s easy to bring your gut back into balance using probiotics, lactic acid fermented foods and good whole foods and sometimes it takes a major effort to accomplish a rebalancing of the gut. When I look out at our society with lots of depression, rage, anxiety, immune dysfunction and irritable bowel, I think we all need a major revamping of our gut flora. As Hippocrates said back in 400 BC, “All disease begins in the gut.”

love your gut

Intuitive Eating: The Un-Diet

intuitive eating whole food diet

At Intelligent Gourmet, we don’t jump on diet trends, and we don’t think “skinny” is the ideal. We appreciate good health in all its forms, so if you’re eating clean, staying active, and loving life, we support you! One aspect of health, however, is developing a healthy relationship with food. The “Intuitive Eating” approach aims to do just that by encouraging people to eat when they’re hungry, and stop when they’re full.

It sounds simple, doesn’t it? In my opinion, the best things in life always are!

In our social-eating society (and as an Italian, I understand social eating on a deep level), eating only when you’re hungry and stopping when your full can be a real challenge. But, if you can manage it, you might never need to diet again.

The Rules of Intuitive Eating

  • No foods are off-limits.
  • Eat want your body craves, but only when you feel hungry. No guilt allowed!
  • Stop eating when you no longer feel hungry.

Now, I would put a few caveats in place, because I believe this method works best when your body chemistry is balanced with good nutrition. If you eat nothing but brownies all day, or any other sugar and carb-filled processed food, science shows that you will actually feel hungrier than if you ate something more balanced (even a home-made brownie with walnuts is better!). I would also beware of sugary and alcoholic drinks that add calories without filling you up. However, if you pair the Intuitive Eating philosophy with a whole foods diet, I think it could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship – and a beautiful body.

Let me know if you try it!

Pitfalls of Losing a Pound a Day

Vegan SushiYes, friends, it’s January, and the hucksters are peddling their Lose-Weight-Fast diets all over the internet. Enter Rocco DiSpirito’s “Pound a Day Diet.”

On paper, it sounds great. Lose a pound a day on what he calls “metabolic fasting” (the theory is that your metabolism won’t turn to sludge if you intersperse low calorie days with higher calorie days). While on the diet, you eat delicious food that only takes a few minutes and a handful of ingredients to make, with recipes based on the “Mediterranean diet,” including lots of protein, vegetables, and moderate carbohydrates. Here’s why it works: “Pound a Day” dieters are restricted to 850 calories per day on weekdays and 1200 calories on weekends, consumed in frequent, small meals. Yes, you will lose weight. But you might lose your health and well being too.

While the “Pound a Day Diet” sounds like the perfect quick-fix to all your weight-loss problems, there’s a reason health professionals don’t recommend going below 1200 calories a day. Several reasons, in fact.

The Real Consequences of Rapid Weight Loss

  • At less than 1000 calories a day, it’s nearly impossible to get the vitamins, protein and minerals your body needs to avoid malnutrition.
  • At less than 100 calories, your body shifts from active calorie-burning mode into calorie-storing mode, effectively shutting down your metabolism.
  • When your metabolism shuts down, you’ll feel tired and lethargic, even if you eat “snacks” throughout the day. Your body just doesn’t have enough fuel.
  • Your body will start to burn muscle, not fat. This has mental, as well as physical, effects, such as: confusion, anxiety, depression, and memory loss.

Personally, I think the “Pound a Day” plan needs to add 200 to 400 calories in order to be nutritionally sound and safe. No, you may not lose weight as fast, but you’ll be better off for it. In fact, supplementing this diet with a couple mason jars of good, green juice might be just the thing to replenish missing nutrients. And don’t forget a handful of nuts – good fats are important on any diet!

Flexitarianism – The New National Diet Fad?

Flexitarianism

You’re familiar with Vegans, Vegetarians, maybe even Fruitarians, but the new word to enter the dietary lexicon is “Flexitarian,” – people who choose to eat less meat. They’re not eliminating hamburgers from their diets, but they are limiting them for health reasons.

Eating a mostly vegetarian diet has been proven to be very healthful; studies show that vegetarians live 3.6 years longer and weigh 15% less than non-vegetarians. However, strict vegetarianism can also lead to health problems when not carefully managed to ensure enough nutrients are consumed. Iron, B12 and protein deficiencies are not uncommon.

Enter the Flexitarian Diet, which includes the occasional free-range organic chicken, wild-caught salmon or grass-fed steak. Health-wise, it presents a happy medium, especially in diets that include seasonal fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Flexitarianism also might be the wave of the future, since more Americans are eating less meat.

The United States Department of Agriculture predicts that U.S. meat consumption will decline for the fifth straight year in 2012. Beef is no longer “what’s for dinner” in many households. Considering that the price of beef has risen in the midst of an economic downturn, it’s no surprise. But cost isn’t the only reason for the changing ratio of meat to vegetable. The Meatless Monday Movement has been gaining ground and raising awareness of the benefits of cutting back on meat – it improves heart health and helps the environment.

Whether you’re ready to call yourself a “Flexitarian” or just want to improve your eating habits for a healthy body and mind, Intelligent Gourmet can help you achieve your goals while still packing in the flavor you love. We take the smart approach to eating healthy.