21 December 2014

5 Tips to Safely Celebrate When You Have Food Allergies

Gathering with family is an important part of the holidays for most of us. If you suffer from food allergies or eat a restricted diet due to a health conditions, it can be especially tricky to navigate. I'm putting together a short list of tips and tricks to get through it safely and make sure you still have a wonderful family get-together!

Here's my top tips for celebrating with family if you have some dietary restrictions.

  1. Talk to the host prior to the event - Ask ahead of time what is on the menu and if the host would like you to bring something. If possible you might ask them to prepare the main course in a way that fits your dietary needs. You should also figure out if there will be enough dishes that you can eat to fill you or if you will need to bring your own food. By all means, do offer to bring a dish or two that you know you can eat and then share the love with everyone! I'm always tickled if family raves over my grain-free paleo-style dishes.
  2. Know what it's swimming in - I've found that most of the common food allergens come in the sauces, dressings or marinades. These culprits frequently contain gluten, dairy, egg, soy, or sugar. You may ask the host to hold aside a portion of undressed salad or fix your piece of chicken or fish with no marinade or sauce. I usually ask for olive oil, salt and garlic ...It's delicious every time and I know I'm not getting any hidden gluten or dairy in the sauce.
  3. Send a package ahead of you - if you're traveling to an area where there is no Whole Foods or natural grocery nearby to accessorize your diet, you can often ship ahead a small box of essentials. You can either pack them yourself or you can use a service, like Amazon or Vitacost and have them ship the necessary items. I frequently do this with non-perishables, like coconut milk, sunflower nut butter, chia seed, and high quality coconut or olive oils. Plus you can leave any of the gourmet leftover items with your host to enjoy! Better yet, order enough to get free shipping and include a hostess gift of some special gourmet food item that he/she cannot purchase locally. Organic dark chocolate or specialty cooking oils are a wonderful gift idea!
  4. Don't go hungry - When we are hungry our brains may bypass the filter of what we know to be a better choice. We'll often we end up eating too much and pick foods that we'd normally avoid. This is why I vow never take my husband grocery shopping on an empty stomach... you just never know what will make it's way into your shopping cart! ;-) Eat a small protein snack prior to heading out, like nuts/seeds, guacamole or jerky. If you know there will not be any safe options, it's ok to eat your entire meal before you go and just enjoy the company and not the food.
  5. BYOBF (Bring your own back-up food) - whether traveling by plane or car or just driving across town for a holiday get-together, you can never go wrong by having a few nonperishable snacks or options with you. You never know when you'll get stranded in the car or in the airport for longer than expected. I carry things like packets of sunflower nut butter, coconut butter and shredded coconut, a piece of fruit, dried organic beef or bison jerky, Alter Eco 85% dark chocolate bar, and/or packets or tins of wild salmon or sardines. I can't tell you how many times I've been stranded somewhere longer than anticipated and hungry and so thankful for my little stash! As the true saying goes, "Fail to plan and plan to fail..."

Wishing you a most delightful and delicious holiday season making many memories with your loved ones!

02 December 2014

The Biology of Food Addiction

The Calorie Hypothesis
Current view: Obesity is just lack of will power ...eat less, exercise more

This model fails because:

  1. Our body's wise compensatory mechanisms defend against weight loss by decreasing energy expenditure and increasing appetite as we diet
  2. High glycemic carbohydrates (like added refined sugars, sugar-sweetened beverages, refined grains, and starches) light up the nucleus accumbent - the brain's addiction center - promoting compulsive overeating of processed high glycemic foods
  3. Multiple other factors actually regulate metabolism: dietary composition, gut microbiome, toxic exposures, infections, allergens, nutrient status, mitochondrial dysfunction, and imbalance of hormones and neurotransmitters.
"Caloric-restricte traditional "diets" exacerbate metabolic dysfunction and actually lead to OVEREATING over the long-term"

A more accurate view...

  1. Poor diet quality, not calories is drive of obesity
  2. All calories not created equal
  3. Food is more than calories... it is information that programs genetic expression and changes metabolic state
  4. Diets don't work because they are not addressing fundamental drivers of excess caloric intake: physiologic addiction to refined carbs and sugar! 

Sugar is eight times more addictive than cocaine!

Experimental research reveals a commonality between addition to sugar and cocaine.
  • Both sweet taste and drugs of abuse, such as cocaine, stimulate release of dopamine in ventral stratum, critical in the process of reward-processing and learning
  • Cross-tolerance and dependance are seen in both sugar consumption and drugs of abuse. This means that over time it takes more and more of each to get the desired effect.
  • In one study, rats preferred saccharin over IV cocaine. In another, they chose sucrose over cocaine.

Compulsive Overeating Can Resemble Drug Addiction

Visceral Fat is "hungry" and may drive overeating behavior

  • Visceral fat is fat that is stored around your organs
  • These visceral fat cells are metabolically active and suck fuel out of your blood stream, making you eat more!
  • They secrete hormones and cytokines that promote weight gain and inflammation
    • Hormones such as adiponectin, insulin, resisting, leptin and MSH
    • Cytokines such as IL-6, TNF-alpha, and other pro-inflammatory molecules
  • Insulin release surges in response to high glycemic foods, creating more inflammation and obesity-promoting metabolism, more visceral fat storage = vicious cycle

Dietary composition more important than calories...

  • In this large European study, increase in protein content and a reduction in the glycemic index led to an improvement in study completion and maintenance of weight loss.
  • Another study shows a low-glycemic diet higher in fat and protein improves metabolic rate and energy.
  • Mice fed high-GI diet had almost twice the body fat of those on the low-GI diet after 9 weeks.
  • Athletes on ketogenic, high-fat diet had better performance, less fatigue

Bottom line: Latest research indicates that sugar consumption is an independent risk factor for many, if not ALL, chronic disease.

Do you need more reasons to stop eating sugar now?

Here are my recommendations for optimal health and weight:

  1. Quality of foods is essential... low glycemic load, high micronutrient and phytonutrient and fiber content = eat a rainbow of colors in your foods.
  2. Choose organic, pastured meats and wild fish
  3. Eat more vegetables and low-glycemic fruits, like berries and green apples
  4. Avoid all packages, processed foods - if it has more than 3-4 ingredients don't buy it!
  5. Limit high glycemic starchy foods, like white potatoes and white rice
  6. Eliminate gluten if you're sensitive and avoid ALL refined processed grains
  7. Avoid all hydrogenated and trans fats. Use organic butter, ghee, coconut oil, olive oil, avocado and other healthy fats freely
  8. Avoid genetically modified foods, like corn, soy, canola.

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18 November 2014

Fifteen Facts to Fight Flu Naturally

Flu season is just around the corner and there are many ways to enhance your immune system naturally! Don't let the headlines scare you... your amazing body was built to fight off infections and if you treat it well...  You are NOT destined to get influenza.   I believe for most individuals, there are better ways than a formeldehyde-laden vaccine to enhance your own immune fighting capabilities naturally.

Dr. Jill's Fifteen Tips for Enhancing Immune System Naturally:

  1. Hydration - drink plenty of pure filtered water every day. This is especially important if you are flighting the flu. I recommend drinking up to 80% of your body weight (in pounds) of water (in ounces)
  2. Elimination of sugar and processed foods - studies confirm a decrease in immune system's effectiveness within hours of consuming sugar. Get rid of the junk and you are more likely to be able to fight off a viral infection and decrease inflammation. This could be the most important piece of advice you follow to avoid getting the flu.
  3. Elimination of dairy - since many patients suffer from food sensitivity to dairy, it is a good idea to eliminate this food group if you want to avoid symptoms of a cold or influenza. Even though studies have not shown a link between increase mucus production and dairy consumption, I generally see clinical improvement in patients who choose to eliminate milk and cheese.
  4. Sinus irrigation - I recommend the NeilMed sinus irrigation or a nettipot used 1-2 X daily with saline to clear out excess sticky mucous and prevent viruses and a bacteria from adhering. This works amazing for anyone who relies on their voice for occupation, like teachers, professors, singers, etc. It's also good for the rest of us to prevent the bacteria or viruses that cause infection from sticking around. One study showed that daily hypertonic saline nasal irrigation improves sinus-related quality of life, decreases symptoms, and decreases medication use in patients with frequent sinusitis.
  5. Vitamin D3 - This is one of my favorite remedies! You may take 25,000IU daily for 2-3 days in a row at onset of symptoms to knock out a virus. Check with your doctor before using high dose Vitamin D3 if you have sarcoidosis or other autoimmune disease. This dose should not be used long-term but you may safely take 2000IU daily after that. Vitamin D is an important immune system regulator. Serum Vitamin D levels were inversely associated with all-cause mortality from cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and respiratory diseases. The active form of vitamin D has also been shown to inhibit the development of autoimmune diseases, including inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
  6. Vitamin C - Vitamin C is still a core powerful immune stimulant. Take 4-5 grams daily if you would like to support your immune system during flu season. It has been shown to increase glutathione production in human lymphocytes. In another study, intake of Vitamin C decrease incidence of upper respiratory infections in athletes.
  7. Zinc - Recommended dose is 50-100mg daily. It is clear that zinc affects multiple aspects of the immune system, from the barrier of the skin to gene regulation within white blood cells. Read more here on how zinc is a potent mediator of resistance to infection.
  8. Echinacea - This is a powerful anti-viral that may be used to fight cold or flu. It can be purchased in lozenges, syrup, or capsules. I do not recommend using for more than 2-3 weeks at a time.
  9. Lysine - shown to decrease replication of the herpes simplex virus, I generally recommend 1-2 grams daily for prevention and 4-6 grams daily for treatment
  10. Olive Leaf Extract - For the common cold take either two 500 mg capsules, 4 times per day with meals, or one capsule every hour while awake. Elenolic acid (the active ingredient in olive leaf) has been shown to be a potent inhibitor of a wide spectrum of viruses.
  11. Garlic - One of my favorite all around infection fighters! Use caution if you have sensitivities to sulfur foods or drugs. My favorite form of garlic is the potent Allimed brand, which can be taken for prevention at 1-2 capsules per day. At first sign of infection take 4-6 capsules daily for a period of one week. Relief should be felt within first 24 hours.
  12. Homeopathic Remedies: Boiron Oscillococcinum and FluNada Take as directed - I carry these two with me at ALL times, especially during air travel. Before getting on a plane I always take a vial of Oscillo. You may take 1 vial up to 3 times daily when you start to feel the flu coming on. FluNada may also be used and is equally effective but must be sprayed in the nose or back of throat.
  13. Adequate sleep - During the hours your are sleeping your detox system (liver/kidneys) and your immune system work their hardest. If you are not getting 7-8 hours of sleep, your immune system is depressed and you will be more susceptible to the flu.
  14. Daily exercise - Dr. Jill recommends gentle stretching, yoga, and deep breathing but not strenuous exercise, like running, if you are feeling symptoms of influenza.
  15. Prayer and meditation - need I say more? Gratitude to the Creator is a powerful modulator of health! Regular prayer and meditation may help control stress response and enhance innate immunity.

24 October 2014

How to Heal a Leaky Gut, Part II

Did you miss my first Leaky Gut Article?! Read more here

So now you may be wondering if you have leaky gut...

Food allergies, toxins, sugar, antibiotics, parasites and stress can wreak havoc with your gastrointestinal system, upsetting the balance in your intestine as well as allowing harmful substances to enter the system. Gas, bloating, diarrhea, constipation or abdominal discomfort may be the first clue that something is wrong with the digestive tract, but did you know allergies
or even lack of energy and fatigue can often be traced to digestive problems as well?

Normally the gastrointestinal epithelium provides a semi-permeable barrier with allows nutrients to be absorbed while preventing larger molecules from crossing into the bloodstream. When this lining becomes inflamed or damaged, then the barrier becomes "leaky". The fallout results in larger, undigested food molecules and other “bad stuff” (yeast, toxins, and all other forms of waste) that your body normally doesn’t allow through, to flow freely into your bloodstream.

Causes of increased intestinal hyperpermeability or "leaky gut":

  • Medications (NSAIDS) like ibuprofen and motrin
  • Microbial overgrowth or infection
  • Parasite infections
  • Fungal overgrowth (Candida)
  • Ingestion of allergenic foods
  • Maldigestion/malabsorption (pancreatic insufficieny or low HCl)
  • Radiation therapy or chemotherapy
  • Stress
  • Aging
  • IgA deficiency
  • Chronic alcohol intake
  • Excessive or strenuous exercise
  • Inflammatory bowel disease - Crohn's or Ulcerative colitis
The small and large intestines contains numerous dietary and bacterial products with toxic properties. These include bacteria, bacterial cell wall (LPS), peptides, and bacterial antigens capable of inducing antibodies which may cross-react with human tissues.... when these antibodies react, they may form systemic immune complexes which can circulate and deposit in tissues far away from the gut.

Abnormalities of the gut lining barrier lead to increased uptake of inflammatory molecules and pathogenic bacteria. With inflammation & injury to the gut lininng, mucosal absorption of normally-excluded substances increases dramatically. Intestinal inflammation enhances the uptake and distribution of potentially injurious bacteria and proteins .

Leaky Gut is seen in disorders such as:

  • Inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn's & Colitis)
  • Inflammatory joint disease
  • Food allergy
  • Celiac disease
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Ankylosing spondylitis
  • Reiter’s syndrome
  • Eczema & psoriasis
  • Bipolar, depression and schizophrenia
  • Allergies and asthma
  • Autoimmune thyroiditis
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Autoimmune liver & gallbladder disease

So how do we test for "Leaky Gut"?

Small molecules (glucose or mannitol) readily penetrate cells and passively diffuse through them. Larger molecules such as lactulose are normally are normally not able to diffuse through the cell. If the tight junctions between the cells are functioning properly, they will prevent the lactulose from leaking through. The Intestinal Permeability Test directly measures the ability these two sugar molecules—mannitol and lactulose—to permeate the intestinal mucosa.

Mannitol is readily absorbed and serves as a marker of transcellular uptake. Lactulose is only slightly absorbed and serves as a marker for mucosal integrity (ability of those "tight junctions" to keep out the bad stuff) The test is a 6 hour urine test that compares ratios of the two substances.

For more info:

Genova Diagnostics Intestinal Permeability Assessment
You will need to contact your functional medicine physician in order to order the test.
Now for some treatment options for this leaky gut!

Nutritional Support

  1. Glutamine, an amino acid, has been shown to reverse intestinal mucosal damage from various insults. Glutamine is the principle fuel used by the upper intestinal tract to repair and heal.
  2. Agents that stimulate protective mucus secretion may also help with the healing. Some common ones I use are marshmallow root extract and deglycyrrhizinated licorice (DGL) extract.
  3. Probiotics are essential! Lactobacillus casei, bifidobacter species, and saccromyces boulardii, a beneficial type of yeast are all important to restore gut health.
  4. Fish oil can be very helpful in the treatment of intestinal inflammation by decreasing inflammatory prostaglandins. EPA and DHA should be used in the range of 2-4gm daily
  5. Quercetin functions as a natural mast cell stabilizer and decrease release of histmine which contributes to inflammation & injury. To be effective, quercetin should be used in powder form and taken 3-6gm daily.
  6. Vitamins A and D are critical to supporting secretory IgA function and restoring the mucosal immune system. Ask your doctor for specific doses...

To Decrease Toxic Load:

  • Eliminate all known foods that you are sensitive to. This can be determined through a comprehensive elimination diet or IgG/IgE food tests on the blood.
  • Avoid alcohol, NSAIDS (ibuprofen, motrin, alleve), and minimize other medications.
  • Bentonite clay is a well-known intestinal adsorbent which absorbs numerous toxins, endotoxins and bacteria. Its value in permeability alterations may result from lowering the toxin load in the lumen, thus facilitating repair. I also frequently recommend Upgraded charcoal tabs for the same purpose.
  • HCI and digestive enzymes such as plant enzymes, pepsin and pancreatin might help to lessen the antigenic load or toxic molecules being presented on the intestinal lining.

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Photo courtesy of www.freedigitalphotos.net

14 October 2014

11 Tips for Breast Cancer Prevention

It's Breast Cancer Awareness month, so here are a few simple tips for prevention!

  1. Exercise: Women who do aerobic exercise 3-5 times per week have a 37-60% less risk of breast cancer. Exercise lowers the amount of estrogen and dangerous estrogen metabolites.
  2. Stress Reduction: Chronic stress is a huge risk factor not only for heart disease, high blood pressure, ulcers, and depression but also cancer. Breast cancer frequently follows a period of severe, constant stress…a bad marriage, the death of a child, abusive work conditions, and bankruptcy. Cortisol, the stress hormone increases estrogen dominance. Getting rid of stressors, consciously acknowledging them, and altering your response to those stressors is critical in disease prevention. Walk, talk, meditate, laugh, and BREATHE! People who ‘go with the flow' and ‘let it go' rarely get cancer. Release the anger, forgive.
  3. Low Carbohydrate Diet: Elevated insulin levels from a diet high in sugar and refined carbohydrates, increase ‘estrogen dominance' by increasing the amount of free estrogen and stimulating the estrogen receptor directly. Tumor cells over express insulin receptors allowing more glucose in to feed the tumor. Breast, and other cancers are stimulated by sugar and other refined carbohydrates. Women diagnosed with breast cancer, who have high insulin levels, have an increased risk of breast cancer coming back and are more likely to die from breast cancer.
  4. Whole food, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds: “Let food be your medicine. ” Hippocrates Much of what you need to prevent cancer is a gift from the earth. It's your choice. The more refined the food, the less nutrition, the more chemicals. Fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds contain Phytonutrients, which naturally balance your hormones. They contain usable minerals, vitamins, and fibers which also lower the estrogen burden and create healthy estrogen metabolites. Eat 5-8 servings a day.
  5. Avoid Partially Hydrogenated Oils and Tran fats: They are found in almost all processed foods. They not only increase the dangerous estrogen metabolites they stimulate the breast cancer cell directly. Use olive oil or coconut oil instead.
  6. Omega 3 Fatty Acids: Essential fatty acids (flaxseed and high quality fish oil capsules) inhibit breast cancer cell proliferation. Flax seed (2 Tbsp. /day) has been shown to reduce the size of breast cancers between the time of diagnosis and surgery. Flaxseed also increases the good estrogen metabolites and binds to the estrogen receptor directly preventing the strong and chemical estrogens from stimulating the cell. I also recommend chia seeds.
  7. Fiber: Fiber lowers the amount of estrogen and estrogen metabolites which are available to stimulate the breast tissue. It also lowers insulin and glucose levels which feed tumor cells.
  8. Get the Chemicals out of your home and off of your body: Chemical estrogens are very stimulatory to the breast tissue, acting as very strong estrogen. Lotions contain all types of chemicals which get absorbed into your body through the skin.
  9. Limit or avoid Alcohol: Limit alcohol if you have breast cancer. Alcohol is not only toxic to the cell but increases the amount of estrogen made in the fatty tissue.
  10. Avoid obesity: This will lower the amount of estrone, a stimulatory estrogen, made in the fatty tissue. It will help prevent the conversion of testosterone (breast protective) to estrogen.
  11. Sleep: A low melatonin level has been associated with an increased risk of breast and other cancers. Poor sleep affects the immune system. Hormone imbalance affects sleep.

Photo courtesy of http://www.freedigitalphotos.net

30 September 2014

Dr. Jill's Top Ten Travel Tips

Do you struggle with staying healthy when you travel?  From lack of healthy food options in the airport to being seated right next to the one person who is coughing in your face, there are many perils to your health.  If you are like me, you want to be able to travel as needed but remain in optimal health when you do.  That’s why I’m putting together a list for you of my Top Ten Travel Tips!  I’m a planner and the number one thing you can do is think ahead and take these few steps to make your trip a success!

Before you leave, your best bet is maintaining a baseline of adequate sleep and a strong immune system, nourished by minimal processed foods and sugars, and stress management.  If your immune system is suppressed before you take off by long-work days, poor sleep and junk food, you are setting yourself up for picking up a bug when you leave. 

1. Plan
Before you leave check out various options for hotels or rentals where you will be staying.  If you are staying in a hotel, request a small fridge and/or microwave in your room so that you can bring or prepare some of your own healthy meals.  Most hotels will accommodate you for medical necessity if you have gluten-intolerance or other food allergies.  Check to see where the nearest Whole Foods or natural grocery store is located.  Many will offer deliver service right to your hotel.  If you are staying for a week or more renting a condo or room with kitchenette is the best option purchasing and preparing healthy unprocessed meals.  You can also use online retailers like Vitacost.com and ship items directly to your hotel before you arrive.  For longer trips where there is no access to a healthy grocery, I frequently have coconut milk or other healthy non-perishable food items shipped directly to the hotel where I’ll be staying.

2. Pack food
They say, “Fail to plan and plan to fail”, for a reason, right?  Before traveling, pack items, like packets of nut butter, shredded coconut, nut and seed mixes, dried jerky, or packets of wild salmon and sardines in your carry-on.  Don’t count on the airport to have the healthy foods you need.  If you’re like me a plastic container of wilted iceberg lettuce and half-rotten cherry tomatoes just doesn’t hold any appeal.  Planning ahead and making sure you have food with you is especially important if you have celiac disease or severe food allergies.  There are very few airports restaurants that cater to those of us who demand whole organic unprocessed options.  Even if you find a sit-down restaurant or grill, they are likely serving you farm-raised chicken or salmon and not the pastured or wild-caught varieties. 

I frequently take some frozen, premade meals, like baked organic chicken, red peppers, broccoli, chives, garlic, ginger, basil and sea salt, drizzled with organic olive oil.  You can freeze them, like I do, in recycled jars.  They pack very nicely in your checked luggage with an ice pack will remain frozen or cold until you arrive at your destination to put them in the fridge.  Once there you can heat them up anytime for an instant healthy, home cooked organic meal.

Another trick I use is packing pre-made instant smoothies in a baggies.  I use the small ziplock bags and prepare my morning recipe of 1.5 scoops Thorne Vegalite protein powder, 1 scoop of L-glutamine powder, 1 scoop of Amino Complex, 1-2 teaspoons of organic cinnamon powder, 1 tablespoon of Upgraded Collagen powder,  and ¼ teaspoon of Klaire Labs Ther-biotic Complete probiotic powder.  If I’m traveling for more than three days, I’ll pack my trusty NutraBullet for delicious morning smoothies in my hotel room.  If it’s a short trip, I’ll use my Blender bottle and shake it up with ice, water and coconut milk for breakfast.
(If you want to purchase my smoothie recipe items from Thorne, here’s how…)

3. Sleep
It’s essential to make sure you get 7-8 hours the night before you travel.  I specifically avoid scheduling my flights prior to 10am so that I can get adequate sleep the night before and have my morning routine before a big trip.  While you are gone make every effort to maintain good sleep hygiene and get 7-8 hours per night.  If you must have a sleepless night, take a quick nap to catch up.  If you are traveling overseas or crossing time zones, try melatonin 3-6mg one an hour before planned bedtime beginning one day prior to leaving and continue for one to two weeks after you return home.  Melatonin is excellent remedy to help you adjust your circadian rhythms for the new time zone.

Still not sleeping?  Check out my 12 Tips for Banishing Insomnia here!

4. Wi-fi
Many people are very sensitive to wi-fi in the environment.  If you live in a condo complex or apartment, you may notice the effects from the many other wi-fi signals around you.  At home, be sure to put your phones and iPads on airplane mode at night if they lie on your bedside table.  If you are in a plane with wi-fi, as most have nowadays, then you captive in a long metal tube which large wi-fi exposure as you fly.  Hydrating at a cellular level can keep you from feeling symptoms, like fatigue, headache or brain fog from this exposure. 

I recommend drinking 1 liter of filtered water prior to boarding and 1 liter for every hour you are on the plane (you might want an aisle seat because you will be using the restroom J)  Drink another liter once you land.  I also recommend taking Coenzyme Q10 200-400mg prior boarding the plane.  In addition, the plane is grounded but you are not unless you are touching the metal of the frame.  Try taking off your socks and shoes and putting your bare foot on the metal seat base in front of you during the flight.  This way you are grounded along with the plane as you are flying.  It’s pretty simple with potentially profound benefit… just make sure you are wearing clean socks or you might just have one unhappy neighbor!

5. Coffee
Yes, coffee!  If you read my blog, you know I'm a fan.  Click here to read my article on  Bulletproof™coffee and my specific coffee travel tips (hint, buy these Upgraded coffee cartridges).  I recommend avoiding caffeine during the flight itself so that you are not  dehydrated.  Once you land, you can drink a cup of you prefer.   Avoid instant coffees as they are more likely to cross-react to gluten for those of you who are gluten-intolerant.  They are also more processed and more likely to contain pesticides and mold toxins.

6. Exercise
Just because you are on vacation doesn’t mean you are excused from moving your body! Start your day with yoga, take a walk, go for a jog and explore the city or surroundings!  I always pack my running shoes, sunglasses, Garmin watch and workout clothes so that I am ready for any adventure.  Don’t forget your bathing suit if you swim!  Most hotels offer fitness centers and a pool where you can stretch, swim laps, lift weights or use the treadmill.  I find one of the best ways to explore the location I am visiting is to go for an early morning jog and see the nearby sites.  Stop in a local cafĂ© for a coffee or tea and ask the locals what the best sites to see are.  Usually the hotel concierge will be able to advise you of jogging trails or best paths to take to avoid heavy traffic.    If all else fails, make time to stretch and do sun salutations on a mat in your hotel room… and no need to bring your own.  Hotels, like the Westin will bring a mat, fitness gear, even tennis shoes to your room if you’ve forgotten yours!

7. Hydration
While we can survive days without food, pure clean water is essential and without it we would not survive long.  Purchase several liters of water before you get on the plane and once you debark, be sure to pick up another.  If possible, carry a glass or aluminum re-fillable water bottle to avoid the BPA in plastic bottles.  This will save you money and time and can easily be refilled at any public drinking fountain.  In your hotel room, be sure you have plenty of bottled water on hand so that you are not drinking out of the nasty bathroom faucet.  This can be delivered to your hotel before you arrive if you are staying for a few days.  Most hotels also have a lobby sundry shop where you can purchase water, as well.  Don’t forget to use the filtered water to brew your coffee and tea in your room.  One of my favorite tips for hydration is using electrolytes added to my water.  You can purchase travel electrolyte packets from Emergen C ElectroMix and pour them into your water bottle for extra potassium and magnesium.

8. Vitamins
Perhaps the most powerful immune supporting vitamin is none other than Vitamin D3.  If you feel the onset of a cold or flu bug, you can take high dose Vitamin D3 (25,000-50,000IU daily) for 2 or 3 days to knock out the virus out.  You can also take that dose one time on the day you travel to help your immune system fight anything it might encounter.  Warning:  Do not take this dose of vitamin D3 for longer than 3 days as you may become toxic, since vitamin D is stored in fat tissue.  

Be sure to pack any other supplements that you take regularly.  I recommend getting snack-size Ziploc baggies.  To differentiate your morning and evening pills, get the snack baggies with fun graphics, like moons and stars, so that you can easily differentiate your day from evening pills.  Pack your pills for the number of days you will be gone and put all of these small individual prepared baggies in one large quart-size bag and toss it in your carry-on or checked luggage.  You could use one of the 7-day pill organizers, of course, but if you’re like me that reminds me of granny AND my pills don’t come close to fitting in those tiny boxes J

If you have prescription medications, it is best to keep this in their original bottle with instructions from the pharmacy.  Check airline guidelines for international travel as some countries have restrictions on what you can carry in.  If in doubt, ask your doctor to write a note that you can carry through security that you are allowed to carry food or vitamins due to medical necessity.

9. Travel Remedies
Expect the unexpected is a good motto to have when traveling.  Here’s a list of things you may want to pack in case of illness:

  • Boiron Osccillococcinum – I take one vial prior to boarding plane to prevent flu.  You may also take 1 vial up to 3X daily for acute flu symptoms.
  • Boiron ColdCalm and Sinusalia – use these tabs for natural symptomatic relief of cold or flu symptoms.  Take 2 tabs every 2-3 hours or until your symptoms are gone. 
  • L-Lysine – Take 4-6 grams daily for acute outbreak of stress-related cold sores or 1 gram daily to prevent outbreak.
  • Upgraded charcoal tabs – I don’t leave home without these fantastic binders.  Great for exposure to harmful chemicals or if you suspect you might have food poisoning.  Also helpful if you ate something you shouldn’t and experience gas & bloating or diarrhea.  Take 500-1000mg with large glass of water two or three times daily as needed.
  • Magnesium Citrate – the dirty secret no one likes to admit is that many people experience constipation when traveling. 
  • Vitamin C – Extra vitamin C is helpful to keep your immune system in tip-top shape.  I suggest taking a little extra when you travel.  It also has a nice anti-histamine affect if you experience allergies.
  • Hyland’s Motion Sickness tabs or Sea Bands are essential if you suffer from motion sickness during travel.

10. Travel with comforts
Have a favorite pillow?  A soft, snuggly sweatshirt or throw?   How about your favorite relaxation playlist?  Don't forget to pack a few things that make you feel comfortable on the plane or once you arrive to your destination.  My essentials are a travel blanket to roll and put behind my back for lumbar support and my husband always carries an inflatable travel neck support, like this one.  In addition, it’s a good idea to wear layers since airplane temperatures vary and the climate of your destination may vary dramatically from home.  Pack an extra pair of socks, underwear, toothpaste, and other essentials in your carry-on in the slight chance your checked luggage is lost or delayed.  My favorite part of airline travel getting to enjoy a good read, guilt free… so don’t forget to pack your favorite book or download one on your iPad before you go.  Unless you are prepping for a big presentation, relax and let yourself enjoy the flight, work-free and guilt-free!  I like to use the time to prayer or meditate, too. 

With a little planning, even those of us with food restrictions or health issues can have a great time!  Hope you find my top ten tips helpful… and Bon Voyage!

27 September 2014

Natural Cures Summit Oct 6-13th

Natural Cures Summit

Learn secret cures to naturally heal your body from 30 unique presentations! The Natural Cures Movement includes natural remedies and treatment protocols for specific conditions like hypothyroidism, autoimmune disease, arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease. The home remedies and natural cures you will discover could help you begin a path to better health and disease prevention!

This event will provide you with all of the healing information you need:
From the top doctors, nutritionists, naturopaths and health experts in the world.
To learn the best natural remedies and treatment protocols to use plant­-based medicine for specific conditions like hypothyroidism, autoimmune disease, arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease
and so much more!

Register for FREE here!

Take your health to the next level when you join Dr. Josh Axe, founder of one of the top 25 natural health websites in the world, DrAxe.com, and author of The Real Food Diet Cookbook. It’s his mission to to educate millions around the world in order to help them transform their health.

The Natural Cures Summit is online and FREE from October 6­-13, 2014!

Here are a few of the incredible presenters:
  • Dr. Joseph Mercola, Take Control of Your Health & Insulin
  • Dr. Josh Axe, Natural Cures for Leaky Gut
  • Sayer Ji, 10 Food Medicines That Could Save Your Life
  • Dr. Jill Carnahan, MD Flatiron Functional Medicine, Natural Cures for IBS/SIBO
  • Dr. Tom O’Bryan, Overcoming Gluten Sensitivity
  • Katie Wellness Mama, The Coconut Oil Cure
  • Suzy Cohen, RPh, Natural Remedies for Thyroid & Autoimmune Disease
  • Vani Hari, How to Cure Yourself Despite Food Companies and Your Doctor
  • more than 30 expert presenters sharing their wealth of knowledge, this invaluable resource is intended for you or someone you know...

If you register today, you’ll have access to the following FREE GIFTS:

Watch the first two talks of the summit:
  • Dr. Tom O’Bryan: Secrets to Overcoming Gluten Sensitivity
  • Suzy Cohen, RPh: Top 10 Natural Cures for Diseases you THINK you have

And, download the “Go Naked Cookbook” by Dr. Josh Axe and Cynthia Pasquella. This eBook contains 100+ gluten-free recipes that support healing naturally.

Listen to The Natural Cures Movement from October 6-13, 2014!

It's free... Register now here

See you there! :-)

Dr Jill

31 August 2014

The Hidden Epidemic... Is Yeast Overgrowth Destroying Your Health?

Did you know your gut microbes could be dramatically affecting your health?

Hey guys! ...this is not just for women.  Men, too, commonly suffer from intestinal yeast overgrowth or fungal dysbiosis!

Every day we see new research on the effects of unhealthy gut organisms on the brain, the thyroid gland, the nervous system, the immune system, and the heart and vascular system.  In functional medicine, this is one reason we focus so intently on helping our patients heal their gut and thrive.  Without a healthy bacterial population in the colon, it’s nearly impossible to experience the optimal health we all desire.
Many people are unknowingly fighting a battle against a single-cell fungus in the gut.  Its name is Candida Albicans, although in recent years there has been an increase in non-albicans species of yeast.  Candida is a normal organism that is part of our skin flora, intestinal microbes, and for women, vaginal flora.  Men, this doesn't mean you can't harbor yeast as well!   This seemingly benign player can become hostile if the environment is right.  High intake of refined carbohydrates and sugar, frequent antibiotic or prednisone use, hormones and birth control pills and other medications give the yeast an advantage over the normal protective bugs, like lactobacillus, so that it flourishes.  It has the ability to take over and becomes invasive leading to a host of unwanted symptoms.  Sadly, many conventional physicians do not recognize that the gut can be a reservoir of these fungal organisms.   If you have ever experienced vaginal yeast infections, rectal irritation, white coating on your tongue called thrush, or any fungal skin or nail infections, like onychomycosis, you may also have a large number of these buggers living in your gastrointestinal tract.

I crave sweets and carbs all the time…

One of the most important things that I notice with patients who have fungal dysbiosis is the feeling of being tired and “run down” all the time with intense cravings for sugar or carbohydrates. Many patients don’t believe me when I tell them that if their gut is healthy, they will get to the point of having no food cravings at all!  It’s really true!  And if you are still experiencing intense, uncontrollable cravings, binge eating, or other issues in a love-hate relationship with sugar and refined carbohydrates, you can bet there is a problem with your gut microbes!

Take this quiz to find out if YOU have a problem!

These are common symptoms that may occur with yeast overgrowth in the gut.  Keep in mind, these are not specific to yeast alone, but if you experience them on a regular basis you are likely to have a real problem with fungal dysbiosis, or yeast overgrowth.
 Give yourself 1 point for every one of these symptoms you experience regularly:
  • Weight gain
  • Difficulty losing weight
  • Premenstrual symptoms
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle pain/fibromyalgia
  • Poor focus/concentration
  • Brain fog
  • Irritable
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Headaches or migraines
  • Cravings for sugar or carbohydrates
  • Drowsy after meals
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Gas and bloating
  • Rectal itching
  • Vaginal discomfort or burning
  • Low libido
  • Joint pain
  • Crying spells
  • Dizziness or light-headedness
  • Sinus pressure/congestion
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Halitosis (bad breath)
  • Body odor
  • Frequent sore throat
  • Coughing/wheezing/shortness of breath
  • > 8 – You may have intestinal dysbiosis
  • > 14 – It is likely you have an issue with intestinal dysbiosis, which could include yeast overgrowth
  • > 20 – It is almost certain that you have fungal dysbiosis or yeast overgrowth

Fungal Dysbiosis and Leaky Gut Syndrome

If yeast becomes dominant in the gut, it may take over and overwhelm the good bacteria.  This is called Fungal Dysbiosis.  The situation becomes dire when yeast or abnormal gut microbes proliferate and dysbiosis occurs.  The problems start when yeast changes from a benign one cell organism to the more invasive hyphe form.  These forms can secrete enzymes, like proteases and phosopholipases that break down cell membranes and contribute to intestinal permeability or “leaky gut”.  As the gut becomes more permeable, toxic metabolites, such as acetaldehyde, leak into the blood stream and cause symptoms such as brain fog, fatigue, or depression.  Did you know that this chemical yeast produces can make you feel hungover?  Alcohol, when metabolized by the liver, also produces acetaldehyde which causes that "hangover" feeling.  The yeast bugs also drive cravings for the very foods that allow them to survive –sugar, refined carbohydrates and sometimes fermented foods or alcohol.  I’m always amazed by the number of people who were struggle with alcohol craving or addiction that have yeast overgrowth in their gut.  In addition to the toxic materials that leak into the blood stream, partially digested food may also leak through the lining of the gut and create food sensitivities.  Many people with chronic yeast overgrowth will experience sensitivities to common foods, like gluten, dairy, sugar, corn, and soy and may even experience improvement in symptoms when they go on an elimination diet.  Yeast also produces more than one-hundred other toxins that may leak into the blood stream and affect thyroid and hormone function, brain function and even neurotransmitter production.

Fungal Dysbiosis and the Connection with Autoimmune Diseases

This invasion and consequent problem of a leaky gut may also trigger the immune system to become confused in a process called “molecular mimicry” when the bacteria or yeast in the gut or cross over where they don’t belong into the blood stream and trigger creation of antibodies by the immune system.  These antibodies may cross-react to joint tissue, skin, thyroid, or even brain and create autoimmune diseases.  It is very common to see some of the following autoimmune conditions occur in someone with fungal dysbiosis:
  • Psoriasis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Hashimoto’s thyroiditis
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Ulcerative Colitis
  • Celiac Disease
  • Meniere’s disease
  • Raynaud’s disease
  • Lupus

 So What Causese Fungal Dysbiois?

Here are some of the most common factors that upset the balance of gut microbes and contribute to yeast overgrowth or fungal dysbiosis
  • Chronic stress, which impacts your immune system, also contributes to yeast overgrowth
  • Diabetes (due to abnormal blood sugar)
  • Pregnancy (due to change in hormone levels)
  • Eating too much sugar and too many grains. Sugar is the main fuel for yeast.
  • Taking antibiotics, which kill both your good and bad bacteria.
  • Exposure to environmental toxins, which can lower your immune system’s ability to keep yeast in check.  Mercury is especially problematic with yeast overgrowth
  • Taking other medications, such as birth control pills and steroids, which are both known to increase yeast

How Does My Doctor Diagnose Fungal Dysbiosis?

Well, the first step is finding a functional medicine trained physician or naturopath who understands the importance of having a healthy gut microbiome.  There are many physicians who understand vaginal yeast infections or the more severe systemic candidiasis, where candida enters the blood stream and can be life threatening but ignore the possibility that you could have too many yeast bugs living in your gut.  Even when we are looking for a problem it can often be hard to detect.  I commonly use a combination of clinical history and symptoms and the following lab tests:
  1. Serum Candida antibiodies (IgG, IgM, IgA)
  2. Organic Acids in urine, such as Arabinose
  3. Comprehensive Digestive Stool analysis for candida culture and sensitivity
By combining a patient’s symptoms with the testing above, it becomes relatively easy to determine if a patient has fungal dysbiosis or not.  Other red flags are someone with  inflammatory bowel disorder or other bacterial dysbiosis, such as SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth) as the two can co-exsist.

So Tell Me How to Get Rid of it!


The most important starting point is diet.  In fact, I frequently tell patients that no amount of anti-fungal drugs or herbal medications can overcome a high sugar, high carbohydrate diet.  In order to eradicate the yeast, one must do the following:
  1. Eat a diversified, whole foods (in as natural and fresh a state as possible) diet, emphasizing non-starchy vegetables, proteins, like fish, organic chicken, turkey, lamb, wild game and organic grass-fed beef.  Healthy oils, like coconut, grape seed and olive are also essential. Include pastured ghee or butter as well for a rich source of Vitamin K and other fat-soluble vitamins
  2. Chose organic, free-range meat and be sure they do not contain added growth hormones or antibiotics.  I advise all patients to avoid cow’s dairy due to lactose content, which is a sugar that yeast likes.
  3. Avoid all foods that feed the yeast!  That would include all forms of sugar (honey, molasses, maple syrup, agave, xylitol, and artificial sweeteners, like aspartame, splenda)
  4. Avoid all dried fruits and fruit juices.  Stevia may be used to sweeten teas and beverages.
  5. You may need to eliminate fruit in the beginning or at least stick to no more than one serving of low-glycemic fruit per day – best bets are berries, green apples, or citrus.
  6. Eliminate any allergenic foods – these commonly include gluten, dairy, egg, soy, corn, and cane sugar
  7. You should also eliminate the following: alcohol; vinegar (and anything containing vinegar, like salad dressing and sauces); all bread (which contains yeast); high starchy vegetables, like carrots, potatoes and beets; peanuts and corn (due to high mold content); mushrooms (fungus); and aged or moldy foods, like blue cheese.
  8. Drink plenty of purified water daily.  If you are feeling dizzy, add some electrolytes (ElectroMix or Elyte Sport) to your morning water.
  9. Get some form of daily exercise (walking, hiking, yoga, bicycling). Pick an activity you enjoy and try to get in 30-40min every day.
  10. Make time for rest and relaxation.  Epson salt baths can be especially helpful for the yeast die-off symptoms.  Use 2-3 cups of salt in warm bath and soak 20min.




5. TAKE A PROBIOTIC!  (my favorite is Klaire Labs Detox Support, which you can order here)

6. TREAT ANY DIGESTIVE IMBALANCES (like insufficient pancreatic enzyme production or low stomach acid)


  • Fluconazole
  • Itraconazole
  • Nystatin
  • Compounded Oral amphotericin B


  • Caprylic Acid
  • Undecylenic acid
  • Berberine
  • Garlic (Allicin)
  • Oil of Oregano
  • Olive Leaf Extract
  • Pau D-Arco
  • Grape Seed Extract


  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin A
  • Biotin
  • Essential Fatty acids
  • Probiotics
  • Pantethine
  • l-Glutamine
  • Coenzyme Q10
  • Magnesium

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