Kerry Fleckenstein, Therapeutic Lifestyle Recovery Coach
9:00 am

Gut Flora is Screwing us UP

How modern life screws up our gut and makes us fat and diabetic

What all of this research suggests is that healthy gut bacteria is crucial to maintaining normal weight and metabolism. Unfortunately, several features of the modern lifestyle directly contribute to unhealthy gut flora:

  • Antibiotics and other medications like birth control and NSAIDs
  • Diets high in refined carbohydrates, sugar and processed foods
  • Diets low in fermentable fibers
  • Dietary toxins like wheat and industrial seed oils that cause leaky gut
  • Chronic stress
  • Chronic infections
  • We also know that infants that aren’t breast-fed and are born to mothers with bad gut flora are more likely to develop unhealthy gut bacteria, and that these early differences in gut flora may predict overweight and obesity in the future.

It’s interesting to note that the diabesity epidemic has neatly coincided with the increasing prevalence of factors that disrupt the gut flora. I’m not saying that poor gut health is the single cause of obesity and diabetes, but it seems that it likely plays a much larger role than most people think.

Our gut is home to approximately 100,000,000,000,000 (100 trillion) microorganisms. That’s such a big number our human brains can’t really comprehend it. One trillion dollar bills laid end-to-end would stretch from the earth to the sun – and back – with a lot of miles to spare. Do that 100 times and you start to get at least a vague idea of how much 100 trillion is.

The human gut contains 10 times more bacteria than all the human cells in the entire body, with over 400 known diverse bacterial species. In fact, you could say that we’re more bacterial than we are human. WOW.

Studies have shown that changes in the gut flora can increase the rate at which we absorb fatty acids and carbohydrates, and increase the storage of calories as fat. This means that someone with bad gut flora could eat the same amount of food as someone with a healthy gut, but extract more calories from it and gain more weight.
 
How to maintain and restore healthy gut flora

The most obvious first step in maintaining a healthy gut is to avoid all of the things I listed above. But of course that’s not always possible, especially in the case of chronic stress and infections, and whether we were breast-fed or our mothers had healthy guts.

If you’ve been exposed to some of these factors, there are still steps you can take to restore your gut flora:

  • Remove all food toxins from your diet
  • Eat plenty of fermentable fibers (starches like sweet potato, yam, yucca, etc.)
  • Take a high-quality probiotic, or consider more radical methods of restoring healthy gut flora
  • Eat greek yogurt and Kefir
  • Treat any intestinal pathogens (such as parasites) that may be present
  • Take steps to manage your stress

Kerry Fleckenstein, Therapeutic Lifestyle Recovery Coach
8:47 am

7 Ways Stress is Harming your Thyroid

 

Hypothyroidism is a common disorder, and, like many diseases is becoming more and more common as time goes on.  One in eight women will suffer from hypothyroidism at some point in their lifetime, and men who are overweight are also at high risk.

While there are many causes for thyroid dysfunction, stress is one of the main reasons why thyroid function slows and hypothyroidism takes root. It’s also the main reason that auto-immune disease is turned on.   Your adrenal glands that sit atop your kidneys are responsible for pumping out your stress hormones (adrenaline and cortisol) when you’re busy, constantly on the go, or working late nights.

Stress inhibits your thyroid gland’s ability to convert the inactive T4 thyroid hormone into the active T3 hormone in the body.  Is your diet, exercise or lifestyle placing you at risk of hypothyroidism? Let’s take a closer look at seven common ways stress negatively impacts your thyroid.   With the case of auto-immune disease as soon as the hormone is produced you body attacks it as if it is a foreign body. 

Causes of stress that have this effect.:

1. You’re Too Busy

In today’s 24/7 society, we are constantly on the go and busier than ever before. Stress is not simply the inability to cope, it’s also how “busy” you are throughout the day. While technology and connectivity can provide you with incredible tools to be more productive, it can also leave your brain and body stuck in “stimulation” overload.

2. You’re Too Caffeinated

This is a common theme for many people: you wake up tired, you need a boost of energy and you reach for a morning cup of coffee. While coffee has a vast array of health benefits, you can get too much of a good thing.  Remember, caffeine stays in your system for 6 hours and may harm your sleeping patterns.

3. You Don’t Sleep Long Enough

You’ve likely heard the old saying “you’re burning the candle at both ends,” which effectively means you’re not resting enough to adequately recover from your busy days. Sleep is the most effective tool you have to “rebuild” the candle you’re burning at both ends during the day. The only problem is, you’re likely not getting enough.

If you don’t sleep enough or fail to adequately recover, stress hormone levels increase and thyroid function beings to slow. Aim to get to bed by 11:00 p.m. most nights of the week to upgrade recovery and support a healthy thyroid.

4. You Check Too Many Emails At Bedtime

We live in an age where watching television on your laptop and checking emails are the norm at bedtime. While this may seem convenient, your brain and body have evolved over millions of years without the stimulation of.  Research shows that exposure to blue light from screens too close to bedtime leads to poorer quality of sleep.

5. You Crave Too Many Simple Carbs

What is the natural response to high stress levels? You guessed it, strong cravings for sugar and simple carbs. Whether it’s high-glycemic cereals or fruit-laden smoothies in the morning, midday snack bars or afternoon treats, constant and regular sugar cravings are a clear red flag your body is stressed, and it’s likely impacting your thyroid health.

Curb your sugar cravings with snacks with high protein and fat content, like grass-fed jerky and nuts, plain yogurt or an herbal tea before bed.

6. You Drink Too Much Alcohol

After a busy day, long week, or intense project at work many people find it relaxing to unwind with an evening drink. Alcohol is classified as a nervine, or substance that helps to relax the nervous system. While this can support recovery from stress, the key is the dose. A glass of wine might help take the edge off, but if you finish the bottle, your nervous system takes a serious hit.

Try cutting out alcohol full stop for 4 weeks, or if you’re an avid drinker, reduce your intake by 50%.

7. You Exercise Too Much

For many people, adding more movement to their day –walking, strength training, yoga – is a great way to relieve stress and improve resiliency. If you suffer from sluggish thyroid function, you may struggle with weight gain and then desire to add more exercise to shed those pounds.

However, if you’re already an avid exerciser, you probably don’t need more exercise, you need more efficient exercise.

The problem starts when you add more training volume. High volume training at the same intensity can dramatically raise stress hormone levels and doesn’t provide the right stimulus to improve fitness or body composition.

By creating an environment for rest, recovery and improved resiliency, you can maintain your productivity in today’s fast-paced world without sacrificing the health of your thyroid.

Try some of these: 

1. Green Leafy Vegetables

2. Organic Turkey Breast

3. Fermented Foods

4. Wild-Caught Alaskan Salmon

5. Blueberries

6. Pistachios

7. Dark Chocolate

8. Sunshine

9. Seeds

10. Avocado


Kerry Fleckenstein, Therapeutic Lifestyle Recovery Coach
6:00 am

Laundry Detergent - one of my favorite subjects!

 

Do you think about your laundry detergent?  What’s in it?  What makes it smell and work so good?  We all want clean clothes that smell good right?  Do you suffer from some of the following symptoms, even though you eat well?  Skin irritations, eye irritations, difficulty breathing, asthma, hormonal imbalances, dermatitis, persistent scratchy pain in your throat or nose?  Have you been diagnosed with auto-immune disease?  Many symptoms are linked to toxins, often from laundry detergent. 

All that most of the labels tell you is that they should be kept out of reach of children, contain harmful substances, and should be kept away from the eyes, not breathed in and not be ingested.

Let’s look at ingredients!

Let’s take a look at what they found inside laundry detergent and what those things do to the human body.

1.4 dioxane–a well-known cancer causing bi-product of synthetic petrochemical surfactant Ethox. This chemical is associated with respiratory disease, nervous system toxicity, brain toxicity, liver and kidney disease.

SLS (Sodium Laurel Sulfate) – this chemical is used to make lots of foam in your laundry. SLS is linked to cancer and causes poisoning of your entire system.

Ammonia – Ammonia is used for cutting grease. It causes serious damage to human lungs and eyes. Ammonia is linked to cataracts and corneal damage.

Bleach – Everyone is aware of its stain removal abilities. But did you know that bleach is highly corrosive and can cause serious health problems? Bleach causes skin irritations and in sensitivity. In high doses it can actually burn your skin. It is also very irritating to your eyes, lungs and soft tissues (delicate areas). Breathing in straight bleach fumes can burn your lungs and throat.

Phosphates – Phosphates help to remove tough stains, but unfortunately nothing removes phosphates, not even from water plants. That means that the phosphates in your detergent will end up in your tap water. They cause skin irritations, diarrhea and nausea.

NPE (NonylphenolEthoxylate) – This chemical is so bad for your kidneys and liver that it has been banned in Europe and Canada. Many chain stores have asked their suppliers to stop using this chemical – but it is still found in many laundry detergents because it is a cleaning agent.

Diethanolamine – Another cleaning agent.Diethanolamine is associated with liver problems, skin irritations and causing eye irritations.

polyalkylene oxide or ethylene oxide – These are stabilizers that keep the product in its intended form on the shelf. They are known to cause dermatitis, respiratory problems and eye irritations.

Naphthotriazolystilbenes and benzoxazolyl, diaminostilbenedisulfonate – These are brighteners that stay in your clothes after they are dried and actually absorb UV light to make clothes look brighter. They are linked with causing damage to your reproductive system, as well as to developmental problems in growing children.

The above is a selection of the more dangerous additives in most laundry detergents. There are many more.

Itching skin and laundry detergents

As you will see above the most common health problems caused by the toxic ingredients in laundry detergents are eye irritations, respiratory problems and… skin irritations.

The easy way to spot these ingredients (Which don’t legally have to be listed) is to look for these key words on the label: Brightener, stabilizer, softening agents, fragrance and whitening.  Also look out for the words “keep out of reach of children” and “Do not ingest.”

Alternatives to Laundry Detergent

So now that you know what’s inside those strong smelling detergents, what can you do to avoid them? Here are some alternatives and common sense measures to Laundry detergent:

Make your own detergents. You can use pure soap (without petroleum bi-products in it) to clean your clothes.
Use essential oils to make them smell nice. Make sure that you read up on your oils too. They can be used to treat skin ailments instead of causing them if you use the correct ones!
Buy a safe, health conscious brand of laundry detergent.
Use baking soda as a natural brightening agent.
Forget the fabric softeners and drier sheets. Instead think about slowly investing in cotton and natural fiber clothing that doesn’t need them.
With so many easy, cost effective ways to get your laundry clean safely can you really afford to risk your health by using shop bought, mass-produced chemical laundry detergents?

I often think….If you can’t eat it, don’t use it!  Especially if you have auto-immune disease.  The best remedy for controlling symptoms is limit your toxins, limit your ingredients in your foods (less than 5) and you will automatically start detoxing.  For more help, try my 12 DAY DETOX!  CLICK BELOW

12 DAY DETOX

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