Like many people, I have battled with digestive issues, and that is what ultimately led me to become a dietitian. Years ago, I experienced symptoms which were caused by food sensitivities and nutritional imbalances. With the help of a dietitian, we discovered I was reacting to cow’s milk and gluten. After an elimination diet and reworking my diet, my symptoms disappeared. This healing process inspired me to return to school and study nutrition so I could share this type of vital, often elusive, nutrition information to help heal others.
After years of being symptom-free, I began to experience digestive issues once again. As in my original journey which I discuss in my books, A Nutrition Revolution and A Nutrition Evolution, I saw many practitioners both conventional and natural and was tested for food sensitivities and allergies, among other things. Tests found no true allergies, but results showed I was having trouble digesting many foods including bananas, cucumbers, onions, garlic, avocadoes, gluten, eggs, beef, lamb, and codfish. Wow! So, once again I did an elimination diet and took enzyme and probiotic supplements to help aid digestion. Unfortunately, unlike the first time around, neither the elimination diet nor the supplements seemed to help.
Elimination diets can be great tools as discoveries are made and health issues can improve when problem foods are found and removed from the diet. However, as I said, this time my symptoms remained. This meant that the root cause of my digestive issues might not be food-related.
As many people know, finding and dealing with root causes of health issues, especially digestive ones, can be a difficult and frustrating process; one that we must often go through alone. Luckily for me, I found knowledgeable and affordable natural healers in both instances. This included my original nutritionist and more recently an acupuncturist/herbalist/nutritionist/kinesiologist to help me through it. But, make no mistake; I was lucky to find them and I had to lead the process.
During a major bout of heartburn, an advice nurse suggested I go to the hospital since heart attack symptoms can mimic those of heartburn. The doctor on shift at the time suggested a gallbladder ultrasound, as well as other tests. Later, I had the ultrasound done and yes, it turned out there was a large gallstone stuck in the neck of my gallbladder which likely caused many, or all, of my digestive issues. The medical staff could not believe I had not experienced more discomfort, and that I hardly knew it was there. As I said, I was experiencing and investigating digestive issues but they were nothing like what most people would experience with a gallstone that size. In fact, the attack happened after eating a turkey “Panini” at a local health food restaurant while researching recipes for a client project I was working on. Although I had smaller bouts of heartburn previously, I was managing them, mostly with alkaline foods. I simply was not used to eating these larger portions of meat, cheese, or white flour and it sent my gallbladder into a tailspin.
Gallstones and fibroids are common in people with high estrogen, according to my naturopathic practitioner. I have also had large fibroids, so high estrogen is possibly the reason for both of these issues.
I am still eating healthfully (and avoiding large doses of those Panini ingredients) and consuming a gallstone appropriate diet; which means smaller meals, continuing with a mostly plant-based diet, and taking herbs. All of this has dramatically improved my symptoms. With the help of a wonderful naturopathic practitioner, I am trying to shrink the gallstone in hopes it will eventually be small enough to pass through with minimal discomfort. This could take time, maybe even a year or more.
I have so far put the surgeon off which is great because I would like to keep my gallbladder and return to optimal digestive health, naturally.
As was the case in my original healing, finding the root cause in our current medical system took time and basically miracles to figure out. Without luck, determination, and knowledge about the power of natural healing, I would not have gotten this far and I do not want this to be the case for anyone, including me.
Natural healing is at times frustrating but also empowering; because figuring out what our bodies are trying to tell us as they behave in a certain way is something we can do and is powerful. Hopefully one day the Healthcare system will evolve into one that includes all practitioners working together to heal root causes so we can all heal naturally and effectively. Healing sources of problems is far superior to unquestioningly taking uber-potent, man-made medicines to treat symptoms, continuing to suffer, and eventually removing body parts.
In the meantime, we must take these healing processes one step at a time, do our best, try to minimize frustration, and be patient. It is also important to be realistic and prepare for difficult moments. During my first elimination diet years ago, I remember staring into the cupboard in tears, hungry, frustrated, and thinking, “I can’t eat anything!” But I carried on, eventually found foods I could eat, and the process was ultimately successful. These experiences led me to this field of work of educating and helping others heal naturally. They have also helped me to help others on their healing journeys; as I have been there too.
So, let us all keep plugging away, asking questions, and seeking enlightenment until we all achieve optimum health!
Beth Kahn offers personalized nutrition counseling in person and via voice or video chat. For more information Contact Us and check out her books “A Nutrition Revolution: Uncover the Mysteries of Nutrition,” and “A Nutrition Evolution: The Revolution Continues.”
I am asked regularly what I think about this diet or that diet. Adkins, Ketogenic, low-carb, Eat Right for Your Blood Type, etc. Usually my answer is some variation of this: Most of us eat too many processed foods, high fat meat, refined flours, sugars, and not enough healthy fresh plant foods including vegetables, fruit, whole, diverse grains and healthy sources protein. In addition to that, I recommend people eat organically grown and minimally processed food as much as possible. We should limit our consumption of pesticides, additives (preservatives, food dyes, etc.), foods made with hormones, antibiotics and GMO.
I have recently read (and re-read) Grain Brain, South Beach Diet and Diet Cure. My answer is still the same.
While there are more and more books coming out all of the time and new and updated theories about what we should be eating and not eating, the popular book “The South Beach Diet” written in 2004 (updated in 2009) is still a good overview of what a balanced diet can look like, and allows for the reader or “dieter” to enjoy foods they love. Importantly for our current state of simple sugar over-consumption, the book offers a specific detox plan to help purge the sugars and manufactured carbohydrates out of the body. The detox program helps with cravings, weight loss, food intolerances and more, and it only lasts a couple weeks. The plan also allows for more and more freedom as you progress from week to week.
I do feel that the South Beach Diet includes too many animal sources of protein for my preference however.
As I often say, education is ideal. The more understanding one has about nutrition the more freedom one has to choose and therefore the more likely they are to be successful. For any diet to be successful you should look for doable lifestyle changes, not strict diets or regimented menus which are limiting and therefore unsustainable.
As I say in my book “A Nutrition Revolution”, learn to fish rather than being sold a fish- as the old saying goes- and you will have more freedom, choices and will therefore be more likely to be successful. Check out my book for more on this and to gain a better understanding about nutrition and why many of us are stuck on a perpetual diet and sickness wheel (hint: ignorance and $$$) and what we can do about it.
- 1teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1garlic clove, diced
- 6ounces portabella mushroom caps, cleaned
- 1pinch salt
- 1pinch black pepper, freshly ground
- 12ounces mozzarella cheese
- 10fresh basil leaves
- 2tomatoes, fresh roasted and sliced
- oregano leaves (optional)
- Combine oil and garlic in a small bowl and rub the mushroom caps on all sides with the mixture.
- Place caps, top side down, in a circle on an oiled baking sheet.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Arrange the cheese, basil, and tomato slices alternately in a circle on top of the mushrooms.
- Sprinkle with oregano, if using.
- Bake at 450 until the cheese melts, about 3 minutes.
You try to eat healthy. You buy organic. You travel to the farmers market to get fresh, local produce. You try to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables and drink the proper amount of water. You exercise. So how much is this helping amidst a toxic environment? Is this enough to stay healthy? To keep cancer at bay? Asthma, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease? How much does the environment affect you despite your “healthy” choices? What, if anything, can you do about it?
These are questions that cross my mind. I can’t help but wonder how my environment is affecting my food, body, mind and health, despite my best efforts.
Food, the environment and our health are inextricably linked. Toxic chemicals are added to our food, bodies, soil, water, and air. Pollutants infiltrate our environment from our cars and factories. These substances cause cancer, asthma, allergies, birth defects, and more. The planet is changing, temperatures are rising and as a result farmland and crops are being affected. This can be overwhelming to think about and make one wonder, what can I alone do about it?
The health of the environment is definitely a problem, and needs to be addressed. At the same time, what we put into our bodies does matter. We should eat quality food, drink plenty of water, exercise, work to reduce stress, etc. These choices can help us deal with an unhealthy and unnatural environment. For instance, many healthy plant foods have proven cancer fighting abilities. Components of plant foods help the body to flush toxins out before they can do harm. A healthy diet and lifestyle also have many other health benefits, including reducing stress – a major cause of disease – and the risk of diabetes, obesity and Alzheimer’s disease. So it all helps but we must also do what we can to help heal the planet. But where do we begin?
How can we help heal this suspended blue ball we call “Earth” that must sustain us?
I recently watched the documentary: “How to Let Go of the World and Love all the Things Climate Can’t Change.” I was inspired for change and have a better understanding of what is going on with our planet, on a macro-level. On a micro-level, I firmly believe that awareness is the key to solving these and other problems. One person at a time, and one click at a time can change the world. I encourage you to watch and share this fabulous documentary. We can heal our planet and ourselves, but only if enough of us wake up make it happen.
By Elizabeth Kahn, Dietitian and Wellness Educator
It is possible to survive off of – and even bake with – plant food alone. People who do not consume any animal products are called “vegan” or someone who eats a plant-based diet (the term vegan also refers to someone who lives strictly without any animal products). I have known a few incredible “vegan” cooks and have tasted, and now make myself, some of their delectable dishes. Vegan desserts can be especially delicious.
Why have a vegan diet or plant based diet? The majority of Americans consume too many animal products and not enough plant foods, and therefore, most people in this country should probably become more “vegan”.
Plant foods are extremely healthy. Plant foods have more vitamins and minerals and less saturated fat and cholesterol than animal products. Plant foods also have far fewer calories than animal products do, overall.
Eating a carnivorous diet may be purely due to habit and limited knowledge about vegan cooking. It may then help to know a few tricks of this healthier cooking trade.
In baking, one medium banana and a teaspoon of baking soda, or soy yogurt can be used to replace one egg. This can add moisture and improve taste. Plant milk (coconut, rice, almond, hemp) can be used in place of cow’s milk in recipes, and vegetable margarine can be used instead of butter.
Like most any skill, vegan cooking can be learned. Try these and other recipe substitutions and not only will you be eating more plant foods, which most of us need to do anyway, but you will also reduce your total caloric intake, have more energy and will look and feel healthier. Cheers to a happy holiday season and to good health! Happy baking.
By Dietitian and Wellness Educator, Elizabeth Kahn
There are many studies that show the mind has a powerful effect on the body. We all know that we can control our thoughts, but how many of us actively do? Since our thoughts, like diet and exercise, determine body function, we should also practice healthy thinking.
The Power of Thought Over Disease
Many research studies show that positive thinking is an effective tool in the fight against cancer and other diseases.
Stress is a leading cause of disease. Stress can be reduced with modified thinking as stress levels are based on an individual’s interpretation of how stressful something is. Basically, if we believe an event is stressful, our bodies will respond accordingly. The reverse is also true. So, how do we control our thoughts in order to remain disease and stress free?
Recently, I benefitted from reading The Four Agreements by Miguel Ruiz. This book is a great tool to learn how to move our thoughts, and our behaviors, into a healthy direction. This book dramatically changed my thoughts and life, and so in honor of the holidays and your health, I will summarize the four agreements.
The first agreement: Be impeccable with your word. Your word is your power to create and is how your intent manifests. The word is a force, the power you have to express, communicate, think and create the events in your life. The word is like a double edged sword. It can create a beautiful reality or cause destruction around you. Your word can be pure magic, but, to misuse the word is what the author calls black magic. Too often words are used that injure or create fear. Impeccable means “without sin”, so to use your word impeccably means to speak without sin, or with good intent. In other words, if you don’t have anything nice to say don’t say anything at all.
The second agreement: Don’t take anything personally. This one is a bit more self-explanatory however, for most people it is easier said than done. If someone sees you on the street and says, “Hey, you are stupid.” it is not about you it is about them. If you take it personally, perhaps you believe you are stupid. How would this person know if you are stupid or not? Is he psychic? Ruiz points out that this second agreement is based on the first as if we are all impeccable with our word, we will not shout comments at others like “you are stupid” nor will we speak that way to, or believe these negative things about, ourselves.
The third agreement: Don’t make assumptions. The first thought that comes to my mind is the wife or girlfriend who pouts without saying a word hoping the husband or boyfriend will figure out what is wrong (I of course have never done this!). Most men are not psychic and he is therefore probably not going to figure it out, unless she tells him. This is the idea behind the third agreement. Don’t assume people know your wants, needs or expectations; communicate them instead to avoid hurt feelings and arguments.
The fourth agreement: Always do your best. This agreement allows the other three to become deeply ingrained habits. Doing your best can mean doing better one day than another, as your best will vary depending on whether you are tired or well rested, unwell or healthy, but always do your best—no more and no less.
There is a reason this powerful little book was on the New York Times Bestseller List for over seven years. I highly recommend it to adjust your thoughts, improve your health and change your life.
This book will also make a great gift. Giving a positive gift like this may also boost your health as there are studies that show acts of kindness improve the mood and health of those who perform, receive and witness them.
There are many of us who can benefit from improving our thoughts and therefore our health. Additionally, when I see television commercials with wives criticizing their husband’s laundry folding abilities and those that condone lies and humiliation, as well as programs like “I Hate My Teenage Daughter” and those with characters that regularly insult each other, it only enforces my already held belief that our society can benefit in many ways from practicing The Four Agreements.
May peace, love, positivity and kindness always be with you. Happy holidays!
Ruiz, M. A. (1997). The Four Agreements. Amber-Allen Publishing; San Rafael, CA.
A personal diet analysis is where a dietitian or nutritionist evaluates the daily diet of an individual to determine its healthfulness. There are many reasons that diet analysis can be necessary. An individual may have health concerns or problems such as attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), obesity, diabetes and Crohn’s disease. There are many in Western society who would benefit from diet analysis as many of the typical Western diets are out of balance nutritionally and this can cause a host of diseases and other health problems
Software, Online Tools
There are software packages that can be used at home. This would involve the individual entering his or her daily food intake into the computer and allowing it to do the diet analysis. The diet could then be modified and re-entered until the right nutritional content was reached. Many dietitians do this for their patients. The software costs anywhere from $2 each month (online) to $800 for the software dietitians use. There are also free tools for diet analysis, such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s tool, MyPyramid.gov.
In-Person Diet Analysis
There are dietitians and nutritionists who do one on one counseling. Many nutritionists
charge under $100 per hour. Thirty to 90 minutes per week for several weeks
(approximately 10 weeks) would be sufficient for most people.
In person, individualized nutrition counseling typically involves the patient or client
keeping a diary or a food journal of what they eat each day. Most food journals
are kept for a few days to a few weeks. The diet is then evaluated for
nutritional content, balance, calories, portion sizes, fat and carbohydrate
intake, etc. The nutrition expert will then review the journal and make suggested
changes to the patient or clients diet.
Example of a Daily Food Diary
2 tbsp. butter
1 piece white toast
3 cups coffee
1 large fries
1 large soda
1 cup barbecue potato chips
2 cups chicken casserole w/potatoes, cream of chicken soup, cheddar cheese,
1 french roll
1 cup chocolate ice cream
This diet is high in cholesterol, calories and saturated or “bad” fat. This diet
is also high in processed foods including white flour that have many nutrients
such as vitamins, minerals and amino acids removed. As a result, this diet is
also low in fiber. While it does contain a sufficient amount of protein, it
actually contains too much. This diet also contains enough servings of grains but
not enough whole grains as guides like the food pyramid intend. The body
responds similarly to white flour as it does to sugar, so it should be
considered more of a sugar than a grain although it does contain some
nutrients. Sugars and fats have a thin stripe on the food pyramid, meaning we
should limit our intake of those things. This diet is too high in the fats and
sugars and needs more fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Foods like fruits,
vegetables and whole grains contain many important nutrients such as vitamins,
minerals, amino acids and fiber, which this diet and many typical Western diets
are lacking in.
A nutritionist or dietitian would suggest something like the following:
1 tbsp. canola oil margarine
1/2 apple sliced
1 piece whole-grain bread
1 to 2 cups green tea or juice
1 tuna sandwich on whole-grain bread w/lettuce and tomato and 1 tbsp. low-fat
(or 1 turkey or veggie burger on whole-grain bread with lettuce and tomato,
ketchup and mustard, 1 tsp. mayo if desired)
1/2 cup baked chips
1 glass water or juice
1 whole orange or 4 slices of 3-4 inch celery sticks with peanut butter
1 cup chicken casserole with mozzarella cheese, onions, scalloped potatoes,
1 cup green salad with 1 tbsp. olive oil and vinegar dressing
1 to 2 pieces whole grain bread of their choice (i.e., slices, roll or
1 glass water or juice
cup chocolate frozen yogurt
Explanation of Recommendations
The recommendations made will add many nutrients and will lower the amount of
calories, bad fat and cholesterol. This modified diet is much more balanced and
incorporates the right amount of each food group. There are many ways to modify
an individual’s diet. Personal counseling and interviewing is useful in
determining what types of foods to incorporate into the diet. This diet was
modified by taking the client’s existing choices and making them more
healthful. There are many creative ways to change one’s diet and personal
consulting by a nutrition expert is the ideal method for achieving that and
finding a solution that will last.
Focalin or dexmethylphenidate, is a psychostimulant drug commonly prescribed for A.D.D. (attention deficit disorder) and A.D.H.D. (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder). Focalin is a milder version of Ritalin (methylphenidate). As an alternative to such stimulants, there are many successful natural remedies that include nutrient and allergy testing and diet therapy (2: Prescription for Nutritional Healing, Balch 2004).
Currently the primary course of treatment for sufferers of ADD and ADHD is stimulant treatment. The other more commonly prescribed drugs for these disorders are Adderal and Ritalin.
Nutrition and ADD
Nutritional imbalances can cause ADD symptoms. For example, symptoms of hypoglycemia often resemble ADD symptoms. Blood sugar irregularities can mimic ADD symptoms and can be caused by a diet high in refined, processed foods. Food allergies, vitamin, mineral, amino acid and other nutrient imbalances and food additives can cause ADD symptoms.
There are many nutritional implications in ADD. More and more people are looking for alternative treatments and are turning to nutritional remedies. In “The ADD Answer,” Dr. Frank Lawlis shows that according to many studies, nutritional remedies such as diet modification and food allergy testing were successful in 70 percent of cases.
Stimulants are being prescribed to many children, including preschoolers. These medications are often chopped up and inhaled through the nose and can act as gateway drugs for these children.
By Elizabeth Kahn, eHow contributor
Desiccated liver powder is concentrated, dried liver, usually that of a cow. Liver is a nutrient-dense supplement that can help boost energy, libido, muscle growth, brain power and general health. Liver is a rich source of nutrients such as vitamin A, arachidonic acid, DHA and B vitamins. Liver contains an unknown “anti-fatigue factor.” Supplements given to rats greatly boosted their swimming endurance. It may be because liver is rich in carnitine, lipoic acid and other energy-related nutrients whose food sources have not been sufficiently researched.
Now Foods sells a desiccated liver supplement with minimal additives. Dr. Ron’s sells a grass-fed version of this supplement.
It is a good idea to use organic, grass-fed liver. For a source of local, fresh, grass-fed liver you can contact your local Weston A. Price Foundation chapter. North Star Bison has great tasting, fresh liver.
Desiccated liver supplements can be used to treat anemia, low energy, liver disorders, and to build healthy red blood cells and relieve stress.
Vitamin A Concerns
Liver is high in vitamin A and consuming an amount of vitamin A over 100,000 international units daily over a long period of time can cause problems such as abdominal and liver problems, hair loss and pregnancy related problems including birth defects. Watch your overall vitamin A intake while taking this product. Consult your doctor before taking this or any supplement.