The Superfoods Wrecking Your Health

I’ve gotten soooo many messages about this latest episode. How can spinach be toxic? And sweet potatoes, too?

This fascinating interview takes on the topic of oxalates. In this episode, we discuss the research behind oxalate overload, the problems with promoting superfoods that contain these toxins, and how to learn to start your own low oxalate journey.

Sally K. Norton, MPH holds a nutrition degree from Cornell University and a master’s degree in Public Health. Her path to becoming a leading expert on dietary oxalate includes a prior career working at major medical schools in medical education and public health research. Her personal healing experience inspired years of research that led to her forthcoming book, Toxic Superfoods, which was released on December 27 everywhere books are sold.  As a leading expert on oxalates in food, Sally’s work has been featured by podcasters, radio shows, and several online and print journals. In this episode, we discuss the research behind oxalate overload, the problems with promoting superfoods that contain these toxins, and how to learn to start your own low oxalate journey.

Download and listen here or find wherever you get podcasts.

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Five Health Trends That Aren’t That Healthy

Your body needs to feel safe to heal and thrive. That’s true for emotional safety, and it’s absolutely true for physiological safety. Unfortunately, due to fancy food marketing and years of junk science twisted to benefit the food companies, we have commonly consumed foods that are keeping your body in an unsafe, stressed out state. We have strayed so far from food that our great-grandparents ate that our bodies are sounding the alarm on every level – yet we keep trying the newest things.

So I’ve rounded up a list of the five things that I believe are creating long-term chaos in the body’s ability to function optimally – from a cellular level to neurotransmitter level to every area in between. We all want what’s best for our health, but it can be so confusing figuring out the best ways to be healthy. I believe, based on the piles of research I have done and the training I have received, that these five trends masquerading as health could be extremely destructive, especially when habitual.

Five Health Trends That Aren’t Healthy:

  1. Using reduced fat, low fat, or light, sugar-free anything. I can’t believe I even have to say this, 30 years after the low fat movement led us all into hypoglycemia and prediabetes (that may come off as an exaggeration; I do believe there is a strong correlation). Fat is necessary for so many functions in our body. It is crucial for cell membrane health. It is necessary for brain health. It is extremely satiating and keeps us full and our cravings down. When fat is removed from something that naturally has fat in it, it throws off the balance of carbs and fat, which can lead to rapid spikes in blood sugar. In some cases, like in light salad dressings, chemical stabilizers (and sugar or artificial sweeteners) are added to maintain texture and flavor. That overly sweet flavor can stimulate the cephalic blood sugar response and set you up for blood sugar roller coasters and hanger. Still skeptical? A meta-analysis of 16 studies showed that those who consumed full fat dairy were less likely to be at risk for obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. Also, a study of women who ate low fat dairy increased their chances of infertility by 85%. to As my friend Chelsea, the Christian Nutritionist says, God didn’t make cows with low fat udders. Eat the fat. Be full.
  2. Consuming seed oils. For years we were told canola oil is safer and a great source of omega 3. Same with soybean oil, vegetable oil, corn oil (I still see commercials about how it’s heart healthy), palm oil, sunflower, and safflower oil. These oils are damaging to the mitochondria – meaning your cellular health is at risk by over consuming these oils. Polyunsaturated fatty acids are very unstable and break down (oxidize) under high heat and heavy processing. Not to mention they tend to throw off the omega 3:6 ratio, which can increase inflammation if omega 6 oils far exceed omega 3. They are in coffee creamers, processed chips and baked goods, cereal, nut butters, ice cream, breaded chicken products, bread, tortillas, salsa, canned goods, etc – BUT there are options that don’t have them as well. It takes reading the ingredients, not the nutrition facts like we’ve been trained. When all else fails, go organic. It is very rare that inflammatory seed oils will be in an organic product. This is an excellent reference guide from Dr. Cate Shanahan here.
  3. Drinking oat milk. Take the inflammatory oils from item number two, turn a glyphosate-ridden grain into a “milk,” add some other fillers and stabilizers, and tell people it’s healthy because it’s plant-based. It’s genius marketing, which seems to be working, based on all the varieties of oat milks out there. I have nothing against organic oats for most people. But oats aren’t milk. They go very well with milk, but they aren’t milk. To be milk, a lot of processing needs to happen. And because recent studies show that eating ultra processed foods increases depression and anxiety, why add one more item of processing to your morning coffee? If it’s here and there, I don’t see an issue. But most of these items on this list, this one included, are replacing daily staples. It’s not worth it to me. If you truly have an issue with organic dairy, whether a sensitivity or allergy, pure coconut milk is the best option for a substitute. Most of the plant-based milk options are highly processed and can be aggravating for sensitive systems.
  4. Eating 5 small meals a day. On one level, this seems to make sense. We’ve been told that by eating five (or six) small meals a day, it can support satiety, blood sugar, and “stoke the metabolism.” However, recent research is showing that it might be doing more harm than good. Multiple studies have shown that meal frequency doesn’t actually impact metabolism and lead to greater weight loss as we’ve been told. For those with digestive issues and gut imbalances, eating too frequently hinders the work of the Migrating Motor Complex, which is basically the internal gut vacuum, taking out the trash to keep our system cleared out from excess debris that could cause inflammation. It needs a good four hours on average in between meals to to do its job. By constantly eating, we prevent it from happening. Furthermore, we are seeing a massive increase of insulin resistance in all ages and stages of life. When you are continually snacking, especially when it’s a low calorie, low fat but higher carb/sugar food, you are constantly asking your insulin to support the load, which can lead to hypoglycemia and down the line, insulin resistance. Research shows that eating less meals that are more satiating and packed with sufficient fiber, FAT (there’s a theme here), and protein, will keep blood sugar from constantly spiking and dropping throughout the day.
  5. Doing intense cardio all the time. I’m not hating on you runners or HIIT people. I used to be one. Exercise, especially cardiovascular exercise, is an incredible hormetic stressor. This means that your body is put under a little bit of stress for a short period of time, then it recovers, and you become more resilient. The problem with most people living a modern, fast-paced lifestyle, is there is little room for recovery. This used to be me. My alarm went off early in the morning, I threw on my workout clothes, and headed out for a run. Then, still buzzing from the energy (stress) created by the run, I jumped into the shower and prepared for a packed day, rushing from one thing to the next. I rarely stretched, I rarely recovered. So my body maintained the stress created by the run. Reminder: even good stress can be a stress. How do you know if you’re doing too much? For most people, doing over 30 minutes of cardio most days per week could be harmful, especially women in the luteal or menstrual phase. If you find yourself exhausted when you wake up, pushing through exhaustion during your workout, chronically sore and in pain, highly anxious and edgy in spurts throughout the day, waking up throughout the night… you may benefit from slowing it down some days. Even adding in a couple days of yoga or strength training can be beneficial. And always, always stretch and breathe after an intense workout. This reminds your body you are safe and no longer “running from a tiger.”

I will finish by reminding you that a body in stress won’t digest. So while I have focused primarily on food and what NOT to do, keep in mind that learning to manage stress and creating an environment for safety and healing is always going to be the most important thing you can do for your health. I will also add that losing weight rapidly due to extreme caloric restriction or a processed food based diet program does not equal health. It is very stressful to the body, especially if detoxification is hindered by insufficient nutrients or nutrients in a synthetic form (like folic acid). Furthermore, it may be creating metabolic adaptations that can cause long-term difficulties maintaining a healthy set point weight while consuming “normal” amounts of food. More on that here.

Realistically, we won’t be able to avoid all seed oils. We won’t be able to stay away from all toxic chemicals. We can’t erase our stress, as much as I’d love to. But what we want is to become more stress resilient. By minimizing the toxic load as we are able to, by becoming more aware of what is stressful for us, we can take steps toward resilience and healing and safety. Your body is on your side.

Need more support? I’m getting ready for a new round of Feast 2 Fast next month! This one month program is a metabolic makeover using real, whole food – no diet drinks or substitutes. Sign up here if you are interested, or message me for more information!

Transform Your Health Using the Power of Awe

How can engaging one emotion reduce depression by 24% in 21 days? Tune in to this awe-inspiring episode to find out! I loved this interview and was completely mind blown by the research being done.

Jake Eagle, LPC, is a psychotherapist, mindfulness instructor, fellow/member/trainer of the International Association of Neuro‑Linguistic Programming. After thirty years in private practice, he now works part-time as a meta-therapist, working with people who want to go beyond the bounds of traditional therapy. He is co author of the new book, THE POWER OF AWE: Overcome Burnout & Anxiety, Ease Chronic Pain, Find Clarity & Purpose—In Less Than 1 Minute Per Day

Download and listen here or find wherever you get podcasts.

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The Pantry Item That Could Be Wrecking Your Mental Health

Lately I have been on a rampage against commonly used inflammatory vegetable oils. They are everywhere, in every dressing, sauce, packaged good, and even in frozen vegetable mixtures and “healthy” items. Because of what I know about how these inflammatory oils impact our cell membranes and lead to oxidative damage, I get enraged that so many food companies and “health coaches” or nutrition experts promote their use.

The main oils I try to stay away from are vegetable, corn, soybean, canola, sunflower, and safflower. The reason these oils wreak havoc on cellular health is because they are in the category of omega 6 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAS). Omega 6 oils are not bad on their own, and we actually need them, but when we are consuming more omega 6 oils than omega 3s, excessive inflammation can occur. Also, these oils are very sensitive to oxidation under high heat, which can also cause damage on the cellular level.

In a perfect world, we would have a balance between omega 3 fats and omega 6 fats. In the era of processed convenience food, it just isn’t the case. Excess intake of vegetable oils like canola and soybean have been linked to anxiety, aggression, and poor cognitive function. While intake of omega 3 oils (found in fatty fish, walnuts, and flaxseeds) has been shown to improve cognitive function and reduce symptoms of anxiety, depression, and even chronic pain.

Most restaurant items contain inflammatory oils, because they’re cheaper. Even if you go to a restaurant and decide to make a “healthy” choice of ordering a salad, chances are that salad dressing is packed with canola or soybean oil, along with lots of sugar. I try to avoid restaurant salads as much as possible. The last time I mistakenly ordered a shrimp salad at a chain restaurant, it was so sweet it tasted like dessert!

But here’s the thing – I like eating out. It can be a fun treat, and my family usually eats restaurant food about once a week. I don’t want to be the food police at a restaurant. I don’t want my need to control or stress about food to ruin an enjoyable dining experience.

This brings me to my pantry. I have control over what I make at home. I love cooking from scratch, using whole food ingredients as much as possible. I love knowing that I am supporting my family’s brain health through nourishing recipes that keep us full and fueled for our busy lives.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

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Keys to Creating Immune Resilience

Have you heard the phrase psychoneuroimmunoendocrinology? Well, you have now!

In this recent episode, I pick Dr. Aaron Hartman’s brain on the topic of long Covid and why creating a healthy immune system impacts everything else in our bodies! We discuss the unique interconnectedness in our bodies and the latest and greatest in health research.

Dr. Aaron Hartman is the founder of Richmond Integrative and Functional Medicine in Richmond, Virginia. He helps his patients identify leverage points in key areas of their lifestyle & health that harness their body’s remarkable power to heal and begin living the vibrant life they deserve. He has participated in over 60 clinical studies and has become the ‘go to’ doctor for difficult and hard cases in central Virginia – positively impacting his own daughter’s MS with his unique, integrative approach to health.

Download and listen here or find wherever you get podcasts!

Continue reading “Keys to Creating Immune Resilience”

Your Weight Is The Least Interesting Thing About You

I had to step on a scale for life insurance this week and it triggered crazy anxiety and numerous unpleasant emotions.

I haven’t looked at the scale in years. According to the BMI (which is a mathematical calculation never intended to be used for health purposes but that’s a whole other post), I have been overweight since I was 16 years old. Because I’ve suffered from chronic health issues my entire life, I know when I’m in a healthy place and I know when I’m in an unhealthy place. The scale has never been a reflection of that. But it can tell me when my body is on high alert or fighting to restore balance. 

Yes, I am a health coach, but I don’t use the scale as a measure of health.

I dig deeper.

Because my endless hours of training are in integrative nutrition and functional medicine, I care more about what rapid weight gain or weight loss tells me about underlying imbalances.

Often times, weight is a protective mechanism. Body fat tissue is biologically active, producing hormones and immune-system proteins that act on other cells. There is a REASON for the inflammation. It’s how our body stores toxins and manages internal or external imbalances, not to mention physical and emotional stress.

Continue reading “Your Weight Is The Least Interesting Thing About You”

You’re Not Fat, You’re Inflamed: The Latest Science on Losing Weight

Fat cells are really amazing protective organs, and contrary to what you’ve been told – you can’t burn them. New research changes the way we approach weight loss and addressing inflammatory fat cells.

Dr. Tracey Stroup is a naturopathic doctor who has been in the health and wellness industry for over 25 years. She joins the show for a second time in order to break down common weight loss and exercise myths.

Download and listen here or find wherever you get podcasts!

Key Topics:

– Weight loss myths (including calorie counting and the phrase “burning fat”)

– What fat cells are and how they are protective

– Reasons for rapid weight gain and what to do to treat the root cause

– Nutrient deficiencies, medications, gut dysbiosis and the role they play in weight gain and loss

– How being 15 pounds overweight or more makes your body pro-inflammatory

– Stress and the impact on exercise

– How to work out without stressing your body out

– Optimizing detoxification and products that can aid in the detox process

Learn more about Nutritional Frontiers and their products here.

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How to Find Out What Foods Are Harming Your Health

Dr. Brent Dorval is the creator of the Food Inflammation Test. He was involved in the creation of the first HIV/AIDS rapid diagnostic assay and held a number of management positions and served as an adviser to the World Health Organization committee on vaccines and diagnostics. He has several patents covering rapid assays, novel biomarkers and a novel polio virus vaccine.

In this episode we discuss the patented food inflammation test that has helped many people get to the root of their health concerns, including IBS, brain fog, headaches, skin issues, and mental health function.

Key Topics:

  • The difference between an allergy and an delayed food sensitivity
  • How an inflammatory response from food shows on a blood test
  • Why there is an increase in food sensitivities
  • How food sensitivities impact brain health and how leaky gut = leaky brain
  • Why KBMO FIT test is different than any other sensitivity test
  • The independent clinical studies showing the effectiveness of using the FIT test

To watch the entire interview and view the PowerPoint presentation, click here.

To learn more about the FIT test or set up a provider account, head to kbmodiagnostics.com

To get the FIT test for yourself and a customized plan, contact me!

Don’t forget to get $15 off your first visit with a board-certified dermatologist at apostrophe.com/sparkingwholeness and use the code sparkingwholeness.

What’s the Big Deal About Inflammation?

Inflammation is a word getting a lot of attention lately, and for good reason. Many health experts consider it a major cause for chronic illness, and it is threatening all of our health right now. Understanding inflammation, how to manage it, and addressing root causes is more important than ever!

Dr. Mark Sherwood is an ex-professional baseball player and 24-year retired veteran of the Tulsa Police Department who now is a Naturopathic Doctor on a mission to help others achieve wellness. He and his wife, Dr. Michele L. Neil-Sherwood, have a successful medical practice, the Functional Medical Institute, along with a number of books and a television and radio program.

Continue reading “What’s the Big Deal About Inflammation?”

Stop Sabotaging Yourself: Beating Chronic Pain and the Toughest Obstacles

Jennifer Loehding is a health and business coach, blogger, podcast host, speaker, and author. Her memoir, Beat the Toughest Obstacles, highlights the period in her life when she was able to recover from the pain and frustration that comes with a diagnosis of Atypical Trigeminal Neuralgia. After years of getting no answers from medical professionals, Jennifer decided to find the best path to healing for herself.

Her story is inspiring and encouraging and a reminder not to be limited by a label! Download here or listen wherever you get podcasts.

Key Topics:

  • dcm_2855-edit copyJennifer’s health journey and her diagnosis of trigeminal neuralgia
  • What is the butterfly effect and how it impacts our
  • How to stop sabotaging self belief
  • How to let go of the unnecessary
  • Setting priorities
  • How a therapeutic ketogenic diet changed her life
  • How she maintains health pain-free
  • How making one small change makes a difference

Learn more about Jennifer at JenniferLoehding.com.

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