Is Inflammation Making You Fat?

This Could Be the Real Reason You Can’t Lose Weight

Do your pants immediately feel tighter after dinner?

Do you find yourself noticing extra fat around your midsection?

If this sounds familiar, you know how frustrating bloating and stubborn belly fat can be. While self-pity is unproductive, there are things you can do each day to improve these issues by addressing the real cause.

The Real Reason You Feel Fat

Inflammation could be one of the reasons you can’t shed those pounds or get rid of inconvenient bloating. This is great news if you haven’t seen the results you’ve wanted from diet and exercise alone.

What is Inflammation?

Inflammation is a component of the body’s defense mechanism. For short periods of time, it’s a good thing.

For example, your body will induce a temporary fever to help ward off foreign pathogens when you’re sick.

This causes an intentional inflammatory response aimed at making you better.

However, long-term inflammation is different. Long-term inflammation is caused by food intolerances, stress, and poor digestion. When left unchecked, this can cause fat-storing hormones to be released excessively.

How to Lose the Fat Caused by Inflammation

Here are some of the top inflammation-fighting practices you can get started on right now:

1. Remove Inflammatory Foods

These inflammatory foods tax your body and immune system and can lead to increased body fat. Try to remove the following foods and ingredients from your diet and household:

✦ Gluten
✦ Dairy
✦ Corn
✦ Eggs
✦ Soy
✦ Nuts
✦ Nightshades

tomatoes, bell peppers, potatoes, eggplants

✦ Citrus
✦ Yeast

baker’s yeast, brewer’s yeast, and fermented products like alcohol

2. Remove Added Sugar 

Sugar has an immediate effect on the body and causes widespread inflammation.

A little natural sugar found in fruits is okay, but added sugar or sweeteners should be avoided.

Added sugar can even be found in food that doesn’t taste sweet, such as soup, bread and salad dressing. Get in the habit of checking nutrition labels and steer clear of foods with added sugar.

3. Reduce Your Salt Intake

Sodium blocks normal hormone signals that make you feel full.

This is why salty foods tend to make you overeat even when you’re not hungry.

Check the sodium content of foods and sauces in your home and keep track of how much you consume each day. When possible, prepare your foods at home and use spices instead of salt.

4. Take Curcumin (Active component inside Turmeric root)

Curcumin is the powerful anti-inflammatory ingredient inside turmeric that has incredible healing properties known to fight inflammation and oxidative stress.

Lowering oxidative stress can help regulate the release of fat-storing hormones, which makes it easier to lose weight.

This is a must-have in your daily routine if you want to combat stubborn fat caused by inflammation.

5. Try Icelandic Sea Kelp

Icelandic Sea Kelp contains fucoidan, an anti-inflammatory complex carbohydrate that fights oxidative stress.

The fiber in sea kelp also helps you feel full, which can help promote weight loss.

6. Add a Little Ginger To Your Drinks & Meals

Ginger is an amazing anti-inflammatory agent that helps support healthy digestion. It’s great for upset stomachs and can easily be added to water if your tummy needs a pick-me-up!

7. Astragalus

Astragalus is an incredible plant that supports the immune system, also known as an adaptogen.

Adaptogens are activated by stress and help lower cortisol levels in the body. Maintaining low, healthy cortisol levels is essential for weight loss.

8. Eat More Pineapple

Pineapples contain an enzyme called bromelain, which helps break down protein and reduce bloating.

Pineapples are one of the only fruits that leave alkaline residuals in the gastrointestinal tract to help decrease inflammation.

With a little patience and these tips, you can fight bloating and stubborn belly fat caused by inflammation. It's never too early to start, and this might be the push you needed to finally fit into those skinny jeans!

Healthy Eating Basics: Where Should I Start?

Healthy Eating Basics: Where Should I Start?

One of the most popular questions I get from inquisitive minds often touches on the basics of eating a healthy diet. I always encourage people to take steps and little shifts to mindful and awareness food consumption that will lead to optimal health.

There are just so many "myths" and "truths" out there that have a direct impact on our lives (mental, emotional and physical wellbeing), that if we try to comprehend them all in one big chunk, we could be overwhelmed and throw in the towel before even committing to making a change for the positive.

Below are general guidelines I like to follow and suggest for people that need a gentle nudge toward the right way of doing things better when it comes to food decisions.

1. Be mindful of the refined, processed and manufactured foods that make it into your shopping cart and into your home and mouth.

Chronic inflammation, how we feel and perhaps how we act, is almost always directly linked to the quality of foods we eat—and packaged and processed foods do us no good.

Instead, aim for fresh, whole, live and organic (when possible) foods.

2. Refrain from quick digesting carbs (flour and sugar).

These food-like products increase inflammation as well because of the rapid increases in blood sugar that create abnormal reactions between proteins and sugars.

3. Eat healthy fats.

Choose coconut oil, extra virgin olive oils and other monounsaturated fats which counteract inflammation.

Omega-3 fatty acids found in cold water fish, flaxseeds, walnuts, hemp seeds, and fortified eggs are also great choices.

Stay away from trans fats, partially hydrogenated oils, margarine, soybean oil, corn, sunflower or canola and other GMO oils, vegetable shortenings, and omega-6 fatty acids.

4. Try to eat as close to a rabbit (limit animal by-products and meats) for protein.

Red meat, poultry, and dairy products are not only very acidic to the body (diseases cultivate in acidic internal environments), they are filled with unhealthy saturated fats and linked to a number of cardiovascular diseases and inflammation.

Try non-GMO whole soybeans, legumes, nuts, and dark leafy greens like chard, and kale which all have high levels of protein.

5. Use Essential Oils, Herbs, and Spices.

Not only to add a deeper level of flavor to your meals (and infuse into your water), these beneficial, natural anti-inflammatory agents are a kitchen staple that you should be adopting into your everyday routine.

I love to use lemon or grapefruit essential oil in my waters, ginger, turmeric, basil, dill, and black pepper in my main and side dishes and peppermint, lavender and lime in my desserts.

6. Hydrate and Drink your liquids!

My go to is clean, spring water (add lemon or lemon essential oils to luke warm water in the am to reset the body and flush out toxins), raw coconut water (pumped with electrolytes, magnesium, and potassium) and watermelon water with fresh lavender, matcha green tea for a treat.

7. Eat your rainbow.

Choose a rainbow variety of fresh fruits and vegetables.

These are packed with live and protective phytonutrients and antioxidants that neutralize free radicals and reactive byproducts that contribute to a host of chronic diseases and ailments.

Top Foods that Trigger Acne

Top Foods that Trigger Acne

Acne is caused by overproduction of sebum--an oily substance--by sebaceous glands that lie under the skin, other irritants and bacteria. Excess amounts of sebum or other irritants accumulate and block hair pores of the skin. Bacteria then infect the cells and tissues that block the pore. Foods or substances that cause irritation or inflammation, increase bacteria or boost production of sebum can trigger acne. While research results are mixed, there are many clinical reports and well-designed studies that support the contention that food can trigger acne. While it does not seem that acne is a food-related problem, oily and sugary foods may exacerbate the symptoms. Foods such as shellfish, iodized salt, and milk, which are high in iodine, may also exacerbate acne and should be avoided. In general, if you are concerned about acne, foods to be aware of, eat less or avoid include dairy products, processed foods, fatty and fried foods, meat and sugar. 

High GI Foods

Foods high on the glycemic index (GI) list can trigger acne include processed grains such as white bread, biscuits and cake; simple carbohydrates such as sugar, fructose, corn syrup and other sweeteners; and processed breads, cereals and carbohydrates. Many sweets, junk and snack foods, contain sugars that are quickly metabolized into blood sugar. 

Dairy and Other Food Allergies

Acne can be caused by food allergies. The immune system detects the allergen—the food you are allergic to—and attacks it as if it were an invading organism. This misguided protective response by the body results in various reactions including, for some people, acne. Dairy products to be avoided include milk, butter, cheese, chocolate, cream, eggs, and margarine. 

Fried Foods, Fat and Heavy Oils

The types of fats we consume on a daily basis have a big impact on the health of our skin.  Foods that contain trans-fatty acids are thought to contribute to subcutaneous oil, and to stimulate fatty acids and other irritants under the skin's oil glands and hair follicles. Foods to avoid include fatty foods such as milk, milk products such as cheese, sour cream, and ice cream, fried foods, margarine, shortening, synthetically hydrogenated vegetable oils (industrially processed liquid oils, such as soy, corn, safflower, cottonseed and canola) and fried foods.   

Foods with High Levels of Iodine

Iodine is reported to exacerbate acne. Processed foods contain high levels of iodine (from the salt), and should be avoided. Other foods that contain iodine include fast foods, iodized salt, dairy products, egg yolks, chocolate, seafood, kelp, dried fruit, commercial bakery products and onions. 

Other foods and substances such as alcohol, coffee, soda, cocoa, meat, poultry and soft drinks are also thought to trigger or exacerbate acne.

For example, it is thought that meat contains hormone or hormone-like substances that trigger hormonal responses including testosterone, which then increases sebum production.

Likewise, foods that contain caffeine or other stimulants such as coffee, chocolate, cocoa or caffeinated soda are thought to stimulate hormonal responses that trigger the release of sebum. Alcohol, as well as chocolate, fried food and refined sugar are thought to contribute to an acidic internal environment that may foster acne.