Five Healthy Foods That May Be Making Your Autoimmune Disease Worse

Eggs and Nuts
By Be Well Health Coach Megan McGrane

Are you eating healthfully and watching your diet as a way to manage your autoimmune symptoms, but you just don’t know why you continue to have symptoms such as bloating, upset stomach, joint pain or rashes?  Although you are eating foods you believe to be healthy, here are five foods that may be triggering your autoimmune symptoms and keeping you inflamed, despite your best intentions.


You may already know that avoiding gluten is essential to your health if you have an autoimmune disease, but did you know that even though corn does not contain gluten, it can be almost equally as irritating to the gut lining? This is because corn can look like gluten to your body and cause what is known as a ‘cross-reaction’.  Your body actually thinks the proteins in corn are gluten and sets off your immune system.  Many believe this is because corn has been genetically modified and cross-bred for decades, altering its genetic structure. Additionally, corn is a higher glycemic index vegetable, meaning it readily converts to sugar in the body. We know that any foods rapidly converting to sugar will cause an insulin response and can contribute to inflammation.


While nuts are a convenient snack that can provide quick energy, eating too many nuts could be hindering your healing.  While nuts contain anti-inflammatory Omega-3 fatty acids, they are also high in Omega-6 fatty acids, which are pro-inflammatory. Striking the right balances is critical and over-eating nuts can actually cause increased inflammation. Nuts are also high in phytic acid which is known as an ‘anti-nutrient’. Phytic acid binds to essential minerals in digestive tract and can prevent the minerals from being absorbed. While having nuts or nut butter on occasion is great, overindulging can hinder your healing.

Goji Berries

Goji Berries are part of the nightshade family, which includes vegetables like eggplant, tomatoes, white potatoes, and peppers.  Nightshades often cause inflammation and joint pain in patients with autoimmune disease.  While goji berries are loaded with antioxidants and super food qualities, they may not be a super food for you if you suffer from inflammation and joint pain.

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Posted by on Jan 30, 2015| 0 Comments

Acrylamide in Food:
How to Reduce Your Cancer Risk

The European Food Safety Agency tends to be a few steps ahead of ours when it comes to exercising precaution and introducing preventative measures to protect the health of Europeans.

Why?  Maybe it’s because they don’t have a “for profit” health care system.  They actually have to try to keep people healthy, because if Europeans had the same rates of diseases that we do here, it would crush their economy, since taxpayers would have to foot the  health care bill.

Back in the U.S., sickness sells.  So there is little incentive economically to introduce precautionary measures like this.

But just because our government agencies don’t get the word out, it doesn’t mean that we can’t.

Here is an interesting infographic on a cancer causing agent that is found in everyday foods. None of us can do everything, but all of us can do something, so maybe when you’re making those potatoes, keep an eye on the color.  A little bit of prevention can go a long way.

Follow Robyn on Twitter @foodawakenings.  She is a former financial analyst and author.

This article originally appeared on

Posted by on Jan 29, 2015| 0 Comments

3 Easy Changes for a Healthier New Year

Whether or not your New Year’s resolution was about slimming down, we can all take the opportunity for a fresh start when it comes to our approach to health.

See my interview with Dr. Manny Alvarez at Fox News, highlighting a few easy changes you can make this year, from my new book, “The New Health Rules.”

Posted by on Jan 27, 2015| 1 Comments

Interview With Dr Amy Myers About Her New Book, The Autoimmune Solution

The Autoimmune Solution

Q. Why did you decide to write The Autoimmune Solution?

A. I know firsthand how frustrating and painful autoimmune disease can be. During medical school, I was diagnosed with an autoimmune thyroid condition called Graves’ disease. When conventional medicine failed me, I had to develop my own solution—now my mission in life is to help others on their own journey to recover from autoimmunity.

Q. What is this book about?

A. The Autoimmune Solution is my answer to what I see as growing problems: the rising rates of autoimmune disorders, and the conventional way we deal with them. It’s the same approach I use with the patients in my clinic, laid out in a step-by-step, thirty-day program that restores the body to its natural healthy state by getting to the root of disease.

Q. Who is it for?

A. This book is for the hundreds of millions of people out there who are affected by autoimmune disease. Whether you want to reverse your autoimmune disorder, keep from getting an autoimmune disorder, or support someone who has an autoimmune disorder, this book is for you.

Q. Who is going to benefit the most?

A. You can benefit from this book if you have an autoimmune disorder, if you suffer from autism, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, or any other condition that is closely related to an autoimmune disorder, or if you’re on what I call “the autoimmune spectrum”—a path where diet, lifestyle, and/or genetics puts you at risk for developing autoimmunity.

Q. What makes your approach different than a conventional medicine approach?

A. The conventional medicine philosophy is that autoimmune disorders are inevitable, that your genes are in charge of your health. Patients are given a cocktail of toxic medications to manage their conditions and told they’ll have to learn to live with the side effects. The truth is, genetics actually play a much smaller role in the development of autoimmunity. My approach is a whole body approach that looks at all of the environmental factors that can make you sick or keep you well.

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Posted by on Jan 26, 2015| 1 Comments

4 Steps to Accepting Change:
Letting Your Health Dictate Your Diet

4 Steps to Accepting Change
By Be Well Health Coach Laura Kraber

Whether we are advised to remove foods due to a medical condition such as pre-diabetes or celiac disease, or we make a commitment to a specific diet such as Paleo, dietary shifts are rarely easy. Beyond mere sustenance, food is part of our culture and our social existence; it is embedded in our daily habits and is a source of pleasure and comfort. When we make changes to our diet, we inevitably make changes to our lives.

If you are confronting the need to eliminate foods from your diet or to follow a specific dietary plan, the following steps can support your journey.

1. Allow Yourself to Mourn

In accordance with the intensity of dietary change you are making, recognize the challenges you will face as you adjust to the new regime.  Yes, it will be difficult to say goodbye to favorite foods and long-established habits – so don’t pretend otherwise. Allow yourself to mourn your once favorite foods and habits as a first step in developing new habits and discovering new treats.

Although it is immensely rational to reject the health-robbing Standard American Diet of sugary snacks, processed foods, and factory-farmed meat, by diverging from the norm, you are stepping outside of the mainstream. You may feel left out when your co-workers meet at Dunkin’ Donuts for breakfast or your family or friends want to split a pizza from Pizza Hut for dinner. The ability to grab food on the go declines when you raise the requirements of what constitutes food. It is not easy to reject the ease and convenience of fast food and packaged food in a culture that embraces it.

2. Create a Game Plan

Radical change does not happen without planning and preparation. Sourcing high quality food is a priority when your health dictates your diet, and making the time and allocating the funds to organic, unprocessed, whole foods demands effort. Read recipe blogs, talk to like-minded friends, research restaurants and allow yourself time to integrate necessary changes into your life.

Reversing years of dietary habits will require you to shop differently, cook differently, eat out differently and plan your days differently. Sunday brunch may no longer be so enjoyable when the waffles and pancakes are off the diet plan and Friday night bar-hopping may not be as appealing without a drink in hand.

Can you find an alternate meeting place for brunch or re-think weekend gatherings? Mealtimes are a wonderful way to come together with friends and family but they are not the only way.  Try meeting in the park for a walk, a game of tennis, or a bike ride; or going to a sporting event, a concert or a show; or simply meeting at a café for tea instead of at a bar or restaurant.

Try cooking at home more often and inviting friends and family to enjoy your new, healthful way of eating.

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Posted by on Jan 23, 2015| 0 Comments

Rupert Sheldrake – The Science Delusion:
Why Materialism is not the Answer


This talk was banned by Ted because he exposes and questions the dogmas of science, which are the default worldview of the mainstream science world.

Here are the 10 dogmas he has found to exist within mainstream science today.

1. Nature is mechanical or machine like

2. All matter is unconscious

3. The laws or constants of nature are fixed

4. The total amount of matter and energy is always the same

5. Nature is purposeless

6. Biological heredity is material

7. Memories are stored inside your brain

8. Your mind is inside your head

9. Psychic phenomena like telepathy is not possible

10. Mechanistic medicine is the only kind that works

Actually I agree with every point and that these dogmas are not necessarily the “truth”. Yet the talk was banned by TED!

Posted by on Jan 22, 2015| 3 Comments

Be Well Kitchen: Sweet Potato & Apple Medley with Crunchy Cinnamon Raisin Croutons

Sweet Potato and Apple

This delicious winter dish is bursting with natural sweetness, but most of all, it’s all about texture. If you’ve been missing crunchy croutons since giving up gluten, the cinnamon raisin croutons will be a satisfying treat!

Ingredients (Serves 12)

  • 1 loaf gluten-free cinnamon raisin bread, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 5 cups peeled sweet potatoes, cut into 1/3 inch cubes
  • 1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 2 large organic eggs
  • 1 cup organic vegetable broth
  • 1 tsp. organic honey
  • ½ cup chopped raw walnuts or pecans
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh marjoram
  • 3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 medium Granny Smith apples, diced
  • Parchment paper
  • Olive oil, for greasing pan


  1. Preheat to 350°F.
  2. Prepare a large deep baking dish with olive oil and set aside.
  3. Spread cubes of bread in single layer on large baking sheet lined with parchment paper; bake for 12 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven; set aside to cool. Place bread cubes in a large bowl.
  4. Melt oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add sweet potatoes, onion, sea salt and pepper. Sauté until onions are soft, about 7 minutes.  Add orange juice and bring to boil then cook until liquid is absorbed and sweet potatoes are tender. Remove from heat and transfer sweet potato mixture to a large bowl; toss with the cooked bread cubes.
  5. Whisk eggs and vegetable broth in small bowl then add to the sweet potato mixture along with honey, pecans and marjoram. Gently toss to combine and transfer to the prepared deep baking dish.
  6. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until golden brown and warm throughout.
  7. Remove from the oven and serve warm.
Posted by on Jan 20, 2015| 1 Comments

Winterize Your Body:
17 Tips for Staying Well This Winter

Winterize Your Body

Wintertime coughs, colds and flu – who needs them? And who gets ‘em? Just about anybody who’s not prepped for the onslaught – but this year, you don’t have to be one of them. Start taking steps today to winterize your body, strengthen its defenses and get it ready for the season. By making smart food, supplement and lifestyle choices now you’ll boost immunity – giving your body exactly it needs to stay well straight on through till spring. Here are 16 healthy ways to do it:

Eat for Immunity

1. Eat Your Greens

Dark leafy greens are loaded with energy-boosting phytonutrients that feed the good belly bacteria responsible for keeping your immune system strong and well-equipped to repel debilitating winter bugs. To get more leafies on your plate, make room for greenery at every meal. Add spinach into your breakfast smoothie, toss chopped kale into egg dishes, bulk up lunches with big side salads, and add steamed greens to soups, stews and sauces. Think of each meal as an opportunity feed your good gut bacteria!

2. Drink Your Greens

Work in an office where everyone’s got the sniffles? Then keep a supply of high quality greens powder in your fridge, and mix up a green drink to sip instead of coffee to keep energy levels high. You can also add greens powder into your morning protein shake to start the day fully fortified. If you travel frequently, take a long a few Be Well Greens packets to help your good gut bacteria flourish when you’re on the road.

3. Add Garlic!

Roasted or raw, garlic is loaded with anti-viral, antibacterial and antifungal substances that help strengthen your body’s defenses against the bad bugs of winter. Though raw garlic packs a slightly more powerful nutritional punch, roasted garlic is arguably the more delectable way to enjoy those immunity-enhancing compounds, so feel free to indulge!

4. Have a Side of Sauerkraut

Feed your good gut bacteria by adding fermented foods like sauerkraut and kimchi to your diet. Fermented foods contain healthy, friendly bacteria (probiotics) that help keep gut flora balanced and immunity high. As the gut is home to roughly 70% of your immune system, one that’s well fed and well balanced will be less vulnerable to every sniffle that sweeps through the office. 

5. Dish Out Some Saturated Fat

Adding coconut oil to your diet is a great way to get a daily dose of immunity-boosting lauric acid. So, how to put it to use? Try cooking with coconut oil, or add it to your morning yoghurt or smoothie, lunchtime soup or cup of tea. Freaked out by the fat? Don’t be. The body quickly converts coconut oil’s medium-chain fatty acids into ready-to-burn energy.

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Posted by on Jan 19, 2015| 0 Comments

5 Tips To Help Slow Down The Aging Process

Slowing Aging
By Be Well Health Coach Jenny Sansouci

Getting older is a given, but our diet and lifestyle play a huge role in how we look and feel along the way! Aging doesn’t necessarily mean getting sick or feeling less than our best — if we pay attention to a few key factors and make a few important shifts, we can age healthfully and feel as optimal as possible.

Here are some of the ways to keep yourself feeling healthy and energetic – while reducing your risk of chronic disease – at any age:

Drink a Lot of Water

Hydrating is one of the most important things you can do to keep your skin looking young, bright and glowing — as well as keep every system in the body functioning optimally. Dry, dehydrated skin looks older and more dull, and because our skin is a reflection for what’s going on internally, the more water we drink the more hydrated our skin will look. To keep your body healthy and hydrated, try drinking 2-3 liters of water per day and go easy on caffeinated beverages and alcohol, which dry your skin out even more.

Exercise Regularly

Studies have shown that exercising regularly decreases the chance for chronic disease, depression and cognitive decline, and can keep your skin looking younger, too. Exercise can reduce inflammation in the body which keeps your immune system strong to fight off illness as you get older. Do something that makes you work up a sweat to release toxins through your skin to keep it healthy and glowing. And make sure you’re doing something you love — you’re more likely to make it a long-term habit if you’re enjoying yourself.

Sleep Well

Lack of adequate sleep, especially chronic sleep loss, can increase the likelihood of age-related disease. When you’re low on sleep, your hormones can become out of balance and your blood pressure can increase, raising your risk of heart problems and stroke. Lack of sleep can also interfere with insulin sensitivity, which increases your risk of diabetes. Establishing a routine pattern of going to bed and waking up around the same time each day is the most important thing you can do to establish good sleep habits.

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Posted by on Jan 16, 2015| 2 Comments

12 Big Ideas That Are Shifting the Way We Think About Health

Bacon and Eggs

Reprinted with permission from Experience Life Magazine.
By Kristin Ohlson

For more than a decade, Experience Life has covered the cutting edge of health and nutrition. We’ve tracked emerging trends and reported on promising research. Our central focus has been on lifestyle medicine, and recent advances in this field have been nothing short of astonishing. We’ve never had such a clear understanding of how powerfully factors like food, activity, sleep, stress, and environment affect our health. Here are what we see as some of the most important concepts we’ve covered over the past few years — and why we think they’ll continue to matter. Want to know more? Check out the links to our original articles, which offer deeper analysis, references, and sources for further reading. — The Editors

1. Friendly Fat

Most of us were raised to fear fat. We were steered toward lean cuts of meat, egg-white omelets, and dry toast. For a while there, many of us even avoided nuts, seeds, and avocados — afraid their relatively high fat and calorie content would contribute to weight gain.

Yet, a growing body of research shows that virtually all fats in their natural form — including the saturated fat found in butter, eggs, and red meat — can help build healthy metabolism and support key biochemical processes, including optimal cell, nerve, and brain function.

Our collective fear of fat started in the 1940s with physiologist Ancel Keys. Based on some flawed research, he hypothesized that dietary fat lay at the root of cardio-vascular disease. The U.S. government quickly codified Keys’s recommendations into nutritional guidelines.

The prepared-food industry, which saw a huge opportunity, rushed into the marketplace with an array of processed, low-fat products. Most were high in refined carbs, which have now been proven to fuel both inflammation and obesity. For this reason, many experts today see the war on fat as the primary driver of our current obesity and chronic-disease epidemic.

For the last half-century, we’ve been encouraged to think about weight gain as a simple math equation: More calories in minus fewer calories out equals calories stored as fat.

But this weight-loss advice has failed, primarily because it doesn’t take into consideration the hormonal and metabolic impact of different foods, explains researcher David Ludwig, MD, a Harvard Medical School professor and head of the New Balance Foundation Obesity Prevention Center at Boston Children’s Hospital.

“That approach will work for short periods of time, but people almost always gain the weight back because other mechanisms kick in,” says Ludwig, who is currently heading up a $13.6 million study on overweight and obese college students.

Ludwig and other researchers are now experimenting with higher-fat, low-glycemic, whole-food eating programs they think might offer new promise for many, including those who have struggled with their weight for a lifetime. (For more on the importance of healthy fats, see “Overcoming Grain Brain”.)

For more on the big fat myth, see “A Big Fat Mistake”.

2. Microbiome Matters

We are each a veritable ship of microbes, and without their help, we’d be sunk. This thriving ecosystem that each of our bodies hosts — referred to collectively as our microbiome — is made up of 100 trillion bacteria, viruses, fungi, and protozoa. They outnumber our human cells 10 to one.

Not so long ago, we thought most of these microbes were hostile invaders we needed to destroy. Now, researchers tell us we need plenty of these bugs, and in the right balance, for optimal health.

A thriving microbiome supplies us with critical nutrients, helps us fight dangerous pathogens, keeps our immune system in balance, and modulates our weight and metabolism by extracting energy and calories from the food we eat.

Both helpful and potentially harmful microbes are found throughout our bodies, including on our skin and in our noses, mouths, tonsils, lungs, guts, and genital tracts.

The diversity and density of species that compose the human microbiome vary from person to person, depending on factors like diet, geographic location, and medical history. Even the experience of our ancestors plays a role: Microbiome patterns are passed down from parents to children over centuries.

“This understanding of the microbiome has changed my whole way of thinking,” says Robert Rountree, MD, a functional-medicine specialist in Boulder, Colo. “Our gut is like a garden. If you have an overgrowth of fungus in your garden and things aren’t growing right, you can’t just blast it with things that will sterilize the soil, as we used to routinely do to the body with antibiotics and other medicines. There are all kinds of things you need to do to get the soil healthy again.”

Imbalances in our gut microbiome can result in a wide range of health concerns, like obesity, colitis, asthma, and mental illness. Rountree says that most of these problems take years or decades to develop. They then require protracted treatment, including changes in diet and lifestyle; the use of probiotics (beneficial bacteria); and, in some cases, pharmaceutical and nutriceutical medications.

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Posted by on Jan 15, 2015| 1 Comments