If You’re Considering Going Gluten-Free, Don’t Make These 3 Common Mistakes

Hi, Fran Sussman here from the Holistic Outlook column in The Times Herald Record, and Sussman Holistic Services, with more tips for Your Best Health.

Gluten is the protein in wheat, oats, rye, barley and spelt and it has been associated with all sorts of illness and symptoms, even if you do not have a diagnosis of celiac disease or gluten sensitivity. (For more on this, read my article here.)

To avoid common beginners’ mistakes, here are my three top tips on how NOT to go gluten-free.

1. Do not eat lots of food labeled “gluten free.” The first thing people usually do is load up on all sorts of gluten-free cookies, crackers, cakes, cereals, pretzels, pasta, etc. Beware: These are still highly processed junk foods made from high-glycemic, low-fiber flours, and most contain high amounts of sugar. “Gluten-free” doesn’t mean healthy.

2. Do not make “reasonable” assumptions at restaurants. You ordered a simple meal of fish, chicken or meat and vegetables. Why would there be gluten in that? Foods are dredged in flour, cooked with a “roux” or prepared with marinades that contain gluten. Many restaurants, even nice ones, serve french fries that are a reconstituted mix of dried potatoes and flour. It’s better to be safe than sorry, so be your own advocate, and always ask your server.

3. Do not do gluten-lite versus gluten-free. It takes up to two weeks for gluten to leave your system, so if you’re indulging once a week, you’ll never get the benefits of removing it from your diet. And research shows that even a single gram of gluten impacts inflammatory markers for six months.

Most people, regardless of whether they’ve been diagnosed or not, find they feel better by eliminating gluten from their diet. Will you try it and see?

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My Top 6 Anti-Inflammatory Foods

Hi, Fran Sussman here from the Holistic Outlook column in The Times Herald Record, and Sussman Holistic Services, with more tips for Your Best Health.

If you’ve been following me here, you’ve been learning about how to feel better by decreasing inflammation though nutrition.  Today I want to share some of my favorite anti-inflammatory foods.

  1. Turmeric With all its potential benefits to joints, skin, heart, digestion and more, you might try adding it to eggs, sauces, and soups. You can find powder or root, but beware – the root is very messy to use, and will stain.
  2. Ginger is wonderful for the joints, and can be beneficial to digestion, especially nausea. Use it chopped, grated, or juiced.
  3. Cherries Black cherry juice is a traditional remedy for gout, but I recommend whole black cherries. Just don’t overdo it, because of the sugars.
  4. Basil has actions similar to tylenol and ibuprofin, without the potential to damage your liver or gut. Make a simple pesto with your best olive oil and good quality salt, and slather it on fish, veggies, or eggs, not just pasta! Freeze leftovers for winter.
  5. Green Tea is good for the cardiovascular system, the brain and the metabolism! Unlike black tea or coffee, green tea is relatively unprocessed, so retains its many nutrients.
  6. Green Juice I love my fresh green juice, and a base of cucumbers (in season locally now) and celery make it highly anti-inflammatory. Add some ginger and you’re good to go! For more on healthy juicing, read this.

Please note that I am talking about foods here, not supplements. While many of these are available in supplement form, those often contain additives and higher doses of particular nutrients that may or may not be right for you. If you stick to food, particularly if you buy organic, you pretty much can’t go wrong!

 

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These 5 Foods Increase Inflammation

Hi, Fran Sussman here from the Holistic Outlook column in The Times Herald Record, and Sussman Holistic Services, with more tips for Your Best Health.

Last week, I told you why inflammation is such an important issue for your health, and about foods that decrease inflammation.

Today let’s look at foods that increase inflammation. These are the ones you want to limit, or avoid.

Here’s my top 5 list:

  • Gluten. No, it’s not just a fad, and if it’s a trend, it’s because so many people experience dramatic improvement when they eliminate it. Substantial medical research shows that gluten causes inflammation in everyone not just those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity.
  • Sugar Sure it tastes good, but there are healthy substitutes that also taste good and actually are good for you!
  • Corn It’s not a vegetable. It’s a high-glycemic grain. But at this time of year, it would be cruel to tell you never to have an ear of our wonderful local corn, which is coming into season. But stay away from its more processed forms, including corn syrup and corn flour.
  • Soy No, it’s not a health food. It’s suppressive to the thyroid, and has estrogenic effects you may not want. And it can make your joints hurt!
  • Peanuts Not a true nut, peanuts are a legume, and often carry mold and mycotoxins. Stick to nuts from trees, and you will get better quality fats without the inflammatory components of peanuts.

So that’s my top 5 list. Of course, anyone can have individual food sensitivities that cause inflammation for them uniquely. But if you start with these 5, you will be on your way to reducing inflammation, improving your health, and feeling much better!

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How to Reduce Inflammation with Food

Hi, Fran Sussman here from the Holistic Outlook column in The Times Herald Record, and fransussman.com, with more tips for Your Best Health.  In my last post, I told you why inflammation is such an important issue for your health, and promised I would teach you how to decrease your inflammation with food.

Here you go:

  1. Start with real food. Keep processed and packaged foods to a minimum.
  2. Organic Produce When it comes to produce, you want it organic. It doesn’t matter as much if the farm actually got government certification, as long as they are farming as cleanly as possible.  A new study published last week reported that organic produce has more anti-oxidants, which have been shown to lower risk of cancer and other diseases. Pesticide residues were much higher in non-organic produce.
  3. Grass fed Animals When it comes to animal products, you want pasture raised, grass fed, free range, not organic! Organic here would only mean that the animals were fed organic grain, which is not their natural food. Look for meat, poultry and eggs from animals that have been raised appropriately for their species. The fats from grass fed animals is healthy fat. Eating factory farmed animals, on the other hand, will increase inflammation with unhealthy saturated fats.
  4. Lots of healthy fats. Coconut oil and MCT. Avocados. Butter and/or ghee from pastured cows (KerryGold pastured butter is available at ShopRite and other supermarkets.) Top quality olive oil for your salads (use it cold, not for cooking, as it has a low smoke point). Nuts and seeds and their butters, (not peanuts, which are a legume).

Next post I’ll be sharing some of the inflammatory foods you should avoid, and lastly, I’ll share some anti-inflammatory herbs and supplements, so stay tuned!

 

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Do You Need an Anti-Inflammatory Diet?

Hi, Fran Sussman here from the Holistic Outlook column in The Times Herald Record, and fransussman.com, here with more tips for Your Best Health.

I happened to speak this past weekend with an acquaintance who had hip surgery over 2 months ago, and is still in pain, unable to sleep or function, despite being told by his doctor that he “should be fine” by now. “You should be on an anti-inflammatory diet!” I told him and there was blank incomprehension. “What’s that?” he asked.

I’m not surprised his doctor didn’t tell him. Most doctors don’t know about nutrition because it isn’t taught in medical schools. I recently completed some additional training with a Harvard trained MD, and she told me that in 12 years of her medical training there was exactly 30 minutes allotted to nutrition. That’s it.

Now I couldn’t tell you anything at all about surgery, but I have spent the last 25 years studying and practicing clinical nutrition, so my knowledge of that is pretty extensive. And I can tell you that inflammation is either a contributing factor or one of the root causes of many chronic symptoms and illnesses, including asthma, allergies, IBS, GERD, arthritis, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and much, much more. So going on an anti-inflammatory diet might help you, too.

In my next two posts, I’ll tell you what to include, and what to eliminate, to reduce the inflammation that comes from your diet. Then I’ll share some anti-inflammatory herbs and supplements you can add in. So keep checking back for this comprehensive series.

Are you ready to try it? You might be surprised at how much better you can feel, and how many symptoms that you thought were “just normal” can disappear.

 

 

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Berries are SUPERFoods!

Hi, Fran Sussman here, from fransussman.com and the Holistic Outlook column in The Times Herald Record, with more tips for Your Best Health.

If you want to be healthier, it’s easy to get swept up and seduced by big promises and too-good-to-be true solutions.

Trust me on this: the solution is not in a pill, a potion or a quick fix. Those who try to sell you those products have something other than your best health in mind. (For more on this see my upcoming Holistic Outlook column in The Times Herald Record.)

But there are some foods you can incorporate into your nutrition that will give your health a B O O S T!

One of my favorites? Berries! Here in the Hudson Valley, they are coming into season.

If you aren’t enjoying fresh picked strawberries from your local farm stand, well, you need to get yourself some ASAP!

Berries are high in anti-oxidants and phytonutrients, high in fiber, and have a low glycemic index so they have minimal impact on blood sugar. Research shows they are great brain food, can help you detoxify, are great sources of vitamin C, contain compounds that help your heart and are anti-inflammatory.

Best of all, nothing matches their scrumptious taste. Berry season is brief, so avail yourself of these healthy little treats while you can.

Whenever possible, choose organic berries, as berries’ soft skins increase the rate of pesticide absorption.

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How to Recover When You Drink Too Much

Hi, Fran Sussman here, from fransussman.com and the Holistic Outlook column of The Times Herald Record and I’ve got Your Best Health in mind as you enjoy the big holiday week.

I’ve posted tips each day this week, so take a look back if you’ve missed any of this week’s blog posts on how to celebrate without feeling bloated, sick and tired for days after.

Here’s the review: Monday I encouraged you to keep your perspective on what the holiday is really about. Tuesday, we focused on some party-time food strategies. Wednesday and Thursday I shared my tips on how to avoid a hangovers.

Today let’s talk about what to do if you have over-indulged.

1. Minerals are depleted when you drink, but don’t use a high sugar sports drink to compensate. Instead, try an unsweetened electrolyte formula, or packets of EmergenC, which is widely available and combines Vit C, Vit B and minerals, including potassium.

2. Research suggests that supplementing with amino acids Taurine and Cysteine, along with Vitamins B and C, may help minimize hangover symptoms.

3. Drink a big glass of water before going to sleep, and keep a glass by your bedside, in case you wake up thirsty but don’t feel like getting up. Put your electrolyte replacement formula in there, too!

4. Eat breakfast within an hour of waking, and make sure it includes protein, plenty of healthy fats, and complex carbs to redeem your low blood sugar, and help keep it stable as you recover.

Have fun, and don’t overdo it. Your body and brain will thank you!

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How to Avoid A Hangover, Part 2

Hi, Fran Sussman here, from fransussman.com and the Holistic Outlook column of The Times Herald Record and I’ve got Your Best Health in mind as you enjoy the big holiday week.

I’m posting tips each day this week, so keep checking back for lots of ideas on how to make the most of your celebrations – without paying a big price with your health. YES YOU CAN celebrate without feeling bloated, sick and tired for days after.

Monday I encouraged you to keep your perspective on what the holiday is really about. Tuesday, we focused on some party-time food strategies. Yesterday was part one of how to avoid a hangovers.

Here are 4 more of my best tip to avoid being hung over:

1. Eat first. Have some protein and healthy fat in your system before you start to drink, even if it means eating before you head out to celebrate.

2. Hydrate with 1-2 glasses of water or seltzer for each glass of alcohol. You will pace yourself, and avoid dehydration, which is responsible for many of the symptoms of a hangover.

3. Don’t try to keep up with others. Your body may not process alcohol the same way as someone else’s, or you may not want to pay the same price they will.

4. Avoid sweet drinks. The sugar compounds the effects of the alcohol, depleting your system of more nutrients, and leading to a bigger crash later.

Tomorrow I will give you my last tips, for after the party, and the next morning. See you then!

 

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How to Avoid a Hangover, Part 1

Hi, Fran Sussman here, from fransussman.com and the Holistic Outlook column of The Times Herald Record and I’ve got Your Best Health in mind as you enjoy the big holiday week.

I’m posting tips every day this week, so keep checking back for lots of ideas on how to make the most of your celebrations – without paying a big price with your health. YES YOU CAN celebrate without feeling bloated, sick and tired for days after.

Monday I encouraged you to keep your perspective on what the holiday is really about. Tuesday, we focused on some party-time food strategies. Today let’s talk about avoiding hangovers.

1. Of course, the best way to avoid a hangover is not to drink. Volunteer to be the designated driver, or just keep your wine glass full of water, juice or seltzer. You can still have a great time, and generally, other party-goers are too focused on their own fun to know or care.

2. Remember the more you drink, the harder it is to control your eating, not only because you lose inhibitions but because biochemically, alcohol increases cravings for sugars (including more alcohol) and refined carbohydrates.

3. Stick to wine instead of mixed drinks, and have a club soda or water after each drink. This helps hydration (alcohol dehydrates, part of why you don’t feel good after) and slows down consumption.

If you’re bound and determined to imbibe, tomorrow I will share more practical tips on how to soften the blow to your system. They really work, so check in with me before you head out to celebrate.

 

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Tips for the Healthiest Holiday, Part 2

Hi, Fran Sussman here, from fransussman.com and the Holistic Outlook column of The Times Herald Record and I’ve got Your Best Health in mind as we head into the big holiday week.

In fact, I’ll be posting tips every day this week, so keep checking back for lots of ideas on how to make the most of your celebrations – without paying a big price with your health. YES YOU CAN celebrate without feeling bloated, sick and tired for days after.

In Monday’s post, I encouraged you to keep your perspective on what the holiday is really about. Today, let’s focus on some party-time food strategies.

1. Choose your carb. Rather than having everything, look at all your options, and decide where you most want to indulge: Crackers or chips? Breads? Alcohol? Potato salad? Dessert? Each of these is a carbohydrate metabolized as sugar, so pick and choose.

2. Taste, don’t gobble. Enjoy. Savor. Relish. Nibble. Far from suggesting you give up culinary pleasures, I’m asking you to focus on it. Food is meant to be pleasurable, but usually we aren’t even conscious of what we put in our mouths. Slow down and truly taste your food; you will indubitably eat less.

3. Bring your own. That way you won’t be tempted to go way off track. My website is full of simple, tasty, healthy dessert and treat recipes like these chocolate raspberries, and your friends will be so busy enjoying, they’ll never even know they’re eating something healthy. And you will maintain virtue in the face of temptation!

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    Fran Sussman

    Helping clients with nutrition, healthy weight loss and addressing chronic illness naturally, in the Hudson Valley, for over 20 years. Read Full
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