Monthly Archives: November 2013

Functional Medicine and Telomeres: The Future of Medicine is Here Now

Window into our bodies

Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to just look in to how your body functions through a window? Or even better, if we could just visually see how our bodies are affected by what we do and eat? Then we could see how certain actions are healthy and will make our organs and tissues last longer, or maybe we will see how smoking and eating the wrong things weakens our bodies. At one time these questions were theoretical. But now in this modern day things are different, what we once could only imagine, we are now very capable of.

What age are you really?

How are you aging? That is the question. Are you aging fast or slow? To answer this question, you have to know your chronological age vs. your biological age. Chronological age is easily determined. It is your age. The missing variable has been determining biological age. There was no standardization to suggest how your body was functioning as a product of age. Traditional lab markers gave at best insinuations about your biological age, but nothing definitive. Yet, with the upsurge of research in the field of genomics, we began to learn about telomeres. If you are not familiar with Telomeres, you are going to want to know them.

telomere

What are Telomeres?

In short telomeres are the tips of your chromosomes, or genetic material. They are predictive of biological age. The longer they are the better your biological age. In contrast, shorter equals faster aging. You can now literally determine if your body is older than what the calendar says, or if you are younger.

Without question, everyone wants to be younger biologically than chronologically. If you are younger than your chronological age, you want to maintain. If you are older than your chronological age, you will want to make changes. But how do you know you are doing the right things to help you age slowly.

Functional Medicine

This is where functional medicine finds its role. At the center of anti-aging and rejuvenation is functional medicine. Functional medicine as the name implies centers on restoring function to the body. As it relates to telomeres, better function equals longer telomeres. Vice versa, longer telomeres equal better function. As an example, take blood sugar. When blood sugar rises routinely, secondary inflammation is created and telomeres are damaged. The prolonged shortening of telomeres also makes it more difficult to control blood sugar. It becomes a vicious circle. Cycles such as this are not broken by a single intervention aimed at symptoms, but rather a comprehensive approach targeting all possible areas of contribution.

Balance is the key

Many things are known to influence the length of the telomere. These include hormone balance, low levels of inflammation, proper exercise, sleep, a good diet, and a balanced nutritional state. The focus of functional medicine is to realign the health of the body. To illustrate this point, a good diet with proper exercise at some point will become limited in its ability to support long term health if you are not getting adequate sleep. The key to preserving your telomere length is balance. Yet to achieve balance, you must equally manage all aspects of your life and understand the interplay that they have. As a paradigm focused on creating synchrony between all aspects of health, functional medicine is well poised to help you protect your delicate telomeres.

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Are allergies really associated with moving?

What is an allergy?

To figure out if allergies can be caused by moving we have to go back to the basics and understand just what an allergy is. Basically when you have allergies, it’s your body telling you that you have been around something or put something inside of it that is foreign and the immune system is triggered and goes in to overdrive trying to get rid of it. Typically whatever it is that your body is responding to is not dangerous, but your body doesn’t know that, and exaggerates it’s response which makes that particular substance a problem. Let’s use pollen as an example, everyone has heard of pollen allergies. Some people react to pollen and some don’t, but the people that do react have an exaggerated response and their immune system overreacts. As soon as they have been exposed to pollen, those typical allergy symptoms closely follow.

So what makes allergies associated with a move? Is it the area you move to? For example, in Houston, it is not uncommon for someone to say they did not have allergies prior to moving here. Maybe some regions of the United States are just more prone to allergies, especially when allergies are categorized.

What causes the immune system to overreact?

As you and I explore why allergies are often associated with a move, let us not forget what is at the core of an allergic response. A hypersensitive immune system is the primary cause. If the immune system were not hyperactive, the allergy would not exist. With this in mind, we have to begin to ask, what causes the immune system to overreact.

Histamine

What is the most common substance we associate with allergies? You know the one I am talking about. Every over-the-counter allergy medication boasts about how efficient it is at controlling this chemical. That’s right, its histamine. Once histamine is released in a significant quantity, many of the symptoms that we associate with allergies begin to manifest. This is because histamine increases the inflammatory response. Knowing what we know now, the histamine was triggered by something. Usually it has to do with the gastrointestinal tract.

Stress

As you may have noticed moving is very stressful, but not just mentally, also your body is under a lot of stress. That manifests itself in you immune system by weakening it, and in your gut. Besides the stress you are experiencing mentally, emotionally and physically, you are temporarily changing your lifestyle, your eating habits your sleeping habits. Your entire routine is off. Your body notices that. Now throw in a new environment, maybe from the city fumes to the country flowers or vice versa, and you have a recipe for a hypersensitive immune response. But that’s OK you can manage these symptoms. It’s really all in our intestinal tract. As long as we keep that healthy, we can manage these symptoms. You can do that by following the Paleo Diet. Be careful what you are putting in your body. By eating a Paleo Diet, you are creating a less reactive immune system. When eating a Paleo Diet, you are eliminating all of the other things your body wold have to respond to when it’s stimulated by allergens, like corn, wheat, dairy or soy. You really want to get back to that routine as quickly as you can.  

Weight loss Do’s and Dont’s

Time to lose weight and feel better!

So maybe you have gotten through Thanksgiving, the holidays, or you are tackling your New Years resolution, but it’s time to get that weight off! If you are new to the Paleo diet, that’s ok, follow these 10 easy steps, and I guarantee you will start losing weight and feeling better. I recommend that you do these steps in conjunction with the 14 day detox kit I give to my patients, but with or without the detox you will feel better.

dos and donts

1. Stop eating ALL sweets for seven days straight. This includes sugar in your coffee and tea. Detoxify yourself of sugar in order to gain control of
your cravings and increase your energy.

2. Do not use any margarine, Crisco, or hydrogenated vegetables oils. These are adulterated oils and block weight loss. Instead, use extra virgin, cold pressed olive oil, walnut oil, flax oil, hazelnut oil, and coconut oil.

3. Avoid white flour. This includes white rolls, bagels, and pasta. The two greatest weight gain foods are bread and pasta.

4. When possible, avoid grains. Most common grains contain gluten, which is known to inhibit weight loss. ( This includes corn!)

5. Drink at least 8-10 eight-ounce glasses of water each day. Water from a home filtration system is best

6. Do not skip meals. There should be no more than two to three hours between each main meal. Eat snacks in between meals only if you are truly hungry – not because you are bored or stressed. Healthy snacks, see 1, 3 & 4.

7. Eat protein every meal to stabilize your blood sugar levels. This will help control your appetite and reduce your cravings for sugar and starches.

8. Review the Modified Mediterranean / Paleo Diet for specific examples of foods that you should be eating.

If you have any questions or would like to purchase a 14 day detox kit feel free to contact us.
Don’t forget to exercise moderately to increase your weight loss and also to feel better and more motivated.

Why your doctor is not going to recommend the Paleo diet

What is wrong with the way Doctor’s practice medicine?

Not too long ago, I was enjoying time with some of my friends. Some know me pretty well and are familiar with my message about how necessary a good diet is for our health. Some of the other people there were acquaintances and not so familiar with my message. But they are beginning to question and understand. Luckily most of my friends are in the medical/pharmaceutical field, you can imagine those conversations! But really it’s an opportunity for us to take the pulse and discuss why the United States is in this health and medical crisis.

Recommend the Paleo Diet

Recommend the Paleo Diet

What is the Paleo diet

Some of the people in this group are not familiar with the literature that I read and the wide range of observations that I am able to make each day in my practice that shows the impact that grains and dairy have on our health. I was presented with questions about the legitimacy of going on the Paleo Diet. When explained in a commonsense manner and when discussing the topic with someone that is willing to listen to a new concept, the idea of the Paleo Diet and why it works doesn’t seem so radical. After all, it is simply the consumption of real, unadulterated foods.

Food instead of medicine?

At this point in the conversation, I could not resist asking if the topic of diet ever came up in conventional medical clinics or discussions with doctors that were using the medications my friend sold. Sadly, he said no. To most Doctor’s, the topic of food as a path to wellness is a foreign concept given almost no credence. Why you might ask? Food does not make money, however, medications do. Telling someone what to eat and how to eat it is not going to produce the same revenue as selling an expensive patented medication that targets a specific condition. Evidently, a conflict of interest exists.

Autoimmunity

What evidence is there to justify these statements? You need look no further than one of the fastest growing segments of the healthcare population, the autoimmune patient. Autoimmunity, or when the body’s own immune system is attacking itself, is rapidly increasing and the primary causes appear to be environmental. Think about that for a second. That means things that you are exposed to routinely. Convention says suppresses the immune systems activities, and by doing so, you halt progression. This has become big business, so much so that of the top 10 selling medications, multiple positions are held by drugs aimed at controlling autoimmunity. Yet none of these medications address the cause. However, they do produce a consistent revenue stream.

Autoimmune; Of or relating to an immune response by the body against one of its own tissues, cells, or molecules.

Recommend the Paleo Diet – Not Big Pharma

Yet, if the environment is a factor, and a diet made up of potential health robbing foods is constantly consumed, there is likely a correlation between diet and disease, and not just autoimmune diseases. It is far far cheaper for us, to manage our health, than it is to manage disease. If you want proof of that, take a look at the Nation’s budget for healthcare. Somehow the pharmaceutical companies have found a way to be intertwined with every section of our health care system. From medical school all the way to everyday clinics, the indoctrination of medicine is ingrained. The question here really is why are you are not hearing the suggestion of following the Paleo lifestyle to improve your health and sense of well being.  You shouldn’t be concerned about whether or not it’s worth implementing, but more so why when it can benefit you so much, is it being ignored and suppressed by pharmaceutical companies who care nothing about your health and only about profits.

Something to think about!

 

2 Things we all agree on, and 1 should be Paleo

Doesn’t that make 3 things?

Recently while I was instructing a group of clinicians, someone brought up the topic of glucose. They asked, “When your patients have glucose problems, what approach do you take?” And I responded; “When it comes to what you have to do to support patients with glucose problems, there are two things that everyone in the healthcare industry agrees on. Obviously we don’t always agree on how to execute those 2 things, but we all know they must be at the core of the overall program. They are; Diet and Exercise.” And the word “diet” should be substituted with The Paleo Diet.

Diabetes

There is no doubt that the lack of control of glucose, or blood sugar as we also call it, is going to derail our healthcare system by itself if we don’t do something to change it. The numbers of individuals dealing with glucose problems is astronomical and continuing to rise. Yet the focus of how to deal with it is wrong, and at best delayed. Some obvious signs that glucose problems exist, is even ignored until a late stage problem has manifested. We call this diabetes.

Satisfied patients speak volumes

Now that we know what everyone in healthcare agrees on, let’s talk about what we don’t, and that is the specifics of the diet and exercise. I’m going to share with you my clinical approach. Why? Because satisfied patients with a new outlook on life say it all. Our ancestors did not deal with diabetes or other blood sugar handling problems like we have today. Therefore, if we delve back into our ancestral roots, we see solutions to our modern day problems.

The Paleo Diet

The first part of the solution comes as the Paleo Diet. I find it interesting that some will say that the Paleo Diet is not suitable for some individuals. You must understand that when someone makes this comment, there is the false assumption that the Paleo Diet is a high protein / fat and / or low carbohydrate diet. Such is not necessarily the case. However, for someone trying to control glucose levels, these ideas of the Paleo Diet shouldn’t exactly be thrown away. The main point is that the Paleo Diet is a diet of real food that is not refined that offers a balance of proteins, fats and carbohydrates. When eaten in this manner, no better diet exists to control glucose levels. This certainly includes the often recommended diets consisting of a large percentage of grains, even the whole grains. When eating the Paleo Diet, you are eating real food and who can realistically argue that eating adulterated food is a better idea to support health than eating real food? No one!

hiding remote

Exercise

The other agreement among the healthcare community is that exercise is essential to supporting glucose. The reasoning is rather simple. You expend stored glucose when you exercise from the muscles. After exercise, your muscles need to take up glucose, which means that it must remove it from the blood. The more efficient the uptake of glucose into the muscles, the less there is in the blood. with consistency you can achieve normal glucose levels. What kind of exercise is needed is different for everyone. But there are 2 things that your exercising should achieve. It should promote fat loss and support muscle building. When your exercises are promoting muscle break down, and are too long and strenuous in nature you are not achieving muscle build up.Putting our muscles to use will make them use the glucose and in turn will help balance it.

So, we all agree on this one concept; if you need to control your glucose you should be dieting and exercising. But to do this correctly we must take a look back at our ancestors, and remember what our bodies were intended to eat, and how they were intended to move. Eating things that our bodies are designed to process efficiently, and exercising in a way that allows us to maximize muscle growth and glucose control, without over doing it. We can take a page from our ancestors and do it the Paleo way.

10 Steps to Paleo Diet Success

Starting your Paleo Lifestyle

I have been working with quite a few patients for a while now. So from experience, I have learned what works and what doesn’t.  Make no mistake, when changing your eating habits you are changing your entire lifestyle as well. This can be a daunting change, because switching your normal routine is never easy.  But don’t let that scare you off, you may be surprised at how easy moving to Paleo can be. As long as you have the right tools and the right information. I can help you with this, I have information from hundreds of patients, which puts me in a great position to give you tips to transition easily and be successful and changing your life to a Paleo lifestyle.

1.  Embrace the Paleo Diet – There are two types of people when it comes to the Paleo Diet. Those that are all in, or those that want nothing to do with it because it is some crazy fad. By the way, this is a 10,000 year old fad since it is in fact the way man has always eaten. Even in the research environment, Paleo has been studied for the last 30+ years. So if you are not in the camp rebuking Paleo, then you are on the winning team. Paleo is starting to become a household word. You may find yourself shocked at just how many people are eating the Paleo Diet. You are not alone.

2.  Find a local Paleo source – Small Paleo cafes are popping up more and more. Seek them out as they will usually have Paleo in the name to attract their audience. However, you can also find non-Paleo restaurants that have Paleo options. This may mean picking apart the menu a little bit, but that’s okay if you stay Paleo.

3.  Think ahead – As you are headed into your week, it goes without saying that time will start to evaporate and you will be scrambling to find those extra minutes for food preparation. Think about the meals that you want to have in the upcoming week and prepare what you can for them ahead of time. This may mean nothing more than cutting up some vegetables and having them already sliced.

4.  Cook with leftovers in mind – Always prepare more food than you are going to need. This serves 2 purposes. Foremost, you will have food for lunch the next day. Thus, no excuses about not having a Paleo meal. Second, you will have food in the refrigerator to snack on if you get hungry.

5.  Don’t tempt yourself – For whatever reason, it seems that the foods that have a way of creeping back into your eating pattern are grains and sweets. The best way to avoid them is to not even be around them. If you don’t bring them in the house, you are not going to eat them.

6.  Keep Paleo Snacks Around – Be realistic, you are going to get a sweet tooth every now and then. It is just human nature. If you have some Paleo snacks around, you will have something to hold you over without the guilt of feeling like you wrecked your diet.

7.  Flavor your food – Fats and spices are an asset to Paleo eaters. They help stimulate the senses and add another dimension to your food. Even the most bland meats and vegetables can be brought to life with the right combination of spices. Most of the Paleo cookbooks offer great suggestions.

8.  Pocket snacks – It is always handy to have some nuts around. Nuts are easy to keep in almost any situation and they provide a good balance of fat, protein and carbohydrate.

9.  Eat as many different colored vegetables as you can. Different colors mean different nutrients, try as many different ones as you can to make sure you take in adequate nutrients. In addition to nutrients you will also be taking in a lot of fiber, fiber makes you feel full and satisfied which help prevent you from making bad food choices.

10. Consistency is the key. You do not have to be prefect. That is not realistic. But you can easily be consistent. If you make a mistake, don’t beat your self up, just get right back on your routine. What we are really trying to accomplish here is that you are  eating Paleo the majority of the time. Eating something non Paleo occasionally, is not going to ruin your diet.

If you follow these 10 steps you will most certainly succeed. Here is your map and guide to transform your life into the Paleo Lifestyle. Just like many others you will now also feel the benefits of eliminating foods that cause inflammation, and begin to feel good. Before you know it you will wonder why you haven’t always eaten this way. The other great thing about going Paleo is that once you follow it and live it you will never go back to eating gluten and dairy again. You eventually will not miss them, and you will not feel good if you do eat them.

Functional Medicine a Likely Answer for Allergies and Allergy Symptoms

Allergy Medications

How many times have we seen the commercials for allergy medications? During season changes, every commercial break, it’s so common we don’t even notice. Allergy medications take up a huge section at the pharmacy. In the U.S. it’s very normal to have allergy symptoms, especially in Houston. I’m sure you know what I’m talking about, the environmental allergies start presenting symptoms and there you go, off to your local pharmacy trying to buy some relief from your stuffy nose, sneezing, itchy watery eyes. I bet you never considered that there were other options to help you with your allergies. But there are.

Histamines

First, let’s take a look at the typical approach to allergies. Most medications available fall under the category of anti-histaminics. They are designed to decrease the production of histamine, a trigger for allergies and the culprit of many allergy symptoms. Yet, as good as some of these medications are at relieving allergy symptoms, they do nothing to prevent the onset.

Functional Medicine

Let me introduce you to the concept of functional medicine. Functional medicine is the concept of addressing the underlying causes of conditions rather than chasing symptoms. The premise is that supporting the function of the body inherently promotes alleviation of symptoms. Allergies are no exception.

Quercetin

One of the most common connections is food allergies / sensitivities. This is a commonly talked about subject in functional medicine, not just because it is related to seasonal allergies, but because it is the initiator of many common symptoms. The beauty of functional medicine when it comes to allergies is that many of the approaches used to help control symptoms are also part of the prevention process. A great example is quercetin. Quercetin is a long time proven anti-histaminic while at the same time an anti-inflammatory. So not only do you benefit from decreased histamine release, but you also promote the healing process in the gastrointestinal tract by reducing the level of inflammation.

Get tested

The best thing you can do for yourself is food allergy or food sensitivity testing. But to start, you can try eliminating gluten’s, wheat’s, eggs and dairy. These are more than likely the causes of your dysfunctional gut or allergy symptoms. If you eliminate these, you will see an obvious decrease in histamine, and therefore an obvious decrease in symptoms.

You really shouldn’t have to suffer. Functional medicine is really the way to go if you want to eliminate allergies and the highly inconvenient symptoms that go along with them. When turning to functional medicine, you will find non- medicated, safer, healthier solutions that will also help heal your gastrointestinal functions, and in turn balancing out your immune system in general.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Corn: A Common Food Allergy to be Aware of

Rashes?

I have worked with several patients recently that have started developing rashes on the skin. Many of them have been to several doctors only to find that they don’t ever get a true solution to their problem. If you suffer from such a rash, you understand how frustrating they can be. Most traditional treatments come back to the use of steroid creams. As the story often goes in my clinic, patients are not interested in taking steroid creams. They realize that while they may provide symptomatic relief, they are not addressing the cause of the rash or other forms of skin irritation.

2011-08-18_15_46_02

So why are rashes becoming so much more prevalent? There is a good chance that it is related to our environmental exposures, mostly our diet. Our diet has become a source of chronic exposure to highly allergenic substances. This is due to many reasons. I am still astonished as I continue to research all the ways our food supply is being adulterated. This manipulation of food has created substances that trigger our immune systems to become highly responsive against what we eat. So what does this have to do with your skin and development of a rash?

Skin and intestinal proteins are similar

It all goes back to the gastrointestinal tract. As the immune system becomes more reactive against the foods we ingest, particular proteins are isolated . The similarities between the proteins found in the gut and those known to exist in the skin make them both targets of the immune system. The result often ends up being a rash. At times this can progress to named conditions, the most common of which are psoriasis and eczema. However, these are far from the only conditions that manifest. While the link between the proteins of the skin and gut may be similar enough to predispose you to rashes and other skin reactions, it also provides the answer on how to control these problems.

Itching?

That answer is food. Food should be a source of nourishment to our body. However, even the best foods can become toxic to use when isolated by the immune system. By eliminating the most problematic foods, you are likely to find solutions to your skin irritation. Let’s consider the role of histamine. Most rash and irritations of the skin are often accompanied by itching. This itching is not just a routine annoyance, it is a clue. When the immune cells in your gut are triggered, look out, because you are going to see an increase in histamine. Once it finds its way into your circulation, now there is a route to other areas of the body. From here, you begin to notice itching.

The solution

So let me not just leave you with the problem with your skin. I also want to offer you a solution. To address your rash and skin irritation, you must at a minimum do 2 things. These include fix the damage that has occurred to your gastrointestinal tract from exposure to insulting foods, as well as elimination of these foods. Repair of the gut requires specific nutrients such as glutamine in the right amounts. When it comes to eliminating foods that may be the source of your skin irritation, there is no better place to start than the Paleo Diet. The Paleo Diet offers foods that have a very low allergenicity profile, but that also are soothing to the gut. In some cases, using testing to find your problem foods may be the ideal solution. From personal observation, I have seen these two tools be highly effective against even the longest standing of skin conditions.

Common food allergies may be causing your symptoms

A reaction can happen any time

As the flight attendant pushes the cart through the plane passing out pretzels and peanuts, she pulls her cart next to a couple, and asks the lady if she would like any nuts. To which she replies yes. Then she asks the woman’s husband if he would like any, and he politely declines, because he knows he has a bad reaction to nuts. And so the flight continues on and she eats her nuts and he enjoys his drink. After a little while, the couple shares a kiss in passing. Shortly after that, his lips swell up, his throat tightens and it becomes very hard to breathe. The flight attendant notices and quickly concludes that the man is going in to anaphylactic shock. After a little while the man begins to stabilize. Obviously the only cause of this is because of the kiss that was shared between them.

This example may seem extreme, but real events very similar to this have happened on major airlines.  In this particular example, the outcome is more dramatic than usual.  However, food reactions such as this are common.  However, these results often come from accidental exposure when an ingredient was added to a dish that the unsuspected individual consumed.  At times, this can lead to events as severe as a full blown allergic attack, but often times it is not this presentation at all.

allergies

An allergy or a sensitivity?

There are many types of responses to food.  What we commonly think of as food allergies is really more often a sensitivity.  Most individuals will know after an initial exposure that they are allergic to a food.  They begin to have reactions that are noticeable and most importantly, they occur within a short period of time.  However, this is a smaller segment of the food reactions.

Common food allergies as we think about them are not food allergies at all.  Rather, they are sensitivities.  Sensitivities have delayed effects that can be difficult to pinpoint without testing.  Let me give you an example.  When someone has a reaction to gluten, rarely do they immediately start breaking out in hives or any of the other common allergy symptoms.  Instead, the reactions are delayed.  The present more slowly, some even taking up to 72 hours to manifest.  Symptoms are usually not as acute.  This can make pinning down a food that you may be reacting to very difficult.  It also makes their contribution to chronic ailments harder to detect.

 Common foods that cause reactions

The big 5 common food allergies are wheat, peanuts, soy, milk, and eggs.  These foods are notorious for causing both acute reactions, and delayed reactions.  For our purpose let’s discuss the ones you are likely to have problems correlating, the delayed reactions.  When you consume these foods, your immune system sees them as foreign substances, much like it would be a virus or bacteria.  The food continues to be consumed and the immune system response continues to mount.

 Symptoms

Just like an infection, as the inflammation increases the symptoms begin to present themselves. You can experience a wide range of reactions including achiness, loose bowels, swelling, fatigue or headaches. Either way, the cause of your symptoms can be hard to pinpoint.

How to change

The first and most important thing to do is to remove the foods you react to from your diet. If you do not, and you continue to consume them, you will continue to be in a state of inflammation and could possibly lead to chronic disease or illness.  If you want to be free of symptoms then you should start by changing your diet, by getting rid of the foods you are having the reactions with. You aren’t always going to have an immediate strong reaction like in the case of the peanuts, most of the time you will have a subtle reaction that may seem un related.

Navigating the Holidays Being Paleo

Eating Paleo During The Holidays is Tough

I don’t think anyone would disagree with the statement that the holidays are the toughest time of the year to eat healthy. It’s as if everywhere we turn, work, home, school, TV, these days are inundated with candy, pies, cookies and snacks tempting us at every turn. So the big question is, is it possible to stay Paleo during the holidays? I’m not going to say it’s easy, but yes, you can do it.
The two biggest factors that we have to watch for are foods that contain grains and gluten and the ones that are high in refined carbohydrates that cause blood sugar fluctuations. If we can keep those two culprits in mind then navigating those holiday foods should be easy.

turkey

Substituting certain ingredients

Here are a few ideas;
Try a new recipe, something you have never made before. If you are preparing something that usually contains gluten and grains, try the grain free option, like almond, hazelnut, or coconut flour. Many times you will be surprised at just how good some of these foods taste. 

Change the way you cook it

If you consider what a typical holiday meal is, many of the foods that we normally eat at these times already fit the Paleolithic model. For example, most of us eat turkey, vegetables and fruits with our holiday meal. These all fit the parameters of a Paleo Diet. We just need to consider how it is prepared. Instead of frying a turkey in inflammatory oils, simply bake it. Stuff it with a mixture of vegetables instead of stuffing, which also adds flavor to the turkey.

Add Fat

Add fat to a dish when possible. Fat cuts the hunger craving and satiate quickly. Examples might include using clarified butter (Ghee), coconut oil or adding some olive oil and cinnamon to mashed sweet potatoes or yams.

Dessert

Reach for fruits as a desert instead of the typically high sugar cakes and pies.
When eating desert types of food, eat them after a meal. You are less likely to eat as much and if you have followed the other Paleo principles, the amount of sugar in desert will have less impact on your glucose levels. This same idea can be used if you are going to a party. Eating raw vegetables or nuts before you go or while you are there can insure that you do not over indulge.

Take your time

Eat slow. Take the time to enjoy the meal and give thanks. Often we are so in tune with wanting to devour the food in front of us that we miss the enjoyment of the meal. Sit your fork down between bites and savor the food. You probably won’t eat as much if you do this.

A Few Final Tips

Use as many spices and herbs to season with as possible. Many times these might offset some of the undesirable effects holiday food has on you. For example, cinnamon can help promote blood sugar regulation. If you make a pie, try doing it without the crust. This adds a lot of extra carbohydrates to the dish and most of us are after the pie filling anyway.
Lastly, if you steer off course for a meal or even a day, don’t worry about it. It is the sum of all your actions during this time that matters the most. I typically tell my patients during this time of year that I don’t even want to know what they had on Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Years, but the days in between do count. Enjoy yourself, but don’t go overboard and don’t give up your non-dietary health habits like quality restful sleep and exercise.

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