Aug. 2016 Book of the Month – Brain Maker

After reading Grain Brain, by Dr. David Perlmutter, when Brain Maker came out, I knew that I would have to read it too. At Paleo F(x) this year, Dr. Perlmutter was the keynote speaker, promptly reminding me that I needed to read his book.

As a nutrition consultant, gut health is one of my main passions, because as Hippocrates said, “All disease begins in the gut.” A neurologist by trade, Dr. Perlmutter goes even further to discuss the links between an unhealthy gut and Autism, ADHD, allergies skin issues, elevated blood pressure, anxiety, depression, chronic fatigue, inflammation, and many, many, more.

Out of the trillions of cells that are housed in your sack of skin that we call a body, 90% of them are bacteria. You read that correctly; you are 90% bacteria. Now don’t freak out. Without all of that bacteria, you literally wouldn’t be living. Dr. Perlmutter helps us to get acquainted with those bacteria and help us see just why we need all of those friendly little buggars. He then helps us to know what factors can throw our delicate ecosystem off balance. Some of those factors include: antibiotics, nsaid use, oral contraceptives, the chemical laden agri-business food system, among others.

Dr. Perlmutter gives action steps to help preserve and maintain a thriving colony of gut bacteria. The book is also equipped with recipes that include probiotics and help to maintain the gut colony. This book is hi5:5 Strawberriesghly recommend for those interested in improving their gut health or just like to nerd out on science and healthy living.

 

July 2016 Book of the Month – Gulp

The July 2016 Book of the Month is Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal by Mary Roach. While attending Bauman College, for my Nutrition Consultant certification, one of my teachers recommended this book to me. It was fascinating! I give Gulp *5 strawberries*. 5:5 Strawberries

Roach begins the book at the beginning of the digestive system, or alimentary canal, as she refers to it, and works her way to end of the alimentary canal, detailing the function of each organ along the way. She interweaves anecdotal stories and humor throughout the book making it delightful, funny, and thoroughly educational.

Is it weird to admit that the chapter that sticks with me the most is the chapter on fecal transplants? This book was the first time that I had heard of them, but since reading it, I have heard of the idea in several other books and podcasts. Roach illustrates that in our current society, we have demonized all bacteria and become a culture sanitizing madmen. And while bacteria can be harmful, bacteria also makes up 90% of all the cells in our body and we wouldn’t be living without bacteria. Currently, fecal transplants are mainly used to cure C. diff  infections, but doctors and researchers are finding that there could be a greater need for fecal transplants due to the overuse
of antibiotics and sanitizing efforts. Roach states “Rarely does medical science come up with a treatment so effective, inexpensive, and free of side effects” (Roach, 2013, p.321). The main side effect is probably the “ick factor”.  😉 I finished the book thinking that this might possibly the way of the future.

I highly recommend Gulp to anyone that is fascinated by the amazing human body.

 

 

March 2014 Book of the Month – Cooked

The March Clean Eating book of the month is Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation by Michael Pollan. I give this book 5 out of 5 Strawberries!

5:5 Strawberries

It’s no secret that I have a food crush on Michael Pollan. I often call him my food guru. I write about how he convinced me to try eating meat again in The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals in this post. I realize that it’s not much of a surprise that I liked his most recent book, as I have liked all of his books. Although the picture of pasta on the cover did make me question whether or not this would be the first of Pollan’s books that I would not like ;-).  Allow me to share the reasons why I really liked Cooked.

 

The goal of this book is to help you see the value of cooking food for yourself in a world of short cuts, fast food restaurants, and microwaves. The book is organized into four parts: Fire, Water, Air, Earth. Part of what I love about Cooked is that Pollan takes a historical and cultural look into how humans have fed themselves since the beginning. Additionally he takes what he has learned and then tries it out for himself in his own kitchen. You gotta love a guinea pig!

The section on Air is really a section on fermentation and bacteria. He discusses the work of Sandor Katz [pretty much the godfather of fermentation, his bible is The Art of Fermentation: An In-Depth Exploration of Essential Concepts and Processes from around the World] and he discusses the work of Sister Noella Marcellino, a raw cheesemaker and holds a Ph.D. in microbiology. perhaps I found this section the most fascinating because of my studies and work as a nutrition consultant. Here is quote showing the immense importance and need for probiotics in our diet: “Probiotics-beneficial bacteria ingested either in fermented foods or in supplements- have been shown to: calm the immune system and reduce inflammation; shorten the duration and severity of colds in children; relieve diarrhea and irritable bowl syndrome; reduce allergic responses, including asthma; stimulate the immune response; possibly reduce the risk of certain cancers; reduce anxiety; prevent yeast infections; diminish levels of E. coli 0157:H7 in cattle and salmonella in chickens; and improve the health and function of the gut epithelium. (Pollan, 2013, p.335)”.

I hope you’ll check out this book and the Cooked four part series on Netflix.

June 2016 Book of the Month – Eat Dirt

I just finished Dr. Josh Axe’s book, Eat Dirt: Why Leaky Gut May Be the Root Cause of Your Health Problems and 5 Surprising Steps to Cure It. This was a fascinating read for nutrition nerds like myself, but also for anyone that would like to improve their digestive function. Axe takes an in depth look into the factors in modern life that have caused the perfect conditions for leaky gut syndrome to proliferate.

“Leaky gut is at ground zero of many of this country’s most confounding health crises” (Axe, 2016, p.10). Axe argues that leaky gut leads to systemic inflammation and inflammation is at the root of all of our Western diseases.

Eat Dirt is filled with a mixture interesting anecdotal testimonials and cutting edge science. Axe goes over the various types of gut issues and explores the options for how to heal the gut. A comprehensive discussion of the various types of probiotic strains and how ensure that you’re getting enough probiotics to sustain a thriving colony in your gut. Axe includes dietary and lifestyle factors that help to bring the body back into balance. Screen Shot 2016-06-24 at 5.28.40 PM

This book gets 5 out of 5 strawberries! A must read!

July 2015 Book of the Month – The Candida Cure

Hello!

On my flight to Europe this past month, I read The Candida Cure: Yeast, Fungus & Your Health – The 90-Day Program to Beat Candida & Restore Vibrant Health by Ann Boroch. Before I review the book, let me back up a little… When I was about 17, I was seeing a dermatologist for acne on my face, chest, and back. Among the things she put me on was amoxicillin. This was supposed help clear up my acne. Um, I have no idea how, and can’t remember her reasoning then, but I was 17, so I just went with it. I’m not sure that it helped much, but I was on it for 1-2 years. (I can’t really remember exactly how long). What I do know, is that ever since then, I have had a systemic candida albicans overgrowth. I know this now, but I didn’t know it then. I knew that I was prone to vaginal yeast infections (getting an infection every time I take a course of antibiotics). In recent years I would combat my post antibiotic yeast infection with a high dose of probiotics (500 billion everyday for about a week would do the trick).

It wasn’t until I was in my Bauman College nutrition classes over the past few months that I learned that I have a systemic Candida overgrowth. After taking the Candida Health Questionnaire, it was clear to me, that I needed to treat myself for a Candida overgrowth (BTW, my score is about 280!! yikes). Besides the antibiotics that I was in my late teens, I have been on a least one course of antibiotics per year, throughout my 20’s, pair that with chemotherapy and radiation, and I have no doubt that I’ve stumbled upon a major key to my road back to health.

Boroch recommends that you follow her program for 90 days, and I will. But I have concerns that since I have had this issue, untreated for at least 12 years, that I may need to continue this for up to 6 months.

REVIEW

The Candida Cure is a well-researched and thorough guide to helping yourself overcome a Candida overgrowth. Boroch states, “Conservatively speaking, one in three people suffers from yeast-related symptoms or conditions” (2009, p. 3). In the book, she explains how this has become such a pervasive problem, the symptoms that are associated with candida overgrowth, and the she provides you with a step-by-step guide on how to fix it. I asked my doctor for lab testing to identify if I have a candida overgrowth and she told me that the lab does not perform those tests, which supports Boroch’s claim that “… western medicine does not recognize intestinal and systemic candidiasis as a health condition” (Boroch, 2009, p. 15). She provides lists of the foods to eat and the foods to avoid and even provides a “slow-start” version for those people that need to make more gradual changes. Lists of supplements are provided in addition to two-week sample menus, and 40 pages of recipes and food brands to help make this as easy as possible. If you suspect you may also have a candida overgrowth, I highly recommend checking out her book.

I have not yet started the 90-day cleanse. I’ve been back from Europe for about a week now and I have ordered the supplements that she recommends, and I have been working on detoxing from the yummy vacation food (goodbye gelato, buffalo mozzarella, and rice!). We have a wine tasting trip planned for the last weekend in August (Napa Valley Wine Train here we come!) so I will start after that. It’s a family trip that we’ve been planning for about a year, so one last time to live it up! Until then, I will be phasing out dairy, sugar, forbidden fruits, and carbs. Wish me luck!!

Health & Hugs <3,

Katie