Plant-Based Diet Saves Lives

What is a Plant-Based Diet?

A plant-based diet focuses on whole, unrefined, or minimally processed plants, such as organic fruits, vegetables, tubers, whole grains, seeds, nuts and legumes. It excludes or minimizes animal protein, such as meat (including chicken and fish), dairy products, and eggs. This diet also exclude highly refined or processed foods like bleached flour, refined sugars and oil.

It’s very interesting that a vegetarian or vegan diet is often frown upon in the medical setting. I get lots of consults from concern pediatricians and parents.

A plant-based or vegan diet is almost synonymous as starvation or malnutrition or a cover for an eating disorder in teenagers.

Pediatricians freak out if parents is vegan, and the child is at eminent risk of malnutrition. Parents freak out if their child wants to be vegan. The consult is either for me to educate the family of a proper vegan diet or the parents want me to pursuede their child to change their mind.

Despite all the things we’re taught in school about risk of protein deficiency, iron deficiency, calcium deficiency, vitamin B12 deficiency in a vegan diet, I have never, in my professional life, see a vegan or vegetarian with any of these deficiencies.

I’ve seen iron deficiency in women, children and teenagers who eats a regular American diet. I’ve seen protein deficiency, calcium deficiency and calcium deficiency in very sick children who eats a regular American diet.

Interesting…

How Does the Plant-based Diet Work?

To understand how the plant-based diet works, we need to first understand the chemistry of the human body.

Human Body Chemistry

Don’t worry…I’m not going to pull out my organic chemistry or biochemistry hat and start lecture.

What I want to get to is that the human body is a giant water bag filled with interacting elements. The human body is kept alive and functioning by thousands of chemical reactions. Every single one of these reactions requires a “catalyst” to make the reaction happens.

And coincidently, these catalysts are minerals and vitamins found in lots of fruits and vegetables that God made for us.

So in order for the human body to function well to include staying focus, having energy, fight diseases, etc, we need all our chemical reactions to work at their best, which requires lots of minerals and vitamins.

Antioxidants found in fruits and vegetables also plays significant role in our body functions. Antioxidants help neutralize harmful free radicals and speed the healing process.

The living body is a dynamic structure where cells are constantly dying and being replaced with new ones. With proper nutrition (or ingredients) our body can build better replacement cells and tissues that works even better than the last.

And there’s something to say about “cravings”. We have always been right about cravings. It’s our body’s way to tell us that some important ingredients are missing. But we have been tackling cravings wrong all this time.

We’ve been told to drink water when you have a craving. Or try to figure the texture (crunchy, gooey) or taste (sweet or salty) of the food that you crave, and find the food with the right texture or taste to curb the cravings.

In fact, what our body is really craving for are nutrients. Vital nutrients, such as vitamins, minerals and antioxidants from fruits and vegetables, to facilitate life-supporting chemical reactions.

That’s the point we’ve been missing.

When your body is well-nourished, your cravings will stop. You can look at cravings as thirst or hunger. You need hydration when you’re thirsty, energy from food when you’re hungry, and nutrients when you have cravings.

Look at the United States, you think we’re a well-informed and well-fed nation. But look at our spending on healthcare, and statistics of people dying from lifestyle diseases, such as heart diseases, cancers, obesity, diabetes, etc.

The Healthcare costs well-exceeds the GPD. will eventually bankrupt this country. And 1.2 million deaths that could have been prevented.

Leading Causes of Death in US

All these are diseases of malnutrition (or overnutrition) and nutrient-deficiencies.

What About the Nutrients in Animal Protein? 

It’s true that animal protein does provide all 20 essential amino acids (building blocks of protein) in one source. However, it turns out animal protein is not the best or only source of protein or amino acid, or calcium, iron, zinc, etc.

High intake of animal protein (to include dairy and eggs) are associated with increased risk of certain cancers and chronic conditions.

According to the China Study, dairy products are not even a good source of calcium as we’ve been told by the Dairy Council.

It’s a big fat lie to get us drink loads of milk and eats tons of cheese so dairy farmers to make money.

In fact, the milk protein in dairy products increase risk of osteoporosis and osteopenia, and certain types of cancer. Studies have also shown that countries with the most dairy consumption also have the highest incidence of osteoporosis and osteopenia.

Red meat, as we know, increases risk of cardiac disease due to the oxidative effects of iron.

Despite the fact that plant protein is consider “incomplete”, it is the best source of protein. The human body does have 20 essential amino acids that we just can’t create on our own, and we need to acquire these essential amino acid from food that we eat. We’ve been told for decades that animal protein is ‘the best” source of protein because it provides ALL 20 essential amino acids. However, our body does not care where these amino acids come from.

Consuming animal protein to acquire these amino acids comes with a price – carcinogens, hormones, antibiotics, free radicals, etc. Therefore, animal protein should be consumed sparingly, such as once a week.

In Dr. Weston’s book Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, he discovered that native cultural diets that are free from modernized western influence has the most profound physical outcome, and that these native people consume a plant-based diet composed of mostly food found in their native environment and animal protein are consumed about only once a week.

Assuming you’re eating a wholesome plant-based diet with a variety of unprocessed fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans, seeds and whole grains, you’re guaranteed to have all your essential amino acids complete.

Keep reading: Benefits of a Plant Based Diet

Nutrition and Physical Degeneration

This book is amazing!!!

In this book, Dr. Price proofed that environmental factors (such as nutrition) have a great impact on physical outcome than genetics. Today, our society has learn to blame “our genetics” for every aspect of our lives and choices. But it is not.

Did you know narrow palate, crowded teeth and impacted wisdom teeth are not hereditary? And did you know what your mom and dad eat before you’re conceived determines your physical appearance and biology?

For nearly 10 years, Weston Price and his wife traveled around the world in search of the secret to health. Instead of looking at people afflicted with disease symptoms, this highly-respected dentist and dental researcher chose to focus on healthy individuals, and challenged himself to understand how they achieved such amazing health. Dr. Price traveled to hundreds of cities in a total of 14 different countries in his search to find healthy people. He investigated some of the most remote areas in the world. He observed perfect dental arches, minimal tooth decay, high immunity to tuberculosis and overall excellent health in those groups of people who ate their indigenous foods. He found when these people were introduced to modernized foods, such as white flour, white sugar, refined vegetable oils and canned goods, signs of degeneration quickly became quite evident. Dental caries, deformed jaw structures, crooked teeth, arthritis and a low immunity to tuberculosis became rampant amongst them. Dr. Price documented this ancestral wisdom including hundreds of photos in his book, Nutrition and Physical Degeneration.

Do you get enough vitamins and minerals from your modern day diet?

Buy Nutrition and Physical Degeneration.

RELATED READING: Cure Tooth Decay

Cool Off the Burning Brain with Anti-Inflammatory Diet




What is the anti-inflammatory diet? It sounds more like a diet for grandma’s old arthritic hip. How does it help ADHD?

You are absolutely correct. It does help grandma’s arthritic hip by reducing inflammation. It also helps with other inflammatory illness such as heart disease, diabetes, asthma, etc.

The anti-inflammatory diet as its name implies helps to reduce and fight against inflammation. It accomplishes the anti-inflammatory property by excluding foods that induce inflammations, while encourage intake of food that is neutral or support the body’s immune system to fight inflammation.

With inflammatory, we usually think of red, swollen and painful joint, which is the body’s immune system’s response to injury. So, in another word, inflammatory is good because our body is either fighting off an infection or trying to heal an injury.

However, the inflammation we’re talking about here is CHRONIC, which means the body’s immune system is constantly being activated for no reason.

This is not good for the body. You might think it’s a good idea because your body is being protected.

It is this overactive immune system that increases your risk of allergies because it is attacking anything that comes its way. It also weakens the immune response when the next big insult comes around. When the immune system is constantly doing things it’s not supposed to do, this takes resources away from its main tasks, such as detoxification, fighting infection, tissue healing, getting rid of cancer cells, etc.

SO, HOW DOES THE ANTI-INFLAMMATORY DIET HELP ADHD?

It is thought that ADHD is the result of chronic systemic inflammation of the body. This systemic inflammation affects the whole body including the brain resulting in functioning and communication error.

You might think how the brain is involved in all this. Think the last time you’re in pain. Were you able to focus? Remember the headaches you have, stomachache, someone stepped on your toe. Our whole body is connected, when one part is not well, our brain is not well too. But we can control or minimize the insult to the brain by following the principle of an anti-inflammatory diet.

WHAT CAUSES INFLAMMATION IN THE BODY?

1. Toxic metals in the environment

2. Pesticides, preservatives and toxic chemicals

3. Hidden food allergies, such as gluten (wheat), casein (milk), eggs, soy, corn and nuts. But wheat and milk are the biggest culprit.

4. Excess sugar and animal fats intake

5. Chronic stress.

FOODS TO INCLUDE:

  1. Fresh whole natural foods, preferably organic. Buy fresh fruits/vegetables from local farmer’s market. Because these produce does not have to travel long distance, last chemicals are used. Choose cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, cauliflower, kale, onions, cabbage, and garlic. These are excellent sources of sulfur, which help boost the sulfation process in the body’s detoxification.

2. Choose low-fat lean protein as well as seafood, which are excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acid, which has great anti-inflammatory property. Choose organic chicken, grass-fed beef, veal, lamb, buffalo, bison and other game meat because of their lack of antibiotics and hormones. Nuts, seeds and beans are also very good sources of protein. Include a variety of them as snacks or complement to salads and entrees.

3. Choose natural sugar, such as those that comes naturally with fruits or vegetables, honey, agave nectar, stevia, etc.

4. Use fresh spices and herbs to flavor your foods. Garlic, ginger and curcumin are excellent anti-inflammatory herbs to use.

5. Filtered water. Drink water only from BPA-free water bottles.

FOODS TO AVOID:

  1. Added sugar, especially high fructose corn syrup. These sugars are stripped of all nutrients during processing. It is basically empty calories. High fructose corn syrup is thought to be the culprit of the current obesity epidemic. It supposedly causes an addictive effect on its consumers, causing them to want to eat more of the food it is in.

2. Processed foods – anything that comes in a can or box and can last for years. These food are stripped bare of all nutrients, which are replaced with artificial flavorings, food coloring, preservatives, monosodium glutamate (MSG), etc. Frozen fruits and vegetables are fine as long as they are free of preservatives and processing.

3. Trans fats – found in many processed foods and margarine. These fats increased bad cholesterol (LDL) and lowers good cholesterol (HDL) levels in the blood. As a result, plague start building up in the artery creating a source of inflammation.

4. Grains and dairy products are the greatest culprit of hidden food allergies.

5. Fish with high mercury content, such as shark, mackerel and swordfish. Limit tuna to one 6-ounce can a week. Even better yet, choose canned wild-caught Alaskan salmon, which is high in omega-3 fatty acid instead for your “tuna” sandwich.

6. Artificial sweeteners, such as sucralose, aspartame, Saccharin and acesulfame potassium. These are man-made sugar from the labs. The studies that show these artificial sweeteners are safe are done on adult subjects and sponsored by the manufacturers of these “sugars”. There are no “long-term” studies on both adults and children. Therefore, the long-term effects on children’s growth are “unknown”.

ANTI-INFLAMMATORY DIET AND LIFESTYLE

The anti-inflammatory diet is not just about foods. It is a lifestyle. You can’t completely treat the inflammation in your body just with foods, and induce the inflammation back with your lifestyle choices, such as chronic stress, lack of exercise, exposure to environmental toxins and chemicals.

1. Daily physical activities. Aim for at least 30 minutes a day, ideally 60 minutes. Physical activities not only help with weight, it helps to clear your thoughts (especially negative ones), facilitate the circulation of the lymphatic system, the super highway of your immune system, and increase neurotransmitters, such as serotonin (your feel-good chemical).

Read: SPARK

2. Use environmentally friendly products. Avoid using Styrofoam, which released estrogen-like chemicals when in contact with heat or being heated. Avoid canned foods or juices or beverages, as the inner lining of the cans are lined with BPA to avoid corrosion of metal from contact with acidic contents.

3. Volunteer and give back to your community. The sense of giving and community boost dopamine levels in the brain. Remember, dopamine is the brain chemical that is found to be low in children with ADHD.

4. Learn relaxation techniques, such as yoga, meditation, prayers, breathing exercise, etc. Focus on positive thoughts everyday. If need to, turn off the news channel.

Namaste…




CHILDREN NUTRITION – BODY BUILDING ARCHITECT




Think of your child’s body like a building and you or your child is the architect. Your goal is to build a strong and tall building. To accomplish that goal you will need excellent building materials. In your case, that means GOOD NUTRITION. When we talk about good nutrition, it is not just any foods. We need good NUTRITIOUS foods.

Why? Because nutritious food has many vitamins and minerals that your child’s growing body needs. Think of these vitamins and minerals as workers at the construction site. Without these workers, the building materials would just sit there.

Vitamins and minerals along with adequate calories and protein are an integral part of children nutrition. Vitamins and minerals play very important roles in the thousands of chemical reactions in our body. Without these vitamins and minerals, many of the chemical reactions would not take place, and that many body functions would be affected. Some of the vitamin and mineral deficiencies results in malfunctions that contribute to some of the ADHD behaviors.

Children nutrition is different from adult in that we have to account for additional calories to promote growth and development. In a fully grown adult, we need just enough calories to sustain basic body functions, such as breathing, heart pumping, blood circulation, and our daily physical demands.

In children nutrition, we have to account for all of the above, and at the end of the day, we need to be sure there is left over to promote growth. To put this idea into perspective: an average healthy adult needs between 20-30 calories per kg of body weight daily. On the other hand, a newborn baby needs 100 calories per kg of body weight per day to sustain and grow. You see the different between adult and children nutrition?

WHAT ABOUT SUPPLEMENTS? CAN I JUST TAKE A MULTIVITAMIN?

The answer is “yes” and “no”.

Certainly you can just take a multivitamin to make up for what you’re missing from your diet. However, you might still be missing out on many awesome antioxidants that scientists have yet to discover. The multivitamin pill only has the vitamins and minerals that scientists know of NOW. Bottom line is there are more benefits in eating the fruits and vegetables than to get those vitamins and minerals.

A diet consists mainly of processed foods not only robs you of the precious vitamins and minerals your body craves, it also fills you body with toxic chemicals, pesticides, hormones, preservatives – things that your body has to work hard to get rid of. In doing so, your body most likely will have used up most of the good stuff you get from your vitamin pill. So you’ll still end up behind.

There will always be room for supplementation since you’re looking for an alternative ADHD treatment. Many studies have shown that children with ADHD have a few nutrient deficiencies, such as iron, zinc, magnesium, etc. This is even more so in children who are on ADHD medications, which are notorious for suppressing appetite and causing stunt growth.

Children with ADHD tend to be somewhat underweight because many of them cannot even focus enough to finish a decent meal. And some are just so hyposensitive that the hunger sense does not even bother them. When you add the ADHD medication to these, you will have a child who is at risk for malnutrition.

CHILDREN NUTRITION – IS MY CHILD MALNOURISHED?

I’m pretty sure most parents are familiar with how the growth chart looks like. To determine your child nutrition status, you need to look at your child’s growth over a period of time. In normal growth, both height and weight, should follow or parallel one of the percentile lines. A child is considered “failure to thrive” when the weight drops more than 2 percentile lines, such as going from above 50th percentile to less than 10th percentile. Stunt growth is when a child stops growing in height.

In the early stage of malnutrition, we will see the weight to drop first. As the condition worsens, height is the next parameter being compromised. If the malnutrition is not corrected, eventually the head circumference will be affected too. And at this point development will be delayed since brain growth and development is being delayed due to lack of nutrition.

Growth charts are frequently used in children nutrition to determine growth rate. Use this interactive growth chart to determine your child’s growth percentile.

WHAT DO I DO WITH THE PERCENTILES NOW?

Frequently children with ADHD have a much higher percentile for height than weight. It basically means that the child is a bit too skinny for their height. The 50th percentile line is the median. Of course, we know every child is different.

HOW MUCH SHOULD MY CHILD WEIGHT THEN?

To answer this question, you need to know your child’s current height. You need to get to the correct growth chart for your child’s gender and age group. Find your child’s height on the chart. Then move along the line horizontally until you reach the 50th percentile line. From here you can determine your child’s “height age” by going up vertically up to the age legend.

For instance, your child’s height is 80cm. We’ll be using the Girls Birth to 36 months chart. Look for 80cm on the left hand side, then move horizontally across until you hit the darker 50th percentile line. So at 80cm, your child’s height age is 18 months. This means your child’s height is that of a 18 month old. If you look at the median weight at 18 months on the chart, you will find the weight that your child should be, which, in this case, 11kg.

Related article: How Much Calories Does My Child Need?

INCREASE CHILDREN NUTRITION INTAKE

If your children need to gain weight because he or she is too skinny, there are different ways to accomplish this. By forcing your child to eat more is not one of them. The simplest and easiest thing to do is just adding oil, butter, margarine and anything fattening to everything that your child eats.

If your child is on a dairy-free diet, you can use oil (any vegetable oil) and coconut cream to add extra calories. Don’t worry about the extra fat your child is getting. If he or she is underweight, you know your child hasn’t been getting enough calories. Plus the fat will be used by the body for energy, saving the protein in the body for more important task, such as growth.

The oil that I recommend the most is flaxseed oil. It is a very good source of omega-3 fatty acids, which is a major component of the brain tissue.

There are many children nutritional beverages available that you can add to your child’s diet as a supplemental source of calories and protein. Some common ones are Pediasure and Carnation Instant Breakfast. They both contain milk, but Pediasure is lactose-free and also gluten-free. For children on dairy-free diet, you may create your own fruit smoothies with a plant-based protein powder, such as soy or sprout protein powder.

If your child is on a gluten-/casein-free diet, you may try Vega Smoothie, which is dairy- and soy-free. One nice thing about Vega Smoothie is that it’s not just a simple protein smoothie, it also contains a blend of antioxidants and probiotics. Another product you can try is EO28 Splash and Neocate Jr from Nutricia, and Elecare Jr from Abbott Ross. These are all amino-acid based formula, which means the protein are broken down to their tiniest unrecognizable form. These formula are made specifically for children with multiple food allergies and severe gastrointestinal problems. They are the hypoallergenic version of Pediasure.

With improved nutritional status, you may see some improvement in your child’s ADHD behaviors. Just think of the many times that your brain feels foggy because you did not have breakfast in the morning. Our brain cannot function well on empty stomach, just as a car cannot operate with an empty gas tank. Make sure your child has a good breakfast daily to start the day.

Here is one of my recipe analysis tool that allows you to determine the nutrient content of your favorite homemade recipes.

RELATED ARTICLE: Kids Eat Right & Thrive

 

 




How the Ketogenic Diet Helps the ADHD Brain?

It’s amazing all the new info recently coming out from new researches and studies are changing medicine.

I recently attended several nutrition conferences and I learned A LOT of new and surprising information.

Many of the nutrition advices that we’ve been adhering to over the years have been proven ALL WRONG!!!

I’m glad these new findings are emerging because I’ve been recommending some of these advices over the last couple of years, and finally, I have evidence to support them.

One of these new concepts were intermittent fasting and ketogenic diet.

I’m a board-certified specialist in pediatric nutrition. There are only 2 reasons I put patients on a ketogenic diet – mitochondrial disorder or intractable seizure control. These are the only 2 medical reasons for ketogenic diet.

These conferences opened my eyes to a whole new world about the food we eat everyday. The idea of ketogenic diet for autism, Alzheimer’s and ADHD were introduced.

One of the conferences I attended was called “The Pharmacy in Your Kitchen” presented by Dr. Michael Lara, who is a neuropsychiatrist.

Dr. Lara explains that ADHD and Alzheimer’s are like diabetes of the brain cells. Because of insulin-resistance, the brain cells are not able to use glucose efficiently for energy just like in diabetes where tissue cells are not able to use glucose. The alternative source of energy, fat, which bypass the defects, seems to work very well in patients with ADHD and Alzheimer’s.

When fat is used as an alternative source of fuel, ketone bodies are made. The body’s cells may be able to use ketone bodies as an alternative fuel when glucose is unavailable. Ketone bodies do not normally circulate in the body unless it has been starving for a few days, or if one is on a very low-carb diet, such as ketogenic diet. In Alzheimer’s disease, the neurons in certain areas of the brain are unable to take in glucose due to insulin resistance, and slowly die off… if these cells had access to ketone bodies, they could potentially stay alive and continue to function.

How to Start the Ketogenic Diet for ADHD?

This is actually a MODIFIED ketogenic diet. The ketogenic diet that I administer on my patients are extremely restrictive and I use a keto ratio of 5:1, meaning 5 parts fat to 1 part carb/protein.

The ketogenic diet we’ll be discussing here will be temporary and intermittent. According to Dr. Lara, all you need is 12-18 hours of fasting x2-3 times a week. If you eat your last meal at 7pm, wake up that next morning and eat first carb-containg meal at say 10-11am, you’ll have fast 15 hours.

There is this doctor, who fixed her husband’s Alzheimer’s with 2 tablespoons of coconut oil twice a day. Now knowing that skipping breakfast couple times a day is actually good for you, I’ll suggest taking the coconut oil in the morning when you skip breakfast, which means no carbs.

You can facilitate the ketosis with a high fat or ketogenic breakfast. For our purpose of ADHD focus, a cup of bulletproof coffee or caffeine-free turmeric golden milk.  Both made with coconut oil.

The caffeine from the coffee will help increase focus and concentration. The fats from coconut oil and butter will push the body into ketosis along with the overnight fast, which results in ketone bodies that the brain cells would use instead of carbs.

Get the Best Bulletproof Coffee recipe for the ADHD

What’s All the Hype with Coconut Oil?

Coconut oil has become a household item because of its multipurpose uses. You can eat it and you can wear it.

Here we’re most interested in its nutritional benefits. Coconut oil is special because of its medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) fatty acid profile. Coconut oil is rich in MCT oil. And there are 3 types of MCT oil in coconut oil. The one we’re most interested here is the caprylic acid because of its unique power in promoting ketosis.

By including coconut oil, which is a good source of caprylic acid, your body will enter ketosis faster and more ketones bodies are available for the brain cells.

Get the high quality organic coconut oil here…

The Best Bulletproof Coffee Recipe for ADHD




 

The best bulletproof coffee recipe for our purpose is the one that results in the most focus and concentration.

What are we looking for?

The caffeine in the coffee help increase focus and concentration by increasing activity in the frontal cortex.

The fats from the coconut oil and butter will promote ketosis and ketones bodies to feed the ADHD brain, especially the coconut oil, which is a good source of caprylic acid.

This bulletproof coffee recipe should be sugar-free and carb-free to maximize results, and consumed in the morning as part of the 12-18 hours fast discussed in the How the Ketogenic Diet Helps the ADHD Brain.

Dump all the ingredients into the blender:

  • 1 cup brewed coffee (my favorite is illy for its smoothie and mild flavor)
  • 1 tbsp Kerigold organic grassfed butter
  • 1 tbsp organic coconut oil
  • Stevia as needed for sweetness

Blend and enjoy.

If you don’t care about the ketosis, then you can add sweeteners for taste.




The Fruits and Vegetables Story…

Fruits and vegetables feeds your body and mind

This is the fruits and vegetables story I tell kids all the time, especially the picky ones. Make sure they’re old enough to understand. Most of the time, I’d see the light bulb light up in their eyes.

Here’s my late night commercial sales pitch for fruits and vegetables…

You know why you need to eat fruits and vegetables?

Our body is a giant bag of tissues made up of living cells…37.2 TRILLION living cells in each of us to be exact.

Wow…that’s a lot of household to take care of.

These living cells are what’s keeping us alive and human.

Within each of these cells, there are hundreds and thousands of biochemical reaction happening every single seconds whether you’re running, sitting, walking, sleeping, etc.

These biochemical reactions must go on in order for our body to survive.

However, each of these biochemical reactions can only happen in the presence of either a vitamin or minerals or both. Missing any of these components, these reactions may not happen.

You know where the best sources of these vital vitamins and minerals?

Yes…fruits and vegetables!

You know how fruits and vegetables come in all different shades and color?

fruits and vegetables color wheel

What gives fruits and vegetables their pretty colors are what we call “antioxidants”. These are special cleaners for our body because our body cannot make many of them on our own.

Think of your body like a house. If you keeping bring stuff in your house everything and not clean or take out the trash, what would your house look like?

Same here with your body…if you eat junk food everyday and not have any fruits and vegetables to help clean, what would your body ends up like.

That’s why God created fruits and vegetables for human beings.

When you eat the right kind of food, meaning a lots of fruits and vegetables, you’ll have enough vitamins, minerals and antioxidant to make sure the biochemical reactions in your body function properly.

When all the biochemical reactions are function properly, that means, all your organs include your brain will function properly too. You’ll have more energy, run faster, focus and concentrate better in class, and feels happier and better mood too.

How to Start Eating More Fruits and Vegetables?

Follow a Plant-based Diet

What You Need to Know About Leaky Gut…

What is Leaky Gut Syndrome?

Leaky gut, as the words suggest, is describing a “HOLEy” intestine.

By the way, leaky gut does have a fancier scientific name – “increased intestinal permeability” or “intestinal hyperpermeability”.

In a normal healthy intestine, the cells lining the intestinal walls are glued very tightly to each other. In fact, the joining point of the cells are called tight junction, so we’re reminded that they’re tight.

The intestine is the body’s first line of defense against the outside world. No matter how clean you wash your hands, utensils, cook your food or raw food. There’ll be unwanted guests being ingested the same time.

This is where our intestines save our lives everyday as our shining armor. The intestine wall is supposed to block out everything that is harmful to our body, and selectively allow what our body needs to pass through into the circulatory system or lymphatic system. Just like a bouncer at the club entrance. No entrance if you’re not on the VIP list.

For reasons we’ll discuss shortly, the intestine lining gets challenged and the integrity of the tight junction is being sabotaged, resulting in a compromised defense mechanism and the intestinal wall become less selective of what’s allowed to cross the barrier into the blood stream.

This can be dangerous, as we already mentioned, God knows what else is in the food we eat.

With the not-so-tight junction now, anything that can fit through the gap, will enter. That means, partially digested food now can get through without being thoroughly digested. Bacteria, virus and fungus can enter into the bloodstream. Toxins from liver and bile generated from the body.

The not-so-tight junction is now free for all.

These uninvited guests trigger autoimmune reactions, which can lead to gastrointestinal problems such as abdominal bloating, excessive gas and cramps, fatigue, food sensitivities, joint pain, skin rashes, and autoimmunity.

Leaky gut results in hepatic dysfunction and pancreatic insufficiency, which further impede food digestion and toxin accumulation, and making the gut more permeable, creating a vicious cycle of food allergy, malnutrition, bacterial dysbiosis and hepatic distress.

So…what happened now?

First we need to figure out why our gut becomes leaky or “holey”.

There are many possible causes of leaky gut. Definitely, anything that’s harmful to the intestines, such as chronic inflammation, food sensitivity, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) therapy, cytotoxic drugs and radiation or certain antibiotics, excessive alcohol consumption, or compromised immunity.

And here’s a list of medical conditions that are associated with leaky gut

• Inflammatory bowel disease
• Infectious enterocolitis
• Spondyloarthropathies
• Acne
• Eczema
• Psoriasis
• Urticaria
• AIDS/HIV infection
• Cystic fibrosis
• Pancreatic insufficiency
• Hepatic dysfunction
• Irritable bowel syndrome with food intolerance
• CFIDS
• Chronic arthritis/pain treated with NSAIDS
• Alcoholism
• Neoplasia treated with cytotoxic drugs
• Celiac disease
• Dermatitis herpetiformis
• Autism
• Childhood hyperactivity
• Environmental illness
• Multiple food and chemical sensitivities

Leaky gut syndrome may trigger or worsen disorders such as Crohn’s disease, celiac disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and asthma.

And I would be wary of any diagnosis of leaky gut syndrome if you don’t have Crohn’s disease, celiac disease, irritable bowel syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, or asthma.

How do you know if you have leaky gut?

Having one of the above medical conditions make you at higher risk of have leaky gut. Having one of the symptoms below should increase your suspicion for leaky gut.

SYMPTOMS ASSOCIATED WITH LEAKY GUT:

• Fatigue and malaise
• Joint and muscle pain
• Fevers of unknown origin
• Food allergies and intolerances
• Abdominal pain and distension
• Diarrhea
• Skin rashes
• Toxic feelings
• Cognitive and memory deficits
• Shortness of breath

If you have one or more of the medical conditions associated with leaky gut along with a few of the symptoms above, it may be wise to consider the possibility of leaky gut.

There are tests that can confirm your diagnosis of leaky gut. Or you can just start treating your leaky gut empirically with a clean nutrient dense plant-based diet that is free from toxins and filled with antioxidants.

I would suggest the second option, if you don’t want to bother with the testing and wait.

The treatment of leaky gut generally does not involve any big gun pharmaceuticals that are loaded with toxins and dangerous side effects.

To find the right treatment, we need to first understand the causes. Otherwise, we’re just keep putting bandaids on the symptoms.

So…what causes leaky gut?

Leaky gut syndrome is generally not recognized by conventional physicians. If you ask your general physician if you have leaky gut, chances are you’ll get a funny look like he/she does not know what you’re talking about.

On the other hand, a functional medicine doctor may consider runny some tests to look for clues to confirm leaky gut or bacterial dysbiosis.

Related articles: Testing for leaky gut

The leaky gut is the manifestation of the vicious cycle of allergy, malnutrition, bacterial dysbiosis and hepatic stress.

Each problem feeds into the next and the cycle just keep going and your symptoms continue to get worse.

The relationship between food allergies and sensitivities and the leaky gut is complicated. The leaky gut or intestinal that is “holey” is a cause of food sensitivities because it allows anything to past through. Then, when the intestine is exposed to all kinds of allergens, the immune system is activated, mast cells are deployed and histamine is released. This immune reaction makes the gut even leakier, then more undigested food past through, then more allergic reaction. And it keeps going, and going, and going…

Now with damaged epithelial cells and really leaky gut, nutrients are not absorbed properly. As a result, malnutrition happens, which further aggravates the structure, integrity and function of the epithelial cells in the intestines.

Under normal conditions, intestinal epithelial cells dies and regenerate every three to six days. This is a very demanding task that requires lots of energy and nutrients. The malnutrition, which is the result of poor nutrient absorption from the leaky gut, would hider epithelial cell repair and regeneration. As a result, the intestinal wall continues to get weaker and weaker because the body cannot catch up with the demand to regenerate new cells.

With nutrients not being absorbed properly, the microbiota in the gut will be affected. You can imagine overgrowth of all kinds of bacterial, fungus, other organism out of proportion leading to bacterial dysbiosis. These guys are supposed to be living in harmony with each other and with our guts. When certain one species grow too fast, they overcrowds the other. Even if it’s the good bacteria that is growing too fast. Too much of a good thing is not always better.

Related article: Bacterial Overgrowth/Dysbiosis

This results in disruption of the intestinal harmony and with the now bigger organism population, we also have a waste control problem.

The liver in people with leaky has to work extra hard to remove the unusual guests that enters the leaky gut, and get rid of the toxic waste generated in the crazy overpopulated gut microbiota.

The situation is putting the liver in stress.

Cytochrome P-450 oxidase is induced and the liver starts making more free radicals. The result is damaging to the liver cells. The liver dumps the toxic free radicals into the bile, which is excreted via the intestine.

The problem does not stop here. This is just the beginning.

While the toxic bile is traveling in the intestine towards the colon and hopefully, out of the body, some of the toxin is being reabsorbed back into the system. Remember from physiology class, our body normally reabsorbs some of the bile back.

Yikes…

Not only that, the toxic bile is damaging to the bile duct, intestinal wall and it can also reflux into the pancreas, affecting nutrient digestion.

This whole scenario just feeds further into the leaky gut, making the intestine more permeable to intruders.

And the cycle keeps going.

Now that we have a better understanding of the etiology of leaky gut.

Now let’s break the cycle, patch up the HOLES and heal your leaky gut.

Specific Carbohydrate Diet




The Specific Carbohydrate Diet is another diet that aims to eradicate intestinal yeast infection by carbohydrate restriction. Elaine Gottschall introduced the Specific Carbohydrate Diet in her book “Breaking the Vicious Cycle: Intestinal Health through Diet”.

It was originally introduced to treat many severe gastrointestinal problems, such as Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, irritable bowel syndrome, celiac disease, etc.

Over the years people have also find other uses of the Special Carbohydrate Diet, such as treating autism, ADHD, dyslexia, oppositional defiant disorder, speech and language delay, etc.

The Specific Carbohydrate diet suggests that many body ailments, such gastrointestinal diseases are caused by the overgrowth of harmful bacteria and yeast/Candida in the intestine. These harmful residents thrive on carbohydrates that are not completely digested.

Complex carbohydrates in our diet take longer to digest, and end up further down to the large intestines where bacteria and yeast lives. These undigested carbohydrates provide a good source of nutrients for these harmful bugs.

The more yeast are in the body, the more toxins the yeast produces, which are the causes of many of the behaviors we see in children with ADHD, autism, and other developmental disorders.

HOW DOES IT WORK?

The Specific Carbohydrate Diet works by eliminating all complex carbohydrates and polysaccharides (multiple-molecule sugars, such as lactose, sucrose, starch, etc) to minimize any undigested carbohydrates from entered the lower portion of the intestines where these harmful bacteria and yeast reside.

In the SCD only monosaacharides, which are single molecule sugars, such as glucose, fructose, galactose are allowed. It is speculated that these single-molecule sugars, because of their simple structure, are easily absorbed in the upper intestine, leaving no undigested carbohydrates that would enter the lower intestine to be used by harmful bacteria or yeast/Candida. As a result, starving the harmful organisms to death and putting a stop to toxin production.

The Specific Carbohydrate Diet emphasizes on carbohydrate restriction to eradicate the harmful toxin-producing organisms in our intestines. At the same time, good beneficial bacteria is introduced through SCD’s homemade goat’s milk yogurt and aged cheeses.

Hallmark of the Diet:

1. Avoid all polysaccharides, such as lactose, sucrose, and any complex carbohydrates. Polysaccharides are molecules made up of two or sugar units. These require special enzymes to break down the chain into single sugar units.

2. Allow only monosaccharides, such as fructose, glucose, and galactose. Monosaccharides are single unit molecules.

3. Only carbohydrates from fruits and non-starchy vegetables are allowed.

4. Honey and saccharine are the only allowed sweeteners. Saccharine is an artificial sweetener.

5. Only meats in pure unprocessed form are allowed.

6. Homemade goat’s milk yogurt and aged cheese are allowed as a way to introduce good bacteria into the intestines. As you know dairy products are good sources of lactose, which is a two-molecule sugar (galactose and glucose). However, the fermenting processes breaks up the lactose molecules into one unit each of galactose and glucose, both of which are monosaccharides, which are allowed on this diet. Recipes are provided in the book.

WHAT TO EXPECT?

When starting this diet, you will not feel great instantly. In fact, you will start feeling really sick, which is a good sign. Yes. That’s right. “It’s a GOOD SIGN”. This is a sign that the diet is working because the yeast/Candida is dying.

Remember there is an excessive amount of yeast in your body, so when they die, all the toxins from the yeast are being released, and that’s what’s making you sick. This is called “toxic die off“.

Besides, the fact that you’re missing your sugar and carbohydrates can make you feel cranky too. Expect some ADHD-related behaviors or symptoms to worsen during “toxic die off” and there may be regression in younger children. Don’t be discouraged. After the yeast/candida and their toxins are eradicated, you will discover the improvements.

For people who are allergic to cow’s milk protein, the goat’s milk may or may not be well tolerated. Be cautious about following the Specific Carbohydrate diet if you are sensitive to cow’s milk protein. There are alternatives yogurt that can be made from non-dairy beverages, such as coconut or rice milk.

Saccharine is an artificial sweetener that some of you may avoid due to its synthetic nature. You may use honey instead.

WARNING

This is a very restrictive and regimented diet to follow. What I have here is just the surface of the diet. There are more to this diet than just avoiding sugars and carbohydrates, and eating yogurts. You’ll probably need some kitchen skills to maneuver around with some recipes.




Feingold Diet for ADHD




Feingold Diet for ADHD

It is interesting that the Feingold Diet is the diet that is specifically targeted toward ADHD symptoms and it’s been around since the 1970’s. However, it is also the most ignored diet for ADHD getting a lot less attention than the fancier Body Ecology diet or Specific Carbohydrate diets.

But the Feingold diet waits patiently to be discovered. Besides, many of the principles of this diet is being incorporated in many more popular elimination diets today.

The diet was introduced by Dr. Benjamin Feingold in 1970’s. Dr. Feingold discovered that by eliminating certain food additives, such as food colorings, preservatives, etc many of his patient’s behaviors also improved. He noticed and improvement in hyperactivity, impulsivity, compulsive actions, attention span, cognitive and perceptual disturbances, skin problems/hives, and sleep problems.

Did I mention that Dr. Feingold is an allergist? He was not a psychiatrist. He made this discovery by accident when he was treating his patients for food sensitivities.

The Feingold diet has 2 phases. During the first phase, chemical additives in food and foods containing salicylates are eliminated. Salicylates occur naturally in many plants as a natural pesticide. Salicylates are also found in man-made chemicals used in artificial colors, artificial flavors, preservatives and aspartame. In the second phase, that’s when you’ll re-introduce food with salicylates, but not the chemicals.

Phase 1

The Feingold diet elimination list:

Artificial food colorings – Sunset yellow (E110) (FD&C; Yellow #6), Carmoisine (E122) – Red coloring in jellies, Tartrazine (E102) (FD&C; Yellow #5), Ponceau 4R (E124), Quinoline yellow (E104), and Allura red AC (E129) (FD&C; Red #40). These food colorings are banned in parts of Europe 4 years ago. Unfortunately, FDA is the United States still considered these as safe food ingredients.

Artificial flavoring – examples are imitation vanilla flavoring or “vanillin” might originate from the waste product of paper mills.

Artificial preservatives – BHA, BHT, TBHQ, sodium benzoate – made from petroleum.

Artificial sweeteners – only aspartame is eliminated.

Corn syrup, high-fructose corn syrup, and corn sugar – in soft drinks and other sweetened foods

MSG (monosodium glutamate, disodium guanylate, disodium inosinate) and HVP (hydrolyzed vegetable protein, which contains some glutamate)

Sodium benzoate, sodium nitrite and sodium nitrate (in luncheon or cured meats) – affects brain development in young children.

Calcium propionate (in baked goods)

Salicylate-containing foods: almonds, apples, apricots, berries, cherries, cloves, coffee, cucumbers, currants, grapes, nectarines, wintergreen oil, oranges, peaches, peppers (bell and chili), pickles, plums, prunes, raisins, tangerines, tea and tomatoes.

Phase II

After elimination of most of the items in Phase I for several week, AND with some noticeable improvement, you may embark on Phase II.

In phase two, foods containing salicylates may be added back one at a time. Keep a food journal to help keep track of all food and beverage intake, and any reactions to food. Children who are sensitive to salicylates response well to the elimination period with significant improvements in symptoms.

As with any ADHD treatment, there is an adjustment period. Don’t feel despair if you don’t see improvements right away. In some children, you may even see a period of regression, which means your child is responding to the treatment. So, be patient.

My Suggestion

While doing the Feingold diet, you should also add fish oil or omega-3 fatty acid in form of supplements. Start with 2,000mg and up to 4,000mg a day of fish oil. This should be enough to get in at least 500mg of DHA.

Yes, I know eating fish is a good way of adding omega-3 fatty acid. But the amount is usually not enough. And breaded fish sticks do not cut it.

Fish oil is one of those well-studies and well-researched nutrients. And obviously you’ve seen the explosion of fish oil supplements everywhere.

Recently, I am surprised by seeing many children with ADHD being “prescribed” a pharmaceutical grade fish oil manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline called Lovaza, which is an omega-3-acid ethyl ester. The reason I’m surprised is that Lovaza is approved for use to manage high blood fat level. But these psychiatrists are able to prescribe these for treating ADHD.