Saturday, March 12, 2011

Inflammatory Foods and How They Hasten Disease, The Aging Process and Weight Gain

Food allergies and reactivity arise from sensitivity to chemical compounds in food. They develop after you are exposed to a food that your body thinks is harmful. When you eat the food it triggers the release of IgE antibodies and other chemicals, including histamine, in an effort to expel the "invader" from your body. The tissues are flooded with water and this results in weight gain. This weight gain can stay in the body for 72 hours until the “invader” is expelled. This reactive response will often result in constipation which slows down the elimination process.

The immune system’s response to an inflammatory diet diverts the body’s energy from healing and repair and allows whatever is latent in our genetic makeup to “kick up”, whatever is chronic (arthritis, migraines, depression) to worsen.
Chronic inflammation exacerbates and hastens the aging process because it floods tissues with free radicals and promotes the destruction of normal cells. Chronic low grade inflammation contributes to the aging process and research shows that is a major contributor to the aging of the cardiovascular and nervous system. Inflammation is now recognized as one of the key risk factors for obesity, heart disease, diabetes, high cholesterol, stroke, cognitive and neurological disorders.

Below is a list, based on my research, of many foods eaten on a daily basis and their potential of reactivity.
Reactive foods

90- 95%
farm raised fish
deli meats-
most sushi – most sushi restaurants will used farm raised fish

shrimp and most shellfish
tomato sauce
greek yoghurt
beans- esp black beans and cannelini
whole eggs
non-organic spinach- very high pesticide residue
cottage cheese
grapefruit- not recommended bcs of impairing liver function

green beans
bok choy
tomatoes, green peppers, eggplant, potatoes (purple potatoes are less reactive)

red peppers (green peppers are unripe peppers)

white fish with exception of tuna, swordfish and cod
rice (except for brown or basmati lowers reactive rate to 10%)
almond milk

30 %
egg whites
nut butters made with roasted nuts
sesame seeds/tahini
organic spinach – Will be MUCH higher if you have thyroid issues and should not be eaten raw
most melons with exception of watermelon

20% or less
lactose free milk
lamb- if you have a steak sensitivity you will have a lamb sensitivity
roasted nuts- if you have chronic illness, auto-immune disease, depression this bumps up to 75%
snow peas

10% or less
pit fruits- will include avocados
cow’s cheese
acid fruits
raw onions
mustard greens

5% or less
goat or sheeps cheese- higher if African American or Asian
broccoli- will be higher if you have thyroid issues
winter squash
mixed greens
arugula- will be MUCH higher if you have thyroid issues
chard- will be MUCH higher if you have thyroid issues- sensitivity to oxalic acid

The notes below should be kept in case you test reactive to any of the foods listed:

In children, most allergic reactions to food are to milk, peanuts, nuts from trees, eggs, soy and wheat. Most children grow out of most allergic reactions to food in early childhood. Allergies that you “grow out of” may recoccur as we age- this is due to the fact that aging itself is a low grade inflammatory process

Peanut allergies
People with peanut allergies/reactivity might also be reactive to green beans and other peas – there is also a chance there might be nut allergies. Seeds such as sunflower seeds tend to be much less reactive.
Pine nuts are reactive due to its high oil content. Anything that has a high oil content can go rancid quickly. People who are allergic to pine nuts might also react to peanuts and nuts such as almonds.
Shellfish allergy can often cause severe reactions and some people can react to the steam from cooking shellfish.
Sometimes people with an allergy to soy will also react to foods such as peanuts, green peas, chickpeas, rye and barley

Saturday, March 5, 2011

The Perils of Pizza

Why is that just one slice of pizza can cause so much weight gain? One slice averages 1 lb weight gain for many of my clients and this can be incredibly frustrating. If you’ve been on The Plan you know that it’s not usually a calorie in, calorie out. You have to understand the chemistry of food and then “inexplicable” weight gain suddenly makes sense.

If you are going for your standard delivery or pizzeria pizza, your basic cheese pizza has 3 components- cheese, dough, and tomato sauce.

Most pizza cheese from establishments that are not higher end brick oven pizzerias use what is known as analog cheese. Analog cheese is not actual cheese, it’s casein and various vegetable oils mixed together with perhaps some milk solids thrown in. Casein is derived from milk. It has incredibly huge molecules that are very tough for us to break down .Because casein is only partially digested this causes problems such as gas, bloating, constipation and even severe gastro-intestinal inflammation.

A good pizza dough needs to have a high gluten content for it to hold together. Gluten is the hardest part of wheat to digest. Flours that are higher in gluten will cause more bloating and are harder to break down once again causing GI distress.

Yeast breads such as pizza crust are typically made from flour with moderate-to-high protein content (11 to 14.5 percent). And cakes, cookies, and quick breads (i.e., muffins, biscuits, pancakes, etc.) are made with low protein flour. Pastries are usually made with a flour containing a low-to-moderate amount of protein..

This is one reason why I’d rather you had a cookie or slice of cake instead of pizza! By the way, that lovely pizza flour is bleached using either benzoyl peroxide (yes the stuff we used as teenagers) or chlorine!

Tomato Sauce

Tomatoes are part of the nightshade family. This group of vegetables are known for their pro-inflammatory effects. In fact, many doctors recommend that anyone who suffers from arthritis, eczema or psoriasis should avoid these foods. I have found that 85% of my clients cannot have canned tomato sauce without a huge increase in weight gain and exacerbation of health issues. Interestingly only 60-70% of my clients have a problem with tomatoes .Why would tomatoes be so different from tomato sauce?

It is required in the United States their needs to be a HIGHER LEVEL OF ACIDITY in tomato sauce to prevent botulism. Now tomatoes are already high in acid which is one reason why so many people have weight gain and health issues when they eat them. So, in addition to the naturally high acid levels of tomatoes, citric acid is thrown in. Citric acid is notorious for causing heart burn and acid reflux. It is so corrosive that The Academy of General Dentistry recommends avoiding citric acid as it can destroy tooth enamel leading to tooth decay and eventual loss.

Oh you knew I’d have to say something about sodium, didn’t you?

Remember we would like to keep our sodium intake with the new Heart Association guidelines of 1500 mg or less.

1 slice of pizza from a 16 inch pizza at Papa Johns- 980 mg sodium
1 6 in individual pie Veggie Lovers pizza from Pizza Hut – Now this should be a healthy choice, right? Unfortunately it has 1,150 mg of sodium

Should pizza be off the menu forever? NO, if you love it and it doesn’t exacerbate health issues, of course you should enjoy in moderation. I just want you to expect that the odds are this will NOT be apart of a weight loss program.

If you do decide to have a slice of pizza, try to have from a brick oven pizzeria. Perhaps have a white pizza or a pizza that has whole tomato slices instead of tomato sauce. If you get it from a local place on the street offset the meal with potassium rich foods such as a salad with broccoli, avocado and carrots. The fiber will help with digestion and the potassium will offset the sodium.

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to e-mail –