Gut healing gelatin frothy tea latte

Gut HealingI love lattes, and all things frothy. Unfortunately, dairy products can be very mucous forming and inflammatory. Some cafe will have almond milk, but those boxed almond milks are often highly processed and simply do not match up with the real latte.

It is April, and spring is in the air. If you suffer from nasal allergy symptoms, dairy may make it worse, except for Ghee. This recipe, using ghee, is perfect for you to curb that craving for lattes. Also, I like to put in stinging nettle, an herb that makes the tea richer both in terms of texture and nutrients. Studies have shown that nettle helps with allergic rhinitis and several inflammatory conditions (reference1, reference2 and reference3). Rooibos tea is also high in antioxidants.

Ingredients for gut healing healthy tea latte

10 oz of boiling water
2 tsp ceylon tea
1 tsp nettle tea leaves
1 tsp oatstraw
stevia to taste
(optional) 1/2 tsp rooibos tea for flavor
(optional) chai spice, whole or ground
1 tbsp butter or ghee
1 tbsp gelatin

Instructions

1. Brew ceylon tea, nettle tea and oatstraw with the 10 oz of boiling water for 3 – 5 minutes
2. Steep the tea, place in a blender, add butter and stevia
3. Turn the blender on the lowest setting with the lid covered (so the tea won’t splatter).
4. With the blender on, add gelatin. Blend for a few more seconds.
5. Pour into a cup, garnish and serve.

Other ideas: use a strong matcha tea instead of ceylon tea to make a matcha latte.

 

Gut Healing

 

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The Natural Allergy Remedy That Works Permanently

The Natural Allergy Remedy

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I am genetically blessed with the worst in terms of allergies. My entire family suffers terribly from atopy, mostly a combination of allergies and eczema. Growing up, there was never a shortage of anti-histamines in the house.

In college, I was a pre-med who always knew when the pharmacy went on sale. I would buy hundreds of dollar’s worth of over the counter cold, painkiller, acne, and allergy medications at a time. I had become completely dependent on these medications and eventually… they stopped working and I was prescribed a steroid nasal spray to help with the flu-like symptoms that just wouldn’t go away.

Fast forward a few years, my worst eczema breakout forced me to really understand allergies. I dug into the science, and found that there are evidences supporting that healthier living can really help with allergies (duh!). I got to test the hypothesis that perhaps I was just eating and living in ways that wasn’t compatible with my genes and boy was that correct.

Today, I’m completely allergy free. I have no medication in my possession and I’m not taking allergic shots. Needless to say, I’m pretty passionate about this topic.

Contrary to what you’re thinking (or what I used to think), allergies are not just the nuisance that could be rid of just by subscribing to anti-histamines or allergic shots. It is an anomaly of immune functions where one branch of the immune system (Th2) is dominant over the other branch (Th1) (reference). The Th1 dominant branch is more responsible for intracellular pathogens like bacterial and viral infections, while Th2 is more responsible for extracellular pathogens like parasites. The true allergy remedy is to fix this anomaly.

When either branch of the immune system is on high gear, it uses up the nutrients and resources in your body. Consequently, you may suffer from weakened immune system, fatigue and hormone imbalances. Allergies can result in fatigue just as you become very fatigued and need to rest when you have a cold. When allergies or Th2 activation depletes the nutrients and resources, it doesn’t leave much left for Th1. That means you catch colds and other infections easily and your wounds could take longer to heal. If you workout, that could also mean your body will take much longer to recover from your workouts.

When I was at the full swing of this, I caught colds every few weeks and each would last about two weeks. It was just outright miserable and I didn’t even know it. Not only that, allergies is also linked to blunted stress response or low cortisol (reference), which can contribute to HPA axis dysfunction or adrenal fatigue and hormone imbalances.

Antihistamines, like over the counter allergy medications, work by preventing histamines from binding to the receptors on cells such as in the nasal passages and eyes. Natural allergy remedies like quercetin and pygnogenol can block immune cells like mast cells from releasing histamine, which is one step up. While these solutions work to suppress the symptoms, they don’t actually deal with the imbalances in the immune system.

If you live on antihistamines, you may still have fatigue, imbalances in the immune system, and consequences of the inflammation on the rest of the body. So, here, I share things that really work on the whole person.

1. Using immune-balancing herbs and antioxidants as natural allergy remedies.

Some herbs and antioxidants have been shown to support the Th1 immune system (can help with allergies), while others push the Th2 (makes allergies worse). Therefore, people with problems with the immune system, be it allergies or autoimmune diseases, need to be careful with introducing herbs at therapeutic doses. These include some adaptogens because many adaptogens stimulate the immune system.

For example, substances that stimulate the Th2 include green tea extract, plant sterols like resveratrol, pygnogenol, and anything that ends with ‘ol’, curcumin, quercetin, and genistein.

Herbs that stimulate Th1 include echinacea, astragalus, licorice, ashwaganda, panax ginseng, reishi mushrooms

I’ve personally had great results with using St. Francis DeepImmune for 6 weeks to re-balance the immune system. It is a professional brand that is recommended by naturopathic doctors and herbalists. Given that there’s potential harm from just blindly introducing herbs and supplements, I usually recommend that people get full workups with their practitioners who are trained in herbalism, and also understand their full health history before adding herbs.

2. Re-balancing the gut bacteria

Having well-balanced gut bacteria is extremely important, especially for the immune system. The gut immune system closely interacts with the bacteria in the gut and this influences immune tolerance. However, there’s a lot more to balancing the gut bacteria than taking probiotics, as several other factors affect the gut bacteria. It is still important to introduce good bacteria, both in the forms of supplements and fermented foods, if tolerated.

3. Getting the sleep and stress management

Lack of sleep and poor stress management can throw off the immune system, as well as increasing inflammation levels. If you have severe allergies, especially to environmental allergens in your home, it is even more important to resolve this problem so you can get the rest your body needs. Consider having your home inspected for mold or allergen levels and getting an air purifier to reduce airborne allergens. For sleep and stress management hacks, check out my ebooks: Ancestral Sleep ($27) and Stress management 2.0 (Free).

4. Eating a diet that works for you

Because everyone is biochemically different, there’s no one diet that will fix everyone’s allergy. In fact, diet alone will not fix allergies, no matter how perfect the diet is.

A good tenet for a healthy diet involves an organic, whole food-based, nutrient dense diet with lots of vegetables.

Some people do better with more carbohydrates in their diet than others. Some people are okay with grains and dairy. Therefore, experimentation is key.

I often help my clients first to identify foods that may cause problems, as temporarily eliminate them and re-introducing is the gold standard to determine if such foods are problematic. For some people, their environmental allergies can also cross-react with some foods, so I would also check for reactions to these foods as well.

5. Make sure you are not nutrient deficient.

The immune system requires nutrients to function well. People with immune system problems need more nutrients than people who are not. While many people I work with already eat a good, whole foods-based diet, I often find that they are deficient of several nutrients based on lab tests such as Organic Acids Tests. These can be because of digestive problems or other issues that increase their needs for such nutrients.

In most cases, I’m not one to recommend a multivitamin, because food-based sources of nutrients are better absorbed and the synergy between nutrients in foods are more powerful.

To ensure that you are not nutrient deficient, it is important to make sure that the eating hygiene and the digestive function are conducive to nutrient absorption. Secondly, selecting nutrient-dense foods from the right sources are important to get these nutrients. Lastly, certain aspects of a person, like stress levels, genetic predisposition and allergies may warrant it beneficial to emphasize certain nutrients, either through whole foods or supplementation.

Herbs & antioxidants to balance the immune system & combat allergies (1)

 

6. Eliminating toxic substances from your life.

Chinese study found that environmental toxins increase incidences of allergies and worsen allergic symptoms. This study demonstrated that environmental toxins like endocrine-disrupting chemicals, heavy metals and pesticides are bad for you. They mess up your hormones and immune system.

Unfortunately, nowadays, it is not possible to remove all toxic exposures, but it makes sense to remove toxic exposure from your life as much as possible. This means: not inhaling car exhaust, switching to nontoxic home care and body care products, and eating organic foods.

Many people with severe allergies have accumulated toxic stuff in their bodies over their lifetime. Therefore, some deeper investigations, like testing for heavy metal levels, nutrient status, potential gut infections or dysbiosis are warranted. Once these root causes are handled, there are very reasonable expectations that the allergies will improve 90 – 100%.

In conventional medicine (that is covered by insurance), allergies remain a disease with no cure. There are only ways to control symptoms of allergies. In fact, there are underlying malfunctions. Once we shift the focus from treating the symptoms or treating the histamine levels, it can improve from 90% to 100%.

There may be time and place for allergic shots, epi-pens and antihistamines, especially for those whose allergies may be life threatening. However, examining these aspects, as well as living a healthier lifestyle should be the first line of therapy before medications.

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The problems with eating yoghurt for IBS or digestive health.

If you are dealing with IBS, or constipation and diarrhea, and you’re eating yoghurt and fiber, you may be doing more harm than good.

Here are 4 problems to this approach:

  1. Dosage – the amount of probiotics in a common products, like yoghurt, are too low to be beneficial. You need at least 10 billion colony forming units (CFUs), and even better, strains that have been researched to withstand stomach acids.

Even with medical grade probiotic products that may contain up to several hundred millions CFUs, it may still be a drop in the bucket comparing to the total number of bacteria you have. Humans have trillions (a million of a million) probiotic cells. While introducing researched probiotic strains in a supplement form may be beneficial, it usually is not the end-all be-all with health problems like IBS.

  1. Probiotic products typically assume that you have normal levels of stomach acid and intestinal movements. Many people, especially those who have digestive problems, do not have normal levels of stomach acid. In addition, medications that reduce stomach acids such as Nexium and even Tums are one of the most commonly prescribed medications in the United States and patients discontinuing these medications may not return to normal stomach acid levels. Lastly, chronic stress, bad nutrition, and poor eating hygiene often lead to reduced stomach acids and intestinal movements. If this is the case, the introduced probiotics may colonize in the small bowel instead of the large bowel, leading to small intestine bacterial overgrowth, which is believed to be the root cause of many health problems.
  1. Most yoghurt products market themselves for the benefits of probiotics, but not only do they usually not contain enough bacteria to make a difference, the problems actually include:
  • Antibiotics may be mixed into the feed of the cows that make the milk and this comes out in the milk.
  • Added sugar or artificial sweeteners that can be harmful.
  • Artificial flavors and additives that can irritate the gut further.
  • Residual lactose, as commercial yoghurts are fermented only for a short period of time. The remaining lactose can lead to bloating, flatulence, and more digestive problems.
  1. Lactic acid bacteria isn’t the only thing that is beneficial. In fact, they can cause trouble like very severe diarrhea for some people. For these people with preexisting gut bacteria imbalances, introducing lactic acid bacteria may not be a good idea.  content3

 

  1. Other factors like mental/emotional stress and chemical exposures can mess up your gut bacteria and digestive system, no matter how many probiotics you take. This may be why you still have IBS.

Want to learn more:

 

 

Are you always sick? How to get out of dead snail immune system?

I have always remembered myself as a snotty nose girl growing up. Being snotty had caused me to be a wallflower because, well, I was disgusting. Fast forward many years later, I became the girl who knew exactly when the pharmacy went on sale, so I would go straight to the Cough and Cold aisle and bought as many items as the discount would apply. It was so pathetically like “I’m gonna get sick and use all of these up anyways, might as well just stock up.”

When the cold got really bad sometimes, I would go from Benilin to Robitussin to Mucinex to Tylenol to Advil to Vicks and, as a final resort, to Buckley’s (because it tasted disgusting).

Despite exercising 3 – 4 times a week, and eating “well,” my immune system functioned like a dead snail. I caught a cold twice a month and each time lasted 2 – 3 weeks. Basically, I barely had a day in my life without cold/flu symptoms. The stress levels being in school didn’t help, either.

Being snotty nose and severe allergies run in my family, but we took it as a cold medication deficiency. Allergies, defined as the body’s immune responses to seemingly harmless substances, suck up the body’s resources to fight harmful things like germs. As a result, I walked around sniffling all the time.

“It’s genetics. It’s the card I was dealt with and I just have to live with it,” what what I believed.

Fast forward until 2013, I discovered an ancient object in my drawer at work that is a pack of expired Tylenol and Claritin. I haven’t needed any of these since 2 years ago.

It turned out my immune system had room for improvement after all.

Immune-System

Here are what I did:
1. Eat a diet that doesn’t send my blood sugar in constant rollercoaster.
High blood sugar sucks for the immune system. But controlling my blood sugar doesn’t only mean giving up sugar alone. Sugars are sneaky these days. I gave up all forms of fruit juice and added sugar, such as dextrose, glucose-fructose, high fructose corn syrup, etc, on food labels.

Starchy foods can throw your blood sugar out of whack, especially if you live on a bread, rice and pasta diet. I stopped eating a diet comprising mainly of bread, rice and pasta. Rather, I started composing my plates of a full serving of protein (meats or beans), lots of vegetables and sometimes a condiment-sized serving of rice, sweet potatoes or quinoa. Every meal had to contain a good amount of protein (at least 20 g) and fibers. I started eating more good fats like fish oil, nuts, butters, and avocadoes. Breakfast, too, had to be full of proteins, good fats and vegetables; and the so-called breakfast cereals should only be rarely eaten as treats. Just from these changes alone, I realized that I don’t have to be starving less than an hour after I eat (which was usually the case if I ate 2 – 3 slices of pizza or a large sandwich for lunch). I felt much more stable. My acne clears up, and my immune system works so much better.

2. Learn to sleep properly and take back my meditation practice
We all live in a constant “ON” state, while our bodies also need the “OFF” state to properly rest and repair. I’ll take it as common sense now that everyone knows it’s easier to get sick if you are super stressed out and don’t get enough restful sleep, but there’s a bit more to that.

The sleep hormone “melatonin” rises and fall in opposite direction as the stress or awake hormone “cortisol.” Melatonin helps increase antioxidants in the body, which in turn helps with the immune system. Also, we go through sleep in phases when the body undergoes different repairs. Hence, if your sleep time jumps around between weekend and weekdays, you will not have optimal immune system.

Excess stress suppresses the immune system, so it is important not only to manage stress, but to increase stress resilience. A marvelous (and inexpensive) way to do it is to participate in calming (parasympathetic) activities like meditation, restorative yoga, Qi gong.

3. Take a high dose probiotics supplement
Up to 80% of our immune system is in the gut, so a good gut flora is important for many aspects of health. Unfortunately, being exposed to multiple bouts of antibiotics as a child and by eating conventional meats destroy the gut flora. If poor immune system is an issue, you should supplement with good bacteria at least 50 – 100 billion CFUs (NOT when you are taking stomach acid blocker medications). Note that commercial yoghurts don’t have anywhere as much so they won’t work for that purpose.

4. Nutrients: Vitamin A (not Beta-carotene), C, Zinc, Selenium, D; but also everything else in a real, whole foods diet.
Deficiencies of these nutrients can cause poor immune function. So eat the foods, i.e. butter, cod liver oil, liver, pumpkin seeds, seafoods, brazil nuts.

Most of us don’t eat plant foods that are freshly harvested, so much of the vitamin C is destroyed in the shipping and preparation process. It may be important to supplement vitamin C just under bowel tolerance.

5. Introduced adaptogenic herbs
My life changed forever when I discovered this thing called Adaptogens. They are herbs that function to help our bodies adapt better to stress. Most of them have immune-boosting properties and some of them are also calming.

Herbs like astragalus can boost the immune system, although it’s not meant to be taken for more than a few months.

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