eat real food

You feel like SH*T more often than not and can't figure out why. I've been there too.

I’m glad you're here because I understand how it feels to be frustrated about not feeling well, and not being able to figure out why.

Like you, I’ve been to doctor after doctor, trying to ‘treat’ what was wrong with me, and nothing was working. Lab tests were even normal, I ate healthy food, exercised, did everything I was supposed to be doing, yet I knew something was wrong, because I didn’t feel well and my body just seemed to be deteriorating.

Finally, I figured out the problem. I was being treated for various symptoms, but the underlying problem was still there, festering, and continuing to wreak havoc on my body. No one was trying to determine WHY this was happening to me.

Once I began addressing WHY I wasn’t feeling well, instead of just focusing on the outward symptoms, things significantly improved.

For more than 15 years, I could not leave my house (thankfully I was working from home) after eating lunch because I’d experience horrible issues with IBS-D.

Diarrhea, gas, bloating, depression and anxiety, brain fog, insomnia, a stressful career (a big part of my healing was removing myself from that environment, and venturing out on my own to focus full time on my passion and career as a clinical nutritionist in 2017)… all led to my severe need to control something, anything, which turned into controlling what I ate.

Not to mention I was afraid to eat because every time I did, I’d experience gut issues, and literally not be able to leave the house for hours after a meal, and it went on for so long, it even seemed normal to me, this was my routine and my life.

In June of 2016, I thought I had a horrible flu. The urgent care doctor looked at me, and the pieces started to fall together… I was down to 98 pounds. My body was literally starving.

Talk about a wake up call. It was time to change. Time to change the way I took care of my body (I clearly completely had been neglecting taking care of myself while working to help others, talk about a wake up call), and time to change how I managed my health.

Enter the functional medicine approach to health. I have been able to identify and address underlying issues that were plaguing me all these years, and you know what, I CAN GO OUT TO LUNCH AND NOT PANIC THAT I’M GOING TO NEED TO BE NEAR A BATHROOM 30 minutes to 1 hour later (it was like clockwork).

I no longer need to schedule my food intake around my life activities. I literally would just not eat because I didn’t want to for fear of the outcome, and didn’t have time to end up in the bathroom for hours.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I admit not every day is perfect, far from it.

There are aspects of it all that I will need to work on likely for the rest of my life.

Healing is a process and often physical healing takes place more quickly than mental and emotional healing. Time heals ALL wounds.

Patience and persistence with protocols, and with ourselves as we navigate the muddy waters of healing are integral parts of the process.

It's messy, it's uncomfortable, and it's scary. It's also worth the benefits a billion times over. 

This is why I understand what you are going through, whether it’s gut issues or any other issue that hasn’t been resolved, because no one is looking for the WHY.

No one is addressing your health issues by taking into account your mind, body and spirit. A holistic approach is needed.

I’m a bulldog detective and use my strong knowledge of biochemistry and nutrition to tirelessly research and connect the dots to determine WHY.

I've also been in your shoes, and I understand the emotional, mental and spiritual components involved. 

You don’t have to do this alone anymore. I can help. My personal journey gives me a deep level of compassion and empathy for what you are going through. 

My path in life is to help you, because I know how.

As a team, we can fill in the blanks and determine the root cause of your problems, and develop a plan to help you reach your health and wellness goals.

If you’re ready to start getting the help you need, schedule your 30 minute strategy session with me. 

During our session we will talk about your health challenges, and the clues that have been overlooked to find the root cause of your problems. After our session, you'll have an understanding of how you can start to put the pieces of your health back together. We’ll also determine if I’m the right person for you to work with on a deeper level to finally heal your body, and discuss how that works.

>>>>>WORK WITH ME<<<<<

I'm looking forward to talking to you, and learning how I can help you reach your health and wellness goals!

"Your nutritional needs are as unique as your fingerprint, and they are dictated by your individual biochemistry. As a functional and clinical nutritionist, I can help you interpret your body's nutrient needs and customize a plan to reach your health and wellness goals. This is personalized nutrition."
-Jennifer Caryn Brand, MPH, MS, CNS, Clinical Nutritionist
 
Wishing you a delicious weekend!

Jennifer
Functional and Clinical Nutritionist

PS. If you know someone else who could really use this information, please FORWARD this link to them!

Vitamin D - the Sunshine Vitamin

Photo credit:  skitterphoto.com

Photo credit: skitterphoto.com

Vitamin D’s most famous role is in bone health where it enhances calcium absorption. Without adequate vitamin D, the risk for rickets (weak bones in kids), osteomalacia (weak bones in adults) and osteoporosis increases.

 

Vitamin D deficiency is also linked to a variety of conditions. Asthma and allergies, obesity, depression, gastrointestinal problems like IBS, and many more health issues may benefit from optimizing vitamin D levels.

 

New research indicates levels should be a lot higher than the current range we are told is adequate. Optimum range should be about 75nmol/L.

 

Vitamin D is known as the sunshine vitamin because it’s made in your skin when exposed to UV light. In order for the skin to make D, the UV light needs to hit it. Deficiency can result when clothing, sunscreen use, darker skin with more melanin, and limited exposure to the sun interfere with this process.

 

The skin of older adults is less efficient at making D from UV light too. Spending 15-20 minutes outside with the sun hitting your skin directly several times per week, WITHOUT SUNSCREEN (scary I know, but important) can help your body make the vitamin D it needs.

 

There aren't a lot of foods that naturally contain vitamin D, most is made via the skin. Foods that do naturally contain vitamin D include:

 

  • Egg yolk

  • Salmon

  • Sardines

  • Mackerel

  • Mushrooms

 

Many foods are fortified with vitamin D, meaning vitamin D is added to those foods. These include:

 

  • Orange juice

  • Cereals

  • Skim milk

 

Whole milk (milk fat) does contain trace amounts of vitamin D naturally. 

 

Those with fat malabsorptive disorders (celiac, IBD, UC, and cystic fibrosis) may risk deficiency because D needs fat for its absorption (it's a fat soluble vitamin), and folks with these conditions can’t absorb dietary fat well.

 

Vitamin D is important! Ask your healthcare provider, get your levels checked, and supplement. Vitamin D supplementation is needed way more often than not to achieve optimum levels.

 

Need a vitamin D supplement? You can purchase one through my online dispensary. If you'd like assistance selecting the best product for you, contact me for guidance, I'm happy to point you in the right direction!

 

"Your nutritional needs are as unique as your fingerprint, and they are dictated by your individual biochemistry. As a functional and clinical nutritionist, I can help you interpret your body's nutrient needs and customize a plan to reach your health and wellness goals. This is personalized nutrition." -Jennifer Caryn Brand, MPH, MS, CNS, Clinical Nutritionist

 

Wishing you a delicious weekend!


Jennifer
Functional and Clinical Nutritionist

 

Copyright © 2018 Jennifer Caryn Brand Nutrition, All rights reserved. 

Eating and cooking in saves money and time. Really.

Photo credit:  pixabay.com

Photo credit: pixabay.com

I saw a quote from Dr. Mark Hyman recently that said "If we want to save our planet and save our children we have to get our kids to fall in love with food and cooking." This really struck me not only because it is so important, also because it sounds so simple. You know what? It is, once you learn how to make it so.

We are busy, we have full-time jobs, families, extra curricular activities, other responsibilities, and countless reasons why eating out can be more convenient (and more fun) than cooking in. The truth is however, knowing what foods to buy and having them ready to go for cooking meals at home can be even more convenient than eating out.

Think about it, deciding where to eat, having to get there (and if you live in Los Angeles like I do, driving anywhere is something to be avoided at all costs!), having to wait for your food to be prepared, served or delivered, and of course not knowing exactly what's in your food make eating out less than ideal.

The latter is especially important for those of us that have food allergies and sensitivities, or whom need to avoid certain foods for other health reasons. Not to mention the slew of additives, preservatives and other chemicals that are often found in prepared foods, which have adverse effects on our health, as well as the added (and added in the perfect ratios to create addiction) sugar, fat and salt in many pre-prepared food items.

You may argue that fast food for example is cheaper (and faster) than eating whole real food and cooking at home. When you know how to shop for food, you'll learn that this doesn't have to be the case. Cooking, and eating healthy food at home rather than eating out can save money, and time!

Cooking does not have to be complicated. I'll be honest with you. I cook in probably about 95% of the time, maybe even more, and just about everything I make has three ingredients or less. No joke!

Tasting the actual food as opposed to the spices and seasonings added to it is something I really enjoy. Do you even know what your food tastes like? I mean the actual vegetable, the piece of fish, chicken or meat?

We tend to over salt and over sauce our foods, masking their true, delicious flavor, and instead of benefiting from the nutrients in the foods we do eat, our bodies are overloaded with salt, fat (the bad kind) and sugar found in most mixed seasonings and sauces (go ahead, check the labels).

Using fewer ingredients also makes throwing meals together easier and less expensive.

Often I cook with friends, and cooking with friends or family can be a fun activity! Cooking with your children, and instilling these values in them will benefit them, and their children for generations to come.

A favorite part of cooking for me is making extra so that I have it left over for additional meals. This can save money and time, and it can take the place of those quick, on the go less than healthy meal choices you might make during your busy day. That's because you can take your home cooked food with you instead when you are on the go.
 
How do you get started? Step one is stalking your kitchen and pantry with quality foods. Here's my free guide on ideas to do just that to get you started, and it lists my favorites and go tos.

If you need more assistance I can help you customize this list. I offer services geared toward shopping, and preparing healthier meals for you and your family.I am far from being a chef. Rather, I am just like you in that I have little time to shop for and prepare healthy meals. How do I do it? It does take some practice and know how, and that's what I can teach you. Easy breezy from there…

Jennifer, MPH, MS
Clinical Nutritionist

The Problem With Diet Culture

Photo credit:  Breakingpic

Photo credit: Breakingpic

I spoke with a client this week who was interested in losing weight. She's 5'6" tall and weighs 135 pounds. This puts her in a normal BMI range. BMI stands for body mass index, and it is an attempt to measure body fatness. Of course, if someone is overweight they are at a greater risk for many chronic diseases, so BMI can be used (loosely) to gauge someone's risk.

There are all sorts of issues with using BMI as a metric to assess someone's body fatness. BMI does not take into account muscle, or where the fat is located (around the middle is associated with a higher risk of disease) for example. 

When I asked my client why she wanted to lose weight, she said she felt more comfortable 10 pounds less than she is now. I mentioned that based on BMI, her weight is within a normal range. Her tone changed and I could tell I couldn't push more at the time to have a deeper conversation about body weight and body image expectations.

Our bodies actually have a genetic set point for weight, and beating our bodies into a place they do not belong can have serious health consequences.

This isn't only an issue among women, I've worked with men that have body weight and body image issues as well.

It disheartens me that we have the food industry marketing products, even health food products, to us that are anything but healthy, yet they are promoted as being good for us. The result of consuming them can be nutrient depleting (we eat products instead of food, and products, even health food products, are not a substitute for whole real food). Overtime this can lead to metabolic dysfunction, which in turn leads to changes that affect our natural weight set point (weight gain) through a wide variety of mechanisms (hormone disruption and inflammation are examples). As we battle to manage our weight while eating 'healthy' processed products, we also have the fitness industry which has us convinced that their products and programs will fix the problem. Now we become trapped in a vicious cycle, and two very large industries become wealthier at our expense, leaving us scratching our heads, wondering where we have failed. We begin to feel worthless, and our perceived failure pushes us even farther down the rabbit hole of trying to obtain a level of aesthetics that is not just unrealistic, but also impossible. Physical activity is absolutely necessary for overall health, and its purpose should not be only to counteract poor dietary habits.

You can break the cycle, and it begins by eating whole real foods. To get you started, download my free healthy snack ideas here. 

If you'd like assistance developing a customized food plan, I can help you do that as well.
 

Why You Should Be Eating Artichoke

Grilled artichoke! Not only is artichoke delicious, it's good for you!

Jennifer Caryn Brand Nutrition, Why You Should Be Eating Artichoke

Extracts from artichoke are used as medicine (food is medicine). They can stimulate bile flow, which is important for digestion, and can help lower cholesterol levels. Artichoke extracts have also been used for IBS, liver and kidney problems, anemia, arthritis, problems with water retention, gallstones, and for bladder infections.

Artichoke contains fiber, also good for digestion, detox and for lowering cholesterol levels.

They contain B vitamins (energy production), vitamin C (antioxidant vitamin, also important for collagen production), vitamin K (bone health and blood clotting), and a variety of antioxidant compounds (fight damage caused by oxidative stress and free radicals, which can lead to inflammation).

Artichoke also provides a variety of minerals important for health including potassium (heart rate and blood pressure regulation), manganese (cofactor for antioxidant enzymes), copper (cofactor for antioxidant and other enzymes, and needed for red blood cell production) and iron (red blood cell production).

Where Does Autoimmune Disease Come From? 

Photo credit:  pixabay.com

Photo credit: pixabay.com

 

This is another root cause situation. For autoimmune disease to occur, there are 3 factors that need to be present.

  1. Genetic predisposition

  2. Environmental triggers that turn on the gene

  3. Leaky gut

While we can't change number 1, there are things we can do about numbers 2 and 3. For example, autoimmune disease goes hand in hand (in hand) with digestive imbalances, gut infections, and food allergies/sensitivities/intolerances (which can serve as an environmental triggers).

Problems in our guts can cause inflammation there. This upsets the delicate lining of the gastrointestinal tract. That lining is only one cell layer thick! Those cells are held together by tight junctions. Inflammation causes those junctions to become loose, and then we have leaky gut. 

Food particles that are not completely digested are able to leak out, and they end up in our blood stream. They are not supposed to be there so our immune system begins to respond. Overtime this heightened immune response can begin to target any area of the body. In the lungs, we can get asthma, in the joints we can get arthritis (rheumatoid and psoriatic) and in the skin we can get atopic dermatitis and psoriasis. These are just some examples of conditions that can be tied to gut issues. You might not even have gastrointestinal symptoms, so while all this is happening, you are unaware of the problems brewing in your gut.

What can be done? Addressing the underlying causes can lessen symptoms and help control progression of your condition. The plan includes:

  1. Using a comprehensive digestive stool analysis to identify gut infections

  2. Getting tested for food allergies and sensitivities

  3. Working with a professional to guide you appropriately, there is no one size fits all approach, you are an individual and a personalized plan must be developed for you based on appropriate assessment of your history, present situation, goals you have for your future, and appropriate testing (like the two mentioned above)

Cake! Now That I Have Your Attention, Here Are 4 Reasons Why Carrots Are Good For You

This my friends, is carrot cake. It's not just any carrot cake, it's a 'healthy' carrot cake. My friend and I made this the other night out of coconut flour, eggs, honey, raisins, carrots, cinnamon, and some other stuff. The recipe is in my last blog post.

It just so happens that carrots are loaded with health benefits. This root vegetable contains antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and fiber.

  1. Carrots are rich in carotenes and vitamin A. Beta-carotene can be converted to vitamin A in the body, and vitamin A is needed for vision. Beta-carotene, and flavonoid compounds found in carrots have antioxidant properties. Antioxidants are protective against the damage free radicals and inflammation can cause. This damage can lead to heart disease, cancer, neurodegenerative disease, and aging.
  2. Carrots are rich in vitamin C, which is another antioxidant. It is also important for collagen production, and it can enhance absorption of iron!
  3. They contain B complex vitamins, which are important for energy production and metabolism in the body. That means you need to B vitamins to make energy from the food you eat.
  4. Carrots also contain a variety of important minerals including copper, calcium, potassium, and phosphorus. Copper is involved in the production of red blood cells, calcium is important for bone health, potassium is important for blood pressure regulation and for nerve and muscle impulse transmission, and phosphorus is important for bone health, and energy production. 

I've been writing these things for awhile now, do you notice how whole, real foods contain all the nutrients your body needs to function? Coincidence? I think not. What do you think?

Making Good On Promises - Pistachio Carrot Cake Recipe

It is SUPER important to me to make good on promises I make. Frankly, I don't make promises I can't keep.  That said, as promised, here's a recipe for a delicious, and healthier carrot cake. Do remember that a treat is a treat is a treat, so even "healthy" treats should be treated as treats. Should I say treat a few more times? ;)

CARROT CAKE or CARROT MUFFINS (MUFFINS PICTURED):

2 sticks of butter, melted

9 eggs

3 large carrots (makes 3 cups grated)

5 tablespoons honey

2 teaspoons vanilla

1 1/5 coconut milk

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Mix wet ingredients together

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ADD:

1 cup coconut flour

1/2 teaspoon cardamom

1 teaspoon cinnamon

3 teaspoon baking powder

1 cup raisins

1/2 cup pistachios

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Bake at 400 degrees:

Muffins - 20 minutes

Cake - 45-50 minutes

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FROSTING:

8 oz cream cheese (heat in microwave for 20-25 seconds to soften)

1 tablespoon of grated ginger (fresh)

1 teaspoon grated lemon zest from (size of a small lemon)

1 tablespoon honey

Mix until desired sweetness - add more honey or other ingredients if desired

 

Why pistachios you ask? It's kinda cool to mix things up a bit, don't you think?

Enjoy!

 

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This recipe yields a dozen muffins and 2 loaves (frosting is a perfect amount to cover all)

 

 

4 Reasons To Be Cool As A Cucumber

Cucumber noodle salad! First off, if you don't have a spiralizer, get one, or you're missing out big time (just sayin' ). Now that we've gotten that out of the way, here are 4 reasons why I'm guessing the saying "cool as a cucumber" came to be. 

  1. Cucumbers are very low calorie and the peel is a good source of fiber. Fiber is important for digestion and elimination, it helps remove toxins from the gut. 
  2. They are a good source of potassium, which helps regulate your blood pressure and heart rate. Potassium counters the effects of sodium, which increases blood pressure.
  3. Cucumbers contain antioxidants like vitamin C, vitamin A, beta and alpha carotene, zeaxanthin, and lutein. These compounds help fight free radicals, which can lead to inflammation, an underlying cause of chronic and complex disease.
  4. They also contain vitamin K which plays a role in bone health, in blood clotting, and it may be beneficial for the brain and cognitive function.