July 21, 2012

Can You Lose Weight Eating Pizza and Cupcakes?

This video was sent to me and I was asked to comment on it.  My first thought was, "Oh boy, what are they selling now?"  My second thought, "This can potentially be very confusing for the average consumer."

The sales pitch happened to be for The Carb Lovers Diet Cook book. Interesting concept. Eat Pasta, Pizza, Cupcakes, and lose weight (...Please tell me more!).

It is definitely possible to eat these things and lose weight, mainly because you can make healthier versions of these foods.
(I teach people how to healthify these foods and lose weight all the time.) However, what really made me cringe was her comment about how we need digestive resistant starch to lose weight and feel full.  It amazes me how people will play with words, change terminology, and even redesign product labels to sell their cookbooks, supplements, or other garbage products even after they have been exposed as less than optimal.  

First, let me clear some things up:

Digestive Resistant Starch = Fiber   


Calling a type of fiber digestive resistant starch when virtually all laypeople know "fiber" is just flat out confusing.  This terminology tricks people into thinking there is something new that is going to help them lose weight (DRS is a subclass of fiber that has been studied for a good while now). 


I picture parents bringing their kids out to CiCi''s "all-you-can-eat" pizza buffet and pumping them full of "digestive resistant starch" as a weight loss plan.  (I am joking, but I have seen crazier situations.)  Sadly, many people who are overweight do not cook their own food to begin with.  


Eating fiber makes you feel full (bloated would be a more accurate term).  Fiber in normal (adequate) amounts can be useful as it can act like a broom to prevent constipation. Additionally, bacteria ferment a small portion of it into B vitamins and short chain fatty acids in the digestive track which aid metabolism and digestion, and can ultimately help with weight loss.  However, when people start claiming we should all start eating high resistant starch pizza, pasta, and cupcakes to lose weight, I find that a little ridiculous for a few reasons.
  • Fiber is useful because it slows down the absorption of calories in general.  This is one reason whole foods are much better for weight loss.  The calories trickle in rather than come in all at once.  The best fiber comes from fruits and vegetables, and fruits and vegetables gram for gram are significantly more nutrient dense. 
  • Grains are not the best food to eat.  As stated above vegetables and fruits are better options. Grains, such as wheat, have been bred/hybridized to contain more gluten so that they have a longer shelf life.  Gluten is toxic and prevents nutrient absorption and destroys cells in the digestive tract that absorb nutrients.  Gluten means glue! Grains are also high in phytic acids and enzyme inhibitors, and can prevent minerals from being absorbed into the body (iron, calcium, zinc specifically).
  • You can lose or maintain weight on ANY diet; even a high carbohydrate diet.   A diet simply refers to WHAT you eat.  You can eat virtually anything and gain or lose weight; calories play a huge role.  If you eat too much you have to put it somewhere.  What we really should be asking is how does this food affect nutritional status and metabolism over time. 
  • If you eat foods that deplete nutrition from your body, your metabolism will ultimately suffer and your cells will not function optimally.  When your metabolism fails and your hormones are out of whack, weight loss is extremely difficult. (This happens in people with thyroid disorders.)  Calories are a huge factor.  But if your body is burning 300 less calories a day because your cells don't have the vitamins and minerals they need to function properly, you will gain weight regardless of how many calories you cut.  Cutting calories might even worsen the situation because people tend to cut out the wrong foods in the process.    
  • Rarely does anyone eat just ONE slice of pizza and that little slice is 400 calories! Most people eat too much in general because they eat too fast and their hormones are jacked up from years of bad food (especially refined fructose and toxic fats); but, the reality is people will eat until they are full and satisfied.  The best way to feel full and satisfied is by getting enough healthy carbohydrates, fats, and proteins from real food in general; not just fiber from grains.  Grains have been a staple calorie source for many cultures for thousands of years; however, they are not the optimal food for most people.  I have helped numerous people lose weight by eliminating grains from their diet.  Many people have problems with wheat specifically, because of how it has been altered over the years.  
I have not had a chance to look at this cookbook in depth; it might have some excellent recipes. Wolfgang Puck is a fabulous chef, and ultimately, I am a fan of anyone promoting real food.   Just make sure you understand your terminology so you can navigate through the marketing nonsense.  

Your health will come from the quality and nutritional content of the ingredients in the foods that you eat. Recently, I had a pizza made with cauliflower and almond flower crust with a pesto sauce and vegetables on top.  It was great! These foods can be healthy and delicious if done right!  Recipes coming soon.  

Links:

http://video.foxnews.com/v/1745591267001/



   

July 14, 2012

Kinack - Some Chill tunes for the night

Some chill tunes that my brother introduced to me.  Check it out.


Relax

Breathe.

Enjoy!

Click Here to listen!

July 12, 2012

Pick Your Own Fruit - PickYourOwn.Org

PickYourOwn.Org is a great website that a friend introduced me to a while back.   It has many useful tips and guides regarding how to save and preserve various types of fruit.  The website also contains an archive of farms throughout the U.S. where you can pick your own fruit.  This is a great way to connect with local farmers and get the freshest fruit possible.  I used the website once and got several pounds of blueberries from one local farm.   The fruit is fresh and often tastes much better, especially when you learn which fruit is ready.  This is also a great way to save money!  Most of the farms are individually owned so there is no middle man to mark up the price.

Click here to check it out. 

July 11, 2012

Cod on Collards Recipe

Fish does not have to be boring! Make it fun! Fish is rich in Nutrients and packed with flavor if bought wild and fresh! This Cod will blow your mind and is quick to prepare and easy to cook. Cod goes well with healthy fats such as olives or avocados. Sprinkle with fresh lemon juice and serve on collards.It will not only look and smell great but an amazing flavor! Enjoy!

Ingredients:
Wild-Caught Cod Fish
Collard green leaves
Cayenne pepper
Pepper flakes
Salt & Pepper
Lemons
Thyme dry leaves
Mrs.dash lemon pepper
Paprika


Preparation:
Mix all the spices in a bowl with lemon juice and add the Cod fillets.Lay down a few collard green leaves on a glass baking dish and lay the Cod on top. Then cover it with more leaves and sprinkle some pink salt on top. Bake for 45 mins to an hour at 350 degrees. Remove when the top layer of collard greens looks crispy and dry.  


Health Tip:  Seafood can often be contaminated with heavy metals;however, fish is high in selenium which helps block many toxic metals from affecting the body.  Cilantro is also a good herb to add to any fish recipe.  Cilantro adds great flavor and may help chelete (bind to and eliminate) heavy metals from the body including mercury, lead, and aluminum (1,2,3,4,5).

You can serve it with your favorite vegetable and healthy fats such as raw olives or avocados. 

Sources:
  1. Omura, Y., et al. Role of mercury (Hg) in resistant infections & effective treatment of Chlamydia trachomatis and Herpes family viral infections (and potential treatment for cancer) by removing localized Hg deposits with Chinese parsley and delivering effective antibiotics using various drug uptake enhancement methods. Acupunct Electrother Res. 20(3-4):195-229, 1995.
  2. Aga, M., et al. Preventive effect of Coriandrum sativum (Chinese parsley) on localized lead deposition in ICR mice. Journal of Ethnopharmacology. 77(2-3):203-208, 2001.
  3. Sharma, V., et al. Prophylactic efficacy of Coriandrum sativum (Coriander) on testis of lead-exposed mice. Biol Trace Elem Res. 2009.
  4. Omura, Y. Radiation injury and mercury deposits in internal organs. Acupunct Electrother Res. 20:133-148, 1995. 
  5. Omura, Y., et al. Significant mercury deposits in internal organs following the removal of dental amalgam, & development of pre-cancer on the gingiva and the sides of the tongue and their represented organs as a result of inadvertent exposure to strong curing light (used to solidify synthetic dental filling material) & effective treatment: a clinical case report, along with organ representation areas for each tooth. Acupunct Electrother Res. 21(2):133-160, 1996.

July 10, 2012

Finca de Vida – The Farm of Life – Health retreat – Vacation – Raw food - Healing Food - Costa Rica


Before I lay out the details of this amazing vacation spot I would like to give you the back-story of how The Farm of Life came into creation and how Finca de Vida and its proprietors came into my life.

I am just now returning from my third life changing stay at Finca De Vida and it has been, by far, the best one yet.   Coming back each year and seeing how the Farm has grown has been an amazing experience in itself.  Since I first visited, new structures and amenities have been added, new healing modalities have been incorporated, and the now matured farm has begun to produce more varieties of fresh, delicious fruits and vegetables.  It has grown into a thriving health food, healing center, and nature retreat. 

Brian and Jody Calvi – Owners, Friends, Teachers, and Proprietors of Finca De Vida

Brian and Jody are extremely good friends of mine and I consider them family.  Their Stories are amazing and it is part of how we met originally and how we reconnected and became friends several years later.

Brian and Jody both healed chronic disease (fibromyalgia and juvenile rheumatoid arthritis) and recovered completely by changing their dietary habits, reconnecting with the earth, and adopting and living a lifestyle that encompasses real nutrition (healthy food, water, air, movement, relationships, etc.) that allowed them to heal and regain their health.  They are now vibrantly healthy and have dedicated themselves to educating anyone struggling with heal issues how to do the same.  

My Story - The Short Version

When I was a freshman in high school I became very sick. I was diagnosed with Lymphoma and my parents were told I had 3-6 months to live unless I started chemotherapy immediately.  Unaware of natural healing methods, and having no other options at that time, I was thrown into conventional treatment.  In the attempt to poison cancer cells out of the body, chemotherapy is administered intravenously; but, it has side effects that are often not even worth the treatment.   

As most of you may already know, chemotherapy makes you very sick and severely compromises the immune system.  This made school difficult to say the least.  I probably missed a month of school simply because I was in the hospital having tests done.  During treatment I missed at least one day a week plus any days where I was too sick from the drugs to even get out of bed.  My teachers were very sympathetic and helpful overall. My Spanish teacher and Honors Biology teacher actually came to my house to tutor me and help me with science experiments and homework. My parents and I were very grateful for this.  I worked hard to get my work done, but sometimes I was just too tired.

Funny enough, Brain Calvi (aka Coach Calvi) at the time, was my Political Science teacher that semester freshman year of high school.  He was just returning to health through his own healing journey and recovering from fibromyalgia.  Most people do not know true loss until they lose their health.  Some of the most successful people in the world have said on their death beds that they would give up all their money to have their health back.  The bottom line, if you lose your health, you lose everything. Brian, having been sick himself, understood my situation and was by far one of the most loving, empathetic, and supportive teachers I had.   Sadly, he couldn’t say much to me at the time (legally).  He told me to eat more fruits and vegetables and to reduce my stress (no one can argue against that!).  He told me to forget about my homework and to sleep and get well.  He even made an attempt to talk to my mom about my diet and other aspects of healing, putting him in a position to get fired.  He took a leadership role over the other teachers and played a huge role in me getting through school that year.  My mother remembers him standing up in a faculty meeting regarding my health issues and passionately stating, “We have to do everything we can to get this kid well”.  For this I was extremely grateful, because I remembered what he said. 

During that time I was working with a very well educated and passionate chiropractor, Dr. Heath Motley, who was giving me the specifics that “Coach Calvi” legally and professionally could not.  This chiropractor educated me on nutrition and overall health, and set the stage for my future interest (obsession really) with nutrition, health and wellness, exercise, and physiology.  I studied nutrition other aspects of health for many years as a hobby in attempt to rehabilitate myself and regain the stamina and vitality I lost during chemotherapy.  During my sophomore year of college, after several career considerations and changes or adjustments to my “major,” I decided I wanted to go into healthcare and help people like me, who were sick, lost, and searching for answers and hope. 

Many random thoughts arose during this new journey of mine.   One day, while chatting with an old high school friend, Brian came up in conversation.  I thought, “What the heck.”  Everyone is on Facebook now,”… so I decided to randomly search for him on Facebook simply to thank him for his love, support, and wisdom as a teacher.   I emailed him explaining who I was, and thanked him for his kindness and for being an awesome teacher.  We eventually met up one day at a small cafĂ© in Atlanta, Georgia, where we reconnected and became good friends.  The rest is history.   

Finca De Vida – The Farm of Life

This being my third trip to Finca De Vida (two personal trips and one as trip leader of a college ecotourism retreat) in itself should tell you how I feel about this place.  Brian and Jody are two of the most loving people I know.  You could easily exclude all local attractions, hang with them at the Farm, laugh your ass off, and have an amazing time.  Whether you are sick and wanting to get well or simply in search of a relaxing vacation retreat, Finca de Vida is definitely a place to look into. 

The Farm has several different room options all of which are listed on their website - Fincadevida.com. Prices vary based on the room you are staying in and the meal plan option you choose.   You can also choose to stay long or short term, and come for a simple vacation or for long term and intensive health coaching.  Brian and Jody will help accommodate you and match you with the best room for you and or your family or retreat group. 

There is an amazing variety of local attractions near the Farm including horseback riding, waterfalls, the Farm itself, permaculture, foraging and wild food tours, beaches, mountains, national parks, zip-lines, rock climbing and rappelling, white water rafting, kayaking, and much more. 

Only a few minutes’ drive/hike from the farm and you can visit some of the most beautiful waterfalls you will ever see including Diamante, Nauyaca, Peace falls, and some amazing waterfalls on the neighboring farm Joya del Sol. 

There are numerous beach options.  Manuel Antonio is a beautiful “touristy” beach (good for swimming and hanging out, no waves); Dominical is a surfing beach/town with large waves and choppy water (good for surfing, body surfing, etc.).    Also, if you prefer, there are several more secluded beaches. Some contain caves that you can explore during low tide.  

Note – If you are buying souvenirs always bring cash and shop around first, the stores are almost always more expensive than private street or beach vendors.  Cash is always better.  

Jody is a master tour planner and can help you set up any tour that you may want to go on. 

My current favorites include all of the waterfalls and Manuel Antonio national park.   The waterfalls are very close, beautiful, fun, low-cost, and each one provides a unique experience.   The Peace Falls are a new attraction; the tour is inexpensive, and has a natural waterslide through one of the waterfalls.  Manuel Antonio National Park has a beautiful beach as well as a nature trail where you can see various types of monkeys and other animals.  Zip-line tours are nearby as well, if that interests you. 

The Farm itself has several beautiful room options, “cool pools” built into the stream on the campus, a yoga platform with an amazing view, a spa with massage table, a beautiful kitchen and common area with bamboo furniture, an extensive library, hammocks, plenty of fresh food, and more.  The valley also has a wide array of talent including yoga instructors, massage therapists, salsa dance teachers, and more, that you can connect with through Finca de Vida.

Meal plans and food options

Meal plans can be purchased as part of the room fee, and meals can be ordered if a chef is on campus during your stay. You will typically let Brian and Jody know of your dietary preferences before arriving so they can prepare for your stay.  Finca de Vida can accommodate nearly every dietary need, whether your preference is raw or cooked food, paleo/pesco/ovo-vegetarian, vegetarian, vegan, or just plain old fresh, healthy food.  The food options are primarily vegetarian and are limited to fish, eggs and dairy, due to preference of most guests, availability, quality issues.  But if you really want a steak or chicken, it is easy enough to get at local restaurants.

The Farm has numerous edible and medicinal herbs, edible shrubs, tropical fruit trees, and a greenhouse loaded with fresh vegetables.

Note-Make sure to try the cranberry hibiscus and the katuk; I love that stuff!    

Transportation to and from the Farm

The drive from San Jose Airport to Finca de Vida is about 4 hours.  The trip is well worth it.  I usually fly into San Jose and travel directly to the Farm. Jody can help you determine the most cost effective option for your group.  There are many options depending on group size and budget.  The Musoc bus is actually very comfortable and only costs about 5 dollars each way (compared to a 170 dollar taxi ride). 

When leaving the country I usually book a room in San Jose to make catching my flight a lot less stressful.  Previously, I have stayed at the Hampton near the airport.

Currently, I recommend Margerita’s house, and will continue to use her Bed and Breakfast for all my future travels to Costa Rica.  (This trip was the first time I stayed at Margerhita’s).  She is super nice, she speaks English and Spanish, and has 9 rooms (great for large groups; most rooms sleep multiple people).  The food is included and the cook will cater to virtually any diet plan or preference. Margerita’s house is also extremely affordable; 25 dollars a night and includes food (compared to 100+ at the Hampton).  A taxi station is located across the street and for 4 dollars you can get to the airport in 5-10 minutes.

Margeritas Guest House Website - http://margaritaguesthouse.blogspot.com/

Want to host your own retreat?

Finca de Vida is a wonderful place to host retreats.  I actually brought a group of college students down two years ago for an ecotourism, hiking, and healthy living experience that went extremely well. Contact Jody to set up a retreat for your business, hiking club, etc., or whatever group you may be a part of.

Past retreats include Dr. Sam’s rawhabilitation.com (physical therapy, nutrition, total wellness), Nature Bound Club (eco-tourism, hiking), Yoga retreats, raw food retreats, other seminars and healthy living retreats, and typical vacation groups.

I will definitely be returning to Finca de Vida.  If you would like to know more about health coaching and extended stays with Finca de Vida, would like to host a retreat, or take a simple vacation, contact Brian and Jody and they can answer any questions you may have. 

Pura Vida!

Check out Fincadevida.com or Farmoflifecr.com for more information. 

U.S. Phone: 404.521.8152
Costa Rica Phone: 506.8893.7407
(From outside Costa Rica, dial 011 for international calls.)

Farm FB Page: Farm Of Life
Skype Contact: jodycalvi

Check out other reviews at TripAdvisor.com - HERE

July 9, 2012

Three Real Hunger Games For a Healthier You

I meant to post this a few weeks ago after the hunger games movie came out.  Better late then never i guess! The following tips are useful for improving health because they turn basic yet forgotten health concepts into games that keep you on track. The main problems affecting the health of many individuals include eating too much, eating too fast, eating an excessive amount of junk food, not eating enough variety, not drinking enough clean water, and not chewing food enough prior to swallowing.

These bad habits are extremely detrimental to health but are often disregarded by most people, health professionals included.  Using the following tips can be an effective method of improving your daily routine and health.

Health Tip/Game 1:  Eat the rainbow

When I say eat the rainbow I am not referring to fruit loops, fruity pebbles, or lucky charms cereal.  Eating the rainbow refers to the color pigments of various whole foods you may or may not eat during the day already.  This game addresses the issues of lack of variety and too much junk food.  If you make an effort to eat the rainbow every day utilizing whole fresh fruits and vegetables you will not only get a significant amount of variety of nutrients in your diet (different plant chemicals, vitamins, and minerals) but you will also end up weeding out junk foods naturally from your diet as a result.  This game will help you minimize risks for nutrient deficiencies and improve overall health.    

Health Tip/Game 2: Water Bands

Many people are chronically dehydrated. Dehydration is detrimental to health for many reasons.  The human body is 60-70% water and water is an essential compound in every energy producing reaction in the body ( either directly or indirectly) and adequate water intake is necessary for mineral and fluid balance. Dehydration can cause many side effects including decreased energy and decreased mental clarity (brain fog), and a feeling of hunger. Dehydration can also lead to biomechanical abnormalities over time due to changes in the spine and body tissues.  When organs get dehydrated they do not function as efficiently as when properly hydrated.  Also, the Inter-vertebral disks are 70% water content and dehydration of these disks can lead to decreased volume which puts pressure on the vertebrae.  Over time this pressure can cause the bones to rub together and cause bone spurs, herniated disks, and other problems.  Most people do not drink enough high quality water.


Maintain proper hydration actually goes far beyond simply drinking water.  It includes avoiding foods and drinks that deplete water from the body and obtaining the proper minerals in the proper ratios to promote healthy fluid balance.  However, most people do not get enough water in general. So adding in eight, 8 oz glasses of water can be beneficial to most people.  A good way to keep track is to wear 8 bracelets, elastic bands, livestrong style rubber bands, or even hair ties (something you will see and keep track of). After each glass of water you drink take one band off and put it in your pocket.   The point of this is keep yourself accountable and aware of how much you are actually drinking throughout the day.  More often than not people think they are drinking enough water but are actually falling short. It is very revealing when you are still wearing 4 bands at the end of the day!

Health Tip/ Game 3:  Chew your food time trial.  

Most people do not chew their food enough. Swallowing poorly desiccated food can be extremely hard on digestion.  If you do not chew your food enough your stomach has to work harder to churn and break down foodstuff.  Also, Hydrochloric acid (stomach acid) is also not as effective/ efficient when food is in large chunks as opposed to small particles.  Chew your food 50 times with each bite. Make a game out of it by chewing as fast as you can but always chew 50 times.  This will not only help you digest you food better and alleviate bloating and other issues but will also help you eat less.  It typically takes about 20 minutes for hormones to adjust and a feeling of satiety to kick in.  By chewing your food more you spread out the time you are actually consuming food and will get a better signal from your body regarding when you are actually full.

Leave a comment if you have any other health promoting tip, tricks, or games.

July 8, 2012

Eliminate Gout by Optimizing Health

Yesterday Raul and I attended "The Georgia Show" body building competition by NPC to promote healthy food and a healthy lifestyle. We met many amazing people including trainers, gym owners, body builders, models, radio show hosts, and many other interesting people ( and of course the bikini models).  While at the show I met a man who had gout and he asked for my help. Gout is a serious issue so I decided to write this blog so that people can educate themselves and make informed choices.

What is gout? 

Gout is a form of arthritis where EXCESS uric acid (monosodium urate in the body) is present in the blood, tissues, and urine.   This excess uric acid crystallizes and accumulates in the joints causing pain, swelling, tenderness, and loss of function.  Uric acid often accumulates in the big toe (aka Podagra) and is extremely painful to the point where it is hard to walk.  


Gout is typically more common in men (95% of gout patients are men aged 30+) and is 20 times more prevalent in men than in woman. Gout afflicts approximately 0.3% to 0.4% of the "western world".  Gout is potentially hereditary but this mostly pertains to susceptibility to the condition. However, other factors such as diet and overall health affect whether or not the condition forms.  


Typical recommendations for alleviating gout include avoiding Fish, Red meats, organ meats, Alcohol ( especially beer) as well as other forms of nutritional yeast (Brewers or Torula), Tea, Coffee(due to caffeine but sometimes beneficial), chocolate, caffeine.  All of the latter are high in uric acid or are broken down into uric acid easily in the body.

These are good recommendations because the body is already overloaded with uric acid so extra intake doesn't help the situation but these foods are often not the CAUSE of the problem.  Let me explain.

Uric acid is actually beneficial and very important in normal amounts, People afflicted with multiple sclerosis(neuro-muscular degenerative disease) for example often have low uric acid levels and some doctors recommend strategies to increase uric acid levels in some of these cases.   Uric acid is produced in the body naturally through protein metabolism and acts as a potent antioxidant. Therefore, optimal amounts are essential.   

  • Anti-oxidants bind to various types of free radicals and neutralize them.  
  • Free radicals are destructive byproducts of metabolism that bind to things easily (due to an extra free electron) and cause damage to the body when not kept in check.  

The real problem:

Approximately 70 percent of Gout Patients have an overproduction of uric acid, the remaining 30 % of gout patients have defective elimination of uric acid.  

While giving up dietary sources of purines can help in short term it is essential to find the cause of the problem that is causing uric acid to be produced too fast, in excessive amounts, or not be eliminated properly.  

In one way or another most conditions, especially gout, are a symptom of poor health.  Individuals effected with obesity have much higher rates of gout. Obesity, in itself, is a symptom of an unhealthy lifestyle in most cases.

Also, those who consume large amounts of refined fructose sugar either as sucrose(refined table sugar), crystalline or purified fructose(sports drinks and processed foods), high fructose corn syrup (soft drinks, sodas, fruit juices), and even fruit if in extreme excess (mostly highly processed fruits and dried fruits) can increase uric acid levels and cause problems.

Note: Meat products are more often suggested as a trigger for gout attacks. However, fructose is a significant factor as well, if not more so than animal products.  There are many cases of Vegans with gout.  It is much more rare but it happens.

Note: Fructose has to be processed by the liver and converted into glucose (blood sugar) to be used by the body.  The conversion is stressful so many experts recommend limiting total fructose consumption to 25 grams per day (you would need to eat a whole sack of apples to go over this naturally).  The most common source of refined fructose is packaged and processed foods, sports drinks, processed fruit juices, sodas, and refined pastries.  High fructose corn syrup  is in everything now because it is sweeter (fructose is much sweeter than glucose or sucrose), it is subsidized by tax dollars (worst idea ever), and highly profitable for manufactures (due to subsidies).

Do no be deceived by the whole its "fruit sugar" or its "nutritionally the same as sugar" nonsense. It's not.  I can touch on this in another article later on.  Lets get to the useful stuff!

Action Steps:


The goal is to prevent gout and create a healthy body and an internal environment that allows the body eliminate extra uric acid thus alleviating the symptoms of gout.

Step one:  Stay hydrated and maintain proper fluid balance.  Most people drink way too many juices, sodas, and other sweetened beverages the excess sugar and salt can create imbalances that can exacerbate gout. Spring water is always my first preference, then Distilled (rain water), or reverse osmosis.  Use findaspring.com to find good water near you, Beyond Organic Spring water, or find other local sources near you. I use a Reverse Osmosis filter in my house and get spring water from a local spring as a fun day trip and Beyond Organic Spring Water when I travel or I am in a rush.  You want your water to be as pure as possible.  Water is measured by TDS - total dissolved solids.  The lower TDS the better.  Distilled should be 0 or 1.  Reverse osmosis should be close to that as well.  High quality spring water can vary.  We like Beyond Organic because its gets as low as 3 TDS (Fiji Water ranges from 40-50).  Functional beverages such as kombucha, coconut water, and cultured whey are also useful for hydration and health.

Step two: Switch to a diet consisting of real, fresh food.  Organic, local, seasonal products are always best but don't stress out too much about if these are not available to you.  If you have to make a choice what to buy organic first look up the clean 15 and dirty dozen lists that are published each year which states the least sprayed and most sprayed conventionally farmed foods.  Avoid foods that are sprayed heavily (or at least wash them very well, soak in vinegar solution or veggie wash, etc).

If I had to make a choice between organic animal products and organic vegetables I would choose organic animal products first.  For example if i was low on cash i would spend the extra money on healthy animal products, pasture raised organic eggs, meat, etc before spending extra to get organic broccoli (which isn't sprayed too often).

This recommendation is based on the law of bio-accumulation.  The higher something is up on the food chain the more toxins it has accumulated and will pass on to you.  Remember, You are not what you eat, you are what you ate, ate.  If you eat conventionally farmed beef loaded with antibiotics, hormones, GMO corn feed sprayed with large amounts of pesticides that toxicity can potentially be passed on to you. We recommend Beyond Organic Beef, US wellness meats, Local farmers near you,  and Whole Foods.  These companies provide sources of higher quality animal products.  Other health food stores are good sources too.  Check out the side bar for links and other resources. Check out Eatwellguide.org for other healthy food establishments near you.  

Step three: Eliminate purine(uric acid) rich foods. Also, eliminate foods that break down into them (or at least cut down consumption significantly). Eliminating these foods can be beneficial, specifically short term until levels of uric acid normalize.

  • Fish
  • Red meats 
  • Organ meats (liver etc.)
  • Alchohol (ethanol itself may prevent excretion of uric acid)
  • Beer (specifically because of the DNA and RNA in yeasts containing purines and uric acid)
  • Other nutritional yeasts (torula, brewers) and breads
  • Milk, especially homogenized milk (increases xanthine oxidase enzyme and uric acid formation). 
    • Homogenization makes the fat toxic! Avoid!  
  • Methylxanthine group chemicals - caffeine, theobromine (chocolate), theophylline (chocolate, coffee, tea) - these substances break down (are oxidized) into uric acid easily in the body
Side Note about dairy and gout: Homogenization is a process that breaks down the large fat particles in milk and dairy products into smaller ones in order to suspend the fat and spread it evenly through the product. Milk fat, when homogenized releases an enzyme called xanthine oxidase which increases uric acid production and retention and can exacerbate gout.   Because of this low fat milk products (referring to conventional store bought milk) have been found to be better for those with gout.

Homogenization is not a health related issue and is done strictly for consumer appeal purposes so buy non-homogenized milk whenever possible (in non-homogenized milk the fat floats to the top). Assuming the animals are healthy, pasture raised animals and the product is non-homogenized I believe that dairy has the potential to be very healthy for those who are no allergic in some way. Check out RealMilk.com or Beyond Organic Amasai or Cheese, and stick to other non-homogenized products in your local grocery store or health food store.


Step four: Eliminate substances that are stressful for the liver. As stated earlier excess sugars can be problematic.  Most everyone agrees fructose in its refined form is toxic in one way or another.  In relation to gout specifically it has been found to increase uric acid levels.   Fructose has also been blamed in part for the obesity epidemic. Obesity in itself can promote a situation in the body that allows uric acid to accumulate (poor circulation, etc.).  Eliminate all refined sugars and limit carbohydrate consumption to fruits, vegetables, and healthier grains such as rice, millet, and grain-like fruit kernels such as buckwheat or quinoa.  Also avoid unnatural and toxic fats and oils such as canola, sunflower, safflower, cottonseed,  peanut, anything partially or fully hydrogenated.   These fats clog your cells promote insulin resistance (diabetes) and cause significant amounts of inflammation and hormonal dysfunction in the body.   Stick to real whole foods and fats including healthily raised animal products, nuts, seeds, avocados, coconut, olives, and derivative butters and oils.  Avoid anything in excess. 

In regard to alcohol beer is worse because of the extra sources of uric acid. However, Alcohol (ethanol) itself has been found to decrease the rate of exertion of uric acid.  This can potentially lead to an accumulation of uric acid in the blood which can cause or exacerbate gout.

I hope this helps!  Much Love!


Feel free to leave a comment if you have questions, would like further reading, or have topic requests.  

Sources:  

  1. Yamamoto, T., et al. Effect of ethanol on metabolism of purine bases (hypoxanthine, xanthine, and uric acid). Clin Chim Acta. 356(1-2):35-57, 2005.
  2. Broadhurst, C. L. Ease gout pain. Nutrition Science News. July 1999. 
  3. Olak-Bialon, B., et al. [Does coffee drinking influence serum uric acid concentration?] Wiad Lek.57(Supplement 1):233-237, 2004. 
  4.  Hooper, D. C., et al. Uric acid, a peroxynitrite scavenger, inhibits CNS inflammation, blood-CNS barrier permeability changes, and tissue damage in a mouse model of multiple sclerosis. FASEB J. 14(5):691-698, 2000. 
  5. Sevanian, A., et al. Serum urate as an antioxidant for ascorbic acid.American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 54:1129S-34S, 1991. 
  6. Choi, H. K., et al. Gout: epidemiology and lifestyle choices. Curr Opin Rheumatol. 17(3):341-345, 2005.
  7. Choi, H. K., et al. Soft drinks, fructose consumption, and the risk of gout in men: prospective cohort study. British Medical Journal. 2008. 
  8. Henry, R. R., et al. Current issues in fructose metabolism. Ann Rev Nutr. 11:21-39, 1991.

Disclaimer

The information on this site is for educational use only. All information is sourced from peer reviewed professional studies, professional works, and professional journals from the USA and around the world; However, no information on this site should replace the advice of a qualified, licensed, and competent health care professional. Always consult your doctor before beginning any wellness plan, exercise regimen, or making any dramatic dietary changes.