Krista Goncalves

How to Curb Your Hormotions & Improve Your Mood By Krista Goncalves

First, it may be prudent to speak to a qualified and knowledgeable health practitioner who specializes in hormones and can do the proper testing for hormones & neurotransmitters. Often the testing available through your MD is not going to give you the full picture!

So how can your treatment truly be defined and customized for you?

Hormone & Neurotransmitter Testing

Once you’ve done proper testing, there are many natural options available to help re-balance hormones, including Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy. Again, be sure to seek out a professional who is experienced in administering BHRT or other supplementation.

When these important bio-chemicals are in balance, it can set the stage for restoring your health back to an optimal, more youthful, less hormotional place! Your brain and nervous system will once again send strong signals to the rest of your body resulting in: 

  1. Better appetite control
  2. Increased sex drive
  3. A more stable mood
  4. Increased energy levels

Eat More Real Food, Eat More Real Fat

You don’t need a Nutritionist telling you that packaged, processed foods with little to no nutritional value harm us in more ways than just expanding our waistlines – that’s just common knowledge. But what may not be widely known is that they can seriously mess up our hormones and cause excessive irritability and crankiness!

Ditch the crap! Say no to junk! Banish the sugar and un-pronounceable ingredients!

Here are the best combinations of whole foods that help re-balance hormones, stabilize our mood, and keep those extra pounds from topping off the muffin.

Hormone Balancing Food Combos = Mood Food

Food Suggestions

These are energizing, hormone-balancing, inflammation-quenching super-food combos that can be included in your “good mood food” diet:

1) Kale/leafy greens + ghee
Why? Always pair your greens with a bit of “good fat” to help your body assimilate the nutrients. Kale, like broccoli, is a cruciferous veggie that contains indole-3-carbinol (I-3-C) and sulforaphane – two key phytonutrients noted for their detoxifying and “bad estrogen” flushing abilities.

Suggested serving: lightly "wilt” 3 cups of greens (2 big handfuls) by sauteing them in a pan with ghee, minced fresh garlic & a pinch of pink salt over medium heat. Be careful not to burn garlic. 

2) Cacao powder + coconut oil
Why? Raw, unprocessed cacao is full of magnesium and coconut oil is a medium chain fatty acid known to increase metabolism and basal body temperature, which is good for those with low thyroid (which we know can cause fatigue and depression).

Suggested serving: make your own chocolates! Raw Chocolate Macaroons

3) Salmon + hemp seeds
Why? You'll get plenty of Omega 3’s!
Suggested serving: baked salmon fillets with a hemp seed “crust” – recipe from Dr.Oz

4) Mushrooms (exposed to UV light) + olive oil + quinoa
Why? You'll get Vitamin D, essential fatty acids & manganese! 
Vitamin D is another key part of “mood maintenance” because it helps regulate the brain’s neurotransmitters (serotonin, melatonin and dopamine) which have a profound impact on mood.

Studies have found that the likelihood of having depression is significantly higher in people deficient in Vitamin D compared to those who have normal levels. It is hard to get enough D3 (the active form) through food sources, so supplementation may be necessary, especially in the darker winter months.

Suggested serving: Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin so it’s important to supplement it in liquid D3 form (that is suspended in a fat source) or lightly cook your mushrooms in a little good fat like extra virgin olive oil, on low heat, being careful not to burn. Serve on a bed of cooked quinoa (made in homemade bone broth would be a bonus). It is rich in protein, fiber and manganese, all important in energy production and hormone balance.

Read Top 10 Hormone Balancing Foods

Do you notice a commonality in each combo?

It’s HEALTHY FAT!

Why Fat is Necessary for Hormone Health

Dr. Christiane Northup, MD & Women’s Health Expert reported that her patients complained of sallow skin, brittle hair and nails, susceptibility to infection, inability to concentrate, irritability and weight gain despite their rigid diets. She concluded that none of these women were getting enough healthy fat.

Essential fatty acids (EFA’s), namely omega–3’s, are needed for the body to perform many important functions, including those of the brain and nervous system. Good sources of EFA’s include:

  1. Free range eggs
  2. Avocados
  3. High-quality flax seeds (fresh ground)
  4. Walnuts
  5. Wild-caught cold water fish

Hormone Balancing & Mood Stabilizing Supplements

Targeted supplementation with key nutrients like B-vitamins, vitamin D, magnesium and fish oil may be necessary for hormonal balancing. Ensure you speak to a qualified health practitioner or holistic Pharmacist before beginning supplementation. Not all “natural” or herbal products are necessary and safe.

The best way to obtain any type of nutrient is from food. But if your diet isn’t up to par quite yet, or you have gut issues that may be affecting nutrient absorption, then high-quality supplements are widely available.

Other Ways to Lift Your Mood

Just a few other ways to squeeze some mood lifters into your day…

  1. Exercise regularly, and break a sweat often! Bedroom gymnastics perhaps? Just a suggestion.
  2. Mindfulness based practices = yoga &/or meditative practices &/or breathing exercises
  3. Daily self-care rituals
  4. Be positive and surround yourself with positive people. Negative people suck.
  5. Connect with nature. Get off your i-device and go outside!
  6. Play with your kids, dog, and spouse in the leaves, at the gym, or in the park.
  7. Get more sleep. Nothing makes you crankier, hangrier, or more off your game than poor sleep.
  8. Organize something…your hall closet, your kitchen cabinets, your fridge, your junk drawer or your home office.
  9. Have an Epsom salt bath with your favorite essential oil(s), light some candles and play some quiet music. Breathe deeply and take in the experience. 
  10. Speaking of music, listen to it. Something light and upbeat. Or dark & raunchy – whatever lifts you up!

So if you’ve noticed that you’re feeling especially “hormotional” these days, try the above suggestions and be sure to seek out a network of friends & family who can help you with the emotional support side of things.

There’s no need to surrender to thinking that your destiny is to become just another cranky old bat living out her life. I remember my Doctor saying to me, “what you’re feeling is just a normal part of aging”, and that I would need to just “learn how to live with it”, and then I was offered a prescription for an anti-depressant. That was NOT the type of support I needed!

This post is Part 2 of the guest post by Krista Goncalves on hormone and emotions management. You can read Part 1 here.

found this interesting?

A former marine biologist, Krista is now a Certified Holistic Nutritionist (CHN) and Registered Nutritional Counselor (RNC) – a qualified practitioner who provides guidance for building and maintaining nutritional well-being.

Krista likes to say that she's having a culinary love affair with food and is captivated by how it fuels, nourishes and energizes us. She believes your food should work for you, not against you. 

The mantra of “what you put in, is what you'll get out” supports her belief that real food, along with some high-quality supplements, can help heal us from many health conditions, or even prevent us from having certain ones in the first place - like type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure.

With over 20 years of diverse professional teaching experience and a deep passion for promoting balanced, healthy living, she feels her contribution to the rapidly expanding and ever-evolving field of "functional health" is not only important, but incredibly rewarding.

Krista is also a women's health writer and you'll find her blogging regularly on MakingLemonade.ca ~ Empow(her)ed Health & Nutrition!

CONNECT WITH KRISTA:

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

Pinterest

Our first annual Super Sale is finally here!

It will ONLY be running from November 22-28, 2016 and you'll be getting good deals you’ll probably never see again! Take advantage of this opportunity to stock up on our great products and services. I would love for you to get the help you need so that you feel great about your body. Don't miss out! 

Are You Hormotional? By Krista Goncalves

As I was pondering this topic and even thinking that I had made up a clever new term: HORMOTIONAL, it turns out it’s actually a thing! Ha!

From the Urban Dictionary:

Adjective – Feeling strong emotions brought on by the hormonal fluctuations caused by a woman’s menstrual cycle.

Noun – Hormotion: An emotion felt with particular intensity during the hormonal fluctuations caused by a woman’s menstrual cycle.

As in…”I’m sorry honey, I didn’t mean to bite your f@$king head off, I’m just feeling a little hormotional today.”

OR, “No wait, I did mean to tear you a new one, because I’m feeling a little hormotional today.”

Why Hormones Affect Our Mood

The feeling of overwhelm, underwhelm and anywhere in between where you simply don’t feel like – or act like yourself anymore. Any woman over the age of 35 is likely well-acquainted with not being able to get a handle on her “hormotions” because a few key hormones have started to play tricks with her body as well as her mind.

Women’s International writes: “Just mention those three little letters—PMS—and you’re bound to get a reaction. Women nod in sympathy; men cringe at the thought. Everyone seems to know someone whose moods go through a ‘Jekyll & Hyde’ type of transformation during that time of the month.

But the emphasis on PMS and its effects on a woman’s mood seems blown out of proportion, especially in light of the fact that a woman’s life is a continuum of hormonal upheavals that affect her moods. From puberty through post-menopause, women experience a continuous cycle of hormonal fluctuations that affect brain chemistry and therefore, their mood.”

This nifty little fact of life may partially explain why, women are 40 % more likely than men to develop mental health conditions like depression and anxiety disorders. And this is a world-wide cross-cultural phenomenon too ladies!!

In fact, this biochemical connection is so undeniable that we need to look beyond the tongue-in-cheek jokes about PMS and seek to gain a better understanding of how hormones affect a woman’s mental health and emotional well-being.

Does reading this article cause you to feel hormotional? Well, I don’t want to be responsible for that, so here’s the audio version!

Key Hormone Players Affecting Mood

Estrogen, Progesterone, Testosterone, Thyroid & Insulin.

Estrogen

Jayashri Kulkarni, Professor of Psychiatry at Monash University says, “Estrogen appears to be a “protective” agent in the brain. This may in part explain why some women feel worse in terms of their mental state in the low-estrogen phase of their monthly cycle. Some women even feel a crushing state of depression during this time known as PMDD (Pre-menstrual Dysphoric Disorder). 

Estrogen also appears to exert influence on dopamine and serotonin normally considered the “feel good” neurotransmitters, but are also the key brain chemicals associated with the development of depression and psychosis.”

A number of research studies have shown an association between decreased levels of estrogen and panic attacks. Many women may develop symptoms of depression, anxiety, and extreme mood swings as estrogen levels begin to fluctuate during peri-menopausal years and then further declining at menopause.

It’s frustrating when so many women that suffer from depression during peri-menopause have been put on anti-depressant medications instead of addressing their unique hormone levels through testing and then using more natural bio-identical hormones as needed.

Progesterone

Beyond preparation for pregnancy, progesterone has many notable influences throughout the body, many of which can be attributed to its ability to oppose the action of estrogen. Multiple physical and psychological problems during mid-life are often caused by an imbalance between progesterone and estrogen, referred to as Estrogen Dominance.

The brain is also highly responsive to progesterone. In fact, levels of progesterone in the brain have been shown to be 20 times higher than in the blood. Insomnia, anxiety, and migraines are just a few of the conditions linked to Estrogen Dominance. Just like elsewhere in the body, progesterone counterbalances the effects of estrogen in the brain. Estrogen has an excitatory effect on the brain, whereas progesterone’s effect is quite calming.

According to Dr. Phyllis Bronson, a clinician and biochemist, supplementing with natural (bio-identical) Progesterone has been shown to be an effective treatment for anxiety in peri-menopausal women. Most of the women treated reported significant improvements in emotional health.

Warning: Do not “experiment” with BHRT on your own! Work with a qualified health professional experienced in prescription of bio-identicals.

Testosterone

Most of us think of testosterone as simply a sex hormone that plays an important role in puberty, aka, hormonal-crazed teenagers! And in men, it pumps up their libido, produces Olympic swimming sperm, keeps their muscles rippling, and bodies strong & virile. But testosterone isn’t exclusively a male hormone!

Women produce small amounts of it and it’s just as important to our delicate hormonal symphony as well, keeping our muscles lean and tight, our bones strong and our body fat composition in check. Not to mention our libidos from becoming non-existent! Sigh.

It can influence our mood when levels dip too low, often referred to as ‘low T’. While this certainly affects women (I should know, I had virtually none at one point!), it is very prevalent in middle aged men – sometimes called andropause or ‘male menopause’.

Cells in the brain have testosterone receptors that significantly affect mental health. Men with low testosterone can experience fatigue and commonly have mood swings. It’s also one of the major causes of depression.
— Dr. Edward Levitan, MD

Thyroid

The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland at the front of your neck in either side of your Adam's Apple. It produces several different hormones that have a profound effect on the body and affect every cell in one way or another. And, the effects on mood are far-reaching.

The primary thyroid hormones are Thyroxine (T4) and Triiodothyronine (T3), which respond to pituitary Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) as part of the body’s complex feedback system. These thyroid hormones affect blood glucose levels and the release of stress hormones (like cortisol), which obviously affects mood as well.

In her best-selling book "The Hormone Cure", Dr. Sara Gottfried writes, “Sluggish thyroid and metabolism are a setup for poor mood – even perhaps, the slow downward spiral toward cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease.”

So you see, when the thyroid is not functioning optimally (i.e. levels are either too high or too low), it can really throw your body and mind out of whack!

A thyroid hormone deficiency inhibits brain neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin, possibly leading to depression. Thyroid hormone levels may also be deficient during and after pregnancy. (I know about that firsthand!)

The Mayo Clinic states that:
If you have an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism), you may experience:

  • Unusual nervousness
  • Restlessness
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability

On the opposite end of the spectrum, if you have an under-active thyroid (hypothyroidism), you may experience:

  • Mild to severe fatigue
  • Depression

And these are only just the effects on your mental and emotional state. The other symptoms of thyroid dysfunction affecting all other body systems are plentiful and wide-ranging! Check out my personal health story of how I tackled my long-standing hypothyroidism.

Insulin & Blood Glucose (Sugar) Levels

I’m sure you’re familiar with the term “hangry”…hungry + angry. It’s even scientifically documented! 

Researchers have noticed a correlation between aggressive emotional outbursts during PMS and women’s blood sugar levels. When asked about the time of day or circumstances immediately preceding such outbursts, patients frequently reported that they occurred late morning after missing breakfast or while preparing for the evening meal, especially if that was occurring later than usual. Incidentally, many patients also reported confusion or forgetfulness during the time surrounding these outbursts.

Like I said, hangry is a real emotion!

This is why it’s so important to pay careful attention to not only what you eat, but also WHEN you eat it, as this is important to your emotional health. Be sure to keep your blood sugar nice and steady by eating a well-balanced meal or snack every 3-4 hours, which includes a serving of high-quality lean protein + good fats + low-glycemic fruits or fibrous veggies. And be mindful of the portions.

For more on the effects of insulin, read “Is Your Blood Sugar Taking Your Hormones for a Ride?”

Stages of Life Affect Mood

It's not just specific hormones that can cause erratic moods; it’s a combination of hormonal imbalances as you would see when you go into specific stages of life: puberty, pregnancy, post-pregnancy, peri-menopause, menopause, and post-menopause. And this means from the age of 12 to 60, spanning over half of a woman’s life!

I was especially caught off-guard with raging hormotions during my post-partum phase. And I’m not just talking about the “baby blues”. This was a “I don’t even recognize myself anymore because I grew horns” stage that I went through after both my kids were born. 

Post-partum depression and psychosis are thought to be caused by the sudden and dramatic drop in pregnancy hormones shortly after giving birth. I was hospitalized just 8 days after my first child was born. Doctors first thought I was having a stroke! After weeks of testing, I was given the diagnosis of post-partum depression & generalized anxiety.

It was a very frustrating time in my life – depressing, full of panic attacks, and downright scary at times for both me and my husband. Sweet man stuck it out though 🙂

Dr. Phyllis Bronson conducted studies on mood disorders in women at midlife and concurred that what most women fear most as they approach menopause is not hot flashes, night sweats, breast cancer or heart disease! They fear losing their mind!

Other Reasons Why Our Mood Sucks

Our mood or demeanor can be affected in non-hormonal ways:

  • Genetics – does a parent or sibling suffer from anxiety or depression?
  • Environment – what is our housing situation, relationship with partner/children, exposure to toxins?
  • Stress levels – do we have poor health, a demanding job, a stressful home environment?
  • Women’s self-esteem or self-worth: women tend to view themselves more negatively than men = vulnerability factor for many mental health problems

This post is Part 1 of the guest post by Krista Goncalves on hormone and emotions management. You can read Part 2 here.

FOUND THIS INTERESTING?

A former marine biologist, Krista is now a Certified Holistic Nutritionist (CHN) and Registered Nutritional Counselor (RNC) – a qualified practitioner who provides guidance for building and maintaining nutritional well-being.

Krista likes to say that she's having a culinary love affair with food and is captivated by how it fuels, nourishes and energizes us. She believes your food should work for you, not against you. 

The mantra of “what you put in, is what you'll get out” supports her belief that real food, along with some high-quality supplements, can help heal us from many health conditions, or even prevent us from having certain ones in the first place - like type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure.

With over 20 years of diverse professional teaching experience and a deep passion for promoting balanced, healthy living, she feels her contribution to the rapidly expanding and ever-evolving field of "functional health" is not only important, but incredibly rewarding.

Krista is also a women's health writer and you'll find her blogging regularly on MakingLemonade.ca ~ Empow(her)ed Health & Nutrition!

CONNECT WITH KRISTA:

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

Pinterest

This article originally appeared on Krista Goncalves' blog.

Candida-Yeast Overgrowth Underdiagnosed By Krista Goncalves

Candida. Candidiasis. Yeast overgrowth. Fungal infection.

Whatever you want to call it, it's NO FUN when you've got it!

It's Summer...hot, sticky weather conditions and our bodies are such perfectly moist breeding grounds for all kinds of "critters". I've had a number of friends complaining of this particular condition lately, or at least trying to figure out if they've got it!

So what does a vacationing Nutritionist do when she's drunk a number of frosty beers (aka, yeasty, gluten-bombs), and eaten buckets of tortilla chips (grains!) while sitting around in a wet bathing suit down by the lake for several weeks?

Ok, that's my way of saying, minus the nose-crinkling details, that I've had a problem with yeast overgrowth, multiple times in the past 25 years. 

In fact, we've all likely had it in some form or another, and some of us may not have even realized we had it! 

Of course you're probably already thinking of that thick, white discharge, reminiscent of cottage cheese, that makes your va-jay-jay itchy & cranky. But that's not necessarily always one of the symptoms when this critter is in a state of overgrowth - and it's not just exclusive to women's southern parts either!

It's much more tricky & complex than that, so let me do my best to scratch out all of the details for you. 

What is Candida-Yeast Overgrowth? (Candidiasis)

First off, a small amount of Candida yeast in the mouth, digestive tract and vagina is normal. It’s just part of our body's natural flora. However, when this organism decides that it’s party time, and blooms out of control - it can wreak havoc on your whole system!

Candidiasis is a fungal infection caused by yeasts that belong to the genus Candida. There are over 20 species of Candida yeasts that can cause infection in humans, the most common of which is Candida albicans.
— Center for Disease Control (CDC)

 

Candida yeasts normally live on the skin and mucous membranes without causing infection; however, overgrowth of these organisms can cause symptoms to develop. Symptoms of candidiasis vary depending on the area of the body that is infected."

Thrush

Candidiasis that develops in the mouth or throat is called thrush or oropharyngeal candidiasis. It can also travel down the esophagus. Breastfeeding babies are prone to thrush as are mother's nipples. Ouchy!

Babies are also prone to yeast in the diaper area, but it's not the same as the typical diaper rash on their bums. 

Diaper rash caused by yeast is differentiated as one that appears red, raised, and patchy with sharp borders, mostly over the genitalia but with satellite spots sprinkled around the diaper area. 

I remember with both of my kids, it was an especially red nasty rash that wouldn't go away with regular diaper cream but cleared up wonderfully with good 'ol vag cream - Canestan, Monistat or generic brands. Now I just always keep a tube of it on hand :-)

Yeast Infections

Speaking of... Candidiasis in and around the lady bits is commonly referred to as a yeast infection. 

Gals, this is the one that you're most familiar with due to the intense itching, redness and sometimes a lovely aromatic discharge emanating from your hoo-ha like your own personal brewery. These are the hallmarks of this type of fungal infection. If you've never experienced one, I hope you never have to!

Systemic Candida

Invasive or systemic candidiasis occurs when a Candida species enters the bloodstream and spreads throughout the body. 

Candida overgrowth can show up in just about every tissue in the human body.
— BodyEcology.com:

Systemic candida is often the most serious type as it is difficult to get a handle on and has many possible symptoms, including:

-    inability to lose weight
-    alcohol intolerance (you get buzzed very easily)
-    toenail fungal infections
-    athlete's foot, jock itch
-    severe abdominal bloating (looking pregnant by end of day)
-    painful/itchy/red skin rashes (especially in body folds like boob-flaps & armpits)
-    a feeling of brain fog or lack of mental clarity (even forgetting your usual routine)

This is the type of Candida overgrowth that we'll be mainly focusing on in this post. Take a look at the lengthy list of symptoms – and this is not even a comprehensive list of possible symptoms, just the more common ones.

For an interesting discussion on commonly overlooked symptoms of various gut bugs including Candida – listen to the Women’s Wellness Radio podcast with Dr. Andrea Maxim.

What Causes An Overgrowth of Candida albicans?

It’s normal for a certain amount of Candida to be in your body at any one time, but there are a number of predisposing factors that can cause it to grow out of control, as adapted from Whole Approach:

Predisposing Factors

1) Destruction of the C. albicans' natural control mechanism: Broad-spectrum antibiotics (e.g. tetracycline) destroy the healthful bacteria, which control the Candida population. For example, Lactobacillus acidophilus competes with C. albicans for space and nutrients in the intestinal tract. It also releases acid, which makes the environment less favorable for Candida growth, and even feeds off of the Candida directly. When Lactobacillus acidophilus is attacked by antibiotics, Candida proliferates and can change to its pathogenic mycelial form. 

After prolonged or frequent (more than 3 times in a year) broad-spectrum antibiotic use, Candidiasis symptoms may start to appear in a matter of months or even days and often linger for life if untreated, especially if one regularly consumes poultry, eggs, meats and/or milk since these usually contain antibiotics (and steroids, see #2 below). 

Chemical preservatives in food also support Candida overgrowth, which includes most processed/ packaged foods.

2) Weakening of host defense mechanisms: A number of factors can compromise the effectiveness of the immune system that is responsible for eradicating invaders such as Candida. Lowered immunity may result from steroid drugs and cancer chemotherapeutic agents, both of which are immuno-suppressants. Prolonged illness, stress (all forms), alcohol abuse, smoking, lack of exercise, lack of rest and poor nutrition (see #4 below) are also key factors which tend to weaken the immune system.

3) Female anatomy: Women are generally more susceptible to Candidiasis than men for several reasons:

 - Female hormonal levels are constantly fluctuating and sustained high levels of estrogen can occur. This condition tends to impair immune system function.

 - C. albicans growth is stimulated by the female hormone progesterone. Its levels are elevated during pregnancy and in the second half of each menstrual cycle. Synthetic progestins are found in oral contraceptives and also contribute to candida overgrowth.

 - The female anatomy lends itself to the ready migration of C. albicans from the rectum to the genito-urinary system. Vaginal yeast infections are a common result.

4) Poor diet establishes a breeding ground for Candida: The nutrient-poor, low-bulk, highly-refined carbohydrate diets of most North Americans will, over a period of years, transform a healthy large intestine into a lifeless pipe caked with layers of encrusted fecal matter. Which, in turn becomes the site of constant putrefaction, fermentation, rancidification, and is a home for toxin-inducing pathogenic bacteria, and an excellent environment for the proliferation of the mycelial tentacles of Candida.

A highly-refined carbohydrate diet serves as a very desirable food source for C. albicans which further entrenches it within the microscopic crevices of encrusted fecal matter. The small intestine, housing a more fluid chyme, does not become so caked with old fecal matter as it does with mucus. This also encourages Candida proliferation.

It has also been suggested that if you have been diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue (CFS), Fibromyalgia (FMS), irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), chronic sinusitis, and/or you have recently taken antibiotics - especially lengthy or multiple courses, then you can suspect a concurrent Candida infection and should seek treatment. Of which, you can expect a 3-6 month treatment process for systemic infections.

How Do You Test For Candidiasis And Get A Diagnosis?

Here's the tricky part... diagnosis for oral thrush and vaginal yeast infections are generally easy because the symptoms are so distinct, but for a systemic infection it can be quite difficult as the symptoms are often plentiful, seemingly unrelated and can mimic so many other conditions!

If you're experiencing 3 or more of the above-mentioned symptoms or otherwise suspect a yeast overgrowth, consult your doctor or health practitioner for examination and possible testing.

Hormone Expert Dr. Chelsea Gronick ND notes that fatigue, brain fog and sugar cravings are the top 3 symptoms she sees with patients and she uses stool and organic acids urine testing in her naturopathic clinic in Kelowna BC.

However, if you're an impatient patient like me, and you simply want to take matters into your own hands, here's what you can do to establish a probable diagnosis and begin treatment of a systemic yeast infection...

A) Complete the Candida Questionnaire

The questionnaire was developed by Dr. William Crook - amended from TheCandidaDiet.com

          WOMEN

A score of 10 or greater indicates that your health problems may be connected to a yeast overgrowth. A score of 13 or higher suggests that they are almost certainly yeast connected.

          MEN

A score of 8 or greater indicates that your health problems may be connected to a yeast overgrowth. A score of 11 or higher suggests that they are almost certainly yeast connected.

B) Spit Test

First thing in the morning, before your feet hit the floor, spit generously into a clean glass of water and let it sit for 5 minutes. Observe the behavior of your spittle. If it does anything except float at the top - like sink or drop "legs" down, you can suspect Candida overgrowth.
 

Image credit: CandidaSpitTest.org

Image credit: CandidaSpitTest.org


C) White Tongue

As listed in the questionnaire... after you've done your spit test and before you drink anything or brush your teeth, go look in the mirror at your tongue. Does it have a white coating on it? If similar to this picture, you can suspect Candida overgrowth. 

D) Laboratory Testing

Conventional medicine often only recognizes this condition in the most extreme cases, but Medical Doctors are becoming more open-minded and educated about it, so if you feel your Doc is on board with the investigation, then you can ask them to order blood & fecal tests. 

Although be aware that these may only show positive results in extreme cases and may give negative results when you truly do have an overgrowth and are experiencing symptoms.

Obviously if you're a woman and you suspect a vaginal yeast infection, your Doctor can test for that. Although quite frankly, I'm more than aware when I have one and begin self-treatment right away!

E) Other Options

If still suspicious but unsure if you have Candidiasis after exploring the above 4 options, consider seeking out a Naturopath or other alternative health practitioner. They may use other forms of assessment such as electrodermal testing and the Organic Acids Test (OAT).

Ok, so you've established that you've got too much candida... now what do you do about it?

How to Treat Candidiasis or Candida-Yeast Overgrowth

    Clean up your daily diet. This one is listed first because it is should be top priority as it may be what got you into this sticky mess in the first place ;-) 

The best Candida treatment is to overhaul your diet. Candida grows exponentially in response to starchy carbohydrates, sugar and some fermented foods. So, it’s important to eat a whole foods diet that’s low especially low in sugar and refined carbohydrates. This means increasing your daily intake of leafy green vegetables, lean protein, herbal teas and water.

You can google 'Candida Diet' and you're going to get a hundred different protocols about how you should eat, and how you need to "starve" the Candida. Coming from my own personal experience - most of them are incredibly restrictive and some can be downright dangerous. 

I’ve always been a bit skeptical about the usefulness of these particular diet protocols, so I asked Naturopath Dr. Chelsea Gronick if these so-called “Candida-starving diets” are necessary and effective. She says, “YES, but only when combined with other complementary protocols,” like these I’ve listed below.

Here are the basics where daily diet and fending off Candida is concerned:

•    Eat less sugar... way less sugar, in all its forms including soda, fruit juices and even naturally-occurring fructose found in fruit. I would stick to whole fruit like berries & green apples. The one saving grace here is you can still enjoy small amounts of high-quality dark chocolate! 70% or more cacao and very low-sugar.

•    Eat gobs of leafy greens and sulfur-rich foods like garlic, onions & most spices, even at breakfast!

•    Eat less processed and packaged foods, and limit all starchy carbs (again, sugar!), especially corn and gluten-containing grains like wheat, rye, barley, spelt & kamut. I would simply stick to small portions of brown rice, buckwheat & quinoa, of which soaking & sprouting is preferable. Here’s a great grain, nut & seed soaking guide.

•    Consider eliminating gluten and dairy entirely, which can lead to inflammation in the gut, which is a predisposing factor.

•    Avoid fermented & moldy foods and yeast, with the exception of apple cider vinegar (unpasteurized, with the "mother" in it) and nutritional yeast (nooch is all good, baby). 
Fermented foods would be vinegar & soy sauce, and moldy foods are mushrooms & peanuts.

•    Drink less alcohol... way less alcohol! Especially beer & wine due to the fermentation and generally high sugar & yeast content.

    Eat more fiber - way more fibre! 

Consuming a blend of soluble and insoluble fibers help soak up and sweep out dead Candida organisms, ensuring that they are eliminated from the body rather than reabsorbed. If you are unable to get the recommended 25-38 grams of fiber into your daily diet (ahem...leafy greens!), consider a fibre supplement - increasing intake only by 5 grams every few days and drink plenty of water!
— RenewLife.ca

    Support your liver & heal your gut

Both the gut and liver are your body’s primary defense team. They protect you against invading pathogens, rogue bacteria, dietary irritants, and outside toxins. When unwelcome microorganisms in the body manage to work their way past the gut’s defenses, the liver is on cleanup duty. Toxic Candida can make it almost impossible to detoxify your body, so it’s critical to control an overgrowth by healing the gut lining, while also supporting liver health.
— BodyEcology.com

You can support your liver (and gallbladder) daily with supplements like N-acetyl cysteine, a-Lipoic acid and herbal extracts of turmeric (containing curcumin), milk thistle (containing silymarin), artichoke, dandelion and sarsaparilla, which all help to increase production of glutathione – considered the “mother of all antioxidants”.

    Take Probiotics. Anti-biotics = anti/take away life. Pro-biotics = pro/give life. 

I feel that everyone should be taking these whether you have a yeast overgrowth or not! I personally take 50 billion CFU - which is a more therapeutic dose. Look for a product that contains the important strain saccharomyces boulardii.

    Use Proteolytic Enzymes. What are these you ask? A supplemental enzyme blend including nattokinase, that has the ability to break down the tough exterior wall and protective biofilm that surrounds the Candida albicans' cell. Some formulations will also include enzymes to break down sugars & starches which feed the Candida.

    Anti-fungals. You can take singular ones like garlic bulb (active component = allicin), oregano oil, black walnut husk, berberine, pau d'arco, grapefruit seed extract, neem leaf, clove bud, and caprylic acid – a component found in coconut oil. 

However, because Candida can become resistant to any one anti-fungal, rotating different ones or taking a broad-spectrum blend of anti-fungal & anti-bacterial herbal supplements like those that are considered as "candida cleanses" are probably the best bang for your buck! You may need to take these for several weeks to several months, depending on the severity of your overgrowth.

    If you still find that you are unable to get your condition under control, you may need to seek out prescription anti-fungals like Diflucan or Nystatin.

I left this one for last as I really do feel it's best to try the natural treatment route for many non-life-threatening health conditions. However, it's your body and your health so do what you feel is best for you!

Now if you'll excuse me, it's time to take my natural anti-fungals and NOT wash them down with another frosty, yeasty gluten-bomb beer... which is so hard to resist on a hot summer's day ;-)

Need to clean up your diet ASAP? 

Grab a FREE instant download of The Clean Life Hack Cookbook – featuring 50+ whole foods, low-sugar recipes. 

This article originally appeared on Krista Goncales website.

Krista Goncalves, CHN, RNC

FOUND THIS INTERESTING?

A former marine biologist, Krista is now a Certified Holistic Nutritionist (CHN) and Registered Nutritional Counselor (RNC) – a qualified practitioner who provides guidance for building and maintaining nutritional well-being.

Krista likes to say that she's having a culinary love affair with food and is captivated by how it fuels, nourishes and energizes us. She believes your food should work for you, not against you. 

The mantra of “what you put in, is what you'll get out” supports her belief that real food, along with some high-quality supplements, can help heal us from many health conditions, or even prevent us from having certain ones in the first place - like type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure.

With over 20 years of diverse professional teaching experience and a deep passion for promoting balanced, healthy living, she feels her contribution to the rapidly expanding and ever-evolving field of "functional health" is not only important, but incredibly rewarding.

Krista is also a women's health writer and you'll find her blogging regularly onMakingLemonade.ca ~ Empow(her)ed Health & Nutrition!

CONNECT WITH KRISTA:

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

Pinterest

10 Truths About Your Bathroom Scale’s Lies by Krista Goncalves

Bathroom scale.jpg

Dear Bathroom Scale… Why are you such a pretty little liar?

Does your scale whisper sweet nothings into your freshly painted toes one day, then turn around and bite them the very next day?

Does this same toe-biting scale like to play double-dutch with its numbers from week-to-week? Five pounds up, four pounds down, five more up, three down. Aaaaahhhh!

If you're experiencing this kind of pathological lying behavior from your bathroom scale - what’s the deal? How do we make sense of these seemingly nonsensical numbers?

As a Nutritionist and former Personal Fitness Trainer, this issue comes up continuously with clients. It’s always a challenge to enlighten them with the reality that surrounds their scale-weighing woes.

10 Truths About Daily Weight Fluctuations

Here are 10 uplifting truths for you to share with clients (and yourself!) about those annoyingly normal daily weight fluctuations:

1)    It is NOT a true measurement of your health. The scale number is simply one of many parameters you should be taking into account to determine if you are maintaining or approaching your optimal body weight. 

Girth measurements & body composition/body fat testing are often better evaluations of health. Heck, even how your clothes fit can be a better indicator!

2)    When we wake up after fasting for at least 8 hours, we're completely dehydrated and at our lowest weight of the day

This is why it is recommended to weigh yourself first thing in the morning, before you eat or drink anything, and after you have voided - that’s fancy-talk for "going potty".

3)    Speaking of voiding… you can experience daily weight fluctuations of 1-3+ lbs of waste that's been hanging out in your large colon. Who knew poop could be so heavy! 

Be sure to keep the bowels moving with plenty of fluids, plant-based fiber and targeted supplementation, if necessary.

4)    Your scale doesn't just weigh fat. It weighs muscle, bone, water, internal organs and as you just learned - fecal matter! When you lose "weight" - that doesn't necessarily mean that you've lost fat. In fact, the average run-of-the-mill bathroom scale has no way of telling you what bodily tissues or substances you've lost.

As most of us know and have experienced first-hand, losing muscle is nothing to get excited about, because muscle is a metabolically active tissue. The more muscle you have the more energy or calories your body burns, even when you're just sitting around.

That's one reason why a fit, active person (presumably with more muscle mass) is able to eat more food than the chronic dieter who is unknowingly breaking down and losing muscle. Weighing “skinny” on the scale does not always translate into healthy off the scale. This is what it means to be "skinny fat".

Generally speaking, it's only possible to lose 1-2 pounds of pure fat per week as a pound of fat = 3500 calories. So when you severely restrict your calories, causing your weight to drop say 10 pounds in 7 days - it's nearly physically impossible for all of that to be fat. What you're really losing is water, muscle, and glycogen (or muscle sugar - see more about that in #6).

The scale can only give you a numerical reflection of your relationship with gravity. That’s it.
It cannot measure beauty, talent, purpose, life force, possibility, strength or love.
— Steve Maraboli

5)    Another highlight of the scale's indiscriminate nature: it can't tell if you've gained muscle.

A pound of muscle is like a small, compact brick, whereas a pound of fat is like a bulky, lumpy pillow. So that's why when you gain muscle and lose fat, your silhouette is slimmer and your body is more firm. Hence, building muscle makes it possible to drop clothing sizes (and lose inches) without a significant change in scale weight.

Consider the example that after 3 months of doing that new "bikini-body boot-camp" program, the scale says you've lost 5 pounds. This may not sound like much (heck, I'd take it!), but what if you had actually lost 8 pounds of pure fat and gained 3 pounds of muscle? That would be a pretty nice improvement in your body composition. But you would be misled, not to mention disappointed, if you only used a bathroom scale to track your progress. Refer back to better evaluations of health in #1.

6)    What you eat during the days leading up to a weigh-in can dramatically influence the numbers.

  • Booze. Enough said.
  • Sodium. Excess salt (sodium) can also play a big role in water retention. 

Health Canada indicates that the recommended upper limit for daily salt intake is 2,300 mg sodium, which is easy to take in considering there's over 2,000 mg of sodium in a single teaspoon of table salt and upwards of 1,000 mg in the average can of soup!

Sodium is such a sneaky substance and the more highly processed a food is, the more likely it is to have a high sodium content. Be a savvy label reader.

When preparing food, always use natural, unrefined salt like Himalayan Pink Salt.

  • Excessive carbohydrates (carbs) – affect our glycogen or muscle sugar stores. 

As HealthDiscovery.net puts it:

"Think of glycogen as a fuel tank full of stored carbohydrate. Some glycogen is stored in the liver and some is stored in the muscles themselves. This energy reserve weighs more than a pound and it's packaged with 3-4 pounds of water when it's stored.

Your glycogen supply will shrink during the day if you fail to take in enough carbohydrates. As the glycogen supply shrinks you will experience a small increase in appetite and your body will restore this fuel reserve along with its associated water.

It's normal to experience glycogen and water weight shifts of up to 2 pounds per day even in the absence of changes in your calorie intake or activity level. These fluctuations have nothing to do with fat loss..."

This is why physique competitors get rather obsessive not only about the scale leading up to their events, but especially with alcohol, salt and carb intake.

7)    For all the ladies out there...it's not you, it's your HORMONES! Yep, certain times of the month can be marked by less-than-pleasing numbers on the scale. 

Dr. Raquel Dardik, MD advises that some women can gain up to 10 lbs right before or during their period

This is because the natural drop in the hormone PROGESTERONE just before your period often causes digestive complaints like water retention and constipation. And remember how heavy poop can be?

Our bodies also tend to lose Magnesium in the days before menstruation, which drives our INSULIN levels up leading to an increase in food cravings - especially for sugar.

Insulin is a hormone made by the pancreas that keeps blood sugar levels in check but is also considered a fat storage hormone.

* It's a good idea to supplement daily with Magnesium as most of us are already deficient in this multi-tasking mineral. I generally recommend taking 200-400 mg of Magnesium Bisglycinate before bed as it can have a calming effect. Even better…soak in a hot Epsom salt bath before bed.

These hormonal drivers, along with overeating to feed the cravings, can contribute to weight gain.

8)    Birth control pills (that also mess up your hormones), and many medications like antidepressants (ex. Lyrica), beta-blockers, steroids and a host of others too numerous to list - can cause bloating, water retention, inflammation and hence, unintentional weight gain.

Discuss all of your medications with your Health Practitioner. Ask: are they absolutely necessary? And, am I on the correct medications/at the correct dosage?

9)    Long distance travel, especially air travel can cause dehydration & water retention, which may be reflected on the scale. 

Drink up and don't forget to replenish your electrolytes!

10)    Digital scales need to be re-calibrated every time they're moved. Learn How to Calibrate your Digital Scale.

Who knew? Maybe I shouldn’t have thrown my scales out – I should have just re-calibrated them!

So how do we deal with this pathological liar most of us consciously choose to live with? 

The key is to know, understand and believe the following...

Simply do your best to maintain an overall healthy lifestyle using the good ‘ol “80/20 approach”, which is basically eighty percent healthy choices mixed in with twenty percent of the fun stuff. 

✓    Drink plenty of water
✓    Reduce consumption of salty, processed, packaged and junk foods (including diet sodas)
✓    Improve your sleep habits
✓    Manage stress

If you’re already rocking your own version of an 80/20, or plan to be implementing a routine for a more balanced lifestyle, you must understand that these short-term ebb & flow patterns have nothing to do with your long-term progress and they are just part of the overall health journey.

Again, daily weight fluctuations are completely normal!

Best Practices Routine

However, when you do weigh yourself – consider this “best practices” routine:

    No more than once or twice weekly is recommended. (FYI - one study found that girls in particular experienced negative effects to their self-esteem levels by routinely tracking their scale numbers).
    Weigh yourself at a consistent time. It is often recommended to weigh yourself in the mornings, after voiding. 
    Wear the same thing each time you weigh, or nothing at all.
    Place the scale on the same surface and make sure it is calibrated properly.

This will all help to reduce some degree of fluctuation. Of course, be mindful of all the other possible reasons for daily weight fluctuations that were listed.

Final Thoughts:

Stop being a slave to the scale. It does not define you. You are worth so much more than THAT number!

 

FOUND THIS INTERESTING?

                 Krista Goncalves, CHN, RNC

                 Krista Goncalves, CHN, RNC

A former marine biologist, Krista is now a Certified Holistic Nutritionist (CHN) and Registered Nutritional Counselor (RNC) – a qualified practitioner who provides guidance for building and maintaining nutritional well-being.

Krista likes to say that she's having a culinary love affair with food and is captivated by how it fuels, nourishes and energizes us. She believes your food should work for you, not against you. 

The mantra of “what you put in, is what you'll get out” supports her belief that real food, along with some high-quality supplements, can help heal us from many health conditions, or even prevent us from having certain ones in the first place - like type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure.

With over 20 years of diverse professional teaching experience and a deep passion for promoting balanced, healthy living, she feels her contribution to the rapidly expanding and ever-evolving field of "functional health" is not only important, but incredibly rewarding.

Krista is also a women's health writer and you'll find her blogging regularly on MakingLemonade.ca ~ Empow(her)ed Health & Nutrition!

Connect with Krista:

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

Pinterest