Decreasing toxicity and inflammation is the key to effective, long-term weight loss. The goal of this program is not weight loss; it is improved health and identifying the underlying cause of why you may be overweight, carrying excess weight, or presenting with symptoms listed above. Weight loss is simply a side effect and benefit to reducing toxicity and inflammation in the body. Getting and being healthy is the key to losing weight. By taking away the foods in your diet that are causing toxicity and inflammation it gives your body a chance to reset.Sources of toxicity in your life may be: addictive habits such as coffee, sugar, alcohol, processed food, fast food, junk food, trans fats, and high-fructose corn syrup. Sources of inflammation include:food allergens (gluten, dairy, soy, corn), sugar & flour products, bad fats, and alcohol.
What is Toxicity?
The toxic load on our body comes from our diet, chronic stress, and our environment. A diet high in sugar, trans fat, food additives & preservatives, pesticides, hormones, and antibiotics is very toxic to our bodies and our minds. Mercury, lead, and other heavy metals also contribute to our toxic load. Negative thoughts, behaviors, and beliefs that increase our stress level are toxic.
Toxins can be both external and internal. External toxins include chemical toxins and heavy metals. Chemical toxins are most commonly found in cleaning products, personal care products, pesticides, herbicides, and food additives. The Standard American Diet (S.A.D.) puts a tremendous burden on our bodies’ ability to detoxify naturally. Internal toxins include the waste products of bacteria, yeast, and other microbial organisms. This can interfere with normal metabolism as well as increase inflammation and oxidative stress.
Increased toxic load can affect weight loss attempts by: impairing two key metabolic organs (the liver & thyroid), damaging the mitochondria (the site of energy metabolism), harming brain neurotransmitter and hormone signaling that affects our appetite, and increasing inflammation and oxidative stress, both of which promote weight gain.
What is Inflammation?
Being inflamed makes you fat and being fat makes you inflamed!
Inflammation comes from the sugar we eat, high doses of the wrong kinds of oils and fats in our diet (omega 6&9 vs. omega 3), hidden food allergies, lack of exercise, chronic stress, hidden infections, and our fat cells. This low-grade chronic inflammation that you cannot see or feel leads to every one of the major chronic diseases: heart disease, cancer, diabetes, dementia, and more.
Part of doing an elimination diet is to identify foods that you are eating that could be the cause of chronic health and weight problems. The idea is to give your body a break from common food allergies/sensitivities and see if you lose weight and your symptoms get better/disappear. The type of food allergy I am referring to has a delayed response, anywhere from a few hours or a few days after ingestion.
Food allergies can play a HUGE part in chronic disease and weight problems but are not recognized by conventional medicine. Food allergies can cause: bloating, food cravings, reflux, trouble sleeping, autoimmune disorders, weight gain, fluid retention, fatigue, brain fog, irritable bowel syndrome, mood problems, headaches, sinus and nasal congestion, joint pains, acne, eczema, and more.
We develop food allergies when the lining of our gut and the balance of normal gut flora get damaged from poor diet, stress, medications, infections, or toxins. This is referred to as leaky gut. Partially digested food particles then enter our blood stream and the body attacks these foreign molecules creating immune response/complexes against them. This immune response increases the inflammation in our body. Healing your digestive system and the lining of your gut can reduce the severity and number of food allergies.
The food we eat should promote a healthy psychological response, promote a healthy hormonal response, support a healthy gut, and support immune function and minimize inflammation.
Healthy Psychological Response
Sugar is a drug!!! Nutrient-poor, high sugar, salty, carbohydrate dense foods are addicting and alter our pleasure, reward, and emotion pathways in the brain. Wheat actually binds to opiate receptors in the brain! Chronic stress and lack of sleep just reinforce and make this worse. What foods do you “crave” when you are stressed or running on little sleep? Foods rich in carbohydrate because they will increase serotonin, our “feel good” hormone. We then over eat these “Frankenfoods” (high sugar, high trans fat, high preservative unnatural processed foods) because we never reach satiation due to their lack of nutrients. Eating delicious food with the nutrition and satiety that nature intended is the solution to this problem.
Promote A Healthy Hormonal Response
It all comes back to managing blood sugar. Managing blood sugar will decrease the amount of insulin in the blood stream. Insulin is always present in the blood stream; the key is not having too much. Each time we eat we are telling our body to burn fat or store fat based on what that meal is made up of (protein, fat, carbohydrates). If insulin levels are high your body will not use fat for a fuel source and has a hard time stabilizing blood sugar.
Hormonal imbalance starts when you over consume carbohydrates. Over consumption of carbohydrates also leads to excess glucose and triglycerides in the blood stream promoting leptin resistance in the brain. Leptin is an important hormone that tells your brain you are full. Leptin resistance means that your brain is not hearing the leptin message and thinks you are starving. This promotes overeating and a decrease in your metabolism. Leptin resistance also promotes insulin resistance leading to chronically elevated blood sugar and insulin levels.
Cortisol is our stress hormone. Chronically elevated cortisol levels increase blood sugar because our body is in “fight or flight” mode and thinks we need the energy to run from the stressful situation. The elevated blood sugar levels can contribute to insulin resistance and promotes belly fat.
Support A Healthy Gut
Your gut houses about 60% of your immune system, makes melatonin & serotonin, as well as being a critical part of the digestive process. If your gut is not healthy, you are not healthy. Our gut is also home to about 3-5 pounds of bacteria, some healthy and some not so healthy. The balance of good and bad bacteria in our gut will affect our metabolism, psychological well being, and immunity. I mentioned earlier several external factors that can compromise and damage our gut. Visceral fat (the deadly kind that builds up around our organs) is one of the direct effects of increased gut permeability. Much like your hormones your gut health can be restored over time with the proper changes to nutrition, exercise, and lifestyle.
Support Immune Function and Minimize Inflammation
We have already talked about sources of inflammation and the effects of chronic low-grade inflammation in the body above. I wanted to mention one more thing about our immune system. If our immune system is always working and never gets a break it has a hard time doing it’s main job (fighting off acute inflammation), then something is going to not get done. That can include fighting off that bug that is going around, healing stubborn tendonitis, or keeping your arteries clear of plaque.