Chances are you’ve taken an antibiotic (or 10) in your lifetime. While antibiotics are certainly helpful in many cases, they’re also commonly overprescribed.(1) Not only can antibiotics cause some severe complications (like C.diff infections), but they generally give us some not-so-pleasant side effects like diarrhea. But what we can’t see happening is that our gut bacteria are shifting (and not in a good way).
For example, clindamycin has been shown to cause unfavorable changes in healthy gut flora even two years after treatment.(2) Clindamycin also has a lot of unpleasant side effects including gastritis, gas and bloating, diarrhea and can lead to C.diff infections.(3) For more examples of how specific antibiotics affect the gut microbiota and their related side-effects, check out this research article. Clindamycin is by far one of the worst antibiotics in terms of unfavorable bacterial changes, but it’s wise to take a look at the research on the effects of any antibiotic you’re thinking of taking.
While we know there are risks to taking antibiotics, the reality is sometimes we need them. The point of this article is not to discuss antibiotic alternatives (though that’s certainly an important discussion); rather, it is to give you advice on what probiotics are useful to reduce the side effects and consequences of antibiotic treatment.
Stress: it’s something we all deal with in one form or another, and it takes a major toll on our health. Prolonged stress (or an acute bout of major, major stress) can lead to something called hypoadrenalism or HPA axis dysfunction – more commonly referred to as “adrenal fatigue”. That term gets thrown around a lot, and there are arguments from both sides about whether it exists or not. In my opinion, it exists and it causes a lot of people to suffer. However, it can be induced by our own doing – for example, being too low carb (or being too low carb while exercising a lot) can really tax the adrenals and eventually lead to hypoadrenalism. Hypoadrenalism can also obviously be caused by excessive stress that we do nothing to combat. This article will focus on the causes of HPA axis dysfunction (adrenal fatigue), and exactly what you can do to heal.
Symptoms of Hypoadrenalism (Adrenal Fatigue):
Excessive fatigue. This fatigue is usually most pronounced during the day and you may experience a “second wind” of energy later in the evening
In the earlier stages of adrenal fatigue, you may also have trouble sleeping at night.
Whenever I start working with a client, I always tell them to keep a food and symptom diary. It’s one of the most important tools to use when we’re trying to figure out possible food sensitivities, as well as instrumental in losing weight and keeping it off. In fact, it’s been shown that those who keep a food journal at least 6 days a week lose (on average) twice as much weight as those who don’t (1). In my experience, a combination of a paleo elimination diet with keeping a food journal provides the best results in terms of finding hidden food sensitivities. For these reasons, I think keeping track of your intake with a journal is one of the best things you can do for your health.
What App Should I Use to Keep Track of My Food?
I’m always experimenting with new phone apps for this purpose because I find that they are the easiest way to keep track of my intake. I’ve tried the usual ones like MyFitnessPal, but they are time-consuming (if you’ve ever tried this app, I’m sure you’ll say the same!) and too calorie-focused.
One app I’ve found recently is called Meal Logger,
Let’s face it – the paleo diet can be expensive. Though of course I prioritize food in my life, I can’t always buy grassfed meats and other big ticket paleo items. As a graduate student with a growing business, I’m on a budget and I’m sure many of you are too! I recently decided to check out my local Costco to see what they offered as I’ve heard that they carry some great paleo-friendly items. Here’s what I found:
1. Organic ground beef – not grassfed as far as I can tell, but better than conventional
2. Amylu Andouille Chicken Sausage or Aidell’s Chicken and Apple Sausage – no bad ingredients, and really yummy! Of course not pastured or organic chicken, but pretty good.
3. LOTS of lamb – they had lamb roasts, ribs, and lamb osso bucco (which I tried and loved!). From New Zealand. They also had whole lambs in the freezer section for 3.39/lb. I honestly wouldn’t know what to do with it, but it was pretty cool nonetheless.
4. Wild-caught fish – they definitely had salmon and cod, can’t remember now if there were others!
I thought I would link to this post all about butter from weheartastoria.com (if you live in Astoria and haven’t checked out this blog – do so! They’re a great resource for the neighborhood!). You might be able to find these butters elsewhere (I know Kerrygold is sold far and wide, of course) but for those in the area, this is a great guide to finding butter locally!
Astoria is a great place for a foodie, and I’m glad to call it home. Now that I’ve tempted you, here is the link for the butter article. Enjoy!
Do you have some lingering symptoms that you’d like to kick? Not sure if you’re eating enough or too much carbohydrate? Think FODMAPs might be bothering your gut?
I’ve recently decided to add a new option: food log tune-ups! These are email appointments – basically, you send me your food and symptoms log, I’ll take a look and we’ll email about what might be contributing to your issues or keeping you from your goals.
First food logs are $40, and any subsequent logs are $25 each. I really hope that having this option allows us to trouble-shoot some minor issues or give you some added support and suggestions.
Food log tune-ups are for curre you’d like to make a food log appointment with me, check out my Services page.
I am so thrilled to be a part of the Chris Kresser community! If you’re unfamiliar with Chris’ work, definitely take the time to go through some of his blog posts. He is a wonderful source of information regarding nutrition, and I recommend his work highly!
This past weekend, I had the pleasure of attending the Ancestral Health Symposium at Harvard University. I had a blast! It was really fantastic to meet some like-minded dietitians, physicians, and all sorts of other practitioners in this field and put our minds together.
Some highlights for me included:
1. I spoke with Dr. Eugene Fine from Albert Einstein College of Medicine about the future of therapeutic low carbohydrate diets. Let me first say that I am a huge proponent of individualized dietary therapy. For some, carbohydrates can be absolutely great and they do just fine with them. However, a lot of people have damaged metabolisms that can benefit from a carbohydrate-restricted approach. During his panel, Dr. Fine brought up a current issue that many doctors are facing – perhaps they believe a restricted carbohydrate approach could benefit their patient, but they have no dietitian to refer them out to. That’s because at the moment, dietitians do not learn about restricted carbohydrate diets in school, so any expertise is learned outside of the classroom and the hospital. This is a big problem. Dr. Fine and I have been chatting via email and my hope is to perhaps be able to take on some NYC patients who have no dietitian so they can get the support and guidance they need.