Showing posts with label Nicole Cerillo. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Nicole Cerillo. Show all posts

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

It’s all in Your Gut

By Nicole Cerillo, RD, LDN, CNHP
Integrative Medicine Nutritionist

Gut health seems to be in the spotlight more than ever nowadays and it is for a good reason! We’ve all heard the familiar expression, “It is all in your head,” but what if I told you that 90% of our serotonin, which is the neurotransmitter that is responsible for transmitting signals throughout the body controlling appetite, sleep, regulating mood, and GI motility is primarily located in your gut? Our gut is often referred to as the second brain for this very reason and is directly interconnected to our digestion, mood, both our mental and physical state, and even plays a vital role in certain diseases.

The gut is responsible for such a vast amount of bodily processes. Our bodies host both good and bad bacteria that make up an internal community called the microbiome. Since about 80% of our immune system lies within the gut, it is essential to keep the gut’s beneficial bacteria at a favorable level due to its critical role in the immune system. Supplying our bodies with the necessary foods and bacteria for optimal gut function will keep our immune system strong, help our ability to fight off toxins, aid in digestion, and increase absorption of vitamins and minerals.

A few factors that can weaken our gut overtime and therefore impact our immune system are from antibiotics. However, the majority of antibiotic consumption today isn’t through pharmaceuticals. Antibiotics are now being routinely fed to livestock, poultry, and fish on industrial farms to promote faster growth and to compensate for the unsanitary conditions. According to the FDA, 80% of all antibiotics used in the United States are fed to farm animals! If you’re consuming conventional meat, fish and dairy, you are also consuming antibiotics as well. Although antibiotics serve a purpose when they are truly needed, our immune system takes a hit while exposed to antibiotics because not only will they eliminate the harmful bacteria, but they also wipe out the good bacteria. Studies indicate that the microbiome shows less capacity to absorb iron, digest certain foods and produce essential molecules. This can raise the risk for infections, allergies, resistance to antibiotics, and diseases.

An imbalance in bacteria also causes an increased inflammatory response in the body which leads to various food particles entering the bloodstream and causing food sensitivities and intolerances along the gastrointestinal tract. Several chronic diseases such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), irritable bowel disease (IBD), rheumatoid arthritis, Hashimotos, and hypothyroidism have all been linked to an under-flourished and imbalanced gut.

There is no doubt that everything from the bacteria we are exposed to, the foods we eat, the amount of sleep we get, and even the amount of stress in our lives all impact our gut health. Here are a few simple suggestions you can add into your life to help maintain a happy and healthy gut: 
  • Include probiotic-rich foods into your daily diet which contain “live” or “active” cultures. These foods include sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, miso, yogurts, kombucha and other fermented pickled vegetables.
  • When increasing probiotics it is also beneficial to incorporate something called pre-biotics which will help feed and nourish the probiotics. You can get pre-biotics from foods such as onions, garlic, fruits, vegetables, fibers, and cooled starches such as potatoes (known as a resistance starch). My favorite resistance starch and pre-biotics are tiger nuts you can find at your local health food store which are small tuber root vegetables.
  • As always we want to increase whole foods as much as possible and limit processed, packaged, and refined foods. Sugars, gums, preservatives, flavorings, and artificial sugars can increase fermentation in the gut and therefore disrupt intestinal flora. Try switching to natural sweetener in small amounts such as maple syrup, honey, dates, and cinnamon instead.
  • I also recommend incorporating more omega-3 fatty acids into your diet to balance out omega-6 fatty acids that can lead to inflammation. Try increasing healthier fats such as grass-fed butter or ghee, olive oil, avocado, wild caught salmon, walnuts, flaxseed, and chia seeds.
  • Fiber is also vital for gut health and regulation of optimal bowel function in the process of toxin elimination. Aim for 25-30g of fiber per day from fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds.
  • Make sure you are choosing high quality meats and seafood as much as possible without antibiotics. Choose wild caught fish and organic, pastured, and grass-fed meats.
  • Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep each night, eat at consistent and regular meal times without distractions, don’t skip meals, and find a stress management practice that works for you and that can easily be incorporated into your daily routine such as yoga, deep breathing, or prayer.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

An Integrative Approach to Clean Eating - Part 3

By Nicole Cerillo, RD, LDN
Integrative Medicine Nutritionist 

The last few nutrition posts have been all about clean eating and making the commitment and New Year’s resolution to eat clean for 21 days. If you missed any of these posts you can find them here - An Integrative Approach to Clean Eating - Part 2 and Committing to Clean Eating.

Now that you have read through the introduction and the guidelines, I am sure you are thinking something like, "this sounds great—but what do I eat!?"

To keep it super simple, just eat FOOD! A whole lot of real food! Eat fresh and organic vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, wild fish, dairy, meats, oils, and whole (unprocessed) grains…that’s it! Let’s look into each group in more detail.

Non-Starchy Vegetables
Vegetables are your main source of nutrient dense vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Shoot for 6 cups of non-starchy vegetables each day. Non-starchy vegetables include mushrooms, tomatoes, zucchini, carrots, onions, kale, spinach, lettuce, broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, green beans, cucumbers, etc.

Starchy Vegetables & Legumes
Starchy vegetables are also nutrient dense and are high in fiber. Include 1 or 2 servings per day (1 serving = 1/2 cup) of starchy vegetables such as pumpkin, summer and winter squash, red or white potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn, peas, beans, and lentils, which also count as a starch.

Fruits contain a high amount of antioxidants due to their bright colors and deep pigments which scavenge free radicals and can prevent against many types of cancer. Aim for 1 to 2 servings of fruits per day (1 serving = 1/2 cup berries, 1 medium apple or orange, half a grapefruit, 1 kiwi, 1 small banana, etc.)

Limit any processed dairy and switch to grass-fed butter, ghee, and unsweetened nut and seed milks (such as almond, cashew, hemp, flax, coconut, and hazelnut).

Enjoy grass-fed, organic, sustainable raised lamb, beef, bison, venison, organic chicken, duck, turkey, and pasture-raised eggs.

Fish & Seafood
Eat wild fatty fish such as sardines, mackerel, herring, black cod, and wild salmon. Shellfish, including clams, oysters, mussels, wild shrimp and scallops, and crab should be enjoyed in moderation. Avoid farm raised fish and fish high in mercury.

Nuts & Seeds
Include nuts such as almonds, macadamia, cashews, walnuts, coconut, pecans, and Brazil nuts. Include seeds such as hemp, chia, pumpkin, sesame, and flax. Nut and seed butters are also great options as long as they don’t contain added sugars or refined vegetable oils. Include 2 to 3 servings of nuts and seeds per day (1 servings = ¼ cup seeds, 1 ounce or about 22 almonds or walnuts, and 1 TBSP nut butter).

Whole Grains
Whole grains are complex carbohydrates that have abundant fiber and nutrients. Include gluten-free whole grains in moderation such as organic jasmine rice, buckwheat, quinoa, millet, arrowroot, and oats in their pure and unprocessed form.

Good Fats & Oils
Include healthy fats such as avocado, pure 85% organic dark chocolate, and olives. Increase consumption of healthy oils such as organic virgin cold-pressed unrefined coconut oil, organic extra-virgin cold-pressed olive oil, MCT oil, organic flax seed oil, organic expeller-pressed refined avocado oil, walnut oil, pumpkin seed oil, pistachio oil, and hemp oil. Aim for 1 to 2 servings per meal of healthy fats (1 serving = 1 TBSP oil, ¼ avocado, 1 ounce or 1 small square dark chocolate, and 8-10 olives).
*Portion and serving sizes may vary depending on specific body composition, energy needs, and your goals. If you have specific health goals, please make an appointment for optimal results.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Dean's Grocery Store Tour

By Nicole Cerillo, RD, LDN
Integrative Medicine Nutritionist

Many of my patients share with me that grocery shopping is often too time consuming and a chore for them. As I shared with the group at Dean’s Natural Market last week, my hope was that the tour would spark a new passion and joy for grocery shopping and that it would become something you will eventually look forward to. Once we nourish our body with healthy and nutrient-dense foods—your excitement for shopping for those foods will flourish! For those of you who were there last week (or for those of you who missed it) I went through the store and identified over 40 different foods that I would definitely put in my cart while I grocery shop. Here are just a few of these items and my top 10 items I would highly recommend you try and add to your own grocery cart the next time you shop at Dean’s.

1. Dean’s Organic Non-GMO Produce 
This is definitely the most important area to load up on. During our tour I discussed conventional vs. organic produce. Dean’s produce is all organic and non- GMO, which means that there are no chemicals, hormones, and genetic engineering involved. Aim for 6 servings of colorful vegetables per day for micronutrients and 2-3 servings of colorful fruits per day to increase antioxidants. Try to eat seasonal as much as possible when on a budget and don’t be afraid to experiment with vegetables! You can add cauliflower to your smoothie or as a base for a pizza crust. You can try to spiralize zucchini or sweet potatoes into noodles or make homemade kale chips to snack on. Vary your cooking methods and alternate between eating vegetables raw and lightly cooked or steamed to vary nutrient quality in different fruits and vegetables.

2. Nut Milk 
Nut milks provide a great way to experiment with a dairy-free plant-based alternatives to cow’s milk. Many people need to avoid dairy due to food intolerance/sensitivities, as part of an autoimmune dietary protocol, or to reduce inflammation in the body. Many of these nut milks actually include the same (or sometimes even more) amount of calcium as regular cow’s milk. Try varying nut milk and look for brands with the least amount of added gums and preservatives. Plenty of options are available such as coconut, almond, macadamia, cashew, hemp, and flax milk. My personal favorite is unsweetened vanilla cashew milk due to its creamy and light consistency.

3. Redhill Farms Goat Milk Yogurt 
Most milk, cheese, and yogurt contains A1 casein, which is the protein that is difficult for many people to digest and breakdown. This is also the component to dairy that makes it inflammatory for many individuals. The unique properties of goat milk make it an amazing swap for cow’s milk dairy products because it is lactose free and also contains a unique anti-inflammatory casein that is in the A2 form. This means that those who cannot tolerate dairy can tolerate goat milk products very well and it is also extremely beneficial for gut health as it repopulates and balances healthy gut microbiome and flora. Many goat milk products exist such as cheeses, milk, yogurt, and kefir. If you are new to goat milk I would suggest starting with goat milk yogurt first and experimenting with the flavor and consistency by adding your own fruit, nuts, and a small amount of honey or maple syrup to sweeten.

4. Organic Valley Ghee Butter 
Ghee has been used for centuries and as a healing and functional food remedy in India as part of Ayurveda medicine. Ghee is clarified butter from a cow where all milk solids are removed and strained after heating. Ghee is shelf-stable, lactose and casein-free, and can be used as a high-heat cooking method that will not degrade and turn rancid in the body from the heat. Being high in medium chain triglycerides, it can improve metabolism and mental clarity, increase energy, and can act as an anti-inflammatory in the body.

5. Farmhouse Culture Sauerkraut 
The gut is considered the brain and nucleus of our body. If our gut is healthy and balanced, our bodies are also balanced and working at its best. Sauerkraut is great for the gut because it balances gut flora and contains natural fermented probiotics that improves immunity, eliminates toxins from the GI tract, reduces inflammation, and helps in the absorption of other foods. I suggest adding it to your egg scramble, on an organic turkey burger, or just plain right out of the bag.

6. Dean’s Guacamole with Sprouted Mary’s Gone Crackers 
If you haven’t gotten around to trying Dean’s guacamole, I highly suggest you run (not walk) to your nearest location to give this a try! The fresh avocados are high in folate and healthy fats the body needs to function at its best. I love pairing the guacamole with baby carrots, a coconut or avocado oil chip with minimal ingredients, or with Mary’s Gone Crackers. They are gluten-free and nutrient dense with a great combination of sprouted seeds and whole grains.

7. Rebbl Elixir Drinks 
These premade non-dairy bottled drinks are not only delicious, but they are made with concentrated superfoods and adaptogens that are healing and energizing for the body. Some varieties include Matcha which is great for healthy energy and metabolism, Reishi which is a mushroom that promotes healing and boosts the immune system, Ashwaganda which is an adaptogen herb that helps our body cope with stress and strengthens the adrenal glands, Maca blend which combines high antioxidants and promotes hormone balance, and my personal favorite is the “Golden Milk” blend which is made with activated turmeric combined with black pepper which is one of nature’s strongest anti-inflammatory remedies.

8. Simple Mills Baking Mixes 
If you are looking for a paleo, Whole 30, clean, gluten-free, soy-free, dairy-free baking mix look no further! Simple Mills keeps it as simple as possible with their ingredients and are so easy to make into delicious cakes or cupcakes, almond flour cookies, coconut flour pizza crusts, and banana/pumpkin muffins or loafs. This brand is great when you want to indulge in a little treat but still stay away from processed foods and refined sugar.

9. Dark Chocolate 
Yes, you heard correctly—dark chocolate is in my cart! Studies prove that 1oz of dark chocolate per day is extremely beneficial. It can reduce cholesterol and high blood pressure, promotes healthy weight management and even supports weight loss, increases antioxidants and improves cardiovascular health, improves cognitive function and boosts mood, is high in minerals, and the list can go on and on. The key is to first make sure you do not have a chocolate sensitivity or intolerance and then always choose a dark chocolate that is around 80-85% cocoa content with the rest of the ingredients being very pure and minimal. Dean’s has a great selection of many of these brands and options available.

10. Local or Raw Manuka Honey
Honey is nature’s best (and oldest) sweetener. The healing properties of honey are tremendous and local honey can even help you improve your seasonal allergies if you start taking a few teaspoons each day starting in the winter. This will build your immune system with the allergens that are in your local area and you should be able to manage your seasonal allergies much easier in the spring and summer when allergen season ramps up.

Missed this event or interested in doing a tour? Dean’s will be hosting another night full of grocery shopping and food facts on Wednesday April 5th at 6:00 p.m in Ocean. This event is free but registration is required. Please call 1800-DOCTORS® to register. We look forward to shopping with you!

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

An Integrative Approach to Clean Eating - Part 2

Nicole Cerillo, RD, LDN
Integrative Medicine Nutritionist

In my last post I discussed the health benefits of clean eating. You can find that post here.

In this post, I’ll share some rules to help guide you as you continue your clean eating journey.

12 Rules for 21 Days of “Clean Eating”

1. If you mess up—that’s okay! You will succeed the second, or even the third time. You will however, have to start over at day 1 each time you don’t eat something “clean” until you complete 21 full days consecutively.

2. Become a master label reader. Reading labels can be overwhelming and can look like you are reading another language. Whenever you can’t pronounce a word or it sounds like a science experiment—steer clear. Many of those long words you can pronounce are hidden toxins, chemicals, additives, and pesticides used to enrich and preserve packaged foods.

3. Eat 5-6 times per day. Eating throughout the day promotes healthy eating habits, prevents overeating later in the day, promotes optimal brain and hormone health, and maintains energy levels throughout the day. Our body loves consistency and the times we eat should be intentional and balanced.

4. Cut out ALL sugar…completely! Stay away from anything that ends in an “ose” (maltose, glucose, fructose, sucrose, etc). These are all hidden forms of sugar. This also includes sugar substitutes such as Splenda and all sugar alcohols such as Erythritrol and Xylitol (even the natural varieties).

5. Don’t panic! Just go organic. This should really be rule #1 and should probably be an entire blog post on its own (to be continued…). When we switch to a primarily organic diet as much as possible, we naturally avoid the potential for toxin buildup that can be rooted to many complications and is a precursor to so many evolving health conditions.

6. Drink enough pure water every day. Pure filtered water helps remove impurities from our body, helps maintain hydration for our cells, increases energy, and helps eliminate toxins. If you divide your body weight in half, you should aim to drink that many ounces of water per day.

7. Cut out all processed food. To make this really simple, just avoid anything you see in a package and try to shop around the perimeter of the grocery store where you can buy fresh vegetables, eggs, fruits, poultry, etc.

8. Watch your fats. This is a two-part rule. Avoid the bad and eat more of the good! Avoid safflower, sunflower, canola, soybean, peanut, corn, and cottonseed oils. Increase your consumption of healthy saturated fats such as olive, coconut, avocado, hemp, almond, macadamia nut, and flax oils.

9. Go Green. A clean diet also means a clean lifestyle. Remove environmental toxins and switch to organic and natural cleaners, detergents, fragrance, soups, lotions, cosmetics, and anything else that may contain toxins that touch your skin or that you can breathe in.

10. Kick coffee to the curb. Coffee consumption is one of the most controversial topics we come across. Removing coffee from your diet completely for 21 days will have tremendous benefits for your body. You will be able to reset your tolerance to caffeine as well as stop your dependence on the daily ritual.

11. Practice mindful “Clean Eating.” Eating mindfully can change your life. This means eating in a peaceful environment without loud noise or distraction. Eat at a table with your family rather than on a couch with the TV on. Focus on eating mindfully by really tasting and savoring each bite of food, chewing your food slowly, and taking mini breaks during your meal to rest your fork. Most importantly, pray or meditate before eating and take a few moments to stop and recognize the gift of nutrients on your plate that will promote health to your body.

12. Get cooking. Have fun with it! This is a time for you to expand your pallet, try new foods, develop new cooking habits, test new recipes, and enhance skills in the kitchen.

Now that we’ve covered the basics and guidelines to clean eating we can get into the important details on exactly WHAT to eat for 21 days. Stay tuned for the next blog post! 

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Committing to Clean Eating

By Nicole Cerillo, RD, LDN
Integrative Medicine Nutritionist

With the new year quickly approaching, a common goal and resolution for many people is to commit to starting a new diet program or exercise routine. In fact, studies show that the #1 New Year’s resolution in America is to lose weight. While these resolutions are great ways to improve your heath, it can be very difficult to stick to this daunting commitment.  According to a new University of Scranton study in the Journal of Clinical Psychology, only a mere 8% of people are actually successful in following through with their resolutions. In fact, most people quit completely by Valentine’s Day -- which means after 6 weeks most people will give up or lose their momentum.

Instead of going for the gold and reaching for the stars next year, I want to encourage you to try something a little different to set yourself up for the win after the holidays! I want YOU to beat the statistics and be one of the 8% that actually follows through.

What if I told you all you have to do is just commit to 21 days of clean eating?

I believe that if you can commit to something and make a change for 21 days, you have developed new habits that will be easier for you to stick to and maintain long term. Maybe you won’t want to continue everything 100% after the 3 weeks, but many of those habits you developed during that time will carry over naturally. In 21 days you can reset your body to work its best using natural and whole foods. You will learn a lot about yourself, your diet habits, and the way your body processes and uses food. You will change the way you think about the quality of your food and you will WANT to make healthier choice for the long-term because it is sustainable. It will become a lifestyle—not just another fad diet that you quit before Valentine’s Day.

Here are 12 benefits you may experience starting a 21 day clean diet and lifestyle:

1. It will introduce you to new foods, flavors, and nutrients you aren’t used to enjoying
2. You will generally feel better, build up your immune system, and won’t get sick as often
3. You may recognize a possible food intolerance or sensitivity and improve symptoms
4. You can boost your metabolism and your energy will increase
5. Your brain and mind will be clear and sharp and you will feel more focused and alert throughout the day
6. Your sleep will improve
7. You can see a decrease in anxiety and depression
8. Your mood will improve and hormones will balance
9. Cholesterol, blood sugar, and lipid profiles may improve
10. You can maintain a healthy weight or even lose weight
11. You can rid your body of toxic buildup that can be a root cause in so many diseases and conditions
12. Your beauty will shine! Your hair and nails will grow strong and your complexion and skin will clear up and glow

Stay tuned for my next blog post in January with more details about how to start a clean eating protocol for you and your family next year.

Interested in this post and committing yourself to clean eating? Don’t do it alone and don’t wait! Grab your best friend, make an appointment, and get the motivation and coaching you need to get ahead and succeed next year! YOU are worth it and your body (and mind) will thank you!

Source for study: University of Scranton. Journal of Clinical Psychology