The Food Connection to Autoimmune Diseases

June 22, 2019

In its simplest form an autoimmune disease is a disease of inflammation, which often results in some type of pain. Rheumatoid Arthritis, Graves’ Disease, Fibromyalgia, Lupus, Crohn’s Disease, MS, Asthma, Type I Diabetes are all autoimmune diseases and the list goes on and on.

Listen in as we discuss new findings that the foods we’re eating may be the root cause of an autoimmune condition, and what impact eliminating those foods may have.

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What is autoimmune disease?

DARLENE: Well, welcome to Dishing Up Nutrition. I bet you're wondering, “What are those nutritionists going to talk about today?” Well, let me answer that. This morning we're going to discuss the food connection to autoimmune diseases. And I'm sure some of you may be thinking, “So what is an autoimmune disease”? You know, I believe the best way to describe it is an autoimmune disease is an inflammation… disease of inflammation basically; Which often results in pain; a lot of pain for some people. So each autoimmune disease has a name. You know, we have heard in many of these like rheumatoid arthritis, Graves' disease, fibromyalgia, Lupus, Crohn's disease, MS, asthma, type-one diabetes, which is new for people.

BRITNI: The list goes on and on.

DARLENE: It does, Britni. Yes. And sadly about 50 million Americans suffer from some type of an autoimmune condition. And actually conventional medicine really hasn't found any solutions that work for most people.

BRITNI: It’s true.

DARLENE: So yeah, we know that there are drugs like prednisone which can help reduce the inflammation, but because of the serious side effects, prednisone is not a long-term solution; because I know doctors want to get you off of that as soon as possible. So today we want to discuss some research that has found that there are certain foods that you might be eating that may be the cause or the root cause of your autoimmune disease. So let me be clear. There is really no magical answer. We work with a lot of people with autoimmune don't we?

BRITNI: We do. It's hard work.

DARLENE: So, so you have to think “What are you eating”? That may be one cause. But we also understand that it’s not the only cause of an autoimmune condition. You know, so joining us: You heard Britni’s voice already. We have two dieticians in the studio with us this morning, and we’re all going to look at studies that have kind of pointed to the food connection to autoimmune diseases. So Britni, introduce yourself.

BRITNI: Happy to do so. I am a Registered and Licensed Dietitian. I see clients out of our Saint Paul and Lakeville offices. I have a lot of long distance clients as well. So I talk to them via phone or Skype. I just got married last year and I have been a dietician for over seven years now.

DARLENE: Oh wow.

BRITNI: Time flies.

DARLENE: Oh my gosh.

BRITNI: And I would say at least half of my clients have an autoimmune condition, or at least one of them. It's common to have more than one.

DARLENE: Yes it is. I agree.

BRITNI: So autoimmune digestive problems such as colitis, Crohn’s:  We see a lot of individuals that have that. A vast number of my clients have skin problems such as psoriasis, scleraderma: Those are both autoimmune conditions. So today we also have joining us: Leah Kleinschrodt. And to keep it simple, we just call her Leah K.

DARLENE: You did a great job on her name.

BRITNI: Thank you. She's also a Registered and Licensed Dietitian, and she has a 10 month old baby, Landon, and today is her first time on Dishing Up Nutrition.

DARLENE: So Leah, welcome to the show. You know, I know you are a reader of research cause you write for us some and I can tell. And you know, you've kind of researched some things on eating gluten products like bread and pasta and cookies and cakes and crackers, and how they are connected to a variety of autoimmune diseases. And I think one of the things you've mentioned before we went on air is… maybe we should talk about: What are some of these gluten grains that we're going to be talking about today?

LEAH K: Yes, absolutely. Well first off, good morning, Dar. Good morning, Britni. Good morning to all of the listeners out there. It's really an honor to be on the show and on this side of the microphone for the first time. And I would be lying if I said it wasn't a little intimidating being here this morning. But one thing I do know how to talk about is how to talk about research.

DARLENE: Yes, you do.

Common Grocery Store Products With Gluten

LEAH: So thank you. So to your point, Dar, of those gluten containing products, so what we're looking at are things that contain the major gluten containing grains, like wheat, rye, barley: those are the major players. And so they're very commonly found in things like breads, pastas, pancakes, toast, crackers. Things like that. And so back to that research piece that you were talking about: First of all, about a third of the population has a sensitivity to gluten, and that means one out of every three people.

DARLENE: That’s a lot of people.

LEAH: It is. So thinking about even the three of us, that means at least one of us has that sensitivity to gluten containing foods. Again, like the pizzas, the breads, the pastas. Furthermore, one person in every 133 people have celiac disease, which is the autoimmune gluten related disorder that has a genetic link.

DARLENE: And much more serious in some ways. Yes. There's like no gluten at all in their diet.

BRITNI: No contamination.                  

DARLENE: Yes. So we know that Celiac Disease is considered an autoimmune condition. And it's like I just said: It's one of the most serious associated with gluten sensitivities. So why is eating gluten so bad for someone who has celiac disease? So if you are one of those people that have celiac disease, gluten triggers your body to attack the cells of your small intestines. It's like a little army going in there and attacking the tissues or the cells. And that affects how well you can absorb your nutrients. So you might be eating something perfectly fine, but nothing goes in. So that's what celiac disease does.

BRITNI: And it's rather shocking to think that for some people that have a gluten sensitivity, just that one piece of bread or that one pretzel, that's actually enough to damage the lining of their small intestine. So like…

DARLENE: I think, Britni, that's kind of hard for people to really, to really get: Even one little bite of something.

BRITNI: Yeah. I hear some of my clients say, well, “What if I eat gluten light?” But yeah, even once a week: That really does throw off your digestive tract and like you said, Dar, then you're not absorbing your food. So even if you're eating healthy food, you can still become malnourished. And the scary fact is that more than 55 diseases have been linked to eating gluten grains. It's a lot.

DARLENE: Yes, it is.


LEAH: Yeah. Well, I'm going to pop in with just another research tidbit for us all. So this particular research came out of Poland and they found that people with celiac disease also had a higher risk of developing type-one diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, hyperthyroidism, and ulcerative colitis. So in other words, someone who had celiac disease, already an autoimmune condition, had a higher risk of developing yet another autoimmune condition. So bottom line is if you are gluten sensitive or you have celiac disease, it is extremely important for you to avoid gluten grains at all costs.

DARLENE: Kind of hard for people to understand that.

BRITNI: It is. Yeah. Dr. Amy Myers, she wrote the book, The Autoimmune Solution. It's a really wonderful resource and she calls this problem the gluten sensitivity spectrum. That's a nice way to put it.


Understanding the Gluten Sensitivity Spectrum

BRITNI: Yeah, so that refers to the vast number of people who have a gluten sensitivity. She also said, “Based on my clinical experience, if you have an autoimmune disease, you are somewhat on the gluten sensitivity spectrum, therefore you should avoid gluten like the plague.”

DARLENE: So what does ‘avoid gluten’ really mean? First and foremost, you really have to grasp this in your mind that going gluten free is the strongest anti-inflammatory remedy you'll ever find. I mean, that's kind of just amazing to think about that: That it’s the strongest anti-inflammatory remedy that you'll find. You know, honestly, I have a client who was so careful about avoiding gluten because if she eats gluten, by mistake, I mean she really tries not to... Her kidney will inflame and then she'll have blood in her urine.


DARLENE: And so she is so concerned about preventing damage to her kidneys that she has even developed a gluten-free kind of flour mix. And you know, she makes that and she actually developed it to sell to some bakeries. So it's really neat. So every six months she has her kidneys checked at the Mayo Clinic and I’m really happy to report, and she is so happy, that through eating a gluten free diet, she's actually put this kidney condition in remission.

BRITNI: It's amazing.

LEAH: It's very powerful.

DARLENE: But she knows immediately. I mean I was just kind of blown away when I started working with her that that's how sensitive she is.

LEAH: And I think many people are and don't realize it.

Looking for relief from pain and inflammation? Schedule an appointment with one of our nutritionists for a customized anti-inflammatory meal plan to keep you satisfied and promote healing!

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BRITNI: Yeah. Well it's already time for our first break.


BRITNI: So you are listening to Dishing Up Nutrition. And today we are discussing the food connection to autoimmune diseases. 


DARLENE: Well, welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. You know, currently there are 80 different autoimmune diseases and more and more people each year are experiencing one of these inflammatory disorders. So at present time, medications do not seem to be very helpful. So right now the most effective treatment is following an anti-inflammatory diet and making lifestyle habits changes. You know, one of those might be sleeping eight hours rather than five. And try to do that most nights, and then participate in some kind of movement therapy. You know, move. That's basically what they're saying. You know, the dietitians and nutritionists at Nutritional Weight and Wellness are all trained to help you follow an anti-inflammatory diet and support you in making the necessary changes to your lifestyle habits that will benefit your healing. So if you're having a sleep problem, we work hard to help you get over that. And if you're suffering from pain and inflammation from an autoimmune disease, you know, it makes sense to set up an individual appointment with one of our dietitians or nutritionists. So you can call 651-699-3438. And let's find a time and a location that best fits for you. If you live out of state or out of the country, or wherever, you can do Skype or phone appointments. And Britni, I’ve heard that you have a lot of clients. Probably you do too, Leah. So again, our number is (651) 699-3438. And we have a caller, right?

BRITNI: We do have a caller. Good Morning Monique. Welcome to Dishing Up Nutrition.

CALLER: Hi, good morning.

DARLENE: Good morning. You have question for us?

Treating Crest Syndrome With Personalized Nutrition Counseling

CALLER: Well, I, sort of. My husband has something called Crest Syndrome and each of those letters stands for a different autoimmune disease.  And we have been dealing with it for several years now. And listening to you this morning is very intriguing about doing this. And so I just don't know where to begin. I can even start with him because it will be a family lifestyle change for him.

DARLENE: Exactly. You know…

CALLER: I'm sorry.

DARLENE: Has anyone talked about going gluten-free or put you on a gluten-free eating plan?

CALLER: Never.


CALLER: But we suffer. We are followed by the University of Minnesota, and he suffered quite a bit from the different ailments from these diseases. And they've tried experimental medications and a regular type of medication. But it doesn't seem to control it or work very well for him.

DARLENE: Yeah. It doesn't heal. It just kind of deals with the symptoms a little bit if you're lucky. You know what? Frankly I would say make an appointment with one of us, one of the nutritionists, dieticians and you know, start… Because he probably has a lot of food sensitivities. And it's like, gluten…and so we can help, basically, we can help you figure that out for you. And you know…

CALLER: Would it be beneficial for us both to come?

DARLENE: Oh yes, definitely. Yes. So you know, just call our number and make an appointment. And you know, get on a program and start. You can't do everything overnight. But sometimes when people are suffering as much as your husband is, they can. It's because they're so motivated, you know? And, so, you know, it's like we say: Your diet is your best anti-inflammatory plan that you can possibly do. Medication… They just haven't found any medications that really seemed to make a difference for people.

CALLER: I can believe that definitely. So we will. We will make an appointment because, I don't know… I haven't even talked to him about this and I've never thought of this as being something related to it. But he's struggling so much so it seems like let's try something different.

DARLENE: I agree.

CALLER: I appreciate that.

DARLENE: Okay. Thanks for the call. We love it. Okay. Where are we?

BRITNI: Yeah. Well and I think, you know, it's important to know… It sounds so overwhelming to go gluten-free. And so when we're meeting with people, we really lay out how exactly to that, and examples of what to eat. So, if you do or if you are feeling overwhelmed…

DARLENE: Recipes, and the whole thing. We just don't say go to the internet and figure it out. So, Leah, where are we?

How to Manage Going Gluten-free

LEAH: Well, so we went on break. You were telling the story about your client who has the kidney disease and really has to be very careful about not exposing her body to gluten. And then we just had this caller who has, her husband has several autoimmune conditions. And so I was thinking about some of the questions that I get when I am counseling clients and we sit down, we talk about a gluten free diet and how that is connected to their autoimmune disease. And they say, “Well, you know, do I have to be 100% gluten free”? And then I always get this question too: “Well what about my gluten-free oatmeal? Can I still eat that?”

DARLENE: And  I say absolutely not. So gluten-free oatmeal is not an option. And my clients know that oatmeal is a forbidden grain. I just, I can't, I just don't understand why oatmeal has gotten such a… It's so important for people. Yeah, they can give up other things, but they have to have their oatmeal.

BRITNI: We've been told for so many years that it's heart healthy.

DARLENE: Yeah. Well, you know, the other thing is we say gluten-free, but I always go the next step and say grain-free; Makes it simpler for people. You know, maybe they could have a little bit of wild rice. Maybe a little bit of quinoa. But every other grain is out.

BRITNI: And Dr. Amy Myers: I mentioned her earlier. And she definitely agrees with that as well. She says, “When I tell you to avoid gluten 100%, I mean 100%. Not 99 or even 99.5. Even a tiny amount of gluten can set off those antibodies and trigger your immune system to start attacking your own tissue.

DARLENE: Well, that's exactly what my client with the kidney disease… She knows a tiny little bit, and she'll suddenly have blood in her urine.

LEAH: So gluten-light is not an option in these situations either, right? Yeah. So Dr. Amy Myers also said, “If you have a gluten reactive autoimmune condition, even four little cheats in a year can keep your antibodies, which is the measure of how your immune system is doing; It keeps your antibodies and your inflammation levels elevated all year round.”

DARLENE: So the reality is if you want to feel great again, you just can't cut back. You have to cut it out; entirely. So how do you make that commitment to your health? You know, a question, and I think the caller, like her husband has so many… he’s feeling so bad, he probably won't have that much trouble making that commitment. You know, a question I ask my clients: “Who is in charge: You or that piece of bread?”

BRITNI: It’s a good way to put it.

DARLENE: Or maybe it might be a sweet roll or a bagel. So what is going… What's it going to be?” You know, that is a question that you have to ask yourself: “What am I going to do?”

BRITNI: And I think a lot of people need that ongoing support and encouragement to stay gluten-free. And that's where we come in. Many of my clients, they see me once a month for an hour and it helps them to stay focused. And the longer that they practice gluten-free, it becomes just a way of eating. And I can say that from personal experience. You do it long enough, it's just a way of life and you don't even think about it.

DARLENE: So I'm sorry, go ahead.

BRITNI: Oh, and I was going to say naturally then it just cuts out a lot of, a lot of the processed food.

DARLENE: A lot of the junk food. Yeah. So let's address the question of the day. What does it mean to be gluten-free or even grain-free? It means saying no to your old way of eating and snacks and replacing it with real food, which is really is full of nutrients without any of the gluten or any of the grains. So it says vegetables often replace the grains. Yup.

LEAH: Yeah, so one example of that, like right now here in Minnesota, it's morning. And so let's do an example of what a tasty gluten-free and even grain-free breakfast would look like. So maybe you like eggs. So maybe you would make an omelet or an egg scramble: Use some heavy cream in there for some good healthy fats. Maybe have some bacon or some sausage mixed in with that as well. A variety of veggies, so maybe it's diced celery, onion, red pepper, broccoli, spinach… All of that cooked in butter or coconut oil. And then on the side, additionally, you could have half of a sweet potato sauteed in some avocado oil.

DARLENE: I think a lot of us eat that way.

LEAH: And it's tasty.

BRITNI: It is. Or for lunch, you know, you could make a batch of tuna or chicken salad with avocado oil mayonnaise, and that's easy to make enough for three, four, five servings for the week. Just have it over a bed of greens or as a lettuce wrap or maybe stuffed in a pepper. And you know, to start off with, if it would help you, you could make homemade blueberry muffins made with almond flour. Just to give you a little something.

DARLENE: They’re a little heavier. But they taste great.

BRITNI: They do, absolutely.

DARLENE: Oops, I'm sorry.

BRITNI: It’s already time for our second break. So you are listening to Dishing Up Nutrition. And as a dietitian I have developed a special interest in helping women with hormonal issues. And I was not surprised when I read the research that connected autoimmune diseases with high toxic estrogen levels. So how do you lower those toxic estrogen levels? Well to put it simply eating more vegetables, especially cruciferous vegetables, and that would be cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, spinach, brussel sprouts. We also encourage everyone to add a serving of our Fruits and Greens powder to their morning protein shake or some of them are delicious in just plain water. It gets you to get more fluid in you. And just one scoop of our Fruits and Greens powder has 20 servings of fruits and veggies. And that will help to lower those toxic estrogens and they taste really good. So we have a number of flavors available in individual sample size packets so you can try each of them and decide what you like, and then you can purchase a container that provides 20 plus servings. We also frequently have recipes available in our retail locations or online at for you to make at home.

DARLENE: We'll be right back.

LEAH: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition brought to you by Nutritional Weight and Wellness. The week of July 23rd, so in about a month here, we're offering seven new Nutrition for Weight Loss programs across the metro area. I want to take a moment and read a comment from a woman who took the series earlier this year at our Mendota heights location. She said, “My cholesterol went from 216 to 163 and the ratio went from 4.2 to 2.5.

DARLENE: That's great.

LEAH: That is great. “My triglycerides went from one 172 to 75.”

DARLENE: I think that's the most important part.

LEAH: I agree Dar. And my fasting glucose went from 107 to 100.

DARLENE: Another fantastic...

LEAH: Absolutely. And maybe her favorite part: “Oh yes. I also lost 13 pounds. I have fewer aches and pains and feel better all over.” So you can experience these kinds of results too. All you have to do is sign up and show up. Call our office at 651-699-3438 or sign up online at

DARLENE: So Britni do we have another caller?

BRITNI: We do have another caller. 


BRITNI: Cindy, welcome to Dishing Up Nutrition. Do you have a question for us today?

CALLER: I do. So do you feel the same about the steel cut oatmeal as the regular oatmeal?

DARLENE: Definitely.

CALLER: Okay. But rice is okay?


BRITNI: I mean rice would still be a grain. So for a lot of people that have an autoimmune condition, we would also recommend eliminating rice.

CALLER: Okay. I'm looking for something that I can have for a few days. I was just going to do a little protein powder and do steel cut oats. I have a cough that hasn't ended and I've been scoped from top to bottom, but I feel like there's an irritation so I needed something smooth. It's hard to do smoothies cause I'm dairy free. Any suggestions?


BRITNI: Well I think the smoothies could be a great option and you can use like a beef protein that would be dairy-free. And then the canned coconut milk is wonderful. It gives you some creaminess. And then your veggies if you want to put them in there, and fruit.

CALLER: I'm thinking to skip fruits and veggies for awhile just to really calm things down.


CALLER: Very bland for a few days.

DARLENE: That would be fine. You know, maybe put a couple of drops of vanilla in there to kind of... But you know, we have a protein powder that's called Paleo Protein, and so that, that works very well for people that have a dairy sensitivity.


DARLENE: And the coconut milk is key because it heal will heal your throat.


CALLER: I love that. Ok thank you so much.

BRITNI: Thank you.

More Ideas for Healthy, Gluten-free Eating

DARLENE: Great Call. Interesting questions that we have: always. So, you know, we were talking about what you can eat if you're going gluten-free. So here's one of my favorites is you put a pork roast in the Crockpot, you know, a slow cooker, you know, maybe with some root vegetables, and then you just let it, you know, you just put it in there and let it cook for six, seven hours; Comes out great. It's easy. And then maybe you just have some, you know, a little bit of carrots or parsnips or potatoes on the side. And I always have some like sliced cucumbers or tomatoes, and you don't have to have bread or rice or crackers or any of that. And it's just great tasting.

BRITNI: Sounds delicious.

DARLENE: But I always buy grass-fed pork. You know, none of this commercial stuff.

LEAH: Yes. So, so many people make the mistake of thinking, “Well, if I can't eat gluten… “ So thinking back to our questions about gluten free oatmeal, “Then how about I just go ahead and buy gluten-free crackers, gluten-free breads, gluten-free muffins?” And you know, they all tend to sit in the same area in the store. So you know, they, they become abundant recently with that awareness of gluten sensitivity. Unfortunately we typically have to break the news to clients that this isn't a great substitution for gluten containing products. These gluten-free products are often made from rice. So there's another grain.

DARLENE: Or soy.

LEAH: Or soy. Yup, absolutely. And they're usually high in sugar, either from added sugars or like I said, those rice products or the soy products that gets substituted in. Plus they have to add naturally occurring gums such as xantham gum to improve the texture or try to make it feel like regular bread or taste like regular bread. But often these additives cause gas and bloating and other digestive symptoms.

DARLENE: So it's better not to go gluten-free products.

BRITNI: And just stick with and naturally gluten-free food, so adding a variety of vegetables, some low-carb fruits. Because for the most part those gluten free products are not going to be healing foods for us. But the real foods like vegetables and low-carb fruits will give you the nutrients that you need to heal.

Dairy and Autoimmune Conditions

LEAH: Yes. So let's look at some additional research. Many clients with an autoimmune disease ask us, “Well, should I be dairy-free as well?” So our last caller mentioned that she does follow a dairy free nutrition plan and we know cow's milk is thought to be a trigger for an autoimmune response in type-one diabetes.

DARLENE: I bet that's new information for a lot of people.

LEAH: So that begs the question like what does that mean then? So it means that drinking milk might actually be a risk factor for developing… We mentioned type-one diabetes, but potentially other autoimmune conditions. And research conducted back in 2002, so this is not new information, found that the casein protein in milk, which is the majority of the protein in milk, resulted in a higher level of antibody responses. And that increase may be relevant in autoimmune diabetes; So that type-one diabetes. The casein protein from dairy was a factor for adults who developed type-one diabetes.

DARLENE: Isn't that interesting?

LEAH: Very interesting.

DARLENE: So maybe that idea that you have to have your kids drinking milk is not a very good idea.

BRITNI: Yeah, I don't think so. So we think to be on the safe side, if you have an autoimmune condition and you've eliminated the gluten, you… We would highly recommend also trying to eliminate all dairy products; I would say for at least three weeks, including butter. And then after that three week period, you know, some people can tolerate the dairy products that can contain a little casein, like butter, cream, cream cheese, ghee. So after that three week period you could try to reintroduce them and see how you feel. But you know, one of our clients, she can feel an increase in her asthma symptoms whenever she eats butter or heavy cream.

DARLENE: Isn't that interesting?

BRITNI: Yeah. So since she’s begun just using coconut oil, nut butters, coconut milk, she's free of her asthma symptoms; No inhalers, no medications. It's amazing. So diet really is a very powerful force in our health, which leads us to an interesting link between sugar and Alzheimer's. And you know, some experts do believe that there's an autoimmune connection to Alzheimer's as well.

High Blood Sugar and Cognitive Decline

LEAH: So let me share another piece of research this morning. There was a long-term study that was done over the course of 10 years. So if anybody reads research, you know, 10 years is actually a very long time and they followed 5,189 people. And that's a lot of people for one study. They found that people with higher blood sugar levels had a faster cognitive decline than those with normal blood sugar levels.

DARLENE: Well, so what does that mean: cognitive decline? A lot of clients, people who are listening are now out there that are not familiar with some of these words are saying, what does that mean?

LEAH: So cognitive decline: when I think about that or try to describe that to my clients, it usually comes back to memory more often than not. You know, are you having trouble pulling words out? Is that name just on the tip of your tongue, but you can't quite pull it out?

DARLENE: You mean those senior moments?

BRITNI: Yeah, senior moments that could happen at any age.

DARLENE: At age 30.

Does your glucose number mean prediabetes?

BRITNI: So these higher blood sugar levels that affected people's memories did not have to be in the diabetic range. But even those in the prediabetic range were at risk. So blood sugar levels slightly higher than normal or in that prediabetic range showed more memory loss. So forgetting was more common in these individuals, and prediabetes actually affects about 86 million Americans.

DARLENE: So let's take a minute and think, have people realize, what do we mean by these diabetic numbers, these, you know, prediabetic? Or what's normal blood sugar? Or you know, some of that; Because everybody that goes in for their annual physical have a glucose number. And it's usually a fasting glucose. They don't want you to eat before, so they can figure out what your fasting glucose is. So what's a good number? What is it? As dietitians, what do you recommend?

BRITNI: Below a hundred: 70-100.

DARLENE: So if it's 111, is that a risk?

BRITNI: That would be in that prediabetes range. Yeah, I think that's a risk factor.

DARLENE: And what are you guys seeing for people? you see generally when people come in? What kind of numbers are you seeing?

BRITNI: There’s a lot of people over 100.

DARLENE: Okay. And, and are they, are they seemingly concerned?

BRITNI: Well, that depends. You know, sometimes it's not even addressed. Their doctor doesn't even address it, and say that it's necessarily elevated. And, whereas some would get that prediabetes diagnosis, and be more alarmed. And I think once they have that diagnosis then it, it becomes more scary.

DARLENE: So we know as nutritionists and dieticians that grains often increase blood sugar very fast.

BRITNI: They sure do. Yup.

DARLENE: Where if you eat mostly vegetables it doesn't increase blood sugar that much.

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BRITNI: So before we talk more about blood sugar, we're going to take our third break. You are listening to Dishing Up Nutrition. If the times and locations available are just not convenient for you, you might want to take our online version of our life changing 12-week Nutrition for Weight Loss series. You will still receive the two one hour individual nutrition appointments and you may choose to do them in person or via phone . And the class member who Leah just mentioned from our Mendota Heights location also said, “When I met with my nutritionist I felt like I had someone in my corner who cared. I felt like I was more than just a number. I received individual care.”

DARLENE: That is a great comment.

BRITNI: We love hearing that. So if you live outside of Minneapolis/Saint Paul area, we provide two one-hour phone appointments to address your individual questions and needs. So you can call us at (651) 699-3438 and we can set up everything for you.

DARLENE: And we'll be back in a minute.


DARLENE: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. At Nutritional Weight and Wellness we’ve always believed that healing comes from food first, but we also have at least 15 different anti-inflammatory type supplements to aid in restoring your health and energy. And one of the most recent supplements is called PRM Resolve. So what is it? It's a new nutritional supplement that contains specialized pro-resolving mediators found in fish oil. So with today's new technology, they’re able to isolate and concentrate these anti-inflammatory components into a soft-gel capsule. Taking two to three of these PRM Resolve softgels daily has helped lots of our clients reduce both pain and inflammation. You know, just an idea: we have 15 different ideas for you. So next Saturday, Melanie and Teresa discuss self care habits that help with weight loss.

BRITNI: That'll be good.

DARLENE: Yes it will. They're fun.

BRITNI: So while we were on break, there was a caller who did not want to stay on the line, but he was wondering if we could share some hidden sources of gluten.

DARLENE: Well my number one is gravy. People don't think of it as having gluten.

BRITNI: Yup. Soy sauce is a big one. But you can easily find Bragg’s Liquid Aminos or Coconut Aminos. That would be a gluten-free soy sauce alternative.

DARLENE: So Leah, what comes to your mind when you think…?

LEAH: Well, I tend to think different seasonings, especially the things that have blends of lots of different herbs, salts, things like that that tends to… They sneak some gluten in there.

Gluten-free Eating and Restaurants

Another thing that I think about, so when you go out to restaurants, it can kind of be like the “Wild, Wild West” out there. You don't know exactly what you're getting necessarily in your food. And I know going out to breakfast, some places, say if you ordered scrambled eggs or an omelet to try to make those eggs a little more fluffy, they tend to add a little, say pancake flour into the egg mixture. So even if you're ordering the eggs, you may still be getting some gluten.

BRITNI: Yeah. Good to know.

DARLENE: So another one that I know that Cassie always talks about, that if they don't cook on separate griddles, that they could be contaminated with gluten or they need to use different cutting boards. So there's just so many things. It's, you have to be really on guard, especially if you have celiac disease or any kind of gluten sensitivities.

So we were talking about different studies. And, a study was in 2012; took a thousand people and put them into four groups based on how much of their diet came from carbs. The group that ate the most carbs had 80% higher chance of developing mild cognitive impairment where basically they were on their way to dementia. A person with mild cognitive impairment: They can feed and dress themselves or herself, but they have trouble with more complex tasks. You know, just being able to feed and dress yourself. That doesn't sound much like a mild cognitive or mild memory loss. It sounds like a significant memory loss to me. So it's like carbs, processed carbs are not good for us.

BRITNI: No, they are not. So what is that connection between high blood sugar levels and dementia? Well, the high blood sugar levels or diabetes: They're going to weaken our blood vessels, which can increase the risk of mini strokes in the brain. Now higher intake of simple sugars can make cells in the brain insulin resistant, and often Alzheimer's is called type-three diabetes for that reason. So that insulin resistance in the brain, that can cause the brain cells to die. So brain cells dying off: That could happen in your forties, your 50s, your 60s; It's not just happening in your 70s or 80s.

DARLENE: And hopefully not in your 80s. That doesn't have to happen.

BRITNI: No, it doesn't. It's a very good point: Doesn't have to happen at all. So consider all those people who drank six to ten cans of pop a day. That's about a hundred teaspoons of sugar they're consuming each and every day.

DARLENE: And you know what? A lot of people would have no idea that there are people that do that, but we see them all the time. You know, the reality is though, the food decisions that we make when we are relatively young can affect our future brain function. Think of Alzheimer's as a slow burning fire that you're totally unaware of and you don't even see when it gets started. By the time you do see the signs, it is usually too late to put out the fire; Sad.

BRITNI: It is very sad. So yeah, I think every person's goal should be getting their blood sugar and in a good normal range, which again would be 70 to 100. And I mean that's important for so many different parts of our body, not just our brain. And so for most of us that means eating no processed carbs at all or just eating very limited.

DARLENE: I think for myself: It's been a goal of mine probably since I've been 30. So for 50 years I've been practicing this and I've been successful. It is neat.

LEAH: Yes. So today as we're starting to wrap up our show, you know, we were only able to touch on two or three foods or things that are known to create inflammation in our bodies. But we know that there are many more out there that we couldn't cover just in a one hour show today. And we also know, but all of us here working with many, many different clients, that each person has individual reactions or different foods that they tolerate or that may cause inflammation in their bodies. So perhaps we're going to have to come and do another show to discuss the food connection to autoimmune diseases.

DARLENE: So kind of let's recap. If you have an autoimmune condition, here's some ideas:

  • Eliminate all gluten grains.
  • Reduce your consumption of sugar and processed carbs.
  • Beware that the protein in dairy products may be a problem for you.

So we challenge you to stop eating bread, pasta, pizza, crackers, bagels, cakes, cookies, muffins and pancakes or anything containing gluten for the next three weeks, and see how much better you feel. If your friends question your decision, say, and they say, you know, we hear this all the time: “But bread has been around forever. How can it be a problem for you?” And you reply by saying, “Current research supports my decision.” And in three weeks I think your health will improve. You'll have more energy, less inflammation, fewer aches and pains, and that'll be the best proof that you made the right decision. If you've heard today, there is a food connection to autoimmune diseases, it is so true. It may be not the only connection. And we agree, there's many different connections. But it's a strong connection. It is a very real connection. So if you're suffering from an autoimmune disease, and would like to feel better, make an appointment. That's what we do. We sit down. We figure out what you might be sensitive to. We design an eating plan that's very livable. It's good food. You'll be eating better than you've probably be eaten for years.

BRITNI: You’re not going to be starving.

DARLENE: No. And we can actually make some of those… help you make those changes. And you know, the other thing, I think that people are afraid to come in because, you know, they might weigh a little bit more than they want to or they think that we're going to take away everything or they have some fears. Well we're non-judgmental.

BRITNI: We're here to help.

LEAH: Absolutely. So our goal at Nutritional Weight and Wellness is to help each and every person experience better health through eating real food. It's a simple yet very powerful message.

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