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So far Elaine has created 4 blog entries.

Why Do You Need a Diverse Gut Microbiome?

Rotating the vegetables you eat can help kickstart weight loss! 

You’ve probably heard the old adage, “eat the rainbow” which is great advice on eating a variety of fruits and vegetables by making sure you have many colors represented.  But creating a diverse gut microbiome means not only eating a rainbow of vegetables but making sure that the fruits and vegetables vary day by day. 

 What is the gut microbiome?

The gut microbiome is the population of microbes(bacteria) that live in the intestines and are unique to each individual.  Most of us are aware that the bacteria in our gut play an important role in digestion.   Bacteria can help to break down the foods we eat after the stomach and small intestine do their part. This ensures that we get the nutrients we need from our food.   Sometimes, due to poor diet, bacteria become out of balance and we start to suffer from a variety of issues including bloating, poor digestion and weight gain.

gut microbiome bacteria

What does the gut microbiome do?

The gut microbiome is responsible for making micronutrients such as biotin, vitamin K, B vitamins and folic acid.  It aids in detoxification and can help activate plant compounds and botanicals (especially when taking supplements) and plays a major role in immune function. 

Just 3 days after changing your diet for the better you can reap benefits!

A new study, published in Nature, found that changes in the gut microbiome can happen within three or four days after a big shift in what you eat. “We found that the bacteria that lives in peoples’ guts is surprisingly responsive to change in diet,” Lawrence David, assistant professor at the Duke Institute for Genome Sciences and Policy and one of the study’s authors, says. “Within days we saw not just a variation in the abundance of different kinds of bacteria, but in the kinds of genes they were expressing.”

The the weight loss info.

It is not surprising that one of the most studied areas in microbiome research is how gut microbiota affects an individual’s risk of obesity and other metabolic conditions. Medical News Today, 2014 Nov, reported on a study claiming our genetic makeup shapes what type of bacteria reside in our gut, which may affect our weight.   Many other studies from Science, Nature, and other research review papers are also reporting findings of fighting obesity with bacteria.  Studies have also shown that a diverse microbiome is helpful in burning more calories and increasing metabolism.

The more diverse your plant diet is, the more diverse the bacteria in the gut, which in turn produces short chain fatty acids (SCFA’s) which are Butyrate, Propionate and Acetate. SCFAs act as fuel to produce more diverse bacteria and also act as signaling agents that bind to specific receptors that have an effect on metabolism.  These receptors play a role in controlling appetite.  If you don’t have a diverse gut microbiome you are always hungry.  SCFAs allow your metabolic system to be more efficient in fat burning efficiency as it effects those pathways as well. 

Things you can do to increase your gut microbiome, increase your SCFAs and kickstart your metabolism:

  • Vary the vegetables that you eat by putting them on a rotation of at least 3-4 days (look for our FREE printable food rotation chart coming soon!)
  • Increase your fiber intake-this will assist your body in making SFCAs- examples include:
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Nuts and Seeds
  • Brussels sprouts, broccoli etc
  • Leafy greens
  • Fermented Foods including grain-free tempeh, pickled veggies, kimchi etc.
  • Legumes (only if soaked and pressure cooked to reduce lectin content)
  • Supplement with digestive enzymes to help break down the starches, protein and fibers etc. 
  • Limit alcohol and sugar

The great news is you can change your gut and begin a healthier you in only 3 days!  Look for our recipes that include the suggestions above and start to feel better by Monday!

CBD and Sleep

The need for sleep 

Lack of sleep is the #1 complaint I encounter when talking to my family and friends regarding their general wellness. I, too, have suffered from bouts of insomnia and poor quality sleep. It is downright miserable. We are in the company of many others who suffer the same problem. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) 30M United States residents suffer from lack of sleep.  This number is steadily rising.  Inadequate sleep can lead to loss of productivity, other diseases and addiction (especially to sleep medications).  It also can throw hormones off balance, and can lead to depression and weight gain.  

How does supplementing with CBD help with sleep?

There is a large correlation between the endocannabinoid system (ECS) and sleep regulation. Studies have shown that CBD increases the amount of total sleep, reduces anxiety (which has been shown to improve sleep quality), decreases the amount of REM sleep, and increases the amount of non-REM sleep (deep, restful, restorative sleep).  CBD helps regulate balance and homeostasis in the body by activating CB1 and CB2 receptors in the body.  CBD also helps to block sleep rebound (your body doesn’t have to make up for the missed sleep) and the hunger that is associated with few hours of sleep.  CBD has also been found to block restless leg syndrome by facilitating inhibition of muscle movement, and increases airway muscle tone, which can be helpful for sleep apnea.

There are two aspects with CBD that resemble a paradox.  CBD acts as a wakeful agent by day and improves quality of sleep by night but it won’t make you sleepy!  OK this seems completely contradictory but studies have shown that the quality of daytime wakefulness can lead to improved sleep at night.

In the morning and afternoon, CBD has been shown to improve  executive functions, focus, reflexes, vision, taste, smell, and reduction of anxiety and pain.  At nighttime, a total deeper and more restorative sleep occurs.

Numerous studies have shown how CBD can help with sleeplessness. A 2006 study on rats showed an increased alertness with light, displaying that CBD could potentially be used for relief of day-time drowsiness. Another study revealed how CBD fights anxiety, a common factor that keeps people awake.

When and how much CBD should you take for sleep?

The amount of CBD varies per person but it is suggested that you start your first dose in the morning and second dose in the afternoon,  It is suggested to not take CBD right before bed because the aspect of wakefulness could cause the brain to be active instead of relaxing for sleep. CBD dosing is a very specific to the individual.  For example, one person might discover that 15 MG in the AM and another 15 in the PM does the trick and enables a full night’s sleep.  However, another person may need 30 MG in the AM and another 30 MG in the PM to accomplish a full night’s sleep.  There are no adverse effects, toxicity or drug interactions and dosing is modest with positive results realized within the first day (though results may vary).  If you suffer from sleep issues CBD may just  help improve your sleep routine so you can fall asleep faster, stay asleep longer and wake up feeling awesome!

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.  The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this Website.


Got Camilk? You Heard Me! Camel Milk.

Nutrition fads.  They come and go, but we bit on this one and did some research. Want to boost your immune system for flu season? Try Camel Milk!   Yes you heard me – Camel milk.  I know. It sounds crazy, but you will be amazed at all of the benefits that camel milk has to offer. 

Aside from containing the same nutritive properties as colostrum, camel milk is also a good source of protein, essential fatty acids, vitamin B1, potassium, phosphorus, and calcium. The benefits don’t stop there. Camel milk differs from cow milk in several beneficial ways. It is easier to digest, contains immunoglobulin A (helps boost the immune system) and may be an option for those who are sensitive to other dairy products.   Studies have shown that the consumption of camel milk increases production of antioxidant enzymes in the body and thereby lowering oxidative stress.  Less oxidative stress means less inflammation which helps our bodies achieve a more healthful balance.  Camel milk also boosts the immune system because it contains the milk protein lactoferrin, which is present in large quantities in camel milk (ten times higher than in cow milk), and has anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties as well.  Glutathione is one of our body’s most important and abundant antioxidants and camel milk was found to significantly enhance these levels, as well as provide high levels of magnesium and zinc. 

Can I consume camel milk if I’m sensitive to cow’s milk?

The answer is most likely, Yes!  Camel milk lacks A1 casein and lactoglobulin proteins, which are responsible for most allergies in humans.  Cow’s milk can aggravate autoimmune disorders, but camel milk has been reported to improve autoimmune conditions. Though studies vary in terms of how much camel milk to consume daily to see a therapeutic effect, 2-8 oz. per day is a suggested starting point.

How does it taste? 

I’m anxiously awaiting my camel milk delivery this week so I wish I could let you know from personal experience—I will be sure to update you!  Many camel milk aficionados say the flavor is slightly sweet and the milk is creamy.  We shall see…

Where can I find camel milk? 

A quick google search can help you find natural food stores or companies who will deliver right to your door.  Buyer beware—this stuff is expensive!  I went for the local, grass-fed, hand-milked camel and it ran me $89 which included the $17 in shipping.

Stay tuned for more info on camel milk coming soon!

A Girlfriend’s Guide to Getting Through a Hangover

Oh the hangover. As I sit here to write this the timing couldn’t be more perfect.  What started out as an afternoon birthday brunch with friends turned into “How have I been here for 6 hours and did we seriously just have a dance party?”  I’m feeling  tired, crabby, hungry and I’ll be honest, a bit hungover.

As a nutritionist I know the damage I’m doing to my body every time I have just one more glass, but sometimes it’s just too much fun!  So rather than feel guilty with a hangover, I devised a supplement protocol for days that I need to look and feel like a super woman even though the little voice inside my head wants to crawl back in bed, tell the kids to buy hot lunch, and go back to sleep.

I don’t want this post to be misunderstood.  I’m not encouraging drinking alcohol but, I am also realistic and know that every now and then we overdo it with alcohol.  If (or when) you find yourself  feeling not quite so awesome after a night (or afternoon-we are not judging!) out on the town the following might help:

    • Alarm your water and spike with electrolytes

    • I realize this is not unique advice for avoiding a hangover.  Drink lots of water to avoid dehydration. This sounds easy enough, but once the fun gets rolling it is easy to forget. Take this idea one step further and set your phone to remind you a few times throughout the night to drink 8 ounces of water.  Why do we get dehydrated when we drink.  We found a great article on the science of alcohol dehydration here.  In short, alcohol acts as a diuretic (which means you pee out more than you intake) leaving us dehydrated and feeling hungover.  When we get dehydrated we also cause a depletion of essential electrolytes like Potassium, Sodium, Chloride and Magnesium.  I love adding an electrolyte powder to my water–it really helps you feel less miserable because you can help your body recover its delicate balancing act to keep water and electrolyte levels just right.  My favorite product is Electrolyte Synergy™   And when you are feeling tip-top it is a great post workout recovery drink.
    • Take a complete multivitamin

    • When we drink alcohol we deplete many of our fat soluble vitamins and our body also struggles with ATP (adenosine triphosphate) production, which is essentially our muscles source of energy.   Hence, the feeling of “please just let me lay here….I’m so tired.”   My favorite is is a full-spectrum multivitamin DFH Complete Multi™ with Albion chelated minerals for maximum absorption and bioavailability.
    • Replenish your B vitamins

    • Since alcohol depletes your body’s B vitamins while working hard to metabolize your night’s intake it is important to load up on them the night you plan to go out as well as the day after. A vitamin B complex with other co-factors added is crucial so that your body can actually absorb them.  You can find my favorite B complex is B-Supreme.
    • Don’t forget your hall pass 

    • Lastly, if you know you are going on a carb freakout the day after all of the fun I have what I like to call my hall pass supplement, ProtectZyme™.  It is an enzyme that will not only help you break down those greasy eggs, potatoes, and cheese but it has a patented starch blocker called Synetrim CQ to help decrease the effects that high carb meals can have on your body.  You just take 1-2 before you indulge and then promise yourself to get back on track the next day.

I hope this helps you not only feel better but realize we all screw up and we are bound to do induce a hangover every now and then.  It’s ok. Tomorrow is a new day, lets just get through this one first!

A discount at our Designs for Health store

You can see a full description of products mentioned in this post via the links below.  Use coupon code FIRST20 to receive 20% off your first purchase.  Avoid a hangover with these key supplements:

Electrolyte Synergy™
DFH Complete Multi™