7 Reasons to Avoid Coffee

We all like (like, or have to?!?!) start our day with a coffee. Unfortunately, this habit of ours might be causing some damage to our health (especially if you are sensitive to caffeine). Here are seven reasons we are avoiding coffee.

coffee beans

1. It wreaks havoc with your gut

As you know, we’re firm believers in the saying ‘health starts in the gut’. And a healthy gut is dependent on its acidic level. Changes in gut acidity can be caused by coffee (among other things). Your stomach creates hydrochloric acid, which is essential for digestion. However, if hydrochloric acid is chronically over-produced (i.e. from drinking too much coffee) it can eventually reduce the body’s ability to create it, resulting in low stomach acid. If you have read our previous posts on low stomach acid, you would know that low stomach acid means poor digestion and malabsorption of protein and minerals.

2. It impacts your thyroid meds

The standard drug treatment for hypothyroidism, L-Thyroxine, is absorbed in the gastro-intestinal tract. Studies have shown that drinking coffee shortly after taking your thyroid medication can lower the absorption of it. This means that even if you have been prescribed the optimal amount for your health, your body might not be receiving the optimal amount.

3. It can expose you to BPA

The plastic lids on takeaway coffee cups contain BPA. BPA is a chemical which binds to hormone receptors and impairs all kinds of endocrine functions, hence the name endocrine disruptor (read more about endocrine disruptors here). When you drink your hot coffee through the plastic lid, BPA leaches out of the plastic.

4. It boosts stress hormones

When we enter our fight or flight mode, our body releases cortisol to combat the stress we are occurring. If the stress is acute, our body returns to normal once the stressor has passed. However, if the stress becomes chronic, as it can with drinking coffee regularly, our body is continually exposed to high levels of cortisol. High levels of cortisol can result in compromised immune function, among other things.

5. It can worsen Th-2 dominant illnesses

All illnesses are either Th-1 or Th-2 dominant. In a healthy person, with an optimal functioning immune system, T-helper Cells (Th) 1 and 2 recognise foreign toxins and signal to hormonal messenger proteins to go to the source of the inflammation and reduce the inflammation, working together to make your body healthy again. However, if you suffer from an autoimmune disease, drinking coffee can interact with your Th-1 and Th-2 and affect their function.

6. It can ruin your blood sugar

Caffeine impairs your reaction to insulin. One or two coffees a day is unlikely to affect blood sugar levels significantly in healthy people. However, for us who suffer from autoimmune diseases, drinking coffee can lead to both blood glucose and insulin spikes after meals. The more coffee you drink, the more your insulin sensitivity is reduced. This makes it harder for the body to respond to blood glucose spikes when they occur.

7. It disrupts your sleep

If you read our series of posts about copper toxicity, you would know that last year I didn’t sleep. At all. Unfortunately, it is when we are sleeping that our body repairs all of the cell damage that occurred during the day. For us suffering from an autoimmune disease, our sleep is hampered at the best of times and drinking coffee can just exacerbate the problem.

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Vegetable Oil: The Ugly Truth

Veg Oil

You know when you roast pork, all of the fat swamps the roasting pan. That fat is lard, natural, healthy lard. Now picture roasting vegetables…when you take them out of the oven, they’re not swimming in their own fat. So what is vegetable oil then?

Vegetable oil is typically made from applying heat and pressure to seeds (sunflower, canola, corn, grapeseed, safflower, rice bran and soybean oils) and them treating them with chemicals to make sure they look like natural fats, such as butter and lard.

These seed oils are now a core component of our food supply and the world is sicker now than ever.

Unlike animal fats, vegetable oils are very high in polyunsaturated fats and in particular, omega-6 fat. Anthropological research shows that our hunter-gatherer ancestors consumed omega-6 and omega-3 fats in a ratio of roughly 1:1. It also shows that these hunter-gatherers were free of the modern inflammatory diseases such as heart disease and diabetes.

Today, the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fats ranges from an average of 10:1 to 25:1. The problem with omega-6 fat is that it is pro-inflammatory. This means a diet with a lot of omega-6 fat (and not much omega-3) will increase inflammation.

When vegetable oils interact with oxygen they release neurotoxic chemicals. These toxic molecules are dangerous because they interact destructively with our DNA.

But aren’t vegetable oils ‘heart healthy’?

It’s been drilled into us that the cause of heart disease is too much saturated fat and the secret to curing it is to eat vegetable oils instead. Unfortunately though, if you’ve read our post ‘The Truth about Fat’, you’d know that the people actively encouraging us to eat these toxins are doing so because of their industry sponsors and BIG Food.

So what? A little vegetable oil wouldn’t hurt right?

Wrong. Every spoonful of vegetable oil is doing damage to your body. Elevated omega-6 to omega-3 ratios are associated with increases in all inflammatory diseases (aka pretty much all diseases). These diseases include:vegetableoilpoison

  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Macular degeneration
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Asthma
  • Cancer
  • Psychiatric disorders
  • Irritable bowel syndrome & inflammatory bowel disease

So in short, avoid vegetable oil if you want to stay healthy and live a long life!

Mouldy Foods

Typically, when we think of mould and food we picture mould covered bread, or that fuzzy green stuff that covers fruit and veg when it has gone off. When we talk about mouldy foods here, it is not these gross, fuzzy mould covered foods, but rather foods that are sources or binders of mycotoxins.

Unfortunately, mouldy foods are very common. Because of the way we treat our soils when farming, we’ve created an environment perfect for the cultivation of mycotoxins. Farming chemicals such as glyphosate/RoundUp significantly increase the amount of toxins fungi in the soil disperse. The strongest moulds survive pesticide spray and antifungal treatment and in response to being sprayed, the moulds that don’t survive release more toxins.

Moreover, destructive factory farming methods – such as disrupting the animals’ hormones right before slaughter to gain more weight by feeding them mouldy feed – have further increased the level of mycotoxins in our food.

 

Platter of mouldy food

What’s troubling is that farmers will ensure their animals aren’t fed mouldy food until the days right before their slaughter. Mouldy feed makes cows extremely sick and can even lead to pregnant cows having miscarriages. Agricultural companies are spending ridiculous amounts of money to make sure their animals’ health isn’t impacted by mouldy food.

The scary thing is, these farms produce the conventional food that we see in the supermarket, buy and eat.

To reduce our exposure to mould, via our diet, we should be eating foods that are organic and rich in antioxidants, grass-fed protein, contain high-quality fats, responsibly sourced foods and those that are low in sugar.

Foods that are high in mould and should be avoided include:

• Corn
• Wheat
• Barley
• Rye
• Peanuts
• Sorghum
• Cottonseed
• Cheeses, including stilton and blue cheese
• Sour dairy products such as buttermilk and sour cream
• Alcoholic drinks such as wine, beer, rum, gin, brandy, whisky and cider
• Oats
• Fungi (mushrooms and truffles)
• Processed meats
• Fruit juice (and any other product that contains fast releasing sugars)
• Rice
• Nuts such as pistachios and brazil nuts
• Oil seeds
• Black pepper
• Dried fruits
• Figs
• Most coffee

Rosemary and Sage Roast Turkey

Rosemary and Sage Roast Turkey Recipe

Less than one week until Christmas!! If you’re still looking for a turkey recipe for the big day, try our Rosemary and Sage Roast Turkey. This recipe is taken from our Healed by Bacon Autoimmune Protocol Friendly Christmas Menu eBook.

AIP low fodmap gluten free sugar free christmas

We used to ask each of our guests to bring a dish to our Christmas lunch – sounds like a good plan in theory, less cooking, less cleaning up and save on money…turns out the plan is only good in theory.

One of our guests, Aunty Jane, liked to bring a “meat” dish to our Christmas dinner. Problem is, no one could ever tell what meat it actually was. In fact, one year another guest mentioned to Aunty Jane that she had slightly overcooked the pork she brought – that it was a bit tough and dry (and trust us, this guest was being very generous with ‘a bit’ tough and dry. Think chewing on a rubber boot and the dry feeling you get if you were to eat a spoon of coconut flour by itself). Looking confused, Aunty Jane replied with “Oh, I didn’t bring pork, I brought Turkey”. And from then on, (1) any meat dish Aunty Jane ever brought was just called “Mixed Miscellaneous Meat”, and (2) we started to cook the meat for Christmas dinner.

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Why I Love…MCT Oil

Fat is probably the most important nutrient for weight loss, healthy cholesterol, brain function and overall health!

Including more healthy fat in your diet is a great start to improving your health.

However, some people find it difficult to increase the amount of fat they’re eating a day (if you’re following a keto diet, fat should make up 60% to 75% of your diet).

That’s where MCT oil comes in.

MCT oil is oil made up of Medium Chain Triglycerides. Medium Chain Triglycerides are healthy, easily digestible fats that are metabolized in our liver (as opposed to other foods which are metabolized through digestion). There are 4 types of MCTs and the shorter the chain of carbon molecules in them, the faster the transformation to ketones for energy.

Here are 5 reasons why you should incorporate MCT oil into your diet.Why I love MCT Oil1

1. Hormone Support
If you’ve read our posts on fat and cholesterol you will know that fat is required for the production and balance of hormones. As MCT oil is so easily metabolised and used by the body, it can assist with maintaining a healthy level of hormones in our body.

2. Energy
MCT oil is metabolised in our liver which means they are absorbed faster and used by the body quicker (as they don’t need to be processed through our digestive system). MCT oils help with the production of ketones (read our Keto 101 post here). When we convert fat into ketones, our body has access to a more stable energy source. But also, when we use this as energy, it doesn’t create the same blood sugar and insulin spike as when we use carbs as energy.

3. Healthy Immune System
Healthy fats are required for proper immune function. The antiviral and antibacterial properties of MCT oil make it a great support for a healthy immune system.

4. Gut Health Support
MCT oil helps to give our digestive system a break because they are easily metabolised by our body. MCTs also have antibacterial properties which can help to balance gut bacteria. Just be careful with how much you take…take too much and you could be running to the toilet!!

5. Brain Health
MCT oil provides significant neurological benefits. Consumption of MCTs can delay brain aging by providing easily accessible energy to repair brain cell damage, increasing mental performance and slowing the aging of brain cells.

Why I Love…Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar (a.k.a ACV) – cook with it, drink it, even clean with it…but whatever you do, make sure ACV is a staple in your pantry.

ACV has numerous benefits, not only for those of us suffering from AI diseases, but also for overall health.ACV

However, it is important that you use organic ACV in its most raw form. Only raw organic ACV has the “mother of vinegar” in it. The “mother” is made up of living nutrients and bacteria and is what makes ACV so beneficial for our health. You will know if your ACV has the “mother” in it as you will actually see it settled at the bottom.

Here at Healed by Bacon we like to use Bragg’s ACV. We even keep a bottle of it on our desk at work and add a splash of it to our water and meals (despite weird looks from colleagues!).

But what does ACV actually do? Well…

  1. ACV aids in digestion

Hypothyroidism, Hashimoto’s and other AI diseases can cause low stomach acid, making it hard to fully digest the food we eat (you’ll know if you are suffering from this – think bloating, gas and general IBS symptoms). ACV can help with the digestive process and restore the acid/alkaline balance.

Take one teaspoon of ACV with water about half an hour before each meal.

  1. ACV can be used as a chemical free cleaner

It is important when healing from an illness to be aware of what chemicals you are coming in contact with. Many household cleaners are filled with chemicals that we really shouldn’t be using on a day-to-day basis (that eye-watering feeling when you use bleach to clean the toilet – probably not optimal for our health, right?). The main stuff in vinegar is acetic acid and can kill bacteria and/or prevent them from multiplying and reaching harmful levels. ACV actually has a history of use as a disinfectant and natural preservative.

Use one part vinegar to two parts water, plus a few drops of tea tree oil for its antibacterial qualities as an all-purpose cleaner.

  1. ACV can be used as a chemical free toothpaste

Ok, so this one might be a tad extreme for some, but when your body is extremely sensitive it is important to remove as many toxins as possible. Along with its antibacterial properties, ACV can help remove stains and residue.

To make a chemical free toothpaste, mix one part ACV with two parts coconut oil.

  1. ACV can help with the detox process

With is antibacterial and pH balancing properties, ACV can help in the detox process. Drinking ACV with warm water, first thing in the morning (before you eat or drink anything) can help remove excess toxins and sludge and in turn, improve the immune system.

Add 2 tablespoons of ACV to 250 mL of warm water and drink.

  1. ACV can aid in weight loss

ACV can improve insulin sensitivity and help to lower blood sugar responses after meals. Since ACV lowers blood sugar and insulin levels, it makes sense that it could help with weight loss. Quite a few human studies show that ACV can increase satiety, help you eat fewer calories and even lead to actual weight lost on the scale. In these studies, those who consumed ACV ate 200-275 fewer calories for the rest of the day.

To help with satiety you can, add 1 tablespoon of ACV to water before each meal, use as a salad dressing or even add it to stocks, stews and marinades.

 

ACV has quite a number more benefits that what we have covered in this blog post including improved immunity, helping to eliminate skin impurities and help in dealing with muscle fatigue.

However, just make sure you do not drink ACV straight as, when it has not been diluted, it can sometimes burn your oesophagus!

How to detox from a mould sensitivity

Removal of or a reduction in your exposure to mould is the first step to recovery. The majority of our mould exposure comes from poor indoor air quality, with exposure to water-damaged indoor environments being the largest contributor.

Here are some things you can do to minimise your indoor mould exposure:

  • Fix leaks as soon as possible.
  • Dry any damp materials affected by leaks as soon as possible.
  • Get rid of any carpets, tiles and any other absorbent or porous materials if they become mouldy.
  • Scrub mould off hard surfaces and make sure to dry the area completely.
  • Don’t paint over or cover up mouldy surfaces.
  • Ensure you have proper ventilation – avoid areas that are “stuffy”.
  • Keep air conditioning drip pans clean.
  • Keep indoor humidity between 30 and 50 percent.
  • Use air filters and purifiers/sanitizers.
  • Ensure the ground slopes away from building foundations, so that water does not enter or collect around the foundations.

Once you have improved your indoor environment, you can start to remove the toxins that have accumulated in your body.

Steps you can take to detox include:

  • Take high quality supplements that promote detoxification such as benzene clay, activated charcoal, cholestyramine powder and other binders that bind internal mycotoxins.
  • Supplement with glutathione (which is often depleted in toxin-related illnesses).
  • Test and treat for candida overgrowth –mould can lead to candida overgrowth.
  • Supplement with vitamin B12, methyl-folate, B6 and riboflavin to support methylation.
  • Avoid common mycotoxin containing foods.
  • Use infrared saunas.

If you’re one of the 28% of people in the world who have a genetic susceptibility to mould, you may be unable to remove the toxins that have accumulated in your body. Unfortunately, this means that you can help to stop the build-up of these toxins in your body, but you will have difficulty removing them.

In our next article, we’ll talk about mouldy foods.

Mould sensitivity – Do you suffer from it?

This post is the second instalment in our mould toxicity series, read the first post here.

The problem with determining if you suffer from mould sensitivity is the fact that its symptoms are often similar to those of autoimmune diseases. Often, its things like mould exposure that trigger inflammation in the body, worsening autoimmune diseases.

The Environmental Health Center – Dallas has created a checklist to determine if you have been exposed to mould and suffer from mould sensitivity. This checklist includes:

• Do musty odours bother you?
• Have you worked or lived in a building where the air vents were discoloured?
• Have you noticed water damage or discoloration on ceilings or elsewhere?
• Has your home been flooded?
• Have you had leaks in the roof?
• Do you experience shortness of breath?
• Do you experience recurring sinus infections?
• Do you experience recurring bronchial infections and coughing?
• Do you have flu-like symptoms?
• Do you notice an increase of symptoms on rainy days?
• Do you have frequent headaches?
• Are you fatigued and have a skin rash?

If you answered yes to these questions, there’s a high chance of mould toxicity. In our next post, we cover the actions you can take to reduce your mould exposure. If after this, you are still suffering and your symptoms have not improved, there are a number of lab tests that can be done. Surviving Mould has a list of these tests.

9 Reasons to Eat More Fat

Fat; what sort of chance does it have when it’s both the name of a macronutrient and a term to describe the nation’s ever increasing waistlines. Ever since we’ve been old enough to understand, we’ve been told by nutritional ‘experts’ and dietitians to decrease our fat intake (especially the dreaded saturated fat) and replace these fats with ‘heart healthy’ wholegrains, because, well, fat makes us fat. (Read the truth about fat and the food pyramid here).

Forget everything you know about fat!

In this post, we’re going to show you why you should be eating more saturated fat.

The Truth About Fat

1. Curb sugar cravings
Good quality saturated fat is more filling than carbs. Constant hunger, or cravings, is our body’s way of telling us that it is not being fed correctly. Consuming more saturated fat can help to fuel your body properly and provide you with an instant source of energy that, unlike sugar, won’t cause a spike in insulin and then an energy crash.

2. Reduce insulin spikes
Fat has the lowest impact on insulin level of all the macronutrients. Your body releases insulin in response to high blood sugar. When the body is continually required to do this, it can burn out, resulting in diabetes. Eating higher fat diets reduce the amount of insulin your pancreas has to pump out.

3. Control blood glucose levels
Fat helps to control your blood glucose level by slowing the absorption of carbs.

4. Helps with the absorption of fat soluble vitamins
Hard to believe, I know, but fat soluble vitamins such as vitamin A, D, E and K need fat to be absorbed! Following a low fat diet reduces our ability to absorb these key vitamins.

5. Keeps you feeling fuller for longer
Fat is the most energy dense macronutrient. And because fat is filling, high-fat dieters often aren’t left feeling hungry (or grumpy like low-fat diets). On a high fat diet, appetite tends to be suppressed and dieters end up eating fewer calories without even trying.

detox copper eat meat

6. Weight loss
When you reduce your carb intake and replace it with fat, your body goes into a metabolic state called ketosis. In ketosis, instead of using your glucose stores for energy, your body taps into its fats stores and burns those for energy instead. Studies have shown that people on low-carb/high-fat diets tend to lose more weight (and faster), than people on low-fat diets.

7. Reduce inflammation
When our bodies are placed under chronic stress from things such as elevated blood glucose levels, high triglycerides, low HDL levels, high blood pressure and insulin resistance, our bodies can’t react with a proper immune system response. This ultimately leads to inflammation in our body. A number of studies have shown that diets high in refined carbohydrates can lead to oxidative stress and high levels of inflammation.

8. Improves brain function
our brains are made up of 60% saturated fat and 25% of our cholesterol is found in our brain. Following low-fat diets that restrict saturated fat consumption and focus on lowering cholesterol starves our brains of the nutrients it needs to function. Saturated fat helps to form myelin, the substance that helps to connect brain cells to each other. Low-fat diets literally starve your brain!

9. Balance hormones
Saturated fat is an essential building block for a variety of hormones in our body. Hormones have a much larger impact on us than we give them credit for. In fact, hormones control all the metabolic processes in our body. The fat in our body is saturated fat, with only 3% of our fat made up of other types. This ratio is critical for our health. The more man-made chemical fats (such as canola and soybean oil) we eat, the more this ratio gets out of whack. The further this ratio gets imbalanced, the more our endocrine system is impacted and the further hormonal disturbances are exacerbated.

Read our post Keto Diet 101 for how to include more fat in your diet.

Fighting Adrenal Fatigue – The Impact of Mould

So you’ve cleaned up your diet, reduced work stress and switched HIIT for yoga…but your adrenal fatigue still hasn’t improved. It might be time to look at your living conditions.

A clear link exists between mould exposure and autoimmune diseases. It’s been estimated that approximately 50% of illnesses are caused by exposure to mould and the toxins it secretes – mycotoxins.

Exposure to the mycotoxins can have significant impacts on your health, triggering or worsening inflammation. Symptoms of toxic mould exposure can include:

• Fatigue and weakness
• Anxiety
• Brain fog
• Highly sensitive emotions
• Regular sinus problems
• Brain fog
• The feeling of being hung over all the time
• Headaches
• Light sensitivity
• Tingling and numbness of the skin
• Increased urination
• Vertigo
• Reduced memory function

If you’re one of the 28% of people in the world who have a genetic susceptibility to mould, the impact of exposure can be dangerous, often leading to chronic inflammation and ill health.

In our next post, we’ll cover how to tell if you suffer from mould sensitivity and exposure.