Do You Have Anemia?  Two Types to Be Aware Of

Do You Have Anemia? Two Types to Be Aware Of

Many, many women suffer from anemia, the most common kind being iron-deficiency anemia.

But did you know there are actually several different types of anemia?

If you are very pale, with pale conjunctivae, have heavy periods, or lack energy, you may have anemia.

The only real way to find out if you do and what kind, is to see your doctor and have a blood test run.  A good doctor will be able to discern these results to decide if your anemia is due to iron-deficiency, chronic inflammation or illness, macrocytic anemia or another cause.  

I suggest a doctor who works in functional medicine if you don’t have one you like and trust already.

For my readers, I’m primarily concerned with two types of anemia- iron deficiency and macryocytic.

Iron-Deficiency Anemia

This is the most common kind of anemia and can result from a diet too low in iron, heavy periods or even regular menstruation coupled with low iron intake, vegetarian or vegan diets, or low stomach acid among other things.

Iron is found in two forms- heme and non-heme with heme being the most available, easily used form by the body.  Heme iron is found primarily in meat while non-heme is found primarily in plants.

Vegetarians and vegans may be low in iron because they primarily consume non-heme iron.  Several factors enhance and inhibit absorption of non heme iron.  Inhibitors include polyphenols and flavanoids from things like tea and coffee, oxalic acid found in spinach, chard, berries, and chocolate, phytic acid from grains and legumes, and phosvitin from egg yolks.

Low stomach acid can cause iron deficiency anemia because stomach acid is where protein is primarily broken down for digestion.  

Those with low stomach acid typically take a hydrochloric acid supplement (like this one) that helps supplement the acid in the stomach to properly break down proteins and fats.  The best kinds are those which contain pepsin, an enzyme that helps digest protein.  I like this one.

For those with low iron intake, who don’t eat much meat, or who need supplemental iron, I recommend this brand.  It is easily absorbed and non-constipating.  Make sure with your doctor or qualified nutritionist that you need iron before you begin taking it as too much iron can be toxic.

Megaloblastic Macrocytic Anemia

Sometimes women suspect they have iron-deficiency anemia when they really have a different kind of anemia called macrocytic anemia.  Macrocytic anemia occurs due to deficiencies of Vitamin B12, Folate, or more rarely B6 which cause the release into circulation of red blood cells that are fewer than normal as well as large and immature.  This type of anemia can occur in vegans and vegetarians, those eating poor diets, as well as women with PCOS or the MTHFR gene mutation.

In vegans and vegetarians, vitamin B12 deficiencies are common due to a lack of the vitamin in the diet.  If this becomes chronic, B12 deficiences can cause macrocytic anemia.

In those with poor diet, sources of folate are rare.  Those who I worry most about are those consuming very high protein, low carbohydrate diets with very few vegetables.  Processed foods actually often contain folic acid, helping to avoid deficiency, but in an unprocessed diet that is very low in vegetables, deficiencies could occur.

Women with PCOS are more at risk of having the MTHFR gene mutation.  This mutation causes poor methylation of B vitamins like B12 and Folic Acid.  Chronically low levels of these vitamins can eventually cause macrocytic anemia.

For those with the MTHFR gene mutation, it is usually recommended to supplement with the already methylated forms of Vitamin B12 as methylcobalamin (find it here) and Folate as L-methylfolate (find it here).

Consulting a functional medicine doctor can help you get to the root cause of these issues and figure out the next steps.  A qualified nutritionist can also help you navigate the interchange of diet and anemia.

Eating a diet with ample iron is important for women as well.  Look out for a post next week on that very topic!

Have you struggled with anemia?

 

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So, just as a heads up - some links above may be my affiliate links, which means I get a small commission if you click on it and make a purchase. Doing so is no additional cost to you, but helps me tremendously. Your support is SO greatly appreciated, so thank you in advance if you choose to do so. Check out my entire disclosure to know exactly how things work.

Why Balanced Hydration is Important

Why Balanced Hydration is Important

I’ve occasionally seen a somewhat disturbing idea in the paleo community about water.

There’s an idea that we should “eat” most of our water through fresh fruits and vegetables and neglect the actual drinking of water, only drinking when we feel thirsty.

While I’m sure these people don’t mean not drinking ANY water, I think the advice can be dangerous.

It’s a nice idea to get our water from food and there may be some truth to the fact that it is better absorbed as a part of food.  But the reality is that about 80% of the water we consume as humans comes from liquid we DRINK.

And the vast majority of Americans, on healthy diets or not, are probably not drinking enough water.

We are bombarded day in and day out with cues that confuse our brains.  We often think we are hungry when we are thirsty, for example.

And that’s why relying on what we “feel” isn’t a great indicator for most people.  

Most of us know that dehydration can cause a range of health issues from fatigue and lack of energy to difficulty losing weight, yet we often place it low on the list of important changes to make to help speed weight loss or health gains.   Why water isn’t a more important part of our health conversation kind of amazes me!

Here’s where I might have people chime in to talk about the other dangerous pendulum swing- drinking as much water as you can possibly manage.

This, while well-intentioned (because the reality is that most people who try to drink a lot of water probably don’t end up going much over recommended levels) can be dangerous in the very well-disciplined, in athletes, and in others.

So how much water should you drink?

That depends on you.

The average woman should get around 9, 8 oz. cups of water a day, this is what is generally agreed upon in the scientific community and among nutritionists.  Some might need more, men need a bit more, but 9-13 cups is a good benchmark.

Caffeinated beverages like tea and coffee CAN be counted in your daily cups.  They do cause some moderate water loss but not enough to make them not count.

You all know that I’m not big on caffeine, but many people function well with some, so I recommend limiting it if you must drink it.  Caffeinated beverages shouldn’t make up the majority of what you’re drinking on a daily basis.

What about athletes?

If you’re working out regularly, your fluid needs might change.  Drinking a cup or two 30 minutes to an hour before exercise is a good idea, and then replenishing with a cup every 30 minutes throughout, but there’s no need to be gulping down tons of water.

In fact, over-hydration can cause flushing of valuable sodium and potassium in the body and can lead to serious health conditions.

Those who sweat a lot or who are performing sweat inducing activities should keep in mind that sweat is salty.  That salt is sodium and if it isn’t being replenished, especially in very hot climates during long bouts of exercise like long runs, it can cause low sodium and potassium as well, especially when combined with over-hydration.

Stick to the recommendations above, but when you’re doing something really sweaty, it’s a good idea to replenish electrolytes with some kind of sports beverage.

There are some sports powders that I like for this purpose which you can buy on Amazon that aren’t chock full of high fructose corn syrup and food dyes.

This electrolyte powder is mixed into your drink and comes in several flavors.  It’s sweetened with Stevia and is gluten and soy free.  Find the multi-flavor value pack here. 

And don’t forget to put it in your BPA free glass water bottle!

How do you stay hydrated?

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So, just as a heads up - some links above may be my affiliate links, which means I get a small commission if you click on it and make a purchase. Doing so is no additional cost to you, but helps me tremendously. Your support is SO greatly appreciated, so thank you in advance if you choose to do so. Check out my entire disclosure to know exactly how things work.

How to Camp Paleo

How to Camp Paleo

I saw a facebook video the other day talking about Japanese Forest Bathing and how it had been shown to improve health and well being, even without any form of exercise.

The personal experience of myself and many friends and relatives can confirm this anecdotally.

Being out in nature is just better. 

It’s not just about the great Vitamin D, or the great hikes.  It’s about being outside, with the trees and plants, connected to the earth the way we once were.

Ancestrally, we probably spent our entire lifetimes mostly out of doors.  Even as recently as a few hundred years ago, many of our ancestors were farming people and spent a great deal of time connected to nature. 

Somehow along the way, we’ve lost that.

But it’s that time of the year!  The weather is just right and it makes sense to hit a state park and go camping.

But seriously, have you tasted camp food?

Or what do you do when your allergies make being outside completely miserable?

And WHAT ABOUT SMORES?

Here’s a few little suggestions to make your camping trip more paleo.

Camping Food

For backpacking, campfires often aren’t allowed.  If you’re using a camp stove but sad about the very non gut friendly foods available at your local camp store, try ordering some of these.  They are paleo freeze dried meals.

No guarantees that they taste good, but its better than the alternative!  Find them here. 

For long hikes when you need a snack, there are tons of great options.  I like dried fruit from my FAVE Steve’s Paleo Goods (find out more here) or even paleo trail mix.  Yep, it exists.   And this one’s NUT FREE!!!  Find it here. 

I also like this tuna jerky for something different.

For smores I get creative.  You can make your own paleo graham crackers and marshmallows.

But honestly, I just like to get down with an awesome chocolate bar from Enjoy Life (find them here) sometimes paired with these yummy cinnamon maple graham crackery things (find them here).  

Stay Hydrated

Don’t forget to stay hydrated while you’re spending lots of time outside.  I like to make sure I do that BPA free.

Here’s a favorite bottle of mine.

Keep Those Allergies Under Control

Allergies can make things tough.  I like these allergina drops.  Find the one for your zone and they can help reduce allergy symptoms.

I also like D-hist.  It is not an anti-histamine but does the job similarly to one.  I use this product a lot. You can find it here. 

That’s all for now!  Enjoy the camping trip and remember that many of the health and wellness benefits of camping come from the relaxation and reduced restriction and anxiety of modern life.  So if you want to fudge a little and eat something you don’t normally eat, let it go!  Enjoy the moment.  Times like these don’t come around often enough.

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So, just as a heads up - some links above may be my affiliate links, which means I get a small commission if you click on it and make a purchase. Doing so is no additional cost to you, but helps me tremendously. Your support is SO greatly appreciated, so thank you in advance if you choose to do so. Check out my entire disclosure to know exactly how things work.

Filet Mignon with Shiitake Mushrooms Recipe

Filet Mignon with Shiitake Mushrooms Recipe

Today ButcherBox is sharing a super yummy recipe with us!

They’re also offering us an AMAZING deal this week, so scroll down below to find out more or click here

One of the things I LOVE about Butcher box is that its not all ground meat and cheap cuts.

You often get fancy cuts thrown in, like this filet minion.

The recipe below would be great for a filet but also would work well with the 2 FREE 10 oz. New York strips that are included in your box this month if you order by April 20th.  You’ll also get $10 off your box, by the way 🙂 

Filet Mignon with Sautéed Shiitakes

CUT NAME : 100% Grass-Fed Beef Filet Mignon

Servings: 4 Prep: 10 min Cook: 25 min

ignon comes from the French word meaning “cute” or “dainty,” and JJ Virgin’s filet mignon

recipe perfectly showcases a truly elegant cut that would make a perfect addition to a romantic

evening. Shiitake mushrooms perfectly complement the aromas of macadamia nut, tarragon,

and red wine found in JJ’s dish, originally published in The Virgin Diet Cookbook (Grand Central

Life & Style, 2013).

Ingredients:

● 2 8-oz ButcherBox filet mignon

● 1 Tbsp + 2 tsp macadamia nut oil (like this one)

● 1 large shallot, chopped

● ¾ lb shiitake mushrooms, stems removed, quartered

● 1 Tbsp chopped fresh tarragon

● ½ c red wine (or substitute additional ¼ c beef broth)

● ¾ c organic low sodium beef broth (like this one)

● 2 tsp coconut aminos (I like this brand)

● ¾ tsp sea salt (this is my fav)

● ivided¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

1. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the

shallots, and cook until they’re starting to soften, 1-2 minutes.

2. Add the mushrooms and tarragon, and cook until mushrooms have softened and started

to brown, 6-7 minutes. Stir in the wine, bring to a boil, and cook 1 minute.

3. Add the broth and coconut aminos, return to a boil, and cook until slightly reduced, about

4 minutes. Stir in ¼ teaspoon of the salt and ¼ teaspoon of the pepper; transfer to a

bowl and cover to keep warm.

4. Wipe the skillet with a paper towel; add the remaining 2 teaspoons of oil and heat over

medium-high. Season steaks with remaining ¼ teaspoon salt and ⅛ teaspoon pepper

and add to the skillet.

5. Cook steaks, turning once, until medium rare, with an internal temperature of 120°-125°F

(about 4-5 minutes per side). Transfer steaks to serving plate.

6. Return skillet to the stove on medium-high. dd the mushrooms, cook until hot, about 1

minute. Spoon mushrooms over steaks to serve.

Don’t forget to check out the awesome deal from Butcherbox this week!  $10 and 2 free NY stip streaks added to your order.  Just buy a box by 4/20!  Grab the deal here!

 

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So, just as a heads up - some links above may be my affiliate links, which means I get a small commission if you click on it and make a purchase. Doing so is no additional cost to you, but helps me tremendously. Your support is SO greatly appreciated, so thank you in advance if you choose to do so. Check out my entire disclosure to know exactly how things work.

3 Reasons to Supplement with Vitamin D

3 Reasons to Supplement with Vitamin D

Vitamin D is one of the most important vitamins, and one we are most likely to be deficient in as Americans.  Some estimates say anywhere from 80-90% of the population may have sub optimal levels of Vitamin D in the blood.

This is worrying because Vitamin D plays such an important role in health.  From reducing autoimmune issues and inflammation, to preventing disease, Vitamin D is a nutrient we shouldn’t neglect.

Here are 3 important reasons to make sure you’re getting enough, and even supplement if you are at risk for deficiency.

#1 Immune System

The major reason to supplement with Vitamin D is its importance in the immune system- with everything from upper respiratory infections to cancer.

Vitamin D has a protective effect on the immune system, helping T-cells and B-cells to to fight immune threats while also preventing autoimmune issues. 

Several autoimmune diseases (including Lupus and MS) have a high range of deficiency and supplementation with Vitamin D has been shown to improve health in these individuals.

Having sufficient Vitamin has been shown to reduce upper respiratory infections in both summer and winter.  Those with deficiencies of Vitamin D are found to suffer from upper respiratory infections much more often, even accounting for the seasons.  

Fun fact: before they knew about Vitamin D, tuberculosis patients were sent to sanitariums.  They were prescribed lots of sunlight which they believed cured the tuberculosis.

People have also taken cod liver oil for ages for its health benefits.  Cod liver oil is a great source of Vitamin D.

Vitamin D also reduces inflammation in the body, making it important for people with many health conditions like diabetes, infertility, autoimmunity, or metabolic syndrome.  

#2 Bone Health

It’s a well accepted fact in the medical community that Vitamin D is just as important for bone health as calcium because of the role it plays as a calcium cofactor.

Vitamin D helps maintain calcium homeostasis in the body.  That’s why so many calcium supplements now also have Vitamin D.  

Vitamin D promotes mineralization of the collagen matrix in bone.

Both women and men commonly don’t get enough calcium or Vitamin D through the diet and may need to consider supplementation.

Another important Vitamin for bone health, and still relatively unknown, is Vitamin K2.  Many supplements don’t contain all three and may not be as effective.

#3 Happiness

The last and best reason to supplement with Vitamin D is that it promotes happiness and emotional stability.

It is very common for people to feel sad, depressed, or anxious during the winter and to feel happier in summer.

Likewise, those who work outside or have ample sunshine time during the day report happier moods than those stuck in dark offices all day.

There’s something to this besides the fun of swimming and eating ice cream.

Vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin, is primarily processed through the skin rather than through food.  During the summer, we wear less and tend to spend more time outdoors, and this increases the amount we produce.  In turn, we get sick less often and feel altogether happier.  

Vitamin D deficiencies are associated with lower mood and decreased cognitive function.

Since Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin, it’s important not to take too much, since the body does store some.

However, Vitamin D needs range depending on specific conditions.  Recommendations for average adults age 19-50 are about 600 i/u a day to prevent deficiency.  This can come from sunlight, diet, or supplements, but it may take up to 1500 or 2000 i/u a day, depending on the individual, to keep blood levels about the recommended 30 ng/ml.

Obese individuals, those with active infections, or those taking certain medications may need twice as much Vitamin D.  Excess fat actually shuffles Vitamin D into the fat so that the body cannot use all of it.

Many in the natural health community recommend even higher levels.  They probably have a point since with the use of sunscreen, we may not be getting enough Vitamin D even during summer and food provides relatively little.

A Vitamin D blood test is relatively inexpensive and easy to order.  I’d recommend asking your doctor to run it the next time you have blood run so you can see where you’re at.  

Also recommended is to get at least 30 minutes of direct sunlight to a majority of skin per day.

If that’s not possible, I recommend taking a supplement like this one which contains Vitamin D, A, and K, all necessary cofactors.  Find it here.

Be careful if you also take other supplements or a multivitamin as these often contain Vitamin D as well and make sure you aren’t taking too much.

When looking for a vitamin D supplement, look for Vitamin D3, the form that is best absorbed by the body.

Do you take Vitamin D?  How has it helped you?

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So, just as a heads up - some links above may be my affiliate links, which means I get a small commission if you click on it and make a purchase. Doing so is no additional cost to you, but helps me tremendously. Your support is SO greatly appreciated, so thank you in advance if you choose to do so. Check out my entire disclosure to know exactly how things work.

ButcherBox Beef Cheek Tacos Recipe

ButcherBox Beef Cheek Tacos Recipe

Today ButcherBox is sharing a super yummy recipe with us!

They’re also offering us an AMAZING deal this week, so scroll down below to find out more or click here

I’m always talking about how we need to try to eat more cuts of meat, varied cuts, and try new things.

(I especially think organ meat is important by the way.)

Beef cheek may not be something you’ve thought of eating before, but it can definitely make some GREAT tacos.

You really have to try this!

Beef Cheek Tacos

Beef cheeks come from the facial cheek of the cow and are rich with connective tissue. When

cooked slowly, beef cheeks are succulent and tender, owing much of their flavor to the cheek’s

role of constantly chewing.

Cooking Tips

Method: Brine with your favorite seasonings and cook slowly over low heat until tender and

falling apart.

– Braise (Dutch oven)

Temp: Bring meat to room temp before cooking. Use a meat thermometer to ensure that meat

is done (185-190°F).

Servings: 8 Prep: 12 hr Cook: 3 hrs

Dax Phillip’s taco recipe is a great twist on the traditional tacos de lengua found at your local

taqueria. Phillip artfully replaces beef tongue with brined and braised beef cheeks, which share

the shreddable, tender texture of such cuts as pot roast or pulled pork.

Ingredients:

Ingredients for the brine:

● 2 lbs ButcherBox beef cheeks, fat trimmed

● 6 c of water

● Juice of 1 lime

● Juice of 1 orange

● 1 whole guajillo chili, stem and seeds removed

● 1 whole dried chipotle chili

● 1 whole puya chili

● ½ c sugar

● 1½ Tbsp salt

● 4 cloves garlic, smashed

Ingredients for the tacos:

● 2 c water or beef stock

● brined beef cheeks

● 2 Tbsp olive oil (like this one)

● fresh cilantro, roughly chopped

● 1 shallot, minced

● ½ avocado, diced

● 1 whole lime, cut into quarters

● warmed flour tortillas (find gluten free at the store, use corn if you can tolerate, or make your own!)

Directions:

1. Make the brine by adding everything but the beef cheeks to a stock pot. Both the peel

and the squeezed juices of the lime and orange should be included. Bring to a simmer,

stirring to ensure the salt and sugar dissolve. Once dissolved, remove from the heat, and

let it cool.

2. Add the beef cheeks to a large sealable bag and pour in the cooled brine. Seal and

place in the refrigerator overnight.

3. The following day, pour out the brine, and pat the cheeks dry. Add beef to a large saute

pan or Dutch oven. Add about 2 cups of water or beef stock, bring to medium heat,

cover. Reduce the heat to medium-low once it comes to a boil. Cook for about 3 hours.

4. After 3 hours, remove the beef cheeks, and let them cool on a plate. Once cooled, slice

and then chop the cheeks.

5. To serve, heat a large skillet on medium-high heat and add 1 tablespoon canola oil. Add

beef cheeks and cook until they have a nice sear.

6. When you are ready to serve, add the beef cheeks to a warm,toasted tortilla. Top with

fresh cilantro, minced shallot, a bit of avocado, and a squeeze of lime juice.

You all know I’m a huge fan of ButcherBox and their grass fed beef, pork and chicken.

This week only we are running a great deal for our PFW readers who want to try ButcherBox.

Just click here and you’ll automatically get 3 packages of bacon added to your first order!

Awesome!

The offer is only valid until Tuesday the 4th of April.  Find out more here https://www.butcherbox.com/paleo-for-women-bacon-fans/

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So, just as a heads up - some links above may be my affiliate links, which means I get a small commission if you click on it and make a purchase. Doing so is no additional cost to you, but helps me tremendously. Your support is SO greatly appreciated, so thank you in advance if you choose to do so. Check out my entire disclosure to know exactly how things work.