12 Foods Keeping You Overweight & Tired At Midlife

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Food Body Essentials To Reverse Autoimmune Disease

Have you been feeling run down, exhausted, and just plain sick and tired? If so, you're not alone. Millions of women struggle with autoimmune diseases, and the numbers are only rising. But there is hope!

In this episode of The Hormone Prescription Podcast, Dr. Kyrin Dunston welcomes Margaret Floyd Barry to share her journey with autoimmune disease and how she was able to reverse it using the power of food and nutrition. She also provides listeners with practical tips and strategies that they can use to start feeling better right away.

Margaret Floyd Barry is a writer and real food advocate whos been in the pursuit of the most nutritious and delicious way of eating for the better part of her adult life.

Having seen family members suffer the devastating effects of chronic illness from a young age, Margaret has long had the desire to help others find a better way back to optimal health and well-being. Through years of experience working with the most complex client cases, including reversing her own autoimmune condition, Margaret has established a powerful system for restoring health by addressing the root cause of illness.

Today, Margaret teaches fellow practitioners the same proven system she uses to get her clients life-changing results through Restorative Wellness Solutions - a two-year comprehensive functional nutrition certification program for qualified health professionals. With hundreds of alumni around the world, Margaret and the Restorative Wellness Solutions team are actively working to change the way health is delivered. Margaret also runs Eat Naked Kitchen, a thriving private practice that supports clients throughout North America and Europe, and is the author of Eat Naked: Unprocessed, Unpolluted and Undressed Eating for a Healthier, Sexier You and The Naked Foods Cookbook.

In this episode, you'll learn:

  • What autoimmune disease is and how it affects the body

  • The role that food plays in reversing autoimmune disease

  • Which foods to eat (and avoid) to heal your gut and reduce inflammation

  • How to create a personalized healing plan that works for you

If you're ready to start feeling your best, tune in now!

(00:00): It was Maya Angelou who said, Do the best you can until you know better then when you know better, do better. And Oprah famously quoted her as saying, When you know better, do better. You're gonna know some things after this podcast and then you can do better. Stay tuned to learn more.

(00:19): So the big question is, how do women over 40 like us keep weight off, have great energy, balance our hormones in our moods, feel sexy and confident, and master midlife? If you're like most of us, you are not getting the answers you need and remain confused and pretty hopeless to ever feel like yourself Again. As an ob gyn, I had to discover for myself the truth about what creates a rock solid metabolism, lasting weight loss, and supercharged energy after 40, in order to lose a hundred pounds and fix my fatigue. Now I'm on a mission. This podcast is designed to share the natural tools you need for impactful results and to give you clarity on the answers to your midlife metabolism challenges. Join me for tangible, natural strategies to crush the hormone imbalances you are facing and help you get unstuck from the sidelines of life. My name is Dr. Kyrin Dunston. Welcome to the Hormone Prescription Podcast.

(01:12): Hi everybody. Welcome back to another episode of The Hormone Prescription with Dr. Kyrin. Thank you so much for joining me today. We have a lovely guest you're gonna love. I know I say that about all my guests because I love them all. Literally they're just amazing people who are passionate and brilliant, and Margaret is no exception and she does so much work to help women. She has a powerful story as to why she's so passionate about autoimmune disease and the nutritional component and reversing it. So you'll definitely wanna hear that she is going to give you a perspective that you probably haven't had yet and we, we really get into some detailed things. So I definitely encourage you to be in a place where you can take notes cuz you're gonna wanna do that. She we're, she's gonna share with you why we are essentially complicated donuts.

(02:11): I know right now you're going what? But she's gonna talk to you about that if you've been wondering, well, do I really have to be gluten free and do I need to do it 100%. She's gonna uncover that for you and unpack that. So she's gonna answer a lot of questions that you've got about your health. She's brilliant. She also trains practitioners. She's gonna talk to you about that. She's got some super fun gifts for you. So let me tell you a little bit about her and then we'll get started. Margaret Floyd Barry is a writer and real food advocate who's been on the pursuit of the most nutritious and delicious way of eating for the better part of her adult life. Having seen family members suffer the devastating effects of chronic illness from a young age, Margaret has long had the desire to help others find a better way back to optimal health and wellbeing.

(03:03): Through years of experience working with the most complex quiet cases, including reversing her own autoimmune condition, How would you like to do that? Margaret has established a powerful system for restoring health by addressing the root cause of illness. Today Margaret teaches fellow practitioners the same proven system she uses to get her clients life changing results through restorative wellness solutions. Two year comprehensive functional nutrition certification program for qualified health professionals with hundreds of alumni around the world. Margaret and the Restorative Wellness Solutions team are actively working to change the way health is delivered. Margaret also runs Eat Naked Kitchen, a thriving private practice that supports clients throughout North America and Europe. And she's the author of Eat Naked Unprocessed Ed, and Unjust Eating For a Healthier Sexier You and The Naked Foods Cookbook. Welcome Margaret to the show.

(04:02): Thank you so much. It's great to be here.

(04:05): I'm really excited to have you. For everybody listening, Margaret did an amazing masterclass for some of my women in my virtual program in our nutrition module because she's a nutritional genius and a, a genius in the kitchen. That was fabulous and I wanted to share her with all of you. So she agreed to come onto the podcast and talk about something that she's really passionate about and that is how nutrition and gut health intersect with autoimmune disease. So we're gonna dive into that. But first can you tell everyone, Margaret, as a functional nutritionist, why are you so passionate about autoimmune disease?

(04:52): I had a front row seat, unfortunately to what really doesn't work when it comes to supporting people with autoimmune disease. My mom had very severe both rheumatoid arthritis and lupus that she was diagnosed with when I was in my teens. And she went the full on Western medical model. And in some ways she was a medical miracle. You know, like she, you know, the things that they were able to do to manipulate her immune system were profound. And yet the quality of life that she lived was, it was brutal. I mean, it was one step forward, five steps back, two steps forward, three steps back. I mean, just this slow, excruciating process of degradation. And the side effects from the drugs that were keeping her immune system under control were devastating. I mean, I remember one time she got a hangout and that hangout turned into a a three month hospital stay because it turned into an infection that, you know, her immune system was so suppressed by these drugs.

(06:05): That infection went all the way up her arm and then they couldn't get it under control with antibiotics. And I mean, it was just this huge thing. And that's just one example, but I think a profound one that, you know, something as simple as a hangout was so devastating to her. So that was the, the way that she had to live where, you know, things that none of us even think twice about could be devastating and throw her into the hospital for months. And ultimately she ended up losing her life to side effects from the drugs that were at the same time trying to keep her alive. So it was, you know, at the time I wasn't, I started studying nutrition part way through her journey and very much inspired by her journey. And then I, I just knew there had to be a better way and was really determined that, you know, not on my watch.

(06:55): Like I I, I myself actually was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease when I was pregnant with my second daughter. I was, I was diagnosed with Hashimotos and there is no way that I'm gonna let my two girls watch me slowly degrade and slowly die, essentially the way I watch my mom. And so there's, it's a very personal mission for me, not only for my own health and my own family, but for my clients and equipping other health practitioners with the tools to reverse that autoimmune process. Because here's the thing, there is so much we can do to turn around the autoimmune process through fairly simple tools and you know, we're talking about diet and we're talking about digestion and this, that might not be the whole story, but it's a huge part of the story. So I have been very, very passionate about this and made this a personal mission for years.

(07:51): Wow. That's an incredible story. And I know some people listening can relate, maybe they've have an autoimmune disease or they've had family members and watch them go through it. The immune suppressant drugs that people are put on for autoimmune disease. Cause that's essentially what is done really can wreck havoc when you get something like a hang meal and get an infection. And I love that this became a passion for you to really help people understand. I mean, it's not common in mainstream medicine that you see people heal from or resolve autoimmune diseases or go into complete remission, but in my world, in your world, we see it every day.

(08:37): Exactly.

(08:38): And so I love that you're teaching about this. What made you hone in on diet and nutrition and gut health.

(08:47): If we think back, and I just, I wanna take a little step back to just, I know that you've talked at length about autoimmune process on your podcast before, but I just wanna make sure that we're all on the same page at just the fundamentals of what's happening. Yes. Cause it really sets the stage for why the diet and why digestion are so important. So if we think about our immune system, it is this incredibly powerful system that has basically two jobs. It's jobs are to protect us from foreign invaders like viruses and parasites and bacterial infections. And the other job is internal housekeeping. And as part of these two jobs, it has an incredibly important mechanism of differentiation. So it's able to differentiate between self and other. And then it's also able to differentiate between friend and foe. And in an autoimmune situation, what has happened is that mechanism of differentiation has gone awry.

(09:46): And there's a lot of different reasons why it does that. But the, but what's happened is now the immune system is confusing enemy other for friendly self that it should be protecting and it's attacking self. And as we know, the definition of the disease is based on either the system, the body system, or the tissue that the immune system is attacking. The question is, well let's say from a medical model, it's okay, the immune system is attacking self, Let's slow down the attack, let's shut down the immune system and let's reduce the inflammation. And these are things to help get the individual feeling better. And I'm not gonna say there's not a role for those things. There's, there's certainly a time and a place for both of those things, but that's not actually addressing the most important question, which is why is the immune system making such a bad judgment call basically?

(10:38): And at its core, and this isn't oversimplification, but I think it's a really helpful analogy. If you think about any of us, when we get overtired and we're just taxed all day long, not getting enough sleep, just not never getting an opportunity to rest and recover, we start to make bad decisions, right? <Laugh>, I don't know about you. I will say I make bad decisions and I see that around me. You know, and so the immune system is very similar in that if it's constantly being taxed, it's constantly being engaged, it starts to make bad decisions. And again, there's different mechanisms for this, but fundamentally this is what's going on. So the question is, what is taxing and engaging that immune system such that it is not allowed to rest and cover such making these poor decisions? And this the you know, there, there are lots of different answers to that question, but a huge piece of this puzzle is both the diet and the digestive process because the vast majority of our immune system lives in and around the gut, right?

(11:46): Let's say it's approximately 80% of the immune system meal who has, some people say, 75 I've heard has high 85, let's just agree on, you know, roughly 80%, the vast majority of the immune system lives in and around the gut. What that means is that if we are eating foods that are triggering inflammation, then that is impacting the immune system directly. If there is any dysfunction in the digestion that is impacting immune system directly. And here's what I will tell you is that even if you don't have overtly sort of expressive immune or digestive, excuse me, symptoms, so you're not symptomatic from a digestive perspective, that doesn't mean that your digestion is working properly. You know, I do a lot of testing with my clients and I've had clients with very severe forms of autoimmune where they're very symptomatic and lots of other things. But you know, I remember one client saying to me, Oh, I could, I could digest pebbles, like I could eat rocks. My digestion is so robust. And I thought, okay, well we'll see. And we did some testing and found some pretty significant imbalances that when we addressed those imbalances, they were silent from a symptom perspective, but it was addressing those imbalances that allowed her immune system to recover and the autoimmune to go into remission. So it's a huge and really, really critical piece of the

(13:14): Puzzle. Wow. So much good to what you said, you know, a tired immune system can't differentiate itself from other and makes bad decisions. <Laugh>, I think we can all relate to that, right? With, you know, just all the, we're inundated with information and tasks to do in our daily life and who among us doesn't have decision fatigue and who among us doesn't start becoming overreactive to their environment and not differentiating <laugh>. Well, really what are the big problems in the small problem? So I, I think that what you're describing with autoimmunity and the gut and immune system, really everybody listening can relate to because it's what we're dealing with in everyday life. And I did wanna highlight what you said about the immune system, 80% around the gut. And I, I don't think most people get that. So I always like to say, right, most people think that their biggest interface with the external environment is their skin, but it's not, it's really your gut. And that's why you're, what I call military is centered around your gut because you're taking environment and putting it inside you

(14:26): <Laugh>. Yes. I mean, this is such a profound moment that we don't recognize as such and we just sort of eat mindlessly and don't think about the actual miracle that is happening. I mean, when we eat, what is happening is the outside world is literally becoming us. We are in essence walking food, right? And people don't realize that. And the interface, you know Yes, exactly. The gut is still the outside of the body. We think of it because it lives on the inside that that, but that, that's the external world. I mean, we we're basically a very complicated donut, right? And the donut hold being our digestive process, you know, and it's this big long tube things go in and then, you know, waste matter comes out. But, and in the process, of course there's all sorts of chemical processes to break down the food into its, you know, nutrient components essentially.

(15:18): And then, you know, in our small intestine we are harvesting those nutrients. They're, they're crossing that incredibly thin lining. I mean, the lining of the small intestine is one cell thick that is so tiny and it's, you know, it's got this, you know, we talk about them as the, the dis the tight junction. So these cells are lined up. I love your analogy of, of the, you know, the soldiers and the, and you know, I describe that as, as your gut soldiers and gut army all the time. You know, think about the lining of the gut made up of these cells that are standing together are sort of side by side really, really tightly and very selectively. These cells will sort of open up those tight junctions and allow nutrients to pass through directly into the bloodstream. That is the moment where the outside world is becoming us.

(16:03): And you know, along those tight junctions, there's all sorts of, let's describe them as soldiers, you know, regulating what goes into the body actually gets, goes directly into the blood and what gets pooped out essentially. So anything interrupting that process is gonna have really significant impact because if the, the lining of the, I mean the entire digestive tract, yes, but let's talk about that moment where the outside world becomes us, which largely happens in the small intestines. Then if there's anything compromising that, and we have irritation, a little bit of a tear, we have what's called leaky gut where those, those tight junctions open up or there's abrasion and inflammation that's getting, that's allowing all sorts of things to get directly into the bloodstream that shouldn't be there. It could be, you could have eaten like the most beautifully digested or grown, organically grown, locally grown <laugh>, perfectly prepared piece of broccoli for lunch.

(17:00): If that piece of broccoli is not broken down properly and gets into the bloodstream and an improper phase of digestion, your bot your immune system, which is, which is basically patrolling the blood and and patrolling that lining of the intestine to see what's going in, what's coming out there. It doesn't recognize it as broccoli or as the key nutrients that you would get from broccoli. It recognizes it as as garbage or an invader that needs to be addressed mm-hmm. <Affirmative> and needs to be gotten rid of. So you're increasing a burden on that housekeeping system and on the inflammatory process which, and it's also of course letting in toxins, letting in pathogens, letting in all sorts of things that were bound. I mean this, some of this stuff is destined for the toilet bowl and now it's getting directly into your bloodstream. That is a huge stress on the immune system.

(17:47): Right. All right, let's, I just wanna step back for a second and then we're gonna dive into more dietary culprits where you're talking about even that great organic, you know, locally farmed broccoli can be a problem. Well first off I wanna say I want a t-shirt that says I am a complicated donut <laugh>. But then back to being serious, I'm at a yoga retreat and I've been here several times over the past 30 plus years, but I heard something differently this time I've been here. And that is that they actually call your physical body your food body. Oh wow. I've never heard

(18:31): That before. Your food body, body,

(18:33): Your food body. So they don't say physical body in and you know, there's so many ancient yoga, yoga traditions. I also took a course on history of yoga and it is super complicated. So it's no wonder your snippets from one, snippets from another and everybody's confused, but they call it your food body. So move your food body onto the mat <laugh>.

(18:57): Wow, I've never heard that before. I love it.

(19:00): Right. And so I, that really highlighted for me, we always hear you are what you eat. Yeah, yeah, yeah. We've heard that since we were kids. But calling it your food body, I challenge everyone listening, start calling your body, your food body. You'll make different food choices because you, it literally is everything. When you look in the mirror, what you are seeing is broccoli, the gluten free mac and cheese I had for lunch. The basal tomato pizza not pizza soup that I had. Right? So that's what you're seeing. But let's dive into dietary culprits cuz that's really one of the first steps. People are like, should I eat gluten? Should I not eat gluten? Should I eat dairy? Should I eat? So what's up with the food we're eating and autoimmunity?

(19:46): I wanna start with gluten cuz you started it, you opened the door and that's,

(19:49): I started

(19:50): <Laugh>. That's an important one. And if you do nothing else, if you, if you're wanting to prevent autoimmune from developing, if you have already received an autoimmune diagnosis, if you have not made any dietary changes yet and you are willing to do only one thing, the one thing really needs to be to the removal of gluten from your diet. And here's why. I mean we could, we could spend hours just talking about gluten in all the different ways that it's triggering inflammation and causing digestive distress and you know, engaging that immune system. I'm gonna focus on one piece of the puzzle here, which is part of just the body's natural process that happens when you digest and break down the gluten protein, which is that it releases a compound in the gut called zen. And we talked about those tight junctions, that line that are part of the lining of the small intestine.

(20:43): Zonulin is one of the gatekeepers and zen, when you have elevated levels of lin, it opens up those tight junctions. Let's say you lived in a big old house on a super busy street in like downtown Manhattan somewhere. And normally you keep your doors and your windows closed and maybe you even have, you know, a bellman or somebody who is that gatekeeper at that front door just letting in only the people that you want into your house eating gluten. So that, that's the analogy of what it should be happening in your small intestines. These tight junctions are closed and only opening very selectively to let just what we want into our bloodstream. What happens when you eat gluten is that it releases the lin, which in basically acts like opening up all the doors in the windows of that house, right? And now anybody who's just walking down the street has easy access and so you might still have your bellman and for the front door trying madly running around and trying to only allow in the things that should be getting in.

(21:48): But that, that process gets overwhelmed pretty quickly. And so it's the same thing that happens in your gut. Basically those tight junctions just open up and now all manner of stuff can get in there. The undigested broccoli, the the toxins, the things that are destined for the, the toilet bowl, the pathogens, like all of this things that are, should not be getting into the bloodstream are getting into the bloodstream. And so gluten is in many ways the gateway food sensitivity. <Laugh>, you often, you know, one of the ways that food sensitivities are developed is that maldigested pieces of that food are getting into the bloodstream. The immune system recognizes it not as a nutrient but as the, an invader and tags it as such. That's one of the key mechanisms for developing food sensitivities. And so if you have a food like gluten that is just opening up <laugh> all those tight junctions and letting all sorts of other foods get in at the same time, that is a recipe for really both overwhelming the immune system and priming it to attack these foods regularly down the road as the enemy. And when you do that, if you think about that, if you're eating foods that are engaging the immune system like this multiple times a day every day, well that's a pretty major stressor on the immune system and that is not letting that little immune system rest and recover. And that can be one of the biggest pieces in terms of leading to an autoimmune situation. So right gluten so

(23:26): Beautifully

(23:26): I just said, so gluten is gone.

(23:29): That is gone. Bye bye gluten. But what a beautiful analogy. So gluten is like your friend who runs up and like in college you had that friend on Friday night who went and opened everybody's door and is like, we're having a party in the hall now. Yes. Right. <Laugh>, that's gluten your gateway food, your gateway drug, your gateway party maker. All right, so gluten for sure. Bye bye. Let me ask you this question cuz I know people are thinking this because you and I work with people like this every day. They're like, okay, I get it and I'm 90% compliant Margaret and Kyrin. I don't eat gluten 90% of the time, but I have to have that thing, the toast, the this, the that, the other. And they always wanna ask me, so I'm gonna ask you, Yeah. Is that good enough?

(24:21): Nope. And I'm not hardlined about a lot of things, but I'm hardlined about this. You cannot be mostly gluten free. It just doesn't work that way. You really need to have it outta the system completely. Now gluten, it sticks around antibodies to gluten stick around for a long time. I did Dr. Tom O'Brien's gluten and practitioner training program years ago where we sat through hundreds and hundreds of papers learning all the different ways that gluten is challenging to the body. But one of the key pieces is how long it hangs out in the system so it can take up to six months to completely clear it from one ingestion. So you really, you, you can't be mostly gluten free and yeah, I mean there's gonna be times where you get exposed without your awareness. That's just, it's almost impossible to avoid that. And you know, you ask anyone who's celiac where there's an autoimmune response in response to the consumption of gluten and they will tell you how insanely hard it is to be a hundred percent.

(25:25): But you really need to strive for that. If you, if you do the, oh, I'm gonna have my co salt on Saturdays, but I'm not gonna do anything other than that. Or like, oh, once a year. It really, it's actually, here's the thing, it's easier to just say I don't eat that. As soon as you open the door to a little bit, that is a very, very slippery slope. And so it's actually not only better for your health, it is way easier to implement just a full on gluten free lifestyle than it is to make exceptions. Because once you have made an exception, it's like so much easier to make the next exception and the next exception and where's the line and you know, well you did it fo