Nutrition

Shedding Light on Nightshades + What You Need to Know

Hola Chica!

As naturalista’s, we often already play the role of our own health detectives out of the love for truth.

Have you ever had a trigger response from a food you’ve eaten? I know that when I eat gluten, or too much of one food type over time - I feel it! It may be a pleasure reward in the moment, but boy do I pay for it later.

Sometimes we have no idea where a ‘reaction’ comes from, nor does it always show up in your gut. Other common reactions can be foggy brain, insomnia and commonly - our skin.

There are common foods that cause allergies such as egg and dairy, but one heavy hitter the health industry is starting to recognize more than others are NIGHTSHADES and the active agitator within it called “Lectin.”

Later, I’ll help us connect the dots to how nightshades potentially affect our skin, but today’s dialog is breaking down the basics of new nutritional science I deem highly valuable to know for yourself, or someone you know.

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Nightshades are a family of plants known as Solanaceae. The family includes some pretty popular veggies like:

  • Potatoes

  • Tomatoes

  • Eggplant

  • Peppers (including bell, cayenne pepper, and paprika)

WHY NUTRITIONISTS SUGGEST AVOIDING NIGHTSHADES

Many health experts believe you should avoid the nightshade family altogether. Why? There are a couple of reasons.

I’ve already mentioned an alkaloid called solanine. But nightshades also contain the alkaloids capsaicin and nicotine (yes, nicotine — tobacco is part of the nightshade family, after all). And all of these alkaloids may have irritating effects on the body.

Solanine has been linked to aggravated joint pain and inflammation. Though no scientific studies currently support this finding, The Arthritis Foundation reports that many patients do find this to be the case.

Nicotine is found in tobacco plants (also a nightshade family member) as well as these common nightshade vegetables. Amounts of nicotine in the veggies can range from 2-7 microgram/kg (a cigarette averages about 12 milligrams) but decrease with the fading of “green” coloring. So when a tomato ripens it does decrease in nicotine.

The bottom line with alkaloids is: Though they may not affect everyone, some people are very sensitive to them because they can’t digest them properly.

According to Dr. Gundry, lectins are toxic proteins found in certain plants.

Lectins are part of a plant’s natural defense system. The problem with lectins is:

  • They can bind to cells on your gut wall

  • Damage the gut

  • Preventing you from properly absorbing nutrients.


Lectins are found in their highest concentrations in legumes, grains, and — you guessed it — nightshades.

Research has begun to show that – though some people are more sensitive to lectins than others – lectins are:

  • Toxic, inflammatory, or both

  • Resistant to your digestive enzymes

  • Able to cause major discomfort if consumed in high concentration

BEWARE! LECTIN CONTENT IS MOST POTENT IN THE PEELS AND SEEDS

If you suffer from a leaky gut, an irritable bowel, or any other gastrointestinal sensitivity you should definitely think about cutting lectin-rich nightshades from your diet to see if you notice any difference.

THE SIGNS & SYMPTOMS OF A NIGHTSHADE SENSITIVITY

Nightshade sensitivity can be very similar to a host of other conditions but generally appear as:

  • Diarrhea

  • Heartburn / Reflux

  • Nausea

  • Irritable Bowel

  • Joint Pain and/or swelling

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TUBERS

Funny word, I know. Tubers include sweet potatoes, yucca, and taro root. The sweet potato is particularly wonderful with health-promoting antioxidants like β‐carotene and anthocyanins — both of which have been shown to protect against certain health issues.

LEAFY GREENS

The following leafy greens are incredibly high in nutrients (like vitamins A, C, E, and K).

  • Romaine

  • Red & green leaf lettuce

  • Kohlrabi

  • Mesclun

  • Spinach

  • Endive

  • Butter lettuce

  • Parsley

  • Fennel

  • Seaweed/sea vegetables

CRUCIFEROUS VEGGIES

Like leafy greens, cruciferous veggies like the ones below are also high in important carotenoid-antioxidants (like beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin) as well as vitamins C, E, and K; folate; and fiber.

  • Broccoli

  • Cauliflower

  • Brussels sprouts

  • Arugula

  • Kale

  • Cabbage

  • Collard greens

  • Bok choy

AVOCADO

Hello chipotle or avocado toast (minus the gluten for me). Avocado is actually a fruit, but because it’s a first-class choice when it comes to gut-friendly veggies.

Avocados are full of healthy monounsaturated fats and soluble fiber. As well as plenty of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Research has even found the avocado may also lower “bad” LDL cholesterol which is a huge contributor to cardiovascular diseases.

How to Test for Nightshade Sensitivity

The best way to test for a nightshade sensitivity is to go through an elimination diet. You’ll want to remove all nightshades from your diet (including culinary spices such as red pepper flakes, chili powder, and curry powder) and see if your symptoms resolve. If you do not experience any GI issues, fatigue, or joint pain after successfully removing nightshades from your diet, then you probably have a nightshade sensitivity.

So does that mean you can never eat salsa again? Not at all! The next phase of the elimination diet is the reintroduction phase. One at a time, you will begin to reintroduce each food you removed to test how your body reacts to it.

I suggest waiting two weeks before re-adding. Some people have only a very minor intolerance to nightshades, which means you may be able to tolerate some foods in the nightshade family depending on the amount of glycoalkaloids they contain

That’s it! Whether you sense a sensitivity, brain fog, digestive issues - or not, removing nightshades may be an interesting exploration.

Next I’ll dial in on how nightshades may be causing skin issues of all kinds.

I have to acknowledge just how frustrating it is to figure out triggers that confuse our inner health and outer skin issues.

Though nightshades can be an issue for people with chronic inflammatory conditions, the reason it affects skin isn’t so clear cut.

I’ll cover that in my next dialog with you.


Thanks for informing yourself, beaute! Questions? Contact me at hello@evoqbeauty.com.

Love n’ Light,

Kassandra



The 7 Top Signs of Omega-3 Deficiency

Hello lovely!


We often hear about healthy fats, for our skin, a better brain and heart health. I also previously wrote about how Omegas are the SINGLE MOST MOLECULAR COMPOUNDS we make our own endocannabinoids from to keep us in balance and optimal health.

If you don't get enough of these key fatty acids in your diet, it can lead to various health concerns including poor sleep, dry skin conditions, and even an increased risk of heart disease.


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So with this in mind, let’s COVER OUR BASES. In most cases, deficiencies can easily be fixed by making simple changes to your diet and lifestyle. Here are the seven most common signs that you may be lacking in omega-3:

Common symptoms of omega-3 deficiency, plus the healthy fats you should be eating

1. Dry skin

One of the secrets to youthful and hydrated skin is omega-3 fats, which can be found naturally in the cell wall structure. But the more deficient you are, the drier your skin will be. Omega-3 also helps the skin to absorb healthy nutrients and expel waste products that are harmful, resulting in healthy looking, glowing skin.

2. Lifeless hair

The same omega-3s found in the cells of your skin can also be found in hair follicles, making it an important nutrient for lustrous, glossy hair. Omega-3 fats nourish the hair, support hair thickening and also reduce scalp inflammation that can lead to hair loss.

If you are vegetarian or vegan and think you might be deficient in omega-3, eat plenty of nuts and seeds, vegetable oils, beans, soy products and leafy green vegetables, and consider taking an omega-3 supplement.

3. Brittle nails

Soft, peeling and brittle nails are all outward signs something in your body isn't right. It could be an omega-3 deficiency. Many studies have shown that omega-3s from animal sources, such as fish oils are easier for the body to absorb versus plant based ones, so incorporate oily fish into your diet if you can.

4. Insomnia

A study from the University of Oxford found that people with higher levels of omega-3 experienced better quality sleep. However, I always advise people to take omega-3 supplements in the morning, and not at night, as they can keep you awake if taken too close to bedtime!


5. Poor concentration

If you don't eat a lot of oily fish, or take omega-3 supplements, there's good chance you may experience poor concentration. Many people have experienced significant improvements in their concentration by simply ensuring they get a daily dose of omega-3.

6. Fatigue

Regular fatigue can have many causes, but there is no doubt that a deficiency in omega-3 could be one of them. According to the University of Maryland Medical Centre, fatigue is a common symptom of an underlying omega-3 deficiency, and so boosting your diet with fatty oils could help to increase your energy levels.

7. Joint pain

Omega-3 fatty acids derived from fish oils are powerful anti-inflammatory agents - this is what makes them so important for people living with joint pain. Making sure you get enough omega-3 might stop the process that destroys tissues and joints, which causes the initial inflammation.

So there you go! My favorite fats are avocados, white fish and salmon and nuts. What are yours?

Love n’ light - Kassandra


Resource: Harpers Bazaar

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EATING + DOSING FOR ENERGY

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Walk away with the basics of eating for sustained energy throughout the day so that you can be highly productive and still have energy left over for family, socializing, or getting to the gym at the end of a full day.

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More About Steph

Steph is an Eating for Energy Coach that helps people increase energy levels and get unhooked from sugar so that they can have fewer cravings, feel energized throughout the day, and function at their peak, bringing more ease and alignment into their lives.

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BONUS!   How CBD can help to improve your mood, energy and more.

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In short, I’ll (Kassandra) give a introduction about Hemp Whole Plant Medicine (CBD)  pharmacology and how it influences a wide variety of receptor systems in body and brain that helps in controlling anxiety, addiction, depression, and improve energy levels and fight mood swings.

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Don’t miss how the top health hacks on energizing nourishment and nutrition and how your endocannabinoid system and phytocannabinoids may bring you energy and complete calm - at the same time.  

XO Kassandra

 

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