Joint Pain

My Story of Healing Revised

30 Dec
by Kristen, posted in Blog   |  No Comments

 

My Family: This Is What Motivates Me To Be Healthy

I decided that I needed to re-write “My Story” of how I was able to heal myself from autoimmune symptoms through real food & food based supplements.  After a few years of research and educating myself, I’ve realized many underlying factors that contributed to me getting “sick” a few years ago, and I wanted to follow up my original story with what I think really caused my illness.  I’m thankful that God has given me an inner drive to figure out things for myself & be the researcher that I am.  If I hadn’t researched, then I would be living on prescription medicine to treat symptoms that were masking the true underlying problem.  If I hadn’t done all the research, then I wouldn’t have truly understood just how powerful a role that real food plays in the body; that food truly is medicine.  Also, if I hadn’t researched so much, then who knows, I may not have been able to conceive my now 9 month old baby boy.  (Infertility can sometimes be a problem for those with autoimmune issues).  I believe with all of my heart that the Lord allowed me to become very ill in 2010 so that I could be a source of hope for others.  I wouldn’t wish the pain I went through on anyone, but looking back I’m thankful for that time of trials because since then I’ve been able to see other people find hope and healing in their own lives.

If you’ve read my original story, you know that I struggled with autoimmune type symptoms (severe joint pain/swelling), as well as nerve problems, muscle twitching, tingling in my hands, and much more. After months of visiting doctor after doctor in Nashville who had no idea what was wrong with me and whose only solution was to give more prescription drugs to treat the symptoms, I took matters into my own hands.  I decided to go gluten free and pasteurized dairy free as well.  That same week, my chiropractor referred me to a naturopathic doctor who was also a BBRE practitioner (Body Balance by Reflex Evaluation aka Applied Kinesiology).  She was able to identify imbalances in my body and heal those through food based Standard Process supplements (the brand I now sale).  I am now a certified BBRE practitioner myself as I’ve seen first hand the amazing results from it.  My N.D. also confirmed that I was sensitive to gluten and pasteurized dairy.  Many studies show that these two foods should be eliminated in people dealing with autoimmune issues.  During that same time I saw a medical doctor who is more natural minded who did a lot of blood work and even stool sampling to identify potential problems.  I’m not going to be extremely detailed here because you can read that in my original story.  To make a long story short, all of my symptoms were resolved through my diet changes; removing foods that were causing inflammation and adding important chelating foods to rid my body of toxins (mercury in particular). 

The Cause: My Silent Downward Spiral:

Now, after several years of my own research and helping my own clients get healthy, I’ve learned the toxic path that lead to my “illness.”  I never got an actual diagnosis because the blood work was inconclusive on everything the doctors tested, but all my symptoms were autoimmune in nature.  Even though going gluten free helped me to find relief in some of my symptoms, I’ve learned that gluten wasn’t the main cause of it all.

Food:  Growing up, I ate my mother’s home cooked meals, but that changed a little when I got to the age where I was eating on the run because of sporting events, practices, and my busy schedule as a high school student and later college student.  I started eating the SAD diet (Standard American diet), which included processed foods, sodas, and eating out frequently.  In college I loved diet Mt. Dew’s to keep me awake while cramming for the next organic chemistry test. I wasn’t eating enough of the good stuff that God created for us to enjoy.

Vaccines:  Some of you may know that my sister is severely mentally handicapped due to a vaccine reaction she had as an infant. (DTaP vaccine) These reactions aren’t as rare as people think-the government does its best to not tell you about them because the vaccine industry is a multi-billion dollar industry.  I’m not going to talk in depth on this issue.  All I recommend is do your own research on the safety of vaccines.  See the CDC’s Vaccine IngredientsThe Weston A. Price Foundation states, whether or not you decide to vaccinate your child, vaccinations should not be given before the age of two as the child’s immune system is still developing after birth and that’s a lot of chemicals/toxins going into a tiny baby.  Back to my story, I was fully vaccinated because my mother didn’t know she had a choice on vaccinations.  The doctors acted as if they were mandatory.  She did delay letting them give me the DTap shot by a few months-you can imagine how scared she must have been after what happened to my sister.  Unfortunately, I have had more vaccines than the average person due to all of the mission trips I have been on to third world countries.  My vaccine card would get lost, and I would get a whole new cocktail of shots that I was already up to date on.  The repetitive injections of vaccines that are full of heavy metals, neurotoxins, and other toxic substances contributed to my body’s toxic overload.  One very dangerous heavy metal that is in vaccines is mercury, which was silenty building up in my body without me even knowing.

Dental Fillings:  You may remember reading my post, “Could Those Silver Fillings In Your Mouth Be Dangerous?”  Two weeks before the severe joint pain, autoimmune type symptoms started in my body, I had my silver fillings removed at my dentist’s office.  She had recommended that they be removed and replaced with a safer substance since mercury was toxic.  Unfortunately for me, she did not follow the International Academy of Oral Medicine & Toxicology protocol on the safe removal of amalgam fillings, so my body was exposed to toxic amounts of mercury during the process.  Months later after suffering through debilitating joint pain, muscle tremors, twitching, infections, and the list goes on, I asked my doctor if all my symptoms could be related to mercury toxicity.  My doctor confirmed through a stool sample that my body had elevated amounts of several heavy metals, especially mercury.  Did you know that mercury induces autoimmune diseases in rats?  It’s extremely toxic.  I then started myself on oral chelation therapy and other regimens to detoxify my body of the mercury.

Toxicity–>Disease:  When we fill our bodies with toxic things, it’s inevitable that eventually disease will appear.  It’s only a matter of when it will appear.  While I don’t believe it was just one thing that caused my illness in 2010, I do think that the build up of mercury in my body was the main culprit.  I believe my gut health was compromised over the years with processed foods, sugar, heavy metals & other dangerous chemicals in vaccines.  And what finally caused my body to say, “I’ve had enough” was the mercury exposure at the dentist.  I’ve been working on healing my gut ever since, and I’m so passionate to help others do the same.  While you may not be able to do everything “perfectly” in regards to your health/nutrition because we are constantly surrounded by toxic things, I still believe it’s important to do our best to keep our bodies healthy. 

As 2013 is here, maybe you want to make positive changes for your health. I hear of people everyday complaining about headaches, joint pain, sleep deprivation, chronic fatigue, stomach problems, infertility, bloating, and the list goes on.  I just want to tell everyone that, “YOU DON’T HAVE TO LIVE THAT WAY.”  I believe that most health issues can be changed, even reversed by the foods we eat. I am looking forward to a healthy rejuvenating 2013 and I want you to be right along side with me living the pain free life you deserve.  As you make the decision to invest in your family’s health, I’ll leave you with this quote by Hippocrates: “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”

Naturally Yours,
xoxoxo
Kristen M. Pardue, RD, CLC

Everyone Needs A Vacation

07 Jun
by Kristen, posted in Blog   |  No Comments

Last week, my husband and I went to Hilton Head Island, SC with my family.  I must say, this vacation came at the PERFECT time.  About two weeks before the trip, my joints decided to have a flare up (pain and inflammation).  I hadn’t had this problem at all since I went gluten free and completely changed the way I viewed food. (Read my story here.)  I could not understand what was causing this flare up (neither could my doctor).  I knew that I had to do something, because I hated the pain, and I’m the type of person who has to know answers to everything (like what could be causing this). I know, I know, sometimes there are no answers. But I still dig for them.

So what did I do? I juiced more, I practiced hot yoga, I ate healthier (more than I already do), and I prayed.  The day we left for the beach was my worst day yet.  To make a long story short, after being at the beach a few days, my pain was so much better.  Some days, I didn’t feel pain at all.  You know what that means?  I’m definitely supposed to move to the beach. :) j/k  It means that I need to slow down more; take time for myself.  We could all use a beach vacation, right?  If you can’t go on vacation and relax, then find something that you can do for yourself: get a massage, read a book at a coffee shop (to get away from your to-do list at home), go to the pool, or anything that makes you calm and relaxed.

All that being said, we all need to listen to our body more.  If we are in pain, than our body is trying to tell us something.  If you’re exhausted and tired, it’s okay to skip a workout and rest.  Rest is good for us.  (I’m speaking to myself as well)

Now onto more exciting things.  I wish I would have taken pictures of the delicious food we had on vacation, but I was too busy enjoying it.  I’ll try to remember for next time.  Since I won’t be telling you about all the amazing fresh seafood we devoured, I’ll end this post with pictures from our beach vacation with my mom, dad, brother and his wife, and my twin niece and nephew.  We had an amazing time!  I am so thankful for that time we had together.

Eric & I: Dinner at Skull Creek Boathouse

My niece, Chloe, & I Before Dinner at The Black Marlin

Caden & Chloe on Memorial Day: It's Hard to Sit Still When You're 15 Months

Date Night @ Skull Creek Boathouse w/ My Brother & Amiee

My Mom & Dad w/ Their Grandbabies

My Sister-in-Law & I with the Twins

I hope you have a fun & relaxing summer!

Naturally Yours,
xoxoxo
Kristen M. Pardue, RD, LDN, CLC

Allergy Season-Tips for Relief

26 Apr
by Kristen, posted in Blog   |  9 Comments


Are you one of millions of Americans who are struggling through allergy season?  You just want to enjoy being outside without all the sneezing, itching, and congestion.  Ragweed, which is the largest culprit in seasonal allergies, grows faster as carbon dioxide increases in the atmosphere, according to the National Wildlife Federation and the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.  That being said, there is also much evidence showing that the pollen count is rising in parts of the U.S., as well as allergenic trees such as oaks and hickories.

Allergies cause an inflammatory response in the body.  For example, when pollen enters your nasal passages and lands on your mucous membranes, histamines are released.  These histamines set off a host of reactions to get rid of the intruder, such as sneezing, itching, watery eyes, etc.  Another reaction for some people is swelling in the bronchial tubes, which makes it difficult to breathe.

Personally, I have struggled with seasonal allergies for as long as I can remember.  I also suffered from chronic sinus infections, which would lead to secondary bacterial infections and a round of antibiotics.  I hated the feeling of constantly feeling sick and not being able to breathe.  Every night during allergy season, I would have to put eucalyptus oil under my nose to clear my sinuses.  I grew up sticking my head over a pot of an herb solution that my mom made up for me so I could find relief.  In college, I was so desperate for a quick fix that I popped Claritin or Zyrtec on a regular basis and still never got complete relief.  Today, I’m happy to say that I’m symptom free.  No more sinus infections or seasonal allergy issues, and I feel great!  The main solution was in my diet: I took away inflammatory foods.

TIPS TO BEAT ALLERGIES NATURALLY:
The goal is to build up the immune system by avoiding inflammatory foods and enjoying anti-inflammatory foods.

1. During allergy season, avoid sugary products and grains, especially wheat as these foods worsen your allergies.

2. Avoid or limit pasteurized dairy products. Some people may need to be completely casein free (the protein found in milk).

3. Eat more raw fruits & vegetables, which will improve your immune system. Raw foods contain more enzymes, which are essential for the digestive system to work.  Heating foods to a high temperature kills the enzymes, and a lack of digestive enzymes can be a factor in food allergies.  For many people, the underlying cause of seasonal allergies are food sensitivities and food allergies.  Your body (nasal passages, sinuses, etc) may already be inflamed and the seasonal pollen and other triggers only worsen this inflammation.  A food allergy blood test, which can test over 350 potential allergens, may be beneficial for you.  You may not have any food allergies or sensitivities, but most people find that if they at least eliminate wheat and dairy, they see remarkable differences in their symptoms.  Mine completely disappeared when I eliminated these 2 common allergenic foods.  Try it for a few weeks, and let me know how you feel.

4. Eat raw, local honey daily.  The reason why local is so important is that the bees in your area are traveling from flower to flower, collecting nectar from the same plants that are causing your allergy problems.  By eating raw honey from the bees in your area, you are building your body’s immune response to these plants.

5. Of course it’s best to eat foods high in these nutrients, but if that’s hard for you, then take these supplements:

  • Quercetin: Natural plant-derived bioflavonoid that helps to prevent mast cells from releasing histamine.  Foods high in this compound are: citrus fruits, apples, onions, broccoli, and parsley. However, allergy sufferers usually need supplemental form. Start taking supplement before allergy season for better protection.  (500-1,000 mg per day)
  • Vitamin C:  Powerful antioxidant that boosts the immune system
  • Vitamin D: Most people’s levels are low.  Get your levels checked & aim for a goal of 65.
  • Bromelain: Found in pineapple. It’s a proteolytic enzyme that reduces inflammation.
  • Probiotic:  Puts good bacteria in your gut

So if you’re miserable during allergy season, there is hope for you.  You can overcome these allergies, naturally.  Happy Spring!

Naturally Yours,
xoxoxo
Kristen M. Pardue, RD, LDN

 

Hot Yoga-Is it Really That Great?

18 Apr
by Kristen, posted in Blog   |  4 Comments

Many of you know that I do hot yoga as a form of exercise.  A lot of you ask me, “What is hot yoga and is it really that good for you?”  Let me start off by saying that I have experienced the benefits of hot yoga, and I’m hooked!  My entire life, I’ve been a huge cardio junkie and never cared for yoga because it was too slow and I never felt like I was getting a good work out.  I didn’t give yoga enough of a chance, and my perceptions were definitely wrong.

My first hot yoga class was last September (2010) at Hot Yoga Nashville, and I can’t say that the first class was amazing because it was hard getting used to working out in the heat.  Yet, the feeling I had afterwards is honestly what brought me back again and again.  The more that you go, the better it feels.  It’s hard to describe to you, so you should try to experience it for yourself.  The month of January, I did hot yoga 4-5 times a week.  That month, I felt better, my mood was lifted, my stress levels were diminished dramatically, and I had so much more energy.  After the month was over, I went to the gym to lift weights, and when I started doing lunges with dumbbells, I couldn’t believe how easy they were.  Right then, I realized just how much hot yoga had strengthened my legs.  Hot yoga is one of the ways I de-stress when life gets overwhelming.  It’s very important that you have an outlet for your stress because the toll it takes on your body can be extremely harmful.  The effects of stress are listed here.

What is Hot Yoga?
Hot yoga is a scientifically-designed series of postures that systematically stimulate the muscles, organs and glands, as well as the nervous system. As you progress through the postures, you move freshly-oxygenated blood throughout the entire body.  The studio is heated to approximately 100°-105° so that your muscles are warmed, which helps prevent injury, and it allows you to go deeper into the stretches/poses.  Sweating helps to cleanse your body from toxins through the skin.

Benefits of Hot Yoga:
Yoga builds strength and flexibility to the entire body.  “A recent study at the University of California at Davis found that 90 minutes of yoga practice four times a week over eight weeks increased muscular strength up to 31%, muscular endurance up to 57%, and flexibility up to 188% in a group of healthy college students.”  The average calorie burn is 600-800 per class.  People who practice frequently lose inches of fat, develop muscle tone, and increase strength, flexibility, balance, and coordination.  Many athletes with injuries practice hot yoga in hopes to avoid surgery by strengthening their muscles, ligaments, and tendons.  Runners love hot yoga as they are able to shave seconds and even minutes off their race time.  Hot yoga also helps to:

  • Accelerate weight loss
  • Reduce stress
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Relieve headaches
  • Increase energy
  • Promote relaxation
  • Lessen menopausal symptoms
  • Reduce arthritic pain
  • Improve coordination
  • Increase strength
  • Build stamina
  • Restore healthy immune system
  • Improve functioning of circulatory system

Hot yoga is for all fitness levels.  The classes are full of people with different levels of ability, so don’t let that scare you.  We are all beginners at some point.  I have experienced the benefits first hand, as have many others.  If you’re in a city that offers hot yoga or bikram yoga, you should definitely give it a try! Namaste!

 

Naturally Yours,
xoxoxo
Kristen M. Pardue, RD, LDN

 

Source: Hot Yoga Nashville
Photo Credit: Cherrios & A Proper Garden

Celiac Disease Vs. Gluten Sensitivity (Part 2)

29 Mar
by Kristen, posted in Blog   |  6 Comments


Yesterday I posted about the difference between celiac disease and gluten sensitivity.  Check out Part 1 of today’s post
here.

Now that we know the differences between the two, the difficult part for many people is figuring out whether they could have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity.  The first and most important thing that I could tell you in this entire post is this: Do not go on a gluten free diet until you have your doctor perform the “celiac panel” blood test on you. If you go gluten free before the blood test, then the results would be skewed.  As you remove gluten from your diet, your gut begins to heal.  Antibodies that were being triggered by gluten before the diet wouldn’t be triggered anymore, which could produce a false negative blood test.  Here are the recommended blood tests:

  • Anti-tissue transglutaminase antibody (tTG – IgA and IgG)
  • Anti-endomysial antibody (EMA-IgA)
  • Anti-deaminated gliadin peptide (DGP – IgA and IgG)
  • Total serum IgA
  • Anti-gliadin antibody (AgA – IgG and IgA)-Used for children under 2

If the antibody blood test is positive, then your doctor will most likely recommend a small bowel biopsy (endoscopically).  As of right now, the biopsy is considered the only way to truly diagnose celiac disease, as it assesses how much damage had been done to the villi of the small intestines.  Unfortunately, many people went gluten free before they were actually diagnosed, so the only way for them to get a true diagnosis is to start eating gluten again and then get the blood test/biopsy.  If you’re gluten free, you can imagine how nobody would want to start eating gluten again and put themselves through the awful pain that comes along with it.  For a lot of people, they are okay with not knowing specifically which one they have: celiac disease or gluten sensitivity.  Either way, they know that they have a problem with gluten, and the gluten free diet makes them feel better.

Unfortunately, some people get the blood test/biopsy and still get inconclusive results on whether they have celiac disease or not.  For these people, it may be beneficial to get genetic testing performed.  Two specific genese are said to be necessary for celiac disease to be present: DQ2 & DQ8.  People without celiac disease can have these genes, and it doesn’t mean they will necessarily develop the disease, rather that they have a genetic predisposition to it.  Please remember that genetic testing doesn’t diagnose celiac disease; yet, the absence of the DQ2/DQ8 genes means that you don’t have it. (You could still be gluten sensitive)

Some of you may have a similar story to mine.  I got the blood test, which my doctor said was negative; however, one of my antibodies was slightly positive, which the doctor failed to tell me.  This is another reason I always tell my clients to have their results faxed/mailed to them so that you can analyze them yourself or have your Dietitian analyze them for you.  A lot of doctors will say, “You’re Fine,” but in my opinion, when it comes to blood tests of any type, what is normal for one person is not normal for another.  All of my doctors thought I was crazy when I mentioned going on a gluten free diet to see if it would help.  (You can read my entire journey to healing here.)  So, since my blood test was negative, there was never a biopsy.  I took matters into my own hands after my blood work and did the elimination diet, which completely took away all my pain.  And when I do accidentally consume gluten, my joints swell up, my knees ache extremely bad, I get a headache for days, and sometimes the tingling in my fingers return.  I also get very moody if I’ve somehow gotten gluten.  (My symptoms depend on how much gluten I’ve gotten.)  Remember, everyone’s symptoms are different, and the degree in severity of symptoms vary as well.  For many people, the longer they’ve been gluten free, the more sensitive they become.

I want to end this post with this reminder: Do not go gluten free until you’ve had the “Celiac Panel” blood test done (and possibly a biopsy).  I hope you’ve found some answers to your questions.  My prayer is that everyone living their lives with undiagnosed celiac disease or gluten sensitivity can find the cure: a gluten free diet and a life free from pain.

Naturally Yours,
xoxoxo
Kristen M. Pardue, RD, LDN

 

Source: Celiac Disease Foundation

 

Celiac Disease Vs. Gluten Sensitivity (Part 1)

28 Mar
by Kristen, posted in Blog   |  12 Comments


You’ve probably heard about celiac disease and the gluten free diet.  As people are becoming more aware of this disease, people are asking their doctors for the blood test and biopsy and getting the proper diagnosis.  But are you one of MANY people who tested negative for celiac disease, but all your symptoms went away on a gluten free diet?  Or are you living with painful symptoms, but you can’t seem to figure out what’s wrong, and you need some answers.  I hope this post gives you those answers.  I know how frustrating it is to live in pain when doctors can’t seem to figure out what’s wrong, and you just feel hopeless.  Read my story
here.

Researchers from the Center for Celiac Research have identified key pathogenic differences between celiac disease and gluten sensitivity “at the molecular level and in the response it elicits from the immune system.”  “We found differences in levels of intestinal permeability and expression of genes regulating the immune response in the gut mucosa,” says Alessio Fasano, M.D., who is the director of the Center for Celiac Research.  When people with celiac disease consume gluten (a protein found in wheat, rye, barley), their body’s immune system mistakenly attacks its own tissue.  Gluten causes antibodies to harm the villi of the small intestines, which are needed to absorb nutrients from food.  If the disease is not treated with a gluten free diet, then other autoimmune diseases can develop, as well as infertility, neurological conditions, osteoporosis, and even cancer.

According to studies, one of the main distinguishing factors between these two conditions is that people with gluten sensitivity show no signs of damage to the small intestine, unlike those with celiac disease.  (More studies need to be done on this)  Gluten sensitive individuals do show some of the same symptoms as people with celiac disease, which makes it even harder for us to distinguish between the two.  Why does there seem to be more and more people who have celiac disease and gluten sensitivity? Joseph A. Murray, a gastroenterologist at the Mayo Clinic, says that the rise isn’t just due to greater awareness.  He states that people at the age of 70 are being diagnosed who ate gluten safely their entire lives.  Dr. Murray thinks that one possible culprit of the rise in gluten intolerance is the agricultural changes to wheat that have boosted its protein content.  Wheat today has far more gluten in it than the wheat of our ancestors.  Our bodies are being overexposed to this protein.

So you may be asking yourself, “Could I have celiac disease? Could I be sensitive to gluten?”  The symptoms vary so greatly and do not have to be gastrointestinal, which is another reason some doctors don’t think to check for celiac disease or gluten sensitivity.  Please know that just because one person has a certain set of symptoms doesn’t mean that you will have the same ones.  In fact, some people show no symptoms for years.
Gastroenterology 2001 found: “…for every symptomatic patient with celiac disease there are eight patients with celiac disease and no gastrointestinal symptoms.”  Here is a list of possible symptoms from the Celiac Disease Foundation:

Classic Symptoms May Include:

  • Abdominal cramping, intestinal gas
  • Distention and bloating of the stomach
  • Chronic diarrhea or constipation (or both)
  • Steatorrhea – fatty stools
  • Anemia – unexplained, due to folic acid, B12 or iron deficiency (or all)
  • Unexplained weight loss with large appetite or weight gain

Other Symptoms:

  • Dental enamel defects
  • Osteopenia, osteoporosis
  • Bone or joint pain
  • Fatigue, weakness and lack of energy
  • Infertility – male/female
  • Depression
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Delayed puberty
  • Tingling or numbness in hands or feet
  • Migraine headaches

Some Long-term Conditions That Can Result From Untreated CD

  • Iron deficiency anemia
  • Early onset osteoporosis or osteopenia
  • Vitamin K deficiency associated with risk for hemorrhaging
  • Vitamin and mineral deficiencies
  • Central and peripheral nervous system disorders – usually due to unsuspected nutrient deficiencies
  • Pancreatic insufficiency
  • Intestinal lymphomas and other GI cancers (malignancies)
  • Gall bladder malfunction
  • Neurological manifestations

Now the difficult part for many people is figuring out whether you have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity.  Come back tomorrow for more information on this.

Naturally Yours,
xoxoxo
Kristen M. Pardue, RD, LDN

Read complete study here. http://www.biomedcentral.com/1741-7015/9/23