IBD and Oral Contraceptives?

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There has been a lot of debate lately regarding oral contraceptive pills (OCPs) and the effects of OCPs on women’s’ health. I’ve seen everything from the “sweaty t-shirt study” (which claims OCPs alter the way women perceive male pheromones and can possibly cause the woman to choose the wrong mate!) to articles on OCPs causing depression and leaky gut, and much more.

However, what stuck out to me most was the possibility of a connection between OCPs and irritable bowel disease and irritable bowel syndrome. So, let’s dive into the science!

A study by Hamed Khalili examined the connection between IBD and OCPs. IBD encompasses Chron’s disease (CD) and ulcerative colitis (UC).

Here’s a quick summary:

  • Oral contraceptive use was higher among patients with CD
    • However, there could be a resolution of CD upon discontinuation of oral contraceptive use.
  • Oral contraceptives can cause a 50% decrease in testosterone and dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEAS), and testosterone can modulate immune function (including cytokine production).
    • Endogenous levels of testosterone are connected to a reduction in the expression of Toll-like receptor 4  on macrophages, which play an important role in innate immunity.
  • Oral estrogen can modify intestinal permeability, a crucial component in IBD.
  • Exogenous hormone use may enhance the development of Th1- and Th2- mediated inflammatory diseases.
  • There is a link in the modification in the gut microbiome to androgen levels, which influence the development of autoimmune diseases.
  • “This supports the intriguing hypothesis that the gut microbiome lies at the crossroads of pathways linking exogenous hormone use with innate and adaptive immunity.”

In summary: IBD is complex, but there is an association between IBD and OCPs. It is important to be aware of this association. It is important to consider OCPs as a causative factor in anyone experiencing IBD while on the pill.

Full study here!

More to come on this in later posts!

What’s your opinion on this topic? Feel free to share!

Chocolate Protein Zucchini Bread Recipe

Hello beautiful people 🙂

I know I said I would post this recipe yesterday, but I had a random change of plans and ended up not being able to post! I ended up going to Atlantic City with some of my friends from the gym to the Europa fitness expo and fitness show!

I had a great time and got lots of free samples to try out! I’ll keep you guys posted on how the different brands stack up 😉

Now, on to the main event, the recipe!

I randomly threw this recipe together the other night. I had a lot of extra zucchini laying around that needed to be used up.

I happen to own a really cool food processor, Magimix by Robot coupe, that has an attachment that easily shreds any veggie I throw into it. It’s an amazing. I got mine at William and Sonoma!

Chocolate Protein Zucchini Bread Recipe

  • 2.00 scoop (42g), Protein Powder – Vanilla –I used Jamie Eason Lean Body for Her Chocolate protein.
  • 102.00 gram, Egg Whites
  • 1.50 Tbsp (15g), Unsweetened Carob Chips
  • 150.00 g, Squash, summer, zucchini, includes skin, raw
  • 1.00 oz, Love raw foods coconut flour
  • teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 tbsp water

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grate the zucchini or shred it. Mix all of the above ingredients together in a large bowl, except for the carob chips or chocolate chips. Slowly add the water to get a good consistency to the batter. You want it to be on the thicker side, but definitely pliable. Mix in carob chips or chocolate chips. Pour into a parchment lined loaf pan and bake at 350 F for 30-40 minutes or until it doesn’t look giggly anymore!

 

I topped mine with Fluff butter from D’s naturals and Bare Butter!

My Experience with Fitness Competitions

Why I’ve decided to not compete in fitness competitions:

Hey guys, long time no post!

I’m not usually one to put my personal business out for everyone to read, but I feel like this is something I have to share.

I’ve recently competed in the bikini division of an NPC fitness competition. This was my third competition. I honestly decided not to compete after the second competition, but I had made friends with these great girls at my gym who talked me into one last competition before I go into an accelerated nurse practitioner program in the fall.

I knew before going into the competition prep that it’s not really healthy. I knew that I did not enjoy prepping for competitions. I knew that I did not need to lose weight or fat (I was at a healthy weight BMI for my height). However, I wanted to be there for my friends, and I figured one last competition wouldn’t hurt.

I did a 14-week prep, which, in retrospect, was way too much for me. I did not have that much to lose, to begin with, and I lost a lot of weight really fast. I would classify myself as a bit of a perfectionist. I tend to take whatever I do to extremes. It is something I am working on changing.

I started off at about 122 pounds and quickly dropped down to about 116 in the matter of a few short weeks. Then, I was stuck at 116 for a few weeks, but suddenly my weight plummeted down to 110 rather quickly. I had not changed my diet or exercise so I was highly surprised by this sudden drop.

Toward the end of prep, I was pretty exhausted and run down. I had no energy to do much of anything besides workout and cook food. I also had a week where I was just so depleted and “depressed”. I was just sad. I could not cheer up for the life of me. Nothing was exciting or fun or interesting.

I was feeling this way towards the last 3 weeks of the prep, but I did not want to stop because I had already ordered my suit and bought new heels and the whole nine yards. Looking back, I probably should have just stopped prepping and focus more on the pressing health issues at hand, but I did not want to be a “quitter”.

What also made things even more difficult to back out of the competition was that a huge group of people from my gym were coming to watch the show and cheer us all on. I knew I would feel guilty or like a loser if I just quit with only three weeks left of the 14-week prep.

So, I pushed through and somehow made it through the last 3 weeks. Competition day came, I did fairly well. I placed 4th in my division. When it was all over, I looked at my little plastic trophy and all I could think was “wow, this totally was not worth it at all”. All of the social events I gave up, all of the pain I pushed myself through, all of the dieting I did, all of the cardio and weight lifting and days of complete depletion — and all for what? Some recognition by random judges? All to say, “I did it!, I competed and placed!”. All to say I was able to push myself to my lowest weight yet? To be able to write on my Instagram, “qualified NPC bikini competitor!”?

I understand that people love competing, and I am not knocking or belittling anyone who competes. It’s a great thing to have goals and to accomplish those goals.

However, for me, I found competing to be unfulfilling and disappointing.

And the darker side:

3 weeks post-competition and I am at my lowest weight ever. I am 106 pounds and the body fat machine at the gym won’t even register my percentage. It says “error”.

This is extremely unhealthy, especially for the female body. We need fat to function, reproduce, protect our organs, conserve body heat, and much more! I’ve cut back immensely on my workouts. I’ve upped my caloric intake, but I just continue to drop.

I have noticed some disordered tendencies in my eating too. Without meaning to, I pick diet foods. I still count what I eat and weigh and measure. I try a bit of some food, decide it’s not worth the calories, and throw it out. I am really struggling to just let myself go and eat whatever. It’s hard to get out of the “prep mentality”.

I am making huge strides to change my mentality because, at this point, it’s affecting my long-term health.

Low levels of body fat and hormone levels lead to osteoporosis later in life. I do not want to be hunched over and immobile later in life. I do not want to become permanently infertile. I want the option to be able to have children in the future. I do not want my long-term health to suffer for short-term bodily aesthetics.

So, I am working out less! I’m following an online program to cut back my workouts. I am slowly ratcheting down the length of my workouts.

I am allowing myself to indulge more.

I am probably going to start minnie maud protocols to restore my health.

I am making myself go out to eat at least twice per week to places I would have forbidden in the past.

I am challenging myself to eat “bad” foods.

I am filling my mind with positive and uplifting information.

I am reading my Bible and remembering that only God can judge me. It is a great reminder that we are more than our bodies, that our souls are what matter. Nourishing your soul can make all the difference.

Competing has really brought out a super perfectionist side of myself, a side of myself that I do not like. It is so unhealthy. I’ve never had such disordered thoughts before. All I can do is hold myself accountable for changing and setting a good example for everyone else thinking of competing or struggling with getting back to “normal” post competition.

There are so many bigger and better things I’d rather put my resources than worrying about what to eat or how my body looks. I have big goals in life that I plan on accomplishing, and I will not allow this small bump in the road to hold me back from my full potential.

Has anyone else experienced this? Please leave tips/advice/stories below!

God Bless!

Danielle

Soft Pretzel Chocolate Chip Banana Protein Cookies; Paleo, Gluten Free

Guess who’s back, back, back?! Back again.. lol jk.

I’ve got quite the recipe for you lovely ladies and gents! 😉

Introducing… SOFT PRETZEL CHOCOLATE CHIP PROTEIN COOKIES !

 

These are salty and sweet with a hint of banana flavor. They are gluten-free and Paleo! I’ve recently discovered that I do not do well with eggs. So, no more eggs for me 😦 … They were my favorite breakfast food. I ate at least 3-4 a day, maybe that’s why I developed an intolerance!! Too much of anything is not good!

RECIPE:

  • 1/4 cup almond flour (I use Bob’s Red Mill)
  • 2 scoops whey protein (I use grass-fed vanilla whey)
  • 2 TBSP coarsely ground flax seed (365 Organic)
  • 1 TBSP organic sunflower seed butter (Once Again)
  • One small banana – about 6-6.5 inches or so
  • Mega Chunks by Enjoy Life (or any other soy free, dairy free, gluten free, chocolate chips!)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/8  to 1/4 cup butter
  • Sea Salt

 

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 F.
  2. Add all ingredients to a large mixing bowl, and mix well!
  3. Use an ice cream scooper to scoop out about 10 cookies onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
  4. Bake at 350 F for about 25 minutes, or until solid and slightly browned.
  5. Melt a little bit of butter in the microwave, and use a culinary brush to brush the top of the cookies with some butter.
  6. Sprinkle sea salt on top.
  7. ENJOY!

*Store in an airtight container in the fridge!

Maximize Muscle

Hello lovely people!

It’s been a little while.

But I’m back with more knowledge to share ! 🙂

First, I’d like to say that I’m currently sipping organic Mexican Chiapas coffee with grass-fed heavy cream and a few drops of vanilla creme stevia. I’ve never put heavy cream in my coffee before. It is the best  thing in the entire world. Try it!

This is the cream I used. I found it at Whole Foods.

 

So tips for gaining muscle and maximizing fat loss!

  • Lift weights, but vary your training. Your training should include a mixture of endurance, agility, and speed training. Resistance training is catabolic. It breaks down muscle fibers, but it triggers an anabolic process when muscle fibers have to rebuild themselves in order to handle more stress in the future.
  • Train for your goals. Velocity and high-speed training will more likely develop lean muscle. Muscular strength is acquired through maximizing resistance and minimizing endurance. Training only for strength can minimize muscle endurance. The body has a muscle mass set point. The body will try to remain at that set point. At a certain point, as long as your not using steroids, your muscle gain will cease.
  • Vary your food intake. Periods of under eating can actually be beneficial. When you undereat, you trigger a mechanism that detoxes your body. It clears out unused proteins and recycles nutrients. However, under eating should never exceed 24 hours. Muscle breakdown will occur if undereating is sustained for too long. If you under eat for a few days, you should compensate by overeating during one meal the next day. This will help you avoid metabolic decline and muscle breakdown. Over time, under eating and then overeating will allow you to increase your metabolic capacity.
  • Vary your macronutrients. Slow twitch muscle fibers are endurance muscles. They have more mitochondria. Mitochondria use fat for energy. If you are going to perform mostly endurance training, it may be best to eat a higher fat, lower carb diet. It will take your body a few weeks to months to adjust to this diet, but once you adjust you will have tons of energy. If you’re training for strength, velocity, and speed, your diet should be higher in carbohydrates because these muscles use glucose more readily. There is apparently a “super muscle fiber” that can use both sources of fuel efficiently. By varying your training you can help to create “super muscle fibers”.
  • Post recovery meals are essential. It is so important to eat a recovery meal after a workout to stimulate insulin release and IGF1. Protein with fast and slow release is the best source of protein. The fast will immediately be used in the damaged muscles, while the slow releasing protein will sustain anabolic activity throughout the day. Low glycemic carb sources are the best to help rebuild muscles. There is no need to overly spike insulin to receive the benefits of carbohydrates in muscle repair and growth. Whey protein is naturally high in IGF1 and can promote muscle growth. The best fat sources to eat post workout are MCT oil fat sources because these are short-chain fatty acids that are able to be used immediately and help to repair the muscle. Avoid cheap, overly processed, chemical foods that can cause hormonal deregulation and stress the liver.
    • Most commercial protein powders do not include all the essential amino acids.
    • Minerals are important to replenish after a workout too.
    • Carbs should come from non-fructose sources, fibrous sources, and low glycemic sources.
    • Incorporating high fat and high carb days will increase mitochondrial density and glycogen reserves, as well as increase performance in the gym.
  • Keep your detox organs healthy! Liver detoxification is critical to fat loss. Your liver needs to be functioning at its optimally capacity to maximize fat loss. The liver plays a roll in processing nutrients for fuel and producing steroid hormones.
  • Eliminate the reasons for fat tissue to exist. Fat tissues produce hormones, hold toxins, and protects the body from chronic overfeeding or underfeeding.
    • Avoid chronic calorie restriction.
    • Avoid long-term low carb diets.
    • Avoid hormone-disrupting substances (plastics, fertilizers, chemicals, herbicides, etc.)

Above all: TRIAL AND ERROR. Find what works for YOU and your specific body type! We are all different!

 

 

You can read more about this in the book: “Maximum Muscle, Minimum Fat”

 

Have a blessed day!

-Fitgirlfab