Dairy-Free, Detox, Elimination Diet, Gluten Free, Grain-Free, Healthy Desserts, Keto, Keto Dairy Free, Paleo, Recipes

Coconut Chia Pudding

Recipe and photo courtesy of Leaves of Life

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup milk (I use pea protein milk to add 8g protein per cup, but any milk will work)
  • 2-3 tbsp full fat coconut cream (from the top of the can of whole fat coconut milk), warmed to liquid
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1-3 tsp honey, maple or agave syrup
  • Stevia to taste (optional)
  • 3 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/4-1/3 cup shredded coconut
Instructions:
  1. Blend first 5 ingredients
  2. Stir in chia seeds and shredded coconut
  3. Shake thoroughly
  4. Agitate for 5 minutes
  5. Allow to sit on the counter for several hours or overnight so the pudding thickens properly
Top with berries and shredded coconut and enjoy!
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CBD: What Can’t it Help?

Did you know all invertebrates have a biological system named after cannabis?  Cannabinoids, active compounds found in cannabis plants, were discovered in the 1990’s when scientists were studying how cannabis works, thus the name “endocannabinoid system” (ECS).

What Is the Endocannabinoid System (ECS)?

The ECS is a physiological system constantly working to maintain homeostasis at a cellular level. This system is made up of three parts:

  • Endocannabinoids (cannabinoids produced naturally inside the body)
  • Receptors throughout the body
  • Enzymes that break down endocannabinoids and cannabinoids (from external sources)

Scientists say CBD interacts with pain, gene activation and serotonin receptors, (among several other neurotransmitter receptors), as well as enzymes and other proteins.

Because of the numerous receptors and other sites where cannabinoids interact (both exogenous, from plants such as hemp, and endogenous, from the body), elevated or depressed levels of cannabinoids can have repercussions throughout your entire body.

Studies also indicate that CBD and other cannabinoids increase your body’s own natural production of endocannabinoids. One reason is that CBD competes for binding proteins that are responsible for transporting neurotransmitters for breakdown. This means CBD is involved in reuptake inhibition of neurotransmitters, including serotonin, the same mechanism as pharmaceutical SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibiting anti-depressants). A balanced mood can actually increase your body’s own production of cannabinoids!

Aside from its role in elevating mood, serotonin is also used throughout your body for many purposes, including bone sythesis, cardiovascular function and digestion (95% of serotonin receptor sites are located in the GI tract). And serotonin is just ONE neurotransmitter affected by CBD!

Pain Perception, Memory and Epilepsy

CBD also interacts with and desensitizes TRPV1 (transient receptor potential cation channel subfamily V, member 1), receptors found in the hippocampus and throughout the body, thereby helping patients with memory loss, pain and epilepsy.

CBD’s Role in Genetic Expression

Another class of receptors CBD activates is peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPARy), which is positioned on the surface of the nucleus inside immune and fat cells. When activated, PPARy changes which genes in your DNA are expressed, impacting metabolism, inflammation, antioxidant production and insulin sensitivity. among other functions.

Stimulation of PPARy by CBD provides neuroprotection when inflammation could be detrimental, such as following a stroke or other traumatic brain injury.  Researchers believe this interaction at PPARy explains CBD’s beneficial effects on inflammatory conditions such as ulcerative colitis, immune dysregulation (think autoimmunity, MS, asthma) and brain disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

CBD and Enzymes

CBD has been found to inhibit the enzyme that degrades the endocannabinoid anandamide, often referred to as the “bliss” molecule because it acts as a mood enhancer.

Other enzymes targeted by CBD are involved with cholesterol metabolism, mitochondrial function, melatonin synthesis, and much more!

Other Effects of CBD

Cannabidiol interacts with G-protein-coupled receptor 55 (GPR55), a receptor that influences appetite, bone density, insulin secretion and cancer proliferation.  GPR55 helps cancer cells proliferate, and CBD appears to antagonize (block) the function.

In a recent study of mice being treated with chemotherapy for pancreatic cancer, those given CBD survived almost three times as long as mice who received only chemotherapy. Click here for the study.

CBD also increases your body’s production of antioxidants, and is a potent antioxidant itself — why many skincare products now include CBD.

How does CBD Interact with Prescription Drugs?

CBD is metabolized by a group of enzymes in the liver that is collectively called cytochrome p450 (CYP450), specifically CYP3A4 and CYP2D6.  This accounts for many of the above-mentioned benefits, however, depending on how the drug is processed by these enzymes, CBD could elevate or decrease the concentration of medication in your bloodstream. This may necessitate decreasing or increasing your dose.  If your medication comes with a warning about grapefruit consumption, you’ll also need to also be cautious when adding CBD, since grapefruit targets the same CYP450 enzymes.

If you take blood thinners, anti-epileptics, HIV antivirals, or chemotherapy, it’s best to consult with your physician before taking CBD as you may require extra monitoring to ensure the proper level of medication in your system.

Having said all that, in the 3 years we’ve been recommending CBD for our patients, we haven’t had any reports of drug interactions in doses up to 180mg daily (most patients don’t require dosing above 30 mg daily).

While researching for this article, I found the following statement on the Project CBD website:

“Thus far, based on observations regarding the widespread use of raw cannabis flower and full-spectrum cannabis oil, it does not appear that there have been many problems because of cannabinoid-drug interactions….To the extent that there have been problematic drug interactions with cannabinoids, these have involved high doses of nearly pure CBD isolates…”

Whether or not you’re taking any pharmaceutical medications, it’s always best to start low and increase incrementally to achieve optimal dosing with CBD.  To read more about dosing CBD, click here.

Uncategorized

Balancing the Endocannabinoid System Without Cannabis

The Endocannabinoid System (ECS) is the body’s primary regulatory system, and is extensively and constantly involved in regulating and balancing numerous functions.  Endocannabinoid receptor sites are present in the brain, glands, organs, connective tissues, and immune system. In each tissue, the ECS works in different ways to maintain a stable internal environment (homeostasis) despite fluctuations in the external environment.

Though the ECS is named after the cannabis plant that inspired its discovery, your body continuously makes its own cannabis-like molecules called “endocannabinoids,” and you can influence and enhance this production!

Activities that Enhance Your Body’s Endocannabinoid Production

  • Yoga
  • Meditation
  • Massage and acupuncture
  • Breathing exercises
  • Unstructured down time
  • Social interaction
  • Any enjoyable activity or exercise (animal studies show only enjoyable exercise promotes endocannabinoid production; otherwise, it’s interpreted by the body as a stressor, reducing production).

Foods that Enhance the ECS

Omega-3:6 Balance

A healthy ratio of omega 3:6 enhances ECS function, and lowers levels of inflammation in the body.  Arachidonic acid (AA), an omega-6 fatty acid, acts as a precursor to the body’s endocannabinoids, but too much AA or other omega-6’s will down-regulate endocannabinoid receptors.

Food sources of omega-3 include:

  • Hemp seeds
  • Flax seeds and oil
  • Chia seeds
  • Walnuts
  • Sardines and anchovies
  • Salmon and tuna (not canned)
  • Eggs (pastured or high omega-3 only)

Foods that are Cannabinoid Helpers

Some foods contain substances that are structurally similar to cannabinoids, while some inhibit the breakdown of the body’s endocannabinoids, and others enhance endcannabinoid production or the function of the ECS.  These include:

  • Dark chocolate and raw cacao
  • Lemon balm
  • Black pepper
  • Hops
  • Oregano
  • Maca
  • Nutmeg
  • Cloves
  • Cinnamon
  • Ginger
  • Kava kava
  • Truffles
  • Echinacea
  • Camelia sinensis
  • Turmeric
  • Electric daisy
  • Helichrysum

Eat Clean and Avoid Processed Foods

Certain pesticides (e.g. chlorpyrifos and piperonyl butoxide) are known to disrupt the endocannabinoid system. Always opt for organic when shopping for:

Phthalates Shmalates

Phthalates are a group of chemicals used in manufacturing toys, vinyl flooring/wall coverings, lubricating oils, food packaging, plastics, medications, blood bags/tubing, detergents, and personal care products (Ex: nail polish, hair spray, lotion, soap, shampoo, perfume, other fragrances and much more).

Tips for Avoiding Phthalates:

  • Ditch plastic wherever possible, particularly with recycling codes 3 and 7, and never heat food in, or add hot food to plastic containers.
  • Eat organic whenever possible since phthalates are used in pesticides and are found in fertilizers used in conventional farming.
  • Avoid products that contain “fragrance” or “parfum” since these are likely phthalates. Instead, choose fragrance that boasts “phthalate-free” or “no synthetic fragrance.”
  • Filter your water to remove DEHP, a type of phthalate used in water pipes to prevent corrosion.

Summary

Like any of the regulatory functions and systems in the body, it all comes down to balance.  Managing stress and eating a healthy, balanced diet, while minimizing your exposure to toxins are all key to achieving and maintaining optimal function.

If you experience mood disorders, chronic inflammation or pain or other signs that your body is out of balance, addressing lifestyle factors should be first on the list.  To achieve balance more quickly, consider short-term use of full-spectrum hemp oil.  You can read about it the many varied benefits of CBD here, and find dosing tips here.

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