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Does your neighborhood have a Facebook group? Is there a little (or a lot) of drama in that Facebook group? If you’re like me, you try not to get involved. But there is one subject where I just can’t let go.

Every year, a fair number of kids drive or are driven to our neighborhood to trick-or-treat. It’s also known as “neighborhood hopping,” and I have very strong feelings about it.

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I take my grocery shopping very seriously. I’m not opposed to hitting three or more stores in one trip to get exactly the ingredients I want, at the price I want.

Trader Joe’s is one of my usual stops, and not just because of the tubs of kitty cat cookies. Or the tiny ice cream cones. Or the Candy Cane Joe-Joe’s, which I wait for all year.

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There seems to be a misconception out there that eating more plant-based meals means laborious meal prepping, spending a whole week’s salary on the new “it” powders and potions, and suffering through sludgy green smoothies.

But it’s a lot simpler than that.

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Modern pantries are enjoying a starring moment in kitchen design, thanks to the addition of unique shelving options, envy-inducing organizing methods, and chic lighting options. Another great pantry design trend bringing style to the table? Sliding barn doors. If you’re a farmhouse fan, try one of these charming styles in your own home.

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Whether you buy a chuck roast to cut up for a pot of stew or you pick up one of those convenient packages of pre-cut stew meat, these budget cuts of beef are known for being tough. But with the right amount of TLC and a few smart tips, you can turn inexpensive stew meat into a richly flavored meal with a surprisingly tender bite.

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While most of us probably couldn’t stand the idea of living in a tiny house, we can all stand to take some ideas from these minuscule dwellings. Even if you don’t have to put your bed in a loft over the kitchen, there are still plenty of smart ideas for your own kitchen — whether it’s 50 square feet or 500.

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Background concept wordcloud illustration of autoimmune disease glowing lightWith autoimmune conditions, the most universally effective strategy you can employ is to reduce the inflammation response in the body. Eat Primal. Stop overtraining. Stop shortchanging sleep. Reduce stress. While going Primal slashes pro-inflammatory inputs and provides the body with ample anti-inflammatory influences, some folks benefit from—at least temporarily—taking it a few steps further with specific autoimmune protocols.

But what if you have been taking all these steps and your body is still not responding? Readers occasionally ask me about Th1 and Th2 dominance in relation to autoimmunity. What does it mean if you are T1 or T2 dominant? What nutrients respond best to both? Researchers are gaining a better understanding of cytokines and T helper cells and their role in immune responses. Let’s take a closer look.

What Is Th1 and Th2 Dominance?

Generally speaking, autoimmune conditions play out through imbalances in the immune system. Frankly, the research out there regarding Th1 and Th2 dominance is fairly limited and a bit controversial, but I think it’s worth a conversation.

The terms Th1 and Th2 refer to two major populations of T-helper cells, which is a subset of lymphocytes that plays a key role in optimizing the immune system. The balance between Th1 and Th2 mediated immune response appears to play a significant role in immune system regulation. When the immune system is balanced, there is an equilibrium between Th1 and Th2 cells. However, with autoimmune conditions there are certain cytokines that become inflamed and can interfere with this delicate balance. Theory suggests that some folks have Th1 dominant immune conditions, while others have Th2 dominant immune conditions.

What Roles Do Th1 and Th2 Dominance Play in Autoimmunity?

T helper cells can differentiate into either Th1 or Th2 cells, depending on the type of pathogen that has triggered the immune response. Th1 cells are imperative for protection against intracellular viruses, bacteria and protozoa, whereas Th2 cells make interleukin required for IgE production and activation of mast cells and eosinophils important for eliminating extracellular parasites. Unusual Th1 responses have been associated with inflammatory and autoimmune conditions, whereas Th2 responses are strongly implicated in atopy and allergic inflammation.

Th1-type cytokines tend to produce pro-inflammatory responses in an attempt to kill intracellular parasites and bacteria. The main Th1 cytokine is interferron gamma. Th1 Dominance is characterized by overstimulation of immune cells, and inflammation that stems from past infections, environmental conditions (diet playing a role here), and food sensitivities. Typically, Th1 dominant folks are said to struggle with brain fog, fatigue, and autoimmune conditions such as Hashimoto’s, rheumatoid arthritis, irritable bowel syndrome, psoriasis, celiac, crohns, PCOS, lupus, MS, and lyme. In other words, pretty much most inflammatory-type autoimmune conditions.

The Th2-type cytokines include interleukins 4, 5, and 13, which are associated with the promotion of IgE allergies and food allergies, lower inflammation (we’re not looking to snuff out all inflammation, which has a critical role in healthy functioning). It’s thought that these folks tend to produce antibodies to food. In excess, Th2 responses will counteract the Th1 actions. Therefore, the optimal scenario would be that a person would have a well balanced Th1 and Th2 response. Some conditions associated with Th2 dominance include lupus, dermatitis, allergies, asthma, IBS, and chemical sensitivities.

Some food for thought: Th1 and Th2 cells are each associated with specific immune responses based upon the cytokines they secrete. For some pathogens, the presence of Th1 cytokines (IFN-gamma and TNF-beta) are considered necessary. Conversely, for large extracellular parasites such as helminths, Th2-type cytokines are considered most necessary.

And another interesting tidbit of knowledge… A fetus can switch on an immune response in utero, early in pregnancy. Pregnancy is a Th2 situation, so babies tend to be born with Th2 immune responses. However, responses can be switched rapidly in the infant, under the influence of microbiological exposure or can be enhanced by early exposure to allergens. These researchers hypothesized that people who develop full blown allergies may have been born with a weaker Th1 response.

Inconsistencies in the Th1/Th2 Dominance Discussion

Human cytokine activity rarely falls exclusively into pro Th1 or Th2 patterns. Many autoimmune conditions that have been classified as Th1 or Th2 dominant fail to meet the set criteria. Th1 polarization can easily switch to Th2 dominance just through glutathione depletion. Mercury, for example, depletes glutathione, thus polarizing towards Th2 dominance. Th1/Th2 balance is also influenced by hormones and nutrients such as probiotics, selenium, zinc, plant sterols, and other hormones. Omega-3 fatty acids significantly help with a wide variety autoimmune conditions, yet have no specific effect on Th1 or Th2.

It sounds to me like a delicate dance exists between the T helper cells, and it isn’t black and white. I’m not a believer in the ability or wisdom of definitely categorizing an individual on this basis. However, there may be value in determining if an individual tends to show characteristics that lean towards either Th1 or Th2 dominance. Physicians can order a Th1/Th2 cytokine blood panel, which can help determine if you are dominant in one or the other.

What Foods, Supplements, and Lifestyle Changes Theoretically Stimulate Th1 and Th2?

A limited amount of research suggests that there are various supplements, foods, and lifestyle changes that can stimulate either Th1 or Th2—thus, in theory, balancing the two systems. I’m on the fence about some of this, but since most are recommendations I make anyway for healthy Primal living, I’d say they’re worth considering. Even if the experiment isn’t successful, you can at least know it’s safe. As always, don’t overdo—particularly with supplementation. Add slowly, and share your plans with your doctor—especially if you’re pregnant, nursing, or being treated for any health conditions.

According to the folks at Self-Hacked, strategies for inhibiting Th1 (if you are Th1 dominant) can include avoiding lectins, exercising without overtraining, and aligning your sleep patterns with circadian rhythm. (You’ll get no arguments from me here.) Likewise, suggestions also include taking vitamin A (retinol), D3, CBD oil, astaxanthin, fish oil, chromium, and choline. Spices that help inhibit Th1 include cinnamon, cardamom, fennel, mustard and black cumin seed. Food recommendations highlight fish and avocado. I can get on board with those.

Common recommendations to inhibit Th2 (if you are Th2 dominant) include sun exposure, probiotics, cold exposure, intense exercise, and oxytocin boosting through skin to skin contact. Bee products like royal jelly, honeycomb and raw honey, as well as B6, folate, B12, vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium, zinc, copper, and iron are suggested, as are kiwi, cocoa, and coffee. (If you don’t respond well to caffeine, skip the coffee for sure.)

Medicinal mushrooms are also known to stimulate the immune system. Certain medicinal mushrooms like reishi and shiitake, and maitake can act as Th1 stimulators. Whereas, chaga and cordyceps sinensis (Cs-4) may help balance the Th1/Th2 immune systems.

For any immune concerns, I believe we all benefit from grounding, play, stress reduction, sleep, and Primal nutrition. Although I’m not ready to discount inconsistencies or ignore the limited research on the question of Th1/Th2 balance, I also acknowledge it may speak to readers who are looking for answers where traditional Primal and autoimmune protocol methods haven’t panned out.

I’m curious what your thoughts are. Have you delved into the Th1/Th2 literature or employed the suggested strategies (those above or any others)? I’d love to hear your experiences, so please share. Have a great day, everybody.

 

The post Autoimmunity Factors: The Question of Th1 and Th2 Dominance appeared first on Mark’s Daily Apple.

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When 5-year-old Sunshine Oelfke realized her friend didn’t have milk money for snack time at school, of her own accord she broke open her piggy bank. That was two weeks ago. Since then, the kindergartener has raised thousands online to pay for milk for her entire class at Birchview Elementary School in Ishpeming, Michigan.

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Eating a diet that’s more focused on vegetables seems like a challenge when it comes to getting enough protein on your plate. The truth is, however, that there are plenty of plant-based protein sources that are just as hearty and satisfying — sometimes even so when you still want to add some meat for flavor.

Inspired by some of the principles of plant-based eating, we rounded up 10 great recipes that focus on these vegetable proteins so you can bring more of them to the dinner table.

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It’s only a couple weeks until Halloween, which means you need to decide on your costume pretty soon. While spooky costumes are the norm, it’s the punny ones that always make me stop and stare. That’s why we’ve rounded up some of our new favorite food-themed punny costumes that take minimal work to make.

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