When we pack on a few extra pounds, it's common to wonder why. Is it a thyroid imbalance? Blood sugar? Poor digestion? To help explore the reasons we gain weight, we turned to Sunny Rose, Ayurvedic practitioner at Pharmaca Albuquerque.
Barring any serious issues, you may want to consider a cleanse to help overhaul your eating habits. "A cleanse is an awesome way to kick off a new lifestyle," says Sunny. "It completely changes your perspective, and it helps pulls out toxins that can cause unnatural cravings." Sunny recommends Renew Life Diet Start Cleanse, or even the Heel Detox Kit.
When cleansing, Sunny counsels people to remove acidifying foods like meat or mucous-forming foods such as wheat and dairy. Instead, fill your plate with rice and veggies and fresh juices. Further your cleanse and healthy behaviors by increasing daily activity, drinking lots of water and adding fiber into your diet.
If you do feel like something's wrong, Sunny suggests looking closely at digestive health. "From an Ayurvedic perspective, the strength of a person's digestion has a direct correlation to weight gain," says Sunny. "So I work on bringing digestion up to an optimal level." She recommends firing up the digestive system before meals with pungent herbs such as ginger. New Chapter Ginger Honey Tonic, for example, can be taken 10-15 minutes before eating to help ease digestion. Black pepper is another good way to food to boost digestive "fire."
"Digestive enzymes are also good for short-term help, but you have to be committed to changing what you eat," says Sunny. "Integrative Therapeutics Panplex 2-Phase, for example, can really help get your digestion on track." She also likes Enzymedica Digest Gold.
Sunny says weight gain can also happen when the thyroid is out of balance, usually in people suffering from hypothyroidism. "If they aren't already on thyroid medication, sea vegetables like bladderwrack, kelp and dulse are really helpful," she says. These carry high levels of iodine, beneficial for thyroid function, and can be found in many of the green food products available at Pharmaca.
She also recommends simple thyroid formulas, such as MegaFood Thyroid Strength, or Thyroid Support by Gaia Herbs. "And, of course, adrenal burnout can be a precursor to a thyroid problem," says Sunny, so it's a good idea to start with something that boosts adrenal function.
No matter what, Sunny says, it's not usually just one thing causing weight gain. That's why, she says, "It's definitely best to take a multi-faceted approach."
Talk to a Pharmaca practitioner about which approach might be best for your weight-loss needs.