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Episode 94: Gut Health, Inflammation and Fueling Your Body Properly with Hope Pedraza

Brief summary of show:

In this episode, we’re talking about gut health, inflammation and fueling your body properly with Hope Pedraza.

If you’re feeling sluggish, especially after the holidays, this conversation is the reset you need to get your gut back on track.

Hope Pedraza is a certified holistic nutritionist, functional diagnostic nutrition practitioner, founder of inBalance, a pilates based fitness franchise as well as the host of the Hopeful and Wholesome podcast.

Listen in as we talk about:

  • [2:25] The correlation between gut and hormones

  • [4:40] Is gut health a one-size-fits-all?

  • [5:25] How to make gut health 'easy'?

  • [9:50] The connection between gut health and autoimmune issues

  • [12:40] What is inflammation and how can we reduce it?

  • [16:00] The tests you can do to find out what you should and shouldn't be eating

Notes from Natalie:

Connect with Hope Pedraza

Connect with Me

View Transcript for this Episode

[00:00:00] Natalie: Gut health, inflammation fueling your body for what you need, not what the world tells you. It's all in today's podcast.


[00:00:10] Natalie: Hi everyone, it's Natalie. I hope your 2023 is off to a great start. I'm so excited for what I have coming up on the podcast this year. After diving deep into all of my podcasts last year, I have learned what you like and what you want more of.

[00:00:27] I think many of you are like me in want. Feel better and feel healthy. My guest today is Hope Praza. She's a certified holistic nutritionist, functional diagnostic nutrition practitioner, founder of Imbalance of Pilates based fitness franchise, as well as the host of the Hopeful and Wholesome podcast.

[00:00:48] Here's what we are about to talk about. Hormonal issues and how they are usually side effects of something else going on in your body. And also to have a healthy gut, you have to eat [00:01:00] foods with fiber and how that can, and probably should be more of a plant-based diet. Also, how to stay away from inflammatory foods, food sensitivities, what they mean and how you can determine if it's something you have and.

[00:01:17] Might be causing food sensitivity issues for you. Also stress how that impacts autoimmunity issues or organ wear out. We're gonna talk about sugar, alcohol, processed foods and inflammatory oils. What are those? Also today tips for just feeling better overall. Yep. It is a jam-packed episode for wellness today.

[00:01:40] As always, please let me know what you're thinking about the podcast. I love hearing from you. Let's get started with Hope Praza.

[00:01:48] Hope. Thanks for joining me today. We hear so much about gut health. We now know most of us how important it is, but

[00:01:56] I wanna talk about this correlation between gut health and [00:02:00] hormones.

[00:02:00] Hope: Yeah, yeah, yeah. It's a good question, and I think a lot of times people come to me and they want help with their hormones when actually.

[00:02:09] The hormone issues that you're experiencing are really just side effects, like anything going on with your hormones. Like hormones are never the first place that I look when I'm working. My clients hormones are typically a side effect of something else, and typically it's something going on in the gut and there's such a strong connection between the hormones and the gut.

[00:02:24] And so just this kind of a reference point, so your gut is, It consists of your entire digestive tract, from your mouth down to your colon. There are hundreds of trillions of little cells in your gut. There's hundreds of millions of different bacteria in your gut, in your gut microbiome. So all of these things are making up the gut.

[00:02:44] So when you hear the term microbiome, it's all the bacteria. And the fungi and the microbes, all the enzymes, all these things in your gut, in all of these are in some way, shape or form connected to your hormones. Every hormone in your body is in some way affected by your gut. Whether it's made there [00:03:00] or it's metabolites are made there, or there's enzymes made there that are required to make certain hormones.

[00:03:04] It's all connected. So we're looking at, you know, hormonal issues. I typically, that's the first place to look, is like, okay, what's, what's going on? . So

[00:03:14] Natalie: when, say when we were teenagers, everything seemed fine. I would eat the stickers. Mm-hmm. and have pasta and you know, eat these things. Now that we're thinking, oh, we probably shouldn't have all that sugar and those carbs and all of that, why is it so different now?

[00:03:27] Is it because we're older and our bodies can't handle it? Or do we just know more and we're able to associate it with problems? ?

[00:03:33] Hope: I, I think it's both. I think it's both. I think, you know, things start to catch up with you, you know, the old you get because it's that, it's just that chronic exposure to inflammatory things, right?

[00:03:44] Because eating, eating one sticker's bar isn't gonna do, you know a whole lot to you. But if you're chronically eating things that breed inflammation, like lots of sugar and processed, Foods. It's just, you know that over a long period of time is what's gonna affect you. And of course the other part is, yeah, we do know more.

[00:03:58] I mean, we do know that those [00:04:00] things, you know, cause problems and that those things do affect our gut and inflammation and all those things. But it's definitely that chronic exposure to things like that over time, that makes a huge difference

[00:04:11] when

[00:04:11] Natalie: it comes to gut health and being gut healthy, I guess you could say.

[00:04:17] Mm-hmm. , is it different for everyone? , is it a one size fits all?

[00:04:20] Hope: Totally. Never, never, never. Your gut microbiome is as unique to you as your fingerprint. So giving a one size fits all, like gut health, you know, protocol or whatever, it's not gonna work. So everybody's gut microbiome is any, even those who share your dna n your kids, your parents, like your, your gut microbiome is that unique.

[00:04:40] So there is really no such thing as a one size fits all approach when it comes to gut. .

[00:04:45] Natalie: Okay, so where do you start then? , how do you question? You know, what's good for, for my family when I'm making dinner or giving them all breakfast is do I have to have an individual recipe for each person?

[00:04:56] Right.

[00:04:56] That really, that's what it gets to for busy people is Yeah, [00:05:00] totally. Make is

[00:05:00] Hope: easy. . Yeah. Well, there's a lot of like general rules we can follow, like on a general basis, right? So things like let's, like fiber for example. Fiber's good for everybody. Foods with fiber, which are all plant-based foods.

[00:05:12] Plant-based foods are the only way you can get fiber in your diet. That's good for everybody. The fiber helps not only, you know, keeps your regular, it helps keep your blood sugar stable. It helps breed good, healthy bacteria in your gut. That's good for everybody. Everybody needs to, to do needs. All of those things.

[00:05:28] you know, adding in, you know, lots of good antioxidants, foods like, like really colorful fruits and veggies. That's good for everybody. That helps with inflammation, keep inflammation at bay. It helps, you know, promote healthy, healthy cell activity in your body and in your gut. So there are some good like hard and fast general rules that we can say, okay, this is good for everybody.

[00:05:47] Um, But just when it comes to like specifics and because like, you know, you probably people who are listening, there are some people. , for example are super sensitive to gluten people who are super allergic to gluten. And then there's some people who they could eat gluten all day and it never [00:06:00] bothers 'em.

[00:06:00] So there's things like that. There's certain food sensitivities that affect certain foods that affect people differently. Lots. Some people have food sensitivities, some people don't. So with, in that sense, that's kind of where the, the bioindividuality comes in. .

[00:06:14] Natalie: I think what's hard for, for most people, as I mentioned, just being really busy is we wanna do what's right and we wanna be healthy.

[00:06:20] Mm-hmm. , but it just feels like there's so much investigation that needs to go into it. And I know this is how you help people specifically, so. Mm-hmm. , where do you tell people to start? I mean, I, I typically would tell people just as I cover health issues. Mm-hmm. , stay away from boxed stuff and canned stuff, as you mentioned.

[00:06:39] Mm-hmm. , food from the earth and colors. But how do. How do you advise people to start to know their own? .

[00:06:47] Hope: Yeah. I think the biggest piece is, and this is probably not the exciting answer people are looking for, but I think the biggest piece is building awareness and just building self-awareness. This is something I have my clients do, like right out of the gate, [00:07:00] I have them fill out a food journal.

[00:07:01] And this isn't necessarily like just, what did you eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. But it goes deeper than that because it asks you, how did you feel before you eat? You know, what was your mood while you were eating? How did you feel after? And it's, it's more talking, getting deeper into. your thoughts and your feelings and your mood throughout the day as it relates to your food and being able to tie things together and, okay.

[00:07:21] Well, I was super bloated after I ate lunch, but I also had this really stressful meeting with my boss so my food didn't die. You know, they can kind of start to tie things together and then they can also kind of look at patterns like, okay, I ate this. , you know, certain thing for dinner this day and then my stomach felt really off and I was constipated for three days.

[00:07:39] But then I ate that thing again and I realized, oh, this same thing happened. So this particular f clearly is not agreeing with me. So when you're able to bring in that piece of self-awareness, whether it's with a food journal or you know, whatever method of your choice, you can start to kind of build that awareness within your body and, and look for patterns and kind of start to connect dots within yourself to kind of see.

[00:07:58] what foods maybe [00:08:00] aren't agreeing with you? What foods are kind of triggering reactions, what situations are triggering reactions in the body in that sense? Do

[00:08:06] Natalie: you think we have more issues today than 10, 20 years ago? Um, We mentioned a, a moment ago. We're more aware, but do you think there, there are more sensitivities to things like gluten?

[00:08:18] I mean, when I was growing up, I never knew a kid that had a peanut allergy. Totally. And now it's like peanut and tree. Yep. And whatever. Yep. Do we have more sensitivities? .

[00:08:28] Hope: Absolutely. Yeah. A hundred percent. And I think, I think part of it is we are more aware and I think, you know, that's um, I heard there was a podcast I was listening to not too long ago that I was talking about that in terms of autism, where it's like we're just more aware of the kids who have it.

[00:08:41] It may not be that there's more kids with autism, but we're more aware, but there's more testing. So I think that's kind of the same thing too with food sensitivities and maybe food allergies is we're more aware that these crazy reactions that people have, like, well, it's probably related to something you're eating, but.

[00:08:56] On the other hand, I do think that there's more, that there is [00:09:00] more, I think just in general with the amount of processed food that we're eating. Mm-hmm. , the Western diet, which. Not the healthiest diet. The standard American diet is not a healthy diet. More people are, you know, eating on the go and you're eating quicker, and they're eating what's fast and what's easy and what's efficient, which I get it.

[00:09:15] We're all busy people, but when you do that over a long period of time, it's gonna start to cost things to go haywire in the body. Yeah. .

[00:09:22] Natalie: One thing you talk about I'm really interested in is the connection between gut health and autoimmune issues. Mm-hmm. , can you tell me what some of those autoimmune issues are and how that correlates

[00:09:34] Hope: to gut health?

[00:09:35] Yeah, yeah. So the biggest connection there with gut health and autoimmunity is leaky gut, which you've probably, you've probably heard it before, intestinal permeability. And so when you, so your gut microbiome or your gut your mucosal barrier is, , basically like the lining up your gut, right? And it's only one cell layer thick.

[00:09:53] It's, it's super delicate. So one cell layer thick separates your, like what's going on in your gut, like your intestines and [00:10:00] from your bloodstream. So when you're constantly eating, inflammatory foods. When you're constantly in a stressed state and causing inflammation in your body, it's gonna cause little perforations.

[00:10:10] In this mucosal barrier. It's gonna cause little holes, which means that things undigested things in your gut are gonna leak out into your bloodstream. These are undigested proteins. Potential pathogens, bacteria, all kinds of things are now leaking out into your bloodstream, which they're not supposed to be there.

[00:10:26] That's gonna cause even more inflammation. And I think the number is like 90 to 95% of autoimmune issues are, can be traced back to leaky gut. That's it's, it's just this pr, this wow. Constant inflammation in the body. Um, And, and then that's, you know, that's how it shows that, that's how it like, kind of manifests itself in your body.

[00:10:43] Wow.

[00:10:44] Natalie: So that's a, what are some of the other things that we. We might think about in terms of autoimmune. So leaky gut, would that be some of the other immune types of issues? Just immunity in general, like I might catch a cold. More so because [00:11:00] of leaky gut and my immune system's not as, Robust.

[00:11:03] Hope: Yeah, yeah, for sure.

[00:11:04] Just, just kind of, it kind of just causes your body to start malfunctioning. Like if you can think of really any symptom you can think of, you know, constipation, headaches, brain fog, memory issues, attention issues, joint pain, muscle pain, joint stiffness. Any symptom you could possibly, possibly imagine can be triggered by things like leaky gut, cuz it's just causing overall inflammation in the.




[00:11:59] Natalie: [00:12:00] Wow. We hear a lot about inflammation. I feel like in the last, as a health reporter in the news business for many years, this word started like coming up everywhere from autoimmune to cancer, to anything.

[00:12:12] What is inflammation in general? Is this part of this leaky gut and how can we reduce inflammation?

[00:12:18] Hope: Yeah, that's a good question. So if you think of, so inflammation really is your body's natural, natural response to a stressor. So if you think about like when you scrape your knee and you, you get a cut and it scabs over, like that's kind of an acute inflammation, right? And that's your body's way of healing it.

[00:12:34] So our body has this innate ability to, you know, cause inflammation, I guess is the best way to say it, but it's when, again, talking about chronic it, it's when it becomes chronic, that's it's a pro that it's a problem. So acute inflammation is your body's way of healing itself. When you're in a chronic state of inflammation, your body is on like high alert.

[00:12:53] So, Your immune system can start to kind of run an overdrive, which when your immune system gets too hyperactive, can lead to things [00:13:00] like autoimmunity. your organs start to wear out, right? Like your adrenals start to get really tired cuz you're constantly working to try to fight off whatever your body thinks.

[00:13:07] There's like an invader or something in it. So now your adrenals are working in overdrive and then you start to, you know, things like inflammation in the gut can happen. It starts to kind of wear out. your good gut bacteria. So then you start, start to kind of get this dysbiosis, this disbalance of good and bad gut bacteria.

[00:13:23] So it's this chronic inflammation your body just thinks like there's an invader that it needs to fight off, but it's when it's in this chronically mm-hmm. that things start to go haywire in the body.

[00:13:32] Natalie: Yeah. And how do you know when that's what's happening? Mm-hmm. .

[00:13:37] Hope: So all of those little like symptoms I was talking about before, it's the little things that start to pop up, right?

[00:13:42] You, you wake up. , your joints are stiff and achy in the morning. Or like, oh, I just realized this is a big one that I hear a lot about food and I just realize it's been two days and I haven't pooped. Like, oh, I'm constipated. I, I'm getting headaches, you know, regularly. I feel like I can't focus. Brain fog is, is one that I, it's, [00:14:00] I feel like is a really common one I'm seeing out with a lot of my clients.

[00:14:02] Mm-hmm. um, A d d, adhd. Just not being able to like, really focus on what you're doing. , so, so literally any symptom you could possibly think of is a sign of inflammation by just feeling tired, just overall like fatigue. Can't get through the day. Maybe you wake up and you don't feel rested. There's something going on in your body.

[00:14:20] Natalie: but inflammation, what I'm hearing you say is can be different for everyone. Mm-hmm. , but there are some things that will cause it more. So. Processed foods, right. Sugars, things like that. Alcohol

[00:14:31] Hope: probably. For sure. Are there others? Mm-hmm. . Yeah, there are. And it is gonna be different for everybody because like I said, like in the case of gluten, some people are super sensitive to gluten, some people aren't.

[00:14:39] Dairy is another one for people. Like for me, dairy is super inflammatory for me. I've been lactose. For, I mean, I guess probably my whole life. So I know that that's something that's gonna trigger something to, you know, happen in my body. Um, Soy can be really triggering for people, but not everybody.

[00:14:53] There's lots of. Ethnicities whose diet is built on soy. So it's, you know, it, it's really is different for everybody in terms [00:15:00] of like what foods are causing inflammation, but in a general sense, yes. Sugar, alcohol, processed foods inflammatory oil. So think like super, super processed oils like canola oil and seed oils, like all of those can, can wreak havoc and really cause inflammation in the.

[00:15:18] That is so

[00:15:19] Natalie: interesting. And other than a journal, as you said, and you can start just noticing because a lot of people probably have a stomachache or they have brain fog or they have these things and they're not thinking, well, what did I do totally. Or what happened my life?

[00:15:30] Exactly. But other than a journal, is that the only way to figure this out, or can you.

[00:15:35] Do a blood test or is there, is there some magic test to tell us exactly what we should all be eating individually? ,

[00:15:43] Hope: there, there are tests you can do. Yes. And so here's the thing with those though. So there, so as a, I'm a functional diagnostic nutrition practitioner, so as an F D M P I do run like functional labs on my clients and there, there is, there are food sensitivity tests that you can take.

[00:15:57] But here's the thing with those, I find, and it is a [00:16:00] blood test, I find that a lot of. They're not as like straightforward as they seem to be. And I know you can even order these, there's companies now, you can order it online yourself. Mm-hmm. , and you can do these food sensitivity tests at home.

[00:16:10] But they're, but they can change a lot and they can change really fast. And it can be, if you're eating something a lot, sometimes that can show up on your food sensitivity test. And it doesn't mean that you're sensitive to it, but it's picking it up in your blood that, well, you eat this a lot. Mm-hmm. so your body could have some sort of, you know, antibody or something that it, it has built in that it's showing up in the blood test.

[00:16:28] So I find that a lot of times these food sensitivity tests, the most accurate way. It is definitely a way to look and see and get maybe a general idea if you have food sensitivities, but I find the best way to do it. ? Well, I think there's better labs to do to kind of tell you what's going on in your body.

[00:16:44] Like I use a GI Map, which is a stool test that gives you like a really de in-depth look of what's going on with good bacteria and the bad bacteria. These pathogens, if there's parasites, all that stuff. And I find like getting deeper answers and then kind of working from a more holistic way is the [00:17:00] best way to kind of tackle those food sensitivities.

[00:17:02] Because I find with most of my. You know, they clearly have some food sensitivities going on, but once we start to heal the body, they just kind of fix themselves. You know, they just, as we kind of lower inflammation, we heal the gut, we kind of balance out minerals, that kind of thing. The food sensitivity just kind of, they just kind of fix themselves, you know?

[00:17:19] Hmm.

[00:17:20] Natalie: So like most things in life, there's a lot like some magic.

[00:17:23] Hope: Bullet test. Exactly. It's yes, , you actually have to do the work to see the results. Exactly. I know, right. Imagine that. , what other

[00:17:31] Natalie: tips do you have for people in general when it comes to all of these things that we've talked about for just feeling better and maybe finding the right person?

[00:17:39] I, I don't know if you work remotely or people who might be looking in their area. They, they wanna make a change, but they just don't

[00:17:45] Hope: know where. . Yeah. Yeah, I do. I mean, my practice is virtual, so um, you can always reach out to me. Um, I think, I think the biggest, the biggest tip there though is to find somebody who will listen.

[00:17:56] I work with women who have like chronic [00:18:00] issues, whether it's gut, thyroid, autoimmune hormone, and pretty much every client that I work with and every woman that I talk to is, is coming to me as. I've tried all the things. I've been to all the doctors, nobody will listen to me. They've been brushed off, they've been gaslighted, they've been told that it's in their head.

[00:18:18] They've told, they just have anxiety. They've been told, just lose some weight. Like they've been told all these things. And so I think for your listeners, just finding somebody who will listen to you. without, you know, hate, shame or judgment. Listen to you and, and actually work towards a solution rather than just kind of putting bandaids on symptoms.

[00:18:36] I think that's the biggest thing is find if Yeah. Advocating for yourself and find someone who will really take the time to listen. Yeah. So,

[00:18:43] Natalie: so important as a health reporter, as I said, for so many years, people will just go with the first person they talk to. Yep. And then they're still frustrated. Yeah.

[00:18:51] Don't, don't accept that. Like, move on. Mm-hmm. . Yep. Ask more questions. Exactly. Be your best advocate. Mm. Yeah, hundred percent. Where can people find [00:19:00] you, follow you and and get more tips from you?

[00:19:03] Hope: Yes, I am on Instagram. I'm at the Hope Praza. I also have a podcast. It's live, wholesome and healthy. It's hopeful and wholesome.

[00:19:10] And then my Facebook group is live, wholesome and healthy. So all things functional nutrition, they're on Facebook.

[00:19:15] Natalie: Wonderful. Hope. Thank you so much. I've learned a lot, which is the point here of my podcast, and I encourage people to listen to yours and to just keep learning.

[00:19:24] Hope: Thank you. Thanks for having Natalie.

[00:19:26] Great to talk.

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