Category Archives: Inflammation / anti-inflammatory

Tips (and a Recipe!) To Beat Sugar’s Sneaky Game

Paige Doyle
Author: Paige Doyle

We all know about the high sugar content in foods such as ice cream, cookies, candy bars, and donuts. But did you know that sugar is found in a vast array of foods other than just those that are considered “sweet”? You might be surprised to find sugar in these pantry staples: bacon, sausage, ketchup, pasta sauce, peanut butter, almond butter, bread, crackers, nut milks, and coffee creamers. And that’s not all. Sugar goes by many names, 56 different ones to be exact, including barely malt, carob syrup, dextrose, diastase, ethyl maltol, galactose, lactose, maltodextrin, sorbitol, and sucrose. Even when we are trying to be health-conscious consumers, sugar can sneak its way into our diets.

Dopamine: the reason why the more sugar you eat, the more sugar you’ll want
When we consume sugary foods, the dopamine receptors in our brain ignite. Dopamine is responsible for controlling feelings of pleasure and reward. Therefore, when we eat sugar, the dopamine response encourages us to continue eating sweet foods. Insulin is another key player in sugar cravings. This hormone is found in the pancreas and tells the body to either utilize sugar for energy or for storage. When we eat foods high in sugar, our insulin levels spike, causing our blood sugar levels to rise. This gives us energy, but not sustained energy. In about an hour or so, your blood sugar levels will drop, making you feel lethargic and desiring either a nap or sweet treat.

Boost your immune system, mood, and sleep
Believe it or not, mounting evidence suggest sugar’s role in a wide array of undesired health conditions, from mood swings, acne, and poor sleep, to more severe conditions such as type 2 diabetes, depression, and Alzheimer’s disease. Not to mention that eating sugar in excess can contribute to a weakened immune system. As we gear up for back-to-school season, and the abundance of cold and flu illnesses that come with it, limiting sugar consumption can help increase your susceptibility to catching those undesired germs and viruses.

Get rid of sugar cravings naturally
A good rule of thumb is to generally avoid those packaged and highly refined foods found in the middle aisles of the grocery store. These almost always contain added sugar. Instead of reaching for a granola bar or piece of candy the next time you feel hungry, try eating an avocado, nuts, seeds, or “Fat Bombs” (see recipe below). Nourishing your body with healthy fats is a great way to curb sugar cravings. Clean protein sources, such as wild-caught salmon, grass-fed meat, and pasture-raised poultry and eggs, are also going to help you feel full and energized, without the blood sugar swings. Lastly, while carbohydrates may be getting a bad reputation these days, there are plenty of nutrient-dense vegetables that provide the body with sustained energy, while being low on the glycemic index. These include artichokes, asparagus, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, spinach, eggplant, cucumber, sweet potatoes, peppers, radishes…. the list goes on and on! If you give your body the nutrients, fats, and protein it needs, your sugar cravings will start to dwindle.

Register now, for the 21 Day Sugar Detox With Paige Doyle…
Intro to the Sugar Detox program: Why quit sugar, how the program works, and Q & A.
Thursday, September 13th, 6:15-7:45pm
Cost: $10.

3-week long Sugar Detox workshop:
$60 if you register before September 15th. $75 after that.
Wednesday, September 19th, 6:15-7:45pm
Wednesday, September 26th, 6:15-7:45pm
Wednesday, October 3rd, 6:15-7:45pm

Super Simple Fat Bomb Recipe:
Recipe adapted from Mark Sisson’s “The Keto Reset Diet”

  • 1/2 cup organic coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup organic cacao powder
  • 1/2 cup almond, cashew, or preferred nut/seed butter

Melt the coconut oil. Whisk in the cacao powder and nut butter until smooth. Pour into silicone mini muffin molds (or small paper muffin cups). Refrigerate or freeze for at least 10 minutes to harden. If using muffin molds, pop the the molds out and place in an airtight container. Store in fridge until you’re ready to enjoy one.

Paige Doyle is a Certified Nutrition Consultant and 21-Day Sugar Detox Health Coach. To learn more about Paige, or to schedule a consultation, visit her website at

Sunburns: Our Skin’s Natural Inflammatory Response To Overexposure

Author: Lily Mazzarella

What is a sunburn, really?  

When our skin is overexposed to sun, UV radiation causes damage to our skin cells’ DNA—and therefore, the loss of the cells’ all-important ability to self-repair.  In the short term, our skin responds to overexposure by releasing chemical and cellular mediators of inflammation—what we see and feel as the red, hot, swollen (and sometimes blistering) misery of sunburn.   

In the long run, repeated sun damage means loss of elasticity, changes in texture and pigmentation, and increased risk of skin cancer.  Some dermatologists say that even a “pinkening” of lighter skin tones signals burn—or “minimal erythemal dose”—that is, the least of amount of sun it takes to turn a lighter skin red.  Darker skin, while somewhat better protected from UV radiation by higher levels of melanin in the cells, can also burn and suffer effects of long term sun damage, especially as climate change has intensified our solar UV rays.  

Plants to the rescue

In addition to wearing a clean, mineral-based sunscreen, a diet rich in FLAVONOIDS will help your body be more prepared to handle the sun’s rays.  Amazingly, flavonoids, aka pigments found throughout plant kingdom in flowers, leaves and fruits, help protect plants themselves against mutagenic effects of UV radiation.  Think about it: while plants love sunshine (and make their food from it), even for them there can be too much of a good thing. And, plants can’t get up and move into the shade on a baking summer day!  They need some way to protect themselves from cellular damage, and flavonoids do just that.

When we eat these richly pigmented plants, research shows that they confer these benefits to us—providing something like an internal sunscreen.  Think: green tea, cacao, cherries, kale, grape skins/seeds, and blueberries. And if our skin has been overexposed, these multi-tasking plant compounds help us out by stabilizing collagen and cooling oxidative damage.  Our Summer Inflammation Soother Kit & Guide is full of information and delicious recipes aimed at ramping up flavonoid intake and reducing inflammation. 

Isn’t some sun healthy?  

Yes!!  We’re big fans of the physical and mental benefits of sun exposure.  Moderate sun exposure can actually help improve some skin conditions, such as psoriasis, eczema, and staph.  And, it is one of the most reliable ways to get the kind of vitamin D our body can use best, which is critical for endocrine, musculoskeletal and immune health.  

We all have different sun tolerance, and sometimes we find ourselves overexposed…..even with the best of intentions and a proper diet. In those cases, after sun serums like Urb Apothecary’s Sun Worshiper can help skin rejuvenate from oxidative damage, and a batch of turmeric pops can help soothe active redness.   


Food Sensitivity Testing Just Got Better

Author: Dr. Bridget

Food sensitivity can contribute to gastrointestinal inflammation and systemic inflammatory burden.  It can be an underlying cause of nagging symptoms like fatigue, brain fog, sinus congestion, chronic pain, headaches, and weight gain. Continue reading

How Happy is Your Liver?

Author: Lily Mazzarella

Happy Liver Detox - Farmacopia Seasonal Cleanse

The liver is hot, metabolically speaking. And very active: on any given day, it is performing over 500 functions for us. We all know that it’s on the liver to get us out of a pinch when we drink too much, but did you know that the liver contains a unique enzyme system that co-evolved with plants, and that this system can detoxify just about everything we encounter now? Continue reading

Dandelion Greens with Preserved Lemons

Author: Lily Mazzarella

Sauteed Dandelion Greens Recipe - Spring CleanseI love dandelion greens! These delectable bitters are chock-full of potassium, vitamins A, C, K, folate, and choline. In herbal medicine, we use them as a classic bitter tonic to stimulate digestion and gallbladder activity, and to decongest the liver. Continue reading