spleen1Did you know your organs can be covered in "icing"? This disease happens when an organ's outer membrane is inflamed and can grow a white coating. It most often affects spleens, but can happen to the liver and heart, too. Just keep that icing on cake, where it belongs - and away from my spleen!
IntestineFoodIntolerance With Halloween and the holidays right around the corner, it might come in handy to speak the language of your intestines. Do you have any food allergies? Do you know the difference between allergy, intolerance, and sensitivity? According to Wed MD, almost 30% of Americans think they have a food allergy, but only 4 to 5% have true food allergies. Allergies cause the immune system to get involved. This means your body makes histamine, which starts an allergic reaction. Allergic reactions can show up as hives, eczema, itchy mouth, nausea, diarrhea, sneezing, and even anaphylaxis. Food intolerance, on the other hand, is caused by not having enough of the specific enzymes needed to break down what you ate. The most familiar example is lactose intolerance, which can be fixed by taking lactase enzymes when eating dairy. Other tell tale signs of intolerance include diarrhea, gas, bloating, stomach pain, nausea, headaches, and migraines. See the University of Maryland's write up about common food intolerance culprits here. Lastly, food sensitivity is a general term that includes any adverse reaction to a food (unless, of course, you get food poisoning, which is caused by eating spoiled food). Do you have a favorite dessert recipe that makes your intestines happy? I'm dying to make this raw, vegan, non-gluten, no refined sugar dessert (Has nuts, though). Let me know if you try it!
Hypothalamus Sweets When people comment that I must have a sweet tooth, I counter with "Actually, they're all sweet." I LOVE sweets. I tried to live almost solely on them my first semester of college.. All-you-can-eat ice cream at the diner, every night?! Didn't work out so well. Hello, freshman fifteen! Why is the call of sweets so powerful?  When was the last time you just had to eat something sweet? For me, it was this morning. Today I realized our hypothalamus has a bunch of answers to the 3 o'clock need (or all-the-time need) for sweet things. It basically  keeps tabs on how much energy you have stored, while also keeping an eye on blood sugar levels. Of course, it's also influenced by personal preferences and experiences with food. This article explains the cycle of eating that first bite of delicious food and whether you reach back for another bite, and what makes you feel full vs. still hungry for more (hint: FRUCTOSE isn't the fairy godmother that you thought it was).