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Living With Gluten Sensitivity and Celiac Disease

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Supplement of the Week: Designs for Health Amino Acid Synergy

AAS120 lrgProduct Description

Amino Acid Synergy is useful as a general supplement to diets that are insufficient in quality protein, for athletes that require additional amino acids to maintain or achieve greater lean body mass, for patients who are cachexic from chronic illness or GI malabsorption, for individuals who are in catabolic states due to stress or illness, for those recovering from surgery or tissue trauma, for people wanting better quality hair and nails and for patients who have been found to have confirmed amino acid deficiencies on metabolic testing. Amino acids play central roles both as building blocks of proteins and as intermediates in metabolism. The precise amino acid content, and the sequence of those amino acids, of a specific protein, determines the biological activity of the protein. Proteins not only catalyze all (or most) of the reactions in living cells, they control virtually all cellular processes. Humans can produce 10 of the 20 amino acids. The others must be supplied in food. Failure to obtain enough of even 1 of the 10 essential amino acids, those that we cannot make, results in degradation of the body's proteins, including muscle. Unlike fat and starch, the human body does not store excess amino acids for later use so amino acids must be consumed every day. Amino Acid Synergy provides a mixture of essential amino in the free-form, meaning they are immediately available for absorption and can be put to metabolic use much more readily and rapidly when compared to amino acids contained in dietary protein.

The Health Benefits of Amino Acids


By Art Presser, PharmD - President, Huntington College of Health Sciences

Smart SupplementationTM is a free series of educational literature created by Huntington College of Health Sciences (HCHS) as a public service. Although copyrighted, it may be freely photocopied and distributed, but may not be altered in any way. Smart SupplementationTM is not intended as medical advice. For diagnosis and treatment of any medical condition, consult your physician.

Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins, and the end-result of protein digestion. That is, the body digests protein into individual amino acids and then rebuilds them back into protein. Next to water, protein is the most abundant substance in the body. The body requires approximately twenty-two amino acids in a specific pattern to make human protein. There are eight amino acids that the body cannot make and must get through food or supplement. They are lysine, methionine, leucine, threonine, valine, tryptophan, isoleucine, and phenylalanine.

When used individually as supplements, particular amino acids may perform specific functions rather than the general function of a complete protein. For example, taking carnitine may help you lose weight; eating a hamburger would not.

The Health Benefits Of Pastured Eggs

healthy pastured eggs

No nutrient rich food I can think of has been given a worse reputation than chicken eggs. Well, maybe raw milk is getting the boot now, but eggs are right there with them. The poor chicken egg has been blamed for high cholesterol, high fat and bacterial poisoning. But this stigma is rightfully and hopefully disappearing while the truth about eggs prevails.

Eggs are a storehouse of nutrients all contained in a built-in protective package. Unless you've chosen a vegan/vegetarian approach to food, I highly recommend incorporating eggs into healthy diet. But not just any eggs, as you will see below, but the highest quality eggs you can find. And let me explain why.

The Health Benefits Of Quinoa

health benefits quinoa

You may be surprised to see an article about quinoa by a grain-free guy like me. But in actuality quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) is not a grain but a seed. It is one of the least problem-causing "grains," can be  tolerated by most gluten sensitive individuals and is even accepted by some Paleo eaters (those who stretch the rules). It is a gluten-free grain that is versatile and has many health benefits with its strong nutrition status.

Quinoa is actually the seed of an herbaceous plant related to spinach and Swiss chard. The most popular seeds are a tan or yellow color. But several varieties and colors exist from black, to red, orange purple and pink. It has a rich nutty flavor with a tasty crunch.

18 Gluten Cross Reactive Foods

gluten cross reactivity

In our continued discussion about Gluten Sensitivity and Celiac Disease one must discuss the large percentage of individuals that do not improve on a strict gluten-free diet. Existing amongst many of those with gluten sensitivity is a cross reactivity issue with other dietary proteins. This means the immune system will react with other proteins as if they were gluten.

Studies show that about 50% of gluten sensitive patients also have a problem with a protein called casein found in bovine (cow) dairy. This may be part of the reason that so many gluten sensitive patients do not improve by just eliminating gluten. But the problem does not stop there.

What's On Your Plate?

When I first started studying health and nutrition I was amazed to learn about all the foods that are not healthy for me to eat. I remember being utterly confused when my professor explained that most, if not all, cereals are not good for you. I learned about all of the chemicals in processed foods; the poisons in our drinking water; the pesticides on our fruit; the nitrates on our meats. I was kind of shocked! And I wasn't a big junk food eater. I ate fairly healthy. Nonetheless, I saw the list of foods I shouldn't be eating growing longer and longer!

But holistic nutrition isn't about what you shouldn't be eating. It's about what you can and should be eating abundantly! That list was rather large. It just took some getting used to for this Latin American kid that grew up in the states. In fact I realized how much of the good foods I already enjoyed and ate on a fairly regular basis.

So rather than pointing out all the things I wish people wouldn't eat, let's take some time to discuss what foods are good for you without question. Now there are some foods that are healthy for most people, but not good for others. But I won't go into that today. Let's just talk about all of the foods that are considered whole foods. In an earlier blog post I explained how a healthy diet is one that is based on whole foods.

Now what does that mean, whole foods? Well, a whole food is a food that can be eaten as-is without much processing. A whole food is something that hasn't been put through a machine before you eat it. A whole food is something that you can pretty much walk outside and find it growing (or grazing) somewhere on this earth.

Fruits are the most obvious. Almost every fruit or vegetable you can imagine can be included as a part of a healthy diet. There are so many I could never list them all here. But some of the best include berries, citrus, grapes; tropical fruits like papaya, pineapple and mango. Did you know watermelon is very high in Vitamin C? Fruit is best eaten whole, as opposed to juiced. This retains the important fiber naturally found in the fruit. Colorful fruits are full of vitamins and micro-nutrients like bioflavanoids which are believed to help prevent cancer and other ailments. Many of the nutrients in fruit are heat sensitive and best eaten raw. You should eat at least two servings of whole fruits per day. Are you eating your fruit quota? And, NO, a watermelon margarita does not count.

The vegetable "kingdom" is just as bountiful and perhaps even more diverse. There exists all of the vegetables the live above the ground like all of the greens, legumes (beans), squash and peppers; each with countless varieties. Included here are all of the root vegetables like potatoes, beets, parsnips and radishes. Cruciferous vegetables include broccoli (the champion against breast cancer), cabbage, kale and cauliflower. The dark greens are so beneficial for you because they are full of minerals like potassium, iron and calcium. Kale is an amazing green and everyone should learn to incorporate this into their diet. We should all be eating at least 5 - 7 servings of vegetables a day, if not more. Sorry, a can of V-8 doesn't cut it in my opinion.

If you don't have an allergy to grains like I do, the next whole food I would put towards the top of the list are whole grains like brown rice, wheat, barley, rye, spelt, kamut. Minimally processed grains are full of protein, Vitamin B and other nutrients our bodies crave for. Breads made from minimally processed (whole) grains can be healthy if made properly. Sourdough is a fermented grain bread and one of the best for you. Many grains need to be carefully prepared to ensure that they are easily digested. Most cultures have some form of preparing the grain that involves soaking or fermenting. This was done to make the grain more digestible. Soaking oats overnight makes them healthier and easier on the stomach. Unfortunately, most manufactured grain products are not processed this way.

Lately you hear a lot about people who have gone vegan, eating no animal products whatsoever. I don't want to contradict anyone's personal philosophy about this, but as a nutritionist I will attest that not everyone can eat this way and stay healthy for very long. Some people can eat this way and stay healthy, but many do not. And most would not choose this lifestyle. If you do not ascribe to veganism then you should include healthy meats from healthy animals.

We are conditioned in America to think primarily of beef, pork, chicken and sometimes fish when we think of eating meat. But there are others that are just as edible and often more nutritious, like buffalo, goat, ostrich and duck. The important thing to remember with meats is the quality of those meats. Animals, like humans, store their toxins in the fat and organs. Animals that have been fed chemically laden foods, injected with hormones and have been raised under poor conditions carry this bad energy and the toxic chemicals to your body if you consume them. In fact it is believed that eating meat from animals that are not raised in their most natural conditions (grass fed, pasture raised, free range, wild caught) is several times worse than eating fruits and vegetables that are not organically raised. So eat the best meat you can afford in moderate amounts that is least processed. Lunch meats are generally highly processed and contain nitrates (a known cancer causing chemical) to preserve them.

What I want to impress upon you learners is that the foundation to a healthy body starts with the building blocks I've just discussed. There are other healthy foods we will explore in subsequent weeks, especially fats, oils and nuts (see post The Skinny on Fat). But these mentioned here should comprise the bulk of your meals. This is the fuel your body was designed to run on. It can be compared to a car. You can pour milk into a car's gas tank all you want. I'm no mechanic but I can tell you that it's not going to run on milk! Likewise, your body needs fruit, vegetables, grains and meats from healthy sources, the cleaner (organic) the better. But if you keep pouring processed junk foods and refined sugar into your tank your engine will eventually break down. Trust me.

Take a look at your next meal and ask yourself, "Is this a whole foods meal? What can I add to make it healthier? What can I eliminate or take less of?" Eat whole foods abundantly!

NOTE: On my Facebook Fan Page I will often post photos of healthy meals that I've made or someone else has made to show that healthy foods can be appetizing and creative. Feel free to post your photos there as well.
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