Many of you may know Erin-- the fabulous Pharm D that worked in our office a few years back. Erin is a phenomenal gal and we embarked on the journey into natural medicine around the same time. As we both Read more
If you are like me -- you are just starting to realize why it is important to add supplements to your diet. Even if we are eating a clean, healthy and unprocessed diet; the mineral content of the soil Read more
This cold and flu season is still upon us and unfortunately, many patients are still being plagued by these nasty viral symptoms. Here are a few tips to try if you feel like you are coming down with something.
Of Read more
Blackberry Balsamic Vinaigrette
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup avocado oil or extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp local honey
1/3 cup blackberries
Process all the ingredients together in a blender and then season with ground pepper and sea salt
The beauty of this recipe Read more
This stuff is a must -- If you read labels these days you will be hard pressed to find a mayonnaise or salad dressing that doesn't contain some type of vegetable oil. Even the commercial mayos that advertise to Read more
So I got a little wicked crazy this weekend and decided to splurge on some pizza. We do gluten-free carry out around here sometimes, but my future son-in-law inspired me to make my own cauliflower pizza crust. He made Read more
Here's a throwback post that is certainly appropriate for this October weekend. This smoothie matches the season and will be a great way to start the lovely fall day.
Thanks to Smoothie Queen Amy for this great recipe
I can't wait Read more
Gluten-Free Zucchini Bread
So I have been struggling with gluten-free baking because honestly -- I've never been good at baking!! Then when I try to modify recipes using flours I'm not familiar with, it just makes a perfect storm of Read more
Here’s a throwback post that is certainly appropriate for this October weekend. This smoothie matches the season and will be a great way to start the lovely fall day.
Thanks to Smoothie Queen Amy for this great recipe
I can’t wait to make this Pumpkin Chai smoothie! It’s like the marriage of all my favorite things. It’s around 400 calories, so it’s definitely a meal replacement at this serving size. Here’s the recipe.
Blend the following:
1 1/2 cups milk, or milk alternative (I use almond or coconut because the protein is kickin’)
3/4 cup cooked pumpkin
If you’re a person who likes to know the calories in something you can add them up in no time flat using this FitClick’s “how many calories” link. Just type the food you’re wanting to know about in the search area. And from there you can choose specifics. It takes less than 5 minutes to add up a smoothie’s worth of ingredients.
Do you remember watching Wild Kingdom as a kid? Did you happen to notice that the animals attacking their prey would immediately eat the organ meats. I never really thought about why until I listened to Morley Robbins explain the importance of magnesium. Magnesium is the Rodney Dangerfield of the mineral world. It gets “No Respect” I have been so remiss in not learning the importance of this underutilized mineral. Magnesium is a mineral found in oysters, must, seeds, almonds, cashews, pumpkin, pistachios, kelp and organ meats. You can also get it from wheat grass. The strange thing about magnesium is that nobody really talks about its importance. We speak ad nauseam about calcium and vitamin D–but magnesium is the missing component in this triad. It turns out that we may be enduring an epidemic of magnesium deficiency.
First a little history, our ancestors lived in a very magnesium rich environment. It was in the water, food, root vegetables and organ meats that we consumed. Around 100 years ago, the environment flipped. It became a calcium rich, magnesium poor environment. It became much more acidic with toxins. We started refining salt from its natural form (sea salt) which contained a natural balance of magnesium and sodium. Sugar cane started being refined which removes all the magnesium. So now, living in a calcium rich environment we have developed problems lack of the stabilizing magnesium particle. Calcium that isn’t regulated by magnesium causes massive inflammation. Hence (spoiler alert) the inflammation forms free radicals and oxidative stress which progresses to chronic disease states –with heart disease being very significant due to calcium deposits on the arteries.
Uses of magnesium:
Stabilization of bones–magnesium gives bones resilience
Regulates calcium in the body
Vital for support for muscles in body (remember the heart is a muscle)
Here is a link to a great tutorial on how to make magnesium lotion—check it out!
A few years ago, I introduced you to my dear friend Dee. She invited us on her weight loss journey and did quite a few posts regarding her story. I just wanted to repost a few of these because:
1. I miss Dee!!
2. I always love her posts and admire how real and down to earth she is! Hope you enjoy them as well.
Dee is a mom! Dee wants to lose weight. Dee believes we need to eat healthy. I love Dee. She has invited us to follow her weight loss journey with her because she can’t see her feet! Please follow her amazing posts with me! She is inspiring! And to Dee, thank you for admitting that you aren’t perfect and this isn’t an easy thing to do! We should all have that much integrity.
Funny how people are ashamed to share their weight. I don’t mind telling people who I weigh 190 pounds. When I’m speaking to someone and the issue of health or weight comes up, I freely share my weight…the real number. I share my age too, 49. People are sometimes surprised that I’m 49, but no one has ever reacted surprisingly to the 50 extra pounds. I’m guessing it’s because if they are speaking to me in person, they can see the extra pounds…mostly around my middle. I don’t like this section of me but I’ve gotten used to it. I chose this photo, taken from my chin looking down to show you what I see when I look at my shoes. Get it? No shoes. I’d like to see my shoes and have started a new goal to get there. After years and years of dieting, I am a diet expert. Most overweight people are diet experts. The trick isn’t knowing what to do, it’s doing it. If you want to jump into the journey, I would love the company. It might not always be pretty, but it will always be real.
First, I don’t ever advocate dieting . Diets don’t work and the only way to “lose weight” is to get healthy and make a lifestyle change. I agree that our society is ridiculous with such social emphasis on thin, unhealthy weights and starvation based lifestyles. Kids see role models that are bone thin and completely malnourished! That puts a ton of pressure on adolescents. It’s not realistic and obviously not working as we see obesity and diabetes rates rising at astronomical rates.
I really try to focus on emphasizing the importance of nourishing the body with vitamins, mineral, and essential nutrients to ensure good health. I don’t really believe in the PALEO diet because it is a fad diet and in all actuality – it isn’t an authentic diet. There no way that we could actually eat as our paleolithic ancestors did. We simply don’t have the same habitat/environment. Todays’s berries, vegetables and seeds are nothing like the ones bought in grocery stores today. It is simply just a different environment and time period.
That being said, the PALEO diet does focus on No processed foods!!!!—- which is a huge improvement from what most Americans are eating today. A diet rich in vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds and organic, grass-fed lean meats is amazing for the body. It can only be sustainable though if it is implemented in small steps. I usually try to get patients to first adopt the idea that what they eat significantly impacts their health. I try to get them off of soda, packaged foods ,and sugars first. Then we start to implement changes that compatible with their lifestyle, work schedules, and individual tastes.
I will have patients first watch some of the newer documentaries like “Hungry For Change” and “Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead” which are entertaining films that really hit home regarding the idea that “you are what you eat”. In Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead, Joe Cross literally cures himself of the disease “chronic urticaria” by changing his diet.
Of course —everyone should consult with their doctor before making any changes. Certain diet changes really should be tailored to specific disease states, medicines and lifestyles. I believe your doctor should be your partner and should work with you in tailoring lifestyle changes. I have seen amazing results in patients that have been willing to make some changes. They get off of medications, feel better, lose weight, and enjoy life more!
Personally, my life is busy and it is really hard to sustain a healthy eating pattern. I work full-time and have daughters that keep me running. We like to spend Sundays juicing fruits and veggies and making meals for the week. It is the only way we can stay on track and it is good bonding time (YES-I do give them allowance for helping #BRIBE). We still eat junk sometimes and my kids certainly don’t always eat like me. But, I can hope that they are at least becoming more aware of their food choices. We do like to get outdoors and hike on weekends and sit down and watch movies together. Yes we even occasionally eat popcorn and sno-caps which are both UBER unhealthy!!! It’s all relative!!!
I love my practice because I love to see people change!! I relish in seeing their lives improve and taking control of their own health. It is the most rewarding profession that I can imagine myself doing. If one person is helped by what I have to offer–it is worth it!
Recently, I have been recommending a Vitamin K2 supplement to those of you with risk of osteopenia (bone thinning) or osteoporosis (bone loss). I thought I would share a few of the basics on why I think this supplement is essential.
Vit K basics:
In nature, Vitamin K comes in two forms. Vitamin K1 is found in free leafy vegetables
Vitamin K2 is found in organ meats, egg yolks and dairy products.
Vitamin K is essential in manufacturing blood clotting proteins. In addition, it plays a vital role in keeping calcium in the bones instead of in the arteries.
The majority of research has been done on Vitamin K1 and its role in clotting ( all you coumadin/warfarin users are well aware of this). Clinical trials show that Vitamin K2 is an important inducer of osteoblasts ( the bone building cells) Recent studies show that Vitamin K2 may be as effective as prescription drugs in reducing the incidence of bone fracture in post menopausal women.
1. Calcium is essential for good health. However, Vitamin K2 is an important regulator of calcium and can prevent aberrant calcium metabolism in the body leading to cardiovascular disease.
2. Insufficient Vitamin K2 leads to decreased bone mineral density which causes osteoporosis and cane actually increase the risk of heart disease.
3. Studies in Japan show that Vitamin K2 in can substantially improve osteoporosis when given in prescription form or in the dish NATTO which is rich in K2
4. Even small amounts of K2 helps fight heart disease by keeping calcium out of the arteries and preventing plaque.
Optimal amounts of Vitamin K2 are still under investigation but it seems that roughly 180-200 micrograms may be helpful. It is estimated that 80% of Americans do not get enough K2 in their diet which is similar to the deficiency of Vitamin D we are now seeing here in America
Foods Containing Vitamin K2
Fermented foods such as natto or veggies fermented with a starter culture of K2 –Note miso and tempeh are not high in K2
Grass-fed organic animal products
Goose liver pate‘
Certain cheeses such as Brie and Gouda (75mcg/ounce)
What the H$%* are they and why do we need them? I’m going to give you my own dumbed-down skinny on what they are and exactly how they can help us get healthier.
First, every organism on the planet is covered in microbes (those pesky little bacteria that live on our skin, in our guts, on our counters —etc). Its normal! We are supposed to be surrounded by all these little parasites exactly like we are surrounded by our leachy teenagers and our snot blowing kids —It’s natural and part of the whole life experience. We were all designed to have “healthy” bacteria to help us coexist in nature and that is totally cool. Good Ole Mother Nature designed it that way and I’m convinced that she knew what she was doing!
Here are just a few of the healthy benefits that we get from these bacteria living on, around, and within us.
1. They produce enzymes that kill bad bacteria (Eek -like the stomach flu)
2. They produce substances that give the lining of the gut energy
3. They boost immunity by giving us mucin (a component of mucous/snot) to help stomp out bad bacteria
4. They down-regulate inflammation and free-radicals like crazy cousin Joe (see previous free radical post)
5. They reduce the risk of allergy
These are all functions that the normal gut bacteria are designed to do for the human body.
These guys have so many more important functions but I fear boring you with the science of it all. There’s a reference at the end of the post for all you science nerds like me!
Here’s the version that I dumbed down for my own little mind to digest!
1. Our food supply has drastically changed since World War II—we are now using more corn and grain to feed our livestock. We also used the leftover nitrogen from bomb making to fertilize our crops after the war.
2. The US became much more industrialized after WWII and we started adding a lot of chemicals to improve the shelf life of foods
3. This has gradually destroyed the lining of our gut (which I will better explain in another post)
4. We now harbor bacteria in our GI tract that we aren’t use to having. They are dysbiotic instead of symbiotic.
5. Because we no longer harbor these “Good Bacteria” in our gut —we have increased inflammation and autoimmunity.
6. The inflammation –now has to settle somewhere in our body if we don’t supply it with good antioxidants as a defense mechanism.
7. We are consuming foods that are no longer nutrient dense. Even if we are eating healthy, our guts don’t have the correct bacteria to absorb the nutrients anymore.
So—-A first start at cleaning up The Gut– Probiotics
These are supplements with the good bacteria strains that have been killed off by our modern diet. They do exactly what they are designed to do–help prevent disease, help absorb nutrients from food, help keep digestion regular etc. These bad boys recolonize our Gut with the Good Bacteria.
So here is the final scoop–
If you eat a perfect diet of organic fruits, veggies, grass-fed meats and consume no processed foods—you might not need to take probiotics
But, if you are like the rest of us—you need these little buggers back in your gut to make and keep you healthy!
Here are the strains you want to look for in buying a probiotic
The Big 7!!!
1. Lactobacillus Acidophillus
2. Lactobacillus Ramnosus
3. Lactobacillus Plantarum
4. Lactobacillus Casei
5. Bifidobacterium Longum
6. Bifidobacterium Breve
7. Saccharomyces boulardii
Probiotics can be found at your local drugstore or you can buy them HERE from Amazon
I’ll post more on benefits and the different digestive benefits of each strain –however this is your dirty little outline guide to refer to!
It seems to be a great idea to mix different brands of probiotic and then rotate them as well so I have added some of my new favorites to the list!
1. Garden of Life Primal Defense Ultra Ultimate Probiotics Formula
2. Advance Orthomolecular Research Advanced Series Probiotic 3
3. Ultimate Flora
4. VSL #3
You can easily purchase these thru Amazon by clicking HERE
For more information: see “Probiotics: Why You Need Them and How to Choose Them” by Yuri Elkaim, BPHE, CK, RHN
Watch this trailer, It really defines what is causing disease in our country. If you get inspired to start juicing, there is a great website that gives you some of the basics on buying a juicer and how to start combining and flavoring fruits and vegetables. You can purchase your own copy of Joe Cross’s documentary HERE
You can also pick up an excellent Juicer Buying Guide HERE
Hey guys! Now is the second chance for all of you that didn’t get the opportunity to watch the full length documentary “Hungry for Change.” If you are one of my current patients, you probably being forced you to view the trailer to this film at your last physical. Then I inundated you with big stacks of healthy eating handouts and sent you on your way. Well, a some of you opted to not Deep Six the stuff and actually read it. Many have lost weight and gotten off of their chronic medicines! Hooray! This film exposes the hidden additives that are found in our food supply today. It also features Jamie Oliver, aka The Naked Chef from Food Network, exposing the amount of sugar found in kid’s school milk. It is definitely worth watching once and sharing with your family. Even your kids should watch it. It may subliminally implant the idea of being conscious of what is being put in and on your body. Lord knows they probably aren’t going to listen to their parents any more than my family listens to me when I evangelize to them ad nauseam. Think–this film may just save your life or someone’s close to you.
Click HEREto purchase your own copy of the DVD. Share with friends and family. It is a powerful way to get the word out. We all need to know this stuff. It’s life saving
How many of us struggle with addiction? I will be bold and say the number must be 90% or above. I refer to addiction as anything that we can’t live without or obsess over–including tobacco, caffeine, sugar, drugs, alcohol, sex, bad relationships, negative thinking, impulsive behavior etc—I personally have kicked my diet mountain dew habit (it only took about a year) and like everyone else, I struggle daily with overcoming more unhealthy habits. It certainly isn’t easy! I am honored that my cohort addiction specialist, the infamous Mr. Jim Ryser, has privileged us with his own story to help us understand how diet, nutrition, thoughts, and mindset can heal addictive behaviors.
First-Here is a little background on Jim Ryser:
Jim Ryser began his music career at the tender age of 5 years old, learning to play violin to ease long hours spent in the hospital. Born with Spina Bifida Myelomeningocele and expected to live a poor quality and short life, Jim beat the odds due to a loving and caring family combined with an Irish tenacity that continues to this day.
Jim honed his musical skills during the recovery from over 50 surgeries he has had to correct problems associated with the original corrective procedure on his spinal cord when he was 9 days old.
He played Madison Square Garden as a solo violinist when he was 9, but it was picking up the guitar at 14 that took him down the music path of rock and roll dreams. “I played a lot of Rush and Pink Floyd, but I loved Fleetwood Mac and other more mellow rockers as well,” he says, “and I think that combined with my classical background made for some interesting stuff over the years!”
He signed his first record deal with Arista Records in 1990. Music legend Clive Davis was heading up the label at the time and told Jim – then known as Jimmy – that he had hit songs and wanted Jim on the roster. “Same Old Look,” the first single released in 1990, reached #6 on the Billboard chart and sent he and his band on a wild summer tour with The Moody Blues, Henry Lee Summer, REO Speedwagon, and John Mellencamp. He has played on some wonderful albums with John Mellencamp, Hall and Oates, and Tracy Chapman. He has guested with James McMurtry, Henry Lee Summer, and Bob and Tom over the years.
His health issues forced him to find another path; he had become addicted to his pain killers to combat the daily chronic pain associated with his spina bifida and related kidney, back, and orthopedic issues. Jim went through a pain program at the Cleveland Clinic and was able to learn new ways to deal with pain, such that he was inspired to acquire his college degree. His addiction, however, lay hidden and by the time he graduated Indiana University Summa Cum Laude, he was on some of the same drugs that led to Michael Jackson’s demise, using up to 500 mg of IV Demerol and taking 10-20 percocet pills a day. He hit bottom when he started drinking.
He went back to Cleveland and got sober in the summer of 1999, which led him to his graduate degree and an internship with addiction and pain. His specialty is rare in that he knows both chronic pain and addiction personally and professionally, and this combination led him to his current position as the program manager for pain services at Indiana University Health Methodist Hosptial in Indianapolis, Indiana. He runs a pain rehabilitation program there and he also helps people with acute pain issues while further helping others who have become iatrogenically addicted.
He got back into music quite by accident, and he says, “I got into hunting with my son-in-law Troy, getting a turkey on my very first day in the woods – an hour after he got his. I found that hunting did more for my pain management than anything else I ever did, so I spent time learning about deer hunting as well.” This journey led him to Bill Winke, one of the best known hunter-writers in the business. “I sent Bill a CD of my music in appreciation for the amazing work he does, and he asked if he could use some songs for his show, Midwest Whitetail. I told him I would go one better and write some songs…Now I am the principal writer for most of Bill’s projects!
This match created a great relationship with the entire staff and lots of new songs, which then led to Jim updating his recording studio and investing in some more gear to custom design songs for Bill’s shows exclusively. These songs hatched more ideas, and a new CD was born. The new disc highlighted on this website is a culmination of Jim’s musical life, and he says, “Having many years of sobriety now, a deep love for both work and my hunting/music passion, gave me something that very few folks get – and I wasn’t even supposed to live. I have remained on an incredible journey that makes me grateful for my pain and addiction, because they made me who I am today.”
Jim Ryser is a nationally recognized performer and speaker for both his musical and personal journey, and his expertise in managing pain for those who desire education about it. He has spoken all over the country and has consulted with several health care systems on various ways to manage pain without the use of mood altering drugs.
Here is Jim’s personal story that he chose to share with our followers that are empowering themselves to overcome disease–
“I wish I could say I “beat” addiction, but I can no more do that than stand on my toes unaided today. I have myelomeningocele. Long story short, I have damage to my spinal cord that resulted in neural connections being cut due to the original birth defect. There ARE no connections so it is physiologically impossible for me to stand on my toes unaided!
As to my addiction, we have assumed in society that we can change unaided too; telling a drug addict not to use is the same thing as saying “Just don’t breathe!” The addict has a compulsion to use and a craving once started that makes it impossible to stop on the basis of self-will. There is no connection just like with the nerves!
I have been fortunate to have stopped using drugs aberrantly. The thought process of the disease never goes away, but it can be managed. I found that out after I got sober and gained 50 pounds. My addiction switched seats on the titanic in many ways. So – for me, addiction is less about substance and more about the thoughts and the spiritual malady that goes with it. Moderation is not part of the addict’s vocabulary. With help, however, I have been able to stay sober for the past 14 years. I have also lost the weight and am continuing, a day at a time, to manage the unmanageable. Having a proper diet helps keep me on task with my pain pill addiction and chronic pain because I learned in proper eating habits I might sacrifice a “feel good” with food (sugar) that results in a crash that makes me feel bad in the long run. Today I have learned to slow down, do the RIGHT thing, and be rewarded over the long haul (and more consistent haul) with good health and overall good feeling.”
You may want to purchase a copy of his latest release “Lubricate my MoJo”
His next performance will be:
June 29, 2013
I can’t thank Jim enough for his honesty and committment to helping others in similar situations. I have come across a few other different resources for anyone who would like to learn more on the topic.
This video by Paul Chek is helpful in learning why we become addicted to things—
It’s a bit long but helpful to anyone wanting to learn more about the etiology of addiction.
Also, a great resource is well-known psychiatrist’s Dr Hyla Cass’s book—
Dr Hyla Cass—Overcome Addiction, Fatigue, Anxiety, and Depression Naturally
Recently, I have been teaming with some co-workers for a series of one-month challenges to lose 10 pounds a month. At the end of the first month, one person lost 12 pounds, which is fantastic. The rest of us did well but then gained some of the weight back toward the end of the month. I have to admit it was discouraging to lose 9 pounds then gain back 5. I can tell why I did well, and then went backward. I stayed very strong for the first three weeks, counted calories and felt encouraged. At the three-week mark a couple of things happened. 1) I let my guard down. By reaching a good weight and feeling motivated I thought to myself “this is easy, I don’t have to keep working so hard.” I lied. Although it was pretty easy to follow the program, I DID need to keep at it. 2) I caught a cold and got off track. With a sore throat and feverish feeling, I gave into cravings for salty snacks, comfort foods like mashed potatoes, and ice cream. 3) I slacked on tracking. My daytime routine stayed pretty consistent but by the end of the night I got lazy in recording my calories. Writing it all down is very important.
Anyway, the point is that as long as you are moving in the right direction and don’t give up, applaud yourself. The only way to fail is to quit!
Thank you Dee–we all need a little cheerleading every now and again! Don’t quit!!! Guilt and self-punishment aren’t options and tomorrow is always a new day! We all need some lessons on being our own best cheerleader–not enemy! Keep on keeping on my friend.