I’ve resisted posting about COVID-19, figuring everyone is being *inundated* with info at this point. But I decided to share what I’m doing, in case it is helpful.
The basic epidemiology here is critical. The key thing is slowing the spread, or as the CDC calls it, flattening the curve of new infections. It’s not about your health (unless you’re over 60 or have a disease state that puts you at risk), it’s about the health of those who cannot fight this off if exposed. If you have the ability to stay away from people, you should. Limiting exposure and slowing the burden on hospitals is critical in the next few weeks. Anything you can avoid doing, any trips you can avoid making outside the house, you should. This isn’t the time to go to a movie.
The most nutrient-dense foods are those rich in minerals and fat soluble vitamins. There is some evidence that viruses like this one have greater effect on those with low vitamin A and D stores.
* Foods rich in fat soluble vitamins specifically (A, D, E, K) – eggs, fatty fish including salmon and sardines.
*Pastured organic eggs, rich in protein and healthy fats.
*Bone broth and soups.
*Fermented foods- raw sauerkraut, kimchi, fermented vegetables. You will find these in the refrigerated section only- the canned stuff has no living enzymes due to heat.
* Collagen powders can boost gut health and therefore immunity.
* Juicing – fresh pressed vegetable juices- carrots, beets, celery, with ginger and turmeric and greens.
* Vegetable, fruit/berry smoothies – adding in the collagen powder or a high quality protein powder can be good.
* Grass fed beef, pastured chickens, and organic organ meats (if you’re willing) are VERY high in fat soluble vitamins.
* And most importantly LOTS of leafy green vegetables.
No chips, ice cream, soda, energy drinks, sugar, muffins, refined carbs or processed foods. All of these reduce your immune response. Avoid exposure to other people by cooking at home.
Some of these I regularly take anyway for immune boosting and chronic viral suppression:
* MegaSpore probiotic
* Digestive enzymes as I eat to help digest/absorb nutrients from food.
*ADK: 1 capsule has 5000 iu of A and 5000 of D, plus K2
* Ultimate Antiox: A wide spectrum antioxidant that includes so many immune support herbs and vitamins
*Vitamin C: I take 2000 mg daily, and have been increasing to 5000 these days
*Selenium: 200 mcg daily
*SBI Protect: gut healing and mucosal immune support
*Zinc: 30 mg daily
And lots of water, particularly warm drinks that are more easily absorbed. Hydration is key for good health, good immune function and moving everything through the body, including toxins. It also keeps your mucus membranes moist, which is critical in fighting viruses.
If you have questions about how to support yourself, please reach out. The healthier we stay, the faster this all goes away and life as we know it can resume.
(Thanks to my colleague Jody Summers for initially sharing many of these thoughts. )
The new year (or new decade!) always seems like a great time to make grand sweeping resolutions for change. We always think, This is the year I’ll finally make it happen! And more often than not, those resolutions are quickly forgotten, and we fall back into the same patterns we’ve always followed.
As we move into 2020, I encourage you to spend some time thinking about what might be blocking you from success with your health goals. Is it a diagnosis that’s been made to sound hopeless? Is it a lack of time to take care of yourself? A lack of knowledge about what’s really good for you, individually?
Together, we can work our way through these things. We can strategize, dig deeper, and find ways to help you be the healthier, happier you you’re dreaming of. If you’re feeling stuck, I encourage you to reach out in the new year, and let’s chat.
As we wrap up 2019, I encourage you to start your health journey by spending some time taking care of YOU. You’ve likely spent the holiday season so far focused on meeting others’ needs. Remember, if you burn out, you’re no good to anybody. You have to be #1, always.
New for 2020!
Look for some exciting new developments in the new year. I’ll be moving my practice to an online records system, which means one easy-to-use centralized site where you can keep track of all your visit notes and records of work we’ve done together, and with simple online messaging–no more digging to find old email convos (or texts)! For those of you who have done and loved my RESTART class in the past, look for an announcement of a new group purification program in the Spring. I’ll also be moving these newsletters to a quarterly schedule.
Wishing you a joyous, prosperous, and HEALTHY new year!
It’s just unreal, isn’t it? We’re about 6 weeks away from the end of this DECADE! Seems like only yesterday we were trying to figure out how to pronounce the “oughts”, and now we’re heading into the 20s. As you start planning your end of year activities and holiday arrangements, I wanted to share a couple of (hopefully) useful things.
Stock up on Supplements
Do you have a Health Savings Account (HSA) or Flexible Spending Account (FSA) debit card? If so, now is a great time to stock up on your supplements, before the benefits run out and your unused funds revert to your employer at the end of the year. Fullscript, my online dispensary, accepts both types of cards as payment. (While Fullscript is registered to accept HSA/FSA, please check with your plan provider to ensure that your supplements are included in your individual plan coverage.)
Thanksgiving Pie Pledge: One Slice Only!
As a fun way to try to remind ourselves of the importance of staying balanced through the holidays, each year I host a Pie Pledge! Basically, we pledge that we will eat one normal-sized slice–or slivers of different pies, adding up to one slice–of Thanksgiving pie. (Aim for 1/12 of the pie = 1 slice). It’s a Facebook event, so we can post photos of our pie plates to support and encourage each other! RSVP to the event to sign the pledge! https://www.facebook.com/events/593475084727790/
(And no, this doesn’t mean you can eat unlimited mashed potatoes!) EXTRA CREDIT if your pie is gluten free!!!!
Wishing you a lovely and joy-filled Thanksgiving, however you celebrate!
I’m happy to share the news that as of August 2019, I am Board Certified in Holistic Nutrition®!
So, what’s that mean?
According to the Holistic Nutrition Credentialing Board, this means I have
earned professional recognition and validation of my knowledge and experience within the realm of holistic nutrition, and have met the educational and ethical standards required by a professional credentialing body. To earn such important designation, I had to document and demonstrate an exceptional level of knowledge and understanding of holistic nutrition, as well as how to apply it in a credible and responsible manner to help others. The process involved documenting over 500 hours of client contact time, and sitting for a rigorous exam, among other things. Very few BCHN® certifications have been awarded to date, so I’m thrilled to be among the vanguard.
What is holistic nutrition, you ask?
“The philosophy of holistic nutrition is that one’s health is an expression of the complex interplay between the physical and chemical, mental and emotional, as well as spiritual and environmental aspects of one’s life and being. As such, professionals who are trained in holistic nutrition approach health and healing from a whole person perspective. Using education as a primary tool, holistic nutrition professionals emphasize the building
of health and disease risk-reduction by approaching each person as a unique individual. This requires fully engaging the individual in his/her health recovery process and honoring his/her innate wisdom by working in an empowering and cooperative manner to chart a course to optimal health.” (Holistic Nutrition Credentialing Board)
The services offered by those Board Certified in Holistic Nutrition® are grounded in the following principles:
- Biochemical individuality (everyone is unique and has unique nutritional needs)
- Whole, naturally grown foods are the best source for optimal nutrition
- No miracle nutrients that will cure all ills
- Dietary supplementation as health-promoting when used in the appropriate form, dose, and frequency, and is not a substitute for a good diet
- Nutritional well-being coming from the balance between a person’s health-promoting diet and lifestyle habits, and the nutritionally negating environmental and lifestyle influences
Does this mean anything new or different for my clients? Nope. I’ll still continue to provide the same individualized, holistic care I always have. Now I just have a credentialing board at my back, recognizing the work I do and the lives I’m able to impact. Feels kinda nice. 🙂
Judging by how few faces I’m seeing at the gym these days, it appears lots of people are letting their workout regimens slide lately. I get it: we’re in the heart of summer, there are vacations to take and BBQs to plan and watermelons to eat, and working out is just likely not at the top of your to-do list.
I probably don’t need to list for you all the benefits of regular exercise–ok, maybe just a few reminders: healthier bones, better sleep, boosted metabolism that burns more calories at rest, better mental health, stress relief, a healthier heart, better sex…). On top of all those, exercise is also critically important for maintaining blood sugar regulation. In particular, if you tend towards high blood sugar (perhaps having heard the words “pre-diabetic” coming your way), exercise has the ability to get desensitized insulin receptors working again, thereby lowering blood sugar.
Finding time to exercise is of course the number one barrier I hear mentioned, as I work with clients. The great news is, studies are showing over and over that short bursts of high intensity workouts—known as HIIT, or high intensity interval training—are among the most effective types of exercise for lowering blood sugar and losing weight.
In a new study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine , researchers compared HIIT—a style of exercise that includes short bursts of high-cardio exercises like sprints and burpees with intermittent recovery periods—to more steady-state moderate workout approaches. While they found both exercises reduced overall weight and percentage of body fat in participants, those who participated in HIIT workouts lost 28.5 % more weight.
HIIT workouts are convenient both because no gym or equipment is needed, and because you can do them when you have just a few minutes to spare. I’m a big fan of the “7 Minute Workout: Fitness App” (and there are other similar ones available), and I also like this great HIIT workout idea. Once you find some favorite exercises, you can easily create your own routines. Just aim for 20-30 second bursts of intense activity, followed by twice that–40-60 seconds–of rest. Work up to repeating 8 – 10 times, and go on with your day!
Give it a try and let me know what you think!
I was recently interviewed by the Miller Middle School 8th grade language arts class for their journalism project, investigating Is All Fast Food Truly Unhealthy? I was happy to be a part of their project, and so proud of the great job they did. Hooray for these future wellness warriors! You can check out their investigative article here:
Every year in May we celebrate Women’s Health Month, which helps raise awareness about the unique health needs of women. It turns out, we aren’t just small men! Our health concerns and nutritional needs are different, due to a wide variety of genetic, social, and anatomical reasons. This month I’m highlighting some of the most important nutrients for women’s health.
The B vitamin group is made up of eight water-soluble vitamins that help regulate metabolism, prevent fatigue, and support mood and cognitive function. Older women, those with anemia, and vegans and vegetarians have the highest risk of deficiency. Lower levels of B6, B12, and folate have also been observed in women taking oral contraceptives. Vitamin B9, commonly known as folate or folic acid, is an essential nutrient for the development of a fetus’s spinal cord and brain during pregnancy. Over 30% of your vitamin B6 is actually made by the beneficial bacteria in your gut! Eating lots of plant-based fiber keeps those bacteria thriving. High amounts of B vitamins are found primarily in animal products, such as meat, eggs, fish, and dairy products. Folate specifically may be found in spinach and other leafy greens, beans, asparagus, and brussels sprouts. Supplementation with a high-quality B complex can help with fatigue and energy concerns.
Magnesium, one of the most ubiquitous minerals in the body, is involved in hundreds of different biochemical functions. Magnesium deficiency is also one of the more common nutrient deficiencies. Signs of magnesium deficiency are widespread and include anxiety, muscle cramps or spasms, constipation, headaches, and insomnia. Magnesium deficiency may also cause PMS symptoms, and when taken with vitamin B6, may be effective in improving symptoms of PMS. Magnesium is also critical for good adrenal function, which can suffer due to our high stress lives. Magnesium-rich foods include almonds, spinach, cashews, peanuts, and black beans. However, due to soil depletion, most food contains far less magnesium today than it did 50 years ago. It’s recommended that women over 30 consume 320 mg of magnesium daily. For most women, a daily magnesium supplement is a great idea.
Iron is an essential mineral, necessary for the production of hemoglobin and oxygen transport within the body. Low iron levels and iron deficiency anemia are particularly common in female athletes, women with heavy menstruation, pregnant women, and women who do not consume animal products. Low iron can also be due to undetected gut pathogens. The RDA for women under 50 is 18 mg per day. As women age, 8 mg per day is recommended due to the cessation of menstruation. Of note, you should not supplement with iron unless you have had a blood test that showed a significant need, as too much iron can be dangerous.
Omega Fatty Acids
Omega fatty acids support cardiovascular, immune, and cognitive function. They are also critical to the formation of healthy hormones and neurotransmitters. Supplementing with omega-3 fatty acids has been shown to increase the growth of brain cells, improve mood, enhance memory, and boost blood flow as you age. Because autoimmune diseases are becoming so common in women, immune-boosting omegas are a critical part of maintaining a low inflammation lifestyle and keeping the immune system in check. Dietary sources of omega fatty acids include fatty fish like salmon, mackerel and sardines, flax seeds, chia seeds, and walnuts for omega-3; and whole grains, nuts, and seeds for omega-6. Since omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids should be in relative balance, and due to modern diets being dominated by omega-6 containing foods like grains, it’s typically recommended to consume an abundance of omega-3 containing foods or take an omega-3 supplement. About 2000 mg of omega-3 fatty acids daily is a good baseline for most women; more may be indicated with acute inflammation or immune issues.
Addressing the unique health needs of women is key to my practice. Contact me if you are concerned about your nutritional needs, or feel that your hormones may be behind your health issues. Let’s get to the bottom of it!
April is National Stress Awareness Month! We have all undoubtedly experienced some sort of physical or emotional stress in our lives. While short-term stress is normal, long-term, chronic stress has been associated with numerous stress-related health conditions, such as anxiety, hypertension, chronic fatigue syndrome, endocrine dysfunction, and metabolic syndrome.
Eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and utilizing relaxation techniques can help you manage your stress levels and keep you feeling your best. Vitamin, mineral, and herbal supplements can also help to improve your resilience to stress and support healthy adrenal gland function.
Below is some useful information about top recommended supplements, including popular products available through my dispensary, that may reduce the effects of stress.
One of the highest concentrations of vitamin C in the body is found in the adrenal glands. The adrenal glands play a key role in the stress response, secreting the hormones adrenaline, aldosterone, and cortisol. The adrenal glands also secrete vitamin C as a response to stress. Research has shown that individuals supplementing with vitamin C demonstrate lower blood pressure, faster salivary cortisol recovery, and better subjective stress responses. Ascorbic acid alone is not recommended for long-term supplementation—far better to choose a formulation that includes mixed ascorbates and bioflavonoids.
Top Vitamin C supplements:
Innate Response C Complete Powder
L-theanine, an amino acid commonly found in green tea, is well-known for promoting relaxation and improving sleep. Research has shown that L-theanine supplementation improves subjective stress and salivary cortisol responses when individuals are confronted with a stressor. L-theanine supplementation also decreases anxiety, depressive symptoms, and sleep disturbances in individuals with Major Depressive Disorder (MDD).
Withania somnifera (Ashwagandha)
Adaptogens refer to a group of plants or herbs that help your body adapt to stress, normalize body functions, and maintain homeostasis. Withania somnifera, commonly known as ashwagandha, “Indian Winter Cherry”, or “Indian Ginseng”, is well-known for its adaptogenic, antioxidant, and immune-supportive properties. Studies have shown that ashwagandha supplementation improves serum cortisol levels, perceived stress and happiness, food cravings, body weight, and body mass index.
Rhodiola rosea (Rhodiola)
Historically used in traditional Chinese medicine, the adaptogen Rhodiola rosea is known for its ability to reduce stress, decrease cortisol levels, and improve physical endurance. Several studies have also shown that rhodiola supplementation improves mental performance, concentration, and energy levels.
Top Rhodiola rosea supplements:
Rhodiola Rosea by Gaia Herbs
Rhodiola by Integrative Therapeutics
Eleutherococcus senticosus (Siberian ginseng)
Eleutherococcus senticosus, or Siberian ginseng, is a wild shrub of the Araliaceae family. Similar to ashwagandha and rhodiola, Siberian ginseng is known primarily for its adaptogenic effects. Siberian ginseng has been associated with reductions in heart rate and systolic blood pressure in women. Studies have also shown that supplementation with Siberian ginseng reduces severity and duration of fatigue.
Top Eleutherococcus senticosus supplements:
Eleuthero Root Capsules by Gaia Herbs (Professional Solutions)
Eleuthero Solid Extract by Wise Woman Herbals
Log in to your Fullscript account now to explore these supplements! Don’t have one yet? It’s free to create one, and you’ll get access to my favorite supplements, at less than retail pricing, and with free shipping over $50.
While supplementation can provide your body with extra support during periods of stress, it’s essential to understand your personal stress response and address the factors contributing to your stress. Also, incorporating stress management and relaxation techniques into your life needs to become part of your daily habits. Apps like Headspace and Calm can be great for helping to promote mindfulness and relaxation. One of my favorite tips is to set an alarm on your phone for 5 x 5 minute walks outside a day. It’s amazing what a little sunshine and fresh air can do!
If you want to get a deeper look at how stress is affecting your endocrine system and adrenal function in particular, reach out, and let’s talk about testing options.
I hope you found this informative and helpful, and am wishing you a very happy and healthy National Stress Awareness Month!