Posts Tagged With "Chronic Illness"
We want to give a huge shout out to our very own Dr. Katy Koukouras ND, EAMP, Lac
for being nominated at one Seattle's Top Alternative Doctors in Seattle Magazine! This recent award is determined by nominations from her peers and is a great honor for Sky Valley Healing Arts in Snohomish! If you want to learn more about Dr. Katy and her practice in Naturopathic Medicine, Eastern Medicine, and Acupuncture click here!
Congrats Dr. Katy!
BRAIN AND BODY BOOSTING TIPS FOR 2014
Yes, it's another year, and the time most people make their resolutions to improve their health. With all the advice out there, especially on losing weight, it can be hard to know where to start. I like to go back to the basics and make it simple. Losing weight is a good goal, but to actually reach it, ditch the diet and MAKE PERMANENT LIFESTYLE IMPROVEMENTS. If you can make changes to these 4 areas, then this is a good beginning to a healthier brain, balanced hormones, reaching your weight loss goals, and warding off a whole host of modern day diseases.
TIP #1: NUTRITION
FOOD: YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT
In an earlier blog I talked about how your food choices not only affect you, but the next 2-7 generations after you. Food choices are the best way to improve your health and ward off disease. Eating 3 small meals per day with 2 snacks is the best way to balance your metabolism. Having a high protein breakfast and adequate fiber during the day will balance blood sugar and regulate insulin. When it comes to proper nutrition, it's more of the right, and less of the bad foods, that make the difference.
Fast food. This is a no brainer.
Processed foods. If you bought it in the middle of the grocery story, and it's in a box, it's processed.
Treated meats (pepperoni, cured meats), farmed fish, canned tuna, fried meats.
Grains such as wheat and gluten containing foods (many people are intolerant, and they cause water retention, besides being horrible for the brain) , corn, soy, and white rice, bread, and potatoes.
Fruit juices, excess caffeine, and alchoholic drinks.
High amounts of sugary fruits- bananas, pineapple, mangos, melons.
Hydrogenated fats, vegetables oils, shortening,
Rich sauces, salad dressings, and marinades are a great way to hide excess fats, gluten, and sugars.
Sugar, artificial sweetners like aspartame (a neurological toxin), MSG.
Green vegetables (kale, chard, spinach) , cruciferous vegetables ( broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage) and aromatic onions and garlic.
Low sugar fruits like berries, pears, and apples are best.
If you eat animal proteins, choose organic, grass fed, or free range beef, buffalo, wild game, chicken, or turkey.
Whey protein that is from a good source can be added- I advise Paleomeal for a well rounded protein supplement. If you are allergic to whey, plant proteins are widely available as well- Paleomeal DF (Dairy Free) or Plant Fusion (we sell this in the office)
Eggs- Boiled, poached, fried. It's a myth that eggs increase cholesterol, so moderate egg consumption is a good source of protein and healthy fats.
Beans and legumes such as garbonzo (hummus), kidney, and navy beans.
Healthy fats such as grass fed butter, olive oil, coconut oil, avocadoes, and olives are good for the brain.
Fermented dairy is the best, like Kefir or yogurt. Avoiding dairy might be essential because many people are allergic to it, and like gluten it can create water retention.
Grains such as quinoa, sweet poatato, yam, limited brown rice.
Nuts and seeds such as almonds, walnuts, and sunflower seeds.
Superfoods such as Spirulina, Chlorella (both have highest plant protein and B12), Cacoa (boosts neurotransmitters), Nutritional Yeast (non animal protein and B vitamins,) Maca (boosts Human Growth Hormone- Sex hormones- adrenal hormones- Try Dynamite Adrenal or youthH2O)
Spices like sea salt, tumeric, ginger, rosemary, saffron- Spices are a great way to get immune support.
Seaweeds like nori and dulse. They improve thyroid status and fight radiation exposure (Fukashima?)
Sweetners like stevia or wild honey.
Lots of clean water (1 gallon per day is optimal) with a bit of lemon or herbal tea.
SHOP, COOK, AND PREPARE FOR SUCCESS
I find that nutritional changes are actually the most difficult to make mainly because we are moving fast all the time. It takes patience and time to shop, cook and prepare for eating properly. I suggest using references such as cookbooks, pinterest, online recipes, and/or scheduling an appointment with a Naturopathic Physician or nutritionist to help set up a personalized eating plan and schedule specifically for you. You may say it sounds more expensive, but much like the other Tips to follow, eating healthy builds equity in your future.
It's all about SUPPORT if you want to be successful, so I've added a few of my favorite menus, a gluten free food list, and smoothie recipes below.
You can also SHOP HERE for any of the included proteins or green supplements (PaleoMeal Whey Proteins, PaleoMeal-DF (Dairy Free), PaleoGreens, Paleobars, Dynamite Adrenal etc) Put in the code SVHAWC, open a free account, pick your supplement from our scroll down options, and it will be shipped directly to your house!
Happy Healthy Eating!
Next blog....#2 2014 TIP: SLEEP
Boosting Your Immune System Naturally
When I see the word Immunity, my brain automatically hears I am Unity. I am Unity could mean so many things, but when it comes to the immune system, I see all the little cells holding hands and singing Kumbaya, united together for one mission: To protect and defend. This is the time of year where illness travels around school, work, and home and the flu becomes a household "experience". Building immunity is a life long endeavor, different with each stage of life, but creating a robust immune system includes the basics for everyone, young or old. Below is my simple list- believe me the list could go on, and on, and on.....but lets start here.
1) Combat emotional stress. “Stress-related disease emerges, predominantly, out of the fact that we so often activate a physiological system that has evolved for responding to acute physical emergencies, but we turn it on for months on end, worrying about mortgages, relationships, and promotions.” - Why Zebra’s Don’t Get Ulcers.
Reducing stresses such as fear, worry, and conflict, while increasing love, pleasure, and laughter can increase biochemicals such as oxytocin, natural killer cells, and Immunoglobulin A,( all increase immunity), while decreasing cortisol and adrenaline (which increase blood pressure, elevate blood sugars, and suppress the thyroid). Adopting stress reducing habits, removing negativity, and processing traumatic events, can overtime add years to your life, improve your outlook, and strengthen your immune system.
2) Let food be your medicine. Over 70% of the immune system resides in the digestive system, thus what you choose to eat (or drink), directly affects your immunity.
Many illnesses can be avoided or lessened by eating nutrient dense foods such as lean protein, vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, and legumes, all year round. Stay away from processed foods, sugars, trans fats, excessive alcohol, and foods that are not organic.
Organic foods are important because they are not sprayed with herbicides/pesticides, are hormone and antibiotic free, and are not derived from GMO products. These harmful compounds can alter hormone and immune function and even damage DNA.
Moderation is the key to success, and “cheating” a few times a week is fine, but cheating all day long every day of the year is going to decrease immunity, period.
3) Add Superfoods to your diet. SUPER DUPER foods (SDfoods) as I like to call them are a great example of high nutrient, low calorie foods, that are full of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and amino acids that strengthen immunity. Look for high Vitamin C SDfoods such as Camu Camu (YouthH2O), acai, and goji berries. Vitamin C is a water soluble vitamin that squelches free radicals and helps fight infection, thus boosting immunity. I will be posting my favorite SDfoods in the next few blogs, so stay tuned.
4)Exercise. Just like healthy nutrition, exercise is at the core of having a strong immune system. Exercise improves circulation aiding the body in elimination of toxins, decreases insulin levels and reduces the harmful inflammatory chemicals created by stress. This means you need to lift something heavy at least 2-3 times per week and increase your heart rate at least 4 times per week. Stress reducing activities such as yoga, Tai Ji, Qi Gong, and meditation are also immune stimulating. Besides, losing those excess pounds can't hurt. Yippee!
5) Sleep. Many studies show that sleep deprivation decreases T cells, inflammatory cytokines increase, and thus you are more succeptable to colds and flus. Millions also suffer from sleep related disorders such as sleep apnea, which recents studies have shown increased cancer diagnosis with severity of sleep apnea. Bottom line: Your immune system needs adequate restful sleep.
6) Get your head on straight and your body aligned. As many of you know I specialize in a powerful cranial, spinal, and neurological treatment, NeuroCranial Restructuring, and I can tell you from thousands of clinical examples that being pain free and standing tall has a direct impact on the immune system. Pain itself causes cascades of chemicals to be released into the system and chronic pain just plain wears everything out including your immunity. Other treatments I like: Reiki, Manual Ligament Therapy, Reflexology, Acupunture, and Hydrotherapy.
7) Vitamin D. Living in the rainy Northwest, I can tell you most everyone here and in any other dark climate during the winter, is deficient. Vitamin D is not really a vitamin, it’s more like a super hormone, and some studies show it as or more effective than the flu vaccine. Taking Vit K2 with the D is important too, so consider this when beginning to supplement.
8) Probiotics. Since the digestive system holds most of your immunity, you need to support the good bacteria and help them thrive. Probiotics assist the body in a multitude of ways and are the true champions of our inner ecology.
9) Lastly, turn off your phone, your computer, your iPad, your X-box, your TV, your alarm clock, your WiFi.... and look others in the eye and have a real conversation, make love to your partner, hug your chidren and get outside and put your feet on the earth more. Electromagnetics are making us sick in more ways than one, but this is a topic for another blog. Connect with people, nature, and not just your devices, your immune system will thank you.
Springtime in the Northwest… We live in an amazing bioregion, the sun is shining on most days, the birds are singing, the pollinators are doing their job and there is an explosion of plant life!
However, springtime is also a time when environmental allergies return, with nasal congestion, sneezing, wheezing, watery eyes, headache, flu-like symptoms and fatigue.
If this describes your springtime experience, you may be suffering from Oral Allergy Syndrome, also known as OAS. This is a type of food allergy classified by a cluster of allergic reactions in response to eating certain foods that can typically develop in folks with environmental (inhalant) allergies.
OAS is a common food-related allergy that occurs due to cross-reactivity between certain foods and tree and weed pollens. Common reactions are an itching or burning sensation of the mouth, lips, tongue, ear canals and throat. In some cases there is a swelling of the lips and tongue and tightness in the throat. Occasionally, there can be an occurrence of wheezing, difficulty breathing or anaphylaxis. Other reactions can also be triggered in the skin (rash or hives), the eyes (watering and discharge), the nose (congestion, sneezing and runny nose). Trigger foods can also cause gastrointestinal symptoms if the allergen is not destroyed by stomach acids, and a histamine release can cause nausea, severe indigestion, vomiting, diarrhea and cramping.
OAS is an IgE-mediated immune response, where the body’s immune system produces antibodies against certain pollens that cross-react with foods with structurally similar proteins. OAS sufferers are often reacting to more than just pollens. The reactions are often instigated by pesticides or other contaminants.
Generally, symptoms occur within a few minutes of eating a trigger food, although delayed reactions can also occur as well. OAS can occur at any time of the year but symptoms are most prevalent during times of high pollen.
An elimination diet, followed by a food challenge, along with an accurate history, can usually provide the information needed to avoid trigger foods. There are also food immunology tests that can be administered as an adjunct for diagnosis.
Here is a list of possible food-pollen cross contamination:
· Alder pollen: almonds, apples, strawberry, rasberry, celery, cherries, hazelnuts, peaches, pears, parsley.
· Birch Pollen: almonds, apples, peaches, pears, plums, prunes, strawberries, avocado, bananas, carrots, celery, coriander, fennel, potatoes, soy, wheat, peppers, fig, kiwi.
· Ragweed: cucumber, zucchini, artichoke, dandelion, banana, cantaloupe, honeydew, watermelon, sunflower seeds/oil, green pepper, hibiscus, chamomile.
Other reactions to food can be caused by gluten intolerance, celiac, other food intolerances, and “leaky gut.” These individuals are unable to metabolize naturally occurring substances (ie. proteins) and will exhibit symptoms of OAS as well as other systemic symptoms.
I am happy to work with you to determine the root cause of your seasonal allergies and create an individualized treatment plan.
Judi Epstein, MSN, ARNP has been in practice for nearly 20 years. She practices Holistic and Functional Medicine at Sky Valley Healing Arts in Snohomish Washington. Please visit Judi’s website at www.judiepsteinarnp.com or www.skyvalleyhealingarts.com
“What you eat today, walks and talks tomorrow.”
-Babe the Pig
This is from the movie "Babe" my daughters favorite movie at the current time, and even though you could interpret it a number of different ways, there is no doubt that what you eat controls each and every cell in your body. Since eating is something we all do, it seems like a good idea to put the conversation forward: Are your genetics influenced by the foods you eat, and even more importantly, do you have the power to control how your genes are turned on or off through nutrition?
The answer is: YES. The new future of medicine is known as Epigenetics- looking at how the genetic code is affected by environmental influences, and how we have the real ability to turn wellness or illness genes on or off through the foods we chose to put in our bodies. If you were to hear someone say, "it's all in my genes" it's true, but what you don't hear people say is, "but I have the power to control them." Now I'm not talking about hair color, eye color, skin color etc, these things are in the genetic code and make up your physical appearance. But lets say someone is meant to be 6 foot 5, but they were fed a horrible diet as a child- malnourished and under exercised. It's likely they wouldn't make it to that height due to the genetic code being altered by deficiency states.
It's the same with many of today's epidemic diseases in the modern world like heart disease, diabetes, cancers, and obesity. In a family where both parents have diabetes type 2, some will argue there is a genetic link for their child to get diabetes type 2 when they are older. In truth, if the child was fed a healthy diet devoid of simple carbohydrates and bad fats, and full of vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats, and lean proteins (with adequate exercise) it is very unlikely that this grown adult will get diabetes, for if the gene existed, it wouldn't be turned on. However in today's world we see children getting type 2 diabetes, a sure sign that if we continue to eat (and stay sedentary) the way we do, gene destruction will happen at an alarming rate.
The bright side to all this is that you have the power over what you put in your body and even though you don't know every "bad" gene in your body, you do have the say in what your genes can do. Many will disagree with me here, but I have seen all to many times that when people improve their nutritional status, their bodies become efficient, leaner, and free of disease, while their minds are calmed and bright. Even those who are what we considered "diseased, can benefit from a clean whole foods diet, sometimes even reversing their conditions and/or optimizing their current states. Take this month to educate yourself and others about the importance of healthy food, and remember you aren't helpless to your genes.