Category Archives: naturopathic wellness

Simple Steps to Better Health Starting Today – Guest Post by Terry Reilly

I am extremely honored to share a series of three blog posts by a health enthusiast who made amazing changes over the last 13 years and whose health benefited in astounding ways. He also happens to be my beloved husband. Thanks to Terry for taking time to share what he’s learned through the years and to encourage others to make positive changes.


Have you ever felt that some awful disease is your fate? I have. I have plenty of friends who believe it Simple Changes to Better Health
too. Cancer, heart disease, diabetes, stroke, Alzheimer’s, and the list goes on. It seems like a forgone conclusion that one of them is going to “getcha.” We could treat those thoughts with therapy, but there is a better way.

Why do some people live a great quality of life, disease free, and some don’t? The answers lie in a few key areas where our daily actions truly make the difference. Anyone can live the quality of life they desire. Why do I believe that? For the last 13 years I’ve been my own laboratory. I’m living proof. And the results are good.

What happened years ago were several things. I married the love of my life who is a Naturopathic Doctor, Certified Nutrition Counselor, Master Herbalist, energy practitioner, and more. With her loving guidance I embraced natural living. I started making different choices daily and in a short period of time, I noticed some very positive changes.

You may say, “You were born with good genes” or as my medical doctor loves saying, “In life sometimes you just have to be lucky”. My family tree includes lots of big bad diseases that have taken root including emphysema, hypertension, lupus, various cancers, diabetes, renal failure, arteriosclerosis, alcoholism and mental illness. Plus, as a teen and adult, I really didn’t take very good care of myself. My life choices turned my body into a ticking time bomb looking for a fuse and a match.

At the ripe middle age of 47, I started to simply change the choices I made about my health. I emphasize simply. Here’s how you can too with easy steps that work for anyone at any age.

Welcome to Natural Living 101:  Mind, Body & Spirit. Simple and effective. Part 1—Food.

  • Start with better food. Become a label reader. Before you buy it, look at the ingredients list. When you see words and chemicals you can’t pronounce, that stuff just flat out can’t be healthy for you. Preservatives and colorants are there for shelf life, convenience and let’s face it, the manufacturer’s return on investment. Instead, invest in yourself and your family’s well-being. It’s your body and your money. Pay now or pay later.
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  • Choose simpler options. Move away from processed foods to fresh. From food shipped from afar to grown locally. Choose organic whenever available. These choices will not only pay off in better health, but as more families demand real healthier foods, the greater the supply will be. That’s a good thing.
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  • Eliminate less healthy foods cold turkey (pun intended). My first simple step was cutting out all soft drinks. Other things I eliminate included fast food restaurants (ones with CO2 clogged drive throughs), salty and sugary processed snacks, energy drinks, sweeteners that come in little colored packets (they’re all hideously unhealthy), plain old table salt (replace with natural Celtic or Himalayan mountain salt). Reason for going cold turkey is you’ll have to replace these bad foods with better ones, so this simple step is a reinforcing one.
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  • Don’t beat yourself up. When you fall off the wagon, and you will, don’t beat yourself up, simply restart your commitment. Within a few short weeks, you will find you’ve lost your craving for junk. When you do eat differently, you’ll find the taste of junk food will frankly be disgusting.
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  • Share the journey. “Are we there yet?” Parents, remember we are the ones ultimately responsible for our children and families. Making the move to better food can be a beautiful journey with real and lasting benefits. So talk about it. Often. Speak the truths you’ve come to learn with love and conviction. Patience, listening and involvement overcome resistance. Start with your spouse or partner first, then the kids.
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  • Remember what food really is. It’s fuel. Fuel for your body. Our cars have fuel quality requirements that when ignored can lead to a breakdown or costly repair. Why treat your wonderful body with any less respect?
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  • Remember that bad choices may be destructive. Unhealthy food usually causes disruption and inflammation in our body’s systems. Inflammation is the cause of many serious and deadly diseases. Fresh organic, non-processed foods enable bodily systems to work as they should, particularly our amazing immune system and metabolism. Fresh organic food supercharges the immune system which is our disease fighter!
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  • Exercise your free will. The bill of rights and constitution of the good old USA guarantee us many liberties. Processed food in the grocery may be FDA approved and declared “safe,” but the FDA doesn’t do longitudinal studies on the safety of processed foods. However, as certain as I’m sitting here at my keyboard, I can see that people eating the Standard American Diet (SAD) are, in fact, less healthy with each passing generation. We have seen the enemy and it’s processed food. Use your freedom to learn what better foods are and choose them.

Start today with simple steps. You’ll be glad you did. Simply put, the food our great grandparents ate prior to today’s chemical processing made their disease rates lower than those of today’s generation. It’s true. I’ll be 61 years old this year and I’ve never been healthier. I don’t get sick, nor do I expect to.

Stay tuned for Part 2—I hate to exercise, but I love movement. Pursuing living the quality of life you desire and deserve.


Mr. Terry ReillyTerry Reilly is happy to be a transplanted Hoosier. A friend and the Indy 500 brought him to Indianapolis in 1978. His love of natural health began about 13 years ago. He’s a graduate of the Boston University College of Communication.  A family man with four adult children, Terry enjoys movies, the arts, motorcycling and community service. He currently works as Executive Director of The Miracle Ride Foundation, Inc. and you’re invited to connect with him on LinkedIn.

Ten Natural Health Life Hacks to Simplify, Save Money and Live Better

I am a huge fan of “life hacks.” Handy tricks that can greatly simplify a natural lifestyle create a win-win situation, allowing us to Natural Health Life Hacks
simplify our lives while improving our health. What could be better? Following are my Top 10 Natural Health Life Hacks. Use them to simplify your life, improve your health, save money, and live better. Have your own natural health life hack? Please share it in the comments!

Dr. Pamela’s Top 10 Natural Health Life Hacks

Stop wasting money on commercial colloidal oatmeal:  The word “colloidal” in relation to colloidal oatmeal simply means, “able to uniformly disperse in water.” That’s it. Nothing fancy and no chemistry required. Make your own colloidal oatmeal – and save a ton of money – by blending organic oats in a blender until they form a fine powder. It’s just that simple. Most commercial colloidal oatmeals contain chemical additives designed to improve the powder’s flow through processing machines, so by making your own you also reduce your exposure to potential toxins.

Freeze leftover smoothie in an ice cube tray:  Once the smoothie cubes are frozen, you can either use them as a cool treat on a hot day, can use them as ice cubes in water to create an “infused” beverage, or can toss them into a blender and make a frozen version of the original smoothie. You can also use the frozen cubes to save time. Make a double batch of smoothie every day for a week, freezing the excess and putting the cubes in a canning jar in the freezer. Use the frozen cubes to make a quickie smoothie on mornings when you run out of time for a healthy breakfast. Freezing the smoothie will detract a small amount of nutrition, but will retain enough nutrition to provide benefits. If you’d like a formula to use to make perfect smoothies every time, read this:  Perfect Smoothie Formula.

Keep a pre-packed bag with gym essentials in your trunk:  Having a back-up gym bag packed and ready to go will help eliminate most excuses for not working out. Keep one in your trunk, in your desk at work, or wherever it will always be ready. Items to pack might include a t-shirt and shorts, tennis shoes, deodorant, headband, water bottle, etc. 

Buy organic spices in the bulk section instead of individual jars:  When we buy organic basil in a jar, it costs $4.79. The same amount of organic basil in bulk costs us less than $1.50. Find a locally owned store that sells organic spices in bulk. The store we frequent even allows us to weigh our own container when we enter so we don’t have to use a plastic bag. We save loads of money by buying our organic spices in bulk. We wash and re-use glass spice bottles, but you can also find bottles on Amazon for next to nothing.

Measure your daily water need into a bottle in the morning and keep it with you all day:  We all need to drink half our weight (in pounds) in ounces of water on a daily basis. This means people who weigh 150 pounds should drink 75 ounces of purified water daily. Staying hydrated helps ensure our cells can work at their optimal level, helps us feel more energized, can eliminate headaches, and prevents the body from secreting hormones that make us feel hungry when what we actually need is water. The bottom line is that our cells work better when they’re hydrated and look like grapes than they do when they are dehydrated and look like raisins. So do we.

Ask for a to go box when you order at a restaurant, then place half your meal in the box as soon as it’s served:  Most portions of restaurant meals are huge, especially if they include side dishes, salad, etc. Boxing up half your meal as soon as it’s delivered helps ensure you don’t overeat and provides a meal for the next day. For more tips and tricks for eating healthily when eating out, read Ten Ways to Make Good Choices While Eating Out.

Use coconut water instead of sugary sports drinks:  Coconut water naturally contains every trace mineral present in human blood. It is also very easily absorbed and void of added sugars or corn syrup. It makes a much healthier alternative to sports drinks loaded with synthetic minerals and excess sugars. Coconut water is also often successfully used instead of infant electrolyte replacement drinks. (Discuss that option with your pediatrician or physician.) For best results, use a coconut water that is organic and that does not contain added sugars. 

Make your own “gel” icepack:  Simply blend 2 parts water with 1 part rubbing alcohol. Place in a zippered bag, force out as much air as possible, freeze, and use as needed. You may want to use two bags to help protect against having the zippers pop open. These ice packs are nice because they don’t leak all over but can easily fit around limbs and body parts. To prevent overchilling of the body part, place a towel or wash cloth between the area that needs to be iced and the gel pack. You can increase or decrease the ratio of water to rubbing alcohol to change the thickness and density of the “gel” as needed. Vodka or Everclear can be used instead of the rubbing alcohol if you prefer.

Use a piece of spaghetti to light candles:  Believe it or  not, spaghetti is flammable. Light a piece and you can use it to light multiple candles with hard to reach wicks. Note that gluten-free spaghetti doesn’t work as well as regular spaghetti.

Ditch artificial makeup removers:  The best makeup remover on the planet is organic, high oleic sunflower seed oil. The oil easily removes makeup and contains fatty acids known to help reduce fine lines and wrinkles. It’s also very inexpensive. To use, apply the oil to a natural cotton ball or cotton wash cloth (use black wash cloths for removing eye makeup) and gently use to remove makeup. You’ll protect yourself from artificial chemicals while nourishing and moisturizing your skin. It’s a winning combination!

Bonus Natural Health Life Hack #11:

Use coconut flour instead of corn starch as a thickener:  Coconut flour is ultra-absorbent and makes a fantastic thickener for soups and stews. It does not add any flavor to the recipe. Since most corn starch is made from genetically modified corn and is high in carbohydrates, I prefer to avoid it. Coconut flour not only works better as a thickener, it has better nutritional value, adding protein and healthy essential fatty acids.

Bonus Natural Health Life Hack #12:

Store natural peanut butter upside down on its lid:  That will allow the natural oils to rise to the bottom of the jar. Shaking the jar before opening it will make it easier to stir and blend the oils back into the butter.

What are your favorite natural health hacks? Please share!

What Does a Naturopathic Doctor Do?

Some of the most common questions I receive focus on what a Naturopathic Doctor (ND) is and what we do. I am also frequently asked what Naturopathy is. Those questions can be Blank chalkboard with wood frame, erased and ready for your messagesomewhat difficult to answer, as every ND uses a wide variety of different approaches, each of which is well within the legal parameters and each of which has a solid scientific foundation. Following is a general overview of how most Naturopathic Doctors view their practice. Please note this post refers to Naturopathic Doctors, not Naturopathic Medical Doctors. For more information on my personal philosophies, please read A Unique Approach to Wellness and Meet Dr. Pamela.

Naturopathic Doctors Focus on Finding the Root Cause of Physical Challenges

Most NDs have a primary goal of identifying the true root cause of physical challenges. In the midst of finding the cause they will also make recommendations to alleviate symptoms, but NDs firmly believe in addressing the cause of an issue instead of alleviating symptoms without finding what’s causing them. Root causes may include nutritional deficiencies, systemic weaknesses, emotional blockages, physiological or chemical imbalances, excess toxicity, or other basic imbalances that can cause the body to perform poorly. The assessment techniques used to identify needs can vary widely, but may include laboratory testing of saliva or urine; a review of current eating habits; Biologic Ionization testing; energetic assessments; Iridology readings; muscle response testing; tongue and fingernail analysis; pulse analysis; measurement of metabolic factors; and others. 

Naturopathic Doctors Address the Whole Person, Not Just a Symptom

Naturopathic Doctors recognize that the body requires balance in body, mind and spirit in order to restore balance and reverse challenges. Our emotional and spiritual health directly impacts our physical health. It is therefore imperative to ensure steps are being taken to achieve the maximum level of balance and health in all three areas. Naturopathic Doctors may address emotional stressors by measuring physiological factors such as neurotransmitter levels to ensure ho physiological imbalances are causing the stress. They may also refer their clients to a counselor or psychiatrist depending on the severity of the challenge. In my practice, I often quickly recognize that a client is consumed with bitterness, anger, fear or other negative emotion. For that reason, every care plan I create includes specific steps the client should take to help improve emotional and spiritual balance. I often refer clients to other professionals. I am also trained in several simple techniques used to clear emotional blockages and often train my clients how to use them at home. My primary focus is on restoring physical health, but I know from personal experience that emotions can prevent health improvements.

Naturopathic Doctors Believe the Body was Created to Heal Itself

Our bodies were designed to reverse minor health challenges on their own. Few of us rush to the emergency room when we get a paper cut because we know our bodies will heal the cut as long as we take necessary steps to assist the body’s own healing abilities. Naturopathic Doctors believe the body is capable of reversing many health challenges, but that simple factors often prevent the body’s innate ability to heal itself. Those factors may include physiological deficiencies or excesses; structural abnormalities; nutritional imbalances; excess toxicity; overactive autoimmune systems; a lack of belief wellness is possible or an excess of negativity; etc. Let me also say that I am a Naturopathic Doctor who is not opposed to mainstream medical intervention when needed. We are blessed to have an amazing wealth of knowledge and resources at our disposal. Naturopathy is very effective for many conditions, but should not be used as a substitute for medical intervention when it is needed. I am blessed to work very closely with many of my clients’ physicians. The blend of natural and conventional approaches often helps achieve wellness very quickly.

Naturopathic Doctors are Firmly Committed to Doing No Harm

An ND’s goal is to improve your health in every way possible and to never cause more harm. I am very careful about what I recommend, and am very thorough in explaining why the recommendations will benefit your health. My goal is to educate and empower my clients to improve their health. The client calls the shots, not me. I operate in a team environment where every decision is discussed with the client in detail. Natural recommendations made by NDs may include dietary changes, lifestyle changes, supplements (herbs, homeopathy, minerals, vitamins, enzymes, etc.), Bach Flower Remedies, essential oils, acupuncture or acupressure, massage, detoxification assistance, weight loss counseling, programs to improve digestive health, programs designed to balance hormones and/or neurotransmitters, etc.

Naturopathic Doctors Can Assist with Chronic and Acute Challenges

Many people assume NDs can only assist with chronic health issues, but that is simply not true. One of the  most frequent calls I receive is from people who have a cold or the flu and need advice about how to alleviate their suffering and boost their immunity. I’ve also consulted with more than one ER physician about what would best benefit one of my clients who had an acute need. Although Naturopathy can definitely help find ways to assist with controlling chronic conditions using natural methods, it can also be used to assist with short-term challenges. I have worked with and assisted people who had a wide variety of physical ailments including broken bones, pleurisy, bursitis, obesity, infertility and more. In each case, I worked with their physicians and made recommendations that nicely complemented the mainstream treatments they were receiving. I also have a wide variety of clients who are in good health and simply wish to remain so. I work with them to help establish better lifestyle habits and to quickly spot and reverse any signs of impending struggles.

There you have it. Did any of this surprise you? What questions do you have?

Super Simple Super Tonic Recipe

One of my favorite aids to use during cold and flu season is my formula for “Super Tonic.” Super Tonic is a combination of herbs Super Tonic Ingredients and vegetables known to have properties that include being antiviral, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, cleansing, immune-boosting and more. The beauty of Super Tonic is that it can easily be made at home by anyone. You can make a batch in the fall and it will keep well until spring. If you need more, you can whip up a new batch in no time at all, or simply add a bit of each ingredient to the existing jar and top with more organic apple cider vinegar. This formula is gluten-free, dairy-free and soy-free, and is free of the top eight allergens.

There are a wide variety of ways to use Super Tonic. Some people take between a teaspoon and a tablespoon daily, while others only use it while fighting a cold or flu. People who take it while battling a virus take anywhere from one teaspoon every four hours to one tablespoon every two hours. Some people make the mixture and then use the liquid as a spiced vinegar in salads, salad dressings and more. Others use it as a meat marinade. There are obviously a wide variety of ways Super Tonic can be used, many of which fall far outside the realm of using it to boost immunity and increase wellness.

My formula for Super Tonic follows. The beauty of this formula is that it’s very forgiving. You can use more or less of every ingredient and still have great results. The only requirement is that the organic apple cider vinegar completely cover all the veggies. 

Good Works Super Tonic Ingredients (All ingredients are organic)

3 inches of ginger root

3 inches of horseradish (Look for at farmer’s markets if you cannot find it in your local grocery)

1 full head of garlic, all cloves peeled

1 small red onion

2-4 cayenne peppers (other hot peppers may be substituted if needed; vary quantity to adjust taste)

1 quart of organic, apple cider vinegar with the mother

Optional:  

3 inches of turmeric root

3 tablespoons whole cloves

3 tablespoons Manuka honey

Instructions

  1. Chop all ingredients into small pieces
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  2. Place in a food processor and cover at least half way with organic apple cider vinegar
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  3. Pulse until ingredients are uniform in size, then process for at least 60 seconds. Transfer to a quart Mason jar.
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  4. Completely cover ingredients with organic apple cider vinegar.
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  5. Can be used immediately, but will have stronger effects if mixture is allowed to meld 2-3 weeks.

That’s it! If the flavor of the straight Super Tonic is too strong, feel free to make a tea out of it by adding 1-2 tablespoons to a cup of hot water. People rave about its ability to slow coughing and clear stuffy heads.

Do you make your own Super Tonic? What’s your favorite way to use it?

Top Health-Related Motorcycle Articles of All Time

People often look at me as if I’m crazy when I share that riding a motorcycle has taught me a lot about wellness, and that Honda Shadow Aerowellness and motorcycle riding have many similarities. To prove that point, I’ve created a list of my favorite health-related motorcycle posts. These posts share a little bit of everything, including a nice combination of science and satire. I hope they bless, inspire and encourage you to live life more abundantly!

How Motorcycle Riding Improves Physical Health:  My compilation of why riding a motorcycle (or any two-wheeled vehicle with a motor) provides a wide variety of benefits to physical health.

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Eight Reasons Why Motorcycles are the Best Drug:  A satirical look at why motorcycles make better drugs than ones you can only buy in not-so-safe parts of town.

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Diabetes and the Art of Motorcycle Riding:  A great look at why it’s perfectly fine for people with diabetes to ride motorcycles, along with tips and tricks for ensuring blood sugars remain stable while riding.  

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Can Riding a Motorcycle Strengthen Old Bones?  A scientific perspective on how the effects of riding a motorcycle improve bone density.

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Healing Truths I Learned Riding My Motorcycle:   A look at the similarities between riding a motorcycle and the steps the body uses to reverse illness. I promise there’s more wisdom and similarities between the two than you realize!

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Riding a Motorcycle Makes You Smarter, Not Just Sexier:  Interesting look at research done in Tokyo that proved the minds of motorcycle riders function at a higher cognitive level. (We knew that, but it’s nice to see it proven scientifically.) For the record, I hate the picture they used to illustrate this post, but there’s nothing I can do about that.

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Two Weeks from a Broken Foot to Dancing in Heels:  A true story about how a motorcycle rider used natural methods to enhance her body’s ability to restore a broken bone.

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As always, ride safely, wear full protective gear and don’t push your limits!

Top 10 Articles to Read on Vacation

I am a big fan of vacations. I’m on one now, as a matter of fact. I therefore wanted to focus on articles that are funVacation View or which focus on topics suitable for vacation. Kick back, grab a frosty beverage, and enjoy.

 

Sun IconEleven Ways to be a Jerk at the Gym:  A fun and humorous look at various ways to make everyone else at the gym hate you.

 

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Sun IconShining Light on the Truth About Sun Exposure:  This article reveals the myths that exist about sun exposure and shares the truth.

 

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Sun IconHealing Truths I Learned on My Motorcycle:  Healing and motorcycle riding have more in common than you may think. Read about the similarities here. You may even learn some valuable life skills.

 

 

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Sun IconNatural Sunscreen Recipe:  Learn how to make your own very effective sunscreen using all-natural ingredients. By making your own, you can avoid the use of toxic ingredients and nano particles.

 

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Break the Bondage of Negativity and Set Yourself Free:  An especially pertinent article for anyone who struggles with poor or overly negative self-image issue. Shares simple strategies for viewing yourself without judgment.

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Sun IconHow Motorcycle Riding Improves Physical Health:  Believe it or not, riding a motorcycle is a form of exercise known to have powerful health benefits. This article shares facts about the benefits of motorcycle riding.

 

 

Sun IconHow to Live Abundantly with Diabetes:  Although these trips are aimed at people with diabetes, the powerful lessons in this article can be applied to anyone in any situation.

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Sun IconSimple Marinara Recipe:  This light, delicious recipe makes a meal to be treasured. The recipe uses ingredients which can be easily found at any farmer market or local grocery.

 

 

 

Sun IconPerfect Smoothie Formula:  Use this formula to make perfect smoothies every time. This guide can be used on vacation to request power blends for any snack or meal.

 

 

 

Sun IconTop 11 Low-Carb Breakfasts:  Use these great suggestions to ensure you eat a nutritious breakfast that is not overly high in carbohydrates.

Facts About Iron-Deficiency Anemia

Red Blood CellsIron-Deficiency Anemia is a very common health issue. Many women have been told at some point in their life they have Iron-Deficiency Anemia and that it is “chronic.” Unfortunately, the term “chronic” typically means the diagnosing doctor has chosen to not identify the cause of the condition. The doctor assumes the woman’s anemia is “normal” for her and therefore can only be controlled, not treated. I beg to differ.

Iron-Deficiency Anemia always has a cause or causes. It is never a “normal” state of being. Never. Let me clarify that I am speaking about Iron-Deficiency Anemia, the type of anemia that occurs when the body’s iron stores are below normal. Please note I am solely referring to Iron-Deficiency Anemia, not Sickle Cell Anemia, Thalassemia, Pernicious Anemia, Aplastic Anemia or any other form of anemia. Although the symptoms of the various types of anemia may be similar, they each have very distinct causes and cannot be addressed using the same approach. Please note that all references in this article are for adults, not children.

Common Symptoms

Iron-Deficiency Anemia results in a deficiency of red blood cells and diminishes the body’s ability to carry oxygen to the cells and carbon dioxide away from cells. The most common symptoms of Iron-Deficiency Anemia include:

  • Fatigue
  • Easy bruising
  • Headaches
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Elevated heart rate/heart palpitations/chest pain (Seek immediate medical attention for any form of chest pain)
  • Breathlessness
  • Dizziness
  • Swollen tongue/sore tongue/cracks in corners of mouth
  • Muscle pain
  • Pale skin
  • Depression and/or a lack of motivation
  • Brittle nails
  • Frequent infection/illness
  • Irritability/inability to concentrate
  • Bluish coloration to whites of eyes
  • Cravings for unusual items (chalk, clay, paper, etc.) or a strong desire to chew ice

Each of those symptoms could also be a sign of other health conditions, some more serious than others. Please consult a trained practitioner if you experience any of the symptoms listed above.

Possible Tests for Iron-Deficiency Anemia

Iron-Deficiency Anemia is typically identified via blood tests. When checking for Iron-Deficiency Anemia, the following tests should be run at a minimum. Please note that each lab has its own definition of what “normal” ranges are. The ranges provided below are general guidelines:

  • Complete Blood Count (CBC):  An overview of blood composition.
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  • Hemoglobin:  A protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen throughout the body. Normal range for men is between 13.5-17.5; for women 12.0-15.5. Please note that results which are within “normal” but are at the low end may still cause symptoms of Iron-Deficiency Anemia.
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  • Iron:  A measure of the iron in the blood stream. Normal ranges between 60-170 mcg/dL.
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  • Ferritin:  A protein that stores iron. Is a measure of the body’s iron stores. Although some labs state that levels as low as 10 are “normal,” most people do not begin to feel anything close to normal until their Ferritin levels are at least 40. Please note that levels as low as zero are not a definite indicator of cancer or other serious disease. Extremely low levels need to be researched in more detail to determine the cause, but are not necessarily an indicator of a terminal condition. I once had Ferritin levels of zero which my doctor erroneously assumed meant I had cancer. After having a bone marrow biopsy, the consulting hematologist looked at me and asked why on earth the doctor ordered a bone marrow biopsy instead of investigating the cause and type of anemia first. Good question!
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  • Vitamin B12:  Vitamin B12 is essential for iron to be absorbed. A deficiency can lead to Iron-Deficiency Anemia. Normal ranges vary between 200-900 pg/mL.
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  • Total iron-binding capacity (TIBC):  A measure of the number of proteins available for transporting iron. Normal ranges are typically between 240-450 mcg/dL.
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  • Transferrin Saturation:  A measure of how saturated with iron the proteins responsible for transporting iron are. Normal ranges are between 20-50%.

Potential Causes of Iron-Deficiency Anemia

Your doctor may order other tests if s/he wishes to identify the specific cause of the Iron-Deficiency Anemia. Potential causes of low iron levels and Iron-Deficiency Anemia may include:

Iron Deficiency Anemia Red Blood Cells

Red blood cells in a person with Iron-Deficiency Anemia

  • Lack of iron in the diet
  • Inability to absorb iron in the digestive tract
  • Unidentified bleeding (in oral cavity, lungs, stomach, digestive tract, etc.)
  • Other forms of anemia not yet tested for or identified
  • Pregnancy and lactation
  • Extremely heavy menstruation
  • Frequent blood donation
  • Excessive exercise (Iron-Deficiency Anemia is common in long-distance runners)
  • Celiac, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Crohn’s or other digestive disorders
  • H Pylori infection (stomach ulcer)
  • Use of a proton pump inhibitor such as Prilosec, Nexxium, etc.
  • Kidney disease
  • Gastric bypass surgery/colostomy
  • Thyroid imbalances or other hormonal imbalance
  • Enlarged spleen or splenic dysfunction
  • Lead poisoning

Further Testing to Identify the Cause of Chronic Iron-Deficiency Anemia

Consistent Iron-Deficiency Anemia can be caused by any of the factors discussed previously, but may also be an indicator of more severe health issues. I advise considering the following to identify the root cause of Iron-Deficiency Anemia:

  • Check antiparietal antibody levels to ensure Pernicious Anemia is not the cause of the anemia
  • Test for other forms of anemia if symptoms and blood work indicate a possibility
  • Test for digestive disorders
  • Test for vitamin and nutritional deficiencies and supplement as needed
  • Test for food allergies (the inflammation caused by food allergies can impair iron absorption)
  • Check for bleeding in the digestive tract and digestive disorders
  • Check for bleeding in the respiratory system
  • Test thyroid levels (with a complete thyroid panel including TSH, Free T3, Free T4, TPO and Reverse T3 at a minimum)
  • Test hormone levels and have a gynecological exam if extremely heavy menstruation is suspected as the cause
  • Test for pregnancy (if appropriate)

Reversing the Deficiency

Many factors may contribute to Iron-Deficiency Anemia, so work with your doctor to determine what approach should be taken to reverse the deficiency. The most common approaches used to reverse the deficiency include:

  • Identify and Address the Cause:  Although it is imperative to get iron levels up using supplements or other approaches, it is also essential to identify why the iron deficiency exists and address the cause. If the cause can be identified and eliminated or greatly alleviated, the body can more easily restore iron levels to normal levels. If testing reveals a more severe form of anemia exists, additional steps will be needed. I will share more about the other forms of anemia in future posts.
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  • Increase Iron Consumption:  Increasing the amount of iron eaten on a daily basis can be helpful, but may not be sufficient in cases of absorption and digestion challenges. Please be aware that the iron contained in plants is called “non-heme” iron. It is not as easily absorbed as the heme iron in animal products. The body must convert non-heme iron into heme iron before it can absorb it. The best way to assist the body in making converting non-heme iron into heme iron is to eat fruits or veggies high in Vitamin C with foods containing non-heme iron. (Eating foods high in Vitamin C will assist with the absorption of iron in animal products, too, but is especially important for vegetable sources of iron.) This is one reason why spinach salads often contain oranges. The food that is highest in iron content is liver. Other foods high in iron include red meat, chicken and turkey, quinoa, organ meats, raisins, dark leafy greens, egg yolks, prunes, molasses, beans and lentils, salmon, nuts and seeds, dark chocolate (at least 80%), broccoli and others. I am not a fan of “iron fortified” milk and cereals because the iron those foods contain is in a form that is very difficult to absorb.
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  • Use Iron Supplementation:  Iron pills or supplements should never be taken if testing has not proven you are deficient in iron. Excess iron in the bloodstream can have negative affects which are as bad or worse as an iron deficiency. Please also be aware the forms of iron most commonly sold in drug stores are difficult to absorb and often cause constipation. Ferrous sulfate is the most commonly sold form of iron, but is very poorly absorbed and often causes constipation. It is not a form I recommend. My preferred forms of supplemental iron include iron citrate, iron gluconate, iron bisglycinate and/or chelated iron. Iron is best absorbed when it is taken on an empty stomach. My favorite iron supplements are Hematinic Formula and Vitamin Code Raw Iron.
    .
  • Severe cases of Iron-Deficiency Anemia may require blood transfusions or intravenous iron. Those approaches are usually not needed unless other health issues are present.

In conclusion, I’d like to say that Iron-Deficiency Anemia can usually be quickly addressed and reversed. More difficult cases may require further testing and additional therapies, but quality of life can usually be restored fairly quickly.

Red Blood Cell Photograph courtesy of Wellcome Images
Anemia Blood Cell Photograph Courtesy of Alpha Images

 

 

How to be the World’s Worst Patient

Please be aware: This post is sarcastic. I am not truly suggesting you do the “recommendations” the post shares. Keep that in mind as you read. Please also keep in mind that the issues discussed in this post only apply to a few select practitioners, not to all of them. 

If you’ve spent any time with me on my blog or my Facebook page, you know I strongly encourage everyone to be their owndoc health advocate. This post is the result of experiences some people had when they became their own health advocate. Unfortunately, their experiences were not all positive. It is sad that many mainstream physicians refuse to acknowledge that no one knows a body better than the person living in it.

We live in a world where many mainstream physicians spend a maximum of five to ten minutes with their patients. During that time, the physician is expected to listen to all of a patient’s symptoms and concerns, make a complete diagnosis, and prescribe a treatment protocol. This creates an environment where patients often feel ignored or rushed. It also creates a ripe opportunity for missed diagnoses since patients often do not have time to share the complete details of their health issues. In the old days, doctors were revered almost as gods. The thought that an MD could make a mistake or that it was acceptable to disagree with one’s physician was unthinkable. Times have changed, medicine has changed, and those days are over. Today, it is essential to be your own health advocate. There is no other way to ensure you get the care you need.

Don’t get me wrong. There are many wonderful MDs out there who would do anything to help their patients. I’m often encouraged to hear inspiring stories of people whose lives were saved or radically improved because a physician listened to them, ran tests no one else had thought to, or used holistic treatment methods. Unfortunately, there are also many physicians who let their pride and arrogance stand in the way of helping their patients. 

In the course of a typical day, I regularly speak with people who share horror stories of a physician ignoring their physical symptoms, refusing to provide copies of test results or discuss additional testing options, or who were FIRED from a practice because they challenged what was later proven to be a wrong diagnosis.  Many people come to see me because they know I respect their knowledge and because they know my goal is to find the cause of the problem instead of merely masking the symptoms. The horror stories I’ve heard about how people were treated by their physician have occasionally brought me to tears. The fact I went through it myself makes it easy to empathize.

Based on those stories, following is a list of “cardinal sins” you should always be sure to commit in assembly line medical practices to be considered the world’s worst patient:

  1. Do research: The worst thing you can do is to come into a doctor’s appointment with a strong body of knowledge. Your doctor spent eight years in medical school. How dare you presume to do your own research! This makes the doctor presume you think you know more than he does. Harming his or her ego is an unforgivable error. Your best bet is to remain completely, totally ignorant and to rely on your distracted physician to take a complete health history, order the correct tests, correctly diagnose you and write a prescription in under five minutes. They have practice quotas to fill, after all.
    .
  2. Ask your doctor to run tests he or she did not order: Silly, silly patient … do you seriously think you know more about what tests are appropriate and about your own body than your doctor does? How dare you question his wisdom! Just do what you’re told to and trust s/he knows better than you do. On a serious note … I’m not talking about asking your doctor to run unnecessary or extreme tests, I’m talking about asking your doc to add simple blood tests to the blood work s/he ordered, or to request a different type of test if your research has shown the type of test that was ordered is potentially incorrect or insufficient. Never forget that you are in charge. Your doctor works for you. You hired him or her and you have the right to request specific tests. Be prepared to prove and justify your request, but know that you definitely have the right to request additional testing if you believe it’s warranted.
    .
  3. Refuse a prescription: The best option for every condition under the sun is obviously a prescription, so don’t you dare ask to try to address something without a prescription. How dare you! Again on a serious note, I’m not talking about refusing a life-saving prescription or refusing to take a prescription to control a condition that could cause permanent damage, such as Type 1 diabetes or high blood pressure. I’m talking about asking your doctor to consider other options for mild conditions that are often corrected using lifestyle changes. A non-prescription approach is sometimes very valuable for issues where your blood work is normal but on the verge of being abnormal.
    .
  4. Request a different prescription: Again, how dare you presume that you know more than your physician! I was once fired as a patient because I requested a more natural alternative prescription (prescription – not supplement) for my thyroid condition. I happily shook the dust off my feet and moved on without looking back. The end result was that the alternative prescription, from a natural source was an absolute life-changer that brought my blood levels to normal for the first time in years. The bottom line is that many new pharmaceuticals are put on the market each year. It is virtually impossible for your physician to know everything there is to know about every available prescription medication. Additionally, some health conditions have multiple prescription options. Many MDs fall into the habit of only prescribing one or two, usually because the sales rep for those meds did a really good job. No MD can say he or she knows every side effect for every pharmaceutical. I once had a client who told his physician the medication the doctor prescribed was known to cause kidney damage. The physician very condescendingly told him he was wrong. This poor man came to see me because his kidney function fell to 40% after taking that prescription. If you are aware of side effects your physician is not, feel free to share your concerns and request an alternative. Take documentation proving your concerns if needed. If your MD refuses to consider your request, it may be time to interview new physicians. (On a side note to thyroid patients, hair loss is a known side effect of Synthroid that is listed in the patient information sheet, yet many physicians are unaware of and deny that side effect. If hair loss is an issue and you’re on Synthroid or one of its generic alternatives, it may be time to consider alternatives and to make sure your dosage is correct.) My current nurse practitioner often suggests prescriptions and always says they have no side effects. I adore her, but she’s wrong. I know from experience that doing your own research is essential when it comes to prescription side effects.
    .
  5. Mention another doctor: Silly, silly patient … are you foolish enough to think that two heads are better than one and that another doctor’s opinion might help provide more insight into your care? Blasphemy! It often makes sense to get a second opinion. I’ve spoken with patients who maintain relationships with three or more different holistic MDs and natural practitioners simply because they want a variety of opinions and options. Having multiple doctors doesn’t express a lack of faith in one, it simply communicates that you want the broadest depth of expertise possible. It is fine to see different practitioners. There is a limit, however. Running from doctor to doctor in search of one who will tell you what you want to hear never works. Use common sense. If you come across a doc who is offended you have more than one doctor, it may be time to move on.

There you have it. So, tell me: Are you a “good” patient or “bad”? Have you ever experienced any of these points? What “sins” would you add to the list? Please share your opinion of this perspective!

Graphic courtesy of Alan O’Rourke. Use of this graphic in no way implies the photographer’s support of this subject matter or of the opinions expressed by the author.

Two Weeks From a Broken Foot to Dancing in Heels

There is a myth that time and immobilization are the only ways to heal broken bones. I disagree. It is very possible to heal broken bones more rapidly using changes in lifestyle, eating habits and supplementation. I know because I’ve done it more than once. For more information on broken bones, please read Five Myths About Broken Bones and Fractures.

Before I dive into my personal story of supporting a broken bone, please note the story I am sharing is purely my own. The techniques I used were appropriate for the type of break I had and its location.Surgical Boot
They were also based on years of professional expertise. Although many of these techniques could be used by anyone with a broken bone, please discuss them with your orthopedic doctor and a natural health consultant before using them. As always, this information is shared for educational purposes only, was not evaluated by the FDA and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness.

Three weeks ago I broke the fifth metatarsal of my left foot in a motorcycle incident. Thankfully, it was an “incident” and not an “accident.” In spite of the broken bone, I was very fortunate. So was the driver who caused the incident, as my break prevented me from chasing him down and giving him a piece of my mind.

The orthopedic surgeon who diagnosed the break said the bone would take six to eight weeks to heal, I would need to wear a “boot” for that entire period, and my lifestyle would need to drastically change. None of those options appealed to me. I knew he was wrong, but I politely refrained from telling him that – with God’s grace – I would get that bone healed much more rapidly. I was determined to wear heels with the little black dress I was wearing to my 30th high school reunion. That gave me 2.5 weeks to heal the broken bone and walk without a limp. I was on a mission!

How the Body Works to Heal Broken Bones

When a bone is broken, the body immediately sends a multitude of resources to repair the damage. Healing broken bones is a truly miraculous process. Within minutes, the body creates a cushion of blood between the pieces of the broken bone. The blood quickly begins coagulating to hold the bones in place. The body also causes the surrounding tissues to swell in an attempt to immobilize the bone and force the area to be used less. In the hours that follow, the coagulated blood allows new blood vessels to grow within the gelatinous “scab” that lies between the areas of broken bones. The new blood vessels carry specialized blood cells that create a network of collagen and which work to destroy and carry away the damaged bone. Eventually, this network crystallizes some of the collagen cells into bone crystals which are used to create new layers of bone. The process does take time, but is a truly miraculous combination of physiology and chemistry. Most experts agree that it takes six to eight weeks to completely heal a bone. Luckily, the outside of the bone heals first, which strengthens the bone so that the interior is not as vulnerable. When the outside of the bone is healed, the bone will appear solid on X-rays, but it may take longer for the interior of the bone to fully heal and repair itself. The area surrounding the break may swell for several months as the body continues sending resources to the area to heal it.

It is possible to support the body’s efforts to heal broken bones. Providing the extra nutrients that are needed to form the new tissues and bone cells can sometimes decrease the healing time. There are also lifestyle changes that support new bone growth, and eating styles that provide further support. Since most breaks also cause strains, sprains and damage to surrounding tissues, muscles, ligaments, tendons and nerves, there are other ways to support the healing of those tissues.

My praise report is that a follow-up X-ray taken two weeks after I initially broke the bone showed the bone is healed. That doesn’t mean the internal structure of the bone is completely restored, but is truly miraculous. Even my osteopath was impressed! I still have pain from the ankle sprain that occurred with the break, but the area surrounding the break is no longer painful and it no longer hurts to walk. My left leg consistently swells up to my knee, but even that decreases a bit every day. I occasionally wear a wrap to keep the swelling to a minimum. I did wear heels to my reunion and did dance in them, but I confess I switched to flats after a few dances as a purely practical matter. Every woman there wished she could have done the same.

Following is a description of the things I did to support my body’s efforts to heal the broken bone more rapidly. Please note that the break I incurred was a “closed” fracture that did not require surgery or a cast, so the break required minimal medical intervention. Breaks requiring surgery and more in-depth medical intervention will obviously need more patience and have a longer period of healing.

Supplements Used to Heal Broken Bones

Following is a list of the supplements I took. These supplements may have drug interactions and are not recommended for some conditions, so please check with a health practitioner before using. Please let your doctor know you are taking them. Please also note I do not recommend taking this many supplements at once for extended periods of time. I had an acute situation requiring intervention, so I gave my body what it needed. Now that I know the bone is mostly healed, I have stopped taking most of these supplements.

  • White Willow Bark:  A natural pain reliever and anti-inflammatory with few side effects. I only needed it a few days. NSAIDS are known to slow bone healing, so I was determined to avoid them. I am happy to say I didn’t need them. The White Willow Bark helped reduce pain during the first few days following the break.
  • Whole Food Calcium Combination:  Bones need calcium. I used a calcium that was derived from food and is very easily absorbed. The supplement I used contains multiple other ingredients known to improve bone strength and improve calcium absorption.
  • Magnesium:  To improve calcium absorption, provide mineral support to the tissues and relax the muscles in my ankle.
  • Trace minerals:  To provide the extra minerals my body needed to heal the bone.
  • Selenium:  For additional mineral support. Selenium is known to work synergistically with calcium to strengthen and build bones. It is also a powerful antioxidant, and I wanted to ensure my body had plenty of antioxidants to help repair my damaged cells.
  • Liquid silica:  An essential component of bone tissue. I debated between taking Collagen and Silica. I opted for the Silica because it benefits a broader range of tissues.
  • Homeopathic Arnica: A powerful anti-inflammatory known to be very effective for reducing swelling and bruising. Arnica is one of my favorite supplements for soft tissue trauma. I used the 1M strength because it’s one of the strongest available.
  • Homeopathic Symphytum Officinale: The homeopathic form of Comfrey. I continue taking this one to support the continued healing of the internal bone structure. I used the 1M strength.
  • Proteolytic Enzymes:  Powerful anti-inflammatories that support healing in every way possible. The enzymes are typically used to reduce pain and swelling, but the enzymes also support the body’s production of collagen, which is then used for bone healing.
  • Comfrey Tea: Another name for Comfrey is “bone knit.” It is known to greatly speed bone healing. The FDA claims Comfrey should not be used internally, but they based that recommendation on flawed studies. Please note Comfrey can cause liver damage when incorrectly used. I took a carefully calculated dosage and do not recommend that others use it internally. I also made Comfrey compresses to use externally on the break, but confess that was such a bother and so messy I only did it a few times. Had my break been more severe, I would have used the compresses more frequently.

Lifestyle Changes to Heal Broken Bones

  • Careful Exercise:  The type of break I had allowed me to very carefully exercise in an adapted manner. Even severe breaks benefit from mild exercise or from gently moving the toes and fingers that extend from the cast. When I broke my ankle 25 years ago, I wiggled my toes several times a day in the beginning and rode an exercise bicycle after the bone had firmed. I was able to get out of my cast in four weeks instead of six. Exercise stimulates blood flow to the region and is known to speed healing. However … you must discuss exercise with your doctor and physical therapist before trying it. Excess exercise could be devastating to the healing process and could do more harm than good.
  • Sleep:  Having a broken bone is exhausting. The body will pull energy from every available system and use it to heal broken bones. Getting extra rest and plenty of sleep is imperative to helping the body heal itself.
  • Ionic Foot Baths:  Ionic foot baths are known to ionize calcium and other minerals in the blood stream, making it easier for the healing bone to absorb them. Ionic foot baths are also known to help the body eliminate toxins, which can also speed healing.
  • Prayer:  Studies have proven prayer speeds healing. The speed of healing I experienced could only have happened with divine intervention, so I felt prayer needed to be mentioned. Other techniques such as meditation and positive visualization can also help speed healing.

Dietary Approaches to Support Bone Healing

The best way to support the body during bone healing is to eat a diet high in natural minerals that can very easily be absorbed. During the healing process, I increased my intake of dark leafy greens and other veggies. I also increased my consumption of fermented veggies and water kefir so that my body had more probiotics and enzymes to use for healing. Beyond that, I continued eating a very clean diet void of chemical additives so that there were no toxins to slow the healing process.

Have you ever had a broken bone? What did you do to support its healing?

Gastroparesis: Causes, Symptoms and Controls

Gastroparesis is a condition that causes food to empty too slowly from the stomach. When digestion is normal, food remains in the stomach for approximately 2-3 hours before moving into the small intestine. (High fiber foods may remain much longer and take significantly longer to digest.) Gastroparesis delays the normal emptying of the stomach because the muscles in the stomach fail to correctly transport food Gastroparesis stomach paininto the small intestine.

Gastroparesis is a very uncomfortable condition. It can interfere with nutrient absorption and definitely affects quality of life. Unfortunately, Gastroparesis is becoming more common as the incidence of diabetes and degenerative neurological disease increases. In my practice, I have many clients who deal with Gastroparesis on a daily basis.

Causes of Gastroparesis

Gastroparesis can happen when nerves associated with the stomach are damaged or don’t work as they should. The most common causes of Gastroparesis include:

  • Uncontrolled diabetes
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Neuromuscular disorders
  • Auto-immune disorders
  • Scleroderma
  • Inflammatory conditions (such as pancreatitis) that interfere with the delivery of nerve messages to the stomach
  • Anorexia and/or bulimia
  • Heavy cigarette smoking
  • Idiopathic (unknown)

Symptoms of Gastroparesis

Gastroparesis may cause one or more of the following symptoms. These symptoms may occur continually but typically intensify in the hours following a meal:

  • Feeling full after eating just a few bites of food
  • Stomach pain, either vague or intense
  • Nausea
  • Bloating
  • Belching and hiccuping
  • Diarrhea
  • Weight loss
  • Vomiting
  • Heartburn
  • Loss of appetite

Controlling Gastroparesis

There is no known cure for Gastroparesis. The most commonly used approaches to address or diminish the symptoms may include:

  • Eating much smaller meals more frequently
  • Blending foods in a blender and switching to much softer foods
  • Using ginger or other digestive aids
  • Using homeopathic remedies known to diminish symptoms and improve digestion
  • Using liquid meal replacements to boost nutrition 
  • Strictly limiting fiber consumption and avoiding certain foods known to cause problems
  • In my practice, I usually recommend the use of supplements known to improve nerve function and slow nerve deterioration

Prescription medications may also be used to diminish the symptoms of Gastroparesis. Many of the most commonly used prescription medications lose effectiveness with continued use and/or have severe side effects.

If muscle and nerve deterioration continues and symptoms worsen, Gastroparesis may also be treated with a device called a Gastric Pacemaker. A Gastric Pacemaker uses electrical stimulation to reduce symptoms. Extreme cases of Gastroparesis are treated with a feeding tube.

Gastroparesis may affect quality of life in horrendous ways. Those who experience it may become weak and malnourished. Some come to dread eating due to the pain and discomfort it can cause. Depression is a very common side effect of Gastroparesis. Many people are able to rise above the symptoms by making lifestyle changes and committing to remaining positive.

Are you affected by Gastroparesis? What techniques do you use to improve your quality of life?

 

Photo courtesy of Peter Gerdes

Natural Sunscreen Recipe

I have received many requests to share a natural sunscreen recipe. I developed this recipe several years ago because I wanted to be able to protect myself from sunburn without exposing myself to the harmful chemicals found in most OTC sunscreens. I have found it to be very effective. Please note you may need to apply it more frequently than other sunscreens.

This time of year, it’s not uncommon to hear many frightening warnings about the “dangers of sun exposure.” These warnings make me cringe. The truth is that sun exposure is very beneficial to our health. Severe sunburn is not. Recent research found skin cancer is not caused by simple sun Sunshineexposure but is caused by severe sunburn. In addition, several studies found the most common ingredients in OTC sunscreens actually CAUSE skin cancer. Even newer research discovered sun exposure (without sunscreen) increases the levels of nitric oxide in our system. Nitric oxide is known to lower blood pressure and improve heart health. Please read Shining Light on the Truth About Sun Exposure for more information about the necessity of sun exposure.

What’s the solution? Here are my tips for allowing sun exposure to improve health:

  1. Get 10-20 minutes of unprotected sun exposure every day. After you have a good base tan, it’s fine to spend longer periods of time in the sun as long as you do not burn.
  2. Use a natural sunscreen. See links at the end of this article to a few pre-made versions I really like.
  3. Keep a close eye on how much sun you’ve gotten. If you think you’re in danger of burning, take time to put on more clothing or to apply a natural sunscreen.

My sunscreen recipe follows. This is easy to make and has ingredients which are easy to find. I included links to make it easier to find the ingredients. Each of the oils used has a natural SPF ranging from 6-30. I added zinc oxide powder to the recipe to provide added protection. This sunscreen is very effective, but may need to be applied more frequently. You can feel free to add a few drops of essential oil to add fragrance if you like.

Good Works Wellness Natural Sunscreen Recipe

Ingredients:

o 1/2 cup beeswax pastilles
o 1/2 cup unrefined shea butter
o 1/2 cup organic extra virgin coconut oil
o 3/4 cup combination of organic hempseed, macadamia nut or wheat germ oil(s)*
o 5 tablespoons zinc oxide powder
o Optional: 1/2 tablespoon essential oil

*You may use a single oil or a combination of oils to total 3/4 cup. Note you can make the natural sunscreen thinner by adding more liquid oil or thicker by adding less.

Instructions:

Gently melt the beeswax over a double boiler, then whisk in the other oils until all oils and butters are melted. Gradually stir in the zinc oxide powder and blend until well blended. Add essential oils after that if desired. This is best stored in a glass container.

Pre-Made Natural Sunscreens

If you don’t have time to make your own sunscreen, I recommend the following, some of which are water-resistant:

Photo Courtesy of Rhys Asplundh

References:

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/09/29/sun-exposure-vitamin-d-production-benefits.aspx

Benefits of Moderate Sun Exposure, Harvard University

Scientists Say Benefits of Sun Exposure Far Outweigh Risks

Case Study: Eliminating a 20-Year Cough

I recently promised to share more case studies so you could gain a better grasp of what I do on a daily basis and the types of cases I handle. Please note I have permission to share this information, will never use the person’s real name and may change minor details of the case to protect the client’s identity.

This case study is about “Eleanor,” a woman in her 50’s who came to see me because she wanted to lose weight and was trying to reverse Type 2 Picture of a daisy with a heart centerDiabetes. She was on Metformin, a nasal inhaler, two different allergy medications, asthma medication, high blood pressure medicine, a statin drug, Levothyroxine and Nexium. During her initial consultation, she casually mentioned she had constant post nasal drip with a cough and had to clear her throat constantly. She said this had begun over 20 years ago and nothing had worked to eliminate it. She had grown so used to this she didn’t even consider it a problem. I thought it was a significant issue we needed to address. Eleanor also shared she was exhausted and was often too tired to participate in social activities she was invited to attend.

As I reviewed Eleanor’s medical history and eating habits, I noticed she ate a large amount of carbohydrates and had bread or crackers with every meal and snack. The fact she was eating so much wheat made me suspect she had developed an allergy to it. A further review of her physical symptoms and a check of her allergy point with the EDS unit confirmed this. “EDS” stands for “Electro Dermal Scan” unit. It is a unit I use to check nerve centers associated with body systems and health conditions. Eleanor’s allergy point scored extremely high, meaning there was a large probability she had one or more allergies. Using a piece of bread, I was able to identify that wheat was a likely culprit.

I made the following recommendations:

  • I recommended that Eleanor eliminate wheat for three weeks. I encouraged her to keep a diary during those three weeks to record any changes she experienced physically, mentally or emotionally.
  • I recommended a revised eating plan known to help reverse insulin resistance.
  • I encouraged her to engage in some form of movement ten minutes each day.
  • I recommended three supplements known to help insulin resistance, thyroid function and systemic inflammation

At Eleanor’s next visit, she burst into my office grinning from ear-to-ear. She was visibly more energetic, happier and her skin looked better. When I asked her to share what changes she had seen, she said her cough and need to clear her throat had completely disappeared. After 20 years, she was finally able to sit through a movie without embarrassment, sleep soundly and leave home without tissues. She went on to say her energy levels had improved and she had lost ten pounds. Not bad!

After six months, Eleanor had lost 30 pounds, was off the Metformin, the statin drug, all allergy medications, the inhaler, Nexium, the asthma medication, and her blood pressure medication. In addition, she was on a lower dose of her thyroid medication, Levothyroxine. She had gone from taking nine daily prescription medications to only taking one. She said she no longer turns down social invitations, got a raise at work because her productivity improved dramatically, and she was training to run a mini-marathon. She thanked me profusely, but she gets all the credit. She recognized she needed to make changes and she committed to making them. I am so proud of her!

Currently, I meet with Eleanor via telephone about once a year. She is truly a different woman from the one who first walked into my office. Stories of transformation and progress such as hers are why I do what I do. How can I help you? Please contact me if you would like to schedule a consultation.

Common Uses for Colloidal Silver

Colloidal Silver has been used for centuries in a wide variety of ways. If you are unfamiliar with Colloidal Silver, please read Colloidal Silver: Valuable Tool or Snake Oil for more information about the myths surrounding Colloidal Silver. This article shares the most common uses for Colloidal Silver. There are many other uses, but the most common ones are described here with information on the safest way to use colloidal silver for each application.

Please note all information shared in this article is shared for educational purposes only. No information in this article is intended to diagnose, cure or prevent any illness or disease. Please discuss any changes in your lifestyle or health regimen with your physician. Never take any supplement without discussing it with your physician first.

The most common uses for colloidal silver include:

Water Purification

if you have any doubts about the purity of water, colloidal silver can be used to purify it and remove bacteria. Use at a ration of one tablespoon colloidal silver to one gallon of water. If you are trying to purify water from an outdoor source, filter the water first. Proof of its effectiveness is that NASA used a silver purification system on the space shuttles and many airlines use silver filtration combined with hydrogen peroxide to purify the water on their planes.

Oral Care

Soak your tooth brushes between uses to ensure they are free from bacteria, viruses and fungus. I have a dental partial which I also soak in colloidal silver a few times a week. As an added benefit, add a bit of colloidal silver to your oral irrigator to help control oral bacterial. I make my own toothpaste and mouthwash and always add colloidal silver.

Nasal Irrigation and Sprays

Colloidal silver can be used in a neti pot as a nasal wash. Many people have reported success in reversing colds and sinus infections using colloidal silver, but please do not substitute colloidal silver for an antibiotic if your doctor has identified a severe sinus infection. Colloidal silver can also be used as a nasal spray to help diminish symptoms of allergies.

Household Cleaning

Colloidal silver is known to be antibacterial, anti-fungal and antiviral. For that reason, it makes an effective household cleaner. Keep a spray bottle filled with it and use as a topical disinfectant on counter tops, as an anti-fungal spray in the bathroom, or as a means of preventing bacterial growth on kitchen sponges and dishrags. It is also a very effective cleaner for trash cans and diaper pails. If you make your own household cleaners, adding a few ounces of colloidal silver can boost their effectiveness.

Conjunctivitis

In my household, we have always used colloidal silver at the first sign of an eye infection or conjunctivitis. I place 3-5 drops of 10 ppm colloidal silver in the affected eye every two hours until the issue clears. However, I watch the condition of the eye closely and immediately seek medical attention if the condition does not improve within two to three hours. Please do not substitute colloidal silver for a physician’s care. Any issue affecting the eyes should be immediately addressed by a medical professional.

Skin Care

Colloidal silver is popularly used for mild abrasions, burns, fungal infections and even acne and eczema. One advantage of colloidal silver is that it does not harm skin cells as many topical antiseptics do. (Please never use hydrogen peroxide on a wound or sore. It kills new cell growth and may slow healing.) Many people find that spraying colloidal silver onto minor burns and abrasions speeds healing and helps prevent infection. (The key word there is “minor.” Serious wounds and burns require medical attention.) 

Internally

I purposely left this topic for last. Most of the controversy surrounding colloidal silver revolves around its use internally. Every person has his or her own opinion about whether or not colloidal silver is “safe” to use internally. The bottom line is that hundreds of thousands of people use it internally on a daily basis. These people experience health benefits with no negative consequences from the colloidal silver. If you’re comfortable using colloidal silver internally, then do so in a controlled manner and do plenty of research. If you are not comfortable using it, never let anyone talk you into doing something that isn’t right for you. Each person must decide what is right for him or her. I believe colloidal silver can be very effective and used without danger if:

  • A true colloidal silver is used. Be sure your colloidal silver is a colloid and not a protein synthesis. Most of the products sold over the counter are ionic, not colloidal. Ionic silver solutions are clear; colloidal silver solutions are brown or rust colored, not clear. Ionic solutions are safe to use, but are not as strong as a true colloid.  Beware of any product that foams when shaken and has bubbles that remain for several minutes, as that product is most likely a protein synthesis which may be dangerous.
    .
  • A realistic, safe dosage is used. Dr. Mercola recommends the following formula to determine the appropriate amount of colloidal silver to take on a daily basis:
    .
    12 times body weight divided by the colloidal silver strength (ppm) = drops that can be safely ingested on a daily basis
    .
    If someone weighs 150 pounds and is using a colloidal silver at a strength of 10 ppm, the equation becomes:
    .
    150 lbs x 12 = 1800 / 10 ppm = 180 drops per day. (One tablespoon is approximately 180 drops.)Having shared that,
    .
    I can also share that many people take much higher doses during an illness. Please contact a trained professional for guidance on what dosage is correct for your personal needs.
    .
  • Colloidal silver should never be used by anyone who has an allergy to silver jewelry.
  • Use caution when reading about people who claim colloidal silver miraculously cured them of incurable diseases. I’m not saying their claims are not true, but each person’s situation is very different. Use caution and do extensive research.

I use colloidal silver on a daily basis. Since starting to use it daily, I have experienced fewer bladder infections, lower yeast levels, improved digestion and slightly lower blood glucose levels. My experience was very positive, but each person must monitor his or her health and make changes as needed.

We make our own colloidal silver using this generator: LifeForce Compact X-2 Colloidal Silver Generator. Please note it is imperative to use distilled water and extremely pure silver if making your own colloidal silver. We also use a TDS Meter to measure the potency of our colloidal silver so we know exactly what we’re using.

If you don’t want to make your own colloidal silver, I highly recommend Sovereign Silver colloidal silver. It is sold in most health food stores and is highly reliable.

What do you think? Do you use colloidal silver? If so, what do you use it for and how do you use it?

Colloidal Silver: Valuable Tool or Snake Oil?

Few products have evoked as much controversy as Colloidal Silver. Colloidal Silver has been vilified ever since the “Blue Man” appeared on national news shows and blamed Colloidal Silver for his blue skin. (Please note that argyria, or “Blue Man Syndrome,” can only occur in the presence of extreme negligence and ingestion of Colloidal Silver made using impure silver or protein synthesis.) This is the first article in a series of posts about Colloidal Silver.Scientific Beakers

Many myths exist about what Colloidal Silver is, how it works and how it can be used. My goal in this post is to address those topics and bust a few myths.

What is Colloidal Silver?

Colloidal Silver is a blend of microscopic and submicroscopic silver particles suspended in water. Silver is known to be antifungal and antibacterial. It is also known to kill and prevent the growth of algae. When colloidal silver is placed in a petri dish containing bacterial, fungal or viral cells, the cells die very quickly – often more quickly than they die in the presence of prescription antibiotics or antifungals. Silver has been used medicinally for thousands of years and is currently used in topical medical treatments, eye drops, bone prostheses, catheters and cardiac devices. Silver is also a prime ingredient in several prescription oral medications.

What many people do not realize is that silver is an essential electrolyte, or trace mineral, in the body. The cells in our bodies require silver for optimal health. The same is true of gold and other minerals/metals we don’t typically associate with internal use.

How is Colloidal Silver Made?

Colloidal Silver is made by passing an electrical charge through pure silver suspended in distilled water. As the charge passes through the silver, it causes submicroscopic silver particles to separate from the metal and move into the water. The resulting suspension is Colloidal Silver. The word “colloidal” means “suspended.” In other words, the silver particles are suspended in the water, not dissolved in it. The particles are suspended, yet are so small they cannot be filtered out. The particles can easily be seen and measured with a microscope or with a special measurement tool. It is interesting to note the particles of silver are so small they do not register on X-rays. The small size of the particles is part of the reason cells receive and respond to Colloidal Silver so readily.

Reputable Colloidal Silver is made and sold by a variety of companies in the US. I will share more about how to spot a good product and how people make their own in future posts.

What is the History of Colloidal Silver?

As I stated previously, many ancient cultures used silver as a method of purifying and protecting goods. Many civilizations stored water and other liquids in silver containers as a means of controlling bacterial and fungal growth and retarding spoilage. Multiple accounts exist of silver being used as a protective measure against bacteria and germs in ancient Egypt, Greece, Rome and other regions. Even early settlers in the US used to put silver dollars in their milk jugs to protect the milk from bacterial growth and spoilage. Colloidal Silver was commonly used in hospitals and by doctors until the advent of profitable antibiotics in the 1940s. Silver was commonly and successfully used in bandages, salves and stitches during World War I. In addition to being a strong antimicrobial agent, Colloidal Silver is also known to stimulate skin cells to heal more rapidly, making it perfect for application on wounds.

Silver is still a major component of many prescription wound creams, special dressings used on burns and other serious wounds, and in other prescription products. The primary reason Colloidal Silver ceased to be used in hospitals is because it was more difficult to manufacture than pharmaceutical antibiotics, not because it was less effective. 

What’s the Best Form of Colloidal Silver?

There are three basic types of silver solutions sold today. Each of these types may be labeled “colloidal,” but only one is truly a colloid:

  • Ionic: Ionic silver solutions are clear and are far weaker than a true colloidal silver. Ionic silver solutions contain individual atoms (ions) of silver instead of complete particles of microscopic silver. The clear color is a dead give-away that this form is not a true colloid. You can also test to see if a solution is truly a colloid by adding around half a teaspoon of table salt to 2-4 tablespoons of the colloidal silver in question. If the salt forms a “cloud” as it dissolves, it means the solution is ionic and is not truly colloidal silver. Benefits can be gained from using an ionic solution, but the effects are much weaker.
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  • Protein Synthesized: Protein synthesis silver solutions are typically made by blending a silver powder with water. A protein binder is used because the silver particles are too large to remain in solution without a binder of some sort. Protein silver solutions have the largest silver particles yet lowest surface area of silver particles, which makes this solution the least bioavailable or able to be absorbed. These products are known to be very dangerous and are known to cause Argyria, or Blue Man Syndrome. You can spot protein synthesized silver products because they foam heavily when shaken and the foam remains for quite a while. These products also typically have extremely high strengths, some as high as 20,000 parts per million (ppm). Please do not buy or use any product you suspect of being a protein synthesis.
  • Colloidal: True colloidal silver is produced using an electrolysis process that removes sub-microscopic particles from a pure silver wire and places them in solution. The silver particles are so tiny that nothing is required to keep them in solution. A true colloidal silver will NEVER be clear, but will have a brownish color. This color results because the silver particles in solution prevent light from passing through the solution, thereby causing a darker color. A true colloidal silver will also NEVER cause Argyria (Blue Man Syndrome) because the silver particles are so small they are very easily absorbed and metabolized and do not lodge in cells. Reputable Colloidal Silver solutions indicate how many parts per million (PPM) of silver are in the solution. True Colloidal Silver comes in strengths ranging from 10 PPM to 100 PPM. (Some come in higher strengths, but I rarely find such strengths to be necessary.)

In future articles, I will share information about how colloidal silver is typically used, what the appropriate dosages are, and which prescription medications may react with colloidal silver.

Have you used colloidal silver? What did you think?

References

Dai, T.; Huang, Y. Y.; Sharma, S. K.; Hashmi, J. T.; Kurup, D. B.; Hamblin, M. R. (2010). “Topical antimicrobials for burn wound infections”Recent patents on anti-infective drug discovery 5 (2): 124–151.doi:10.2174/157489110791233522PMC 2935806.PMID 20429870.

Alexander, J. Wesley (2009). “History of the Medical Use of Silver”. Surgical Infections 10 (3): 289–92.doi:10.1089/sur.2008.9941PMID 19566416.

Searle, A.B. (1920). “Chapter VIII: Germicides and Disinfectants”The Use of Colloids in Health and Disease. Gerstein – University of Toronto : Toronto Collection: London Constable & Co.

Purest Colloids Website: http://www.purestcolloids.com/history-silver.php

New Guidelines for the Safe Usage of Colloidal Silver, Dr. Joseph Mercola

Lansdown AB (2006). “Silver in health care: antimicrobial effects and safety in use”. Current Problems in Dermatology. Current Problems in Dermatology 33: 17–34.doi:10.1159/000093928ISBN 3-8055-8121-1.PMID 16766878

Frequency Rising website

Types of Colloidal Silver

Is a BRCA1 Gene Mutation Worthy of Physical Mutilation?

A famous actress, mother and philanthropist’s recent announcement that she had a double mastectomy as a preventive measure against breast cancer has everyone wondering what her true risks were and whether her decision was warranted or extreme. Please let me say I very much respect her decision and her desire to protect herself out of love for her children. Any decision related to cancer and other health matters is highly personal. There are no “right” or “wrong” decisions. I applaud her for taking control of her health and making the decision which was right for her. I also strongly encourage other women to do thorough research before making a similar decision.Woman performing a breast exam

Her decision was reportedly based on her family history of breast cancer (her mother died at age 57 after battling the disease for a decade) and the fact she was tested for and told she has a mutation in the BRCA1 gene.

What are BRCA1 and 2 Gene Mutations?

In their normal state, the BRCA1 and 2 genes help stop abnormal cell growth. They provide a natural form of protection against breast cancer. When these genes are mutated – typically by environmental toxins and other lifestyle factors, not solely heredity – they stop providing the protection they were designed to. If left unchecked, this may lead to an increased risk of breast cancer. If is important to note that only 2% of breast cancers result from a BRCA1 or 2 gene mutation, and that less than 0.25% of the population has such mutations. While researching this article, I spoke with and read quotes from multiple MDs and surgeons who are frustrated that many women are getting elective double mastectomies who do not have the BRCA1 or 2 gene defect.

Why Preventive Mastectomies Often Fail

Unfortunately, the following factors may make the decision to have a preventive mastectomy an extreme measure offering little or no protection:

  • Only 2% of breast cancers involve BRCA1 or 2 genes; and approximately only 0.25% of the general population has the mutation.
  • Women who had preventive mastectomies often get breast cancer in spite of having little or no breast tissue. Tumors form where breast tissue was previously.
  • Women who have preventive mastectomies often believe they are “safe” and therefore fail to make simple lifestyle changes that greatly reduce their risk of developing breast cancer.
  • Genes are activated and inactivated by environmental and lifestyle factors. Having the gene may statistically increase the likelihood of cancer developing, but it is not guaranteed and the likelihood can be diminished.
  • One study found the risk primarily increased when women with a BRCA1 or 2 gene mutation had their breasts exposed to radiation – such as that from a mammogram. This is significant because women with known BRCA1 or 2 gene mutations are often advised to get a mammogram every three to six months. Although this recommendation is intended to help, the excess exposure to radiation can be very harmful.
  • An article published in 2011 in The Journal of the American Medical Association reported the link between the BRCA genes and breast cancer was grossly overstated. The study found that preventive surgery, at best, may only add 3-6 years of life. This low gain in life expectancy exists because preventive surgery does not provide 100% protection from breast cancer, offers no protection from other cancers, and provides no protection against other causes of death.

What Are Other Options?

The cancer industry in the US treats cancer as an “inevitable” disease that cannot be prevented instead of encouraging people to live in a way that reduces the likelihood of cancer developing. The following tips for preventing and reducing the likelihood of developing breast cancer are based on scientific data and research:

  • Cancer Prevention TipsHave thermograms done to check for breast abnormalities and tumors instead of mammograms. Thermograms are an alternative form of scan with significantly lower risks and radiation exposure. Thermograms are also known to provide higher levels of detection.
  • Eat your veggies. Several studies proved cruciferous vegetables contain a phytochemical which actually turns off mutated BRCA genes. This study found as little as one serving per day of cruciferous vegetables greatly reduced cancer risks. Indole-3-Carbinol (IC3) in broccoli has also been shown to reduce the activity of the BRCA genes.
  • Get out in the sun. Multiple studies have identified a connection between breast cancer and low Vitamin D levels. A study done in 2009 determined 30% of breast cancers could be prevented if men and women would maintain adequate Vitamin D levels. (On a side note, a more recent study which concluded Vitamin D was of no benefit cannot be trusted because the study used a flawed protocol. The study did not use a high enough dosage of Vitamin D to make any difference in health outcomes.) One cancer study estimated that as many as 600,000 cases of breast cancer each year could be prevented if adequate Vitamin D levels were maintained. Vitamin D plays a powerful role in genetic expression and is also known to cause the death of cancer cells. Its value in treating and preventing breast cancer should not be underestimated. (It has been proven beneficial in preventing over 16 different cancers. Are your levels adequate?)
  • Maintain normal weight and insulin levels. It is commonly recognized that obesity and insulin resistance (resulting in excess amounts of insulin in the bloodstream) are connected to breast cancer. Eating a diet low in high-glycemic carbohydrates can help with weight maintenance and may help improve insulin resistance. Regular exercise is also known to reduce the likelihood of developing cancer.
  • The American Institute of Cancer Research estimates that about 40% of breast cancer cases in the US – or approximately 70,000 cases per year – could be prevented using simple lifestyle changes such as making better food choices, exercising more, and choosing a diet high in natural foods. Some experts think these numbers are actually a low estimate and that significantly more cases of breast cancer could be prevented by improved lifestyle habits.
  • Consume adequate amounts of Omega-3 fatty acids and limit intake of Omega-6 fatty acids. Multiple studies have shown a connection between Omega-3 fatty acid deficiencies and breast cancer. These studies also found higher rates of breast cancer among women who had excess levels of Omega-6 fatty acids compared to their Omega-3 levels. Good food sources of Omega-3 fatty acids include wild salmon, chia seeds, walnuts, sardines, olive oil, hemp seeds and eggs. Taking an Omega-3 fatty acid supplement is also a valid option. I prefer Krill Oil due to its purity and because its fatty acid content provides other benefits.

As I stated previously, decisions related to health are very personal. I encourage you to do extensive research before making extreme choices.

References:

BRCA Genes In Breast Cancer Chemoprevention, Eliot Rosen, National Institutes of Health

High Penetrance Breast and/or Ovarian Cancer Susceptibility Genes, National Cancer Institute, 3/4/2013

BRCA1 and BRCA2 as molecular targets for phytochemicals, British Journal of Cancer

Research Interests, Donaldo Romangolo, Bio 5 Institute, University of Arizona

Comparison of Effect Sizes Associated With Biomarkers Reported in Highly Cited Individual Articles and in Subsequent Meta-analyses, John P. A. Ioannidis, MD, DSc; Journal of the American Medical Association, 2011;305(21):2200-2210. doi:10.1001/jama.2011.713

Vitamin D for cancer prevention: global perspective; Garland, C.F., et al. 2009

Vitamin D and prevention of breast cancer: pooled analysis; Garland, C.F., et al. 2007

Estrogen and Insulin Crosstalk: Breast Cancer Risk Implications. The Nurse Practitioner. 2003

Evaluation of the synergistic effect of insulin resistance and insulin-like growth factors on the risk of breast carcinoma. Cancer. 2004

Opposing effects of dietary n-3 and n-6 fatty acids on mammary carcinogenesis: The Singapore Chinese Health Study. USC/Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, 2003

Regulation of tumor angiogenesis by dietary fatty acids and eicosanoids. Division of Nutrition and Endrocrinology, American Health Foundation. 2000

Graphics: All graphics in this post courtesy of Tips Times

Modern Epidemic: Metabolic Syndrome

“Metabolic Syndrome” refers to a group of symptoms that are increasing at an alarming rate in the U.S. and other developed countries. Metabolic Syndrome is often referred to as an “epidemic” because the number of people affected by it is increasing so rapidly. Why does this matter? Because Metabolic Syndrome is a set of conditions created by lifestyle and dietary habits. Metabolic Syndrome is Metabolic Syndrome: Apple with Stethoscope and Measuring Tapeknown to increase the risk for heart disease, type 2 diabetes, hormonal imbalances, depression, stroke and more.

Although experts disagree on the specific causes of Metabolic Syndrome, they all agree that obesity, a high carbohydrate diet, and a diet low in fruits and vegetables are contributing factors. Other factors which may increase your risk include heredity, hormonal imbalances, lack of exercise, smoking and possibly toxic exposure from food, air and water.

The problem with Metabolic Syndrome is that no single definition of what it is and no specified set of diagnostic criteria have been defined. Many practitioners in the mainstream medical community do not believe Metabolic Syndrome exists and do not believe early identification can help improve health outcomes. There is also controversy about whether the symptoms of Metabolic Syndrome truly represent a “syndrome” or are merely a group of related symptoms which each has its own risk factors. The concern is that we have created a “disease” which truly doesn’t exist.

The bottom line is that whether you group the symptoms together and label them or not, they each represent a very real risk to health and longevity. In my practice, I work with many people who have multiple symptoms associated with Metabolic Syndrome. Addressing the issues quickly restores health. It also often results in improved self esteem and a restored positive outlook. I find that people who address Metabolic Syndrome typically experience better overall health on a long term basis.

Symptoms of Metabolic Syndrome

The most common symptoms of Metabolic Syndrome include:

  • Weight gain in the stomach and abdomen, often in spite of exercise and decreased food intake
  • Fatigue
  • Increased triglycerides and cholesterol
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Headaches
  • Fasting blood glucose levels greater than 100 mg/dL
  • Acne
  • Higher than normal blood levels of insulin (Please see The Top 3 Blood Tests Everyone Should Request for more info)
  • Mild to moderate kidney damage resulting in excess protein in the urine
  • Increased systemic inflammation which may cause joint pain, water retention and other symptoms
  • Increased liver enzymes due to insufficient detoxification and/or a condition called “fatty liver”
  • Excess growth of Candida (yeast) in the body
  • Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) in women
  • Low Testosterone in men
  • Abnormal development in children
  • Mental and psychological issues, ranging from mild to extreme

If you have three or more of those symptoms, please schedule an appointment with your practitioner. Ask him or her to order blood work including a complete metabolic panel, complete blood count, insulin level, A1C and complete thyroid panel. (If your doctor is unsure how to interpret these tests related to Metabolic Syndrome risk factors, please feel free to contact me to schedule a half-hour blood work interpretation consultation.)

Reversing Metabolic Syndrome

The good news is that Metabolic Syndrome can often be reversed using simple lifestyle changes. Supplements may also be used in some cases. The purpose of the recommended changes is to improve insulin sensitivity and restore balance to the endocrine system. Potential changes may include:

  • Improving an exercise regimen and combining it with weight training
  • Decreasing the type and quantity of carbohydrates eaten on a daily basis
  • Increasing the amount of healthy fat consumed on a daily basis
  • Identifying and addressing mineral deficiencies
  • Improving digestion to ensure foods are adequately digested and absorbed
  • Other recommendations based on the person’s specific health needs

Reversing Metabolic Syndrome is very possible, but requires the direction of a qualified practitioner. If you suspect you have Metabolic Syndrome and would like to start the process of reversing it, please contact me to schedule a consultation. 

Photo courtesy of Keith Ramsey

Top 11 Reasons I Refuse to Get a Flu Shot

I recently heard an extremely ill woman comment she couldn’t figure out why she was so sick. She went on to say she had gotten a flu shot, and obviously believed that should have protected her. My research has led me to conclude otherwise. I need to confess this article is extremely long. I felt the importance of the information warranted a longer format.

I want to state very clearly that getting vaccinated is a very personal choice. I support everyone who chooses to get the vaccination, and encourage those who are undecided to do further research. I am not “anti-vaccine,” I am simply pro-research.

I am one of the people mainstream medicine insists “must” have a flu shot. I’m considered “high risk” Flu Vaccine Syringebecause I have Type 1 Diabetes and have multiple other auto-immune conditions. I do not get flu shots and never get sick. In fact, I spent the last five years working in environments where I was exposed every day to multiple people who had active flu infections. In spite of that, I never became infected and never had so much as a sniffle. Unfortunately, mainstream media and mainstream medicine use a wide variety of scare tactics to convince people they will become sick if they are not vaccinated. Nothing could be further from the truth. Following are my top eleven reasons for not getting a flu shot:

  1. Infection is based on lifestyle, not exposure: The belief that everyone who gets exposed to the flu becomes ill is outdated and untrue. If it were true that exposure causes illness, none of us could enter a public place without becoming ill. The truth is that our lifestyle and our body’s environment are what determine whether or not we get sick. This is why my teenagers got sick in 2008 with a nasty case of the flu, but neither my husband nor I became ill while caring for them. Their lifestyle and high-sugar eating habits lowered their body’s ability to fight the flu, while ours provided natural immunity.
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  2. Low probability of correct strains used in vaccine: There are close to 300 different strains of flu, yet each year the CDC chooses 3-5 strains of Influenza Type A and 1-2 of Influenza Type B to include in the flu vaccine. They use scientific methods to try and predict which strains will be the most prevalent each year, but they are often wrong. Additionally, flu strains constantly adapt and mutate. This means the likelihood of the CDC choosing the correct strains is less than 5%. The CDC admits: “In some years when vaccine and circulating strains were not well-matched, no vaccine effectiveness can be demonstrated in some studies, even in healthy adults. It is not possible in advance of the influenza season to predict how well the vaccine and circulating strains will be matched, and how that match may affect the degree of vaccine effectiveness.”
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  3. Those who were vaccinated have higher infection rates than those who were not: More than seven studies proved flu shots do not reduce infection rates and may actually increase them. Dr. Danuta Skowronski, an influenza expert at the B.C. Centre for Disease Control in Canada , shared findings proving increased infection rates were consistently found for two years following vaccination in both humans and ferrets who received flu vaccines. These findings were true across seven different studies done on flu vaccines for 2008 and 2009. The findings agreed with statistical comparisons of over 30,000 people. The vaccines used in 2008 and 2009 are very similar to those being used today. (Ferrets are used in influenza studies because their physiology most closely mimics that of humans’ in influenza infections.)
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    It also needs to be pointed out that pediatric deaths due to flu were dropping prior to 2003. The decrease in deaths can be attributed to improved health conditions, better nutrition programs in schools and preschools, and other lifestyle improvements. Pediatric deaths caused by flu skyrocketed after the CDC insisted that all children older than six months of age receive a flu shot. The increase in death and infection rates following the CDC’s mandate is not coincidental and is too large to be ignored.
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  4. Zero science to support effectiveness of flu shots: A review of 5707 articles and 31 studies found little evidence to prove that flu vaccines actually reduce infection rates. The researchers also found that although the vaccines provided “moderate” protection some years, they provided little or no protection other years. The researchers also found that flu vaccines offer zero protection for anyone over age 65 or younger than age 7. Another group, the Cochrane Acute Respiratory Infections Group, studied 41 clinical studies and concluded the data showed flu vaccines provide zero reduction in infection or death across all age groups. The Cochrane group also studied 260,000 children between the ages of 23 months and six years and found the flu vaccine to be no more effective than a placebo at preventing illness. In 2009, many providences in Canada stopped recommending flu vaccines for anyone under 65 years of age. Their infection rates have not increased.
    .
    Commenting on other studies proving the ineffectiveness of flu shots, Michael T. Osterholm, Director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy and Director of the Center of Excellence for Influenza Research and Surveillance said, “We have overpromoted and overhyped this vaccine … It does not protect as promoted. It’s all a sales job: it’s all public relations.”
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  5. Most illnesses called the “flu” actually are not: Researchers found that only 6-8% of illnesses called “flu” were actually caused by a true flu virus. The other illnesses were caused by other viruses or bacteria, none of which would be included in a flu vaccine. Additionally, the CDC drastically increases their statistics by making the assumption that all deaths caused by pneumonia originated with a flu infection. This is simply not true. Although having the flu can increase the likelihood of a pneumonia infection in anyone with a compromised immune system, pneumonia is a bacterial infection and flu is a viral infection. Not all cases of pneumonia are caused by the flu, which means the CDC’s statistics are grossly inflated and are designed to create fear.
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  6. The “Original Antigenic Sin” Argument: This term refers to the fact that a vaccine only protects you against specific illness strains, whereas catching an illness provides immunity against that illness and against multiple others with similar chemical structures. In other words, if you get a flu shot which claims to protect you against Strains A and B, that’s all you have protection against. If you catch Strain A, you wind up with immunity against Strain A and potentially against hundreds of other flu strains which contain similar proteins. This may be why flu vaccines are virtually worthless for anyone over age 65. They have already been infected with and exposed to enough flu strains that they have naturally occurring immunity against a wide array of flu strains.
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  7. Flu vaccines suppress the immune system: The ingredients in flu vaccines stimulate the immune system to combat a few strains of flu, yet suppress it against all other viral and bacterial invaders. This is why so many people get sick with colds and other illnesses shortly after receiving the flu vaccine. Based on the other evidence shared in this post, it makes little sense to lower the body’s overall ability to fight infection by receiving a flu shot.
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  8. Increased risk of cardiac problems and oxidized cholesterol: A 2007 study found that flu vaccines cause an inflammatory response that increases the risk of cardiac problems and which also causes oxidation of the low density lipoproteins (LDL cholesterol). The oxidation of LDL cholesterol means that the very small cholesterol molecules capable of passing through vessel walls become oxidized, or hardened, in arteries, which directly contributes to arteriosclerosis, high blood pressure, and other coronary disorders. This potentially deadly effect only lasts for a maximum of fourteen days, but needs to be considered by anyone having a pre-existing cardiac condition. The inflammation can also cause a condition called “Arteritis,” in which the walls of large arteries become inflamed. Depending on the body region affected, arteritis may cause visual disturbances, headaches, jaw pain, and more. A study by the U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health found that pregnant women are especially susceptible to the inflammatory effects of flu vaccines and that receiving a flu vaccine led to higher rates of pre-eclampsia, spontaneous abortion, and increased complications following birth.
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  9. Toxic ingredients: Most flu vaccines contain one or all of the following –
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    –  Mercury (Thimerosol): Thimerosol is a common preservative used in vaccines. Most flu vaccines contain enough mercury from Thimerosol to be deemed toxic by the EPA if they are taken by anyone weighing less than 265 pounds. Because mercury is a powerful neurotoxin, this information should be regarded with concern by anyone weighing less than 265 pounds. Note: There are a few vials of vaccines made without Thimerosol, but they are typically saved for children and pregnant women. You have the right to request them, and definitely should if you weigh less than 265 pounds, are pregnant, or are having your child vaccinated.
    –  Adjutants: Adjutants are ingredients added to vaccines which serve to stimulate the immune system. The most common adjutant used in flu vaccines is Aluminum, a heavy metal which is associated with many neurological illnesses. Primary among the neurological illnesses associated with aluminum toxicity is Alzheimer’s.
    –  Formaldehyde: Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen. When combined with aluminum (as it is in the flu vaccine and many the vaccinations), formaldehyde is known to increase the likelihood of neurological damage.
    –  Eggs: Although not directly a toxin, all flu vaccines are grown on cultures from chicken eggs. This means the vaccines could be deadly to anyone having a severe allergy to eggs. Please be aware of this. The incidence of severe allergic reactions to flu vaccines is rising at an alarming rate, largely because many of the people administrating vaccines are not trained in their side effects and are not in a facility equipped to deal with anaphylactic shock. If you choose to get a flu shot, please get it in your doctor’s office and not in your local grocery store.
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  10. Negative reactions: Flu vaccines are known to cause the following reactions, some of which are deadly and some of which can cause permanent disability: injection site reaction, fever, convulsions (especially in children), narcolepsy, Guillain-Barre Syndrome (a severe paralytic auto-immune neurological condition which can result in permanent disability), allergic reactions including anaphylactic shock, increased risk of heart attack, encephalitis, neurological disorders, thrombocytopenia (a blood disorder causing low platelet counts, fatigue and potential blood loss from bruising or internal hemorrhage), and more..
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  11. Studies found Vitamin D more effective than flu shots: There is a good reason the flu only occurs during the winter months. Even in tropical climates, flu rates increase during the rainy season. The common factor? Sun exposure. Unprotected exposure to sunlight stimulates the body to produce Vitamin D. Studies conducted by John Cannell and associates found a direct connection between Vitamin D deficiencies and increased respiratory illnesses in adults and children. The studies also found that as little as 2000 IU of Vitamin D3 on a daily basis could prevent the flu and other respiratory illnesses 500% more effectively than flu vaccines. Another study reported in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that Vitamin D deficiency caused higher infection rates of flu and other respiratory illnesses. Per Adit Ginde, MD, MPH, “The findings of our study support an important role for vitamin D in prevention of common respiratory infections, such as colds and the flu.” Vitamin D stimulates the body to produce over 300 different antimicrobial peptides which help the body combat viral and bacterial infection. My personal recommendation is that anyone living in a cold climate should take a minimum of 2000 IU of Vitamin D3 on a daily basis and should get their blood serum levels checked at least once each year. Ideal blood serum levels should be maintained between 50-80 nmol/L.
What are your thoughts about getting a flu shot? My next post will focus on effective ways to protect yourself from the flu. Please feel free to share your opinions below.
References:
 
 
Does the Vaccine Matter? – The Atlantic
 
 
Flu Vaccine Effectiveness – Centers for Disease Control
On the Epidemiology of Influenza – Journal of Virology

The vitamin D-antimicrobial peptide pathway and its role in protection against infection – Linus Pauling Institute


Difference Between Lactose Intolerance and Dairy Allergy

Milk drop

Few topics inspire as much confusion as the difference between lactose intolerance and dairy allergy. The two issues can both cause digestive distress, but each has a very different cause.

Lactose Intolerance

Lactose intolerance occurs when the body lacks sufficient lactase, the enzyme required to digest the sugars in dairy. The enzyme is lactase, dairy sugar is lactose. The symptoms of lactose intolerance can be as mild as a bit of gas or bloating, or may be extreme enough to cause vomiting and diarrhea. Each person will lactose intolerance will respond very differently. The symptoms result because the enzyme lactase is needed to break milk sugar (lactose) down into simpler sugars which can be absorbed and metabolized. If the lactose is not broken down, the body cannot absorb it and will experience digestive distress. Some people with lactose intolerance may also experience fatigue due to the strain caused when dairy is ingested. The amount of dairy required to cause a reaction in someone who is lactose intolerant varies from person to person. Some people must consume large amounts of dairy, while others can safely consume small amounts before experiencing symptoms.

Lactose intolerance may occur in infancy, but more commonly develops later in life. Lactose intolerance can be inherited and may run in families. It can also develop as a secondary challenge resulting from digestive disorders that damage the colon, such as Crohn’s, Celiac Disease, etc. Lactose intolerance can be diagnosed through a Hydrogen Breath Test in adults or via a Stool Acidity Test in children.

Most people can counteract the effects of lactose intolerance by limiting dairy consumption or by taking a digestive enzyme containing high amounts of lactase when they eat dairy. My favorites include: 

Lacto by Enzymedica (My favorite enzyme company)

Dairy Digest Complete by NOW Foods

Dairy (Casein or Whey) Allergy

Dairy allergies are an autoimmune reaction to one or more proteins found in dairy. Casein is the most common dairy protein that causes a dairy allergy. (A dairy allergy may also be the result of an autoimmune reaction to other chemicals in dairy, but casein and whey are the most common.) Reactions to a dairy allergy may be very mild or may be life-threatening, and can affect every body system. There are over 200 symptoms that may be caused by a dairy allergy. The symptoms may include severe or mild digestive distress, skin reactions, respiratory distress, cognitive and emotional issues, and many more.

The reactions occur when the body comes to regard chemicals in milk as “foreign invaders” that must be attacked and neutralized. To neutralize the invader, the body releases antibodies. These antibodies get carried throughout the body via the bloodstream and can therefore cause reactions in any part of the body. Dairy allergies are typically the result of one or more autoimmune genes getting turned “on.”

Dairy allergies can occur at any stage of life. Babies are sometimes born with a dairy allergy. Other people develop  a dairy allergy much later in life. Dairy allergies often appear to develop very suddenly. Causes of dairy allergies have been linked to Candida overgrowth (click link to learn more), feeds containing genetically modified produce fed to dairy cows, genetics, environmental toxins, and many unknown causes. Sadly, the incidence of dairy allergies is rising at a rate that is much higher than population growth.  

Dairy allergies require the affected person to completely avoid all foods containing dairy. This can be difficult because many processed foods contain ingredients that can set off a reaction but whose ingredient list does not contain words associated with dairy. Some people can reverse their dairy allergy by strictly avoiding dairy for six to twelve months, but others cannot. Some children outgrow a dairy allergy, while others do not. Because most allergies result when a gene is turned “on,” it can be very difficult to reverse milk allergies. Reducing or reversing a dairy allergy must include steps to also heal the digestive tract. Extreme measures are typically required to reverse the allergy, but it is possible for some people to eventually eat small amounts of dairy very occasionally without a negative reaction.

I personally had a dairy allergy so severe that I vomited multiple times per day and was extremely ill for many months. Before recognizing my allergy, I lost over 30 pounds, was extremely weak, had hair loss, was extremely grumpy and irritable, had severe acne, and had explosive diarrhea that made leaving the house difficult. To put it mildly, I was miserable. My dairy allergy was identified by a test called the ELISA Allergy Test. This is the test I recommend to my clients who have symptoms indicating a food allergy. (I’m now able to very occasionally eat small amounts of dairy without visible symptoms, although I know my digestive system remains healthiest if I refrain.)

Food allergies can be identified through blood tests, elimination diets, or muscle response testing. I do not recommend using “skin prick” testing for food allergies, as that form of testing is very inaccurate and often incorrect. Blood testing is also often inaccurate unless dairy is consumed within 72 hours of the blood draw, but there are tests which can identify the presence of dairy antibodies without recent dairy consumption.

One of the most popular ways of reversing dairy allergies is by following a diet called the GAPS diet. “GAPS” stands for “Gut and Psychology Syndrome or “Gut and Physiology Syndrome.” Click the link the view copies of the book that describes the protocol to be followed.

If you have digestive issues, constant congestion or cough, chronic fatigue, eczema or other symptoms you have been unable to remedy, you may have a food allergy or sensitivity. I have helped many people with food allergies and would love to help. Please contact me via email or by calling 317.489.0909 to schedule a consultation.

Have you dealt with lactose intolerance or dairy allergy? How did you figure it out? What tips can you share about coping on a daily basis?

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Top 10 Articles of 2012

Happy New Year! I wish each of you a joyous 2013 filled with many blessings and abundant joy.Top 10 Articles of 2012 Graphic

I’ve never been much of a “follower,” but it appears the expected thing to do at the start of a new year is to create a top 10 list. This is mine. Following are the articles I wrote in 2012 which received the highest number of views and which focus on topics which are frequently searched for. Some of the articles that made the list surprised me. Based on the titles included in the top ten, it is obvious everyone loves lists.

As always, if there is a topic you would like me to cover, please let me know! I am here to serve you.

Top Articles of 2012

  1. Green Coffee Bean Extract and Raspberry Ketones: Truth or Hype?
    Shares important information about whether or not these popular supplements actually work. Also shares important warnings on side effects and potential negative consequences of using them.
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  2. Signs of Zinc Deficiency and Ways to Increase Zinc Levels
    Discusses ways to spot a zinc deficiency and the best ways to boost your zinc levels. The statement, “You need zinc to think,” is very true!
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  3. Create a Detoxification Bath Using Common Ingredients
    Provides details on simple ingredients you can add to a bath to create a pampering detoxification experience and boost health.
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  4. Top Seven Reasons You Can’t Lose Weight
    An inability to lose weight is not always due to lifestyle issues. This article discusses physiological imbalances that can make weight loss impossible.
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  5. Top Five Ingredients to Avoid in Skin Care Products
    What are you putting on your skin? Read this to learn which skin care ingredients can have negative effects.
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  6. Top 10 Ways to Shorten the Duration of a Cold
    A helpful article that shares simple steps to take to make any cold or flu less severe.
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  7. Important Facts About Chia Seeds
    Chia seeds rarely get the respect they deserve. This article shares important information that may make you appreciate them much more.
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  8. Top Six Ways to Maximize Digestion
    Many health practitioners consider digestion the most important determinant of health. Read this article to learn helpful ways to improve digestion and absorption.
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  9. Best Tests for Sources of Vitamin B12 
    B12 deficiencies are very common. This article discusses ways to spot a B12 deficiency, which forms of B12 are most effective at reducing deficiencies, and which tests are the most accurate.
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  10. Dark Circles Under the Eyes: Causes and Solutions
    Dark circles under the eyes are not merely a cosmetic issue, but have a physiological cause. This article provides helpful information on recognizing why you have dark circles and steps you can take to diminish them.

 

Resolving Not to Resolve: Success in New Year Resolutions

Have you chosen a New Year Resolution yet? How likely are you to achieve your goal as a result? Although I applaud the attitude and desire that motivates New Year Resolutions, I’m not sure the “overnight sensation” approach is a good idea. Most New Year Resolutions become failed resolutions fairly quickly as List of New Year Resolutionspeople embrace unrealistic expectations, set impossible goals with impossible timelines, and soon become overwhelmed or frustrated and give up. 

I recently asked my followers on social media if they make resolutions and whether or not they are successful when they do. Most people responded they do not make resolutions because they typically fail, while others said they make resolutions but only attain them about half the time. My favorite response came from a friend who said he tries to improve every single day instead of waiting until the start of a new year to create change.

The problem with most New Year Resolutions are that they are “all or nothing” propositions that wind up being made with little forethought and which wind up being very temporary. Creating true lifestyle change that permanently alters habits takes a different approach.

Here are my recommendations for creating lasting change: 

  1. Identify why you want to change: Many people say they want to lose weight, but if you ask them WHY, you get a wide range of responses. Some will say they want to look better, others will say they want to be healthier, some will say they want to have more energy, and many will look at you as if you just asked the world’s stupidest question. Having a goal isn’t sufficient unless you can identify the reasons you want to reach the goal and can state what you will gain by attaining the goal. I recommend writing down your reasons so you can use them as motivation as you work toward your goal. Recognizing why you wish to reach a goal will also provide greater satisfaction when you reach your goal. One word of warning: Reaching a goal does not always have the outcome you thought it would. Recognize the benefits you gain even if they are not what you expected.The most common new year resolution is to lose weight. Unfortunately, some people want to lose weight because they believe being thinner will make them more popular, allow them to meet the man or woman of their dreams, or bring about other positive social changes in their life. One of the secrets of having a full social calendar is to love and appreciate yourself just as you are. Loving who you are and being content with where you are at creates a confidence and joy that other people enjoy being near. The type of people who are attracted to others simply because they’re thin aren’t the type of people you want in your life, anyway. Trust me.
     
  2. Break your primary goal into smaller steps: For most people, it makes sense to ease into your goal, using baby steps to reach it. For example, instead of setting a goal of not drinking caffeine (out of a desire to lower blood pressure or improve pH), set a smaller goal each week that will gradually build to create your final goal. For instance, give up energy drinks the first week, soda the next, and coffee the following week. In addition to making your goal easier to achieve by “chunking” it into smaller pieces, this also lessens the shock on your body and your psyche. Lessening the shock (or detoxification process) on your body will help you feel better and will again make it easier to stick to your plan and achieve success. It also lessens the emotional shocks that come with creating new habits. This approach can be used with any type of lifestyle change and is not limited to giving up food or drinks. There are times when giving up a food or beverage “cold turkey” is desirable, such as when a food allergy has been identified or when a health condition makes it necessary. However, making changes slowly and steadily brings a higher level of success when illness is not your motivator.
     
  3. Set a start date: Setting a target start date allows you to prepare mentally and emotionally for establishing new habits. Setting a start date also provides the opportunity to identify and eliminate any triggers that led to failure in the past. If you broke your goal into small steps or milestones, attach a time limit to each step. After you set your start date and subsequent milestone dates, use the time leading up to it to encourage yourself on a daily basis, to strengthen your commitment to meeting the goal, and to addressing any negative thoughts you have related to the goal. Use positive affirmations, write down your goals and review them daily, ask friends and family for encouragement and support, or use whatever motivational technique works best for you. Being prepared emotionally will make it easier to rise above and resist any temptations that come. 
     
  4. Celebrate your successes: Reaching goals is a huge accomplishment. CELEBRATE your success and reward yourself! When identifying your goals and milestones as mentioned in Step 1, attach a reward to each one. Pick rewards that are not food-oriented and which do not include anything you’re working to eliminate. Your rewards may include a pampering experience such as a massage, or may be as simple as allowing yourself (and asking your family to give you) one uninterrupted hour to read a book. Your rewards do not have to cost money. Be creative and choose rewards that will make you feel truly rewarded.
     
  5. Don’t let a single slip derail you: Nobody’s perfect, so don’t expect yourself to be. If you slip and step outside of the boundaries you created, use that slip as an opportunity to learn. Ask yourself what motivated the slip and how you could have avoided it. Learn from the slip, consider how you will resist similar situations in the future, and move on. Some people view a single slip as evidence they can’t succeed and use it as an excuse to abandon their entire plan. Don’t give into that temptation. If you deviate from your plan, learn from it and move forward without looking back. Beating yourself up about it won’t accomplish anything positive, so don’t do it.

The bottom line is that there’s more success in choosing to make tiny changes on a daily basis than in trying to accomplish a great change overnight.

Did you make a resolution this year? If so, what was it? 

Graphic courtesy of One Way Stock