On The Other Side of a Cold

6 days later, I’m finally feeling human. Colds can be so rotten! I felt so awful on Tuesday and Wednesday – headache, runny nose, achy, tired, sinus pain, sneezing. UGH. Everyone gets colds, and after this round I want to share some ways to get through them easier, and how to help them not turn into the 6 week sickness, or bronchitis, or worse….

I grew up in a Yoga Ashram where getting sick was considered “cleansing” and an opportunity to throw off toxins and heal the body. I still think of sickness in this framework to some degree, and as such embrace having a cold in the following ways (once I am willing to accept I am, in fact, sick, which is another story.)

I like to view mini-sicknesses like colds, flues, and other bugs as opportunities for a mini-detox. As soon as I realize I am sick, all cow dairy, sugar, alcohol, corn, beef and gluten are eliminated. I also try to wean off caffeine by only having 1/2 cups of black tea as needed for caffeine headaches. This automatically gives my immune system a huge boost to fight off the offenders (see my food sensitivity blog post.) It also allows my liver, intestines and kidneys to do a little detox of their own, cleaning up old metabolites while other systems fight off the cold. This helps me heal faster, and makes me feel even better once the cold is done! I also often lose a couple of pounds while being sick.

What does this leave to eat? Lots of fruit, rice, steamed veggies, rice cakes and 100% fruit jam, gluten free toast, butter (even tho its cow I allow this), nut butters, eggs, organic chicken, goat milk kefir or yogurt if craved. I just made a butternut squash, ginger, chicken broth soup with kale, apples and lemon this sickness. I also found a coconut milk, agave sweetened vanilla ice cream when I was craving something cold for my throat. And lots and lots and lots of herbal tea. With raw honey, and lemon.

Botanical Medicine is *very* important for treating colds. Most colds start out as viruses and then develop into bacterial infections after the immune system has been worn down. Unlike drugs, herbs can be antiviral AND anti-bacterial at the same time. As soon as I start feeling sick, out comes the elderberry syrup that lives in my medicine cabinet. 2 tsp 2-3 times a day, AND once a day for my girlfriend so she doesnt get sick. Start taking lots of vitamins – everything you have. Take your C’s, B’s, multivitamin…. your immune system is weak and needs support. Olive leaf is a great anti-microbial to take at any stage of sickness. The trick with herbs is to take alot, early.  As in, 2 caps three times a day for the first week, rather than 1 cap a day for 3-6 weeks of sickness. Traditional Medicinals has some great teas with a good mix of acute care herbs. I drank Cold Care PM night and day, with lots of honey as well as lemon ginger tea and echinacea tea.

A side note on echinacea – this herb is anti strep as well as antibacterial and antiviral and antifungal. Its actually a great herb for colds and flues *when taken right away.* Echinacea seems to work better for some people than others as well. If you are going to use this botanical, start taking it as soon as you feel sick in high doses. Once you have been sick more than 5 days, it is no longer as effective *unless* you are fighting a strep infection.

If you can, go see an acupuncturist immediately. Acupuncture can do great things for helping a cold to not settle into your lungs, and move it through you faster. I’m certain it also helped this cold not become a sinus infection and just stay at the superficial level. I see Hadley Clarke of www.zenkaiacupuncture.com although http://www.jadeintegratedhealth.com also helped me when I had a serious case of bronchitis last year.Chinese herbs are also very effective when prescribed by an acupuncturist, however they are not meant for self-prescribing.

Finally, REST. Sometimes I think I get sick when my mind or body really needs down time. Call in sick, and lie in front of the TV, or in your bed all day. Pad around in track pants and socks and drink tea and moan on the couch. Facebook, nap, eat soup, but don’t do anything productive. The body *really* needs time to heal, and repair, and fight the good fight, and cant do that if you are also trying to teach or lead or answer phones or tend bar or save the world do all the other active things we all do in a day.


Keeping the Pace – Part 2

Maintaining Adrenal Health

Proper adrenal supplementation is as personalized as your causes of stress. The way the body adapts to stress can take many forms, and the best treatments will reflect your individual constellation of symptoms. However, everyone has some levels of adrenal fatigue just from the life we live, and daily generic supplementation will assist your body in maintaining adrenal health.  Healthy adrenal glands are like rich ripe plums, sitting atop our kidneys, playing key notes in our endocrine orchestra. Stress and exhaustion can cause them to become dried up and shriveled like prunes, which sequentially affects all the other players of our hormone system. Nourishing your adrenals and caring for them will help keep your entire hormone system playing smooth and true.

So, what products are best for you? The endocrine system includes a diverse set of very important glands including pituitary, thyroid, pancreas, adrenals and ovaries. This system often triangulates in function, and it is very rare to have a solo organ problem. Therefore, when choosing adrenal supplementation the rest of the endocrine system is also assessed in best practice treatment. Nourishment is multifactoral and includes vitamins to restore deficiencies caused by stress and botanical medicine to restore glandular function. This assessment is best done by a licensed professional who has had training in natural medications, contraindications, pharmaceutical interactions and adverse reactions.

Generally – an adrenal supplement taken daily will include Vitamin B5 and Vitamin C, both required for adrenal function. Rhodiola is a botanical that increases endurance and mental focus. In Russian army trials it proved to improve responses to stress – the typical dose is 150-300mg. Holy Basil is a lovely botanical that helps the body to regulate cortisol’s relationship to blood sugar; therefore,  it may be helpful for emotional binge eaters.  It has just come out a tea called Tulsi Tea. Relora is also a patented neutraceutical that has evidence based studies supporting its ability to re-regulate cortisol to normal diurnal patterns. It can also help reduce abdominal adiposity related to stress. My favorite general adrenal supplement for (US) long-term use is Vitanica’s Adrenal Assist – 3 capsules daily, which contains several of the above-mentioned products and more. In Canada, I like CanPrev’s Adrenal Thyroid Pro. Please note – if you are taking medications especially cardiac or blood pressure medications there is a potential for multiple interactions with these products, please seek advice from a Naturopathic Doctor or other professional trained in pharmaceutical-herbal interactions.

Adrenal Supplementation is a multi million-dollar industry as modern culture whips us into looking 15 years younger and doing the work of 3!  There are many approaches to restoring adrenal health, and new products available on a daily basis. One can be very scientific about adrenal disease, approach it from an energetic perspective, or start from somewhere in between.  Adrenal restoration is best done with a medical practitioner whether it’s a Naturopathic, Osteopathic or Allopathic Physician. Chiropractors are often trained in prescriptions for endocrine health, as are Nutritionists, Herbalists and Nurse Practitioners. Even some Pharmacists have jumped on the bandwagon. There is no Right answer or best practice that has been established, so finding someone with good credentials, experience and an approach to wellness you resonate with is the best place to start.

Depending on your state of health, laboratory testing may or may not be recommended. Salivary Hormone Testing of the hormone cortisol is a common place to start. This can be done as a single assessment or a 4-point panel reflecting an entire day. The 4-point is a more thorough and accurate assessment of daily cortisol activity. (Cortisol is pumped out by the adrenal gland in response to stress along with epinephrine and norepinephrine.) An entire endocrine panel including pituitary, thyroid and reproductive hormones can also be done for a good quality snapshot of the whole hormone system. Salivary testing is not required, but it is helpful to tailor an accurate treatment plan. However, a good practitioner will be able to read signs and symptoms of adrenal dysfunction from the initial interview, and will be able to do a differential diagnosis of whether or not there is thyroid involvement present. Therefore, laboratory testing is not always required. Bloodwork may also be suggested to assess whether the adrenal diseases Cushings and Addisons need to be ruled out.

Treatment of adrenal fatigue and endocrine dysfunction is a long slow process. Prescribed herbs and vitamins will need to be taken for a minimum of 3 months, and often over a 6-9 month period. This is especially true for women as the female reproductive hormones change weekly over a four-week period, so rebalancing can require several cycles for a noticeable response.



Keeping the Pace – Part One

Part One – Making Choices

 Keeping pace with life’s To Do list, career, academics, and family… its tough. Its hard on the body, its hard on the mind, and it can be hard on the waistline too. It’s worth it – for evolution, advancement, and a life well lived – but how can one minimize the toll of stress?

Adapting effectively to stress requires both a short term and long-term commitment to nourishing and sustaining hormonal response. The body responds to chronic stress by first an alarm phase, then sustained effort, then exhaustion. Making appropriate nutritional choices and choosing herbal adaptogens that match the endocrine condition relieve strain and sustain long-term health.

First and Foremost – What can you actually do when you are exhausted, and hungry, and cant stop? One answer: eat something green. A fresh arugula salad would be perfect; however a greens drink is very convenient. Spirulina and other microalgae are the red blood cell equivalents of the plant kingdom. They provide an instant nutrient-rich boost of antioxidants, alkalinizing and balancing your starved system and tiding over the hunger until you can take a break. Mix greens with juice for blood sugar support, or choose green protein-enhanced shakes or bars if needed. Odwalla has a yummy green pre-made green Superfood smoothie. There are several products available in one-serving envelopes that travel well. If you are on *any* medications, including Hypertension, Birth Control, Antidepressant and Anti-Anxiety medications, please choose a formula that ONLY has the microalgae, and/or wheat grasses, without herbal components.  The energy-supporting herbs used in many “energy greens” can have multiple medication interactions.

Protein is also an integral component of a high stress diet. The immune and hormonal systems require adequate protein for sustained cellular responses. This protein must be high quality: fast food meats or veggie burgers do not “count!” Good quality protein will create a smooth and better-sustained blood sugar response decreasing headaches, crabbiness, and dizziness while improving energy and balance. Include one serving of protein in most significant meals, and look for protein snacks on busy days.

Sugar, crackers, pastries, fruit or raw vegetables alone will burn quickly and leave you depleted. Lunchtime protein can include tahini on a cooked whole grain or steamed vegetables, avocado, hard-boiled eggs, nut butters and nut butter sauces, quinoa salads, and cheese in addition to fish or meat. Prepare ahead! Protein and fiber rich snacks like applesauce and cottage cheese, hard-boiled egg, toasted nuts and seeds with raisins, celery and nut butter can be pre-made and stored in little “to go” containers. It’s best to avoid consistent intake of processed proteins including whey and soy protein isolates as bars or shakes, but occasional use is well tolerated.

Therefore, the immediate moment, when you hit a wall look to greens and to protein for a boost. This will keep you from turning to sugar or fat to maintain your energy, keeping your waistline trim and nourishing your body rather than taxing it further.

If you cant get away from the piece of chocolate that seems like its the only thing that will save your day in that moment, choose a small piece of good quality chocolate! Research shows that small amounts of high quality chocolate actually have beneficial effects on our health. It is an antioxidant, and releases GABA neurotransmitter that is one of the “off” buttons in our brain. Commercial “industrial” chocolate, mochas, lattes, cookies, and other quick fixes have low nutritional value and provide high fat calories that lead to abdominal weight gain and create sugar addictions. Cacao Nibs are Nature’s superfood candy, and are a must for any true chocolate addict. Rich in magnesium, these replenish lost minerals lost through caffeine. Add Cacao Nibs to your trail mix with home-toasted walnuts, pumpkin seeds and organic raisins.

Long-term adrenal restoration in the form of individualized and endocrine-specific supplementation is also integral. Adrenal fatigue is a buzz term in today’s medicine, and will be the topic of Keeping the Pace  – Part Two!

Cocoa and chocolate in human health and disease. Katz DL, Doughty K, Ali A, Antioxidants & Redox Signaling [Antioxid Redox Signal], ISSN: 1557-7716, 2011 Nov 15; Vol. 15 (10), pp. 2779-811; PMID: 21470061; http://web.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.ccnm.edu/ehos/viewarticle?data=dGJyMPPp44rp2%2fdV0%2bnjisfk5Ie46bNNsa6zTrOk63nn5Kx95uXxjL6nrkewrq1KrqevOK%2bwsVC4qbE4zsOkjPDX7Ivf2fKB7eTnfLujsUm2p7NMsaakhN%2fk5VXj5KR84LPrhuac8nnls79mpNfsVbCntE6zqbdIpNztiuvX8lXk6%2bqE8tv2jAAA&hid=17

The impact of chocolate on cardiovascular health. Fernández-Murga L, Tarín JJ, García-Perez MA, Cano A, Maturitas [Maturitas], ISSN: 1873-4111, 2011 Aug; Vol. 69 (4), pp. 312-21; PMID: 21665390



Optimizing Nutrition for Beautiful Skin

The skin is the largest organ of the human body – and the only one that the world can see. Keeping skin luminous requires not only topical maintenance, but also premium nutritional support and hydration. The skin is a secondary organ of elimination. This means that when the primary organs of elimination  -the liver, kidneys and bowels – become overworked, the skin takes on the additional job of detoxifying for the body. This results in acne, redness, discoloration, eczema, rosacea, spider veins and other cosmetic maladies. Fortunately, by providing skin with optimal essential fatty acids, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, and by improving detoxification at the primary sites of elimination, you can maintain the glowing, clear complexion and collagen levels you have always wanted.


¨     Eat more liver-loving foods on a daily basis. Start your day with the juice of 1/4 a lemon in a pint glass hot or cold water on waking to get your digestion started. Eat at least 2 of the following foods daily to improve detoxification: beets, carrots, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, bok choy, arugula or broccoli.

¨     Increase your vegetarian daily essential fat intake. Nuts, seeds, avocado, and ground flax seeds are all sources of essential fatty acids. Use olive oil and/or organic coconut oil for cooking. Nuts and seeds are best raw, unsalted and unroasted. (You can dry-toast them yourself in a cast iron pan to improve taste without losing all of the nutritional benefits.)

¨     Choose local cold water fish, such as cod, sardines, sole, haddock, or herring  2-3 times per week. Avoid swordfish, shark, king mackerel, halibut, sea bass or tuna steak, which contain high levels of mercury. Remove skin from all fish to reduce PCB contamination. Tuna, sea bass and Atlantic cod are overfished. Tuna can only be eaten once every 2 weeks to avoid mercury contamination. Only eat wild caught salmon, avoid farmed if possible.

¨     Ensure adequate fibre intake daily from whole grains, lentils, beans, vegetables, and fruits. Be adventurous with your grains – try millet, quinoa, brown rice, wild rice, and buckwheat kasha as part of your meal plans. Include a minimum of two raw vegetables daily and one piece of organic fruit.


Omega 3 Fish oil – 2 caps twice / day or 1 tsp – Omega 3 oils reduce inflammation decreasing redness and dryness. They also keep hair, skin, and nails rich and lustrous with essential fatty acids to nourish from the inside out.

Jarrow CoQ10 – 1 capsule daily – CoQ10 is a potent fat antioxidant and works microscopically to maintain your cellular health. Healthy cells = healthy skin

Vitamin C -2000mg daily. C is an integral component of the collagen matrix. It is also a potent water soluble antioxidant, which works to detoxify the fluids surrounding cells. Adequate levels of vitamin C can be absorbed from a diet high in organic fruits and vegetables, otherwise supplementation is advised. Research has also proven that topical Vitamin C products improve skin quality.

Zinc/Copper by AOR. Copper pairs with Vitamin C to form collagen, and Zinc is an essential mineral for many enzymatic processes. If you are having problem skin, supplement with a Zinc / Copper mineral at least 6 months of each year.


With more invasive procedures such as aggressive peels and some laser treatments, more personalized treatments may be needed to optimize healing and provide long term maintenance. Its best to create a plan for before, during and after your facial rejuvenation.

Homeopathy is an integral part of advanced skin care. Several studies have been done using Arnica Montana in homeopathic preparation for post surgical care. http://www.med.nyu.edu/content?ChunkIID=38342 These have all illustrated that this remedy decreases post-operative edema, and can reduce pain and bruising as well. Homeopathy is extremely safe, and can be used to treat bruising, pain, burns, and other side effects of advanced facial care.

Complicated or chronic dermatological conditions such as vitiligo, acne, rosacea, eczema and other pathological skin conditions generally require personalized treatment plans as these all involve internal organ dysfunctions that are manifesting as skin conditions. Nutrition, Botanical Remedies, Stress Management and Lifestyle Counseling will likely be employed to restore your skin to its natural beauty.


Its Not You. Its Your Food!

Chances are, you are having some kind of allergic response to the foods you are eating. For some people this manifests as weight gain, puffiness, or bloating. For others its drippy nose, itchy mouth and red eyes. Someone else manifests their allergic response as constipation or diarrhea, and someone else has creaky sore knees and chronic urinary tract infections. How can one set of reactions have so many manifestations? Because we are all different types of people with different genetic and systemic vulnerabilities. Our immune systems are also unique, and respond individually  to stress.

70% of our immune system is in our guts. It is our digestive immune systems job to separate out food from bacteria and parasites and viruses and other “non-self” things that we ingest. However, with age, or over-medication, or stress, or a whole host of other complicating factors our digestive immune system can become imbalanced and start to identify foods as “enemies.” Then, every time that food is eaten, we mount an immune attack against it! Creating inflammation, swelling, mucus production – a whole mini-battle scene in your gut. When this happens daily, it starts to affect the organs involved and creates local damage, which impairs intestinal integrity. Then, little particles of inflammation leak into the bloodstream and negatively affect distant organs. Thus, the “personalized” food sensitivity effects of bladder, respiratory, joint, brain or other system dysfunction.

Most common allergenic foods:

  • Dairy, wheat, soy, corn, eggs, chocolate, oranges (citrus), seafood  (especially shellfish), additives/preservatives, tomatoes, potatoes, strawberries, peanuts, almonds.
  • Hereditary factors do set up susceptibility, as allergies appear to run in families.  For example, if both parents have an allergy/intolerance, then there is a 67% chance that the offspring will be allergic.  Therefore, be extra careful when introducing these foods to babies.

Common physical and symptomatic signs of food allergy:

  • Dark circles under the eyes, puffiness under the eyes, chronic swollen glands, runny nose/nasal drip
  • Canker sores, celiac disease, chronic diarrhea, constipation, gas, gastritis, heart burn/acid reflux, IBS, ulcerative colitis, gallstones
  • Chronic infections, frequent ear infections
  • Bed-wetting, chronic bladder infections, kidney disorders
  • Asthma, chronic bronchitis, wheezing, itchy nose or throat, sinusitis
  • Acne, eczema, hives, itching, skin rash, red (burning) ears
  • Bursitis, joint pain, low back pain, arthritis and arthritic disorders
  • Arrhythmia, edema, fatigue,
  • Headache, migraines
  • Hyperactivity, anxiety, depression, inability to concentrate, insomnia, irritability, mental confusion, seizures


Identifying the foods your system is reacting to is important. It can be so varied – wheat for one person, salmon and sesame seeds for another! By identifying the problematic foods, you can also “know your devil.” Even if you still choose to eat the food occasionally, at least you can predict the response and manage it as needed. Knowing the problem often makes the symptoms more bearable!

There are many ways to identify food sensitivities. As a Naturopathic Doctor, I use blood work for people with multiple system involvement or complicated medical histories. The test starts at $269 for 95 foods, and increases for additional foods or for candida antigen identification. The hypoallergenic dietary method is an excellent detoxification diet. It is a great method of self diagnosis for people who have one or two symptoms that may be related to food sensitivities. It is also a fantastic weight loss diet, and I often use it for that reason alone!

  • Hypoallergenic Diet: Food elimination and subsequent reintroduction
  • Bloodwork: IgG testing using bloodspot analysis
  • Applied kinesiology (AK):  Muscle testing for strength/weakness in the presence of the food being tested
  • Vega / Intero Food Test: A biofeedback-like software program based on AK that tests your bodies electrical responses to foods.

I personally am not trained in AK food testing, and have not found a practitioner in Maine who does the Vega style testing.

To minimize immune reactivity & enhance your immune system:

  • Identify and eliminate the foods that you are reacting to.
  • Increase the variety in your diet and rotate foods – do not get stuck eating the same ingredients or foods every day.
  • Eat organic foods! Especially those fruits and vegetables that can’t be peeled and animal products – milk, yoghurt, eggs and meat.
  • Minimize tuna, swordfish, farmed salmon and other large fish known to have heavy metal contamination.
  • Don’t drink tap water! Use a filter or switch to reverse osmosis-treated water to eliminate fluoride, chlorine, and other chemicals that are present.
  • Supplement with antioxidants: vitamins A, C, E, zinc and selenium.
  • Once or twice a year take a course of probiotics (especially if you have just completed a course of antibiotics) – these are the good bacteria that your intestines and your immune system need to function optimally.  You need a probiotic that provides both Lactobacillus and Bifidus bacteria.
  • Don’t suppress stomach acid production with heart burn-relief aids – instead, identify the triggers and eliminate them.  You need that acid to act as a barrier against bacteria, viruses and fungi in our environment.

Recognizing that you probably have food sensitivities, and diagnosing them appropriately is the first step towards feeling (and looking) better. Depending on your age, and how long you have had your symptoms, you may also need to do some digestive system repair. This is a four staged series of treatments that clean up your sites of inflammation, heal your gut lining, and recalibrate your immune systems reactivity. You will be amazed at how fantastic everything starts to feel once all the little chronic health problems disappear!


Managing Stress to Create Health

“But I don’t feel stressed!”

How does stress affect your body? Stress affects multi-systems. Here is a quick run through the major players in the stress domino effect, and some at home tips to balance and harmonize your stress hormones.

PHASE 1 (ALARM) There is a threat to your being. Your adrenal glands kick in and start producing hormones – for example, adrenaline.

PHASE 2 (RESISTANCE) You are holding up a good fight. You think you’ve won.

PHASE 3 (EXHAUSTION) Lots of small stresses add up. Eventually you can’t take it anymore. Body systems get run down, especially the immune system.

Adrenal glands

The adrenals are small, paired glands that sit on top of your kidneys, and secrete the “stress hormones” cortisol and adrenaline. When you are under stress, it is the job of these glands to release these hormones in a “fight or flight” response – providing energy to your brain, diverting blood away from your digestive system to your muscles, increasing your blood pressure and heightening awareness. This instinctual response was designed to assist a quick getaway from a dangerous or life threatening situation – but is instigated chronically day after day. Mental stress can trigger this reaction, as can alcohol, sugar and caffeine. Over time, the adrenals become fatigued, and not be able to maintain the demands you are placing on them. This leads to a host of symptoms including chronic low energy, irritability, insomnia, weight gain, headaches, sugar cravings, and dizziness.

Digestive system

Your digestive system is affected by chronic stress, partly in relation to the adrenal response. Under stressful situations, your digestive system slows down in order to provide extra energy and blood to your brain and muscles. Eating on the run, eating too fast, and eating while doing other things (like working) impairs digestive function and absorption of nutrients from your intestines. This can lead to indigestion, nutrient deficiencies, and  gas and bloating. While under stress, cravings for sugar and other simple carbohydrate foods are often increased, as they offer a “quick fix” energy boost. This is inevitably followed by an energy crash, which stimulates the sugar cravings again, creating a rollercoaster of sugar highs and lows – as well as chronic upset stomach and weight gain.

Immune system

Your immune system is greatly affected by stress via cortisol released by the adrenals. Any kind of stress can increase cortisol – work, yo-yo dieting, illness, financial worries. Cortisol decreases the rate your body can make new proteins, including proteins in the immune system, and this suppresses the immune response. The result is you may find you are becoming run down and catching colds easily. Aggravation of current allergies, or even formation of new allergies, are often a result of long term stress on the immune system. High cortisol or very low cortisol lead to high levels of inflammation – manifesting as joint disease, heart disease, and many multi-systemic autoimmune conditions.


The human body needs the nighttime sleep hours to recalibrate after the events of the day. Have you ever awakened from a full night’s sleep and felt more tired than when you went to bed? Does it take you a long time to fall asleep or do you wake often during the night?  Sleep has emotionally charged phases that increase when you have more stress. A busy head while you’re awake can be carried over into sleep and decreases your body’s ability to rest. Natural hormone balance between cortisol and melatonin is also upset by stress resulting in early waking and sleep deprivation.


Stress decreases your body’s ability to rest and heal.  When everything is functioning properly, pain symptoms are minimal. When your system is overwhelmed, it can no longer manage or adapt as well to its environment. As stress levels increase, your ability to tolerate pain decreases, resulting in increased sensitivity to pain. While in an overwhelmed state, minor symptoms like headaches and back pain can become major problems.


Often people say “but I don’t feel stressed”, however this is usually an inability to connect to how we are really feeling. Irritability, depression, tempers, impatience, crying, feeling overwhelmed – these are all indicators that you are under stress and you are responding to it emotionally.

5 Ways You Can Start to Manage Stress:


Eating slowly and mindfully is very important, and allows your digestive system to work efficiently. This means chewing every bite thoroughly and eating sitting down, without being distracted by reading or TV. Sit at your table, light a candle, and eat quietly. Then,go back to the television! Caffeine, alcohol and sugar create extra stress in the body without providing any nutrition. If you are very stressed, cut back on caffeine; enjoy organic green tea and herbal teas through the day instead of coffee and pop.  Avoid chips, chocolate bars, pastries and donuts. Keep healthy snacks like seasonal fruit and raw nuts and seeds at your desk to munch on. Vitamins may be helpful to aid your body in healing from stress. Naturopathic Doctor’s are the vitamin experts, and are trained in pharmacology, nutrition and botanical medicine to ensure your supplements are not causing interactions.


Getting enough quality sleep every night is very important for allowing your body to heal from excessive stress. Set a regular bedtime and stick to it – within one hour – even on the weekends. Do not exercise vigorously for 2 hours before bedtime. Turn off the TV an hour before bedtime, and create a relaxing bedtime ritual so that your body knows it is time for sleep. Take a bath, have a cup of Valerian or Passionflower tea, read, stretch, or write in a journal about your day. Meditation or visualization CD’s are also great nighttime rituals and can help you maximize your down time.


Exercise is one of the best ways to reduce stress. This does not need to be exhausting; a 30 minute walk every day can make a huge difference. Exercising with a friend or partner is the most successful way to go. Start a lunch-time walk at the office with a group of co-workers. Enlist your kids or partner in an after dinner walk every day. Not only will you feel more relaxed and sleep better, but you will enjoy valuable social or family time also. If you can, join the local YMCA or gym and take regular exercise classes as well. Pilates is fantastic for people who need an active body-based gentle strengthening. Yoga is great for people who like stretching and deep breathing exercise.

Replacing bad habits for good

We all know that smoking, drinking too much, drinking too much caffeine, snacking in front of the TV, not exercising, and not eating breakfast are all bad habits that we should probably do something about, but it can seem insurmountable to change. Make a commitment to yourself to do something positive and healthy in order to improve your health and well being. Decide to change just one bad habit at first. Take small steps, don’t try to do it all at once, and don’t go it alone. A Naturopathic Doctor can offer effective assistance in quitting smoking, reducing caffeine intake, or improving your diet for example.

Self care and emotional care

Often when we are feeling burned out by stress in our lives we are putting out more energy than we are taking in. This may come in the form of work or family demands, or worrying about money, the future, or relationship problems. The first thing to be dropped from a busy schedule is almost always you. Most of us do not prioritize any time for ourselves in a day – when was the last time you took an hour just for you? Remind yourself that you are worth caring for and deserve to be healthy. Take 30 minutes every day that is just for you – not for your partner, your children, your friend or your boss. Do something you enjoy that brings you happiness, like as a dance class, a massage, a walk on the beach, a bath with candles, time at the gym, a meditation CD, creative writing, tea and conversation with a close friend – anything that brings you joy. What makes you joyful?

Your heart and spirit require joyfulness to be healthy; if you find your life is lacking this crucial element, it may be time to take a hard look at where you are and what you want. And. Or, it may be time to see a Naturopathic Doctor and start using acupressure, botanical medicine, homeopathy, lifestyle counseling, and nutrition to improve your mental, physical and emotional wellness and better manage the inevitable stresses of modern life.



Optimizing Diet For Radioactive Protection

Complimentary Medicine Radio-Protective Guidelines: How to protect your body from radiation.

The Japan Nuclear Crisis brought nuclear radiation poisoning back into the forefront of our consumer minds, as much to our dismay the whole world watched the reactors teeter on the edge of implosion. Iodine was handed out to the local inhabitants like tic tacs as people did what they could to protect their lives. The imminent crisis has passed, but local foods were poisoned, and radiation leaked into the Pacific Ocean, a world food source. Everyone on the planet will be affected by this disaster.

Nuclear radiation is an ongoing concern, with effects that can takes months, years, and centuries to clear. Nutritionally protecting our genes (for our next generations) and our cells (for our well being) is even more of a priority than ever before.Using these supplements and treatment principals you can diminish the effects of all kinds of radiation – nuclear and xray – and protect your health. It is well known than radioactive iodine has an affinity for the ovaries and the thyroid. Radioactive iodine 131 (from nuclear plant emissions, x-rays, and radiotherapy) is very readily absorbed. Ensuring adequate natural iodine from food sources can and will prevent the radioactive iodine from binding to these sensitive organs and from the potentially harmful genetic effects down the road.

Iodine: There is evidence based research that Iodine has a radioprotective effect. It prevents the assimilation of radioactive iodine at a cellular level. It has also been shown to reduce the effects of renal calculi, improve thyroid function, be a factor in fetal development, and influence fibrocystic breast disease.


• Adults 150 mcg day
• Children 90-120 mcg /day
• Pregnancy 220 mcg/day
• Breastfeeding 290 mcg/day

Dietary sources of Iodine:

Kelp 3400 mcg 1 tsp
Arame 730 mcg 1 Tbs
Wakame 80 mcg 1 Tbs
Nori 32 mcg 1 sheet

Cod 341 mcg 3 ounces
Shrimp 79 mcg 3 ounces
Halibut 56 mcg 3 ounces
Herring 56 mcg 3 ounces
Sardines 30 mcg 3 ounces
Tuna 17 mcg 3 ounces

Iodized salt 76mcg  1 tsp

Cow’s milk (US) 56 mcg 1 cup
Mozzarella cheese 10 mcg 1 ounce
Yogurt 87 mcg 1 cup

Turkey breast 34 mcg 3 ounces
Strawberries 12 mcg 1 cup
Egg 23 mcg 1egg

Iodoral TM 12,000 mcg 1 tab
Lugol’s TM 5% 6250 mcg Per drop
Typical multi vitamin 150 mcg Per serving


Organic iodine is found in low levels in swiss chard, turnip greens, wild garlic and onions, watercress, squash, mustard greens, watermelon, cucumber, spinach, asparagus, kale,  citrus, and pineapple.

Inorganic iodine in salt can act as local irritant causing dyspepsia, indigestion, and decreased ability to assimilate food.  Therefore, table salt as a poor food source of Iodine. There is a loss of balance between sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium with inorganic iodine use.

Sea vegetables contain all 56 minerals in addition to iodine. They are 25% protein and 2% fat, and rich sources of magnesium, iron,  and sodium. Seaweeds contain beta-carotene, B1, B5, B12, niacin, vitamin E, vitamin C, selenium and traces of vitamin D, and help to dissolve fat and mucus deposits.

  • Mild sea veggies are dulse, kombu, and arame.
  • Strong sea veggies are kelp, wakame, and hijiki

Sodium alginate is also found to be radioprotective which is also found in seaweed. This compound is used in heavy metal detoxification as it is very absorptive and aids the body in eliminating toxic compounds. Sodium Alginate:

  • Chelates Strontium 90 from bone tissue
  • Permits calcium to be available for the body
  • Brown kelp (hijiki, arame, and kombu) chelates strontium and iron
  • Red kelp (dulse) chelates plutonium
  • Green kelp chlates cesium
  • SA may cause constipation if formed into fruit gelatin

Other beneficial foods for radiation protection:

Green Tea: Camellia Sinensis may have the ability to protect cells at a microbiological level from gamma ray radiation. More research is needed.

Bee pollen: Dose: 20g or 2 tbsp three times per day. This has unclear research behind it; however, it is a traditional superfood for vitality.

  • Rejuvenates body and enhances vitality
  • It is not an allergen
  • Decreases side effects of radium and cobalt-60 radiotherapy
  • Develops a stronger immune response
  • Add to juice, soup, water, smoothies, yogurt; but do not cook

Fermented foods: miso, tempeh, tamari, shoyu, pickles, sourkraut, yogurt.

  • Stimulates the production of friendly intestinal bacteria improving immune health. It is thought that the regular consumption of Miso in Japan culture helped people recover from the Hiroshima nuclear attack although little research has been done.
  • There is some evidence that it is the soy isoflavones that are protective elements on a traditional Japanese diet. 

6. Nutritional yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisae:) take with calcium and magnesium (nutritional yeast is high in phosphate)

  • 3 tbsp daily
  • 50% protein and 18 minerals including trace minerals and Selenium.
  • Prevents oxidation of vitamin E
  • Radioprotective effects on DNA and RNA
  • Binds and absorbs uranium, lead, mercury, carbon monoxide, DDT, nitrates, nitrites.
  • Assists liver to detoxify blood
  • Side effects: gas/flatulence, start at < 1 tsp with water or juice on an empty stomach, may experience temporary itching/flushing.

Contraindications: Gout. Nutritional yeast is high in nucleic acids which are converted to purines. Do not use Brewers/Torula yeast (contain by-products)

Garlic: 1-2 cloves daily or 2 capsules of kyolic garlic

  • Cysteine – binds and deactivates radioactive isotopes, cadmium, lead, and mercury
  • Sulpher and cysteine helps liver and kidney detoxify the body


  • Decreases radiation toxicity
  • Found in broccoli, green cabbage, alfalfa, leafy greens, celery, parsley, sprouts, edible grass, sunflower greens, spirulina and chlorella 

Botanical medicine for radioprotection:

There is a long list of botanicals suggested to treat radiation poisoning; however, other than calendula topically for radiation burns, they all only have traditional or historical use rather than evidence based studies. Keep in mind, that doing clinical studies on radiation poisoning using complementary medicine may be ethically difficult at best, and historical or traditional use may in fact be the best measure of success available.

The choice of botanical medicines to use is best under the supervision of a Master Herbalist or Naturopathic Doctor educated in the pharmacological use of herbal medicine, especially if in conjunction with multiple medications.

Nutrition Essentials for Radiation Protection:

Whole grains: 40% of daily intake, 2-3 servings.

Vegetables: 25% of daily intake, 3-4 servings per day. Choose vegetables rich in calcium and chlorophyll such as collards, parsley, kale.Beets are also highly nutritive as they assist in rebuilding hemoglobin after exposure to radiation.

Beans and Legumes: 2-7% of daily intake, 1 serving

Sea veggies: 3% – 3 ounces per day

Fruit: 5% of daily intake. Choose fruits high in antioxidants – blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, dark cherries, apricots, pomegranates, mangoes.

Concentrated protein: 30% good quality organic non-GMO protiens

Recipes for Nutritional Excellence

Green Chlorophyll Drink: See www.rawfamily.com for inspiring recipes and videos for fresh greens smoothies!

Use any combination of parsley, celery, spinach, collards, turnip greens, chard, leaf or romaine lettuce, kale, endive, watercress, peeled cucumber, green cabbage, alfalfa sprouts, sprouted sunflower seeds, sprouted clover seeds, or edible wheatgrass. Wash greens. Blend with water and equal amounts of fresh fruit. Can add a small amount of chopped carrot or beet. Makes 2 smoothies.

Health drink

in 8 oz green smoothie fresh, raw apple juice add:

1 tbsp primary grown nutritional yeast; 1 tbsp lecithin; 1.5 tbsp chlorella or spirulina; 2-3 tsp honey; 1 tbsp bee pollen; 1-2 tbsp carob powder; nutmeg, cinnamon, banana

Blend and drink hot or cold. I recommend taking 600mg calcium citrate and 300mg magnesium citrate alongside.

The Protector!

Mix: 1 tbsp primary grown nutritional yeast + 1 tbsp lecithin in organic apple juice.

Prevention Smoothie

Blend: Fruit such as banana, mango, pineapple, papaya, pear or ¼ cup fresh berrie; 1 tbsp bee pollen; ¼ cup organic goat or sheep yoghurt; ¼ cup organic sunflower seeds; 1 cup raw apple juice; 1 cup filtered water; ¼ cup carob powder; 2 tsp cinnamon; 1 oz chlorophyll juice; 1 tsp pure vanilla extract; 1 raw egg yolk; honey to taste

ADD: 1/2 tsp liquid extract of Siberian ginseng; 1 tsp powdered or liquid extract Panax ginseng; 1 tsp powdered dulse or kelp (kelp preferred for sodium alginate and iodine)

Add vitamins such as 600mg calcium citrate, 300mg magnesium citrate, 20 000 units vitamin A, 4000 units vitamin D, and/or 400 units vitamin E

Medical Nutrition from Marz 2nd edition. Russell Marz ND MAcOP C 1999

Omni Pennington JAT, Schoen SA, Salmon GD, Young B, Johnson RD, Marts RW. Composition of core foods of the U.S. food supply, 1982-1991. III. Copper, manganese, selenium, iodine. J Food Comp Anal. 1995;8:171-217.

Teas, J., Pino, S., Critchley, A., Braverman, L.E., 2004. Variability of iodine content in common commercially available edible seaweeds. Thyroid 14, 836–841.


AhmadIU, Forman JD, Sarkar FH, et al. Soy isoflavones in conjunction with radiationtherapy in patients with prostate cancer. NutrCancer. 2010;62(7):996-1000.


Sterilization and protection of protein in combinations of Camellia sinensis green tea extract and gamma irradiation.Detail Only Available (eng; includes abstract) By Saloua KS, Salah K, Nasreddine B, Samia A, Mouldi S, Ahmed L, International Journal Of Biological Macromolecules [Int J Biol Macromol], ISSN: 1879-0003, 2011 Apr 1; Vol. 48 (3), pp. 452-8; PMID: 21238480



Nutrition and Lifestyle Support for First Trimester

Pregnancy Nutrition for First Trimester

More than half of all women suffer from nausea and vomiting during their pregnancy.  No one knows what causes “morning sickness” but it has been linked to higher hormone levels, changes in blood sugar, and stress.  Nausea and Vomiting usually begin around the 6th week of pregnancy. It usually stops at about the 12th week, although it can continue throughout pregnancy for 20% of women. L During these weeks,  allow yourself to change your activity level and adjust your schedule to help yourself cope with the physical symptoms. Your body is doing some incredible chemistry creating a tiny new being!

Here are tips for keeping the nausea at a minimum.


  • Eat a few crackers before you get out of bed and rest for 15 more minutes.
  • Keep small snacks in little jars and containers in your purse, your desk, your car, and your kitchen.
  • Eat every 1.5 -2 hours in little bits. You may feel nausea if you eat, but you will feel even worse if you don’t eat!
  • Try not to skip meals
  • Eat slowly, and do not lie down right after eating
  • Ask friends and family for help with errands and housework!
  • Take naps – Nausea is worse when you are tired.
  • Get fresh air daily
  • Avoid hot and stuffy rooms
  • Taking a prenatal multivitamin in capsule form that can be split up throughout the day with meals can make it easier to take your vitamins. If there are days you cant stomach it, don’t worry.
  • Take your folic acid daily even when you don’t take your prenatal.
  • Acupressure “sea sickness” wristbands are helpful for some women.

Food Choices

  • Choose easily digested foods – baked potatoes, mashed yams, homemade gravy, stewed fruits, watery fruits, crackers, etc
  • Avoid cooking spicy or greasy foods at home
  • If you are craving greasy foods, have a few plain potato or rice chips
  • Hot women – put grapes in the freezer to snack on
  • Cold women – drink ginger teas, eat candied ginger
  • EmergenC packets also contain electrolytes and can help rehydrate if you have been vomiting.  Drink 1-2 per day as needed.
  • Soups, porridges, and stews provide healthy  liquids and nutrients.
Food Ideas To Relieve nausea
Ø    Salty Ø    Chips, Spelt Pretzels, Tamari Almonds
Ø    Tart / Sweet Ø    Pickles, Organic Lemonade, Kombucha
Ø    Earthy Ø    Brown Rice, Mushroom Soup, Almond Butter
Ø    Crunchy Ø    Celery Sticks, Apple Slices, Nuts
Ø    Bland Ø    Mashed Potatoes, Broths
Ø    Soft Ø    Bread, Rice Noodles
Ø    Sweet Ø    Homemade Muffins, Cereal with Honey
Ø    Fruity Ø    100% Juice Popsicles, Watermelon
Ø    Liquid Ø    Juice, Seltzer, Ginger Ale
Ø    Dry Ø    Rice Crackers, Saltines, Rice Cakes


  • Dehydration will make you feel worse!
  • Plain water can make some women feel worse. Try drinking lemon water, or lemon water with a little maple syrup.
  • Drink in small sips.
  • Avoid drinking before, during and after meals.

Smells can be very nauseating for a pregnant woman. A good tip is keeping a piece of fresh lemon peel or ginger root on a hankie, and sniff it when feeling nausea. Don’t use synthetic scents as these often make it worse.

What if you can’t keep anything down?

Hyperemesis Gravidarum affects 1% of pregnant women per year. Lack of food, fluids and nutrients can be harmful to mom and baby. Severe cases of dehydration require IV fluids and nutrient supplementation from a hospital. Seek medical attention if you have frequent vomiting and infrequent urination or dark yellow urine. Early diagnosis and treatment is best, so don’t try and “be brave!”

Acupuncture, B6, ginger capsules, and homeopathy can treat mild to moderate cases of nausea and vomiting. Use 50 mg of B6 twice daily with food. Severe Nausea may need a prescription medication called Diclectan.

Summary: Congratulations on being pregnant! For this first trimester 3 keys are:

1.     Rest Rest Rest Rest

2.     Eat frequent small amounts – every 2 hours is a must! Remember, eating might not help but Not eating will make you feel worse

3.     Follow your body’s cravings, trying to stick to wholesome home cooked versions of the more junky cravings. And. Don’t forget to sip lots of water!


Weight Loss and Other Mysteries

Weight loss is and will always be immensely complicated, full of chutes and ladders of self esteem, deprival mentality binging, and whirlpools of addiction. Still, there is a forest beyond the trees. Or, a Candyland amidst the candy as the case may be.

Successful weight loss has 4 steps: detoxification, cortisol balancing, optimizing diet and exercise. Detoxification is the new key step to integrate – at the beginning of the weight loss process. Evidence is mounting that our body uses our fat cells and between-cell fluids to store toxins that it is not able to metabolize effectively. Some Persistent Organic Pollutants (environmental toxins) have even been suggested to be “obesogens” contributing to further weight gain. 1 . When we exercise or reduce caloric intake to facilitate fat burning, the matrix between our fat cells can be so thick with unprocessed environmental and metabolic toxins that the body preferentially burns muscle to get the fuel it needs! Therefore, Step 1 must be to detoxify. Our body has 3 primary routes of detoxification: bowels, kidney and liver. All three will eventually need some fine tuning, and the order of tonification depends on your signs and symptoms, as well as your medications and general vitality.

Step 2: Optimizing Diet. Its so hard to eat well consistently. It is even harder if food is one of your chosen drugs, and you are addicted. Weight loss would be so easy if everyone was willing to go gluten and dairy free! In my experience if you have a 65%  whole foods diet, then the remaining 35% can be whatever you want.  To figure out how to shift your eating with an approach that will work for you in the long term there are many resources – The Glycemic Diet and Eating Right for Your Blood Type both explain more about the underlying principals of nutrition. Weight Watchers also works for a reason – being accountable for what you are eating and restricting some foods to moderate amounts *will* help you lose weight. What does “whole food” mean to me? 65% of your diet will be cooked grains, steamed or sauteed vegetables, organic fruits and juices, tofu, beans, eggs, wild fish, coconut milk, olive oil, butter, nuts and seeds. The remaining 35% can then be everything else – beef, bread, cheese, bacon, alcohol, etc. What does 35% mean for real? 2.45 days a week you can eat whatever you want, the remaining days are pretty basic, healthy, and “granola” food choices IF you actually want to lose weight.

Stress Management aka Cortisol Regulation is the golden child of any weight loss program. Several books have been written in the past 10 years outlining the connections between stress, hormones and weight gain. I like cracking The Metabolic Code by James LaValle R.Ph, C.C.N., ND. The bottom line is this – when you are stressed out, your blood cortisol levels increase. Just in case you are running from a rabid dog and need to climb a tree your body makes sure (via increased cortisol) you have lots of sugar available in your blood for extra energy. However, if you aren’t in fact running, and don’t need to extra sugar, your body turns that blood sugar into belly fat. Therefore, its important with all weight loss programs to address stress at some point to treat the biochemical imbalances leading to increased weight. There are a few herbs and vitamins that specifically rebalance cortisol levels, and reteach the body how to respond appropriately to the every days stress of life.

Finally, exercise and an active lifestyle. Getting the blood pumping and muscles moving mobilizes fat toxins into the bloodstream, and serves as an excellent antidote to daily stress. Check! I also find that getting ones body moving in whatever form works for you is invaluable to setting the positive cycle of weight loss in motion. The positive cycle is this: eat a good meal –> feel good about yourself –> go for a walk/to the gym/to yoga –> feel sexier–> feel motivated and excited about life –> make a good food choice. The cycle keeps going so that sooner than you expect it, you start to feel the benefits in the way your clothes fit which makes the supplements and brown rice and kale suddenly get much more appealing!

There is no one quick fix, no one diet or pill or product or form of exercise that will resonate for everyone. The structure is fluid and fundamental – the individual components are designed to be strategically tailored to fit your life and style. I also think  its worth asking yourself – do you Really want to lose weight for You? Or, are you holding your Self up against an ideal that you actually don’t want to attain? Personal honesty will take you further than anything else. Allow yourself the option of total success if you truly want to revolutionize your self image. And, weight loss takes time. It is only reasonable to lose 10% of your total weight in any given period of weight loss. So, if you are 160lbs, losing more than 16 pounds is more than your psyche will be able to maintain. Therefore, when you reach your new goal weight (144) you will need to start over and reassess where you are, and where you want to be before another 14 pounds is sustainably lost.

Every Body is Beautiful.

1. Lim, JS, et al. Inverse association between long term weight change and serum concentrations of persistent organic pollutants. Int J Obes (Lond) 2010 Sept 7 [EPub head of print.]


Women Over 30 -The New Eating Disorder

Eating Disorders – just as prevalent in women over 35 as they are in teens. The thirties are a time of life when, like for teenagers, life can seem extremely stressful and out of control. This is the prime ground to feed a renewed, or a new eating disorder. Family, Career, Finances, Fertility – Life can become overwhelming, and food is one thing we have been taught we can control (or not.) Recovery from binge eating, purging, calorie deprivation and/or exercise bulemia  is possible.

As a ND, lifestyle counseling and stress management are always important components of treatment for eating disorders. Giving up “dieting” and re-learning how to eat for your body type is a cornerstone. Every woman will have a different story, and unique circumstances. This is where Naturopathic Medicine shines, as Naturopathic Doctors are trained to listen, and help you come to your own solutions for regaining a sense of center amidst the uncertanties of life. Often minerals, nutrient rich foods, herbs and homeopathics are used to to restore hormonal and digestive health and emotional wellness. Psychotherapy is also needed to unpack and address childhood issues that may have led to the original eating disorder.



The National Eating Disorder Information Center is a great resource for all people affected by disordered relationships to food. Their Eating Disorder Self Checklist is an interesting and objective way to gauge your own relationship to food.