Principles for Healthy Digestion
- Chew your food thoroughly; digestion begins in the mouth where enzymes are released through chewing and saliva.
- Try a food rotation/elimination diet where you eliminate a highly allergic or difficult and congesting food like dairy, wheat, eggs, nuts, soy, corn, etc. You must allow 72 hours of each food to be eliminated then re-introduced. Another option is eating a clean diet for 30 days avoiding these foods then re-introducing. IBS consider FODMAPS diet. Also consider food allergy and sensitivity testing.
- Eat an alkaline diet. Foods high in acid such as sugar, dairy, breads and other refined foods and meats are difficult to digest-eat a mostly plant based but not raw diet.
- Eat foods easy to digest such as cooked fruits, vegetables, soups, rice and other whole (non-glutenous) grains, fish and poultry.
- Use natural antimicrobials in cooking to reduce bad gut bacteria and pathogens; oregano, ginger, garlic, sage, thyme, rosemary, and use fermented foods such as unsweetened kefir, miso or occasional plain yogurt, sauerkraut, and probiotics (good bacteria such as fermented miso, yogurt, sauerkraut) and pre-biotics (dandelion greens, asparagus, leek, garlic, onion, chicory, yams) to replenish good gut bacteria.
- Eat and cook with foods to stimulate and warm digestion such as bitter foods; turmeric, ginger, dandelion greens, arugula, aloe, herbal bitters. Herbal bitters stimulate the digestive process and have been used for hundreds of years. Also consider HCI and Digestive Enzymes. If your system is “overactive” use the right nutrients to slow things down.
- Understand your own energy- is your system too “hot” or “cold”? If you have a lot of digestive heat, eating raw foods can be helpful. If your system is “cold” eat warm and cooked foods.
- Repair and soothe mucosal lining of the stomach with slippery elm, licorice root, aloe leaf juice, calendula (aloe is naturally a slight laxative).
- Eat to nourish the brain gut connection, herbs which are calming for brain gut connection include chamomile, hops, valerian, lemon balm, milky oat.
- Engage in a mind body practice or daily relaxation
- Take a day such as a Sunday to rest digestion eating broths, fresh juices, soups and steamed vegetables
- Eat 3 meals a day, or 4 small meals following the balanced food guide in cookbook (no more than 20% protein a day, 60% plants and complex carbohydrates and 20% or more good sources of fat). Do not miss meals. Eat 10-12 servings of vegetables and fruit a day. Try to eat dinner before 7 pm and give your body at least 12 hours to rest digestion.
- Eat a low-glycemic Mediterranean type diet. Eliminate all processed carbohydrates and sugars, and reduce alcohol. Review my meal plan! Find a diet you can live with.
- Consider a nutrient based cleanse diet with liver/gallbladder support, antioxidants vitamins and minerals to help the body convert toxins and make them water-soluble and eliminate them.
- Optimize gut health, eat an alkaline plant-based diet, use digestive support such as enzymes, and probiotics to help digestion and elimination.
- Eat when you are hungry and stop before you are completely full. Eat a little less than you need. Many of my clients tell me they have no idea what this means. Mindful eating is a guiding principle to optimal metabolism. Never eat angry or stressed.
- Address stress and sleep. Studies show if you are stressed and not sleeping you will not be able to lose weight. Stress and sleep support are different for individuals based on overall composition, age, sex, stressors and hormones.
- Address hormonal imbalances. Many hormonal imbalances underlie difficulty-losing weight. Complete my hormonal health assessment to identify and correct imbalances. (Estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, thyroid, dhea and cortisol are all examples of hormones which can be out of balance). Cortisol and thyroid are the biggest blockades to successful weight loss. These can naturopathically be restored.
- Address inflammation-underlying inflammation can interfere with weight loss. Inflammation can exist anywhere in the body.
- Stay active. Find an optimal exercise plan, which works for your lifestyle. It need not be excessive to achieve your weight loss goals. And you want to be taking several thousand steps a day. A fit bit or app can help you track your steps.
- Weight loss apps. Studies show these apps don’t help us achieve long-term success with change of lifestyle. We do know it takes at least 40 days to change a habit. Making optimal changes for 40 days can help you with long-term success.
Naturopathy for Mental Health The same naturopathic model applies to optimizing mental health as it does to hormones, digestion, and immune health. Ultimately a holistic paradigm must underly any healing plan. We integrate the four steps of the naturopathic model; 1. Remove the offenders- toxins, brain allergies, hormonal imbalance, stress, sleep issues, gut issue (candida) 2. Repair damage-a healing diet, the nutritional cleanse, also consider nutrient depletions 3. Replace missing nutrients-nutrients which support brain/mood health include antioxidants, amino acids, omega 3 fatty acids, herbal nervines and many others. Take only what your body needs. 4. Reestablish flora-this includes both prebiotics and probiotics. The digestive system is the “second brain”. A customized plan must be developed based on you specific needs. Often there are underlying imbalances such as nutrient deficiencies, food sensitivities, toxic overload, and hormonal imbalances which contribute to cognitive and mood issues. The belief is nourishing the brain back to balance will improve mental health. Lifestyle factors such as stress and sleep are important too. Upcoming seminar September 27th Main Line School Night. All clients and seminar attendees can receive my support guide for naturopathic approaches for emotional health.
Nutritional Detoxification is a core principle of naturopathy. Early naturopaths recognized strengthening digestion as the basis for optimal health. Additionally, clean and healthy blood is also an essential principle for optimal health. The way that both digestion can be strengthened and the blood can be cleansed is through naturopathic detoxification. Early Naturopaths believed the cause of disease comes from violating natures laws which lowers vitality, creates abnormal composition of blood, and accumulation of waste. Furthermore, healing would include optimal digestion and elimination, stronger vital force and healthy blood and every disease arrises from internal causes and is accompanied by a deficiency of blood, tissues, and mineral elements. And disease is also caused by accumulation of waster. Nature cure philosophy suggests bacteria will only occur under these morbid pathogenic conditions. Learning the basic principles of Nutritional Cleansing can offer you a foundation to build your personal optimal food plan. It is beneficial for allergies digestive health, immunity, hormonal balance and emotional well-being. Many clients loose weight. Options are available for 14, 21 and 30 day programs.
I see great value in both West Medical Practices and Traditional Naturopathy. There are benefits and negative aspects to each. My area of expertise is Naturopathy so I will speak to that first. Naturopathy has the advantage of seeking to strengthen one’s health naturally through food, nutrients, herbs, homeopathy, and mind/body practices. This can have a lasting impact upon one’s overall vitality, not just benefit a particular health challenge. Thus if you are seeking my services to balance hormones and decrease stress, it may have an additive effect towards digestion and immunity. The downside I see with Naturopathic practices is that often it takes time. While gentle it does not always work in a health crises. For example you have a sinus infection and you want to utilize Naturopathy. You may perhaps be able to turn the infection around but sometimes antibiotics will work quicker, though this is not a guarantee either! A Naturopathic plan may be able to help you prevent other infections and understand the cause, and even strengthen your immune system. Additionally your Naturopathic Practitioner often will spend an hour with you.
Western medicine on the other hand has made incredible strides over the years. There is no replacement for a skilled surgeon as well as a seasoned internist. I always say I will outrun the bus however if I get run over I must have a doctor put me back together again. And I can use homeopathy to facilitate the healing process, I see the value of a seasoned internist in diagnostic abilities. One must fully understand their health issue in order to assess what would be the best treatment. Unfortunately, I think we much too heavily rely on medication to fix everything, and perhaps we do not take enough responsibility for traveling a preventive path. Ultimately it is key to find a doctor who will support you seeking a more natural approach, and one that supports prevention of disease. Unfortunately not all doctors understand what Naturopathy is, or have even taken a nutrition class, so they have little idea how these approaches might improve our health. But sometimes they do have knowledge regarding contra-indications. And I do believe doctors are becoming more and more knowledgeable about these complementary approaches. It is essential to seek a physician who respects your desire to improve your health. And has the time available to engage in a discussion regarding a variety of approaches to support your health.
Naturopathy specifically, the focus of my practice, is based on living in accordance with the laws of nature. The most important principles include the healing power of nature, identifying and treating the cause, first do no harm, the physician is teacher, and prevention. Early naturopaths utilized cleansing and alkalizing diets and natural elements to support the organs and systems of the body. The more modern naturopath has access to many more prepared nutrients, herbs, and homeopathic products. One of the nature laws that the early naturopaths utilized included something known as the “rest cure”. Often, when a person was challenged by a health issue or a period of stress the cure was to rest until the illness passed. Today, given as more than 70 million people have sleep disorders, this cure is not easily employable.
Many of my clients experience sleep issues related to stress, hormonal imbalance, chronic fatigue, toxic overload, compromised immunity, or even digestive issues. In this blog, I will include a natural tool kit for sleep support. While all of my suggestions below employ the naturopathic model, most important is to remove the issue which causes you to have sleep issues. This is different for everyone. Here is my naturopathic tool-kit.
- Engage in healthy sleep hygiene; exercise regularly, avoid caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, green tea/green tea supplements. Studies show that 7- 8 hours ideal, others range from 6-9 hours. The key is getting to bed without sleep aides and waking without an alarm, dream recall and feeling restored when you awake. Understanding your own circadian rhythm or biological clock is important, so you know ideal times for your body to sleep and awake. (Light therapy such as full spectrum lighting can help regulate the circadian rhythm) As can melatonin(see below)
- Understand causes of sleep disturbance; hormonal imbalances, anxiety, traveling, partner snoring, lack of sleep, etc. This is essential.
- Understand Sleep Cycles; There are 3-6 sleep cycles, each lasting 1-2 hours, the first few are light , the next few deeper, and the last is the stage we dream and R.E.M (rapid eye movements), the brain picks up energy and dreams, and restores the mind and body. This deepest phase of sleep is essential for health and healing. R.E.M sleep is most important for preventive health. Sleep medications can prevent achieving deep restorative cycles.
- Minerals such as calcium, magnesium and vitamin C can have a relaxing and calming effect on the body. Generally these supplements are taken throughout the day. Each person’s requirements can be different depending upon age, medical conditions, and health issues.
- Melatonin naturally occurs in the body, produced by pineal gland and can be referred to as a ”hormone of darkness”, more occurs during darkness. Melatonin helps induce and regulate sleep, numerous studies suggest its benefits and safety, even for children, and lack of side effects. Melatonin helps re-set biological clock, and helpful for irregular sleep-wake patterns.
7. B vitamins- can be used, especially B3, B6, B12 to help improve dream recall and wake rhythm cycle. Especially useful with depression anxiety.
d. herbs-chamomile, passion flower, valerian, milky oat seed, and skullcap-very tolerable nice combination for nourishing the nervous system-or passion valerian and skullcap You can buy herbal tinctures or homeopathic products with these ingredients. These herbs can also be found in tea form and are considered nervines. And can gently nourish the body back to balance. (Nervous system support).
8. Mind-Body Practices- Invoking the relaxation response
- Breathing techniques-specially the complete yogic breath, and alternate nostril breathing.
- Guided and Progressive Relaxation- practicing sleep and rests poses, napping is good!
- Sleep Positions and Practicing restful poses (shavasana)
- Yin/Restorative Yoga-especially the kidney meridian poses
- Lavender essential oil can be calming and relaxing. Oil can be out on pillow or in a bath
Join me for a personal naturopathic plan to restore sleep!
As a society we have not overcome the the challenge of maintaining a healthy weight. In fact, this issue is getting worse. Obesity is as high as 35% in some areas of the country, with mid-life obesity rates being as high as 46%. In all, more than 20% of people are overweight. Clearly obesity is a factor that contributes to disease, and as a society, we continue to battle this bulge. 45 million people diet every year, and we spend 33 million dollars on weight loss products. Many of us are repeating this unsuccessful process of losing weight year in and year out.
I believe, as I do with any other health challenge, that the only way to beat this challenge is traveling a path of prevention. This means finding a program and way of living that we can sustain, and that can also sustain our health and well-being. This can happen beginning with some type of nutritional cleanse, eating real foods grown from the earth (especially plant foods), not trying to trick our metabolism with foolish fads, and offering our body extra nutrients. But most importantly, NOT being on some type of diet or deprivation program. Being on a program that is based on nourishment and healthy plant foods is what is going to help solve our issues with weight. In addition to things that we must change and add into our diets, there must also be things that are removed or minimized, such as alcohol, sugar, sugar substitutes, and grains. Stress is also a factor in maintaining a healthy weight. Stress contributes to our sleeping habits, and if we are not sleeping, our metabolism won’t be able to be regulated normally. A healthy mind plays a huge role in a healthy body.
A great way to reset your metabolism and get to your own healthy weight is my Nutritional Cleanse Program. Hundreds have successfully completed this program and reset the tone for healthy, sustainable living. My cleanse program comes with a nutritional cleanse guide and healthy living cookbook. Contact me today to hit the reset button and focus on health and healing.
MY TOP 10 WEIGHT LOSS TIPS
1. Eat mindfully. Eat when your hungry, stop when your full.
2. Know the right balance to eat of fats, protein, carbohydrates (it’s in the my cookbook).
3. Eat mostly plant foods.
4. Eat super foods (nuts, seeds, ginger, garlic, herbs, spices, super greens, fiber).
5. Include some vitamins based on your current needs
6. Optimize digestion and metabolism (part of my nutritional cleanse, remove allergic inflammatory foods).
7. Offer your body days to rest digestion, fast or cleanse
8. Stay optimistic, take 1 day at a time. Know some days will be better than others.
9. Make sure you are sleeping well.
10. Exercise as much as possible. Engage is some form of mind body practices to keep the stress response at a minimum.