Spring

Seasonal Cleansing for Good Health

Cleansing and detoxing is critical for good health. In a perfect world, your body would be able to detoxify naturally, without any help. It has programmed ways of getting rid of chemicals and toxins, but unfortunately, those channels don't always work properly for various reasons. Those with compromised immune systems, chronic stress, autoimmune conditions and impaired detoxification pathways have a more difficult time detoxing. With a change of diet and lifestyle, you can reduce the body burden, clearing a path for toxins to be safely eliminated from the body. Toxins can come from the foods we eat, pans we cook on, skin care and makeup products we use and the water we drink. For this reason, I find seasonal cleansing to be particularly beneficial. This type of “tune up” allows for the body to clean itself up, much like emptying a garbage can.

The body gets rid of substances that present no benefit. Many of those substances can actually be harmful. The end goal is the same- to reduce inflammation and allow a clear pathway for detoxification.

Here are a few reasons to consider a cleanse or detox this season:

1.       Cleansing can eliminate many different toxins from your system. A cleanse can be done a few times a year to allow your body to function and feel better. During a cleanse, refined sugars, processed foods, commercially raised meats, and most grains are eliminated. Certain foods, such as lots of organic vegetables and plant based proteins are strongly encouraged. The purpose for this is to basically reduce inflammation and lighten the toxic load on the body, so fewer toxins have to be processed. While it is not necessarily meant for weight loss, most individuals do end up losing some weight when cleansing.

2.       Detoxing may include the use of an infrared saunas. Saunas heat your body to temperatures above the norm and induce sweating. The body has developed several mechanisms for purging toxins, though not all are as effective as needed. Sweating can be wonderful for the detox process. Use an infrared sauna to draw out toxins found deeper under the outer layer of skin. Start off slow, about 5 minutes, and adjust the time accordingly with more use. Showering immediately after is very important as it cleans the skin’s surface and prevents the toxins that were just released from being reabsorbed back into the skin.

3.       Specific supplementation can be an integral part of a healthy cleanse or detox protocol. Detox plans combine strategic food combining along with certain supplements. These supplements will build a nutritional profile that can increase antioxidants such as glutathione, your body’s most important antioxidant that contributes to detoxification.

4.       You may or may not feel better right away. Toxins are a diverse group of substances that interact with each individual differently. Some substances are not as easy to get rid of, and instead, are stored in your fat tissue. A detox plan, combined with weight loss, might include the risk of these toxins being released into the body again while other treatments draw those toxins out. The re-release of these toxins can actually increase symptoms of toxic overload as your body then tries to eliminate them again.  Sometimes you can feel worse before feeling better. Other times you can feel great right from the start. Each person is unique, so a cleanse tailored to your individual needs is best.


Vegetables

Why You Should Always Eat Your Veggies

Cruciferous vegetables have some amazing qualities that can contribute to your ultimate health. Cruciferous is the word used to describe vegetables that are related to the cabbage family.
They are loaded with soluble fiber, vitamin C, several minerals and phytochemicals. In addition to vitamins K, A and C, they also contain higher amounts of folic acid, when compared to many other classes of vegetables.

The cabbage family includes:
Broccoli
Cauliflower
Bok choy
Kohlrabi
Arugula
Brussels sprouts
Mustard greens
Collard Greens
Kale
Choy sum
Turnip root
Rutabaga
Mizuna
Chinese cabbage
Napa cabbage
Komatsuna

Cruciferous vegetables are nutrient dense foods, but some are higher in certain minerals and vitamins than others. But all cruciferous vegetables share similar health benefits. As with many leafy green veggies, cruciferous vegetables have alkalizing effects on the body. These veggies make it difficult for inflammation to thrive in the body, thus, reducing the risk and symptoms associated with chronic diseases and certain types of cancer.

There are many different ways that toxins can enter the body and be stored. Because of this, the body had to evolve to develop ways to rid it of these dangerous chemicals. Cruciferous veggies play a supportive role in that they have nutrients that act as regulators of detoxification. This allows the body to get rid of toxins in a balanced manner, not overcommitting limited resources while ignoring the dangers of another toxin.

For both women and men, cruciferous veggies promote hormonal balance, especially for estrogen. The key is because of the chemical compound called indole-3-carbinol. This compound is able to alter estrogen metabolism, aiding in the balance of estrogens while hindering abnormal cell growths that lead to cancer.

The detoxification process is so very important because of our consumption of certain processed foods and also our exposure to the plastic bottles that we drink from. Plastics, especially softer plastics, have been shown to contain chemicals that mimic the body’s natural hormone process, which can lead to a dangerous overload of estrogens in the body. These overloads, without proper detoxification, have been a major concern and risk factor for both breast and prostate cancers.

Even though consuming these “super veggies” is wonderful, some research does show that overloading on cruciferous vegetables can actually hinder thyroid function for some individuals. So, of course, as with everything, balance is key and too much of one thing can be, well, too much. Including a variety of colorful vegetables in your daily diet is your best bet for better health.


Woman drinking water

Drink Water - Why It's Great for Your Body

Sean E. Heerey ND, MA, CCC/SLP

Our bodies need water! When you are really thirsty the beverage that tastes the best is water. Dehydration is a common condition that is easily overlooked as something that is contributing to disease and a lack of overall wellness.

Research has shown that proper hydration leads to increased athletic performance and overall improvements in mood. Water can be a great tool to help combat food cravings and weight gain. Frequently, we think we are hungry, when in fact we are actually thirsty. Try drinking a pint of water the next time you are hungry. Staying hydrated can suppress appetite and assist with weight loss.

Another study found that the majority of people who increased their consumption of water by 1 percent per day reduced their total daily caloric intake as well as their consumption of saturated fat, sugar, sodium and cholesterol. Furthermore, those who increased their consumption of water by one, two or three cups daily decreased their total energy intake by 68 to 205 calories daily and their sodium intake by 78 to 235 milligrams. Additionally, they also consumed 5 grams to almost 18 grams less sugar daily.

If you think drinking diet-beverages is helpful, then please think again. The same researcher in a different study found that consumers of diet beverages may compensate for the absence of calories in their drinks by snacking on extra food that is laden with sugar, sodium, fat and cholesterol.
If you don’t like the taste of water then try this:

  • Squeeze fresh lime, lemon or orange juice. In addition to the fresh flavor there is a great citrus aroma.
  • Drink non-caffeinated herbal teas, hot or iced. There are many herbal tea blends on the market. Go for a blend that has teas and herbs as its main ingredients. Cold infusions are delicious too. A few tablespoons of hibiscus leaves (flor de Jamaica) in a large mason jar makes a tea that is deep red in color and tastes very refreshing.
  • Infuse your water with fruits, vegetables and herbs, e.g., mint and cucumber, thyme and lemon, basil and orange. Infuse water at room temperature for 2 hours. Refrigerate after that to prevent bacterial growth.

Remember, when you are severely dehydrated, make sure to add electrolytes to your water as water alone will not adequately rehydrate you. A pinch of salt or baking soda to water can help raise your electrolyte levels to healthy levels.


Yeast under microscope

Yeast Overgrowth: The Hidden Variable

Candida is a very common yeast found in the mucous membranes of the intestines, mouth and genitourinary system. Everyone has this type of yeast in and on their body. You wouldn't generally know it’s there when it is balanced, as it is benign. The issue arises when this yeast overgrows and creates problems in the gut and the immune system. This triggers an imbalance in beneficial bacteria and the not so good bacteria. Coincidentally, that's when trouble begins to brew.

There are several reasons this occurs:

Use and overuse of antibiotics - Even though antibiotics are given to fight infections and kill bacteria, they also kill the beneficial bacteria you have that keep your immune system in check. This bacteria aids in the absorption of nutrients and keeps you healthy. When beneficial microbes diminish, the overgrowth of yeast can wreak havoc on your health.

Corticosteroids - As mentioned, you have beneficial bacteria within your mucous membranes, especially your mouth. So imagine having asthma and using your oral steroid inhaler. This can contribute to overgrowth of yeast in the mouth, known as thrush.  Without proper care, this can also lead to candida overgrowth, not only in your mouth, but systemically as well.

Poor diet and high stress levels - A diet full of refined carbohydrates, sugars, sweet beverages and highly acidic foods are a breeding ground for yeast. They feed on sugar and grow exponentially. Couple this with high stress levels, which deplete minerals, B vitamins and causes digestive disturbances, which could jeopardize your digestive health.

Compromised immune system - We would like think that everyone’s immune system is functioning at optimal levels, but sometimes that just isn't so. Many individuals have a weakened immune system due to chronic long-term illness, viruses, cancer treatments such as chemotherapy or radiation and autoimmune diseases. These disorders put you at a much higher risk for yeast overgrowth. Therefore, it's critical that these be addressed and an alkaline diet be taken into serious consideration so as to not fall ill.

Common symptoms caused by candida overgrowth include:

Brain fog
Joint pain
Gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhea
Skin rashes
Nail infections
Cravings for sugary foods
Fatigue
Mood swings
Chronic sinusitis or post-nasal drip
Food sensitivities
Thrush (white coating on tongue)
Vaginal yeast infections

Although yeast overgrowth can cause serious issues, it can often be treated naturally, through diet, lifestyle, herbs and other specialized supplementation. Something to remember is that this condition does not happen overnight. It grows steadily over time and isn’t something that can be remedied quickly. Approaching it from the root cause allows for a healthier and stronger recovery.


Woman drinking glass of water

Chromium-6 in Drinking Water

Recently, reports have been surfacing about a potential carcinogen contaminating public water supplies all over the country. This contaminant was the focal point for the "Erin Brockovich" movie and the true story behind the movie, adding to the public interest of the report. The term for the "Erin Brockovich" contaminant is Chromium-6 (also known as hexavalent chromium) and there is a lot more to learn about this particular chemical.

Chromium-6 is a man-made chemical that is result of industrial processees. Chromium-6 is a known carcinogen, adding to the potential concern about exposure through the public water supply. This toxic compound can be ingested, inhaled or absorbed through the skin; all of which can produce toxic effects.

There is also another naturally existing version of chromium called Chromium-3. This version is used by the body to process certain kinds of food and is involved with blood sugar metabolism. Consumption of chromium-3 should be balanced, because too much can be unhealthy.

There are two different types of chromium toxicity, acute and long-term exposure. Acute exposure includes symptoms such as diarrhea, nausea, vertigo, and ultimately leading up to severe multi-organ failure. Acute exposure will most likely result from oral intake.

Long-term exposure is usually a small amount of chromium-6 entering the body in multiple incidences over a sustained period of time. Symptoms include general irritation to tissue that has come in contact with it, from skin lesions to lung cancer.

Treatments for elevated levels of chromium-6 do exist, but most people do not realize they have had toxic exposure, as was the case in Hinkley, California shown in the movie. Vitamin c is known to have a positive impact on detoxifying our bodies from chromium toxicity. In addition, IV therapy, herbs and certain nutrients also aid in the detoxification of these poisonous metals.

The best possible way to treat chromium toxicity is to know if your environment has it. That way you could better identify where your exposure is coming from. Environmental Working Group's interactive map at http://www.ewg.org/interactive-maps/2016-chromium6-lower-48.php shows areas all over the United States that have been tested positive for chromium-6.

Finding a healthcare practitioner that specializes in heavy metal toxicity is the first step. This will help you navigate through the detoxification process safely.


Raspberry smoothie bowl

Dr. Ingels Raspberry Detox Smoothie Bowl

Ingredients

2 scoops IFH Detox Support Plus powder, Vanilla
10 ounces of filtered water
8 ounces of ice
1/2 cup organic raspberries, fresh or frozen
2 teaspoons raw, organic pumpkin seeds, for garnish
2 teaspoons organic chia seeds, for garnish
5-6 organic raspberries, for garnish
2 teaspoons goji berries, organic, for garnish
2 teaspoons raw, organic sunflower seeds, for garnish

Directions

In a Vitamix or similar type blender, add water, detox powder, ice and 1/2 cup raspberries. Blend on high for 1-2 minutes or until smooth. Transfer blended contents into a medium size bowl and garnish with rows of goji berries, seeds and raspberries. Serve and enjoy!

Makes 1 serving.


Sauna interior

Detoxing with Infrared Saunas

Toxins are everywhere. They are in the water we drink, the air we breathe, the fabric and products we wear on our skin and the food we eat. Over time, even the smallest amounts can build up, hindering the body’s natural detoxification process.

When detoxification pathways are impaired, there can be negative impacts on the immune system, skin, and channels of elimination.

Saunas have been around for many years. The process of heating your body’s temperature enhances metabolism and also creates a calorie burn, similar to exercise. Not only that, but bacteria and viruses do not do well in the heat so, “sweating it out” if you are sick can be beneficial to your health.

The process of sweating allows our body to detoxify naturally. When your internal temperature rises, this stimulates your sweat glands so you perspire.

Exercise, steam saunas and infrared saunas promote a great deal of sweating. However, infrared saunas are far superior than traditional steam saunas.

Infrared saunas penetrate further into the skin’s layers and facilitate detoxification at a much deeper level. It can aid in eliminating a significant amount of environmental toxins and heavy metals, including mercury, arsenic and cadmium.

Other benefits of Infrared sauna include:

Weight & body fat reduction

Increased blood circulation

Easing chronic pain

Improved sleep quality

Alleviating joint stiffness

Aiding in recovery of endurance exercise

Minimizing fatigue

A few things to consider while adding sauna therapy into your regimen:

Drink plenty of fluids and be sure to add minerals to your water. You will need these as you will sweat them out. You may also need to add sea salt to your foods, depending on your individual health condition.

Start off with 5-10 minutes of sauna therapy per session and work your way up until you reach no more than 30 minutes. It may take some time for your body to adjust to the heat.

Focus on foods that are alkalizing. When your body is alkalized, it is able to detoxify much more efficiently.

Be sure to get plenty of rest. Allow your body to recuperate. Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep a night.

Saunas are part of an integrative protocol for better health. Meditation, exercise and positive emotional well-being will only maximize the benefits you get from using infrared saunas.


Woman with the flu

Beat Colds, Flus & Inflammation with this Simple Remedy

Naturopathic medicine focuses on treating the body and person as a whole, and finding underlying causes of diseases and disorders. In addition, prevention is also integrated into every protocol, as it is a major principle in naturopathy.

When illnesses such as the flu, a cold or upper respiratory infections strike, the symptoms may be a sign that viruses or bacteria have overrun the immune system and that it is not functioning properly.

Traditionally in western medicine, an antibiotic or antiviral can be administered and the idea is to kill the bacteria or suppress the virus. With a holistic approach, the focus is left on the body to stimulate an immune response strong enough to fight off the bacteria or virus on its own.

One way you can treat these illnesses is by using what is called the "wet sock treatment". This is a traditional and common treatment method used by many naturopathic physicians and natural health providers.

The treatment starts with soaking a pair of thin cotton socks in cold water. Wring out the cold socks thoroughly and then place the cold wet socks on your feet. Next, place another pair of thick wool socks over those. It is best to wear them for at least 8 hours, so I suggest doing this before bed to get the best clinical effect.

The idea of the "wet sock method" is to boost the body's defenses by increasing circulation and stimulating the immune system. This can be used to treat coughs, colds, flus and bronchial infections, but is especially effective for reducing fever.

This treatment isn't for everyone and should be done under a practitioner’s guidance. Those with a compromised immune system or specific illnesses should consult with their practitioner before beginning this treatment.

This is just one component of an immune boosting protocol. Additionally, herbs, homeopathy or vitamins, specific to your needs, are added to enhance the body’s defenses. If you suffer from chronic immune problems, please contact us or your local health provider to find the best strategies to help support your immune system and get you back on the road to good health.


Spring berry shake

Spring Berry Shake

1 Scoop i5™ Vanilla Delight Protein powder – from Xymogen
10 ounces of cold purified water
1/2 cup of Organic Berries of choice(frozen or fresh)( blueberries, blackberries or strawberries)
1/3rd of an Organic Banana
1 handful of ice
1 teaspoon Organic Chia seeds

Directions

Add all ingredients into blender. Start blending at slow speed and gradually increase speed to high for 1-2 minutes. At this point you can stop blending and check the consistency of your shake. If it is just right, pour into a glass and enjoy. If it seems to thick, add small amounts of water until you reach the desired consistency. Pour and enjoy!
If you would like more information on how to purchase i5™ protein powder, please call our office at 203 254 9957.


Woman scratching rash on back

Eczema: More Than Just a Skin Condition

If you have ever had poison ivy then you understand how extremely itchy it can be. Now imagine having poison ivy all the time, for years on end. That would be extremely frustrating and also very painful. That's sort of what eczema feels like; endless poison ivy, only worse.

Eczema is an inflammatory condition of the skin, but that's only part of it. The other part involves the immune system.  With traditional medicine, eczema is treated with hydrocortisone or steroid cream, applied externally, which only provides temporary relief. Furthermore, it is basically a toxic bandaid.  In naturopathic medicine, however, we believe that the immune system is involved and is actually in "system overload" mode.  When eczema flares up, this may be a sign of an underlying condition that needs to be addressed immediately. This system overload often overrides the everyday functions of the immune system and requires a reset.

Eczema can occur at anytime throughout childhood and adult life. It can linger on and off for many years.

Some factors include:
Environmental & external irritants such as pets, fragrances, cleaning chemicals, detergents and pesticides.
Food allergies such as gluten, dairy, soy, yeast, corn, nuts and chocolate.
Poor diet: processed foods, refined carbohydrates and sugars.
Parasitic infections.
Autoimmune disorders such as, Celiac disease, Fibromyalgia & Lupus.

It is important that the underlying causes be addressed first, in order to effectively treat eczema. When I see patients for the first time, I perform the initial allergy assessment to determine the cause. Sometimes treatments can include elimination or detox diets, homeopathy, herbs and nutrients, and sublingual immunotherapy. These therapies have worked incredibly well in treating eczema. In addition, stress reduction, rest and movement are greatly encouraged and will be very beneficial in the healing process.