During the summertime, I catch myself thinking about my drinking days. I stopped drinking alcohol June 2018, but as it is a part of almost every event in modern life I continually have to revisit my reasons for stopping. As a young person I drank almost as much as my friends - I could never drink quite as much just due to my genetic makeup - but I tried! I drank at parties, on weekends, week nights. I enjoyed visiting the bars and going dancing while drinking. It was just a normal thing for me. Once I was in Naturopathic school, the drinking didn't end. It's funny/sad -- but in some parts us ND students were known around town for our heavy drinking! I rolled with it and continued drinking socially. It wasn't until I was living in Seattle that I realized (a) drinking feels awful for me and (b) it was not helping my mental health.
Fast forward to June 2018 - I was doing a cleanse/detox-type diet with my partner. We were both eating healthy foods, juicing and just "getting our health on". We stopped drinking and I cannot even describe the relief I felt! I wasn't waking up on Sundays hungover and massively depressed. Other improvements occurred: my skin cleared up, I lost weight, I gained time that wasn't spent nursing a hangover, I saved money and healed some of my relationship with myself.
I now wake up on Sundays feeling good - sometimes even early to exercise or just have a peaceful morning.
So now, let me share with you a few things I have learned about alcohol which might be helpful for you, in your journey:
If you are thinking about your relationship with alcohol and whether it's serving you, consider taking a break. If you have medically related questions about any of what I wrote above ask your GP or shoot me a message. I would love to hear from you!
I cannot count the number of times a new patient has told me either (a) they have never had blood work run or (b) it has been 10+ years since they last had blood work done. The reasons for the gaps are all over the map - they may not trust healthcare providers due to past experiences, they may not have had access due to financial reasons, they may have grown up in a family who avoided mainstream medicine. Whatever the reason is, I try to approach the issue gingerly. Many people I see have needle phobia or, as previously mentioned, had adverse or negative experiences with medicine in the past and I don't want to worsen that.
Running labs gives us a tremendously valuable peek inside of the body which can sometimes let us get on top of issues before they become worse. Sometimes when symptoms show up, as in the case of iron deficiency anemia for example, the condition is so severe it makes it more difficult to treat. As a bonus, when I run labs for my patients I have a different perspective on what "normal" is vs what the lab considers normal. In many cases, my "normal" might be much narrower than what the lab considers normal. This is extremely important when it comes to helping my patients reach optimal levels of health and well being.
I always emphasize the importance of data when it comes to seeing my patients - it makes it easier to determine what needs help and easier to track their progress. The easiest way to collect that data is through a blood draw. Keep in mind, there are some needle-free options for lab work, but most folks do require a poke here and there.
I recommend basic panels get drawn at least every 2 years. Is that too frequent? No, I don't believe so because our labs can change quickly depending on many factors including stress levels, exercises, what we're eating, age and stage, and more! When patients come to me - something has changed and labs are a great way to see what might be going on below the surface.
What are basic panels? In my practice, those panels include these:
If you'd like to learn more, send me an email or call to schedule a free 15 minute discovery call with me. I can't wait to talk with you! -Dr. Katie
When the temps start to rise, I get pretty thirsty. Here in Utah it's dry, it's hot and my skin and gut need more water! When I drink water, I want to get the most out of it - meaning I want to make sure I'm getting hydrated by adding electrolytes. I came up with a little recipe for a naturally hydrating beverage I want to share with you. Follow the recipe below (or improvise your own version and let me know if it's a tasty one!) and see if you get a bit more out of your water...
Naturopathic Electrolyte Drink ("NED")
Enjoy NED on a warm day especially after sweating, before or during a workout or whenever you're thirsty.
It's easy! I use a big mason jar to make my drink. Add in the filtered water, electrolyte drops (I use 2 droppers full- about 20 drops), stevia drops (about 20 drops, or to taste), lemon or lime juice.
Sometimes I add ice, sometimes I add sparkling water... experiment and see what you come up with!
The second in the series about what specialty tests offered in my practice is the TAP or Temporal Adrenal Profile from Diagnostechs.
The TAP test is a saliva test which measures free levels of the stress hormone cortisol over the course of one day. I typically run the test in patients who complain of fatigue and sleep issues, but often in patients who have immune problems, gut complaints and skin and hair issues. Healthy levels of cortisol play an important role in many different systems of the body.
Indications for ordering the TAP test include:
The previous list is not exhaustive, but does give you a peek into certain situations where the test might be ordered. Although there are multiple ways cortisol may be measured, the TAP is my favorite way.
Advantages of the TAP test:
If you'd like to learn more about the TAP test or you'd like to discuss ordering the test, schedule a visit with me!
Here are a few frequently asked questions for folks new to my practice.
If you need more information, please give my office a call, email or use my contact form.
A frequent conversation I have with my patients is why laboratory testing (of any kind) may be a good idea. I'm not one to order labs "just because". I think when I order a lab, I should have a pretty good reason and way to treat the patient based on the results.
One of the many specialty and functional medicine tests I offer is a stool test from Diagnostic Solutions Laboratory called the GI MAP (Gastrointestinal Microbial Assay Plus). This is a stool test (yes, it requires a poo sample!) uses cutting edge technology called PCR (polymerase chain reaction) which helps pick up tiny traces of gut bugs in the stool sample. GI MAP takes a look at what good bugs (normal bacteria), ok bugs, and not good bugs (bacteria, viruses, fungi, parasites, worms, etc) might be lurking in the gastrointestinal tract. The test also assesses for inflammation, immune health, and digestive function.
I will quite frequently find infections on the GI MAP that other tests missed. The test will also gives us a sense of the level of dysbiosis (a condition where typically normal bacteria in the gut appear in abnormally low or high numbers) -- which is extremely helpful when it comes to recovering from many chronic conditions.
I order this test for patients with digestive complaints, yes, but that's not all. Here's a short (but not exhaustive) list of patient conditions when I might order the GI MAP test:
If you have questions about whether the GI MAP is right for you, please reach out to me! I'd love to talk to you about your concerns.
I'm excited to announce that the first products in my line of supplements are due to arrive soon and I can't wait to share them with you!
The Gut Health Series 1-3-5 is a complete package, formulated to assist in many digestive complaints. Using each of the supplements separately is great, but together they are absolutely stellar.
I believe that all of your health and well-being starts in your gut. If you're not absorbing the good food you're feeding your body, what good is it? Using the Gut Health Series 1-3-5 can help you improve your digestive power and efficiency.
I've been recommending supplement combinations like these for most of my nearly 10 years in clinical practice. Now I'm proud to say I finally have formulations I love enough to call my own.
Absorb the nutrients you eat, heal your gut and find out how much better you can feel!
About the Products
G1 offers nutrients and herbs made to support the gut lining.
G3 is a full spectrum mixture of digestive enzymes made to help with complete digestion.
G5 is a 50 billion CFU probiotic formulated with fully researched strains and dosages.
A few years ago I wrote a blog post called "Your Solar Rockstar: Vitamin D3" and I think it's time to revisit it. Below are my current feelings on the importance of vitamin D for your health and vitality...
Vitamin D is one of the most important nutrients you may be lacking in right now. Vitamin D3 (the active form of vitamin D) is actually considered a hormone which is produced naturally in your body through a complex process. UV rays interact with cholesterol in your skin to produce a compound which is then activated further by the liver and the kidneys - and, voila! Active vitamin D3 is born. Dietary sources of actual vitamin D3 are scarce, so our body's own production of this vitamin/hormone are key! The unfortunate thing, however, is that there are many risk factors for being vitamin D3 deficient.
Risk factors for Vitamin D3 deficiency:
Do any of these risk factors apply to you?
If we are low in Vitamin D3, what are the risks? In severe deficiency, a condition called rickets in kids and osteomalacia in adults may develop. In both of these conditions, there may be seriously debilitating issues with bones and muscles. In less severe deficiencies, the effects are undoubtedly more frequent, far-reaching and, frankly, unrecognized.
Here are just a few conditions which are linked to Vitamin D3 status:
Here's a list of the best ways to improve your vitamin D3 status naturally:
In my practice most of my patients, when tested, come back with suboptimal vitamin D3 levels. What is optimal? I consider 60-80 ng/mL optimal - whereas many lab normal ranges are around 30-100 ng/mL. Many of my patients who were told they had "great" vitamin D3 levels were still at risk for some of the vitamin D3 deficiency-related diseases mentioned above.
If you're at all concerned about your Vitamin D3 level, talk to your healthcare provider about getting a blood test. The best way to avoid suboptimal vitamin D3 levels and the accompanying risks is to get tested.
If you have more questions, please reach out to me! I'd love to help you.
I was fortunate enough to get one of the Covid 19 vaccines just last week on Weds Jan 6. This vaccine is an mRNA vaccine - meaning it contains small amounts of genetic material which allows our own cells to make a harmless protein present on the outside of the virus we're fighting.
I'd like to tell you about my experience getting the vaccine and give you some additional info about the shot:
I am not a "pro-vaccine" or "anti-vaccine" person or physician. I am pro choosing what makes the most sense in each situation. For myself, it made the most sense for me to get a vaccination and for some people it doesn't make sense. Here are the reasons I was not worried and chose to opt for it: I have no history of allergies to vaccinations or any medications, I am overall healthy, I was feeling well on the day of the vaccination, and I have no desire to experience Covid-19 and its possible longterm side effect - Also, I don't want to spread it to my patients, family or friends.
Here are some things about the vaccine that you should know:
For More: For further & more detailed reading from a Naturopathic perspective on the vaccine, one of the great doctors in my field, Dr. Paul Herscu wrote this letter.
Well, it's finally here - Winter! We are just 3 days away from the Winter Solstice and I can't help but think about the delightful symbolism of light in the darkness up here in the northern hemisphere this time of year. The sun sets earlier and earlier, the sky seems darker each morning and I wonder "how much longer?" - the answer: 3 days! On the Winter Solstice the days will begin to get ever so slightly longer, bringing more light into these cold days.
There is something so refreshing and cleansing about the cold and I'm grateful to live in a place that does get pretty cold. There are many physical changes our bodies have to undergo to get used to colder, wetter, wintry weather and I'd like to give you a few of my "secrets" for getting more cold-weather hardy.