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.
I do my best to practice what I preach - that's why I take a whole bunch of supplements every morning! I believe taking supplements is a great way to fill in the gaps in our diets, defend our bodies from invaders like viruses and bacteria, improve our moods and digestion. Supplements aren't the end-all answer for every problem but they can truly do great things when they're a part of a great treatment plan.
I have been thinking about what my "desert island supplement" would be - that is, the one supplement I would grab having no other options... and I picked one! The supplement I'm thinking of is a superstar when it comes to the digestive system and getting nutrients into the body from the diet. This is also something I recommend frequently because it works, it's reasonably priced and the quality is great.
The supplement I'm talking about is Super Enzymes from Now! Supplements. This product contains not only a full spectrum of enzymes to help break down proteins, fats & carbohydrates -- but it also contains HCl or stomach acid.
These enzymes and acids are a potent combination which fight:
They also promote:
I typically recommend taking one capsule with each meal - start slowly and make sure you tolerate it well. This is a great product to take traveling or if you go out to eat - when you might be eating new or questionable foods.
Click on the link below to order Super Enzymes and try it today!
When I'm doing a cleanse/detox/change in my eating, I keep a little notes document on my phone where I write down the meals that I made which (a) meet the requirements of the program and (b) are tasty and (c) are convenient/easy enough to make.
I'd like to share some of those meals/snacks/etc with you now to help you on your journey. Feel free to come up with your own variations and tell me about it!
I'm mindful of getting enough good bacteria (probiotics) in my daily life and I think yogurt and kombucha and water kefir are my main sources. Yogurt (which I have made in the past but am currently purchasing from the store) is a tricky food for a dairy-free person like myself. Some dairy free yogurts may be loaded with sugar, not have the right consistency or bad taste. I really like a couple of brands from the health food stores that manage to be tasty and have a plain or no sugar variety. (A) Forager - Cashew Yogurt, Plain. This one is what I am eating currently. Neutral flavor, good though slightly watery texture, and the plain flavor comes in a nice large size. (B) Kite Hill - Almond yogurt, Plain. This one is slightly bitter but has great texture. (C) So Delicious - Coconut Yogurt, Unsweetened Vanilla. This one is quite watery and, to be honest, my last resort choice, but I do purchase it from time to time. I love the flavor - the vanilla is pretty delightful.
I like dairy free yogurt as a snack or breakfast - have it alongside your protein drink...combine it with some blueberries, a few drops of stevia, top it with dried coconut flakes (unsweetened) and a little bit of honey.... it is delicious!
I am not huge on grain-based foods. I think there's nothing wrong with them, but we typically eat way too many of them. Take pasta, for example. For many folks, pasta is eaten many times per week. One option for you pasta lovers are the protein pastas - Trader Joe's has its own protein pasta, the brand Ancient Harvest's POW pasta line makes some pretty good options. Most protein pastas are noodles made from a combination of legumes (typically lentils) and other high nutrient foods like quinoa! I like these pastas because they supply the protein and fiber that is so lacking in your typical flour-based pastas. The only thing I recommend is that you take your digestive enzyme with these pastas - they can cause lots of gas and digestive upset if they are new-to-you.
I like to use a healthy pre-prepared tomato sauce (I like Rao brand, no sugar added!), add in some sautéed bell pepper and mushrooms and maybe some chicken breast if I'm feeling like I need even more protein. Pair that with a salad and you've got a really amazing and nutritious plant-heavy meal!
Yes, I love pizza just like you! What's pretty great is there are so many options for people avoiding gluten and dairy when it comes to pizza. I recently made a delicious pizza crust thanks to Simple Mills and their Baking Mix Pizza Dough. This mix is totally grain free and made with almond flour and a few other ingredients which made it amazingly tasty! Wow, it was so good. I topped it with my dairy free cheese of choice (Daiya) as well as some jackfruit from The Jackfruit Co, pineapple (I know, some people think pineapple on a pizza is weird), black olives, sautéed onions and some delicious pizza sauce.
This pizza was amazing and I suggest you try it...
Good morning! Today is day 6 of my 12-14 day Spring Clean Cleanse. Today, I'd like to review the supplements I've chosen for this cleanse (see links at the bottom of the post). In the past, I've administered programs with a huge number of supplements all the way to no supplements. These three supplements (shown in the pic) are the three I've settled on: Plant-based protein powder, Liver detox herbal supplement and digestive enzymes. I chose those products because I've tried them, they're from companies I like and they're effective.
To order the supplements, visit my virtual supplement store and click on the category called "Spring Clean Cleanse".
More about the supplements....
Plant Protein Complete
This product is a high quality protein powder made from pea, hemp and quinoa. It is vanilla flavored and naturally sweetened (using xylitol and stevia). I find it tasty when mixed in a shaker cup with just cold water and ice. I like my protein drinks super cold. This product delivers amino acids which are super important when it comes to running the detoxification processes in your liver and, frankly, all your body cells. It's best to do a detox with a protein supplement to help the process run smoothly.
Liver Detox Support (Now offered as "Liver Detox")
Also from Protocol For Life Balance, this detox supplement is a simple combination of classic detox nutrients like Milk Thistle, N-Acetyl Cysteine, Dandelion and Turmeric. This product is the perfect addition to a program like the Spring Clean Cleanse -- Helps increase liver clearance of cellular waste products, helps boost production of bile and helps increase levels of antioxidants which help protect against cell damage.
These enzymes are awesome... and I've tried a lot of different enzyme products. I like this one because it's effective and not incredibly expensive. Enzyme products can be extremely expensive and this one is sensibly priced. Taken with meals, this helps your body break down fats, proteins and carbohydrates more easily. Eating more vegetables but fear digestive upset or gas? Use digestive enzymes and it will help!
If you have questions about the supplements I recommend on this program, please shoot me a comment or send me an email! Again, here is the link to my virtual supplement store where you can purchase all of the products mentioned above.
I am writing to you on day 4 of my Spring Clean Cleanse. I've been having fun just allowing. Allowing my body to be irritated (my skin reacts to stress!), to be tired, to be energized at odd times, to be sore from working out or sitting too much. I've been working on learning to let myself be.
A huge part of that allowing struck me today while I was finishing my yoga practice on my Down Dog app (pretty awesome if you haven't tried it), laying in Shavasana (also called "Corpse Pose" - laying on my mat, arms and legs splayed, palms up, eyes closed, breathing slowly). I realized that allowing is a big part of why I entered this cleanse to begin with. It's so hard right now with everyone on high alert, with news cycles moving so quickly, with this shaky ground (we've been having earthquakes weekly here in Salt Lake City)... to just be without striving to do or fix or act. I realized, while laying in Corpse Pose that I need this and many of you need this: peace, quiet, stillness, no screens, no news, no words... nothing.
So, I encourage you to take some time to be in your own version of Shavasana. Sitting on the couch with your eyes closed for 2 minutes? Maybe it's a cup of tea first thing in the morning before the day gets started? Maybe it's getting back into your yoga practice or writing letters instead of emails. Whatever it is, get back to it. You need it.
Sending you healing love,
I'm writing to you from my home quarantine, on my first week of my Spring Clean Cleanse. I have come across some challenges in completing a cleanse this time around and I'd like to share them with you.
Visiting the grocery store right now is a stressful experience! With the virus pandemic there are entry lines, mandated 6' personal space bubbles, low stock on the shelves of essential items like oil, vinegar, beans and vegetables. There's also the issue of needing to wear a mask and gloves in the grocery store. For me, it has seemed like an overwhelming activity that I haven't been able to manage doing more than once per week, which has limited the amount of fresh produce we've been able to keep in the fridge.
The grocery store issues have meant a more limited diet than I'm used to on any cleanse. I want to eat more a variety of fresh fruits and veggies - not fewer! I'm doing my best, however.
No one is immune to the stress of current events - including me! I've been feeling stress, anxiety and not sleeping well. I need to focus on my self care now more than ever (know the feeling?) and so I've been easy on myself about the diet.
Yes, I have been eating more veggies. Yes, I have been limiting my gluten intake but haven't completely eliminated. Yes, I have increased my water intake. Yes, I have been journaling. Yes, I have been decreasing my sugar.
In short, I am not perfect in following my own plan -- which is OK and I totally get the irony! I am doing the best I can for today!
Areas of Focus
Favorite Meals So Far
Are you spending lots of time at home right now? Getting sick of eating junk food including sandwich cookies which are super high in sugar and other ingredients which your body doesn't appreciate? Maybe that's just me, but I figured if I wanted a break from sugar and other inflammatory foods you might as well!
The term "cleanse" can mean a lot of different things, but I use it to mean a "break". If you think it's time for you to take a break and you want to take some stress off your body for 12-14 days, then download this free guide!
Basics of the program:
- Reduce intake of inflammatory foods
- Start taking a few supplements
- Increase water intake
- Keep a journal about your experience
- I'll be starting the program Monday April 13th and sharing along the way.
- Feel free to start along with me or on your own whenever you're able to.
I have done this program many times myself and I love it. I have posted all the supplements I'll be using on my online dispensary. Look under the category "Spring Clean Cleanse."
In natural medicine we believe health comes from the inside out, and that is probably most accurate when we talk about the health of your digestive system. Do you suffer from bloat, abdominal pain or heartburn? In Naturopathic medicine, we believe that when digestion is working well, the body is more able to fall into balance. Optimal nutrient absorption through a healthy gut allows for your body to shine inside and out.
Below are two common digestive complaints and their herbal solutions.
Heartburn - Heartburn usually shows up as a burning in the stomach - typically after eating a meal. In my practice I’ve found the symptoms may be attributed to many different causes, such as: too little stomach acid, too much stomach acid, poor muscle tone, eating our food sensitivities and imbalance in flora in gut.
Gas and Abdominal Pain - Pain in the abdomen is quite commonly due to the pain of pressure caused by gas produced by our native gut bacteria, however the cause can vary. Some causes of gas include: poor digestion, food sensitivities, diseases like lactose intolerance or Celiac, swallowing air repeatedly, drinking fizzy beverages, slow bowels, imbalance in good bacteria in the gut, anxiety and stress.
Recipe: Herbal Digestive Tonic Tea
Ginger root, Peppermint leaf, Fennel seed - Measure ½ TBS of each herb into cup, cover with boiling water and steep for 10 minutes, drink as often as you experience symptoms (may be taken hot or cold).
Click to Schedule a free consult with me today to find out what kind of work we could get done together!
Are you looking forward to an upcoming trip? Before any kind of travel, it’s important to set the intention that you’ll arrive feeling energized and well. There are things you can do for your muscles and joints while on the trip -- see this cool video on yoga to prevent achiness on a long flight -- and you know it’s important to keep hydrated before, during and after your flight (at least 2 L of water per day - up to half your body weight in ounces is my general guideline).
A common, but not often discussed, travel-related ailment is traveler’s irregularity. There are a myriad of reasons for travel-related bowel changes: your daily schedule is disrupted, you’re eating unusual foods at odd times or perhaps you find yourself going to bed later than usual. Yep, it is completely annoying, but constipation or irregularity is a great opportunity to pause and re-assess how you can treat your body better.
The mainstream’s usual reaction to occasional constipation is “here, take a laxative!” or “just take a stool softener!” My approach is to figure out why things aren’t working and fix the root cause.
Here are some key ways to keep you happy and stay regular– especially when traveling:
If you are severely constipated, have a fever associated with constipation or are experiencing severe pain with your constipation see your doctor.
Otherwise, I hope these tips help you to stay regular on your next trip!
Click to Schedule a free consult with me today to find out what kind of work we could get done together!