Gluten Intolerance & Food Sensitivities in 60 seconds….

Food Sensitivities are not the same as Food Allergies. A Food Allergy is a peanut causing anaphylaxis. A Food Sensitivity (or Intolerance) is about inflammation. It is a slow, internal process that causes global inflammation all over the body.  Inflammation causes discomfort and symptoms. It spreads to other parts of the body and destroys delicate tissues. It causes cancer.

What does this look like? Digestive Issues – people with constipation, diarrhea, and diagnosis of IBS or Crohn’s. Headaches. Fatigue. Inability to lose weight despite diet and exercise.  Any inflammatory condition (arthtiris, aching joints, and so forth). Skin problems like acne, psoriasis, eczema, or rashes.  Allergies (sinus infections, ear infections, sneezing, cough).

What foods would most likely cause this? Well, the “heavy hitters” of Food Sensitivities are Gluten, Dairy, and Sugar. Each of those are actually not a single item, it’s a category. Example: Gluten is actually: Barley, Brewer’s Yeast, Gliadin, Gluten, Hops, Malt, Oat, Rye, Spelt, and/or Wheat. Dairy is: Caesin, Cow’s Milk, Egg Yolk, Egg white, Goat’s Milk, Sheep’s Milk.  And if you’re thinking that you don’t even eat these items, think again. Cow’s milk is ice cream. Sheep’s milk is the primary ingredient in yogurt. Eggs are in practically anything that comes in a wrapper or box.

Why do you need a test to find all of this out? Simply because it would be extremely difficult to choose one item at a time and test it out to see if removing it makes a change. AND, if you can be sensitive/intolerant to Cow’s Milk…. Why couldn’t you be to Broccoli? Or Olive Oil? It’s not just foods that are “bad” for you – it can be anything and everything. The testing I use is the gold standard, and it even includes household chemicals, medications, herbs and supplements.

Fact: Cancer Cannot Survive in an Alkaline Environment.

Within the umbrella of nutrition exists the concept of alkaline versus acidic internal pH. Our body primarily likes an alkaline environment, in fact, we should be about 70 percent alkaline and 30 percent acidic.

As you have heard me say many times , food is our fuel , like gasoline to a car. If we put junk in, our insides will be junk. So this means that if we want our insides to be alkaline we need to eat a diet that is 70 percent alkaline. Alkaline foods are primarily vegetables … Not always though, so it’s a great idea to check out a handy chart like this one :

Acidic foods tend to be processed, pre made, meats, carbs, and so forth. The average American eats a diet that is 70 percent acidic …. And therein lies the problem. Disease cannot survive in an alkaline environment. In fact, disease and bacteria actually love and thrive in acidity. Having health is not about how we feel or our symptoms. Health is about functioning at 100 percent.

In order for our body to function well and prevent the development of disease and cancer, we need to create the  correct environment. we need to provide it the correct fuel to do it’s job and function well.

Do you know what else affects our body’s pH? Stress level! The more stress we have, the more acidity we create. But that’s a whole new topic for another post….

Please share – What are your favorite alkaline based recipes or foods ?

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Allergy Season and Your Neck…

You may be wondering what the spine would have to do with allergy season?  A lot, in fact! We know that the brain is the master control center of our entire body… it controls every organ, tissue, muscle, and cell. The system by which the brain communicates with everything else is called the Nervous System, which is housed inside the spine. So, when the spine is out of alignment, our brain cannot communicate at 100% with the rest of the body.

In Chiropractic, we bring alignment to the spine to allow the optimal function of the Nervous System. You may be surprised to learn that the spine and Chiropractic isn’t just about back pain! Let’s take the example of having allergies and see how this system works.

The neck (cervical spine) is where the nerves that control our face/head are located. So when the brain wants to send the message to your sinuses, nose, eyes, and ears, that message must go in this order:

Brain > Nervous System> down the spine/neck > message arrives at the sinuses

And conversely, the messages from the sinuses, telling the brain that it’s having difficulty processing outside allergens, go in the opposite order back up to the brain.

If the neck is out of alignment, that message can’t get through. You might be wondering “well, my neck looks and feels normal – how bad could it be?” Studies show that the weight of a dime sitting on your skin will decrease a nerve’s ability to function from 100% to 40%. Meaning – when your brain sends the message to the sinuses to get rid of that congestion and mucus – it’s only working at 40%. As Chiropractors, this is what we do – we allow the Nervous System the opportunity to function optimally at 100%.

Studies also show that Chiropractic care boosts the overall immune system, making us less susceptible to getting sick. If you suffer from allergies, get sick each year, and have tension in your shoulders – I’d look to the spine as a potential cause of your suffering!

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Does Motion Sickness Affect Your Family’s Vacation?

Recently a patient was telling me about their upcoming summer vacations plans, and asked if I had any natural tips for delaing with motion sickness. I thought I’d share them you with below…

1. Use natural food remedies to your advantage

Peppermint and Ginger are great for nausea and motion sickness. Stash some peppermint candies or ginger chews in your bag. Medicinal teas are also available in these two “flavors” for at home use.

2. The power of smell

Essential oils are a powerful tool for nausea in general. Get a small bottle of organic peppermint essential oil from your local health food store, and apply a dab on the inside of your wrist and sides of your neck. Breathe deeply and slowly! Note: some esential oil companies will even create blends of oils designed for traveling, in convienient roll on applicators.

3. Speaking of breathing… 

My favorite deep breathing technique is called “Four Square Breathing.” It’s very simple and can be done discreetly at any time. For a count of four, breathe in deeply through the nose, and out through the mouth for another count of four. The breathing should be slow, and deep down into the belly. This breathing activates

our Parasympathetic Nervous System which in turn tells the body to get into

“rest and digest” mode; literally instructing our body to calm down.

4. Acu-Points

Stimulate the Acupressure Point located in the soft web between our thumb and first finger. Hold moderate pressure here for thirty seconds at a time, and repeat!

If you have any natural tips for travel or motion sickness, please share. Happy traveling everyone!

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Keeping Seasonal Allergies At Bay

Keeping Seasonal Allergies at Bay

As we enjoy this incredible spring weather in Chicagoland, I am noticing that many of you are affected by seasonal allergies. Read below for a few tips to manage your allergies:

1)  When you’re symptomatic, avoid all sugar, dairy, and carbs (i.e. pasta, bread, etc). These products assist the body in forming mucous, so avoid them at all costs!

2)  Drink plenty of water. To find out how many ounces of water you need to consume each day, see my previous post on the “Hydration Calculation.” Water also helps our body flush away toxins and excess waste, including mucous.

3)  Acupuncture is a great way to decrease your symptoms and actually treat the cause of a problem. This type of Chinese Medicine focuses on the balance between our energy pathways. Sinus congestion or allergy symptoms would indicate a stagnation of the flow of energy in one or more of the major pathways. During the change of a season, it is considered a “weak point” for our body in Traditional Chinese Medicine which means it’s also the best time to get in for a treatment.

4)  Many people report improvement of their symptoms with the use of a Neti Pot. This is a nasal irrigating device that flushes mucus and debris from the nose and is readily available at any health food store.

5)  Herbal Steam Bath for Sinus Congestion –  boil 8 cups distilled (i.e. chemical free) water in a large pot. Then, transfer to a large glass bowl, and add 8 drops of Eucalyptus Oil (readily available at any health food store). Sit in front of the bowl, with a towel over your head and your face a safe distance from the water. The steam will become trapped, and you will be able to breathe in the eucalyptus vapors. Every few minutes, take a break to blow your nose. Stop when the water has cooled, and repeat daily until symptoms resolve.

6)  Place a dot of Eucalyptus Oil just under your nose and breathe deeply. This oil has powerful anti inflammatory and decongesting properties! Repeat several times throughout the day.

7)  Stimulate the Acu-point that controls our entire face and head. It’s called “Large Intestine 4” and it’s located in that lump of skin between our thumb and first finger. Rub this point with moderate pressure for 30 seconds, break for 30 seconds, and repeat several times.

Spring time for me means putting my running shoes back on…. I hope you are all enjoying the fresh air as much as I am. Dr. Kristen