Are You Feeling Sluggish?

Are You Feeling Sluggish?

If you’re feeling sluggish, it could be your lymphatic system.

Anytime we experience fatigue, most of us might think that our adrenals, thyroid, or sleep are to blame. So we change our sleep schedule, diet, and even take supplements advertised for energy but we still continue relying on our cup of caffeine to keep us going or we just drag through the day.

What if what’s keeping you dragging is a sluggish lymphatic system and the lack of proper elimination?

Our lymphatic system is the sewer system of our body, and it relies on organs of extractions like our kidneys, liver, lungs, skin, and intestines to eliminate toxins and excess waste. Each of these organs plays a crucial role in eliminating waste from the body to help maintain a well-operating lymphatic system.

A congested lymphatic system can affect our energy level in several ways. When the lymphatic system becomes sluggish it may not be functioning properly, which can lead to a buildup of toxins and waste products in the body. This can result in a variety of symptoms, including:

  • Swelling or edema: Fluid can build up in tissues, causing swelling.
  • Fatigue: The waste products can accumulate, leading to feelings of fatigue and lethargy.
  • Poor immune function: The lymphatic system is a key component of the immune system, and when it is not functioning properly, the body may be more susceptible to infections and illnesses, leading to more fatigue
  • Digestive problems: The malabsorption of fats by the liver and gallbladder can lead to digestive issues such as bloating and constipation.

There are several factors that can contribute to a sluggish lymphatic system and non-backed up extractory system, these include a sedentary lifestyle, high carb refined diet, stress, and a body overburdened with toxins and pathogens.

To improve lymphatic and elimination function, it is important to maintain a diet high in animal protein and healthy fats and exercise regularly. Your lymphatic system does not have a pump the way your cardiovascular system does, if you do not move it, it stays stagnant. Great ways to support your lymphatic and extractory organs are daily movement, lymphatic massages, rebounder or mini trampoline, vibration plates, and dry brushing.

Finding out “WHAT” is causing your systems to be congested is the most important step in addressing your fatigue. Talk to our practitioners to get to the root cause.

Dr. Taggy Bensaïd, ND

Plastics Polluting Us

Plastics Polluting Us

We buy our meat wrapped in plastic; our vegetables are wrapped in saran wrap or conveniently chopped and sold in a clear plastic container. Frozen vegetables are sold in “microwave-safe” plastic bags. We pack our lunches in plastic containers. Our clothes are made out of recycled plastic bottles. It’s no wonder, we are finding microplastic particles in our bodies.

So what? Why do we care? Below are studies that indicate microplastic particles are being found in our blood, lungs, and even placentas. Another research article found that our food wrapped in plastic is a source of increased microplastic contamination in our bodies. Finally, research shows that chemicals in plastic are harmful to our health.

In this study, 2 grams of each food type (chicken, potatoes, carrots, broccoli, and Yorkshire pudding) were taken from plastic-wrapped dinners, and from unwrapped dinners. These foods were digested and the findings indicated that enjoying just one traditional roast dinner can lead to ingesting 230,000 microplastics (microplastics are any plastics that are smaller than 5mm in size).

The foods wrapped in plastic contain 7x more microplastics than individually purchased/non-plastic-wrapped foods, showing that plastic packaging of foods is a route for plastics to get into our bodies. Eating one plastic-wrapped meal daily is the equivalent of eating 2 plastic grocery bags every year. Interestingly, the non-plastic-wrapped foods also cost 37% less.

Listed below are a few more studies showing plastics found in human blood, lung tissue, and placentas:

The following three studies found microplastics in the stool of animals and humans from Spain, Beijing, Asia, and Europe.

Our plastic-wrapped food isn’t the only place we’re being exposed to microplastics. The study that found microplastics in the lungs identified the particles found in the lungs were most likely inhaled. Interestingly, they found that males have more microplastics in their lungs than females.

The following studies find microplastics in everyday self-care items from personal care products to disposable face masks:

Finally, here are a few studies about how microplastics can disrupt our bodies and our health. The first study indicates microplastics can disrupt fat metabolism and cause dysfunction in the liver.

The study linked after that looks at the influence microplastics have on our immune system. I included the conclusion of the article on the immune system because it was interesting to me. The research studies I read, about microplastics, frequently questioned the impact microplastics might have on cancer, the immune system, and other metabolic functions.

Methods: In this review, we have compiled the most important of their perinatal effects on the function of the immune system and their relationship to the development of different types of cancer.

Results/conclusion: The administration of bisphenols and phthalates during critical stages of development affects important immune system components and the immune function; which might be related to the development of different diseases including cancer.

There are simple steps you can take to resume control over some of the plastics in your life. For example, do not cook or store food in plastic containers. When you visit the grocery store, do not buy food stored in plastic wrapping. The first study actually found that buying fresh unwrapped food was far less expensive too! When you visit the meat counter, request that they wrap your meat in parchment paper instead of cellophane and styrofoam wrap (all meat counters used to wrap parchment paper and tape it shut). You can also use the website EWG.ORG to reduce other chemical exposures in your life by looking up your self-care products there.

If you’re concerned about how to take control of eliminating plastic pollution from your everyday routine or want to maximize the health of your body to promote chemical detoxification, ask me about it at your next health visit so we can include it in your journey to optimizing wellness.

Yours in health and longevity,
Kristen Clore, OTRL
I-MD & PhD student in Integrative Medicine & Quantum Physics
Holistic Occupational Therapist, Master Nutrition Response Practitioner ®

Adaptability [My 75 Hard Experience]

Adaptability [My 75 Hard Experience]

Beginning September 20, 2022, I began the 75 Hard Program.

For a long while before that, I had been trying to incorporate more regular exercise into my daily routine but had been unsuccessful. A patient told me she was doing the 75 Hard program, so I looked it up. The rules looked daunting to me but I knew if I wanted to improve my health I needed a plan. Never one to turn away from a challenge, I decided to start.

75 Hard is based on a book by Andy Frisella. If you are not a fan of no-nonsense, profanity-laced dialogue, do not listen to his podcasts. The rules are as follows:

  • If you skip a day, you must start over. If you miss a task, you must start over from day one.
  • Pick a diet to follow with no alcohol or cheat meals.
  • Drink a gallon of water daily.
  • Complete two workouts daily. Each workout must be 45 minutes in length and one must be outside.
  • Read 10 pages per day of a non-fiction book.
  • Take a progress photo every day.

If you skip a day, you must start over. If you miss a task, you must start over from day one.

Since I did not want to start over, I bought a journal to log all my tasks so I would be sure to get them in daily.

Pick a diet to follow with no alcohol or cheat meals.

I chose to follow a no sugar, no wheat, no alcohol, low carbohydrate diet. I was already pretty low carb but I knew complete avoidance of wheat and sugar would decrease inflammation.

I followed this plan during a trip up north, Halloween, and Thanksgiving. The point is – no excuses, you can eat well no matter what the circumstances.

I lost 15 pounds during the 75 days of this challenge. My last official day was December 4, 2022; and as of the end of January 2023, I have kept this weight off because my diet has stayed consistent. I think doing this challenge for 75 full days made it easier to maintain better habits. When the 75 days were over, I didn’t want to go back to less healthy options.

Drink a gallon of water daily.

I thought this would be the hardest part of the program for me. I don’t think I’ve ever really consumed enough water in a day. Surprisingly, this was not as difficult as I imagined. I bought a 32-ounce mason jar and would fill it four times per day to ensure I was getting the required amount. I would add lemon, lime, oranges, or strawberries to the water to give it a little flavor so as to not get bored.

I believe the hydration helped my kidneys, bladder, and bowel work better to detoxify, and made my skin less dry.

Complete two workouts daily. Each workout must be 45 minutes in length and one must be outside.

This was the reason I chose to do the 75 Hard program. I, like many other people, was very good at finding reasons why I couldn’t work out; and I was not very creative with finding solutions to how I could work out. This challenge forced me to figure out ways to fit two workouts into my daily routine. No exceptions. No excuses.

I worked out in the rain, in the cold, in the dark, on a day when I worked 16 hours (one workout at 3:30 a.m. and a walk at lunch). I discovered something with these daily workouts that I had forgotten – when I was young I was always moving. I grew up a dancer who trained at least four days per week. Then, I was teaching dance and Pilates for many years. My body liked to move. I didn’t realize– until I did this challenge– how much movement and exercise help strength, stamina, circulation, body composition, and mental health. For the 75 days, I worked out twice per day- I walked, lifted weights, exercised with YouTube Videos, biked, and rebounded. Since finishing 75 Hard I have maintained at least one workout daily (I skipped one day). Although this has not been easy, I know keeping exercise/movement in my routine is an important part of my physical health.

Read 10 pages per day of a non-fiction book.

This part of the challenge forced me off my phone and computer for some time each day. That, in itself, is a good thing. I chose books that would help me personally and professionally and I read all or part of six different non-fiction books during these 75 days.

Take a progress photo every day.

This was my least favorite part of 75 Hard. I’m not a fan of myself in photos. When my husband and I first talked about doing this program (yes, he did it with me which helped so much!) I told him – “I’m not doing the daily photo part.” But, I am glad that I did this. I didn’t necessarily see the differences in my body day to day, but when I looked back at the photos the progress was visible.

I wrote this article for you as motivation and encouragement. If you are struggling with diet, exercise, or getting on track with your health, DO SOMETHING! First – figure out your WHY. What needs to change and why do you want to change it? I wanted to do this because I wanted to be stronger, healthier, more able to play and keep up with my grandson, and set a good example. It doesn’t have to be the 75 Hard program – just make a plan, set an amount of time to do that plan, and DO IT! What I did discover during this journey was the importance of being able to adapt to reach the goals I had set. Set your goals and GO!

Yours in health,
Kerry Cradit, B.S. Nutrition and Food Science

Facts About Vitamin D

Facts About Vitamin D

Did you know that Vitamin D is considered a hormone? 

Hormones are known as chemical messengers in our body. Hormones send signals to tell our cells and tissues to do certain functions like digestion, growth, and even our mood regulation.  

Why is vitamin D considered a hormone? 

Vitamin D is considered a hormone because it can be synthesized by our body when we obtain sunlight.  Vitamins are considered to be a nutrient that must be obtained from a food source and unable to be synthesized by the body.  Therefore, Vitamin D can be synthesized by sunlight and obtained from food sources.

Did you know that lifestyle factors can deplete vitamin D?  

Smoking depletes vitamin D.  “Cigarette smoke decreases the production of the active form of vitamin D (1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D) in lung epithelial cells (20), which may be overcome with higher serum levels of the substrate (25-hydroxyvitamin D). Additionally, cigarette smoke may affect expression levels of the vitamin D receptor (21).”  

Many types of medications can deplete vitamin D and block vitamin D receptors.  Some drugs in classes of antiepileptics, antibiotics, antihypertensives, and anti-inflammatory drugs have been found to interfere with Vitamin D, and this study suggests vitamin D supplementation should be considered.

Healthy sources of vitamin D in foods include egg yolks, salmon and liver.  Direct sunshine is another healthy source of vitamin D but oftentimes food and sunshine aren’t adequate sources of vitamin D, so supplement form is added.  It has been found that people who live above the 37th parallel North of the equator are at greater risk of Vitamin D deficiency.  

At the NHCAA, we carry many great forms of Vitamin D and K2 with D3 blends for improved absorption. We carry 1,000-50,000 IU of Vitamin D supplements. Ask at your next visit which might be the best for your health. 

Yours in health and longevity,

Kristen Clore OTRL, I-MD & PhD Student in Integrative Medicine

Four Types of Hunger

Four Types of Hunger

It is important to be aware of what type of hunger you are feeling so you can address it appropriately.

The four different types of hunger that I most commonly observe with patients are listed and detailed below.

1) Thinking hunger: aka, thinking about food. 

Thinking about food is often not accompanied by real hunger, the actual need to eat.  Signals like feeling tired or having difficulty thinking are real signals of hunger.  However, just thinking about food does not equate to actual physiological need for food, or hunger.  Often our environment can trigger thinking about food, especially if we are bored, watching television, or browsing the internet and social media.  These outlets are filled with recipes, food promotions and advertisements for food.  Late night entertainment can lead to the desire for snacking and late meals.  These actions contribute to obesity and other declining health issues. 

Instead of eating late we should eat when we awaken and quit eating earlier, no later than 5-7 pm for most healthy adults.  Adding structure or new organization to eat early and quit eating early, then utilizing night time for activities like hiking, cleaning, studying or exercising can help reduce the temptation to falter toward night time eating and snacking.  Altering our behavior, having less sedentary time, creating more structure, and limiting screen time can also help reduce thinking about food.

This study concludes that “Having a late dinner or bedtime snack was associated with a higher probability of overweight/obesity.”

Also read this study which investigates food and hunger cues :   “Most food consumption in western populations happens for reasons other than energy shortage, suggesting that a significant proportion of food consumption is driven rather by pleasure than by a physiological need [1]. Dietary behaviours and the drive to eat are undeniably powered by food-related cues. Food cue stimulation is omnipresent throughout the day. Advertisements, an abundance of products in appetising packages in stores but also the sight or smell of food, people eating or talking about food as well as emotions, feelings and activities can represent cues. The number as well as the density of the food-related cues have been implicated in choices to consume food or restrain from it [25]. It has been suggested that exposure to cues triggers the expectation of rewards in the form of food, which might be misinterpreted as hunger. 

2) Taste hunger: aka: sensory desire for eating (smell, taste, crunch, hand to mouth desires)

“Taste hunger” is very much driven by our senses.  The desire to crunch on something, or hold a hot cup of liquid, the desire to smell certain foods, the desire to taste certain foods, especially sweet foods, are the desires I refer to as taste hunger.  We often have the idea that the momentary pleasure of the sight, smell, taste and touch of that food will create more happiness within this moment.  However, this pleasure is short-lived.  The body creates the desire to repeat eating again and again.  Eating based on these sensory desires does not often result in good control over our diet or eating whole food based meals.  Often eating foods to fill this desire lead us to overeating, too much snacking, eating too late in the evening, eating outside of a healthy 8 hour window, and indulging in highly refined foods.

This study states “Foods with a higher GI, such as drinks sweetened with sugar, are rapidly digested and absorbed and provoke a rapid increase in blood glucose, a fact that exacerbates hunger and favors hyperphagia, since these foods are unable to stimulate the mechanisms of satiety”

3) Stomach hunger or real hunger: actual hunger when the stomach is growling.

Real hunger.  The actual need to eat.  This happens when we are in a slightly fasted state, our body has utilized much of the readily available energy and we begin getting signals like stomach growling to let us know it is time to eat. Ghrelin is the hunger hormone that helps us know when we are truly hungry.  Some people  ignore this signal in an effort to extend our fasted state.  If we are attempting an eating style like intermittent fasting where the eating window is smaller  (less than or equal to 8 hours per day) and the fasting window is larger (more than, or equal to 16 hours per day.)

You can read more about Ghrelin and it’s impact on hunger in this article.

4) Energy hunger: need to obtain sunshine

This is the kind of hunger that is recharging your battery.  This cannot be replaced with a vitamin D supplement or with energy drinks. This is photon hunger.  Sunshine has been studied to have health impacts on pregnancy, bone health, vitamin D levels, immune system health and metabolism. Sunshine helps our body increase metabolic functions.  If you are feeling hungry and continue to snack or drink things and cannot feel satiated, go outside and obtain direct sunshine on your skin (even if it’s cold).  Put on a coat if you need to and face the sunshine for 20 minutes.  Then reassess if you are still feeling “hungry.”

This Kristen Clore OTRL, I-MD & PhD Student in Integrative Medicine

Fungus and Yeast and Mold, Oh My!

Fungus and Yeast and Mold, Oh My!

Fungus (plural fungi) is a microorganism of which there are many species.

These species include yeast, mold, and mushrooms.  As with many things in life, there can be good and bad qualities of fungi. Fungi are used to make bread, wine, beer, kombucha, and some cheese.  Fungi break down dead trees and animals in nature and through that process provide beneficial compounds such as carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, and phosphorus back into the soil. Some fungi, such as Ganoderma, Shiitake, and Lion’s Mane are being researched and used for their therapeutic qualities. But, some mold can be extremely toxic (example: Stachybotrys – black mold). 

Mold spores are everywhere. Problems begin to arise when certain mold spores grow in damp, dark conditions and produce Mycotoxins, which are poisonous to humans. Common places where mold can grow are areas with water or dampness- sinks, tubs, kitchens, bathrooms, washing machines, basements, the humidifier on your furnace, indoor plants. Fungi/mold can live on coffee (OH NO!), nuts, fruits, and vegetables. Here in Michigan, during the early fall, mold can be found in higher quantities in the environment- falling leaves, rainy weather, damp ground.

I have had first hand experience with mold exposure several times in my life. For me, I believe it has caused sinus problems, headaches, and heart pain. Symptoms of mold or mycotoxin exposure can be: sinus and lung problems (because we breathe it in), skin rash or irritation (ringworm, athlete’s foot, jock itch, toe nail fungus, vaginal yeast problems), circulatory problems (heart palpitations, shortness of breath, heart pain), anxiety, brain fog, headaches, muscle pain, digestive problems, and fatigue.

What you can do to help your body and health – 

  • There are supplements that can help. CellCore’s Biotoxin Binder and Carboxy are top choices in our office for addressing mold/mycotoxin problems. Additionally, supplements such as Oregano, Spanish Black Radish, Echinacea, Garlic, and Pau D’Arco can be anti-microbial and beneficial to the immune system. For specific recommendations for your situation, it is always best to consult with your Practitioner.
  • Inspect and clean areas where you suspect mold overgrowth. 
  • Diffuse Thieves (from Young Living) to improve your immune system and benefit the lungs and sinuses. Thieves can also be used topically on problem skin areas, but remember to use a carrier oil such as coconut, jojoba, or castor oil if applying it on a sensitive area.
  • Navage and Neti Pot can be helpful if you have sinus problems.
  • Avoid white refined sugar and dairy, which can feed fungi/mold in your body. 
  • Sweat with exercise or sauna use.
  • Use an Air Purifier. I have a Molekule Air Purifier that helps the air quality in our house. Some filters can decrease the amount of harmful microorganisms in the air such as bacteria, fungi, and viruses.
  • Use leftovers within 3 – 4 days. Watch for mold growing on food and discard those right away to protect yourself from toxic fungus.

If you have concerns about your health or just want to feel better, we are here to help. We can support you and your body’s specific needs in any situation. 

Yours in health,

Kerry Cradit, B.S. Nutrition and Food Science