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

5 Common Dietary Mistakes

5 Common Dietary Mistakes

Here at the NHCAA, our patients diligently track their diets. 

I have been reviewing food logs for over a decade and have seen thousands.  You don’t review that many food records without noticing some common themes in food choices people tend to make.  I’m going to share with you 5 common dietary mistakes that people often do not realize are mistakes.  

  1. Coffee creamers 
  2. Salad dressings
  3. Excessive snacking 
  4. Frequent alcohol intake
  5. Overuse of sugar substitutes

Coffee Creamers & Sweeteners

Many individuals think they are doing themselves a favor by foregoing breakfast and just drinking coffee. What these individuals often fail to realize is the impact the coffee can have on their health when mixed with certain ingredients.   While many people can successfully intermittent fast and still have a cup of coffee, if you add enough creamer, milk and milk alternatives, sweeteners, and other products to your coffee, you may completely lose the benefit of delaying food, and may even worsen your glycemic control.  

There’s another camp of people who eat a good breakfast but ruin it by pairing it up with coffee containing sugars, artificial sweeteners, chemicals, and processed fats.

Coffee is not great for everyone; however, if you are drinking it, you should be very aware of what you are putting into it.  Cut out the Coffee Mate, International Delights, sugar free syrups and other like additives.  

Better options for coffee are drinking it black or adding mct oil, Nutpods, collagen powder, stevia or monk fruit (in moderation).

Salad Dressings

When attempting to eat healthy, many people go straight to salads.  If you can digestively tolerate eating raw vegetables, a salad can be a great low carb meal.  However, most commercially prepared salad dressing is full of chemicals, processed fats, soy, and sometimes loaded with sugar.  Read your labels!  You will probably be surprised at the ingredients list of your favorite dressing.  If you are eating a restaurant salad, It is highly likely that one or more undesirable ingredients are in it.

Better options for salad dressing are to make your own so you know exactly what is in it.  If you don’t want to make your own, Primal Kitchen has a line of clean salad dressings.  When eating a restaurant salad, the best bet is to ask for olive oil and vinegar.

Excessive Snacking

Snacking is a very common habit of Americans.  There was a time when people were instructed that their best bet for their health was to eat 5 small meals a day.  Snacking between meals is not a good thing for most adults.  Toddlers need snacks; most adults do not.  If you feel the need to snack, you are probably missing out on something in your meals to create lasting satiety.  For most people in this situation, it is good fat and protein they are skimping on. 

The worst type of snacking is night-time snacking.  Make having at least a 3 hour buffer between eating and bedtime a priority.  You don’t want your liver and digestive system working hard on digesting food while you are trying to rest.  Your organs have other things to do at this time and need a rest as well.

Frequent Alcohol Use

I have seen many cases in which a patient has an incredible diet, super low carb, but are still having a nightly cocktail.  Even if your alcohol choice is low carb or a spiked seltzer drink (which are undoubtedly better choices), at the end of the day, regardless of carb count, it is still alcohol and is a special circumstance.  Alcohol must be metabolized FIRST- even before sugar.  Alcohol increases the workload of the liver and may affect blood sugar and inhibit fat burning and other health benefits from your otherwise healthy diet; not to mention, alcohol may negatively impact your sleep cycle.

Overuse of Sugar Substitutes

I typically recommend that patients avoid sugar as much as possible and use natural substitutes that do not spike blood glucose.  My top recommendations are stevia and/or Monk Fruit.  But even these better replacements can be overused.  Too much use of natural sugar substitutes not only can cause you to hold on to your sugar cravings but can also imbalance your gut bugs (microbiota).  Overusing these seemingly innocent sweet treats can cause digestive problems and sometimes can halt your health progress.  It is best to use stevia, monk fruit and any sweetener only occasionally.

There you have it, 5 very common diet mistakes that are best to avoid.  If you are halted in your health goals in any way, I challenge you to examine this list and see if you are doing any of these 5 things.  If so, correcting these 5 areas can help get you back on track.  If you are still stuck or having trouble identifying your dietary trouble area, you should consult with us at the NHCAA.  

Your Holistic Pharmacist,

Dr. Amanda Childress, PharmD

Ozone 101

Ozone 101

What is Ozone?

Ozone is a molecule consisting of three atoms of oxygen.  It is commonly known as an unstable portion of our atmosphere.  Ozone is also well studied and used in intravenous and oral remedies for many conditions.

Is Ozone new?

No, Ozone has been studied for over a century and was regularly used as a remedy for many common ailments.  It was discovered in the mid-nineteenth century.

What is Ozone used for?

Ozone has been used for improving the immune system by delivering increased oxygen supply to the body and forming more red blood cells.  Research has indicated that ozone is capable of deactivating bacteria, viruses, fungi, yeast, and protozoa.  

Ozone has also been used to correct oxidative stress associated with spinal conditions and diabetes.  Oxidative stress is the balance in the body between free radicals and antioxidants. 

How can I use Ozone?

We have added multiple Ozone products available for use in your holistic health program:

  • Ozonated Toothpaste
  • Ozonated Deodorant
  • Ozonated Oils for topical use
  • Ozonated Suppositories for rectal and vaginal use 
  • Ozonated capsules, to be taken orally

Ask me at your next visit how ozonated products might be helpful in your daily self care routine. 

Yours in health and longevity, 

Kristen Clore, OTRL

I-MD & PhD student in Integrative Medicine & Quantum Physics

Holistic Occupational Therapist, Master Nutrition Response Practitioner ®

Basic Understanding of Cholesterol

Basic Understanding of Cholesterol

There are many misunderstandings about cholesterol.

A lot of people think cholesterol is bad, should be avoided, and holds only a negative role in the human body; cholesterol is actually a vital component to our good health.

Here are some common questions I receive about cholesterol:

What is Cholesterol?  

When you do a “Google search” for cholesterol, this is the answer that is provided– “cholesterol is a waxy substance found in your blood. Your body needs cholesterol to build healthy cells, but high levels of cholesterol can increase your risk of heart disease. With high cholesterol, you can develop fatty deposits in your blood vessels.”

Now, let’s compare that to the definition in my Human Anatomy & Physiology book from college.  

Cholesterol- “a lipid produced by body cells used to synthesize steroid hormones and excreted into the bile.” [P 698, Hole’s Human Anatomy & Physiology, 10th edition]

When we compare these two sources, we learn that the Human Anatomy & Physiology book is giving an unbiased definition of what cholesterol actually is.  The definition that a Google search provides is an excerpt from the Mayo Clinic; this is not a definition but is an interpretation, which includes the negative impact cholesterol might have on the human body.  It leads us to believe that cholesterol is bad, and we lack understanding of the purpose or functional role that cholesterol has in the human body. 

Now that we know the Human Anatomy & Physiology definition of cholesterol, I recognize that there may be some words that not everyone knows the meaning of within that definition.  So, let’s define those words before we move on.

  • Lipid: a fat, oil, or fat like compound that usually has fatty acids in its molecular structure.
  • Cells: the structural functional unit of an organism
  • Steroid Hormones: fat soluble hormones, formed from cholesterol (some examples include estrogens, testosterone, aldosterone, cortisol)
  • Bile: a fluid secreted by the liver and stored in the gallbladder. 

Isn’t it better if we had zero cholesterol? My conventional doctor said the lower the better?

No, humans cannot live with zero cholesterol and the “lower the better” is a misunderstanding.  Cholesterol plays an important role in our health, cellular function, tissue repair, and hormone production. 

If I stop eating high cholesterol foods won’t my cholesterol go down?

Let’s look back at the definition– “cholesterol is a lipid produced by body cells used to synthesize steroid hormones…”. Cholesterol doesn’t only come from your food, it is also produced in your liver. Yes, in fact approximately 80% of cholesterol is produced by your body and only about 20% is directly derived from the food we eat.  This is why it is important to understand, diet can impact cholesterol levels, but your body needs cholesterol and will continue to create it as fuel, when more fuel is needed.

My conventional medicine doctor said my total cholesterol number and my LDL are high.  What about VLDL, HDL and triglycerides? I’ve heard these matter too?

The total cholesterol is truly a number that is somewhat useless without knowledge of the individual numbers for LDL, HDL and triglycerides.  Here is what each of these mean:

  • Total cholesterol: this is a sum of the LDL, HDL plus 20% of the triglycerides.  The HDL is commonly referred to as good and LDL is commonly referred to as bad because the LDL type of cholesterol is the kind that is found in blocked arteries.
  • HDL or high-density lipoprotein: this is the type of cholesterol that cleans up the “bad” cholesterol in the blood and takes it back to the liver.  Because of this function, this is the cholesterol that is known to protect us from cardiovascular diseases such as a heart attack and stroke.  For both men and women, HDL should be over 60mg/dL.  When I get my cholesterol labs done, mine is 90-100! The higher the better!  Foods like wild caught salmon and other fish, walnuts, and flaxseed oil can increase your HDL count!
  • LDL or low-density lipoprotein: this is the type of cholesterol that can increase with a poor diet, lack of exercise, and increase in stress.  The American Heart Association reports that studies show a link to higher LDL and lower HDL that directly correlates to the level of a person’s stress at work.  Stress encourages the body to produce more metabolic fuels for energy, this causes the liver to make more LDL aka “bad cholesterol”.  A healthy diet and stress reducing lifestyle habits – including exercise and sleep – are important for correcting these numbers.  It is well understood that because cholesterol is the primary fuel required for stress hormones, such as cortisol, that the body will increase its cholesterol when more cortisol is being made in response to stress.  A normal LDL for conventional medicine labs is widely referred to as less than 100mg/dL.  However, it is important to understand VLDL, especially when LDL is high.
  • VLDL or very low-density lipoprotein:  this is primarily composed of triglycerides.  It is important to know your LDL number in relation to the mathematical equation that provides VLDL for us.  VLDL should be less than 19 for a very healthy individual.  
  • Triglycerides: created when we do not fully utilize the food we eat as immediate energy. This “unused” fuel gets stored in adipose/fat tissue as triglycerides.  When we are not eating, a hormone called HSL (hormone sensitive lipase) gets activated and helps us mobilize energy from the stored triglycerides- insulin can block that process. Insulin is a hormone that is triggered based on our blood glucose levels.  For someone who has a diet high in sugar, snacks often, or eats late at night, the body may begin storing too many of these unused energy particles as triglycerides.  Intermittent fasting, low carbohydrate diets, elimination and reduction of processed foods and sugars all help reduce unwanted high triglyceride numbers.

My cholesterol is high, what do I do?

If you have been told that your cholesterol is “high”, find out each of the numbers for your HDL, LDL, Triglycerides and VLDL and let your practitioner or myself know.  If you don’t have your VLDL, we can calculate it for you at your next visit.  We will review each of these individual numbers with you in order to help you determine next steps for your diet, supplements, and lifestyle to help correct any unwanted low or high cholesterol numbers. Another missed step by many doctors, both conventional and alternative, is looking at the trend of labs.  It is always important to determine if your labs are in an overall improving trend or not.  For example- if you haven’t had your labs drawn in 5 years, we should establish at least 3 follow up labs to determine the trend.  If you don’t have a primary care doctor that will run your cholesterol labs, let us know and we can help get that done for you. 

The least meaningful cholesterol number in our health practice is the “total cholesterol” because you cannot take proper action with diet, lifestyle or supplements based on that calculated number alone.

Yours in health and longevity, 

Kristen Clore, OTRL

I-MD & PhD student in Integrative Medicine & Quantum Physics

Holistic Occupational Therapist, Master Nutrition Response Practitioner