Supplement Cocktail for Constipation

constipation cocktail 2

There are many possible solutions for the relief of constipation or sluggish bowel function.  If you struggle with constipation or difficult bowel movements, please see a health care provider for proper evaluation.  Constipation can be a serious health issue and can be caused by many factors (see main article).

Safe supplements to aid in relieving constipation include:

Magnesium citrate improves gut motility.

Probiotics help to maintain a healthy digestive tract and microbial community which promotes optimal digestion and regularity.

Digestive Enzymes help to promote complete digestion of proteins, carbohydrates and fats while also increasing nutrient availability and reducing food intolerances.

Aloe Vera helps to reduce inflammation and improves bowel frequency. Be sure to choose a pure, preservative free, organic aloe very gel or juice.

All of these supplements are available in our office at The Woodlands Institute for Health and Wellness.

By |2016-07-06T07:38:52-05:00July 6th, 2016|Articles, General|

Foods that Defend You

Foods that Defend You

We usually think of our food as a source of nourishment in the form of protein, carbohydrates, fats, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Are you aware that there are many foods that have antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties which help to attack and destroy unwanted visitors such as the common cold, disease-causing bacteria, and yeast? Here are some of the best food antimicrobials that can work in your defense on a daily basis:

Coconut Oil

The best source for caprylic and lauric acids, coconut oil provides antifungal and antibacterial protection whether ingested or applied externally. Butter from grass fed cattle is another excellent source of these acids while olive oil contains Oleuropein, also known to be an effective anti fungal.

Garlic and Onions

Known for their antibacterial properties, these two foods have been used all over the world to treat major and minor diseases. The active ingredient is sulfur which serves to reduce inflammation, protect against pathogens and cancer, and is also a strong anti-oxidant, attacking free radicals in the body.

Cabbage (and other relatives)

While all vegetables and fruits offer good sources of Vitamin C, which serves as a natural antibiotic and antioxidant, cabbage takes first place in this category. A one-cup serving of cabbage offers 75% of the daily-recommended amount of Vitamin C and is also rich in sulfur. Broccoli, kale, cauliflower, horseradish, and Brussels sprouts are also top notch choices included in this family of protective foods.

Fermented (Living) Foods

This old-world tradition of preserving foods is not very common today though it is making a come back as health practitioners and nutritionists gain renewed respect for probiotics and the importance of the protective role they play in the health of the human body. Fermented foods provide extremely high doses of probiotics compared to what can be found in most probiotic supplements. To learn more about fermented foods, click here.

Herbs

Be sure to include as many herbs as possible every day as you prepare and season your food. Here are some of the most powerful and also easy to incorporate options: Allspice, Basil, Caraway seed, Chili pepper, Cinnamon, Coriander, Cumin, Curry, Dill, Fennel, Ginger, Marjoram, Mint, Mustard, Nutmeg, Oregano, Parsley, Pepper, Rosemary, Sage, Tarragon, Thyme, and Turmeric.

 

 

By |2014-08-02T09:42:07-05:00August 2nd, 2014|Articles, General, NANCY’S NUTRITIONAL NUGGET|

Supplements that Support your Immune System

immune system support

Support your Immune System

When it comes to prevention and protection, the following supplements that support your immune system make a great basic arsenal of weaponry to have handy to incorporate when you sense your immune system is under unusual attack or stress. Depending on the supplement, increasing the amount you are already taking or adding a couple of them into your daily supplement regimen for a number of days can help to bolster the immune system and/or attack germs that have entered the body. Work with your wellness provider here at TWIHW to develop a strategy that will meet your individual needs.

  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin C
  • Zinc
  • Silver Sol
  • Probiotics
  • Echinacea – (caution: people with certain allergies (e.g. ragweed) may have adverse reactions to Echinacea)
  • Essential Oils – stay tuned next month for more on essential oils and their many uses such as immune system support and cleaning the house!

 

*The product information provided is for educational purposes and is not intended as either diagnosis or treatment of any disease, nor does it replace professional medical advice. 
 
*Warning: Please consult a health care professional before using these products.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By |2014-08-02T09:16:06-05:00August 2nd, 2014|Articles, General|

Defending the Borders, Part III

Being Proactive Against Invaders

This month, we’re closing this series by encouraging you to have a strategic lifestyle that protects your Body Nation. It is proactive and anticipatory in nature.

In military terms, this concept is well demonstrated by the events of 9/11 and the Boston Marathon attack in 2013. When events like this occur, our governments stop to ask the question, “How did this happen and how do we prevent it from reoccurring?”

Do you ever look at your health this way? Do you ask yourself what events occurred that left you exhausted, or with a cold, flu, stomach virus or yeast infection?   And more importantly, what can you do going forward to prevent this from happening again? Here are simple proactive and defensive strategies to prevent attack.

Make Wellness Your Lifestyle Routine

Our lifestyle choices direct us in one of two directions: toward disease or toward wellness. Where are your choices taking you? Adopting a healthy lifestyle for life is the single greatest step you can take toward staying well and protecting your health. The core foundational pieces must include:

  • Food and water choices that truly nourish the physical structure of the body.
  • Spiritual or meditative time for mental health and self-respect.
  • Quality sleep for healing, balance, detoxification and restoration.
  • Routine exercise for strength, stress reduction and stamina.

Are you taking good care of yourself? Get started on a commitment to continually adjust your lifestyle to achieve balance in this foundation for wellness.

Anticipating What Lies Ahead

To avoid getting caught off guard, like our nation did with 9/11, you will find it helpful to anticipate possibilities and take protective, preventative measures. Here are examples of what this looks like:

  • Crazy Busy Week Ahead: Schedule and plan non-negotiable self-care appointments for wise food choices, adequate sleep, exercise and quiet time.
  • Germy Places: Anticipate airplanes, hospital visits or being in crowded venues and increase probiotic intake for a day or two before, during and after. In addition, keep you hands clean and off of your face. (The more people you are around, the more likely germs will be passed).
  • Life’s Most Stressful Events: Recognize that the most difficult life events require a wellness strategy. A dying parent, loss of a job, divorce or loss of someone you love each demand streamlining your life by delegating what you can, stepping away from some commitments for a time, and investing more time in self-care and wellness. Consider professional help, rally friends and family for support, ask your wellness provider about diet and supplements that can help to ease anxiety, reduce inflammation and improve rest.
  • Feels Like You Are Coming Down With Something:

       o   At bedtime, increase your military force right where you need it by opening a probiotic capsule and dumping its contents on the back of your tongue before putting your head on the pillow. Doing this places military forces right in the ears, nose and throat.

         o   Consider adding or increasing supplements that boost your immune function such as probiotics, Silver Sol, zinc, vitamin D and vitamin C. (See Supplement of the Month section in this newsletter.)

      o   Focus on anti-microbial, anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, antioxidant foods (see the Nutrition article in this newsletter.)

  • General Maintenance and Upkeep: Seasonally, take time to cleanse your body through juicing, fasting, eating raw or some similar cleansing technique that works well for you. Consult with Nancy Mehlert, our nutritionist, for methods that will meet your individual needs.
  • Take Direction from Your Body: Most of us are miserably out of relationship with our body. It does speak to you, so learn to listen to it! Listen for thirst, pain, exhaustion, fullness, or hunger and respond with provision. If a craving exists for a healthy food such as a vegetable, nut, or meat, then meet that demand by getting that exact food. (Be aware of malware messages for donuts, ice cream or chips. If you get those messages, some other malicious invader is attacking you).
  • Get Out In Front of Potential Trouble: If you know you have to have x-rays taken or a certain medical procedure will involve antibiotics or steroids, put a dietary and supplemental plan in place to protect and maintain your gut bacteria by increasing probiotic doses and consulting with your wellness provider for assistance.

Anticipating possible damage, taking proactive steps, and developing a well balanced lifestyle will lead you to wellness.

By |2014-08-02T08:45:03-05:00August 2nd, 2014|Articles, General|

Foods That Defend You

Foods with Antimicrobial Properties

We usually think of our food as a source of nourishment in the form of protein, carbohydrates, fats, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Are you aware that there are many foods that have antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties and help to attack and destroy unwanted visitors such as the common cold, disease-causing bacteria, and yeast? Here are some of the best food antimicrobials that can work in your defense on a daily basis:

Coconut Oil

The best source for caprylic and lauric acids, coconut oil provides antifungal and antibacterial protection whether ingested or applied externally. Butter from grass fed cattle is another excellent source of these acids while olive oil contains Oleuropein, also known to be an effective anti fungal.

Garlic and Onions

Known for their antibacterial properties, these two foods have been used all over the world to treat major and minor diseases. The active ingredient is sulfur which serves to reduce inflammation, protect against pathogens and cancer, and also is a strong anti-oxidant, attacking free radicals in the body.

Cabbage (and other relatives)

While all vegetables and fruits offer good sources of Vitamin C, which serves as a natural antibiotic and antioxidant, cabbage takes first place in this category. A one-cup serving of cabbage offers 75% of the daily-recommended amount of Vitamin C and is also rich in sulfur. Broccoli, kale, cauliflower, horseradish, and Brussels sprouts are also top notch choices included in this family of protective foods.

Fermented (Living) Foods

This old-world tradition of preserving foods is not very common today though it is making a come back as health practitioners and nutritionists gain renewed respect for probiotics and the importance of the protective role they play in the health of the human body. Fermented foods provide extremely high doses of probiotics compared to what can be found in most probiotic supplements. To learn more about fermented foods, click here

Herbs

Be sure to include as many herbs as possible every day as you prepare and season your food. Here are some of the most powerful and also easy to incorporate options: Allspice, Basil, Caraway seed, Chili pepper, Cinnamon, Coriander, Cumin, Curry, Dill, Fennel, Ginger, Marjoram, Mint, Mustard, Nutmeg, Oregano, Parsley, Pepper, Rosemary, Sage, Tarragon, Thyme, and Turmeric.

By |2014-07-23T07:05:22-05:00July 23rd, 2014|Articles, General, NANCY’S NUTRITIONAL NUGGET|

Defending the Borders Part II

Avoiding what destroys your protective force of beneficial bacteria in your gut.

This month we want to focus on how to recognize all of the threats to Your Body Nation and ways to avoid them. Keep in mind that your gut microflora, when properly balanced and healthy, will contain mostly beneficial bacteria, but will also always have a small amount of pathogenic (disease-causing) microbes.

Unfortunately, a product of eating and breathing is bringing in some of the bad guys. Like our nation and our communities, there will always be a presence of the harmful microbes. The goal is to have your strong protective force of probiotics in place to manage, control, and prevent the harmful ones from flourishing. So as you build your strong protective force for Your Body Nation, the next two steps are to:

1) avoid what destroys your protective force of beneficial bacteria.

2) avoid giving the pathogenic bacteria (the bad guys) food and fuel to grow.

Here are the specifics:

1) Avoiding the Killers

When you look at the list of probiotic killers, you will appreciate the toll our fast paced, highly advanced technological society is having on human health. Carefully examine the list. Avoid everything that you can by making lifestyle changes. Minimize exposure to the others as much as you can and then keep taking your probiotics and consuming fermented foods to replace what you cannot control losing.

Here are the enemies:

  • Antibiotics and Antibacterials – think big in this arena. The obvious killers are prescription antibiotics but antibiotics are also found in grain fed beef and other Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFO) used in the meat processing industry. It also includes all milk used to make dairy products where the cows have been fed antibiotics as well. Another sneaky place is in household cleaning or personal care products that claim to have antibacterials in them. A common one to watch for is Triclosan, found in hand soaps and toothpaste.
  • Steroids (especially long term use)
  • Birth Control Pills
  • Radiation – X-rays, microwaves, chemotherapies, cell phones, computers
  • Splenda (aka Sucralose) – this is the most common artificial sweetener used in most of the “sugar free” foods today from soft drinks, sugar free cookies, ice creams, and bread products as well as in many protein drinks and food bars.
  • Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO’s) – the most common are soy, corn, cottonseed, canola, and summer squash. Genetically modified organisms don’t technically kill your favorable gut bacteria, but rather genetically alter them, causing gene silencing, which can shut down our own physiology. Epidemiological patterns show there’s an identical rise in over 30 human diseases correlated with our increased use of glyphosate and the increased prevalence of genetically engineered proteins in our foods. *
  • Chlorine – watch for it in tap water used in drinking, bathing, washing clothes, and also in swimming pools and hot tubs.
  • Flouride – tap water, toothpaste, dental gels, some pharmaceuticals (e.g. Cipro), non-organic grape juices and wines (vineyards use a pesticide called cryolite with high levels of fluoride) and black and green teas (especially bottled and instant varieties made from older leaves which contain highest levels of fluoride).

2) Stop Feeding the Pathogens

The second step is to keep the pathogenic bacteria and yeast that normally inhabit your gut from growing out of control. Routine exposure to the following is like giving ammunition to the enemy. Here are the key items that promote and encourage the overgrowth of pathogenic (bad) bacteria in the gut.

  • High carbohydrate diets, especially from highly processed foods that include grains (wheat, corn and rice), potato, sugars, some chemicals. This translates into most of our bread and bakery products, cereals, pasta, chips, snack foods and fast foods.
  • Sugar, in all forms
  • Dairy products, especially fat free and reduced fat (thus high in lactose, also known as milk sugar) as well as sweetened yogurts, ice creams, and puddings.
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Stress (take steps to cope better, learn to relax, get exercise and quality sleep)

Now that you know what your looking for, you are well equipped to protect your Body Nation from the enemy and keep your own military force strong and in full control.

*http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/10/06/dr-huber-gmo-foods.aspx

By |2014-06-27T09:17:05-05:00June 27th, 2014|Articles, General|

Health Benefits of Fermenting Foods

Fermentation, or culturing, is the conversion of carbohydrates to organic acids using a combination of favorable bacteria under anaerobic (without oxygen) conditions.    These microorganisms protect the food from pathogenic bacteria and mold and when eaten, also repopulate the gut lining with these same favorable bacteria.

An age-old practice in many cultures around the world, traditionally fermented foods provide many benefits to human health.  The favorable bacteria in fermented foods, in combination with the slightly acidic environment created by them, deter the growth of pathogenic bacteria and can destroy super bugs currently resistant to most antibiotics.  Fermented foods also help to balance the production of stomach acid by increasing the acidity of gastric juices if stomach production is inadequate or helping to protect the stomach and intestinal lining when too much acid is produced.  Fermented foods also help the body to produce acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that helps with the movement of the bowel, thus alleviating constipation.  It also helps to improve the release of digestive juices and enzymes from the stomach, pancreas and gallbladder, thus acting as powerful digestive aids.

The good news is that with a little practice, just about anyone can master the simple practice of fermenting food.  You can enhance the health benefits of your food at considerable savings over purchasing traditionally fermented foods from farmer’s markets, health food stores and on line sources.

There are many great resources to learn how to ferment foods.  One very good resource is www.culturesforhealth.com where you can find out about all the many ways to ferment foods in traditional ways as well as using starter cultures, supplies and u-tube instructions and great recipes.  Today’s recipe ideas come from this web page as well as the product used to ferment the foods.  One of the best cookbooks available for old world cooking including the art of fermentation is Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon and Mary Enig.

Just about any food can be fermented but vegetables are one of the easiest places to start.  It is a very simple 3 step process of 1) choosing and chopping fresh organic vegetables, 2) creating the right liquid or brine, which is where the cultures are located, (usually water or celery juice with salt or a starter culture) and 3) properly packing the vegetables into a glass jar with the liquid brine and then allowing the fermentation to occur.

To help make it even simpler, today in our recipe corner we are recommending ways to ferment store bought foods by purchasing a vegetable starter culture (recommended brands listed below) and adding it to whole, all natural or organic store-bought food such as hummus, unsweetened applesauce or salsa.

We hope you will take the challenge and give fermented foods a try.  Here are some traditionally fermented vegetables available in grocery stores and on line:

  • www.immunitrition.com sells homemade fermented vegetables
  • Bubbies, Cortland Valley Organic and Farmhouse Culture are three reliable brand names to look for in better and whole food grocers.  You can also search on line for stores that carry them or in some cases, buy them direct from the producer.
  • Visit local farmer’s markets and natural health food stores for more resources and producers of traditionally fermented foods.
  • To purchase starter cultures consider Mercola Kinetic Culture, Body Ecology’s Culture Starter or Caldwell’s Vegetable Starter Culture.

At a minimum, buy a culture and try fermenting some of your store bought options.  You can’t beat fermented foods as a source for your favorable gut bacteria.  Many respected sources claim that several ounces of fermented vegetables consumed each day contain as many beneficial bacteria as a full bottle of a probiotic supplement!  It is time to build your military force and protect Your Body Nation.

By |2014-05-31T13:59:56-05:00May 31st, 2014|Articles, General, NANCY’S NUTRITIONAL NUGGET|

Probiotics

How to Pick a Probioticdefend your borders

Probiotics is the name used for the supplemental form of the favorable microflora so essential to overall health and immune function in the human body.  There are many probiotic supplements available in the marketplace today and a few important selection tips to keep in mind.

A good probiotic will have at least 4 or more different species of beneficial bacteria and should include members from the lactobacilli and bifidobacteria species or families.  The most valuable and commonly seen species include Lactobacillus acidophilus DDS-1, Lactobacillus plantarum, Lactobacillus casei, Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Lactobacillus brevis, Lactobacillus salivarius, Bifidobacterium lactis, Bifidobacterium longum, Bifidobacterium bifidum and Streptococcus thermophilus. Many probiotics also include FOS, or Fructooligosaccharides, which are considered a prebiotic because they provide food and nourishment for probiotics. FOS may or may not be present and it is not necessarily essential but ideal.

A good probiotic should have a concentrated amount of bacteria. It takes large doses to see improvement and restore gut bacteria.  Your gut is optimal when the microflora population is over 100 trillion.  We now recommend a probiotic that provides somewhere between 20 to 70 billion cfu (colony forming units) per dose for most people.  At a minimum, adults generally should take at least 15-20 billion cfu per day. Babies up to 12 months can have 1-2 billion; toddlers from 1 to 2 years can have 2-4 billion; children from 2-4 years can have 4-8 billion; children from 4-10 years can have 8-12 billion and from 12 to 16 years, an appropriate minimum dose is 12-15 billion per day.

It is important to slowly build up to the suggested minimum guidelines provided above.  Remember, these favorable bacteria get busy about the business of killing unwanted pathogens in the gut, so taking too much probiotic too quickly can result in unpleasant die off symptoms (fatigue, itchy skin, irritability just to name a few) which can be uncomfortable.  A slow, small step approach is the safest way to start taking probiotics although it is also interesting to note that it appears that overdosing is not likely if not impossible.

From our perspective at TWIHW, everyone should be taking a probiotic and/or eating fermented foods.  Our culture today places very destructive demands on our favorable microflora.  Stress, carbohydrates, alcohol, electromagnetic forces, antibiotics, steroids, antibacterial cleaning and body products, birth control pills, and Splenda (aka Sucralose) all contribute to the destruction of our favorable microflora, so we must be diligent at replacing them daily.

At TWIHW, we offer a wide variety of high quality probiotics to meet your needs in both capsule and powder formulations. Moreover, as is our custom, we are happy to take your order and have it ready for pick up or shipped directly to you.  Place your order here and start defending Your Body Nation today.

By |2014-05-31T10:40:21-05:00May 31st, 2014|Articles, General|

Fermenting Your Store Bought Food

 

1) Purchase a vegetable starter culture such as Caldwell’s, Body Ecology’s or Mercola’s Kinetic Culture.

2) Choose one of the recommended foods below and purchase one that is void of chemicals or preservatives.  An organic choice would be great. If the food contains a tad of vinegar as one of the last ingredients, it should ferment fine however if it is a primary ingredient, it may not ferment well.

3) Use 1 Tablespoon of starter for each cup of food you wish to culture.  Stir the culture starter into the food, cover, and let sit on the counter for 2 to 3 days at a moderate room temperature (60-70 degrees).

4) Move the cultured food to the refrigerator and enjoy!

Click here to see some product options for easy fermentation.

Try this process with Grandma’s Hummus or Pita Pal Organic Hummus, an organic, unsweetened applesauce, or an organic ketchup in a bottle (rather than plastic) that does not contain high fructose corn syrup.  Another good option is an organic, vinegar free salsa in a glass jar such as HEB Organics Salsa. Even a prepared mustard in a glass jar can be fermented in this manner.

Select a can of beans of your choice.  Drain and rinse then puree with a teaspoon of cumin and ½ teaspoon each of garlic powder and onion powder and then blend with 2 tablespoons of vegetable starter culture to make your own fermented bean dip.

Information obtained from  http://www.drdavidwilliams.com/traditional-fermented-foods-benefits/#axzz32rl8P9qu

By |2014-07-31T14:45:04-05:00May 31st, 2014|General, Recipes|

Immune Boosting Foods To Keep You Well

by Nancy Mehlert, MS

Supplementation is often a necessary step to ensuring our body is getting all of the vitamins, minerals and micronutrients necessary for optimal healthy living.  Many of our food sources are contaminated, and we don’t always choose the right variety and quality of food necessary to stay well.  But that does not mean we should not make every effort to eat well and make wise food choices.  We know that Zinc, Vitamin D, Vitamin C, and Probioticsare all critical players in the ability of the immune system to fend off disease and germs.  To help you make wise food choices that will arm your immune system with all the right weaponry, we have provided a list of the best food sources for each of these key immune boosting foods.

Zinc is found in highest levels in oysters, though they can also be ocean polluted with chemicals and metals so are not recommended as a daily food choice.  Better daily sources include grass fed beef, lamb, pork, liver, herring, egg yolks, pecans, Brazil nuts, pumpkin seeds, ginger root, mustard, chili powder, and black pepper.

Vitamin D is difficult to obtain from food and the body’s ideal source is to manufacture it from cholesterol in our skin from the ultra violet rays of the sun. With busy indoor lives, northern climates, cholesterol-lowering medications, clothes covering our skin and concerns about skin cancer, we are getting less sunshine, so Vitamin D deficiency is very common. We recommend supplementation of Vitamin D with regular monitoring for optimal levels by your healthcare professional.  However, modest amounts of naturally occurring vitamin D are provided in egg yolks, butter, liver, mackerel, salmon, sardines, herring, mushrooms and dark leafy greens.

Vitamin C is an essential nutrient that our bodies cannot manufacture and is only available in plant foods.  It is also not very stable, so is most potent and available in very fresh, uncooked fruits and vegetables. Fresh vegetable juicing and eating fresh, whole fruits are two very effective ways to get Vitamin C.  All fruits and vegetables are very good sources but the very highest levels are found in the citrus fruits, cantaloupe, strawberries, red and green bell peppers, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, tomatoes, asparagus, avocado, parsley, dark leafy greens, and cabbage.

Probiotics are the amazing bacteria that form the military force that protects your body from invasions of every kind.  Also called favorable or “friendly” bacteria, they serve to help in the production of some B vitamins and vitamin K, breakdown our food, and inhibiting the growth of pathogenic (disease-causing) bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites.  This is especially true of invading germs that arrive in, and on, our food. While we recommend probiotic supplementation, fermented and cultured foods are the ideal choice due to the very high population or concentration of living friendly bacteria. Unfortunately, food processing has killed the living aspects of most of our foods so few foods exist today in typical grocery stores that are truly living and full of favorable live bacteria. Whole Foods stores carry several brands of fermented sauerkraut and a high quality organic, living yogurt.  (Most live cultures in typical store bought yogurts are inconsequential in number, damaged by pasteurization and combined with a great deal of sugar.) Additionally, fermented vegetables can also be purchased online at Immunitrition.com. Additional resources to learn more about fermenting foods can be found on the Internet at many websites, one such example is www.culturesforhealth.com.

Eat Well, Stay Well!

By |2014-03-03T11:01:43-06:00February 14th, 2014|Articles, General, NANCY’S NUTRITIONAL NUGGET|
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