This week I will be heading to Illinois to receive some additional training as a GAPS Practitioner. GAPS is a term coined by Natasha Campbell-McBride, a neurologist and nutritional consultant from Europe that wrote the book Gut and Psychology Syndrome: Natural treatment for Autism, Dyslexia, Depression, Dyspraxia, ADD, ADHD and Schizophrenia. Dr. Campbell-McBride developed the GAPS diet while trying to help her own son after receiving the diagnosis of autism at the age of 2. Through her efforts her son now functions normally and has been removed from the autistic spectrum. Now she helps clients all over the world through the GAPS Diet and I feel fortunate to have the opportunity to receive training directly from her this week.
For those of you that may be familiar with the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD), the GAPS diet is very similar although geared towards those with more serious digestive disorders or gut dysbiosis, as it is termed. Like the SCD diet, the GAPS diet focuses on eliminating specific carbohydrates that have the potential to feed pathogenic bacteria in the gut. Unlike the SCD diet however, there is a greater emphasis placed on certain nutrients used to "seal and heal" the gut wall of inflammations and the so called "leaky gut syndrome". There is an introductory level for the diet as well as a maintenance level. I believe this diet has a much greater potential for healing all manner of digestive disorders including IBS, colitis, celiac's, food allergies, seasonal allergies, heartburn, etc. as well as the resulting psychological disorders that stem from the chemical byproducts of pathogenic bacteria such as autism, schizophrenia, depression, ADD, etc.
I hope to return from this training with new ideas and new ways to present this information. You can be sure that I will be doing some classes on it in the near future. I have also spent the last several weeks researching different probiotic companies and how best to use probiotics to restore gut health. More to come on that as well.
So here is your heads up! I look forward to telling you more in the next few weeks.
To Your Health!
The weather is changing fast! I know that when the temperature swings drastically from hot to cold within a day or two... just about everyone I know will be sick.
Contrary to popular belief, colds are not catching... at least not exactly. When the weather changes the body has to do a major temperature switch to compensate. Have you ever noticed how 55 degrees in the Fall feels so much colder than 55 degrees in February? Your thyroid gland, which acts like your body's thermostat kicks up a notch when the weather cools and the liver starts to produce more heat. And just like the smell you get from your home furnace as it cleans out all the dust accumulated over the summer, your liver cleanses out toxins that have been stored there during the summer months.
But what about germs? Have you ever wondered why some people get sick while others in direct contact with them do not? It's not just a healthy immune system but a healthy body free of excess toxins that will be able to weather the seasonal changes better. Bacteria and viruses are scavengers which feed off of dead, diseased and decaying matter. We have germs living in and around us all the time but it is only when they have food to eat that they multiply in great numbers. In fact, the germs are doing you a favor by digesting all of that waste material because it makes it easier for your body to get rid of it. And all of the symptoms that you feel: runny nose, cough, headache, fever, etc. are the various ways your body cleanses itself. Don't get me wrong, there are certainly some germs that have the ability to go from person to person making them sick, but the healthier you are - the lesser your symptoms will be and the quicker you will recover.
So why haven't we found a cure for the common cold? Because it is a natural way for your body to cleanse itself. Without colds, we would be really sick indeed!
Here are a few of my favorite ways to support my immune system when I've got the sniffles and sneezes:
Blossoms of Health Tea Blend - This wonderful blend of herbs keeps my head clear, drains my sinuses and keeps me functioning throughout the day. I try to keep a steady supply at the ready.
Yarrow - When I really start to feel run down nothing but yarrow does the trick. I make this tea and drink it as hot as I can stand it because it gets more bitter tasting as it cools. This brings the quickest relief from body aches, fevers and that general feeling of malaise.
VS-C Capsules - For those really aggressive viruses this formula from Nature's Sunshine boosts the immune system and knocks those viruses out! Great for chronic viral infections like mono and herpes too. Comes in capsule, concentrated and liquid forms too.
And never underestimate the power of homemade chicken soup! With easy to digest nutrients this food favorite really is good for you. Especially if the broth is made from the bones of the chicken and you add some onions, garlic, herbs like nettles or burdock, and maybe even some immune boosting mushrooms like reishi or shitake. Mmmmmmm!
To Your Health!
The other day I was perusing the grocery store ads on my lunch hour. I'm not sure why I did it because it usually just makes me angry. If you read most media about healthy eating they focus on just a few things. Low Fat, Low Sodium, Low Calorie and Sugar Free. But most healthy eaters know that if you follow that advice you will NOT be healthy. Here's why...
What They Say - Eat Low Fat
What Healthy People Know - Eat Natural Forms of Fat
Fat, even saturated fat is needed by the body for various functions. Fat keeps your joints lubricated, your hormones in balance, your food cravings in check, your metabolism normal, and your skin moisturized among many other things. Without fat we are depressed, grumpy, crave sweets and by eating them... get fat. Two hundred years ago people ate lard and butter on everything and few people were obese. Today, low fat food items are everywhere and heart disease, obesity and cancer rates haven't slowed down a bit. Healthy people know that highly processed vegetable oils and partially hydrogenated oils contribute to disease while cold pressed oils and fats from pasture raised animals restore health. So don't listen to "Them", eat butter and be healthy.
What They Say - Eat Low Sodium
What Healthy People Know - Use Sea Salt to taste
Salt is extremely important. Historically people would go to great lengths to obtain salt. It was a form of money. And if you were worth your weight in salt, you would have some! But heavily processed table salt has most of the goodness refined out of it. Natural sea salt from mineral rich sources are good for the body. The glial cells in the brain require salt to function properly. And salting to taste with Celtic Sea Salt or Pink Himalayan salt will never contribute to high blood pressure. Natural salt has naturally occurring iodine while table salt has a form of iodine that is difficult for the body to utilize. Healthy people eat sea salt to taste. "They" don't.
What They Say - Eat Fewer Calories
What Healthy People Know - Calories are not all created equal
For me it is all about empty calories versus nutrient dense foods. If I compared 1,000 calories worth of sugar to 1,000 calories worth of spinach, which do you think would be healthier? The point is to get as many nutrients per calorie as possible. What's the most nutrient dense food? Liver. I know, yuck right? But you would have to eat a whole lot of vegetables to get the same amount of nutrients that you would in a small piece of pasture raised chicken liver. The more nutrients you eat in one meal the more satisfied your body will be and the healthier you will feel. Healthy people eat liver and forget about calories.
What They Say - Sugar Free is Great
What Healthy People Know - Avoid all forms of sugar and sugar replacements.
Our body is hard-wired to enjoy sweet foods because in nature things that are sweet are rich in important vitamins and antioxidants. But today sugar is everywhere. We are tricking our body into thinking it is getting something good and nutritious but the fact is we are only destroying our health. So, sugar-free is better, right? Wrong! Sugar replacements like aspartame trick the body too. Aspartame is a very dangerous neuro-toxin and should never be consumed by children or pregnant women. How about high-fructose corn syrup, the cheap sugar? Sure it's made from corn but it certainly isn't healthy. And you can forget about agave. It uses the same processing techniques to turn a starch into something that tastes sweet. What do healthy people use to sweeten their food? Fruit, honey, a little real maple syrup on occasion and stevia. But most importantly healthy people know that desserts should be reserved for special occasions, when we deserve them. Not in every meal or even every day. Once a week make a special treat but the rest of the day enjoy the natural sweetness of real food.
If you want to be healthy don't listen to "Their" advice. It's their job to make you eat as much as possible... not to provide healthy food. For more information on how to improve your health naturally call us at 616-242-1355 to make an appointment.
Dr. Kathryn Doran-Fisher, ND
I've heard of a few recent cases of Hand Foot and Mouth Disease so I wanted to touch on this subject.
Hand Foot and Mouth Disease is a common viral infection affecting mostly children under the age of 10 although it can occur in adults as well. Symptoms include fever, headache, loss of appetite, a rash with small blisters on the hands and feet or diaper area, sore throat, and ulcers in the mouth, throat, and/or tongue.
This is a self-limiting disease which means as unpleasant as the symptoms may be, the immune system is more than capable of handling it and no treatment is necessary. Antibiotics are not effective on viruses! The fever is not harmful and is a sign that the immune system is working well. I do not suggest using any medications to bring down the fever as you will inhibit the body's ability to fight off the virus. The only danger is dehydration so be sure to give plenty of fluids.
Probiotics can be very helpful in lessening the symptoms and hastening full recovery. Infants up to 12 months of age should receive 1-2 billion bacteria cells per day of the B. Infantis strain. Children 2-4 years should receive 2-4 billion bacterial cells of the B. Infantis strain. Children 2-4 need 4-8 billion bacterial cells and can have a mix of acidophilus and bifidophilus strains. Children 4-10 will need 8-12 billion bacterial cells per day and can also receive a mix of acidophilus and bifidophilus.
If other symptoms seem severe, check with your local naturopath or homeopathic doctor for suggestions. The disease typically will last from 1-5 days with full recovery within 7 days. The time between infection and development of symptoms is 3-7 days so warn your child's daycare providers and any others that have been in contact with your child in that time period.
To avoid contracting the virus, essential oil blends such as Four Thieves or TOFKAT can be very helpful. Just dilute with water in a spray bottle and spray on hands, feet and surface areas to kill the virus on contact. These blends also have immune boosting properties.
Good health to you!
Kathryn Doran-Fisher is a Traditional Naturopath, Certified GAPS Practitioner and owner of Elder & Sage.