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With the circulating virus’ this time of year the snot, sniffles, fever and chills are everywhere! The physical stress of the temperature changes, time indoors, more sugars and less exercise all contribute to the increasing colds and flus this time of year.

While it is incredibly annoying to have a cold, for many people it provides an opportunity for the body to restore. Extra sleep, days off, increased elimination can all provide the body a net benefit when it’s all said and done. Getting a low to moderate fever benefits the body greatly. Despite feeling crummy, the fever is the body’s best defense against not only organisms we don’t want but also genetic errors and toxins that all contribute to the “normal symptoms of aging” and chronic diseases.

The most common treatments that American’s utilize for colds and flus may be short-changing the body’s experience and leaving us worse off than before. Most of our over the counter cold and flu remedies contain variations of the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for pain relief and fever reduction. Brand names Tylenol, Advil and more contain acetaminophen, ibuprofen, aspirin and naproxen all work via similar mechanisms in the body. While they often provide much desired pain relief, an undesireable effect that this class of drugs has on the body is diminishing the immune systems response.

Using NSAIDs during the course of a cold or flu is more likely to cause a longer duration of illness, worsening symptoms over time and the necessity for stronger medications to get through the illness. What’s worse yet, the inhibition of the immune system with these drugs prevents the immune systems most important feature from happening; memory. When the body goes through an illness, the immune system captures the experience in it’s long-term memory so that the next time we see that organism, or one similar to it we are ready to go and can address it immediately. Ideally, we experience enough illnesses in our younger years that when we reach our senior years and have lessened capacity to fight infection, our memory is so vast that we’re naturally prepared for any infection that comes our way (1).

Fortunately, natural medicine provides an incredibly diverse spectrum of healing tools that not only help relieve pain and discomfort but also strengthen the immune system along the way.

At the first sign of illness:

  • Support the immune system with a visit to the sauna. Before an illness has a chance to get settled in, boost your immunity with the fever-simulation of the sauna. Contrasting hot and cold temperature provokes lymphatic circulation and should feel great!
  • Oscillococcinum- homeopathic flu remedy that helps address the symptoms of flu regardless of which organism provokes it. (2)
  • Echinacea, Elderberry, Propolis Throat Spray – these anti-viral and immune stimulating herbs are ideal to use directly into the throat where most viral exposures get started. All 3 of these herbs function via different mechanisms to stop virus’s adhering to the tissues, interrupt virus replication and more.
  • Osha Root – chew on pieces of this powerful high mountain herb to kill virus in the upper respiratory tract. (3)
  • Rest – the worst thing we can do for ourselves at the onset of a cold or flu is to push ourselves to keep going. Stress hormones inhibit the immune systems functioning and allow infections to get a head start.
  • Avoid sugar, dairy, gluten and individual food allergies. Any food that provokes an inflammatory or mucous stimulating response will interfere in the ability of the body to fight an illness naturally and increase the pain response.Free stock photo of person, love, woman, relaxation

Relying on natural medicine for health provides countless options in healthcare. Together in conjunction with appropriate use of pharmaceutical therapies we can make the best of both modern medicine and ancient traditions. For individualized support with NSAID alternatives to pain whether for acute or chronic disease schedule an appointment today.

  1. Simona Bancos,1Matthew P. Bernard,1David J. Topham,2 and Richard P. Phipps1,* “Ibuprofen and other widely used non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs inhibit antibody production in human cells,” Cell Immunol. 2009; 258(1): 18–28. Published online 2009 Apr 5. doi:  10.1016/j.cellimm.2009.03.007
2.RosemariePappaGertSchubackbElmarBeckbGeorgBurkardcJürgenBengeldSiergfriedLehrla “OscillococcinumR in patients with influenza-like syndromes: A placebo-controlled double-blind evaluation,” British Homoeopathic journal Volume 87, Issue 2, April 1998, Pages 69-76.
3. Glenn D.Appelt “Pharmacological aspects of selected herbs employed in Hispanic folk medicine in the San Luis Valley of Colorado, USA: I. Ligusticum porteri (osha) and Matricaria chamomilla (manzanilla),” Journal of Ethnopharmacology Volume 13, Issue 1, March 1985, Pages 51-55.

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By this time of year, packing school lunches has moved beyond a morning chore to a nearly painful morning ritual that can easily lead to the intolerable battle of wills with elementary school kids (or adults for that matter) in some households!  Here are some ideas to ease the struggle or just inspire the daily habit.

Sandwiches and single serving packaged foods can get extremely boring and may not pack the biggest nutrition for their buck.  Yogurts and snack crackers often contain more sugar and preservatives than the value of their nutrients.  Even many of the foods marketed as health foods contain additional ingredients better off left in the chemistry lab.  Save money, eat healthier and create less environmental waste by getting creative with homemade packed lunches.

Ideas to make morning’s easier:

–       Engage kids in their own lunch creations.  Have them select ingredients from the fridge to begin a creative project of making their own lunch the night before.

–       Purchase re-usable travel containers (local crafters have many cute options available) to help snacks seem interesting.

–       Always deal with food prep after having an adequate breakfast with enough protein to help the blood sugar be stable.  Hypoglycemic irritability can account for many kitchen tantrums (of any age group).

Quick, easy and healthy options for packed lunches:

–       Hard boiled eggs – ideal protein/fat ratio for keeping blood sugar happy and if they’re free range organic eggs they can be incredibly beneficial for cholesterol levels!  Healthy fats are especially important for growing children as they approach the era of major hormonal changes.

–       Lettuce wraps – Skip the bread and create a veggie rich lunch by taking large lettuce leaves and wrapping them around tuna fish or smoked salmon.  Can also add sprouts, cheeses, mayo, rice, quinoa and spices to keep it interesting!  Makes for a better option than the average PB&J if you take a lettuce leaf, swipe a bit of peanut or almond butter through it and layer it with raisins or other dried fruit.

–       Veggie Sticks – skip the puffs, instead pack some lightly steamed veggies for food that’s just as fun to eat and actually warrants the energy expended while munching.  Puffed foods incur high heat exposure, which makes their natural oils no longer beneficial to consume.  A light steam to chopped carrots, broccoli and beets makes the valuable nutrients in these vegetables easy to digest and their natural sweet flavor more pronounced.

–       Trail mix – while it is easy to imagine the M&M filled sugar hunt of many commercial trail mixes, you can create healthy and less expensive options by purchasing nuts and dried fruit in bulk and mixing it to your preference.  Consuming nuts and seeds is the single best way to get the balance of vitamins and minerals in your daily diet.

–       Dried fruit or fresh fruit cut in a unique way can be a fun addition to a packed lunch.  Fruit is often a big hit with kids and can provide an abundance of antioxidants and immune boosting vitamins.  But, fruit sugar will aversely affect the blood sugar levels if there is not already a substantial protein or fat in the body.  The mixture of fruits and nuts makes for a great balance.

–       Left-overs!  Chicken salad, veggies and rice or soups may not be the first thing that comes to mind for a kids lunch but can be a great and easy way to get the job done.  Many families recognize that their dinners are far healthier food choices than the other 2 meals of the day.  Perhaps making “dinner” every meal throughout the day is a better way to go.

The goal for a healthy packed lunch is to come home completely eaten.  Helping kids engage in their food choices can be helpful to their interest in eating it as well.  The goal for the day’s nutrition is to provide the body with an overwhelming quantity of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants found mainly in freshly prepared vegetables, meats, nuts, legumes, whole grains and fruits.  Regardless of how we get the nutrients in us, the most important factor for maintaining growth, energy and concentration during the day is to ensure adequate blood sugar balance and a low-additive diet to prevent the body from getting irritated by unnecessary ingredients.

For a personalized approach to nutrition, schedule a consultation today at Stillwater Healing Arts in Lyons, Colorado.

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As I began my exploration in healthy eating, it seemed as if the list of foods I shouldn’t eat grew longer and longer…  Nobody likes deprivation, especially in this era where we have access to so much deliciousness.  The sense that we shouldn’t have something or that our bodies can’t handle certain foods does nothing but deteriorate our vitality.

Shifting this perspective is crucial to healthy eating and developing a true sense of nourishment.  Everyone has foods they don’t like, that are truly disgusting for one reason or another.  Instead of thinking that we can’t have something because it’s bad for us, train your brain to recognize how disgusting that food really is.  For example:

Wheaty, gluten rich dough = paper mache!  YUK!

Melty stringy cheese = excretion from a cow’s sweat gland.  NASTY!

Try it, you might like it.  And meanwhile, please join us for upcoming events for us to PROVE IT TO YOU that healthy eating can be delicious!

June 24th 11am-4pm :  Open House (a free event)

  • Tasty RAW food, Vegan snacks and Superfoods
  • Foot spa use (cool for a hot day!)
  • Information on all our upcoming programs.

July 1st 2pm-11pm :  Food Is Medicine Supper Club

  • 2-5pm Movement to activate vitality
  • 6:30pm Raw food Farm-to Table feast
  • 8pm Music to inspire the soul
  • Sliding scale $10-30. per person
  • All ages welcome

Be well ~ Dr. Hart

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I remember in a college psychology class the notion being brought up that the late winter month(s) are often the hardest on people emotionally.  As spring begins to peak it’s head up on the horizon, the angst of winter can seem more difficult than ever.

Natural ways to support the winter blues include:

  • Making time to get outdoors, no matter the weather.
  • Herbs such as rhodiola and st. johns wort elevate the mood while bringing warmth to the heart.
  • Avoid depleting substances such as excess caffeine and sugar.
  • Sleep when your body wants it including naps.
  • Ensure adequate omega 3 oils and vitamin D through blood work analysis and routine supplementation if needed.
  • Get crafty ~ creativity sparks the opportunity for new perspectives and can make a gloomy indoor day much more interesting.

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