caffeine, natural healthcare, charlotte, nc, natural medicine, naturopathic medicine, dr parkes

Caffeine Awareness

Although it’s completely legal, caffeine found naturally in coffee and other drinks is really a stimulant drug. In fact, caffeine is the most commonly used psychoactive drug in the world. It is recognized as an addictive substance by the World Health Organization. Have you ever noticed that if you (or someone you know) go a day without caffeine, will develop headaches, body sweats and irritability? These are all symptoms of caffeine withdrawal, very similar to withdrawal from other stimulants and drugs.

Caffeine affects the central nervous system by elevating your heart rate, increasing alertness, and changing the way your brain and body function. While these may sound somewhat useful, it should only be used occasionally. Caffeine should not be used to replace sleep. It is absorbed into the blood and body tissues within 15 minutes and its effects lasts up to six hours, which can greatly affect sleep.

Whether caffeine is consumed in food, drink or as a medicine, it changes the way the brain and body work. Most of us know that coffee, energy drinks and soft drinks contain caffeine, but you may be surprised to learn that caffeine is hidden in many commonly consumed items. Protein bars, decaf coffee, hot or cold tea, chocolate, “fortified” water and pain medications are a few of the items that contain hidden caffeine.

Although caffeine may appear to have some positive effects, its negative effects greatly outweigh them. Below are some of the most commonly experienced effects of caffeine use:

Dependency and addiction

Similar to any drug, caffeine is very addictive. Most people change how much they use over time based on their built-up level of tolerance. Over time, you will need more caffeine to produce the same energizing effects because your body will naturally build up tolerance. This is very similar to the increased tolerance of alcohol or illegal drug use. If you’re a coffee drinker and have ever had to go without your “fix”, you know how difficult the withdrawal symptoms can be. Withdrawal is a serious reaction to weaning yourself off of caffeine and should not be taken lightly. These symptoms can include headaches, anxiety, irritability, body sweats, trouble concentrating, fatigue, digestive issues and changes in appetite. Relying on caffeine for energy is extremely dangerous and can produce adrenal fatigue that can lead to negative effects on other aspects of your health.


If you suffer from high stress levels, nervousness and anxiety, caffeine can exacerbate these symptoms and make you more susceptible to the negative effects of caffeine. If you are someone who already suffers from these conditions, you should completely avoid caffeine, sugar and other similar stimulants.


Caffeine is known to disrupt sleep and can make insomnia worse in people who suffer from sleep-related concerns. Even if you generally have no trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, caffeine can disrupt your body’s natural hormone levels, such as serotonin and melatonin, that help promote restful sleep. Because of this, you’re more likely to need caffeine to help you function the following day, putting yourself in a never-ending cycle of “needing” caffeine to have a productive day.

Hormone Levels

Over time, caffeine causes the adrenal glands to overwork and eventually weaken. When you’re lacking quality sleep, you suppress healthy hormone production. Caffeine can be especially harmful for women suffering from many hormone related issues such as PMS, PMDD, PCOS, fibroids, endometriosis and infertility.


Caffeine is a diuretic, so you’ve probably noticed you have an increased need to urinate after consuming it. Additionally, caffeine depletes levels of key nutrients and minerals, including B vitamins, vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, calcium and zinc.


The effects of caffeine combined with sugar in sweetened coffee, soft drinks and energy drinks has an even bigger, negative impact on the body than caffeine alone. These high-sugar, processed ingredients are full of artificial sweeteners and chemicals and are extremely dangerous especially when combined with caffeine.

If you are ready to eliminate caffeine from your diet but are unsure where to begin, try switching out some of your sugar filled, caffeinated beverages with some healthy alternatives. You can try flavored herbal teas, including green tea. If you really enjoy the taste of coffee, try switching out your daily fix with a dandelion root tea or latte. To sweeten your caffeine free beverages, try sweetening with pure stevia.

If you have a severe caffeine addiction and don’t know where to begin, call our office today at (704) 334-3761 to schedule a free phone consultation with one of our Naturopathic Physicians. We can get you started on a detox that will kick start your journey to a happier and healthier you without the need for caffeine.


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unhealthy eating, healthy eating, food additives, natural health charlotte, naturopathic doctor, charlotte nc, natural health clinic in charlotte, nc

The 12 Worst Food Additives to Avoid

When you eat processed, pre-packaged foods, you can guarantee that you’re also consuming a large amount of food additives.

Additives are often used in food processing to slow spoilage, prevent fats and oils from going bad, prevent fruits from turning brown, to improve taste, texture and appearance and even to enrich the food with synthetic man-made vitamins and minerals to replace the natural ones that were lost during processing.

Unfortunately, many of these additives have been linked to health concerns, while others have been granted “Generally Recognized as Safe” (GRAS) status without any approval by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

12 Worst Food Additives to Avoid

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) is a great resource to help you sort through the questionable compounds on food labels, as well as many other products we use on a daily basis such as shampoo, toothpaste, etc.

Please visit their website for more information and receive up-to-date facts on your favorite foods and products:


  1. Nitrites and Nitrates

Sodium nitrite is a synthetic preservative added to meats like hot dogs and deli meat to help them maintain their color. In the presence of heat, chemical reactions occur which can damage cells and are very harmful to your health. Nitrates are present in many vegetables, which has led to some confusion. Nitrites and nitrates are not naturally bad for you, they can actually help to lower blood pressure and have anti-inflammatory effects. It is when nitrates are heated and form nitrosamines that they become dangerous.

  1. Potassium Bromate

Nearly every time you eat commercial breads you are consuming bromide, an endocrine-disrupting chemical commonly used in flours. Commercial baking companies use it because it makes the dough more elastic. Studies have linked potassium bromate to kidney and nervous system damage, thyroid problems, gastrointestinal discomfort, and cancer. It is banned for food use in Canada, China, and the European Union (EU).

  1. Propyl Paraben

Propyl paraben is an endocrine-disrupting chemical used as a food preservative. It’s commonly found in tortillas, muffins, and food dyes and may also contaminate foods via packaging. Research has shown that 91 percent of Americans have propyl paraben in their urine, and is found in approximately half of beverages, dairy products, meat, and vegetables. It has been found to accelerate the growth of breast cancer cells, impair fertility in women, and reduce sperm counts and testosterone levels.

  1. Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA)

Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) is a preservative that affects the neurological system of your brain, alters behavior, and has the potential to cause cancer. It can be found in breakfast cereal, nut mixes, chewing gum, butter spread, meat, dehydrated potatoes, popcorn, chips, and beer, just to name a few. BHA may also trigger allergic reactions and hyperactivity. It is banned from infant foods in the UK and is banned from use in all foods in certain parts of the EU and Japan. In the US, the FDA considers BHA to be a GRAS (“Generally Recognized as Safe”) additive.

  1. Butylated Hydroxytoluene (BHT)

BHT is chemically similar to BHA and the two preservatives are often used together. While BHT is not considered a carcinogen like BHA, it has been linked to tumor development and thyroid changes in animals. In the US, BHT is given GRAS status.

  1. Propyl Gallate

Propyl gallate is a preservative used to prevent fats and oils from going bad. It’s often found in sausage, frozen pizza, and other processed foods that contain edible fats. Propyl gallate is associated with tumors, including rare brain tumors, in rats.

  1. Theobromine

Theobromine is an alkaloid found in chocolate. It has effects similar to caffeine, and is the reason why chocolate is so highly toxic to dogs. Theobromine was granted GRAS status, without the approval of the FDA.

  1. Natural and Artificial Flavors

What’s particularly alarming when you see a word like “artificial flavor” or even “natural flavor” on an ingredients label is that there’s no way to know what it actually means. For example, strawberry artificial flavor can contain nearly 50 different chemical ingredients. Most people assume that a natural flavor describes something natural like strawberries, garlic, or chili pepper used to naturally season food. In reality, most natural flavors are created in a laboratory, just like artificial flavors. In the end, natural flavors often have little resemblance to the natural product they came from. One exception is certified organic natural flavors, which must meet more stringent guidelines and cannot contain synthetic or genetically engineered ingredients.

  1. Artificial Colors

Every year, food manufacturers pour 15 million pounds of artificial food dyes into US foods. Nine of the food dyes currently approved for use in the US are linked to health issues ranging from cancer and hyperactivity to allergy-like reactions. For example, Red # 40, which is the most widely used dye, may accelerate the appearance of tumors in mice, while also triggering hyperactivity in children. Blue # 2, used in candies, beverages, pet foods and more, was linked to brain tumors. And Yellow # 5, used in baked goods, candies, cereal, and more, may not only be contaminated with several cancer-causing chemicals, but it’s also linked to hyperactivity, hypersensitivity, and other behavioral effects in children. Even the innocuous-sounding caramel color, which is widely used in brown soft drinks, may cause cancer.

  1. Diacetyl

The artificial flavoring called diacetyl is often used as a butter flavoring in microwave popcorn. It’s also used to flavor dairy products, including yogurt and cheese, and exists in some “brown flavorings,” including maple, strawberry, and raspberry flavors. Research shows diacetyl has several concerning properties for brain health, respiratory damage, inflammation and may trigger Alzheimer’s disease.

  1. Phosphates

Phosphates are added to more than 20,000 products, including fast food, baked goods, and processed meats. Phosphates have been linked to some concerning health conditions, including heart disease.

  1. Aluminum Additives

Sodium aluminum phosphate, sodium aluminum sulfate, and many other aluminum additives are found in processed foods as stabilizers. This metal can accumulate and persist in your body, especially in your bones, and animal studies show aluminum may cause neurological effects, including changes in behavior, learning, and motor response.

If you are concerned with what you’re eating or you think it may be time for a detoxification to rid your body of harmful food additives, call The Lifestyle Clinic (704-334-3761) for Natural Healthcare in Charlotte, NC to schedule a free phone consult with Dr. Parkes!

By: Dr. Kivette Parkes, Naturopathic Doctor



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Spring Cleaning, Inside and Out

During spring, nature goes through the process of renewal. Cleansing and detoxification is a gentle and effective way to bring the energy of renewal into our own lives. Spring cleaning is more than just detoxifying the body, it can also mean avoiding toxins in our thoughts, emotions, and environment. Below are some gentle and safe ways to bring the energy of spring cleaning into your life, from the inside out.

Cleansing the Body

Our bodies are exposed to toxins daily from the air we breathe to the products we use. There are several body systems that help us eliminate these toxins such as our liver, kidneys, and even our sweat. These systems can get overwhelmed and often need a little help and support. This is often referred to as doing a “detoxification”.

Modern living can bring us into contact with so many toxins that everyone could use a good detox, especially in the spring! Detox is the process of reducing the amount of toxins that we are exposed to in order to release toxins that are already stored in the body. There are a variety of methods for detoxing the body. Most consist of resting the body by eliminating solid foods for a short time and instead consuming cleansing foods such as special broths, juices, teas, herbs or supplements. After the cleansing period is over, a very clean diet is slowly reintroduced. It is important to speak to a Naturopathic Doctor for any detox. Several hidden factors can complicate a detox if done without professional help such as blood sugar issues, or if a person has been exposed to heavy metals or other dangerous toxins.

Cleansing the Environment

A clean body will only benefit us so long without the support of a clean environment. There are several sources of toxins in our environment that need to be addressed. The most important is toxins in our food. It is important to be eating organic fruits and vegetables, organic meats, non-GMO whole grains, and limit processed foods as these contain dyes, flavor enhancers, preservatives, and other industrial chemicals. Clean water is also a must, including filtered water in non-toxic containers. Glass is the best storage container for water, followed by stainless steel, and BPA-free plastic.

Another area of toxic exposure is in our homes. Household cleaners, laundry products, lawn care chemicals, and bug sprays expose us to numerous chemicals and petroleum based toxins. Even cosmetics, perfumes, shampoos, face washes, deodorants, and toothpastes have chemicals that can disrupt our health. Health food stores offer environmentally-friendly, all- natural products.

Cleansing the Spirit

One overlooked area of detox is our thoughts and emotions. To truly embrace the benefits of a spring clean, we must also look at the mental and emotional environment we live in daily. Chronic stress is one of the most toxic emotions to live with on a daily basis. Not only can it tax the body by stimulating stress hormones, it harms the spirit and positive mental outlook. Other toxic emotions such as anger, resentment, jealousy, anxiety, and depression need to be dealt with. Naturopathic Medicine helps support more than just your body, it helps support the whole person including one’s emotional state.

By working with a Naturopathic Doctor, you can gently release negative emotions and embrace your own health and vitality. Some strategies everyone can use to help support their spring cleaning are deep cleansing breaths, meditation, staying hydrated with clean water, and exercising.


Lindlahr, Henry, and Jocelyn C. P. Proby. 1975. Philosophy of natural therapeutics. Saffron Walden: C.W. Daniel Co.

Pizzorno, Joseph E., and Michael T. Murray. 1999. Textbook of natural medicine. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone.

Vasey, Christopher. 2009. The naturopathic way: how to detox, find quality nutrition, and restore your acid-alkaline balance. Rochester, Vt: Healing Arts Press.

Detox, Veggies, Charlotte, Charlotte Natural Health

You’re Invited to an Online Virtual Detox


– Gain energy 

– Lose pounds and inches 

– Cleanse your blood, liver colon and kidneys 

– Renew, Restore and Revitalize your Body 

– Done completely online from the comfort of your own home 

– Invite friends, family and coworkers to join (non-patients can participate)  

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– Registration Package which includes all your detox supplements is $283.07 (plus shipping if applicable). 

LIMITED NUMBER OF SLOTS AVAILABLE!  Registration deadline is May 2nd. 

You, and your guests, may call the office at (704-334-3761) to complete registration by phone.

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allergies, natural health, detox

Dealing with Pesky Allergies

Allergies? Itchy eyes, runny nose, hives, sneezing, headaches… these are all symptoms that you have allergies. An allergic response is the reaction of the body’s immune system to a substance that is normally harmless to the body. The offending substance causing allergies is called an allergen. These can include; dust, grass pollens, certain foods, food additives, chemicals, metals, and animal hair to name a few.

Many people believe that allergies are caused by the substance themselves. In reality it is a reaction from your immune system trying to keep you healthy.

What are Allergies?

It begins with exposure. Even if you’ve inhaled an allergen many times before with no trouble, at some point, the body flags it as an invader. The immune system makes antibodies which are special cells designed to detect the invading allergen if it enters your body again.

Then, the next time you’re exposed to the allergen, your immune system kicks into action. The antibodies recognize the allergens, which then flood the body with chemicals such as histamine. Histamine serves as a red flag to your immune system by notifying the body of potential harm. When these chemicals are released into the body, they are responsible for symptoms such as inflammation, swelling, hives, redness, itching, constriction of the airways, and increased mucus secretion.  Typical reactions associated with allergies include; asthma, hayfever, sinusitis, swelling of the throat, hives, eczema, migraine headaches, abdominal bloating, and cramping.

The Liver’s Role in Allergies

The best way to avoid allergies is to make sure that your liver and immune system are in peak condition. When your liver is functioning poorly, it cannot properly cleanse the blood of toxins (such as antibodies and chemicals).

These toxins over stimulate the immune system causing it to pour out histamine causing these allergic reactions.

A great way to optimize your liver and immune system function is to detoxify your body. By clearing the body of toxins, it will allow the detox processes in the body to better filter and deal with allergens in the future.

If you are experiencing allergic reactions, this is a clear sign that your body may have a build-up of toxins. These over-burden your liver which means that your liver is also burning fat less efficiently causing it to be difficult for weight loss. Gentle and regular detoxification is very helpful when trying to balance the immune system. Doing a seasonal detox will help to boost your liver to its full potential as well as re-set your immune system.

Ask your Naturopathic Doctor how it can benefit you!  

Talk to our Naturopathic Doctor about starting your detoxification program to help ease symptoms associated with allergies. If you or someone you know could benefit, please have them call us to set up a Free Phone Consultation to discuss individual needs.

We also offer group detox programs! We can come to your church, job or even if your family or friends want to participate together. Contact us today to find out more information!

By: Dr. Kivette Parkes, Naturopathic Doctor

Drinking water

Safe and Simple Detox Tips

1. Eating plenty of fiber to speed toxin elimination.

Fruits and vegetables are excellent sources of fiber that will help move waste through your system.

2. Focus on detoxifying foods.

Be sure to eat plenty of naturally detoxifying foods. Foods rich in sulfur will be especially beneficial.

3. Drinking plenty of pure water.

Your body depends on water to help your cells eliminate waste and your organs flush out toxins, so it’s imperative to

stay well hydrated during a detox.

4. Eliminating toxins from your diet and your home environment.

It’s important to eat organic foods while detoxing. This will reduce the chemical load on your liver. Choosing natural cleansing products will also help.

5. Exercising.

Your skin is an important route of elimination, and your body is capable of removing many toxins through your sweat.

Call us today to schedule a complimentary phone consultation with one of our Naturopathic Doctors to find out why a detox can benefit you!

Lifestyle Clinic in Charlotte NC

Detox the Natural Way

Your body is very much like a sponge, soaking up bits and pieces of just about everything it is exposed to and in our modern world, our bodies are exposed to a lot. From air pollution and food additives to pollutants in our drinking water, homes and even personal care products, the truth is that your body is literally bombarded with toxins on a daily basis. No matter how “clean” a life you lead, healthy eating, exercise, regular stress relief, your body is likely to show evidence of accumulated toxicity. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention conducted the Fourth National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals and found that on the average 212 chemicals in people’s blood or urine. Seventy-five of which had never been measured in the U.S. population previously. To name a few, acrylamide – which is formed when foods are baked or fried at high temperatures, arsenic, environmental phenols which are found in things like plastic or food packaging,

Triclosan which is found in antibacterial agents, in toothpaste and hand soap, or volatile organic compounds – found in paints, air fresheners, cleaning products, cosmetics, and much more. Environmental chemicals and pollutants are now virtually everywhere. For example, the umbilical cord blood of newborn babies contains an average of 200 industrial chemicals and pollutants. Together, these chemicals represent the “human body burden” which is a toxic cocktail of chemicals and pollutants that accumulate in your body over a lifetime and, in time, can take a serious toll on your health.

Why is Detoxing Regularly Important?

Many people now eat a diet of largely processed foods, high in sugar and unhealthy fats. Alcohol, caffeine, and artificial sweeteners add to the toxic burden. A detox can help your body to rid itself of some of these toxins, naturally, while also giving your body a chance to rest, repair and regroup. Detoxification has been practiced for centuries, used to improve skin problems, ease digestion and pain, and boost energy levels while promoting the body’s own inherent healing potential. Both your liver and your kidneys (along with your blood, bowel, lymphatic system and skin) help your body process and eliminate chemicals in your sweat, urine and feces.

Detoxing can help to support and enhance this natural process. Your liver has an incredibly important job, especially when it comes to detoxification. You can help your liver by making sure your diet includes foods and nutrients such as B-vitamins, flavonoids – found in organic fruits and vegetables, foods rich in vitamins A, C, and E, or phospholipids which are found in eggs, lean meats and fish. Lastly, eating a high quality, whole foods diet that includes a healthy source of protein, fruits and veggies and antioxidants will be beneficial for your liver.

Naturopathic treatment for detoxification can be incredibly effective and rewarding. If you or a loved one would like to learn more about detoxing the natural way we can help, call The Lifestyle Clinic today to schedule your free phone consultation with one of our Naturopathic Doctors! If you’re looking for a natural and holistic clinic in Charlotte, North Carolina, you’ve found the right place!

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The Benefits of Detoxification

Do you wonder if detoxification would benefit you? The answer is yes!

Aside from the toxins we ingest willingly, such as alcohol, processed foods and chemicals, there are many toxins in our everyday environment that are hard to avoid. Pollution in the air, water and food supply have powerful effects on the body and the mind, weakening our body’s defenses and making us more susceptible to disease and stress. When these external sources of toxicity overpower the body’s internal defenses, the liver’s ability to cleanse the blood slows down due to the overwhelming accumulation of toxins.

These excess toxins now build up in other parts of the body, slowing the natural cleansing process to a crawl. The result can be experienced as fatigue, pain, brain fog, confusion, loss of memory and even disease. The best way to achieve a successful detoxification is to have proper guidance from a healthcare professional and to make a strong commitment to healthy lifestyle changes. Detoxification is a key body function involving the elimination of metabolic waste and other toxins via the eliminatory organs- the skin, intestines, kidneys and especially the liver. Detoxification and purification programs have played a part of man’s rituals for health and well-being as far back as 1800 BC.

What are the signs you may need to detox?

There are many indications that your liver has become “sluggish” such as intolerance of alcohol and/or fatty foods, digestive problems like constipation, nausea, hemorrhoids & bloating, low energy, headaches, irritability, skin conditions, aches and pains, P.M.S, high cholesterol, food intolerances and more. For instance, improving liver function helps to manage weight as the body will hold onto liquids as water retention or hold onto fat to store excess toxins it can’t deal with. Hormonal problems like, blood sugar regulation issues, P.M.S, hot flashes, PCOS or infertility can occur as the liver is not able to break down hormones efficiently and leads to an imbalance or accumulation of estrogen. Any organ or system of the body will be left vulnerable to toxicity, if the liver is not able to break down toxins efficiently.

We can help!

If you are interested in improving your overall health by detoxifying your body and making lasting changes, The Lifestyle Clinic offers an all-natural, medically supervised option. This program has been used extensively to help people regain their health and vitality. In just a few weeks you can expect to have improved nutrition, increased energy, decreased weight and food cravings and an overall healthier body.

Call The Lifestyle Clinic today to schedule your free phone consultation with one of our Naturopathic Doctors! If you’re looking for a natural and holistic clinic in Charlotte, North Carolina, you’ve found the right place!