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lifestyle clinic, charlotte, nc, fibroids

Uterine Fibroids

Nearly 70 percent of women will suffer from uterine fibroids in their lifetime, although they will only cause symptoms in about 25 percent of women. Uterine fibroids are benign (non-cancerous) tumors that grow on the walls of the uterus. Fibroids can grow as a single tumor, or there can be many of them. They range in size and quantity from being as small as an apple seed to as large as a grapefruit. Those women who do have symptoms from fibroids often find it very difficult to lead a normal pain free life. In extreme cases, surgery is necessary. Fibroids are responsible for more than 200,000 hysterectomies each year.

Some risk factors are out of your control, but there are many you can manage. There are a lot of things you can do to balance your hormones naturally, which is a key part of natural fibroid prevention and treatment before considering surgery. No one knows exactly what causes uterine fibroids, but it is generally known that hormones, particularly estrogen, are known to play a part.

Four things you should know about uterine fibroids:

1. Certain groups of women are at a higher risk

Age– Fibroids become more common as women age, especially during the 30s and 40s through menopause. After menopause, fibroids usually shrink due to the change in hormone levels.

Family history– If your other female blood relatives have fibroids, this dramatically increases your risk of also developing them.

Ethnic origin– African-American women have a much higher risk of developing fibroids than women of other races or ethnicities.

Obesity– Women who are overweight are two to three times more likely to develop fibroids compared to women who maintain a healthy weight.

Eating habits– Eating a lot of red meat, fish or poultry that is non-organic and raised with the use of hormones can significantly increase the risk of developing fibroids.

Early menstruation– Women who began menstruation prior to the age of 10 are at a higher risk for fibroids than those who started after the age of 10.

Birth control– Taking birth control pills can make fibroids grow more quickly because of the increased estrogen level in the body. Foods that are high in estrogen, and chemicals that mimic estrogen may also play a role in the development of fibroids.

2. Many women have no symptoms or side effects

Most fibroids do not cause any symptoms, but some women with fibroids may have issues such as:

Heavy bleeding (which can cause anemia)
Painful menses
Feeling of fullness in the pelvic area
Swelling of the lower abdomen
Frequent urination
Pain during sexual intercourse
Lower back pain
Complications during pregnancy and labor
Reproductive problems such as infertility

3. Fibroids do not always lead to infertility

Fibroids affecting fertility really depends on the number, location, and size of the fibroids. Less than three percent of cases of infertility are solely due to fibroids (without any other factors).

4. You don’t have to have surgery

In the past, when you found out you were suffering from fibroids that caused very heavy bleeding and pain, it was thought that a hysterectomy was the only option. Now there are other options such as working with a Naturopathic Doctor to balance your hormones naturally to help shrink and decrease the symptoms associated with fibroids. You can balance your hormones by avoiding foods that promote the development of fibroids such as processed foods and meats, refined sugar, alcohol and caffeine. As always, a healthy and well balanced diet is the best way to keep fibroids at bay. You should eat a nutrient rich diet with organic foods, green leafy and cruciferous vegetables, beta-carotene and iron rich foods to help minimize your risk of developing fibroids. You should also avoid excessive exposure to environmental toxins that act as estrogen in the body, these include pesticides, herbicides, synthetic fertilizers, bleach, food preservatives, harmful cleaners and food dyes. If possible you should also use natural, unbleached feminine care products as well as organic body care products and makeup to minimize your risk.

If you or someone you know is suffering from uterine fibroids, call us at (704) 334-3761 to schedule your free phone consultation with one of our Naturopathic doctors to learn more about your natural and holistic options.


Bonus Tip- Reasons to shop at Farmers Markets

Imagine this: in an ideal world, you could walk leisurely to your backyard to pick your fruits, vegetables and herbs for the day and spend the day laboring over your garden under the warm sun. Unfortunately, for most of us this is not our reality but we still want to make healthy choices. Our lives are filled with obligations that keep us busy. Your local farmers market is the best place to meet your local farmers and food producers and feed your family the healthiest foods. You can find a variety of things at your local farmers market, ranging from produce and eggs to local handmade gifts and flowers. Before visiting your local market, take some time to research and ask for recommendations. Some booths do not provide bags, so it is a good idea to bring your reusable shopping bags.

Seven reasons to shop at your local farmers markets

1. Freshly picked, in season produce is at its peak (in flavor and nutrition).
Because your food is being grown locally, there is a good chance your produce was picked within a few days. Shopping at a grocery store, this is impossible due to processing and transport time.

2. Support your local farmers.
One of the greatest benefits of shopping at your local farmers market is being able to talk to the farmers. Most of us know that when buying food we should buy organic and non-gmo to avoid ingesting harmful chemicals, but did you know that a lot of small local farms are actually using organic practices even if it might not be displayed? The USDA organic label is a very lengthy and expensive process, so many times only large high-profiting farms are able to go through this process. Talk to your local farmer and ask about their farming practices to make the best choice for your family.

3. Fresh fruit and vegetables are healthier.
When you can, it’s a good idea to purchase local produce to minimize your risk of ingesting heavy pesticides or chemicals. When you cannot buy local produce, frozen produce will suffice as long as it is certified organic.

4. It’s a great way to get your kids involved and interested in food.
You can let your kids pick out something new to try that they’ve never seen before. Then they can help prepare a new meal. This is a great way to add variety to your families meals.

5. Eat seasonally.
Grocery stores have too much variety and the food is picked before it has ripened due to transport times, therefore decreasing the vitality. By eating what is in season locally, your food will be fresh and ripe with a lot of nutrients.

6. Farmers often have recommendations.
If you frequently find yourself bored of the same old meals, your local farmers many times can help you by providing recommendations on how to cook their products.

7. A variety of payment methods.
Many farmers markets are cash only, but more and more are accepting debit and credit cards. Each booth may be different, it is generally a good idea to carry cash just in case (although most farmers markets do have ATMs on site). Benefits such as SNAP and WIC are also being accepted at more and more farmers markets around the country. Contact your local market to find out more about their payment methods.

For a list of local farmers markets in the Charlotte area, please visit the following link:
http://www.charlotteobserver.com/living/food-drink/article73968667.html

A few of our favorites are :

Atherton Market (http://athertonmillandmarket.com/retailers/mill/atherton-market/)
Charlotte Regional Farmers Market (https://www.facebook.com/CharlotteRegionalFarmersMarket/)
King’s Drive Farmers Market (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Kings-Drive-Farmers-Market/166507480078156)

 

Resources:

https://www.babycentre.co.uk/a7187/what-you-need-to-know-uterine-fibroids

http://www.charlotteobserver.com/living/food-drink/article73968667.html

https: //draxe.com/fibroids/

https://www.nutrition.gov/farmers-markets

https: //www.womenshealth.gov/a-z-topics/uterine-fibroids

the lifestyle clinic, charlotte nc, holistic health

Holistic Healthcare

Holistic Healthcare. We’ve all heard it, but do you really know what it means? Holistic healthcare is actually more of an approach to life than it is a system of healthcare. In contrast to conventional western medicine, it does not end when your symptoms are alleviated; it is an ongoing process to make healthy choices everyday. Holistic means considering the whole person in the prevention of disease; physically, psychologically, socially, and spiritually. Instead of focusing on a specific illness or part of your health, it emphasizes the connection of mind, body and spirit. It is based on the belief that these three parts are inseparable and when one is not working at its best, it impacts the entire person. When all the parts are balanced, the result will be optimal health and well-being.

Ancient healing traditions, as far back as 5,000 years ago, stressed healthy living in harmony with nature. These holistic concepts declined during the 20th century when germs were identified as outside sources causing illness and sickness. Western medicine became a process of killing outside invaders using pharmaceutical drugs, thus leading to the belief that people could get away with unhealthy lifestyle choices, and modern medicine would “fix” them as problems developed. Many people are turning back to the holistic approach to health and healing because they are realizing that modern medicine and pharmaceuticals are merely masking symptoms, and not treating the true concern.

In addition to a holistic approach to your health, a team approach is also extremely important. Building your healthcare team is an important step in the process of achieving a whole body balance. It is also very important to ensure that your healthcare team works together and have open communication with one another to work on one common goal: to empower you to become the healthiest you; mind, body and spirit. Each member of the team should know his or her own abilities and limitations and make referrals to another holistic practitioner when needed. A holistic approach means that the doctor is informed about a patient’s whole life situation, not just the small pieces that are relevant to their treatment.

A holistic practitioner is one who may use different forms of treatment, ranging from lifestyle modifications to alternative therapies. When a person is suffering from severe migraines, generally the holistic practitioner will take a look at all of the potential factors that may be causing the symptom, such as diet, hormonal imbalances, a stressful job, marital issues, etc. The treatment plan will usually include lifestyle modifications to help prevent the symptom from recurring instead of simply masking or numbing the symptom through the use of medication.

In holistic healthcare, a symptom is considered an alert that something needs attention. Thus, the symptom is used as a guide to look for the root cause so that the real problem can be addressed. Holistic practitioners recommend treatments that support the body’s natural healing system and are gentle on the body. There are many different types of holistic practitioners but they are generally someone who believes in the following principles:

All people have inherent healing powers that you are born with;
The patient is a person, not just a disease, illness or symptom;
Appropriate healing treatment needs a team approach addressing all aspects of a person’s life using a variety of health care practices;
Patient and physician are partners in the healing process;
Treatment involves fixing the cause of the condition, not just relieving the symptoms.

Holistic practitioners emphasize patient education on lifestyle changes and self-care to promote wellness. Many times this includes diet, exercise, psychotherapy, relationship and spiritual counseling, and more. Complementary therapies such as acupuncture, chiropractic care, homeopathy, and massage therapy also fit into the scope of holistic healthcare. Your team should include a variety of practitioners to help balance the different aspects of your life. For example, you may see a naturopathic doctor for your hormone imbalance and nutritional counseling, a massage therapist for your tight shoulders and stress relief, and a mental health therapist to discuss your marital and career concerns. Together, with the help of multiple holistic practitioners, you will soon be on your way to the happiest, healthiest version of you. When you first begin, your protocols and appointments may be intense and frequent, but with the help of your holistic practitioners, you will soon be equipped with the necessary tools and knowledge to reach your optimal health. Then, you will enter a maintenance phase where you possess the resources to lead a healthy life, all while having a team of holistic providers who will be available should anything arise in the future.

In order to understand you as a whole person and not just a symptom or illness, be prepared to answer lots of questions you may not have been asked before. These could range from questions about your diet, exercise, and sleep habits to your frequency and consistency of bowel movements, how you feel emotionally, your religious beliefs and practices, close relationships, and more. Sometimes you may hear a holistic practitioner being called an “alternative practitioner”. This simply means any form of medicine outside the mainstream of western or conventional medicine.

If you are interested in seeing a holistic or alternative practitioner, below is a list of well-known therapies you may have heard of:

Acupuncture
Fine needles are inserted at specific points to stimulate the flow of Qi (vital energy), and restore a healthy energy balance.

Aromatherapy
Using “essential oils” distilled from plants, treating a wide range of concerns. Oils can be massaged into the skin, inhaled, diffused, digested or placed in baths. It is often used complementary with massage therapy, acupuncture, reflexology, herbology, chiropractic, and other holistic treatments.

Chinese Medicine
Chinese medical practitioners are trained to use a variety of ancient and modern therapeutic methods – including acupuncture, herbal medicine, massage, heat therapy, and nutritional and lifestyle counseling – to treat both chronic and acute illnesses.

Chiropractic
Chiropractic medicine views the spine as the backbone of human health: misalignments of the vertebrae caused by poor posture or trauma cause pressure on the nerves of the spine, leading to illness. Through manipulation of the spine, optimal health can be realized.

Counseling/Psychotherapy
This broad category covers a range of practitioners, from career counselors to psychotherapists who treat depression, stress, addiction, and emotional issues. Sessions can vary from individual counseling to group therapy.

Herbalism
An ancient form of healing still widely used, herbalism uses natural plants or plant-based substances to treat a range of illnesses and to enhance the functioning of the body’s systems.

Homeopathy
A medical system that uses extremely small doses of natural substances to stimulate a person’s immune and defense system. A remedy is individually chosen based on its capacity to cause, if given in overdose, physical and psychological symptoms similar to those a patient is currently experiencing.

Massage Therapy
Massage therapy involves the practice of manipulating a person’s muscles and other soft tissue with the intent of improving a person’s well-being or health.

Midwifery/Childbirth Support
Midwives provide education and support during pregnancy, assist the mother during labor and delivery, and provide follow-up care. Practitioners of childbirth support include childbirth educators, assistants, and doulas.

Naturopathic Medicine
Naturopathic physicians work to restore and support the body’s own healing abilities using a variety of modalities including nutrition, herbal medicine, and homeopathic medicine. It is a primary health-care system that emphasizes the healing power of nature.

Osteopathic Medicine
Osteopathic physicians provide comprehensive medical care. In diagnosis and treatment, they pay particular attention to the joints, bones, muscles, and nerves and are specially trained in using their hands to diagnose, treat, and prevent illness.

Reflexology
This modality is based on the idea that specific points on the feet and hands correspond with organs and tissues throughout the body. The practitioner applies pressure to these points to treat a wide range of illnesses.

Reiki
Reiki practitioners use light hand placements to channel healing energies to the recipient. Reiki is commonly used to assist the recipient in achieving spiritual focus and clarity.

At The Lifestyle Clinic, we have a variety of holistic practitioners. Check out our website and call the office today at (704) 334-3761 to learn more about how we can help you or someone you know becoming the happiest, healthiest version of you!

 

References:

https ://ahha.org/selfhelp-articles/holistic-health/

http ://altmedworld.net/alternative.htm

http ://www.signavitae.com/2016/06/holistic-and-team-approach-in-health-care/

http ://www.webmd.com/balance/guide/what-is-holistic-medicine

healthy fat, saturated fat, good vs bad fat, holistic, naturopathic medicine, charlotte nc

The Truth about Fat

Many people are still under the assumption that a low-fat diet is best for your health.  This belief is false.  Our bodies require fat to function, but not all fat is created equal.  Fat provides the body with the proper nutrients for hormone development, cell growth and energy production.  Proper nutrition can be achieved through a diet rich in fats, vitamins, minerals, and nutrients.  Fat itself is an essential nutrient.  Our bodies need the appropriate ratio of nutrients; this includes fats, protein and carbohydrates.

Fats are composed of building blocks called fatty acids.  These fatty acids fall into two categories: saturated,  and unsaturated fats (further divided into monounsaturated and polyunsaturated).  There is also a fourth type of fat known as trans fat.

Saturated vs. Unsaturated Fat

Unsaturated fats are mostly liquid at room temperature and come primarily from plant-based foods.  Unsaturated fats protect against heart disease as they do not raise blood cholesterol levels.

Unsaturated fats can be divided further into two groups: monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats.  Examples of monounsaturated fats are olive oil and almond oil.  These are safe for consumption but due to their chemical makeup, they should not be heated to high temperatures.  Polyunsaturated fats are those consisting of omega-3s and omega-6s such as walnuts, green vegetables and fish.

Saturated fats are derived from animal-based products and are solid at room temperature.  Saturated fats leave little room for free-radicals to intervene, thus these require minimal processing, which in turn makes them very good for our consumption.  The most known examples of good saturated fats are butter and coconut oil.

The Most Harmful Fats: Trans Fat

Trans fats are the fats most harmful to cholesterol levels and provide the most increased risk to heart disease.   As discussed, unsaturated fats are found liquid and saturated fats are found solid.  Trans fats are naturally liquid oils but become solid at room temperature by the addition of hydrogen.  This process is known as hydrogenation.

Hydrogenation turns relatively healthy oils into solids for the purpose of extending a food’s shelf-life.  Indicators of trans fats are foods with ingredients containing words such as hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated.  The most well known hydrogenated fat is margarine or shortening.

You should avoid refined oils such as canola oil or other vegetable oils as these go through extreme processing.  Also avoid “junk food” and fast food or anything that is pre-packaged such as cookies, muffins, pies and cakes as these often contain high amounts of trans fats.  Most fast food chains use shortening and hydrogenated oils for frying food because they are inexpensive, readily available and they do not go rancid.

Avoid foods advertised as “fat-free” or “low fat”.   These foods are usually chemically modified and may have harmful effects.  When buying meat, chose the fattier cuts as this is more naturally occurring fat.  For example, get ground beef with 20% or 30% fat instead of 3% or 5% percent.  The best fats are natural and include real butter (with no oils added), olive oil and coconut oil.

Good Fat vs. Bad Fat

It is not always easy to differentiate between a healthy fat or an unhealthy fat.  Some examples of good fats and bad fats are listed below:

Good fats – eggs, coconut oil, avocados, olive oil, nuts, butter, fish high in omega-3 fatty acids

Bad fats – soybean oil, margarine, butter substitutes, hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils, flax oil


Recipes Using Good Fat

Salmon with Mango and Avocado Salsa Lettuce Wraps

FOR THE SALMON

1-pound fresh salmon fillet or 4 (4-ounce) fillets
2 tablespoons extra virgin coconut oil
1 fresh lime, halved
1/4 chili powder
salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste

FOR THE WRAP

Green leaf lettuce (butterhead lettuce or large spinach leaves work well)

FOR THE MANGO AVOCADO SALSA

1 mango, pitted, peeled and diced
1 avocado, pitted, peeled and diced
1/3-cup finely diced red bell pepper
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
juice of 1 whole lime
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 425F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Transfer salmon to the prepared baking sheet.  Drizzle with olive oil and squeeze lime juice over the entire fillet.  Rub the chili powder into the salmon, and season with salt and pepper.  Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, or until salmon is cooked through.  Remove from oven and let stand couple minutes.

To prepare the salsa, combine diced mango, avocado, pepper, cilantro, lime, oil, salt and pepper in a mixing bowl; toss to combine.

To finish, wrap salmon and salsa into lettuce wraps.

Baked Egg in Avocado

Avocado
2 eggs
Sea salt & pepper
Seasoning, optional

Instructions:

Cut avocado in half, remove pit.  If necessary scoop out some avocado to make room for egg.  Crack eggs into a bowl.  Place yolk and some egg white (with a spoon) into the avocado’s hole.  Place in muffin pan or similar so the avocado will stand up and not spill egg.  Bake in oven on 425 for 13-15 minutes.

Healthy Pesto Spread

3 cups basil (moderately packed)
juice of one small-medium lemon
1/3 c walnuts or pine nuts
2 large garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
3/4 tsp himalayan salt
1/4 c extra virgin olive oil

Instructions:

In a food processor, combine all ingredients except the olive oil.  Pulse until evenly chopped.  Slowly add in the olive oil through the top of the processor.  Pulse until evenly combined, but not completely smooth.

Resources:

http:// braveforpaleo.com

http:// diethood.com

http:// dontwastethecrumbs.com

https:// draxe.com

http:// drhyman.com

http:// goodinthesimple.com

http:// health.harvard.edu

charlotte naturopathic doctor, sunbathing, sunblock, charlotte natural health

The Benefits of Responsible Sunbathing

Many people have grown more concerned with spending their time in the sun.  The effect from sun exposure has been in the limelight in recent years.  While there are many factors that contribute to an unhealthy relationship with the sun; poor diet, over-exposure, poor hydration, and environmental factors, spending time in the sun can actually be quite healing and support a healthy lifestyle.

There are actually many benefits to sun exposure.  One positive result from being in the sun is the effect it has on your brain.  By soaking in the sun, your brain produces serotonin and endorphins.  These hormones will elevate your mood and can help to decrease any feelings of depression.  Sunbathing has also been shown to increase one’s melatonin production.  Melatonin is a hormone secreted from the pineal gland that regulates our body’s internal clock.  By increasing the production of melatonin one can improve their chances of getting more restful sleep at night.  The sun can also help improve various skin conditions such as acne, rashes, eczema, and athlete’s foot.

The sun can also help regulate the development of hormones and lessen the severity of symptoms from PMS and menopause.  Sunbathing actually assists your liver with its process of detoxifying the body.  Exposure to the sun can increase blood cell counts and help improve circulation.  Perhaps the most well-known benefit of sunshine is its role in the development of Vitamin D.  When our skin is penetrated by the sun’s UV rays a chemical reaction occurs and vitamin D is formed within the body.  Vitamin D aids our immune system and increases calcium absorption; both of which will lead to better overall wellness.

Contrary to popular belief, wearing sunscreen is not the best way to protect yourself from the sun.  The majority of sunscreens found on drugstore shelves contain harmful chemicals.  By applying these sunscreens directly to the skin, you are allowing these chemicals to be absorbed into the body because the skin is the largest organ of your body, and because it is porous it absorbs everything.  The effects of these chemicals can last a lifetime.   If over exposure to the sun cannot be avoided, try finding a vegan sunscreen without any harmful chemicals.

It is important to know how to sunbathe responsibly, in order to receive the benefits without being over-exposed one must learn how long they can be in direct sunlight at one time based on their particular skin complexion.  Our skin complexion indicates the amount of melanin in the skin and thus how many UV rays our skin can safely absorb.  The lighter one’s skin is the less melanin they have.  Those with little melanin should be more cautious of over-exposure.  The sun is strongest between the hours of 11:00 AM and 3:00 PM, during these you should avoid lying in direct sunlight.  The safest way to expose your body to the sun is to do so gradually.  While sunbathing, one should never be in the sun long enough to obtain a burn any shade of red.

All things considered, sunbathing can be an easy way to maintain good health if proper precautions are taken.  Use the provided safety tips to protect your skin and gain the most benefits from the sun this summer and all year long!

Written by: Kivette Parkes, Naturopathic Doctor at The Lifestyle Clinic

References:

http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/sunbathing-can-increase-life-expectancy-a6954976.html

http:// gentleworld.org/the-benefits-of-responsible-sunbathing/

natural health charlotte, charlotte naturopath, healthy eating, charlotte, the lifestyle clinic

Get Back on Track 7 Day Express Plan

Have you fallen off the wagon?
Do the summer festivities have you feeling off balance?

Give yourself a quick mid summer boost:

Increase Energy
Improve Digestion
Lose Weight
Feel Better

This Express Program includes all your supplements and a special meal plan designed to get you back on track fast!

Cost $158 (+Shipping if applicable)

Hurry! Don’t miss out!
There are a limited number of programs available.

Purchase a program for a friend/family member and do it together
Pick your own start date
Recipes for main dishes, side dishes and dessert included
Mix and match meals to create your own food plan

Order now by calling the office or logging into our online store at lifestyle-clinic.com. (Select Shop on our Top Menu)

 

bugs, summer, charlotte naturopath, doctor, healthy, bug bites, healthy remedy

Naturally Protect Yourself From Bugs This Summer

This week brings the official first day of summer which means longer days, rising temperatures, blooming flowers and a surge of insects.

Summertime usually leads to spending more time outdoors enjoying beaches, lakes and other sceneries of nature.  Summer is an important time to know how to protect yourself from insects, as rates of insect-borne illnesses are on the rise.

At The Lifestyle Clinic we focus on disease prevention, not only in terms of nutrition and exercise, but also by minimizing exposure to toxins unique to this time of year. Most commercial insect repellents contain a chemical called DEET which is a pesticide and should be used with extreme caution.  Before reaching for a harsh bug spray, why not try some safer preventative measures?

Try these 10 easy tips to stay safe from insect-borne illnesses this summer.

  1. Protect your skin by wearing long sleeves and long pants when possible.  Choose light-colored solid prints so that insects are more easily detectable.
  1. To stop ticks, tuck long pants into your socks and avoid tall grass and underbrush.  Keep up with the growth of your lawn.  Always do a full body check once coming from outdoors.
  1. Try to stay indoors during dusk and dawn which are peak times for mosquito activity.
  1. Keep window screens in good repair.
  1. Keep outdoor meals protected by using a fan to deter mosquitoes.
  1. Plant mosquito-repelling plants such as scented geraniums, lemon thyme, marigold, citrosa plants, sweet basil or sassafras.
  1. Eliminate any standing water near your home where mosquitoes could be reproducing.
  1. Encourage natural insect predators such as ladybugs, bats, dragonflies, praying mantis, spiders, and birds.
  1. Use yellow light bulbs in outdoor fixtures.  Bugs are not as attracted to yellow lights.
  1. Use unscented skin products and choose non toxic repellents.

If you do encounter a sting or bite from an insect then try one of these natural home remedies to relieve your symptoms:

  • Apply tea tree oil to the affected area.  Remove the stinger and gently apply around the entry point.
  • Mix baking soda with water to form a paste.  Remove the stinger and apply the paste to the area until the pain is gone.
  • Slice a yellow onion  in half and rub the cut side onto the bite, the onion’s sulfur compounds will react with the area of the bite.
  • Tape a cotton ball soaked in white vinegar over the bite and leave overnight.

Written by: Dr. Kivette Parkes, Naturopathic Doctor

References:

http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-13582/11-tips-to-naturally-protect-yourself-from-bug-bites.htmlhttp://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/08/23/mosquito-repellent.aspx

chronic inflammation, charlotte nc, charlotte natural health, naturopathic, healthy eating

What is Chronic Inflammation?

Almost all diseases and illnesses stem from chronic inflammation.  Inflammation is not necessarily a bad thing.  It is your body’s first line of defense against toxins, infections and injuries.  It helps to keep your body healthy and working properly.  When your cells are in distress, they release chemicals to alert your immune system.  Your body then sends inflammatory cells to heal the body from the foreign substance.  A good example of inflammation is when you get a splinter in your finger and your finger becomes red and puffy because your body is trying to fight any potential bacteria that is trying to enter your body.  This puts your body and immune system in overdrive causing chronic inflammation.

You may be suffering from chronic inflammation and not even know it.  Are you having a hard time maintaining a healthy weight, aging earlier than you should, or feel tired and sick all the time?  This is most likely due to chronic inflammation.

The most effective way to combat chronic inflammation is through diet.  At The Lifestyle Clinic, we put our patients on an anti-inflammatory diet consisting of high-quality proteins, vegetables, healthy fats, fruits (in moderation), and nuts.  We try to focus on going back to the basics and making healthy food choices easy and simple for the everyday person.

Healing chronic inflammation isn’t only about adding anti-inflammatory foods—it’s also about getting rid of pro-inflammatory foods.  Most of us know that sugar and white flour are pro-inflammatory, but these are other foods that are usually known as “healthy” foods.  They may surprise you!

1. Whole wheat bread

The sugar in whole wheat bread will increase your blood glucose, causing your body to produce higher levels of pro-inflammatory cells.  Sugar elevates your insulin levels, triggering an immune response of destructive molecules to form, therefore feeding inflammation.

**Try eating your sandwich without bread or substituting with lettuce wraps.  If you don’t generally feel satisfied until you eat bread, try filling up on veggies first. Gluten is one of the main culprits of chronic inflammation.

2. Dairy

Dairy is thought to be the backbone of a healthy diet, providing essential nutrients and helping to build strong bones.  The truth is that dairy is the most inflammatory food in our diets after gluten.  The human body is not able to break down the sugars and proteins (casein and whey) found in dairy.  When dairy enters the body, inflammatory chemicals are released in an attempt to help the body digest these foreign substances.

**Try consuming unsweetened nut or hemp milks as good alternatives to cow’s milk.  Other non-dairy sources of calcium are almonds, kale, collard greens, broccoli, and spinach. Dairy is highly inflammatory and one of the leading factors to chronic inflammation, despite the fact that we are told from a young age that it builds strong bones.

3. Diet soda

Have you made the switch to drinks with splenda, aspartame or other artificial sweeteners because you’re trying to lose weight by avoiding sugar?  If so, these sweeteners are causing your body more harm than sugar itself.  Artificial sweeteners can cause glucose intolerance, increasing belly fat which in turn forces your body to crank out inflammatory chemicals.

**If you want to switch up the water to avoid chronic inflammation, try drinking unsweetened tea and sweetening with natural stevia or lemon. You can also add fruits to your water!

4. Seed oils

You might have heard that seed oils like corn, soybean, sunflower, and canola oil are good for you. However, these oils are heavily processed and they’re frequently rancid even at the time you buy them. Worse yet, they have an unhealthy ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids. They’re high in omega-6s, which are pro-inflammatory, and low in anti-inflammatory omega-3s.

**Substitute these with healthy fats like olive, coconut, and avocado oils. These healthy fats are anti-inflammatory and can help to decrease chronic inflammation.

5. Nonfat fruit yogurt

Most people view this as the ultimate health food, fast and convenient and having probiotics to help your gut flora. Most people don’t even realize that they don’t tolerate dairy well until they eliminate it from their diet. When they do, symptoms such as headaches, acne, bloating and allergies will clear up. This usually means that your internal inflammation is decreasing.

These yogurts are often full of pro-inflammatory sugar or artificial sweeteners and contain only a tiny amount of actual fruit. When these are made and stripped of its fat, they substitute artificial fillers and thickeners—ingredients that are unfamiliar to your body and can promote inflammation.

**Avoid dairy and to increase the health of your gut, take a daily probiotic and eat fermented foods such as kefir, kombucha, sauerkraut, pickles and kimchi.


To fight inflammation, rethink “healthy.” Call The Lifestyle Clinic today to schedule a free consultation with one of our Naturopathic Doctors to learn more about healthy foods and to come up with a nutritional plan to help you feel your best!

Instead, try some of these Anti-Inflammatory Foods:
Dark, leafy greens
Turmeric
Blueberries
Broccoli, cabbage and other cruciferous veggies
Chia seeds
Avocados
Shiitake mushrooms

-By Dr. Kivette Parkes, Naturopathic Doctor

Resources:

http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-24830/5-healthy-foods-that-contribute-to-inflammation.html

http://kimberlysnyder.com/blog/2012/09/22/9-foods-that-cause-inflammation-and-9-that-fight-it/

http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-8646/the-dangers-of-dairy.html

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: http://www.ewg.org/

 

  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

 

Resources

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/11/26/12-worst-food-additives.aspx

http://www.ewg.org/

Natural Health Charlotte, Naturopathic Doctor, Natural Health Charlotte

What is a Naturopathic Doctor?

Have your friends and colleagues seen a naturopathic doctor with great results but you are still unsure of what we actually do? Read on to learn more about how we can help you.

A naturopathic doctor is trained as a primary care physician in states where licensure is available. Naturopathic Doctors are currently licensed to practice medicine in 17 states, 5 Canadian provinces, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.

Naturopathic doctors undergo similar medical training to conventional Medical Doctors. Admission to an accredited Naturopathic medical school requires a bachelor’s degree as well as a competitive GPA in scientific pre-requisites. Coursework includes medical sciences such as anatomy, pathology, biochemistry and diagnostic sciences. Naturopathic Doctors learn to use labs, physical exams, and medical imaging, much like conventional Medical Doctors, to diagnose disease and monitor health.

Naturopathic Medicine is based on 6 principles:

  1. The Healing Power of Nature
    Naturopathic medicine recognizes the body’s ability to heal itself.
  2. Identify and Treat the Causes
    The naturopathic doctor looks beyond the symptoms to find the underlying cause.
  3. First Do No Harm
    Naturopathic medicine uses the most natural and least invasive therapies.
  4. Doctor as Teacher
    Naturopathic doctors educate the patient and encourage self-responsibility for health.
  5. Treat the Whole Person
    Naturopathic doctors treat each person individually by taking into account physical, mental, emotional, genetic, spiritual, environmental and social factors.
  6. Prevention
    Naturopathic doctors make recommendations by focusing on health, wellness and disease prevention.

How will my visit with my Naturopathic Doctor be different?

Naturopathic medicine is committed to treating the whole person, including mind, body and spirit. Your initial office visit will take between 60 and 90 minutes and your Naturopathic Doctor will go into great detail based on your health and family history, lab results and your personal goals. Often, patients say that the biggest difference between a visit with a naturopathic doctor and medical doctor is the amount of time spent with a naturopathic doctor. Your Naturopathic Doctor may ask questions you’ve never been asked before such as;

How is your sleep?

What do you eat on a daily basis?

How often do you have bowel movements?

How would you explain your spirituality?

How are the relationships in your life?

Do you feel supported in your life?

How do you handle stress?

Do your energy levels dip in the afternoon?

Your Naturopathic Doctor will also ask you to keep a detailed food intake log. On this log you will keep track of what you are eating and drinking, as well as all bowel movements and any symptoms you may have. This will help them to associate reactions and symptoms with food or beverages you may have sensitivities to.

What will my treatment plan look like?

Your Naturopathic Doctor will form your treatment plan based on your initial consultation. This will be based on your family history, personal history, goals and especially your lab work. Your plan may include nutrition recommendations, dietary changes, exercise, stress reducing techniques as well as herbal medicines and nutritional supplements. Your naturopathic doctor will most likely want to follow up with you bi-weekly for the first few months, depending on your situation, until you are able to “graduate” to a maintenance phase. Your treatment plan will likely change slightly because as your body changes and you make improvement, your body will need different things. This is why it is extremely important to follow up with your naturopathic doctor regularly.

Naturopath or Naturopathic Doctor?

As explained above, Naturopathic Doctors go through an extensive medical training and are trained as primary care physicians in states where licensure is available. Naturopath’s typically undergo a shorter non-medical school training or certificate to receive a title such as “Holistic Health Coach” or “Naturopath”. When searching for a naturopathic doctor, even in a state where licensure is not available, it is important to ensure that they attended an accredited naturopathic doctor medical program and has passed their Naturopathic Physicians Licensing Exam (NPLEX).

If you or someone you know would like to see how a Naturopathic Doctor can help you, please call the office at (704) 334-3761 to schedule a free phone consult today!

By: Dr. Kivette Parkes, Naturopathic Doctor

 

Resources:

aanmc.org/naturopathic

Bastyr.edu/academics

huffingtonpost.com/michael-stanclift-nd/naturopathic-doctors