Beet It!

This root vegetable seems to be getting a lot of attention lately. With its beautiful red color and wide array of health benefits I can see why. Beetroot is a star that definitely deserves some shine. Even though I’m not the biggest fan of beetroot’ flavor, I cannot deny its nutritional power. 

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Beetroot is abundant in a variety of various nutrients. Some vitamins and minerals that beetroots hold include folate, vitamin C and A, potassium, and magnesium. Other nutrients that beetroot holds are fiber and nitrates. These nutrients are all needed for proper function of the human body. The vitamins and minerals are required for energy production, immune system function, and electrolyte balance. The fiber aids in helping us feel full after a meal, so we don’t need to snack an hour after eating. The nitrates found in beetroot are beneficial as well. Because of their incorporation into nitric oxide, these nitrates improve blood flow. Nitric oxide is a vasodilator, or opens the blood vessels so that blood can flow easily throughout the body. 

Many health concerns and diagnoses can be supported with the incorporation of beetroot into the diet. Hypertension is the first that comes to mind when I think of beetroot. Due to the vasodilation of the nitric oxide produced from the nitrates, the heart can reduce the amount of pressure needed to pump blood through the system. This in time will reduce the blood pressure. Digestive complaints such as constipation can be reduced due to the fiber content in beetroot. Fiber in beetroot can also lead to weight loss as it helps us to feel full longer leading to decreased calorie intake over a period of time. 

Also due to the nitrates in beets athletic performance can be supported. By opening the blood vessels more blood, oxygen, and nutrients can get to the muscles being used to aid in longer more efficient workouts and improve recovery time.  This dilation also applies to the brain leading to increased nutrient and oxygen flow improving cognitive function. Vitamin C and A are antioxidant in nature and can reduce inflammation that arises in the system and reduce risk of disease. These nutrients are also needed in the production of soft supple skin and strong healthy hair. 

Though beetroot is full of benefits be sure to talk to your doctor before adding a lot to your diet. Beetroot should be limited or avoided in throes with low blood pressure, those on high blood pressure medications, and those who struggle with oxalate overload as they are one of the higher sources of oxalates.  

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The great thing about beets is that they can easily be incorporated into the diet. Even though they aren’t my favorite food I have a few ways I like to add beetroot in. An easy tip is to add some roasted or boiled beetroot to your smoothie. With all of the other fruits and vegetables added the taste can be easily masked. I also enjoy making low carb beetroot brownies. The boiled beet mixed into a low carb brownie batter is a tasty way to incorporate this root veggies. Other, less sneaky, ways to add beets is by making a beet based salad, adding a few beets to a field green salad, or make a beet salad. Again if beets are not your jam there’s no shame in sneaking them in like I do 🙂 #eatwellbehealthy #getyousome

Sweet Sweet Sweet Potatoes

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With fall right around the corner I love adding more fall type produce to my diet. My favorite is sweet potatoes. Typically I tend toward white potatoes but over the last couple of years my husband has swayed me to the other side. Sweet potatoes have many health benefits and a rather tasty,

Basics:

This root vegetable is part of the morning glory plant family or the Convolvulaceae family. Sweet potatoes have been enjoyed for centuries and originated in South America. Commonly people think of sweet potatoes as filling for pies or even a fry options. Great thing about sweet potatoes are that they are highly nutritious.

Nutrition:

This tuberous root veggie is full of vitamins and minerals:

  • Beta-carotene
  • Vitamin C
  • Potassium
  • Manganese
  • Vitamin B5
  • Vitamin B6
  • Vitamin E
  • these vitamins and minerals are needed for human life. They are responsible for energy production, detoxification, the develop and proper functioning of our senses, antioxidant, neurotransmitter production and blood pressure control.
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Sweet potatoes can also be enjoyed and tons of different ways. As fries, mashed, boiled, baked, roasted, etc are some of the ways you can include sweet pottoes and all their health benefits into your life.

Mashed sweet potato recipe:

Ingredients and Supplies:

  • 2 large sweet potatoes
  • Water
  • Almond milk
  • Cinnamon
  • Nutmeg
  • Pot large enough to hold sweet potatoes or baking pan
  • Food processor or potato masher or fork
  • Stove or oven

Instructions:

  • Add 2 sweet potatoes to pot and cover with water. Boil for 45 mins to an hour. You can also bake sweet potatoes at 425 degrees Fahrenheit for 45 mins to an hour.
  • After cooking pierce with a fork. If you can easily pierce potato then they are done.
  • Let potatoes cool and peel skin.
  • Add flesh of potatoes into the bowl of your food processor or just to a bowl.
  • Turn on food processor on medium speed and allow to run for 1 minute or until potatoes are as smooth or lumpy as you like.
  • For smoother potatoes add in a tablespoon of cow’s or plant based milk of your choice until the consistency your desire is reached.
  • Add spices to your liking, tasting as you go and smoothing the potatoes after each addition.
  • Serve hot after desired consistency has been reached.

Enjoy sweet potatoes weekly in your life for all of their health supportive benefits. #eatwellbehealthy #getyousome

Healing Power of Spirituality

Mornings, for me, are my spiritual time. Waking to commune with God gives my day a fighting chance to be wonderful. As I open my eyes and soak in the blissful peace of sleep, I always thank God for another day. Before I even get out of the warmth of my bed sheets I spend at least 5-10 minutes meditating on the word of God. For me this simple practice alleviates stress of my coming day and what it will bring, plus it gives me a chance to be grateful for my life and waking another day. 

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This simple meditation practice sets my day up for continued peace. It gives me something to return to when the stresses of life begin to way on me. For some their meditation is to whom they worship, for others it’s a time to quiet their mind and let all the stresses of life go. If you’ve never meditated but describe yourself as religious or spiritual, prayer is similar to meditation. So much so that it’s practically the same thing. The great benefit of spiritual awareness, no matter how you practice, is the wondrous health benefits. 

Without taking a pharmaceutical or a nutritional supplement many health benefits can be achieved through  meditation. Various scientific studies have linked regular meditation with supporting a host of common conditions. Cardiovascular disease can be reduced with regular meditation. By relaxing the body and mind the blood vessels relax as well. This relaxation takes pressure off of the pumping hard working heart. In addition, meditation and slowing down of the breathing pattern leads to dilation, or opening of the blood vessels reducing blood pressure. 

Meditation can also aid in the reduction of hyperlipidemia and subsequent oxidative stress. Quieting the mind also helps to relieve anxiety and a depressed mood. It is a great addition to any mental health wellness plan. Meditation even gives those with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) relief. As a lot of IBS is triggered by emotional stress or anxiety, calming the mind can also support regular movement of the bowels. Mediation is also implicated in the reduction of insomnia. For me, when I can’t sleep, I enjoy feeling each part of my body fall asleep one part at a time starting with my toes. By the time I have reached my  belly button I’ve drifted off into the land of blissful rest. 

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If meditation is a new concept to you or you’ve fallen  off track try these suggestions to begin a meditation practice or start one again:

Set a reminder on your phone for the same time every day. Make this your meditation time.

Take 5 minutes to be mindful, meditate, or quiet your mind. Each day, week, or month add another minute to your meditation. 

If you are religious try reading one scripture a day. Give yourself at least 5 minutes to focus your mind. If you’re not religious, read an inspirational quote that fills you with positivity and focus on that. 

No worries if you don’t want to read something. Just take this time to quiet your mind. Allow yourself time to have a clear peace overcome your world. Allow thoughts to come and gently bring your mind back to quietness

With practice meditation can be a rewarding experience. Try not to let a cluttered mind or difficulties concentrating discourage you. This is common early on in a meditative practice. But that is why it’s called a practice. You have many times to try and try again and grow into your own meditative groove.

The Power of Antioxidants

Superheroes, to me, are amazing. Their ability to fly, jump super high, crawl around like animals, and fight crime is impressive.  When I think of the power of antioxidants that’s what they remind me of, superheroes. Antioxidants move about our bodies fighting crime and protecting us from danger. 

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What are antioxidants ?

In recent times, “antioxidant” has been a huge buzzword in the health community. You can go to any health food store, aisle, website, or book and I bet you see the word “antioxidant” at least 5 times. So, what is it? What do antioxidants actually do for our body? 

In short and sweet terms they are antagonizing to oxidants. In terms that actually matter, antioxidants are natural or man made nutrients that neutralize and protect the body cells from oxidant agents. These oxidant agents, also known as free radicals,  include substances from inside the body and environment that cause cellular damage. This cellular damage affects proteins, lipids, and DNA. Without protection, these oxidants can cause damage unchecked long term. As they get into the bloodstream, they then travel throughout the body causing damage. When the body is insulted with infection, toxins like air pollution, food sensitivities, physical damage, etc the oxidative mediators get released to protect us from insult but overtime can lead to long term damage. If the inflammatory process is not halted, then damage can happen ongoingly leading to chronic disease states. That’s where antioxidants come in. 

Antioxidants counteract and sequester the oxidative stress. This leads to aiding in ceasing the oxidative stress, along with removing the cause from insulting the body. They also play a role in healing the body due to collateral damage that happened during the insult. Common compounds that have antioxidant activity include:

  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin A/ beta-carotene
  • Vitamin E
  • EGCG
  • Lycopene
  • Glutathione
  • Resveratrol
  • Curcumin
  • Quercetin

Incorporating more antioxidant rich food

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Foods rich in these antioxidants include:

  1. Vitamin C→ broccoli, peppers, citrus fruit, berries, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, leafy greens, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, squash
  2. Vitamin A/ beta-carotene→ carrots and other yellow and orange fruits and vegetables, liver, eggs, dark leafy greens, amla
  3. Vitamin E→ sunflower seeds, peanuts, almonds, leafy greens
  4. EGCG→ green tea, white tea, oolong tea, black tea, peaches, blackberries, strawberries, kiwi, avocado
  5. Lycopene→ cooked tomatoes, watermelon, guava, mango, red cabbage, papaya
  6. Glutathione→  asparagus, avocado, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, spinach, broccoli, garlic, cucumber, almonds, and walnuts
  7. Resveratrol→ red wine (1 glass 2-3 times a week), red grape’s skin, cocoa, pecans, blueberries
  8. Curcumin→ turmeric root
  9. Quercetin→ onion, apples, honey, raspberries, lemon, leafy vegetables
  10. Other foods→ pomegranate, ginger, cinnamon, cherries, pineapple, coconut water

Adding a pinch of turmeric or cinnamon to your foods is a great way to add more antioxidant power to your life. Being sure that half of your plate is abundant in fruits and veggies is best practice to ensure your day is full of antioxidants ready to use their superpowers to support your system. Below is a recipe full of antioxidant power. Give it a try and let me know your thoughts 🙂

Antioxidant smoothie recipe 

Servings: 2-4

  • Ingredients
    • 2 cups spinach or kale (beware if you have Oxalate Overload)
    • ½ avocado flesh
    • Green apple
    • 1 cup pineapple
    • 1 cup frozen mangoes
    • 1 frozen banana
    • 8-16oz of coconut water (use closer to 16oz for a thinner consistency)
      • Consider 8-16oz cooled green tea instead
    • 1 tsp freshly grated ginger
    • 1 tsp freshly grated turmeric
    • 1 tsp cinnamon
      • Try adding amla and/or pomegranate powder for added antioxidants
    • 1-3 tbsp raw honey
    • 1 cup Ice (consider using more if fruits are not already frozen) 
  • Directions
    • Add all ingredients to blender and blend until smooth
    • Enjoy!

Benefits of Functional Lab Tests

Hopefully after reading “Functional Medicine and You”,  you have considered seeing a functional medicine practitioner. If so then congratulations! I’m so happy for you and the wonderful health journey you are embarking on. If not, no worries. This week’s blog is aiming to describe different laboratory tests your provider may request you complete. 

Benefits

The benefits of functional medicine testing are vast. Many lab profiles will aid your provider in the discovery in the cause of your symptoms. In my opinion, this is one of the most exciting parts of supporting someone’s health. At this moment I get to be a detective and determine what tests would be best for the individual sitting in front of me. Once those results are in I then synthesize all the information to determine the cause or causes to the dysfunction

Varieties

Some common lab tests you have probably had run by your doctor are also ones that I find important. These include a comprehensive metabolic panel (CMP), a complete blood count with differential (CBC with diff), hemoglobin A1c (HA1c), fasting blood glucose just to name a few. These results give an understanding of the metabolic state of the body. They give information regarding liver and kidney function, blood glucose regulation, and blood cell count. Thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), iron and ferritin levels, c reactive protein (CRP), lipids and triglycerides, anti-nuclear antibodies to check for autoimmunity, and urinalysis used to gauge disease via the urine are also common labs I utilize that you may had had before. 

Other labs that you may not be as familiar with, aim to dig deeper into the cause of dysfunction and where the dysfunction is happening on a biochemical level. Below are some of my favorite labs that I like to utilize in consults.

Organic Acid Test (OAT)

This is probably my favorite comprehensive lab test to run. I get to work with the results of this test daily. I have seen many conditions ranging from Autism and ADHD to Parkinson’s disease, menopause to PMS, and hypothyroidism to chronic pain all be supported with the result of this test. The OAT takes a look at the microbial terrain of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, measures excretion of certain compounds that tell us how well the cells are making energy, gives insight to neurotransmitter balance, tests nutritional markers, and also measures detoxification capacity. This comprehensive profile helps to guide further testing in a more targeted direction.

Toxin Tests

A large part of functional testing is rule in or out the presence of a toxic exposure. Oftentimes individuals don’t realize that they had or are currently a toxic exposure. Common toxins that affect health negatively include heavy metals like mercury and lead, mycotoxins or mold toxins, and non-chemical toxins like pesticides or compounds from common items we use daily. These compounds have effects that can impair the immune system, nervous system, and endocrine system. 

Hormonal Testing

Speaking of the endocrine system, hormones are crucial in understanding what’s happening in the body. Whether the sex hormones are altered in regard to PMS, fertility, menopause etc understanding why things are imbalance or not is important. Other hormone panels i feel are necessary to health are the thyroid panel, male sex hormone testing, and cortisol (stress hormone). Balancing hormones will allow the system to work harmoniously as all the hormones work together to support body functioning. 

Neurotransmitters Testing

Depression has many faces

During times of stress, especially emotional stress, as seen in depression and anxiety, I find neurotransmitter testing to be helpful. After analyzing the OAT and ruling in neurotransmitter dysfunction i like to do more direct testing to understand exactly why and how best i can support their balance. By knowing what the system is doing prior to intervention, I then add in supportive herbs and nutrients to help the body’s own natural processes work better. I like to work with the system to encourage proper function. 

Food and Environmental Sensitivities 

Most very knows someone or suffers themselves from allergies or sensitivities. During times when affected individuals are exposed to their allergens this activates the immune response. The response can cause symptoms such as rash, fatigues, mood changes, anxiety, palpitations, bowel changes, cough, mucus production, etc. by removing these from the system less stress is impacting it. 

Nutrient Testing

Nutrient dense food

Testing for micronutrients is an important part of whole body care. By assessing if you have enough of the vitamins and minerals necessary to sustain life, I can see what supports need to be added. This also gives insight to what diet and foods would be best for the individual. It can also link certain symptoms to nutrient overload or deficiency. 

Stool Testing

Do you know the saying: “You can tell a lot about a person by looking at their trash.”? Well this is how i feel about the stool. Your excrement can hold the key to many internal issues you may be suffering from. Complete digestive stool testing gives great insight to possible bacterial, yeast, and/or parasitic overgrowths. An experienced practitioner can also tell how well you are digesting and assimilating the foods you are eating. Stool testing is a great way to determine the reason behind bowel changs, gas and bloating, and possible bowel inflammation. You can learn alot about a person by assessing their stool. 

After Testing

Post testing, your practitioner now has a better understanding of why you’re feeling the way you are. As the naturopathic tenet says: “Doctor as teacher.”, I take pride in educating my clients on the results. It is my philosophy that if one knows why they need to make a change and why it is beneficial for them or their loved one, then they are more likely to make the change consistently and long term.  Bottom line, functional testing is beneficial for understanding the underlying causes of disease. With these above and many more tests the underlying cause of your health can be determined and treated. Is it time for you to start digging a little deeper? 

Control! (Your Blood Sugar)

Controlling your blood glucose (sugar) level may be something your doctor has asked you or someone you love to work on. A request like this is made with good reason and intention. Unfortunately if we are not aware of how to control our blood sugar levels dis-ease in the body can ensue. Every year in America 1.5 million people are diagnosed with diabetes. With numbers like these learning to control your blood sugar early can hopefully prevent disease development. 

Regulation of Blood Sugar

When the body is functioning, using its preferred biochemistry, there is a stepwise process for the regulation of glucose from the diet. Normally when we eat our food the body will digest the carbs, fats, and proteins. These macros are then digested into their simplest forms. Carbs are broken down into glucose, our body’s favorite energy source. It’s a favorite because it can be directly entered into the energy producing cycles that happen inside each of our cells. These cycles are glycolysis, the Citric acid cycle (CAC), and the electron transport chain (ETC). 

Energy making process

In order for our cells to get the glucose, the pancreas releases a hormone called insulin. Insulin’s action is to open the gates of the cells and allow the glucose to enter. From here the glucose is broken to form ATP, or our body’s energy currency, needed for all body processes to be accomplished. While this is happening, insulin is also stimulating the formation of the storage form of sugar in the liver, glycogen. It also stimulates the formation of fat. So whenever we eat a high carb meal/snack we get quick energy, sugar storage in the liver, and fat formation. 

At first glance quick energy sounds great. But as quickly as we get this energy from glucose we also lose it. That is the 1-2 hour post eating energy slump we can sometimes feel. Sugar is great for quick energy but is needed in multiple doses to sustain energy levels over an extended period of time. Foods high in healthy fats, fiber, and protein will give the body energy as well but help to sustain those levels over time. (see diagram below). When we overeat simple sugars like cakes, white bread, pasta, and other packaged foods our pancreas must pump out omre insulin overtime as the cells become resistant. Due to the resistance, more and more insulin is needed for the cells to respond and uptake the glucose for energy production. This causes the pancreas to be overworked eventually leading to cell death and the need for insulin injections.

Symptoms and Associated Complications

Fatigue

When the cells of the body become resistant to insulin, glucose levels rise in the bloodstream. This is cause for concern as it leads to diabetes. Type 1 develops in those who pancreas no longer produces insulin and type 2 in those whose cells are resistant to insulin. Either way when glucose regulation is altered the following are signs and symptoms:

  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Stomach pain
  • Increased thirst
  • Increased urination
  • Sugar cravings
  • Fruity odor of breath or urine

    In prolonged blood glucose elevation, sugar flows throughout the entire body via the blood. It then attaches itself to various organs, blood vessels, and nerves. This sugar attachment is called glycation. The sugar attachment to red blood cells is tested by the hemoglobin A1c (HA1c) and this blood test is used to diagnose diabetes. The glycation that occurs in the body can lead to the following: blindness, nerve pain in fingers and toes, loss of blood flow, limb amputation, kidney failure, hypertension, heart disease, muscle pain, wasting or loss of muscle mass. This is why learning to control your blood sugar is important to your long term health.

Diet Recommendations

Eat brightly colored fruits and vegetables

Eliminate refined carbs and increase complex carbs in limited amounts

Combine protein with carbs at meals and snacks

Replace refined carbs with non starchy vegetables like broccoli, spinach, cauliflower, cabbage, squash, zucchini, etc

Replace sugary beverages with water and herbal tea

Add beans and fiber rich foods to your diet (allows for longer sustained blood sugar)

Beans make a great fibrous addition to any meal

Avoid artificial sweeteners or replacing with plant based sweeteners like stevia and monk fruit

Low carb meals and/or intermittent fasting→ low sugar diets helps cells to become sensitive to insulin again

Herbs and Supplements for Blood Sugar Control

Herbs: Cinnamon, Berberine, Momordica, Gymnema

  • These herbs work by either reducing your urge to eat sugary foods or actively reduce resistance to insulin aiding the cells in the uptake and breakdown of glucose
Cinnamon is a easy spice to add when ooking

Minerals: Chromium and Vanadium

  • These mineral are required for insulin production and activity

Other Supplements: CoQ10, omega 3 fatty acids, alpha lipoic acid, apple cider vinegar

  • These are antioxidants and antiinflammatory to help heal and reduce the risk of injury from elevated glucose in the blood. They also are required for our cells to make ATP from our food

Lifestyle Recommendations

Regular exercise increases insulin sensitivity

Weight loss of 10% reduces risk for diabetes by increasing hormones that regulate blood sugar

Resistance training→ to gain muscle which requires more energy than fat, decreasing blood sugar in the blood and helping you to begin to burn fat for energy and subsequently lose weight. 

Cardio exercises→ increase demand of glucose for sustain energy decreasing amount of glucose in the bloodstream 

Our body’s are beautiful intelligent vessels. They work well to keep our bodies functioning properly. Aiding the body in doing biochemical processes allows us to live healthy lives. Starting now, regulating blood sugar levels can prevent us and our families from developing blood sugar dysregulation.  Get in control of your blood sugar.  #naturopathicmedicine #eatwellbehealthy 

Functional Medicine & You

What is Functional Medicine?

Functional medicine is the art of understanding the root cause of a disease process or diagnosis by understanding the biology of the client. At Oasis Healing, functional medicine counseling is the heart of what we do. By understanding the biochemistry, or the biological reactions that take place for human life, the functional medicine practitioner can investigate where your biochemistry needs support. Through functional medicine testing, the practitioner will uncover the actual cause of why you feel the way you feel. In many cases, people can be suffering from the same condition or diagnosis but have completely different root causes to why they are experiencing what they are experiencing. 

Take depression for example. Many people are diagnosed with depression every year. Some people have very severe symptoms and some people have more mild symptoms. Some people are refractory to conventional treatment while others thrive. Why is that? Well, the causes are typically different. If the cause is never uncovered, and everyone is treated with antidepressants no matter what, we will have a lot of people feeling better, but also a lot more who don’t get any relief from their symptoms. This is because what caused or stimulated the depressive symptoms is different. Functional medicine aims to uncover these mysteries for the individual. 

Some of the underlying causes to disease include bacterial overgrowth, fungal overgrowth, toxin exposure, food sensitivities, inflammation cause by a viral infection, poor diet leading to nutritional deficiencies, a healthy diet that may not be right for you, poor digestion, overactive or under active thyroid, low hormone production, low or elevated neurotransmitter production, genetics, among others. For you maybe only one of these causes is true but it could be a combination of these things when working together makes you feel the way you feel. With functional medicine uncovering and addressing the causes are key to symptom support and ultimate healing. Recommendations in this type of medicine aim to work with the natural processes the body was designed to use for a healthful life. Therapies employed are to support nutritional status, balancing the gut microbiome, balancing hormones, eliminating and helping the body detoxify toxic exposures, reducing inflammation, calming the mind, and getting the body moving. My favorite types of therapies are nutritional supplements, herbal preparations, functional foods, exercise, and meditation. Supporting the body, mind, and soul are key to full body healing and prolonged wellness

The root cause is deeper than the symptoms on the surface

People Who Practice Functional Medicine

By now you may be wondering who practices medicine like this? Some different practitioners that learn functional medicine are naturopathic doctors, nutritionists, acupuncturists, among others. Also medical doctors of osteopathic medicine can complete certifications in functional medicine if they so choose. 

What Functional Medicine Involves

When you see your functional medicine practitioner they will spend a good deal of time with you. Your initial visit will include an in depth health history conversation where the practitioner listens to you tell your story. This helps them to understand what you’ve gone through, why you want to feel better, and how they can help you. Next will typically come functional medicine tests. These tests are important as they aid the search for the cause of your ailments. Food sensitivity tests, nutritional testing, organic acid testing, neurotransmitter tests, hormone, and toxin tests are a few of the tests you practitioner may recommend for you to take. These are typically recommended based on your story and health history. Traditional lab work is also used to understand how your organ systems are working and help to aid in the assessment of treatment progress. 

Once your test results come in you typically sit down again with your practitioner and they will explain to you what is going on in your system. This is the learning phase or the client. For me, this is my favorite part of the relationship I get to have with my clients. Someone being able to have a basic understanding of why they feel the way they feel is so rewarding to me.  In my experience, once you can pinpoint why you feel a certain way and you have solutions you are usually more ready to make the changes necessary to feel better. Also the light that people have in their eyes when that “Ah ha” moment hits always brings me joy as a practitioner. 

After this conversation and you’ve gotten an understanding of the causes, you are given certain recommendations for your individual case. I will be honest, if you’ve never done functional medicine some of the things you’re recommended may be things you’ve never done or never done consistently. Remember health is an ongoing journey, not an end goal.Be patient with yourself, ask questions, and give the recommendations time to work for your body.  

Who Benefits From Functional Medicine?

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The great thing about functional medicine is that everyone can benefit. Women, men, kids, and families can all benefit from incorporating a functional medicine practitioner on their healthcare team. As a consultant I’ve seen people with depression, anxiety, OCD, kids and adults with autism and ADHD benefit. I’ve also worked with clients suffering from skin conditions ranging from eczema to psoriasis and rosacea. Women suffering from recurrent vaginitis, thyroid imbalances, PMS, infertility, and chronic miscarriages recover with alternative health therapies. I have seen men with erectile dysfunction, low testosterone, and Parkinson’s find relief and improvements in their health. People who have trouble gaining or losing weight, chronic fatigue clients, suffer from autoimmunity, diabetes and heart disease, and chronic pain individuals who can’t find consistent relief even with the strongest medications find relief with functional medicine. So when I say everyone can benefit from this, I mean everyone. Even those who feel great and just want to optimize their health or prevent any ailments in the future would benefit from seeing a functional medicine practitioner a few times a year. The great thing about working with someone who knows how to treat the body functionally is that you will learn so much. So many things you will be able to take back to your family and teach your children so they can thrive and live healthful lives. If you or someone you know is struggling with a condition that just doesn’t seem to want to heal, direct them to your nearest functional medicine healthcare provider. After full launch of Oasis Health, make an online appointment with me, Dr. Jasmyne, and it would be my pleasure to aid you in your journey to health and wellness. 🙂 

Oxalate Overload

In our world today a lot of people are facing chronic health issues. Unfortunately many people do not understand the cause or causes of their underlying dis-ease.  As a doctor or naturopathic and a functional medicine lab consultant, I have the opportunity to interpret many lab results from various people with a wide range of medical diagnoses. In my experience one common underlying cause of dis-ease is oxalates. 

What are oxalates?

Oxalate crystals

Oxalates. Say what? Some of you that read this may have heard of or read about oxalates but others may have no clue what they are. Oxalates are a naturally occurring compound found in plants and humans. These are not needed for human health but we all have them or come into contact with them. The structure of an oxalate is a crystalline formation. These crystals can deposit in every system in the human body. In overabundance they can cause the affected individual to experience a wide range of symptoms. The body rids us of these via the urine as oxalate metabolites. There are three different types of oxalate metabolite one could be affected by. These metabolites include oxalic acid, glycolic acid, and glyceric acid. Traditionally when oxalates are mentioned people automatically think of kidney stones. This is accurate as the oxalates bind with calcium to form the stones that can be lodged in the kidneys. But there are other effects these crystals can precipitate

Symptoms and common conditions associated with oxalates

Chronic pain

When a person is affected by oxalate overload the most common symptoms experienced are pain and anxiety. The crystalline structure of the oxalates irritate the tissues that they are deposited into. This is what leads to the pain experience. If they deposit in the brain anxiety can be the outcome. Many times I have seen individuals with chronic pain take many medications/supplements without true relief. Upon testing we realized that they actually have oxalate overload at the root of their issue, or at least a contributing factor. 

Oxalates have been shown to be a contributor to the following conditions: headaches, fibromyalgia, vulvodynia, arthritis, low back pain, kidney stones, neurotoxicity (sleep and brain dysfunction) . Other conditions not associated with pain but associated with oxalates includes chronic fatigue syndrome. As these crystals irritate the soft tissues of the nervous system this can lead to fatigue. In children there have be major connections to oxalate irritants and autism spectrum disorder and ADHD. These conditions have a wide range of causes and contributing factors, and oxalates are another that should be considered in the lives of these children

Causes of Oxalate Overload

So with all of this talk about what can happen with too many oxalates, how do we get them in the first place? Well there are a few ways everyone will normally come into contact with oxalates. In the body we produce oxalates in our liver. Our body normally houses a fungal microorganism called Candida, which is a normal part of our microbiome. This organism produces a compound that our liver then takes and makes oxalate metabolites. Under normal circumstances we will all produce some amount of oxalates from general function. In cases of overgrowth of candida, more of the compound it produces is formed thus more oxalate is being produced by our liver. This will subsequently increase our load.

In some people, there is a genetic predisposition to make more oxalates. This set of conditions are known as hyperoxaluria. These people will produce a combination of oxalic, glycolic, and glyceric acid in higher amounts than someone who isn’t genetically predisposed. There are 3 types: type 1, type 2, and type 3. Each type consists of the development of kidneys associated with oxalates but the time of life they are experienced varies for each type. One thing about the genetic condition of oxalate overload is that it is very rare and most people will not have the genetics to support it.

Another way that we can get oxalates is through our diets and certain supplements. So currently and for the last few years, the green smoothie has been touted by many as the face of health. Everyone at one point was loading their blenders with cups and cups of spinach and other leafy greens, berries, and nuts. On the surface this is an excellent practice as these are wonderfully healthy foods. The issue for someone struggling with a chronic condition is that these are the HIGHEST oxalate foods. Other very high foods include soy products and chocolate. As described before, all plants will have some oxlates, but with the addition of these on a regular basis can easily shift someone struggling into hyperoxalosis stimulating their symptoms even more.

Testing for oxalates

Oxalate metabolites are tested via urine sampling.  The Organic acid test (OAT) offered by The Great Plains Laboratory test for all 3 oxlates, italic acid, glycolic acid and generic acid. When these are elevated we can understand how many oxlates are depositing in the soft tissues and causing issues. This profile also looks at the intestinal overgrowth of candida and can determine if candida overgrowth is apart of the cause as well. If you are curious if your pain or condition may be affected by oxalates, try a week trial of a low oxalate diet and reassess your symptoms.  This is an at home way of seeing how much affect they’re having or not.

How do we get rid of them?

If it is determined by testing that oxalates are an issue along with a candida overgrowth then treatment would require the use of antifungal agents to treat the fungal overgrowth.  Your practitioner can suggest prescription medications like Nystatin or an apple drug, natural agents like oregano or garlic, and probiotics to correct the imbalance. Vitamin B6 is another available treatment option. Often time B6 is deficient in elevated oxalate situations.  This is important as in the presence of this vitamin the liver will make less oxalates. It down regulates oxalate production in the body. Diet wise try reducing or eliminating the highest oxalate foods: spinach,  soy, nuts,  and berries for 4 to 6 weeks. Also calcium and magnesium citrate when taken with meals act to bind to the dietary oxalates in your meal so they can pass in the urine rather than depositing in the body.

So all in all, oxalates are a part of chronic conditions that are rather unassuming.  They are apart of our lives and can be managed if needed. If you suffered from chronic unrelenting pain or fatigue then oxalates may be a factor in your dis-ease.

Mimosa Anyone?!

My favorite part about brunch is the indulgence of bottomless mimosas. The name mimosa also happens to be one my all time favorite botanicals. This beautiful tree with gorgeous flowers is a great mood uplifter and aims to bring a positive outlook to those who use it. Albizia julibrissin is the Latin classification for this herb and its benefits have been used for centuries.

Its healing properties are due to the chemical compounds known as flavonoids tannins, and saponins found in the mimosa bark. These constituents are what give mimosa is antidepressant like properties. For centuries this herb has been used as a sedative to calm the nervous system, ease anxiety and depression, for its adaptogenic properties for stress adaptability, and its antioxidant properties.

Mimosa can be used by people of all ages. It should be avoided in pregnancy as it is a blood mover and can interfere with gestation. If you’re taking any medications be sure to consult your doctor before usage.

So whether you struggle from a depressed mood or just need a pick me up, mimosa is a great choice as tea, capsule, or tincture. #getyousome #eatwellbehealthy

Keeping It Cool

July! Here you are! And with your presence so is the heat. Every summer the heat index rises and leaves us feeling almost too hot to handle. In some cases this is totally true and a lot of fun lol. But when it gets way too hot and I just feel like melting I like to cool off with some naturally cooling foods.

Many fruits and vegetables are naturally high in water content, that allows us to stay hydrated. Some of my favorite are watermelon, cucumbers, mint, melon, and sage. These foods are naturally cooling when the weather is warm. These foods also come in handy cooling off any one who suffers from hot flashes. Below is one of my favorite cooling recipes, other than freezing my favorite fruits and snacking on them throughout the day:

Sun Iced Tea:

Equipment:

  • Glass Jar or Pitcher (size of your choice) with air tight lid
  • Long wooden spoon
  • Cutting board
  • Knife
  • Melon baller
  • Sunny Day

Ingredients

  • 2-10 green or black tea bags
  • Enough purified water to fill glass jar or pitcher
  • 1 cucumber sliced
  • 1-3 cups watermelon cubed or balled
  • Fresh mint
  • Raw honey
  • Ice cubes
  1. Add tea bags to glass jar-> about 6 bags per 12 cups of water
  2. Add enough water to fill jar and secure lid to jar
  3. Set jar outside in the morning for a least 4 hours during the heat of a sunny day (between 10-4 is the best time)
  4. While tea is brewing slice cucumber and ball watermelon. Refrigerate or freeze until ready to serve
  5. Remove tea from outside
  6. Add 1/2 to 1 cup of honey per 4 cups of teat made and stir until incorporated. This step can be done before or after the tea has been in the sun
  7. Serve tea over ice and add cucumber slices, mint leaves, and watermelon to your liking.
  8. Store left over tea in the refrigerator

This recipe is super easy and fun. My family and I love making and enjoying sun tea. I hope you all stay cool and hydrated this summer :). Don’t be afraid to experiment with other flavor and fruit combinations to make this beverage one you can enjoy all summer long.