Food sensitivities are very common and manifest themselves in many different ways. Common signs of food sensitivities include:
• Digestive Upset: Symptoms include nausea, stomach pain, heartburn, gas, diarrhea, cramps, or bloating which begin immediately or up to several hours following a meal.
• Headaches or Migraines: Most people who suffer from migraines can point to a specific food, or several foods, that seem to kick off their headaches. Common triggers include wheat, dairy, yeast, corn, and eggs. Tyramines are another common irritant, and they can be found in foods including cheese, wine, avocados, bananas and citrus foods.
• Depression or Anxiety: More than 90 percent of serotonin is produced in the gut, which is often referred to as our “second brain.” It therefore makes sense that what happens in the gut affects our moods.
• Skin Disorders: These include eczema, rosacea, acne and psoriasis. Research has indicated that the gut and skin are tightly related, and removing trigger foods can make a big difference in keeping sufferers more comfortable.
• Fatigue: Food sensitivities cause inflammation, which taxes the body. If this occurs on a chronic basis, it can lead to constantly feeling tired.
• Joint Pain: It may seem hard to believe, but research has shown a connection between joints and the gut. Many patients with joint pain noticed significant improvement when problem foods were removed from their diets.
• Insomnia: The body’s inflammatory response to problem foods can make it difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep. An unfortunate side effect is that lack of sleep can make the body crave things like bread, sugar and alcohol, which exacerbate the problem.
• Weight Gain: Food sensitivities can interfere with the signals the gut sends to the brain after eating, leading the brain to indicate a higher “set point” for weight than a healthy person would have.
• Allergies: Runny nose, blocked ears, coughing and sinus pain may be linked with food sensitivities. Research has indicated that patients show considerable improvement after removing trigger foods from their diets.
WHAT DO WE RECOMMEND?
1. The most cost-effective way to determine your food sensitivities is an Elimination Diet. Most common triggers are eliminated and re-introduced over a period of weeks. This requires vigilance, discipline and an ability to keep a food journal.
2. We offer food sensitivity testing, also known as the Alletess, which is done by blood draw. On the plus side, you will get a very specific list of 184 foods and your level of sensitivity. However, it is not covered by insurance and costs $350. The results take about three weeks to come in. When sorting through food reactions gets overwhelming, the Alletess can help provide very specific answers.
To get the flu shot or not get the flu shot? It seems like everywhere you go, advertisements are luring you to "get your flu shot here!" Some people say they never get sick as long as they get the flu shot, while others shy away from it due to side effects. What does Dr. Sprecher recommend? She advises you do what feel right for you. If you fear the flu, get the shot. If you fear the shot, don't get it.
The best defense against the flu is simple hygiene and keeping your immune system strong. We suggest lots of handwashing, and thieves' oil, which can be used as a room spray, disinfectant, and hand sanitizer. It can even be applied to the bottoms of your feet. Dr. Sprecher also advises taking Immucore, one daily and Vitamin C to protect yourself from illness. Our Ultra Potent C is fat soluble and stays in the cells longer to pull the bugs out. When you are sick, Candi-Bactin-AR serves as a natural antibiotic, and Sinatrol helps keep mucous moving through the sinuses. Let's hope for a mild flu season, but it never hurts to be prepared!
The subject of toxins can be overwhelming, because it is something that feels hard to control. You can be vigilant about avoiding gluten, exercising every day,and limiting sugar. But how do you manage something that is literally everywhere...your food, your home, your workplace, even your backyard?
Toxins are foreign invaders into your body, and too much accumulation can affect your health. Several factors contribute to your body's toxic load. Do you eat lots of food sprayed with pesticides? Does your DNA handicap your body from processing toxins? (This can be revealed in 23 and Me or Ancestry gene testing.) Are there strong chemicals being used in your workplace? Do you have mercury fillings or other exposure to heavy metals? Do you have water damage in your home or workplace? These are all contributing factors. Certain viruses or autoimmune conditions can also make you more sensitive to toxins, as can GI issues such as a leaky gut which allows toxins to seep directly into the bloodstream.
Evidence of toxic overload includes fatigue, body aches, sinus congestion, GI issues, skin irritations and anxiety/insomnia. Also, weight gain/difficulty losing weight is associated with toxins, as the body attempts to make them less concentrated by dispersing them into fat.
What can you do?
Are you getting ready to travel and panicking about how to stick to your eating plan? For people trying to eat healthy, time on the road or at the airport can cause anxiety. McDonald's, Cinnabon, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, Starbucks and Auntie Anne's are everywhere, and often the only options. But caving in to a craving during a moment of hunger can lead to days of discomfort, which no one wants on a trip they are supposed to enjoy. Therefore, it is very important to prepare in advance and make sure that you have an adequate supply of snacks for your trip. Here are some ideas:
1. Nuts. If you are allowed nuts, they are a great high-protein, high-fat snack to take on the go.
2. Protein bars: You will want to get high-quality bars, the less ingredients, the better.
3. Simple Mills crackers: Dr. Sprecher loves Simple Mills, and with good reason. These crackers are very tasty, but low in carbs. Top ingredients in these crackers are nuts and seeds.
4. Nut or seed butter packs: Nearly every kind of butter, such as sunflower seed, peanut or almond, comes in packets these days. Pack a few with you, and you will always have a filling, high-protein food option.
5. Meat sticks: Get grass-fed meat, the less processed, the better.
6. Dark chocolate: Dark chocolate is lower in sugar than most candies, and offers antioxidants.
The bottom line is that the more you prepare, the easier it will be to eat healthy on your trip. While it is tempting to throw caution out the window ("Hey, we only do this once a year!") the ramifications may not be worth it.
On a side note....do not let your food-packing get too overwhelming. Last summer, I was so focused on packing food for my daughter and me that I forgot my wallet. I went to check in at the hotel and the driver's license, credit cards...all at home. And I forgot my pajamas and glasses. But we did have every meal and snack covered!
If you need further assistance with eating on the road, contact me at email@example.com.
Sunscreen- some say you need it all the time, others say it is harmful. Bug spray. You need it protect yourself from bites and possibly diseases that come with them, but it has been revealed to contain toxic chemicals The conflicting information surrounding summer necessities can be overwhelming. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) breaks down thousands of products, rating them based on whether they have dangerous chemicals, and, if so, how much.
Sunscreens: The group found that two-thirds of sunscreens contain oxybenzone, a known allergen and hormone disruptor that has had damaging effects on the ocean ecosystem. Many also contain retinyl palmitate, a form of vitamin A that is known to harm the skin. The FDA has found that higher SPFs often do not provide extra protection, and may lead people to spend more time in the sun. The best plan, they say, is to avoid the sun during peak hours, cover yourself with clothes and wear sunglasses. If you do need a sunscreen, some brands that scored well include Neutrogena, Tom's of Maine and Banana Boat. To find the best sunscreen for you, find the complete report here.
Bug Sprays: Most of us cringe when we apply bug spray just based on the strong chemical scent alone. DEET, which was often promoted as the most effective ingredient in repelling bugs, has received negative press due to the fact that it is considered a neurotoxin. The EWG has found that it is relatively safe in small amounts, and should be an option where disease-carrying insects are prevalent. Other options include Picaradin and IR3535, which have fewer risks but are nearly as effective as DEET. For those who favor botanicals, oil of lemon eucalyptus, peppermint and rosemary are options. For more on bug repellents, find the link here.
With the seemingly endless winter weather, the warmth of spring has been eagerly awaited here in northeast Ohio. However, the arrival of pleasant weather also means the beginning of allergy season for many. The season has come on very strong this year, as the delayed spring means everything has blossomed at once.
Here are some natural ways to manage your allergies this spring- several of them can be found in our May products of the month:
From my time in my school practicum to here at Dr. Sprecher's office, I have noticed a common thread among those suffering from chronic illness. What is it? Sensitivity. In "The Empath's Survival Guide: Life Strategies for Sensitive People," author Judith Orloff offers diagnostic quizzes to determine if you are an empath, and, if so, how to handle it in today's not-so-kind world. Questions include "Have you ever been labeled as overly sensitive, shy, or introverted?" or "Am I over stimulated by noise, odors, or non-stop talkers?" Empaths tend to get overwhelmed by crowds, yelling, and "energy vampires" and tend to react strongly to medications or extreme environments. Empaths need quiet time to rebuild, and often prefer to take their own car places so they can "escape" when they are overwhelmed. Empaths tend to be targets for certain types of personalities, including rage-a-holics, drama kings and queens, victims, and non-stop talkers. Being so sensitive and absorbing energy often leads to health problems. The good news? Empaths are extremely kind, compassionate and understanding. . Does this sound like you? Take the quiz here.
If you find you are an empath, the book offers survival strategies. They include taking a moment to figure out if an emotion you are feeling is your own or if it something you picked up from another person...if you did pick it up elsewhere, you are told to take deep breaths and repeat to yourself "return to sender." Moving away from the source of stress and limiting physical contact is another strategy. Setting limits and boundaries and giving yourself time alone to regroup is also important. Detoxing in water, through a bath or swimming, and spending time outdoors is also calming for empaths. Sometimes, even visualizing a protective shield is enough, or putting up some type of physical barrier.
If you would like to learn more, Dr. Orloff's book is available here.