8 Tips to Improve your Fertility

couple

 

Are you thinking about starting a family? Having problems with infertility? Frustrated that you aren’t getting pregnant as quickly as you thought you would? After treating many patients for infertility I put together 8 tips you can start today to increase you chances of becoming pregnant. Nichi with My Healthy Beginning was kind enough to post the blog on her site. Check it out HERE!

If you are struggling with fertility or infertility, I would love to help. Call or email me to set up a complementary 15 minute consultation ~ 612-564-2218 🙂

~Dr. Katie

Am I “Normal”?!

Vegetables

Vegetables

Have you ever wondered if ________ is normal? I get asked this question a lot! We spend a lot of time talking about disease, illness, and symptoms, but what about defining what “normal” is? What about your menstrual cycle, bowel movements, and nutrition? Keep in mind that we are all different. What is normal for one person, may not be normal for another. It also comes down to what you are willing to put up with. Some women have a very strong pain tolerance and will just ‘deal’ with it, while others will spend hours on google searching for a cure.

Disclaimer: Guys, sorry. This one is for the ladies.

1. Stress

Stress is a normal part of life, we all have it. The difference is the ways we manage the stress and how it affects us. Exercise, yoga, reading a book, spending time with loved ones, and meditation are just a few things people can do to relieve stress. Stress can often come with anxiety and/or depression which brings us into that “abnormal” category and can be treated with homeopathy.

2. Menstrual cycle

A normal cycle is 21 – 35 days and will last between 3-7 days. Cycles are measured from the first day of your menses to the first day of your menses the next month. This might change if you are on certain types of hormonal contraceptives.

3. PMS

Most women experience PMS the week before their period that is normal. The symptoms should dissipate by the first or second day of your menses and should not begin more than 1 week before your menses. You should be able to function normally during this time. Bloating, moodiness, cramps, cravings, and fatigue are just a few PMS symptoms that are normal. It becomes abnormal when it interferes with your daily life or is causing you significant distress. Staying home because you are in excruciating pain or are afraid you will bleed through your dress pants may be normal for you, but it doesn’t mean you have to suffer. I can offer treatments to ease the most problematic PMS symptoms and determine if there is something more serious going on like PCOS or endometriosis.

4. Bone density

Bone density normally increases during your younger years and can decrease especially after menopause. Estrogen is protective to our bones; therefore during menopause when estrogen levels decrease, our bone density can decrease as well. Having a bone density scan (DEXA) at the beginning of menopause can help determine whether you are maintaining, building, or losing bone during menopause. I can help you prevent bone loss with the proper supplementation.

5.  Menopause

I hate to break it to you, but this is a normal part of life. Even those hot flashes are normal. However, this doesn’t mean that you have to suffer. Naturopathic medicine can keep you feeling like your younger self with herbs and nutrition.

6. Bowel Movements

Yes, that’s right I am talking about poop. 1-4 bowel movements per day is normal. When you look in the toilet it should be well-formed, in 1-3 pieces, and sink to the bottom. The color will depend on what you are eating but the green to brown range is normal

7. Metabolism

We have all heard that our metabolism slows down as we age. While this might be true, it doesn’t mean that you give up. Change is normal, but maintaining a healthy diet and doing regular exercise (including weight-bearing exercise) can make this transition less noticeable.

8. Love

Totally normal. I hope you do lots of it.

9. Healthy food

Making healthy food choices is a normal way to live your life. A healthy, nutritious diet can become the norm at your home if it’s not already. How can you start today? Increase the amount of veggies you eat every day! Still unsure of how to improve your diet? Make an appointment to come see me for a diet plan specifically for you.

10. Naturopathy

Naturopathic medicine should be a normal part of your healing journey and can help prevent and treat symptoms or diseases that are “abnormal”, or simply help improve your lifestyle with nutrition and nutrients.

Wondering if something you’re experiencing is “normal”? Send me a message or call for a free 15 minute consultation!

Treating Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) Naturally!

Hormones and Infertility

Hormones and Infertility

Polycystic Ovaries vs Normal Ovaries

Have you ever experienced pain mid-cycle (“I thought cramps were only supposed to happen DURING my menses!?”)? Do you have acne along your chin? Are you experiencing hair growth in places you would rather not talk about? Is your cycle irregular? If you have answered yes to any or all of these questions, you may be suffering from Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome better known as PCOS. Maybe you don’t have PCOS, but something is not quite right with your hormones. A combination of diet and herbs effectively treats not only PCOS, but many women’s health issues. But first, lets talk about common questions about PCOS and what to do about it!

What is PCOS?

PCOS is a complicated condition that occurs as a result of hormone imbalance that can be caused by a number of factors. As a result of the hormones being out of balance, numerous cysts can form in the ovaries. An imbalance of one hormone can throw off other hormones because our entire endocrine system works together. The hormonal shift can lead to many of the symptoms described below.

What are common symptoms of PCOS?

  • Acne – specifically on your chin and jawline
  • Hair growth – also specifically on your chin, but chest, abdomen, and back too
  • Pain during ovulation – cysts can rupture
  • Infertility – PCOS can cause fertility problems
  • Irregular cycle – if your hormones are off, this can throw off your cycle
  • Weight gain
  • Insulin resistance or diabetes – Insulin can cause an increase in free testosterone by decreasing sex hormone binding globulin production from your liver
  • Depression

How is PCOS diagnosed?

  • A comprehensive intake to discuss your symptoms, changes, and menstrual history
  • Physical exam to evaluate symptoms
  • Blood testing is recommended to evaluate hormones and blood sugar. Blood tests are also important to rule out other causes.
  • An ultrasound is needed for the final diagnosis. The ultrasound will be able to detect cysts on the ovaries. Generally more than 9 cysts can be seen on one ovary.

What are the long term effects of PCOS?

  • Infertility
  • Weight gain
  • Insulin resistance which can lead to type II diabetes
  • Increased risk of cardiovascular disease
  • Elevated blood pressure and cholesterol

What can I do immediately?

  • Start exercising  – weight loss can help rebalance hormones if you are overweight
  • Quit smoking
  • Increase your vegetable intake and reduce sugar intake
  • Start tracking your cycle to help determine whether you are “regular” or not

What do I do next?

  • Schedule a visit with me to discuss your history and begin lab evaluations even if you’re not sure whether you have PCOS or not, I can help make that distinction.
  • Learn how to treat PCOS naturally with dietary changes and herbs prescribed specifically for you
  • Start feeling and looking your BEST!

dr-katie

Gluten Intolerance and Candida: What’s the Connection?

Gluten

Gluten

One question that is starting to rear its head is this: What is the connection between gluten intolerance and Candida overgrowth. Why is this question being asked now? Because studies are showing that Candida overgrowth and Gluten intolerance appear to be showing up together.

If you are concerned that Gluten intolerance might be connected with your frequent vaginal infections or oral thrush, visit the professionals at Balanced Care and find the answers, and help, you are looking for.

Treating candida overgrowth is only part of the problem. Eating gluten-free snacks without knowing if gluten is the issue is a waste of time. Read on and see what naturopathic doctors are doing to find the connection and treat their patients, naturally, for gluten intolerance and Candida overgrowth.

Below you will read what one naturopathic doctor, or ND, does when he begins to work with a client who is having problems with Candida overgrowth.

Gluten Intolerance and Candida: What’s the Connection?

One of the first things I do when treating patients with Candida is put them on a strict anti-fungal diet. The goal is to restore immune function while eliminating any potential allergens, later adding foods back one at a time to find out which cause reactions. It’s not too surprising to find that a lot of my patients, while struggling to treat their yeast infections, also become gluten intolerant.

Why Do Gluten Intolerances Develop in Patients with Candida?

Candida

As you already know, a wide variety of commonly used grains – like barley, wheat, rye, oats, and spelt, (amongst others), contain gluten. Gluten is a protein, but it’s one that is very difficult to digest. Therefore, if the intestines aren’t functioning optimally, the process of trying to digest gluten can cause damage to the intestinal tract.

Those who are suffering from Candida already have desensitized immune systems and their intestines are already damaged by the Candida Albicans organism itself. The problem is that the Candida Albicans cell contains a protein that allows it to attach to the cell walls within the intestines.

This protein in Candida is very similar to the protein in gluten. When the Candida cells attach to the intestinal walls, change, and send out new spores, the immune system tries to respond. It not only begins attacking the protein in the Candida cell, but it begins to attack the protein in the gluten cells.

In other words, your immune system eventually gets to the point where it can’t tell the difference between the Candida and gluten proteins. The immune system goes into overdrive and you eventually begin to have allergic reactions to gluten products. Your body then tries to develop an auto-immune response, like celiac disease.

In short, there is always an explanation for relatively healthy people suddenly developing allergies and food sensitivities to items that never, ever bothered them in the past.

Treating Gluten Intolerance and Candida

While treating my clients with Candida, I often ask them to avoid all gluten products. I ask them to instead lean towards safer grains like quinoa, millet, buckwheat, and amaranth. A lot of Candida diet programs stress avoiding all grains, but I find that there are only a few very extreme cases (maybe 2% of all I’ve seen) where avoiding grains altogether is a necessity. As long as you’re avoiding gluten, usually for several months, you should respond well to your anti-Candida regime.

Focusing on Quinoa

Focusing on Quinoa

If I had to choose one grain for you to focus on, I’d pick quinoa. Quinoa looks like a little white seed and it puffs up a bit when cooked. Unlike most other grains, quinoa is considered a complete protein because it contains all of the essential amino acids your body needs on a daily basis. It’s also a fantastic source of fiber, which is also incredibly important while you’re working to cure your yeast infection.

Quinoa is pretty versatile, too. If you’re cooking it as a grain, you’ll want to wash it thoroughly first to get the soapy saponins off before you cook it. Use a fine mesh strainer or a cheesecloth and run cold water over and through the grains. If you forget, your cooked quinoa may and up tasting pretty soapy.

Quinoa is great served with vegetables, cooked and eaten like you would eat oatmeal, or mixed with beans. You can also get quinoa flour and make your own kinds of pasta.

A lot of my Candida patients find, after completely eradicating their yeast infections, that they are no longer sensitive to gluten. Many go back to eating gluten grains, in moderation, while others simply prefer non-gluten grains for health or preference reasons.

There will be exceptions to the rule, of course, and some people are genuinely allergic to gluten and will have to avoid it forever. You’ll still be amazed at the number of people who can reverse the immune response once their bodies are healed!

Candida Overgrowth Does Not Have to be Forever

As you see, a gluten-free diet can give some relief to the person who is suffering from Candida overgrowth. While removing gluten from your diet may be helpful, making sure the friendly bacteria are at work in your lower digestive system is extremely important.

If you are using prescribe antibiotics, engaging in the use of alcoholic beverages, anxious, or stressed out, it may be time to give the professionals at Balanced Care a call. Health is not about fixing one problem but being healthy and balance physically, spiritually, and emotionally.

If Candida overgrowth is disturbing your life, it’s time to make the call that will give you the health you are looking for.

Should I Be Gluten Free?!

Gluten free, health, nutrition, naturopathic, digestion, food allergy, food sensitivity

Gluten, gluten free, health, nutrition, holistic, digestion, allergies, celiac

“Gluten Free”, “Celiac Friendly”, “Gluten Sensitive”, and “May contain Gluten” are a few phrases that are becoming more common in society today. But is this just another fad? Or is gluten a real problem?! First, let’s talk about what gluten is and the symptoms it may cause. Then I will discuss the difference between Gluten Sensitivity and Celiac Disease. And finally, what to do about it.

What is gluten and where do I find it? 

Gluten is a protein found naturally in all forms of wheat including barley and rye. Grains need the elasticity gluten provides to help it rise while keeping its shape.  Starch and binders often contain gluten as well and are used in various other products. Even the ‘paleos’ out there aren’t safe from gluten!

Gluten is not just found in grains, but also alcoholic beverages, cosmetics, some medications and supplements, soy sauce, lunch meat, imitation bacon and  seafood, sauces, and even brown rice syrup can contain gluten. Your friend, family member, neighbor, or even you might be sensitive to gluten, yet it is hidden everywhere!

Gluten has only been in the American diet for the past 300 years. May sound like a long time, but in terms of evolution, it is very short. In addition to this being “new” in our diet, it is also found more commonly in our foods. Now 90% of American foods contain gluten! Wow. Maybe too much of a something, isn’t such a good thing?

What is the difference between celiac disease and gluten sensitivity?

1/133 people in the US have the genetic condition, celiac disease. It is an autoimmune condition of the intestines. The immune system reacts to the gluten proteins found in food. This immune reaction results in injury and inflammation inside the intestines. Diagnosing celiac disease requires blood testing and an intestinal biopsy to confirm.

Delayed growth, poor appetite, and irritability are common symptoms seen in children. Adults might experience diarrhea, bloating, fatigue, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, and/or infertility. Celiac disease is also linked to other autoimmune conditions including Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism, graves disease, diabetes mellitus type I, rheumatoid arthritis, scleroderma, and Addison’s disease. The treatment for celiac disease is the elimination of all gluten from the diet, a matter of life or death in some cases. Even 1/8 of a cracker can continue causing inflammation and damage to the intestine.

You might be wondering why avoiding gluten makes you feel better, yet you don’t have celiac disease. Well, you can still have a sensitivity to gluten. There are thousands of people avoiding gluten and have noticed that they have more energy, lose weight, and their digestion improves.

Gluten sensitivity is the same as a delayed food allergy where the symptoms may not present for 48 hours after ingesting gluten. Body wide inflammation can result in a variety of different reactions. The symptoms of a sensitivity are generally less severe than celiac disease and may include fatigue, chronic colds, skin problems, asthma, abdominal pain, arthritis, and/or ADHD. One way to figure out if you are sensitive to gluten is to avoid it. If you feel better, it is likely that you are sensitive to gluten or have celiac in rare cases. Blood testing is also available.

Gluten free, health, nutrition, naturopathic, digestion, food allergy, food sensitivity

Eating Gluten Free

People generally report losing weight and feeling better when on a Gluten free diet. I believe this is partly due to potential food allergies, but avoiding gluten also naturally results in a cleaner diet. A gluten-free diet requires diligent label reading – check out the ingredients in your products, you might be surprised! The good news? Veggies, fruit, brown rice, quinoa, eggs, grass-fed beef, free range chicken, nuts, and beans are just a few of the foods that are naturally gluten-free! These are much better choices than bread, cereal, pasta, microwave dinners, cookies, crackers, and frozen pizza. Do you see my point?! Everyone can handle varying amounts of gluten in their diet, it’s up to you to determine how much YOUR body can tolerate.

Still aren’t sure whether you have celiac or gluten sensitivity? I can help you determine if you have a gluten sensitivity or celiac disease. I can also help you incorporate this often big change with more information.

Katie Corazzo, naturopath, naturopathic doctor, holistic, homeopath

Warming sock treatment for colds and flus

Wet Sock

Wet Sock

Warming sock treatment for colds and flus!

Have you been feeling a little congested or like you might be coming down with a cold? Wet socks is an easy home remedy you can try today! Your feet will warm up the socks very quickly and it can be a soothing and relaxing treatment. Put these on before bed and your body will do the work while you sleep! All you need is water and a pair of cotton and wool socks. Check out Mind Body Green and give it a go.

How is your DIGESTIVE HEALTH?

stomach pain, Digestion, IBS, diarrhea, constipation, reflux, stomach, probiotic, holistic

stomach pain, Digestion, IBS, diarrhea, constipation, reflux, stomach, probiotic, holistic

Do you ever have digestive problems? Have you talked with your doctor about them? Has your doctor every discussed you diet and what you should be eating?

If you have digestive problems and haven’t found relief, Naturopathic Medicine can help! I believe that our diet greatly impacts not only our health, but our digestion and the way we feel. I see patients who begin to make small dietary improvements that have a huge impact on the way they feel. In addition to feeling better and losing weight, improving your diet can reduce your risk of heart disease by 25%!

Everything we eat touches and interacts with our mouth, esophagus, stomach, small intestine, and large intestine; therefore it would make sense that what you eat impacts how you feel, right?! When we bombard our digestive tract with greasy or processed foods it creates inflammation in our body. The result? Leaky gut, food allergies, autoimmune disease, feeling tired after a meal, nausea after eating, headaches, upset stomach, IBS, and the list goes on! The good news? You don’t have to suffer any longer! Naturopathic Medicine works to uncover the cause of your digestive problems and treat the issues that arise. Call or email me today to begin your journey toward improved digestion!

Super Food – Yummy Kale Recipe!

kale

kale

Have you ever considered eating your greens, rather than admiring it as a garnish? While embarking on a detox protocol that required me to eat kale, I decided to try it. I have (had) a strong distaste for raw kale, so cooking it was my only option. Over time I have tried different recipes and it morphed into this one. I even continue making it post-detox. Tip – Lemon juice is the key to cutting the bitterness and adding flavor.

Greens are packed with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, and when cooked correctly they are delicious. Kale is known for its high amount of Vitamin K which has recently been shown to help prevent various types of cancer. As a “super food”, kale is very nutrient dense and high in antioxidants. This recipe can be made using only kale, but the collard greens add flavor and texture to the recipe.

Kale and Collard Greens side dish

Ingredients:

½ bunch kale – chop and remove stem

½ bunch collard greens – chop and remove stem

1-2 cloves of garlic diced

1/8 cup diced red or yellow onion

2 tbsp olive oil

1/4 lemon

**1 tbsp white wine

Directions:

1. Place olive oil in medium sauce pan and turn to medium heat

2. Add garlic and onion when olive oil is warmed. Cook for 1 minute

3. Add kale and collard greens. Mix while cooking to make sure its cooked evenly.

4. **Optional: Add white wine for added flavor and liquid.

5. Remove from heat when greens are a bright green color. Do not overcook until they are brown – you will lose lots of good-for-you nutrients.

6. Squeeze lemon juice over greens and serve immediately

7. Enjoy!!

10 Tips to Jump into Spring Allergy-Free!

Flowers

Spring brings beautiful flowers, green grass, sunshine, the anticipation of summer, and for some, sneezing, congestion, red eyes, itchy skin and eyes, and ear congestion to name a few. As a sufferer of seasonal allergies myself, I have great empathy for those of you who experience this as well. The good news is that its not too late to start your NATURAL regimen for spring time allergies. Over the counter medications can have unwanted side effects (racing heart, drowsiness, digestive problems, etc); however natural medicine can provide relief without the unwanted side effects. The key is to start EARLY. See below for some tips to start today!

Flowers

In the mean time here are some tips:

1. Consider food allergy testing – food allergies can worsen your seasonal allergy symptoms

2. Increase your garlic and onion intake

3. Invest in a netti pot – I prefer the Neil Med Sinus Rinse  – regular salt works just fine

4. Use your netti pot

5. Keep the house free of dust – carpet, drapes, ceiling fans, etc. Wood floors are best. Use natural cleaning supplies – look HERE for more info.

6. Change the filters in your home – hepa filters are best

7. Increase omega-3 fatty acids (fish, flax, walnuts…) and veggies

8. Decrease sugar and red meat – inflammatory foods

9. Change your pillow case often and avoid buying a new mattress during this time

10. Visit me for more information and guidance!

Is Your Beauty Regimen Safe?!

young-woman

young-woman

Did you know that your skin is your largest organ? This large organ not only protects us, but is one of the ways we absorb and eliminate toxins. Applying toxic chemicals to our skin can result in an increased risk for cancer, allergies, and hormonal imbalance; therefore its important to support our skin rather than damage it.

The Environmental Working Group is a great resource to check the safety of products you use in your home. Cosmetics, cleaning supplies, skin care, sunscreen, oral care, and many more products we use daily can contain ingredients that may be harmful for our health. Check the safety by searching the Environmental Working Group database. A low score 0-2 is best, 3-6 is ok, and 7-10 means we should stay away from that product. By clicking on the product you can also see how it can impact your health and why it received its rating.

Click on the link below to start checking your products!

Skin Deep® Cosmetics Database | Environmental Working Group.

Safe, effective, and environmentally friendly cleaning solution:

  1. Equal parts water and distilled vinegar
  2. Squeeze fresh lemon or few drops of essential oil for scent
  3. Use on windows and surfaces around your home
  4. Re-use bottle!