Where to Find Locally Sourced Honey

allergies

Honey for Allergies

There’s a more natural and delicious way to help your body through your seasonal allergies: Honey. Yes, honey for allergies.

allergies, natural treatment, histamine, local honey

Last week you were looking out your window at the doom and gloom of the winter. You longed for warmer weather as you added another layer just to head outside.  It has been a long, harsh, and cold winter, but there are hints of spring everywhere you look.

While you are out shopping, you notice the displays around the stores are decked out in floral patterns with clever, cheery sayings, and the end caps have fun outdoor items like herb gardens and gardening tools. You are feeling excited and refreshed with the change in season.

You continue walking along and you also notice the allergy medication has dominated one of the end caps. Then you remember: You love the idea of spring, but with all the new blooms comes all the pollen. With all the pollen comes all the sneezing. Oh, the sneezing. And that’s just the half of it.

You contemplate stocking up because you know how miserable you get. However, as you stand there with the medication in your hand you wonder: Am I going to be on allergy medication for my whole life? Is there an alternative option? Lucky for you, there is a more natural and delicious way to help your body through your seasonal allergies.

It’s honey. Honey? That’s right, honey for allergies. Perhaps this doesn’t come as much of a surprise because you might already use honey for other medicinal purposes, such as soothing your sore throat when you have a cold. Honey has a host of other benefits that help more than your cold.

Continue reading to learn about the benefits of using honey for allergies.

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What are Allergies and What Do They Do To Your Body?

Seasonal allergies, also called Allergic Rhinitis (nasal allergies), trigger your immune system to respond when a foreign substance like pollen is introduced to it. For some people, the response is mild, while others experience a more severe response. Allergies can affect all people from all different backgrounds, races, and genders. This can be  upwards of 50 million people each year. Just because they are common and affect so many people doesn’t mean allergies are any less annoying to combat.

The most common type of allergy is a seasonal pollen allergy. When things are in bloom, pollen is everywhere. When the wind blows, it carries the pollen from grasses, trees, and weeds long distances which will cover anything in its path. During allergy season it seems as though nothing is safe.

Your immune system must work so hard to keep your body functioning normally.

Common symptoms include

  • Itchy, watery eyes
  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Congestion
  • A sore throat

There are other symptoms, such as fatigue, that aren’t as commonly talked about but can throw your whole body through a loop. It makes sense when you think about it. Your body is working tirelessly because your immune system is on overdrive. No wonder you are feeling so exhausted.

In addition, people can experience irritability, low productivity, and memory loss when they are in the midst of allergy season.

Seasonal pollen allergies are common, but it doesn’t mean you have to live with this discomfort the rest of your life.

Continue reading to understand the benefits of raw honey, and how it can help your allergy symptoms.

Honey, local, allergy, asthma, natural medicine, botanical, naturopathic, edina, mn, woodbury

Benefits of Raw Honey

Some experts believe that pollen from bees ends up in the honey. If people consume this honey, they will slowly build up immunity to and therefore be able to tolerate the pollen. While this might help slightly, this isn’t the main reason why local honey is beneficial for allergies.

Here is the deal with raw honey: It is packed full of nutrients, enzymes, sugars, minerals, amino acids, vitamins, and let’s not leave out its antiseptic and anti-fungal properties. Best of all, it’s jam-packed with polyphenols (infection-fighting antioxidants). So what exactly does all of this mean?

It means that honey can help your immune system which, as stated above, is working extra hard and causing you to be miserable, irritable, and exhausted. If honey can help your immune system, it can also help fight your allergies.

Additionally, honey can help with hay fever symptoms which tend to go hand in hand with allergies.

Local Raw Honey vs. Processed Honey

So what exactly is the difference between local raw honey and processed honey? For one, the look of the two kinds of honey is very different. Processed honey is very clear while raw honey is cloudy. This is because raw honey has not been heated or filtered.

When you buy local honey, you know exactly where it comes from because the farmers are local, and the bees are local. In addition, the pollen that ends up in the honey is from the local area, so you could be introducing small amounts to your body. As stated previously, the local pollen in the honey isn’t necessarily what helps your body with your allergies, but it is an added benefit that processed honey doesn’t have.

You just read about all the fantastic health benefits that raw honey has. While processed honey might have some of those benefits, most of them have been destroyed during the pasteurization process.

You will be doing your body a huge favor by using local raw honey instead of processed honey. You can generally find raw honey in your local grocery stores or specialty health food stores, but you will find that using locally sourced honey will be the least processed and you will get the most significant health benefits.

How Local is Local Honey?

In general, to be considered local honey it should be from your state. Use this search to find local honey near you.

At Balanced Care, we would like to provide you with the care you deserve to manage your chronic illnesses and seasonal allergies. Please contact us to find out how we can help you start feeling better today.

8 Home Remedies For the Common Cold

home remedies for the common cold
You wash your hands, you stay away from others when they are sick, and you eat your fruits and veggies. You do all of these things, and yet those pesky viruses have still found a way into your body.

Eat Your Medicine

An unfortunately timed upper respiratory infection has attacked you like the common cold.  Did you know adults get about 2 to 4 colds each year? Children are double that, getting on average 6 to 8 colds each year. That is a lot of sick people to try to avoid. No wonder you have landed yourself with a cold.

Regardless of statistics, your nose is a faucet, your throat is sore and scratchy, and your pile of tissues on the coffee table makes you consider becoming the world’s next Jenga champion.

You know you will get better eventually, but right now you would like some relief. Life doesn’t slow down when you are sick, and you are ready to start feeling better, like yesterday. Natural home remedies for the common cold are becoming increasingly popular since people are getting more serious about their health.

So go ahead, curl up on the couch with a blanket (you deserve to because you’re sick) and continue reading below to find eight ways you can eat your medicine. That’s right, eat it. (And technically drink it for some of them.) The best part about the following list of natural home remedies is the fact that most of these ingredients are already sitting in your kitchen.

8 Home Remedies for the Common Cold

Some of these remedies are old favorites that you might already know, but some might surprise you and become your next favorite cold go-to.

1. Honey

Honey is liquid gold. It is high in nutrients and enzymes which help kill the nasty cold viruses. Honey will coat your throat and help protect it from the extra mucus which is causing your throat to be sore. Honey can also be given to adults and children with sore throats before bed to help them sleep.

Best Ways to Eat Honey

  • A spoonful of honey!
  • Add honey to your tea
  • 1 tsp lemon juice and 2 tsp honey. Take every 2 hours

Note: You should only give honey to children that are over 1 year old

2. Ginger

Ginger has a long history in medicines, so what is so unique about it? Ginger has some essential medicinal properties like antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties. It will help your body fight off the infection.

Best Ways to Eat Ginger

  • Eat raw ginger
  • Ginger Tea
  • Boil 2 cups of water
  • Add 1 tbsp chopped ginger
  • Cover and simmer for 5 minutes
  • Take off heat for another 5 minutes
  • Strain
  • Add a little lemon juice and honey, then enjoy.

Chicken Soup

3. Chicken Soup

Chicken soup and colds go hand in hand. Good thing it is delicious as well as nutritious. While you are slurping down this delightful soup, you are doing your body another favor. The soup is full of ingredients that help fight off the infection. So go ahead and have a second bowl, or third.

Best Ways to Eat Chicken Soup

  • Homemade chicken soup using organic vegetables and chicken will provide you with the best ingredients
  • Bowl and spoon

4. Red Onion

Yes, red onion. When you inhale red onion oils, relief from your cold symptoms might feel immediate. Also, since red onions are high in antioxidants, they can help your body fight off the infection.

Best Ways To Eat Red Onion

  • Red onion syrup
  • In a mason jar, alternate layers of a thinly sliced onion and raw honey. Repeat until the jar is full. Cover for 12-15 hours.
  • Drink a spoonful of syrup often during the day for relief

5. Black Pepper

Black pepper contains piperine which is known to help open up the airways. That can help with breathing and reduce coughing. Since there is probably pepper sitting on your counter next to your stove, go ahead and add some to your next meal.

Best Ways to Eat Black Pepper

  • Sprinkle on meal
  • Gargle 1 tsp with warm water
  • Smell it (just smelling pepper can help open up your airways)

6. Garlic

Garlic is known to be antibacterial and antiviral which will help give your immune system an extra boost. Like pepper, garlic can help open up airways to make breathing more comfortable, but it can also flush out toxins from your body which will help you recover faster. (More on the healing benefits of garlic.)

Best Ways to Eat Garlic

  • Munch on raw garlic cloves
  • Garlic paste
  • 1 crushed garlic clove, 2 tsp honey, 1 tsp cayenne pepper (or chili powder). Eat daily until your symptoms go away.
  • Add fresh chopped garlic to your food

Turmeric Milk

7. Turmeric Milk

Turmeric is known to have antioxidant, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory health benefits. Turmeric milk will help with not only coughing but also body aches and headaches.

Note:  I suggest using unsweetened coconut milk…

Best Way to Drink Turmeric Milk

8. Cinnamon

Cinnamon can help a scratchy and sore throat in addition to helping fight off the infection. Cinnamaldehyde is full of anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

Best Ways to Eat Cinnamon

  • Cinnamon Tea
  • Combine 1 tbsp powdered cinnamon, 2 cloves, and 2 cups boiling water
  • Let it simmer for 15-20 minutes
  • Strain, let it cool, and enjoy!
  • For added benefits, and best results, add honey

There you have it: 8 home remedies for the common cold and upper respiratory infections.

Upper respiratory infections of any kind are never a welcomed experience. They are annoying, untimely, and they can make you feel miserable for days. People continue their daily lives feeling miserable until the cold goes away, but remember you will recover faster if you are taking care of yourself. Not only is it imperative to take care of yourself to get better, but it’s also important to take care of yourself, so you don’t get worse. A cold can turn into other more severe upper respiratory infections if untreated.

That means that you are getting proper sleep, drinking plenty of liquids, and eating and drinking foods that are high in antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Please, stay home from work you deserve to rest and get better. There are so many simple, symptom-relieving foods available that you can try above. Check your cupboards to see what you have on hand already and give one of them a shot. You might be surprised at how much better you feel.

Note:  If you haven’t recovered in about two weeks or are catching colds frequently, it is time to check in with your doctor.

Five Places to Purchase Locally Grown Produce

locally grown produce

Most of us are aware that apples and pumpkins are abundant this time of year, but so are beets, Brussels sprouts, green onions and so much more. There are many places in the Twin Cities where you can find locally grown produce that is picked at its prime.

woman-selling-fresh-local-vege

Farmers Markets

The Minneapolis and St. Paul metropolitan area is home to over 70 Twin Cities farmers markets. With so many markets to choose from, chances are high that you’ll find a market with an array of locally grown produce near you.

Farmers markets ensure that you are buying the freshest locally grown produce around. In addition to purchasing the most nutrient dense fruits and vegetables, shopping at farmers markets also keeps money in the local economy, encourages you to talk to those who grow the food you eat, and provides you with a sense of community. You can find farmers markets in your area through the Minnesota Grown Directory.

Food Hubs and Community Supported Agriculture

A food hub is a business or organization that actively manages the collection, distribution and marketing of local and regional food. Food hubs can vary in size, but their main goal is to provide the appropriate infrastructure and support for small and mid-sized farmers.

The Good Acre [i] is a non-profit food hub in Falcon Heights, MN that provides space and the infrastructure necessary for farmers to wash, process and store produce fresh from the field. Additionally, The Good Acre purchases seasonal produce from its network of growers and distributes these in Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) boxes to its 450 members.

As a CSA member you pay an upfront fee. In return you receive a box of fresh picked produce every week, typically from mid-June to mid-October. Minnesota is home to a number of CSA programs. You can search for a CSA in your area through the Minnesota Grown Directory.

Food Co-operatives

Food co-operatives or food co-ops are food distribution channels that can sometimes look like a smaller version of a large supermarket. What makes a co-op grocery store different from the typical grocery store is that the co-op is usually member-owned and frequently purchases its products and produce from local sources. Often times, co-ops will detail where exactly its produce came from.

Normally, you do not have to be a member of a co-op to shop there. Being a member, however, may provide you with benefits not available to non-members, such as specials and discounts. Minnesota is home to a number of grocery co-ops. You can find a list of them here: http://bit.ly/2z4gL3J.

Grow Your Own

If you are completely committed to the benefits of locally grown food, why not experiment with growing your own? Plant and garden centers like Mother Earth Gardens [ii] , with two locations in Minneapolis, are committed to providing plants and products that have been grown in a sustainable way. At Mother Earth Gardens you can find seeds, fruit trees, plant starters and bulbs to help you prepare for next year’s harvest.

There are plenty of resources throughout the Twin Cities including The Good Acre, Mother Earth Gardens, grocery co-ops and more that can help you with tips and advice for cooking locally, and how to start an organic garden.

The health benefits of locally grown fruits and vegetables should help build up your immune system during this cooler season. However, if you find yourself or your family members feeling ill, please reach out to the naturopathic doctors at Balanced Care. We can run tests to determine the root cause of your illness and provide you with natural treatments for all of your ailments.

Drs. Katie and Rachel are wishing you a spooky Halloween!! They see patients in Edina and Woodbury, MN serving the Twin Cities. Their goal is to address the root cause by using natural medicines and nutrition. They offer complimentary 15 minute consultations if you would like to learn a little more. 612-564-2218

[i] www.thegoodacre.org
[ii] http://www.motherearthgarden.com

Risk Factors & Prevention of Metabolic Syndrome

Heart disease, stroke and diabetes are three of the leading causes of death in the U.S. When death results from these situations it often feels like the incident occurred out of nowhere, which can leave family members wondering what could have been done to save their loved ones.

Although death from heart attacks, strokes and diabetes are almost always unexpected, there are often a group of risk factors that show up as warning signs far before the sometimes fatal events occur. Some of these risk factors include high blood pressure, high blood sugar, elevated cholesterol, and excess body fat especially around the waistline. Together, these conditions are referred to as metabolic syndrome. Having a combination of these conditions increases your risk for heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

Causes of Metabolic Syndrome

Metabolic syndrome is usually the result of several causes including overweight, obesity, inactivity and a poor diet which ultimately leads to inflammation throughout the body.

If you suffer from type 2 diabetes, your body has become insulin resistant, another culprit of metabolic syndrome. When you eat carbohydrates, the body turns the carbs into sugar or glucose after the food has been digested. Insulin is a hormone that allows your body to use this glucose as energy or to store the glucose for future use. When your body becomes insulin resistant your cells cannot efficiently use blood sugar or glucose for energy. Whenever insulin is elevated it send the body into a “fat storage mode” which makes weight loss very difficult. When this happens you continuously have high blood sugar levels, which can lead to type 2 diabetes if a dietary change is not made.

Metabolic Syndrome
Source: Elite Healthcare

Symptoms of Metabolic Syndrome 

As stated earlier, metabolic syndrome is the result of a number of conditions such as high blood pressure and high blood sugar. Often these conditions have very few signs or symptoms. Some individuals with high blood pressure may face headaches and dizzy spells, while those with high blood sugar can experience increased thirst, urination and headaches. On the other hand, some individuals show no signs or symptoms at all.

A visible sign that someone may be suffering from metabolic syndrome is a large waistline. Having extra fat in the belly area, as opposed to other areas of the body, has been linked to an increase risk of metabolic syndrome. For those of us with a more visual mind, if your body shape looks more like an apple instead of a pear, this could be a visual cue that you are suffering a health condition.

Get Tested

Because of the often few and sometimes non-existent symptoms of metabolic syndrome, it can be very hard to determine whether you are suffering from the condition. The best thing you can do if you suspect that you may have metabolic syndrome is to consult a physician.

If you have been looking to find a naturopathic doctor or if you are interested in exploring naturopathic remedies for health, Balanced Care is the right place for you. At Balanced Care we can complete a physical exam and run a number of tests to confirm whether you are suffering from metabolic syndrome. These tests will measure your blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol levels, and inflammation. Genetic testing can also be used to evaluate your cardiac risk. 

Treatment for Metabolic Syndrome

If you are in fact diagnosed with metabolic syndrome, the good news is that natural treatments and lifestyle changes can reverse your condition. These natural remedies include changes in nutrition and becoming more active which leads to weight loss and decreased inflammation.

Changing your diet will do wonders for you if you suffer from metabolic syndrome. Adding more fruits and vegetables to your meals can help your metabolism operate properly. Because everyone is different, the naturopathic doctors at Balanced Care can help you create a treatment plan that is tailored specifically to you.

Exercise and being active is a great way to lower blood pressure, improve cholesterol levels and prevent insulin resistance. Everything from taking the stairs instead of the elevator to attending a yoga class will help – nothing is off limits. As long as you are consistently moving, this increased activity will help tackle your metabolic syndrome conditions.

As a result of improving your diet and becoming more active, you will see the pounds fall off. The apple shape you once had will soon turn into a pear if you keep up with your lifestyle changes.

Don’t Be a Statistic

Most of us know someone whose life was changed forever as a result of a heart attack, stroke or diabetes. Many of these lives could have been saved if the correct natural treatments for high blood sugar, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure were implemented sooner.

Metabolic syndrome is a very clear sign that you need to make some lifestyle changes. Heart attack, stroke and type 2 diabetes are preventable, especially when treated by addressing the underlying cause. Protect yourself and your loved ones by getting tested and regaining control of your health.

 

Katie Corazzo, naturopath, naturopathic doctor, holistic, homeopathDr. Katie is a registered Naturopathic Doctor in Edina and Woodbury, MN. Serving the Twin Cities, she is passionate about addressing the root cause by using natural medicines and nutrition. Holistic medical care and individualized treatment plans for each and every patient is what you can expect. Call now to schedule your complimentary 15 minute consultation at 612-564-2218. We can’t wait to meet you!

 

12 Ways to Know You are Ovulating

ovulation, fertility, infertility

Ovulation is the only time in your cycle that you can get pregnant, so it is crucial to know when you are ovulating if you are trying to conceive. This one small bit of information can drastically boost your odds of conceiving in any given cycle. Conception is a very complex process, so you will want to do everything you can to help it along. First, let us discuss what happens during ovulation.

Pregnancy Test, infertility, fertility

What is Ovulation?

In simple terms, ovulation occurs when the female body releases a mature egg for fertilization. This normally happens every cycle, regardless of whether the woman has had intercourse. If you have had sex within your fertile window, there is a chance that one very resilient sperm will make its way to fertilize the egg. This is not a given, though. The sperm’s journey is long and arduous, and there are no guarantees that they will make it. This is why it can take more than one cycle for any healthy, fertile couple to conceive.

Regardless of whether sperm were present during the fertile window. If the egg is not fertilized within 12-24 hours, it will degenerate and another cycle will begin about two weeks later.

Ovulation normally occurs every cycle, but its appearance may change depending on the woman’s cycle. Most women ovulate about 15 days before the beginning of their next cycle (next menstrual period). If you have a 28-day cycle, this means you will ovulate around day 14. If you have a 30-day cycle, you may ovulate around day 16. These are not hard and fast numbers, though. Even with a 28-day cycle, you may ovulate on day 12 or 16. This is why it is good to know the signs of ovulation. Being just a few days off can really make a big difference for your chances of conception. Learn more about ovulation here.

Signs of Ovulation

There are some common signs of ovulation that every woman experiences. All you need to know is how to look for them. Then there are some other ovulation symptoms that only some women experience. It is good to know about these because if you are one of those women, it can be another indication that you are ovulating.

ovulation, fertility, infertility, pregnancy

Cervical Mucus Changes – When you are ovulating, your body is preparing for that egg to be fertilized. A once hostile environment for sperm must become friendly. One way this happens is with cervical mucus changes. Hormones that control your cycle also change your cervical mucus. After your period you may not notice any cervical mucus (dry days). As you start entering your fertile window, cervical mucus increases and changes texture. At first, it will be sticky. Then it will be creamy. Then, when you are at your most fertile, there will be an increase of mucus that resembles the texture of raw egg whites.

Cervical Position Changes – As your body rolls out the welcome mat for any sperm that may enter during this time, it continues changing. The cervix sits higher in the vagina. It also softens and is wet with that EWCM (Egg White Cervical Mucus). At this time, the cervix, which used to be closed off, opens to allow sperm into the uterus. You should be able to feel for these changes, but it is a good idea to feel at various times in your cycle, so you can notice the difference.

Basal Body Temperature Changes – After ovulation, you may notice a temperature rise, your body temperature will increase by about one degree Fahrenheit. You may notice that your body temperature fluctuates throughout the day anyway, so the only way to notice such a change is to take your temperature first thing in the morning before you roll out of bed. Keep a pencil and paper at your bedside along with a thermometer. Chart these early morning readings and it should be easy to see when your temperature spikes.

Positive OPK Result – Ovulation predictor kits can tell you when your body is preparing to ovulate by detecting increased levels of Luteinizing Hormone (LH) in your urine. You can buy these tests over the counter at most pharmacies.

Saliva Ferning – When you are ovulating, your saliva changes. It’s not something you can see with the naked eye, though. You must use a microscope to look for a ferning (or snowflake) pattern.

There are other signs of ovulation that some women experience every cycle. These include:

  • Breast tenderness
  • Cramping pain
  • Abdominal bloating
  • Heightened sex drive
  • Sharper senses
  • Light spotting
  • Headaches and/or nausea

 

Once you can identify these signs, it’ll make it much easier to know when you are ovulating and get the timing right.

 

Author Bio: Phil Druce founded Ovulation Calculator in 2014 with the goal of providing easy to understand, science backed knowledge and tools to couples trying to conceive. He was inspired to do this after his own fertility battle.

 

5 Step Gluten-Free Veggie Pasta

Pasta, healthy, gluten free, dairy free

Do you struggle to find something to cook that your entire family will like, especially if someone has food allergies or sensitivities? If you are looking for something that is simple and tasty – you are in the right place!

In an effort to find something to cook for my guy, I decided to make pasta. I love pasta don’t get me wrong, but it is usually high in carbs and dairy. This recipe is vegan, dairy and gluten-free, but high in carbs. You can’t win them all, right? Add lentils, beans, or grass-fed ground beef to increase the protein content of this meal.

Ingredients

Gluten free pasta

1 large gluten-free tomato sauce (with no added sugar)

1/2 Fresh onion

1 Red pepper

1 small carton of mushrooms

1/2 asparagus bunch

Fresh basil

Olive oil

1/2 tsp salt and pepper

1 tsp Italian seasoning

2 garlic cloves

 

Directions

1. Cook gluten-free noodles according to the box. Be careful not to over-cook to prevent them from becoming mushy. I chose spiral noodles, but angel hair or bow tie would work.

2. Cut veggies – Julienne the pepper and quarter the mushrooms. Chop onions into quarter-inch squares. Break off the end of the asparagus at the natural break, discard the end, and chop remainder in half. Remove basil leaves from stem and chop into smaller pieces. I used about 1.5 bunches of the basil.

3. Saute onions and garlic in olive oil over medium heat until they begin to brown. Add in remaining vegetables, salt, pepper, and italian seasoning. Cook for about 5-8 minutes or until almost cooked through. Note: I used salt free tomato sauce and added about 1 tsp of salt into the veggies. 

4. Add in tomato sauce and let simmer for 5 minutes with the pan cover on.

5. Add noodles to veggie mix and serve immediately. Leftovers are great for lunch the next day!

Optional: Add ground meat for those meat lovers.

Pasta, healthy, gluten free, dairy free

 

Top 8 Naturopathic Sleep Remedies

Insomnia, tea, coffee, chamomile, natural treatment

insomnia, anxiety

Most people know they need 8 hours of sleep. This is not new news, but the National Institutes of Health reported that 30% of adults were sleeping less than 6 hours per night. Did they miss the memo or were they overthinking, anxious, worrying, restlessness, in pain, uncomfortable, or was their mind racing so much it impacted their sleep?

Did you know that 27.6% of people in Minnesota sleep less than 7 hours per night according to the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS). They also found that more than half of Minnesota snores, and here is a scary fact: 3.1% have nodded off or fell asleep while driving within the past month. Yikes.

Sleeping is more than just about having good energy, feeling your best, and staying safe on the road. Sleep is also critical for preventing chronic conditions like diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and anxiety. Here are some problems that can result from not sleeping the full 7-8 hours per night:

Holistic, naturopathic, natural medicine

So what can you do to improve your sleep?

Chamomile tea, insomnia, sleep, anxiety1. Chamomile Tea

Turn on relaxing music and sip on this calming herb at night before bedtime. Chamomile tea is a great natural treatment for sleep that is safe in pregnancy. Always check with your doctor before using however.

2. Melatonin

This hormone is made in the brain to regulate the sleep and wake cycle. Melatonin is secreted when it is dark and broken down in the light. Do you notice feeling tired earlier in the evening during the shorter winter days? Melatonin could be to blame.

The adrenals send out cortisol during times of stress. As cortisol increases with stress, your body responds by reducing melatonin. Lower levels of melatonin during chronic stress can begin to affect your sleep. Stress reducing techniques are equally if not more important and adrenal support may be necessary.

Tip: If you feel drowsy the morning after taking melatonin, you have taken too much. Dosage is important with this natural sleep treatment.

3. Exercise

Exhaust your energy during the day so you will be ready to sleep. Be wary of exercising late at night as this can prevent you from falling asleep. Studies have revealed that those who exercise experience more restful sleep; however if exercise (cardio specifically) is done later in the day it can have the opposite effect. One study looked at the effect weight lifting has on sleep when performed at 7 AM, 1 PM, or 7 PM. They noticed that the early morning workouts resulted in the subject falling asleep faster, but the 7 PM workouts led to a more restful sleep. The bottom line is that exercise improves sleep, so just do it.

4. Hydrate smart

water, hydrate, dehydrationDo you fall asleep easily, but wake several times during the night to use the bathroom? If so, it is time to rethink your hydration schedule. Drink water and caffeine earlier in the day. My rule is no caffeine after 3 PM. If you are like me and crave warm beverages in the winter, reach for an herbal tea or hot water and lemon. Check the label to make sure it is caffeine free.

Pair water with dinner, but slowly sip in the evening if bathroom trips are waking you at night. Soda should be avoided regardless of your sleep patterns, but especially if you have problems sleeping. Soda contains sugar, sweeteners, and caffeine – 3 no-no’s for sleep.

 

Protein, health, insomnia, heart disesase

5. Eat for your sleep

When and what you eat is important to consider when improving your sleep. Avoid eating within 2 hours of going to sleep. Find yourself reaching for a carb or something sweet in the late afternoon? What about at night? This might be an sign that your adrenals need a little help. The sugar can help with energy for a short time, but a crash usually follows. Combine carbs and sweets with a little protein to help protect your blood sugar.

In a review by The American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine they stated that, “…difficulty falling asleep was associated with decreased protein and fiber intake; difficulty maintaining sleep was associated with decreased protein, carbohydrate, and fiber intake; non-restorative sleep was associated with decreased protein and fiber intake; and daytime sleepiness was associated with decreased protein and fiber and increased sugar intakes.” The common denominator seems to be protein and fiber. Include good quality protein at meals and snacks and don’t forget about your veggies and whole grains for fiber.

Foods to improve sleep: nuts, eggs, fish, bananas, walnuts, and pineapple

Foods to avoid: meat, spicy foods, fried foods, rich and/or salty, alcohol, coffee, caffeine 

6. Magnesium

Do you enjoy taking a bath before bedtime? Soak in an epsom salt bath to increase your magnesium. Magnesium dilates blood vessels and is relaxing to muscles. Relax with a cup of chamomile tea while in the bath for added benefits! Magnesium is a great natural treatment for sleep.

Sleep, app, track, insomnia

7. Track your sleep with sleep app or fitbit 

Do you wake feeling unrefreshed? If the answer is yes, your sleep may be compromised. Oftentimes we don’t realize that we aren’t sleeping through the night, but a sleep app or the fitbit can help you find out. This is also helpful when beginning a new regimen. The app can help track your progress – is the new protocol working, or not?

8. Sleep Hygiene! 

  • Eliminate sleeping pills, alcohol, or recreational drugs. Naturopathic medicine can help you with this.
  • Avoid stimulating activities close to bedtime – turn off the TV and other electronics
  • Stick to the same bedtime every night, even if you didn’t sleep well the night before and want to crash early. This also means avoiding naps during the day, because they make it more difficult to stick to a sleep schedule at night.
  • Use your bed for sleep and sex only!
  • Maximize your sleeping environment – comfortable mattress and pillow, temperature, dark, quiet, etc.
  • Sorry pets, but you need to sleep elsewhere.
  • Read, meditate, or take a hot bath before sleeping
  • Focus on your breathing – breath for 4 counts in, hold for 4, release breath for 4, and hold for 4. Repeat. This helps stimulate your sympathetic nervous system.

If you struggle with reflux, sleep apnea, depression, anxiety, digestive issues, diabetes, restless leg, or have a medical issue that interferes with your sleep, seek medical care with your Naturopathic Doctor. Dr. Katie can help those of you who may not know what is causing your sleeping issues and find natural treatments for your sleep. 

Thanks for reading friends!

Katie Corazzo, ND

Katie Corazzo, naturopath, naturopathic doctor, holistic, homeopath

This list is not account for individual differences or specific medical concerns. Dr. Katie treats sleeping issues and conditions that cause insomnia by addressing the underlying issue using natural medicine. She practices in Edina and Woodbury, Minnesota and would be happy to chat with you if you have any questions about her services. You can also schedule appointments and complimentary 15 minute consults online

 

 

Simple Acorn Squash Recipe

Squash, cinnamon, recipe, healthy, fall, nutrition, holistic

Squash, cinnamon, recipe, healthy, fall, nutrition, holistic

The days of fall have arrived and it is time for healthy fall eats like pumpkin spice, squash, soup, and spiced tea. Yum! Growing up my mom made squash with butter and brown sugar, and I crave this when fall rolls around in Minnesota. BUT I am a naturopath and butter and brown sugar just do not live in my refrigerator or cupboards. So, I improvised and made a healthier version of the old fashioned acorn squash my mom used to make. I love that this is super easy, tasty, and naturally gluten and dairy free!

Acorn squash is packed with vitamin A, lots of vitamin C, and some iron and calcium too. A half a squash only has about 115 calories.

Not a fan of acorn squash? Butternut squash or you other favorite can be used instead.

Squash, organic, nutrition, healthy, holistic

Coconut oil can be used instead of butter and still provides great flavor. Organic dark brown sugar is something I have used in baking and it works here too. You can find this at your local health food store like my favorite, Tailor Made Nutrition in Woodbury. This brown sugar is sustainably grown, organic, and rich in flavor. Nutritionally not much different than the light brown sugar typically used, but is better quality. Remember that sugar should be used in moderation. Americans consume an average of 22 teaspoons of sugar per day which adds about 350 calories daily. Yikes. The American Heart Association recommends no more than 6 teaspoons of added sugar per day, but even this seems high. Adding sugar to your food should be a treat and not a habit which is why it is optional in this recipe.

Ingredients:
1. 1 acorn squash halved or quartered

2. 1 tbsp coconut oil

3. Cinnamon

4. Nutmeg

5. Optional: Organic dark brown sugar

Coat with coconut oil and sprinkle spices on squash. Bake at 375 degrees. Add brown sugar after squash has been cooking for about 15 minutes.

Cook time: 20-30 minutes (squash should be soft)

Four Aspects of Health Enhanced by Pets

Kids, healthy, allergies, asthma
Dr. Rebecca Amstutz is an experienced Certified Animal Chiropractor at Perpetual Motion throughout the Twin Cities. This article was by Dr. Amstutz for all the pet lovers out there. 

The majority – almost 70% – of households in the United States own at least one pet. And most pet owners don’t need to be told that animals make them feel good. In fact pets can make us healthy and help us stay that way. You might be surprised at how many ways pet ownership can impact your health.

Numerous studies provide evidence that pets favorably impact our emotional and physical health, diminish the effect of chronic illnesses and enhance quality of life.

  1. Emotional Health

Dogs, health, mental health, depression, anxietyPets are natural mood enhancers. When you spend time with a cat or dog or watch fish swim, your body actually experiences physical changes that impact your mood. Serotonin, a chemical related to well-being, increases and cortisol, a hormone associated with stress decreases.

No one loves you more unconditionally than your pet. Petting an animal has a calming effect, so therapists have been known to recommend interacting with animals as a way of dealing with and recovering from depression.

Pet owners have a tendency to want to talk with other pet owners. Staying engaged with others is key to a healthy mind. Have you noticed that a dog within view is a conversation waiting to happen? Dog people will naturally stop and talk with other dog owners.

Animals in homes of people with Alzheimer’s or AIDS not only help the patients feel less depressed and have fewer anxious episodes, but the animals also help caregivers feel less burdened.

  1. Physical Health

Blood pressure, hypertensionHaving a pet can help you manage your blood pressure. One study demonstrated that pet owners have lower blood pressure and heart rates than non-pet owners. Another study showed children with hypertension actually lowered their blood pressure by petting a dog.

Dogs and cats are good for your heart. Research has shown the long-term benefits of owning a cat include protection for your heart. Over the 20 years of one study, people who never owned a cat were 40% more likely to die of a heart attack than those who had. Another study showed that dog owners had a significantly better survival rate one year after a heart attack. Overall, pet owners have a lower risk of dying from any cardiac disease, including heart failure.

Kids, healthy, allergies, asthmaResearchers have found that when children grow up in a home with a dog or cat they are less likely to develop allergies. The same is true for kids who live on a farm with large animals. In addition, higher levels of certain immune system chemicals show a stronger immune system, which will help keep them healthy as they get older.

Pet allergies are one of the most common triggers of asthma; however, research has shown that people who lived with cats as infants were less likely to develop asthma as they got older, with one exception: children whose mothers are allergic to cats are three times more likely to develop asthma with early exposure to cats.

Pet owners can diminish osteoporosis and arthritis with their pets. Walking your dog, a weight-bearing exercise that strengthens bones and muscles, helps defend against osteoporosis. Cat owners can mimic their cat’s stretches throughout the day as a reminder to stretch frequently. Coordinate taking medications, stretching and even doctor/veterinary appointments as a way manage both your pet’s and your own arthritis.

Some rehab programs for stroke patients use horses to help with recovery. Often, people who have had strokes start riding with someone walking alongside them as someone else leads the horse. Horseback riding gives stretching exercise, which is especially good if one side has been made weaker. It also helps the person regain balance and build core strength.

  1. Fitness and Diet

fitness, exercise, animalPeople who own dogs are less obese and more physically active than people who do not. It is common to walk with your dog, but other forms of exercise can be shared – with mutual benefit. Hold a flashlight or string while you do step aerobics and watch your cat participate. Doga (yoga classes for people and their dogs) are becoming more popular, with regular classes offered at some centers.

  1. Quality of Life

Health, anxiety, wellbeingThere are a number of chronic conditions for which pets are being trained as health aides. For example, some dogs can alert their owner with diabetes of a dangerous drop in blood glucose before the person actually senses the change. Similarly, some dogs are trained to alert their owners prior to the onset of epileptic seizures or to perform specific functions for people with Parkinson’s or physical and mental disabilities.

Humans are benefiting from new research on pet cancers; both dogs and cats can get the same kinds of cancer that humans do. Treatment therapies are customized based on successful outcomes for pets.

Working with and caring for a pet can help children with ADHD. Playing releases excess energy. Pet care responsibilities on a schedule can help the child learn to plan. Also, the unconditional love a pet provides helps the child with ADHD learn about self-esteem.Anxiety, stress, dog

Pets are used with children with autism to help address sensory issues like touch, smell and sound. Children usually find the animals hold their attention, while also providing a sense of calm.

Additionally, pets are enhancing quality of life for patients requiring therapy after a stroke or brain injury and in hospitals and nursing homes.

 

 

Dr. Rebecca Amstutz, DC, CVSMT has been treating Twin Cities’ pets since 2010. The emphasis at Perpetual Motion Animal Chiropractic is to provide a natural method of overall health and healing for pets. Newborn to senior, small to large, park walker to competitive athlete — her goal is that each pet enjoys a comfortable, healthy and active life.

Follow Dr. Amstutz on Facebook and Twitter!

5 Foods Needed To Balance Your Hormones

Hormones, bloating, constipation, cramping

Did you know that your diet can impact your hormones?! And I am not just talking about hormones like estrogen and testosterone, this includes thyroid and adrenal hormones too. The thyroid produces T3 and T4 to help regulate your metabolism. The adrenals are responsible for dealing with stress (cortisol) and blood pressure (aldosterone), but they also produce progesterone, DHEA, testosterone, and estrogen. A poor diet, stress, lack of sleep and a sedentary lifestyle can cause your endocrine system to be off balance.

Hormones, bloating, constipation, cramping

Why do I feel…?

  • Tired and unmotivated?
  • Easily overwhelmed?
  • Sleepy after lunch?
  • Very sensitive to cold or hot?
  • Dizzy when going from sitting to standing?
  • Stressed? (doesn’t everyone?!)
  • Insomnia or un-refreshing sleep?
  • Like you can’t kick your carb cravings

Do you ever notice…

  • Excess hair falling out?
  • Weight gain around your abdomen?
  • Heavy or painful menses?
  • PMS?
  • Irregular cycle?
  • Hot flashes?

If you answered “yes” to 3 or more of the items listed, your hormones could use a nutritional boost! Here is the list of foods that help support your ovaries, adrenals, and thyroid.

Broccoli, detox, health, resolution, weight, hormones

  1. Broccoli and his cruciferous cousins.

Your liver is the powerhouse behind all hormones, working behind the scenes to allow your hormones to express themselves when needed. Your liver also has to power through junk like sugar, processed foods, toxins, alcohol, excess fat, and even medications. Our liver needs all the help it can get and cruciferous veggies, also known as Brassica, are just the answer.

Broccoli and his other green friends contain sulphur compounds that support the detoxification pathways and fat metabolism. Glucosinolates which are metabolized to form  indole-3-carbinol or I3C and DIM in theses green veggies may help also prevent cancers like breast, cervical, colon, and prostate. But, not only are your liver and endocrine systems supported by these veggies, your bones benefit from the calcium and they lower homocysteine levels to protect your heart. Wow! So, which veggies do you need to include in your diet? Swiss chard, cabbage, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, watercress, radish, rapini, arugula, spinach, turnip, kale, and bok choy.

Tip: Cook them to destroy goitrogenic effects that can slow down an already sluggish thyroid. See this veggie recipe and this one too.

Seaweed, nutrition, health, hormones

  1. Seaweed

For those of you in Minnesota, I am not talking about the seaweed at your nearest lake. This is seaweed from the ocean that you might find wrapped around your favorite sushi roll, seaweed salad at a Japanese restaurant or in one of my favorite snacks – roasted seaweed.

Thyroid hormones production requires iodine and seaweed is very high in iodine. A deficiency can cause thyroid problems, goiter, and stunted growth in children.

Tip: Iodized salt and fish also contain iodine. Do not take an iodine supplement without checking with your doctor first.

Brazil Nuts, thyroid, selenium

  1. Brazil Nuts

6-8 brazil nuts (1 oz) provide 10x the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for adults. Wow! But, why is selenium so important?

Remember our friend iodine from #2? Selenium helps attach iodine to the thyroid hormones. The thyroid has the highest concentration of Selenium in all the organs in the body. Selenium also protects the thyroid and aids in thyroid hormone metabolism. Anti-body (anti-TPO) levels in those with Hashimoto’s disease have been improved with Selenium supplementation as well.

Tip: You can also find our friend and antioxidant, Vitamin E in brazil nuts. 4 nuts per day is plenty.

PCOS, infertility, citrus, health

  1. Citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, and grapefruit.

Stress on your body triggers the adrenals to produce more cortisol. This is caused by  emotional (work, relationships, worry, anxiety, etc) or physical stress (illness, injury, exercise), lack of sleep, caffeine, and alcohol.

When there is excess or chronic stress, cortisol and sex hormones (estrogen, testosterone, progesterone) become imbalanced. Adrenal hormone imbalances can also contribute to weight gain, osteoporosis, weakness, weakened immune function, and irregular menses.

So, why citrus fruits? The adrenal glands and brain have more vitamin C than any other tissue in the body. During stress more vitamin C is used or lost. See the correlation between stress – lower vitamin C – greater susceptibility to infections? Citrus fruits, especially oranges are known for their high concentration of vitamin C.

Tip: eat the whole fruit including the skin (not the peel, but the fibers around the pulp) to gain the most nutrients and fiber from your fruit.

Diet, protein, PCOS, infertility, acne

  1. Protein

More protein and less sugar! The adrenal glands help with blood sugar regulation. When your body is stressed it makes more glucose (sugar) to give your body the energy it needs to cope with the stress. Because you already have enough glucose, you do not need to consume more, but need protein for energy. In fact, consuming too much sugar during times of stress puts even more stress on your adrenals, not to mention the rest of your body. Think about it…excess stress –> poor dietary habits and more sugar –> weight gain –> more stress. Stop the cycle by cutting out the sugar and increasing your protein intake.

Tip: Protein includes animal protein, but also beans, lentils, veggies like spinach, nuts, and seeds.

Thank you for reading and we wish you balance in your life and your hormones!

~ Dr. Katie Corazzo

Katie Corazzo, naturopath, naturopathic doctor, holistic, homeopath

Nutrition is essential to our health. If you continue to have hormonal imbalances and would like to seek out natural therapies with naturopathic medicine, call your local Naturopathic Doctor or Dr. Katie for a complimentary 10 minute consultation. She practices in Edina and Woodbury Minnesota, but patients come from all over the twin cities. Dr. Katie uses alternative medicine and holistic care to uncover the root cause of imbalance. We hope to hear from you soon! 612-564-2218

References:

  • http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23046013
  • http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10403185
  • http://chealth.canoe.ca/channel_section_details.asp?text_id=4635&channel_id=44&relation_id=48472
  • http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/infocenter/phytochemicals/i3c/