Tired of Eczema? Natural Treatments For Eczema!

Skin, natural treatment, psoriasis, atopic, allergies, asthma, naturopathic doctor

I think of our skin as an external reflection of what is happening internally. As naturopaths, our goal is to find the root cause of dysfunction to eliminate presenting symptoms. The causes of eczema may vary. But much of the research and successful treatment strategies go back to healing the gut and supporting the microbiome. Learn how to use natural treatments for eczema below.

Eczema, skin, itch, redness, inflammation, natural treatment, edina, woodbury, minnesota

What causes eczema?

Eczema can be considered “itchy from the inside out,” meaning there is inflammation in the GI tract. Inflammation is ultimately causing the skin to be excessively irritated. This leads to severe itching, dryness, and cracking; which can lead to infection.

Some children have a genetic pre-disposition to atopic disease (eczema, asthma, allergies). Genetics, combined with disturbed gut microbiome during birth through toddler years, can exacerbate the body’s ability to develop atopy. This disturbance can lead to multiple causes, including, but not limited to:

  • Antibiotics (*this is by no means stated to make any parent feel guilty for their child needing antibiotic therapy!!!)
  • Personal food sensitivities or intolerances
  • Digestive disturbance: acid reflux/acid blocking medications that affect proper breakdown of food particles
  • Excess inflammatory foods in the diet, sugar, etc.

The above considerations ultimately lead to an inflammatory response causing gut barrier dysfunction or “leaky gut”. Inflammation inside is then reflected symptomatically on the skin! The skin is trying to tell you to “look inside”!

Inflammation, naturopathic doctor, eczema, allergies, asthma, natural treatments

Natural treatments for eczema

What you can do – tried and true? BUT every case is very personal and what works for one, may not work for another:

  1. Optimize gut health for future pregnancies
  2. Support nutritionally: Reduce inflammatory foods and
    consider potential food sensitivities
  3. Reduce stress and consider the mental-emotional aspect:
    Stress is commonly associated with exacerbations
    in skin conditions. I have seen this correlation so often
    clinically, as well as with my own daughter and severe
    eczema outbreaks associated with anxiety after the
    loss of her dad. Apps for kids: “Stop, Breathe, Think”
    and Square Breathing
  4. Heal the gut: Zinc, Probiotics, vitamin D (if deficient), Turmeric, Fatty Acids / Fish Oil (I prefer Cod Liver oil because it contains Vitamins A & D, which are important for skin health and immune balance); GI demulcent herbs help to soothe and heal intestinal cells; Digestive enzymes may also be warranted in some cases.
  5. Topical treatments: I have TRIED SO MANY with little success (always caused more itching), but my favorite is Look, No X Ma. You can purchase it locally at Tailor Made Nutrition in Woodbury, MN. I also love  Frankincense, Lavender, and Rose essential oils as well.
  6. Oatmeal bath: 3/4 cup oats, ground finely, ½ cup baking soda, ¼ cup coconut milk or olive oil, 1-2 drops lavender and frankincense essential oil in tepid/warm water
  7. Restorative sleep is essential to skin / tissue healing
  8. Acupressure: LI 4 is a great point to apply lavender essential oil and massage. Location is on the highest spot of the muscle where the thumb and index fingers are brought close together.

    LI4: Our Great Eliminator

  9. Cell/tissue salts, homeopathy based upon symptom picture
  10. Testing considerations (depending on personal patient
    history per the discretion of your naturopathic
    provider)

    1. Food Sensitivity Testing to determine specific
      foods that are causing inflammatory response
    2. Comprehensive Stool Analysis to assess
      microbiome and digestion
    3. Micronutrient Testing to assess potential
      deficiencies within the cell

Julia Liebich, naturopathic doctor, natural treatment, digestion, anxiety, depressionWritten by: Dr. Julia Liebich

Still have questions on how to treat eczema naturally? Dr. Julia and Dr. Katie are ready to help. We are located in Edina and Woodbury, Minnesota. As Naturopathic Doctors, our goal is to address the underlying causes and use natural medicine for treatment.

Schedule appointments here

Healing Pain and Inflammation Naturally!

healing pain and inflammation naturally

body massage

When you’re ready for natural pain relief

When you think about all the conditions and injuries out there, causing pain on the daily, you may wonder what your treatment options are. If you are like most adults, you probably already have a bottle of ibuprofen (Advil ®), acetaminophen (Tylenol ®), or naproxen (Aleve ®) just an arm’s reach away in your cabinet.

If you suffer from chronic pain, menstrual pain, or even the occasional “ouch”-worthy injury, you may be wondering if there are other options for pain relief beside NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), steroids, or opiates. At Balanced Care, we’re here to help. Taking steps for healing pain and inflammation naturally may be just what the holistic doctor ordered.

In this article, we’ve curated eight natural pain relief options for you to consider. If you’re curious about our services and how we can customize a treatment plan for you, be sure to schedule a consult with us, and together we can begin to help you find the relief you need.

Healing Pain and Inflammation Naturally

What is Natural Pain Relief?

A natural approach to pain relief means leveraging your body’s innate desire to be pain-free. Pain is a great teacher. Pain alerts us to injury, or that one or more of our body systems is not working optimally. Several natural pain relief modalities utilize our internal chemistry. Other methods use physical movement or other muscle manipulation to reduce inflammation and pain.

Remember, testing before treatment is best

When you notice pain in your body that is long-lasting, severe, new, or alarming in some way for you, it’s best to see your doctor first. If your pain accompanies a known or recent injury, it is essential to have proper diagnostic testing like x-rays, MRI scans, movement evaluations, blood work, or other diagnostics performed. Once you have a precise diagnosis, adequate treatment options rise for examination as well.

Prevent or reduce Inflammation

back pain

You’ve seen your doctor and got the tests to rule out severe conditions, and have acquired the recommended supports and resting protocol after injury. Now, what can you do to manage your pain and discomfort? Take steps to reduce systemic inflammation.  

Inflammation is our body’s natural response to an irritant or injury. The chemicals released by the body during an inflammatory response allows more blood to flow to the affected area, which can make the area hot, red, and swollen. Hormones released during the inflammatory response also irritate surrounding nerve tissue, which may cause pain. Taking natural measures to calm inflammation can reduce the pain you feel.

Stop Eating Inflammatory Foods

Several ubiquitous food sources can cause low-grade systemic inflammation. The biggest offenders are gluten and cow’s dairy. Watch out for these products that contain gluten:

Wheat, Barley, Spelt, and Oats, (unless the package says “gluten-free”, it may include some gluten particles).

Cow’s dairy is our most common form of dairy in the U.S. Dairy products (yogurt, cheese, or milk) are made from cow’s dairy unless the label says otherwise. Goat and sheep’s dairy are comparatively less inflammatory than cow’s dairy because they contain a different type of protein than cow’s dairy.

Choosing foods consistent with an anti-inflammatory diet may reduce the severity of your pain.

Exercise Gently

Consistently moving your body has been shown to help nearly every significant health condition. For example, in people with arthritis, a gentle and consistent movement like walking, biking, stretching, swimming, or even light dancing can help preserve or improve range of motion, reduce stiffness and swelling, and reduce pain symptoms.

People living with fibromyalgia may also relieve pain with exercise. A gentle walk or stretch can mitigate menstrual pain. Exercising (within healing protocols as suggested by your health care team) is required for re-gaining pre-injury levels of fitness and range of motion. These are just a few examples of how body movement can reduce pain.

Consider a Natural Herbal Pain Relief Supplement

Turmeric

There are a host of herbal remedies that help in healing pain and inflammation naturally. Here are a few of the most common anti-inflammatory supplements and topical products.

Capsaicin: The “spicy” compound found in peppers, capsaicin can be effective as a topical pain relief remedy.  This compound interrupts “substance P” (the neurochemical that transmits pain messages to the brain) transmission in our nervous system.

MSM: This sulfur-containing compound exists in humans, animals, and plants, and is sold extensively in pill form. The proof is in the science–taking this supplement can reduce pain and inflammation, as well as helping curb allergy symptoms and boosting immune function.

Turmeric: The curcumin in turmeric is touted as a potent anti-inflammatory. Though the science is still unclear, taking supplement-grade turmeric may improve the following conditions:

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Heartburn
  • Arthritis
  • Joint pain
  • Kidney problems
  • High Cholesterol

Turmeric as a supplement is best for adults who are not pregnant or nursing. Using turmeric as a cooking spice is generally considered harmless for most people. As always, check with your primary care physician or schedule an appointment with us for proper dosing suggestions.

Make Friends with Needles

Yes, it’s a thing. Commonly called acupuncture, getting “needled” can have some tremendous pain-relieving benefits. Here’s how acupuncture can help reduce pain:

  1. A needle is inserted just below the skin, along several key “meridian”, or energy points in the body.
  2. Once the needles are inserted, they remain in the patient for 10-30 minutes, while the patient relaxes in a chair or on a massage table.
  3. The going hypothesis is that the needles stimulate the surrounding nerves to send a hormonal message to the brain.
  4. The brain releases our natural pain-relieving chemicals (like endorphins), and we feel happier, and we may feel less pain.
  5. Try several treatments for best results.

Try a Relaxing “Mass-ahhhhhh-ge.”

See what we did there?  Now that you are picturing yourself breathing profoundly and sinking blissfully into the care of a licensed massage therapist’s experienced hands, perhaps you are feeling less pain already! Massage helps to:

  • Loosen tight muscles
  • Improve range of motion
  • Free up the adhesions that can build up between muscle layers (Myofascial release)
  • Quiet muscular “trigger” points–irritated bands of muscle commonly seen in the neck, shoulders, and other places where we tend to hold stress.

Next time you find yourself reaching for a bottle of your favorite pain relief drug, remember that there are may ways of healing pain and inflammation naturally. Methods that use your body’s own intelligence to come back into pain-free balance. Pain relief is best approached as a mosaic — a combination of tools will bring the best results. Contact Balanced Care today for an appointment. Together, we will find the best pathway to your well being —naturally!

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.

allergy, pollen, edina, woodbury, naturopathic doctor, natural treatment

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.

New Weight Loss Plan with Dr. Rachel

weight loss plan and exercise

Are you, a loved one, a close friend or coworker looking for a solution to weight problems, diabetes, high cholesterol, or chronic fatigue? Maybe you’ve tried diets, detoxes, exercise plans and either can’t take it off or it comes right back after the program? We have a weight loss plan for you!

I have recently been trained and certified to offer the TRANSFORMATIONS®-360 Program and WICO® Score to my patients. This is an incredible technology that empowers people on how to take control of their health by learning to control blood sugar and body composition (healthy weight) for life!

The program has an incredible safety and efficacy record as close to 1,000,000 patients have used this program successfully since it was developed 15 years ago.

Patients lose weight faster, more easily and don’t have to take bars, shakes and pills. People eat real whole foods, and feel better than they normally do, as their body is bio-chemically set to burn belly fat not muscle mass. In this way, they can attain their goal weight without feeling hungry or having cravings, as they typically lose between 18-22 pounds every 5 weeks.

Most importantly, people learn correct food habits so as to not only maintain their weight loss over time, but to also be in control of their blood sugar to prevent diabetes. The program is very structured and simple to follow which means you will not have to keep calling with questions.

For those who like to have accountability, you can come in for a weekly appointment to be weighed and measured, and have any needed discussion. Otherwise, you will come back when you are within 5 pounds of your goal weight to be placed on a well-balanced maintenance program.

I will also be able to pinpoint the main food allergies or sensitivities you may have, and show you how to eat everything to keep your weight off for Lifetime success. This is critical, as maintaining a healthy body composition is perhaps one of the most important steps you can take to be preventative and wellness oriented with your health.

The cost is a function of how much weight you want to lose; however it is very affordable as people save between 30-50% of what they typically spend on food. This could mean just the food savings alone could cover the cost of the kit. To get started, call my office and tell them you want to see me for the TRANSFORMATIONS program. We will email you a questionnaire to complete and schedule your visit.

Once at the office we will do a body comp test, weigh and measure you and provide instructions on how the program works. You will leave with the kit, and start immediately with foods already in your kitchen. If you are ready to lose belly fat, look younger, learn how to NEVER become a diabetic, and feel better than you have in years, call the office ASAP at 612-564-2218.

You can also listen to some real patient testimonials at this link:
http://transformationsclinic.com/testimonials
As a gift to you we are offering a New Year Special of $200 off the regular price for the first 5 participants who sign up for the TRANSFORMATIONS 360 Program before February 28, 2018! Click here for more information on the program and how to sign up!

Metabolic Syndrome: Risk Factors & Prevention

A background on 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.

 

The Insulin – Cortisol Connection

Adrenal fatigue

Do you have stress in your life? I think it would be fair to say that we are stressed at varying levels. But how does stress and insulin affect your energy, weight, cravings, or fat distribution? I talk about this with my patients all. the. time. Let me break this down.

stressed women, adrenal, fatigue, motivation, depression

First, let’s talk about insulin. Insulin is famous for its relationship with glucose. As a hormone, it shuttles glucose into fat, muscle and the liver to be stored for use at a later time. We eat various forms of sugar and carbohydrates → increases blood sugar → pancreas secretes insulin → insulin directs glucose into cells → blood sugar levels decrease. → Make sense ← Check out this 1 minute video for a visual:

 

Fat production is increased by insulin while burning fat is inhibited.Exercise, health, weight lift, running, cardiovascular

Insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, and diabetes develop from a diet rich in processed foods and sugar. Eventually, if left unregulated, the pancreas will struggle to make enough insulin. This is prevented and treated with a proper diet and regular exercise. It really is that simple…Or is it?

Enter cortisol, insulin’s bestie. Remember that little thing called stress? Working too much, not getting enough sleep, life, kids, a marriage, bills to pay, a car to fix, a sick parent – we all have it. As you try to balance life, cortisol is there to help. Cortisol is released from the adrenal glands during times of stress to help you “survive”. The adrenals are part of the ‘fight or flight response’.

Chronic stress can cause a kink in the system. The adrenals start sending out too much or too little cortisol and at the wrong times of the day, resulting in adrenal fatigue. The consequence? Fatigue, sleep issues, weight gain (especially abdominal), and cravings.

stress, adrenal fatigue, anxiety

THE CONNECTION – if cortisol increases, so does insulin. A study looked at 766 Chinese men and women to see if cortisol and insulin are related. The study showed that the men and women who reported having “demands” and “insecurity” at work had higher levels of cortisol AND insulin resistance. The results “showed that chronic stress was associated with insulin resistance and may contribute to the development of insulin resistance.”

The reverse can cause problems too – when insulin is around cortisol triglycerides accumulate in the abdomen resulting in abdominal obesity.

Even if you are of normal weight or maybe a little over weight, but do not have insulin resistance, cortisol will still behave the same way for you.

Follow these simple tips to make the cortisol and insulin work FOR you and not AGAINST you:

1. Eat 3 meals per day with 1 optional snack ONLY. Snacking or eating several times throughout the day causes more spikes in your glucose and insulin throughout the day. Your metabolism will be A-OK with eating only 4x per day.

2. Find effective coping techniques to relieve stress – this will help reduce your cortisol and protect your adrenals. A bath, bike ride, meditation, walk, yoga, reading, painting or drawing are just a few ideas.

 

3. Stop eating so much sugar. Just stop! It is in everything so even if you think you aren’t eating it, you probably are. Indulge once in a while, but make sure it is very limited in your regular diet. Remember sugar spikes your insulin.

4. Eat balanced meals: tons of veggies, 4-5 ounces of meat or 20 grams of protein, and healthy fats.

kale, veggies, health, nutrition, holistic, naturopathic

5. Have 5-9 servings of veggies daily!

6. Sleep! Your adrenals need sleep to repair and recover from stress. A study showed that for every 1 hour of sleep lost per day there is an increase of .35 in body mass index (BMI). This is about 2 pounds in a 35-year-old female who is 5’4” and 160 lbs. Sleep duration may also be a predictor of weight gain, insulin resistance, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.

PCOS, infertility, dysmenorrhea, irregular menses, women's health

 

 

Katie Corazzo, naturopath, naturopathic doctor, holistic, homeopathIf you are looking to dig deeper into this issue, please contact me for an appointment – I would love to help. We offer saliva hormone testing to help evaluate metabolic function with dramatic changes in patients energy, food cravings, weight, blood sugar, and overall healthy. I hope to hear from you soon! To schedule visits, including complimentary 15 minute in-person or phone visits at my Edina or Woodbury locations, visit this link.

 

 

5 Post-Partum Home Care Tips

post-partum home care, sitz bath, magnesium, epsom

Post-partum home care tips from Jen Wittes of Welcome Baby Care

1. DIY Sitz Bath

Bath tub, postpartum, sitz, magnesium, epsom

Relax with our first post-partum home care tip. There are many Sitz Bath “mixes” on the market, as well as recipes for you to follow at home. Most contain comfrey, lavender and raspberry leaf. Not up for the hassle and expense? You can DIY with tea bags in shallow warm water – chamomile, lavender or raspberry leaf. NOT peppermint or ginger…OUCH!

2. Easy Postpartum Pads

Whether you have a hospital or home birth, your nurses and midwives will give you cold packs to soothe your sore (and possibly torn and sutured) perineum. Here’s our second post-partum home care tip: When the supply of cold packs runs out and you are at home, alone and healing, you can make your own by dipping maxi pads in a solution of witch hazel, aloe vera gel and lavender essential oil before freezing them.

3. Eat Your Soup

Healing, soup, postpartum, food, medicine

Doulas know that the traditional postpartum meal across many generations and cultures is hot soup. Why? The Chinese believe it restores your heat or “chi” which is said to leave in the process of childbirth. In Western cultures, we find that soup – often rich in nutritious ingredients – just makes us feel better. When you’re tired, hot liquid foods are easier to stomach and make you feel relaxed.

4. Hydrate Like Crazy

Lemon Tea, hydrate, postpartum, anxiety

During birth, you lose quite a bit of blood and fluid. After birth, your body continues to expel the fluid retention of pregnancy through frequent urination and sweating. Both breastfeeding mothers and those trying to suppress milk production need to replenish the fluids lost in lactation. Heavy hydration also helps aid in muscle recovery and involution (or the return of the uterus to pre-pregnancy size). Water, water, water! Tea is great too. I also like a simple restoration smoothie of frozen blueberries, spinach and coconut water.

5. Ask for and Accept Help 

Love, support, family, planning, infertility, fertility, postpartumSoup is not the only multi-generational, multicultural postpartum tradition. It is customary to surround the new mother and child with abundant love, support and practical help. In the U.S., we have fallen away from this to the detriment of our women. The expected quick return to work and participation in a continuously plugged in word only exacerbates the problem. Whether sought out and hired or volunteered, postpartum support is crucial. YES to the neighbor’s offer to walk the dog. YES to every casserole. YES to anyone or anything that helps you get in a nap and a hot shower.

 

naturopath, natural medicine, holistic, edina, woodbury

Dr. Katie Corazzo is a Naturopathic Doctor practicing throughout the Twin Cities in Edina and Woodbury, MN. She specializes in women’s health and fertility. Natural medicines and nutrition are used for treatments.

Top 10 Sleep Tips For Babies

baby, crying, postpartum, anxiety, depression, adrenal, fatigue

sleep, baby, infant, crying, postpartum, anxiety, depression, adrenal, fatigue

Welcome Baby Care is a local business in Edina here to support moms and their babies pre and postpartum. Doulas, lactation consultants and in home care are their specialties. They have lots of experience and here are their favorite sleep tips for babies from 4-12 months.

1. No Solids at Bedtime

Solids offer little nutritional value at this age. The primary source of nutrition for infants in the first year of life is human milk or formula. Solids can also be difficult for an immature digestive system to digest and can often cause or exacerbate reflux, gas or tummy pain – all things which disrupt sleep! Offer solids no later than 5pm.

2. Tank Baby Up

Cluster feeding in the evenings is normal for breastfeeding babies! Melatonin levels in mother’s milk increase in the evening hours, helping baby sleep. Offer baby breast or bottle shortly before bedtime in a room other than Baby’s bedroom so that he learns to break the feeding-sleep association. Watch for drowsiness and end the feed at this point, putting baby down sleepy.

3. Choose a Bedtime Between 6 and 8 p.m.

Infants are biologically wired to go bed early! 11-12 hours is the expected amount of sleep needed, broken up by 1-2 feeding sessions. Choose a time that you can be consistent with and can commit to, taking into account both Baby’s needs and the family’s schedule.

4. White Noise

A must have! Infants are comforted by those womb sounds that they heard for 9 months. The noise should be not too loud, but not too quiet. Water sounds work well.

5. Darken Baby’s Room

The darker the better. No night lights. Black out shades are recommended, especially for naps and during the summer months.

Sleep, fatigue, adrenal6. Clear Out the Crib

Remove toys, mobiles and playthings. Keep the bed a place for sleeping only! It’s not a bad idea to limit active play in Baby’s room in general.

7. Add a Lovey

For babies 6 months and older, learning to emotionally self-regulate can be advanced by attachment to a soft inanimate object. Lovies need to have a FACE. Faces are processed in the emotion centers of the brain, triggering positive, calming responses.

8. Lower the Temperature

A cooler sleep environment keeps Baby from overheating. Set your thermostat at 68-72 for the night.

9. Consider a Dream-Feed

Feed Baby when YOU want go to bed (usually between 9 and 11 p.m. or about 3 hours from baby’s bedtime feed) either breast or bottle, even if Baby is sleeping and not cueing for food and especially if she wakes frequently for feeds or is in an active growth spurt. Do not wake Baby fully – just offer and see what she takes!

10. Reduce Stimulation

At least 1 hour prior to bedtime, quiet the home. Turn off TV, silence the phones and dim the lights. Engage Baby in quiet, calm interactions only! A bath may or may not be recommended, depending on Baby’s temperament. 30 minutes prior to bedtime, change Baby into PJs and a clean diaper. Add diaper cream! Sleeping through a wet diaper requires prevention for diaper rash.

And that’s it – Welcome Baby Care’s top 10 sleep tips for babies.

Thank you Welcome Baby Care!

Top 8 Naturopathic Sleep Remedies

Insomnia, tea, coffee, chamomile, natural treatment

insomnia, anxiety

Naturopathic sleep remedies to improve your overall health.

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.

And there’s our top 8 naturopathic sleep remedies. 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