Its flu season and time to fight the sniffles before they knock you out with a good punch.

Eating garlic raw is best. Garlic has an antiviral effect. It can actually help destroy a flu virus before it takes hold in your body. If you can’t handle the taste try cooking lightly, as in a stir-fry or adding to your eggs or soups just before serving.

Like garlic, it has more benefits if eaten raw but still helps to fight a virus even if it’s cooked.

Homemade cough syrup.

1 onion, red or yellow
1/2 C raw honey

Here we go, onion syrup

Here are some flu-fighting foods to add to your diet this season.

adding the honey

The finished product

Another way to include garlic and/or onion in your diet when you’ve got a cold or the flu is to make cough syrup. Take a whole onion or whole garlic head and slice into even slices. Lay a slice of onion or a thin layer of garlic in the bottom of a jar (make sure it has a fitted lid) then drizzle a layer of honey over it, repeat until onion (or garlic is using) is gone and honey is used up. Close the lid and leave on counter overnight. In the morning you can open the jar and take a teaspoon of the liquid as needed.

Spices are healing. Most spices are actually herbs and have been used as medicine since humans began. Medicines are originally from herbs. Some good ones to include in your diet to help you heal are turmeric, cloves, cinnamon, ginger, and thyme. Sprinkle them on everything. I like adding thyme and or turmeric to my eggs and/or soups. Cloves and cinnamon go great on oatmeal or sliced apples. And ginger I add to stir-fry, gingersnap cookies, or make a tea out of fresh ginger.

Ginger Tea

2 inches of fresh ginger
4 C water
Raw honey to taste

Slice the ginger into 1/4 to 1/2 slices or can be cubed. Heat water to a boil. Turn off heat and add ginger. Let steep anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes. If it gets cold simply heat to warm and drink. It’s great for nausea or sore throats.

All berries are high in antioxidants and are beneficial in fighting colds. They are best eaten raw. Add to smoothies, top your oatmeal, or eat them plain.

Homemade chicken soup
Seriously great virus-fighting ability. And you’ll up the health benefits if you make homemade bone broth first. Making your chicken soup out of bone broth gives you a huge bang of fighting power. It’s how your grandmother and great-grandmother made chicken soup and why it helped cure the family of colds and flu.

Bananas actually round up viruses and stop them from reacting. They cause the virus to become harmless. Add them to smoothies or smash a banana and add a tablespoon of almond butter and raw cocoa to taste. Stir for an energy-packed treat.

Apples have quercetin which is anti-viral and anti-inflammatory. Not to mention they are sweet and tasty. Best raw. Sprinkle on some cinnamon and honey to increase their strength.

What a great anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal sweet remedy. On top of that, honey soothes the throat. Add it to everything, tea, fruit, baking, oatmeal….

Returning from Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s disease is the most devastating, debilitating, and heartbreaking disease that I know of. It’s a mind-stealing disease that affects as many as 5 million Americans. People afflicted with the disease live through the fear and terror of knowing they are losing their thoughts and memories. Their family and friends are faced with the heart retching fact that they are helpless to do anything but watch. Oh, they can support and caretake the infected. But they cannot stop the ravaging of the mind.

Until now. There is something you can do!

It wouldn’t be fair if I didn’t first explain what Alzheimer’s is. It can start years before anyone notices and it slowly progresses until the person or loved ones start to notice something is amiss. It can start with not be able to recall recent people you met or conversations you’ve had. Maybe you researched some topic to learn a new skill but you aren’t able to retain that new information very easily. Our most recent experiences fail to be filed away for safe keeping. Then the disease progresses, traveling through and destroying our memories like a delete button going backward in time. It can start to change our behavior, skills, and attitude. We can start to believe things that aren’t true. We become disorientated. We lose the ability to carry on a conversation and may become suspicious of family and friends. Eventually, we find it difficult to pronounce words, swallow, walk, or even remember how to roll over.

Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading cause of death and once diagnosed the average life expectancy is eight to ten years. That’s average, it can be anywhere from three to twenty years. But the person was developing the disease a long time before it was diagnosed. They had it for years as they or their family slowly started to wonder if there was a problem.

Scientists are working on solving the problem and for years they believed they had it figured out. They found plaques, or protein fragment deposits built up between the nerves in the brain. And they found what they call tangles, which consist of a different protein with twisted fibers. These two culprits were found inside cells in the brain. And so scientist researched and tested for years on this theory.

As all theories, it is a possible belief, not a fact. This theory was the best they had.

The problem was with the testing. It all failed. They understood what was wrong, but nothing they tried worked as it should have, and no one got better, in fact, many got worse.

Currently, the best medication we have is Aricept. As the disease progresses, the brain loses more and more of a needed neurotransmitter called acetylcholine. Aricept blocks the enzyme that causes the loss of acetylcholine. The sad part is that this helps slow the symptoms down but does not block the progression of the disease. Not to mention that the side effects can worsen the quality of life.

Now, it turns out there are three main subtypes of Alzheimer’s and each one takes a different treatment. This explains why scientist had such a difficult time finding a solution, they didn’t realize there was more than one type.

With this new knowledge, we can now prevent the disease if you are prone to getting it. We can even reverse it, (depending on how far advanced) if you already have it.

A test can be run to let you know if you are likely to succumb to the disease. There is a gene variant called ApoE4, and it is the largest known genetic risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease. You can get this gene from either or both parents. From one parent, you increase your risk by 30%. From both parents, your risk goes up 50 – 90%. You do not have to wait for symptoms to have this test done to find out if you’re at risk. If you find you are at risk, you can prevent it by making a few lifestyle changes. Just as you are recommended to have a colonoscopy at 50 years old, you should have the gene test done as you reach 40 years old. If you do have the gene, there is treatment. It’s called ReCODE and was developed by Dale E. Bredesen, MD.

If you have the ApoE4 then there are test to find out which one of the three types of Alzheimer’s you will have. Once you know this, treatment is fairly straightforward. You fill out a medical history and work on health issues such as insulin resistance, toxins, hormone issues, inflammation, diabetes… Health issues that are stepping stones for the disease. Then there are diet choices and supplements that can be added to your daily routine, depending on your type of Alzheimer’s. Each person has to be looked at individually and a routine designed just for them and their individual needs is created. Things like exercise, stress, sleep, gut healing and brain training are all things that can help to prevent or reverse the disease. No one need ever die from this disease again.

If I told you that you could go for a 20-minute walk, take magnesium and a probiotic every day and you’d never have Alzheimer’s even though both your parents did, would you do it??? (That may not be your particular treatment plan. This is merely an example) I would hope that you would. And if the answer is yes, then you have the ability to prevent yourself and your loved ones from ever having this horrible mind-stealing disease.

I am excited to be working in this field.

I specialize in gut health and Alzheimer’s disease and I’m proud to do so.

I lost my grandmother, mother, and mother-in-law to this disease and it propelled me into research. I watched these three wonderful women lose who they were. I saw the fear in their eyes as they acknowledged what was happening to them. And I was helpless to do anything to help them. I remember my mom sitting at the kitchen table with her sewing laying in front of her. She was crying. I asked her why. She said, “I used to know how to do this.” She stared at the material and the needle and thread and cried. She had no idea what to do with it and she had been sewing every day for years, up until that day. How terrible to go through that confusion, fear, and loss with every single part of your life.

Get tested.

For more information on how to get tested and what to do, contact me.

How to reduce or eliminate acid reflux

Know someone that experiences Acid Reflux or GERD? Chances are good that you do. Approximately 60 million adults in the US experience acid reflux and/or GERD.

What is acid reflux? Common symptoms of acid reflux can include but not necessarily limited to: chest pain, trouble swallowing, a burning that’s worse when laying down, a feeling of fullness even after only a small amount of food, burping, gas, a bitter taste in the mouth, hoarseness, coughing, sore throat, nausea, food coming back up into your mouth, or extra saliva. (This does not mean these symptoms are not a sign of some other health issue and checking with your doctor for health issues is always a good idea.) You’ve probably been told to take an acid suppressant to relieve your pain. Your Proton Pump Inhibitor (PPI) and Tums do help temporarily. But is it really too much acid that is causing the pain?

No, in nearly ALL cases it is not the problem. There are two valves that control the entry and exit of food in your stomach. There is the esophageal sphincter that opens when you swallow to allow food to pass into the stomach. After you stop eating this valve closes to prevent food from coming back up, at least it’s supposed to do that. Then there is the pyloric valve that allows food to exit the stomach and enter the intestines. This valve also needs to be working at the proper time.

When you eat you NEED high stomach acid to break down proteins and to kill off pathogens that take up residence in your stomach when your stomach acid is too low. There can be many reasons to cause the esophageal sphincter to open at the wrong times, that’s a post all in and of itself. The point is that we need stomach acid, it’s important to have. Without the proper levels, we are not able to break down and utilize magnesium, iron, calcium, or zinc. These are four really important minerals our body cannot do without. Yet if you are suppressing your stomach acid you are NOT getting all of these minerals even if you take a supplement.

When you are experiencing acid reflux, it’s not that there is too much acid, it’s that the acid has found its way to the wrong place. The valve has opened at the wrong time and allowed the acid to move up into your esophagus. And that is painful! Stomach acid is hydrochloric acid (HCI). That’s one of the strongest acids there are. If you were to spill it on your skin it would burn you. HCI activates pepsin which starts to break down the proteins in our food. But pepsin will also try to break down the proteins in our esophagus if it’s allowed to travel up with the HCI… ouch. But, thank goodness, our bodies are designed perfectly and our stomach is lined to prevent the acid from harming us. However, your esophagus is not lined to protect you from the acid because the acid isn’t supposed to go there.

So when you are experiencing stomach acid pain… it’s because the acid is in the wrong place.

So what are some of the ways to help your stomach acid to happily stay where it’s supposed to be? There are several ways, in fact, I have helped clients relieve their acid reflux without medications just by doing the following:

When you eat, eat sitting down. Take your time. Actually take a moment to still your mind prior to eating. Don’t rush your meal, if you’re in a hurry, pass on food and learn to schedule a meal time that allows you to relax, it’s that important.

Chew your food until it’s a slurry in your mouth. We start the digestive process of carbs in our mouth. If we don’t chew properly then we force our stomach to do a lot of extra work. Chew, taste, swallow, relax.

Don’t drink a lot of water with your meal. You can still drink water but don’t fill your stomach up with water, it dilutes the stomach acid and prevents it from doing its job to the fullest. Overdrinking at meal time can cause a lot of burping afterward as well as that gassy feeling. That gassy feeling can blow open the valve and here comes the burn.

Don’t overeat. Our bodies send a signal to stop eating when we’re full but that signal can take up to 20 minutes to reach us. Eating quickly causes us to overeat because we missed the memo! Take your time so you don’t overeat. Overeating causes acid reflux because your stomach is so full there is no room for it to work on digestion.

Don’t wear tight clothing that binds your stomach, it can actually push your organs upward, and with that push….up the esophagus we go.

And the catch 22, low magnesium can cause spasms in your muscles. That would include the esophageal sphincter muscle spasming and allowing acid to travel upward. And lowering your stomach acid causes low magnesium. It’s a vicious circle.

Bedtime is often when people experience symptoms. When we go to bed we relax, which includes relaxing our muscles. And if we haven’t given ourselves time to digest our food then our food has a greater chance of traveling up when we are laying down. So please give yourself 2-3 hours to digest your meal prior to going to bed. That means don’t eat 2-3 hours before bedtime.

Meditate. We have what is called the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) and the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS). The SNS is activated when we are in “fight or flight” mode. Even if it’s from the stress of our computer job, if we are stressed, our bodies think we are running for our lives from a sabertooth tiger. Our body wants to survive so it shuts down or greatly reduces digestion. That includes anything along the GI tract (think constipation). It doesn’t have time to focus on digesting when it’s trying to give everything it has to run away. It needs to push the adrenaline not HCI. I mean, really, if you’re about to die who cares if the food is digested, right?

PNS is when your body is at rest. It’s not stressed, life is good, food is good, smiling is good, it’s happy. It’s a great time to digest.

So meditation is a great way to relax and digest your food.

And lastly, some medications can cause reflux. If you are on medications and the above suggestions don’t help, talk to your doctor about any medications you might be on, they may be able to change your meds to something that is better suited for your unique body.

These are just some of the ways to reduce or eliminate the painful burning and discomfort of acid reflux. For more in-depth information please go to the contact me page on my website.