Build Your Immune System

With all the fear and crazy toilet paper buying that’s happening right now… I thought I should give you some helpful suggestions on how to build your immune system and stay healthy is flu season.

One of the most important things you can do is, “Don’t Panic“. I’m not saying you shouldn’t prepare. You may want to buy some extra veggies and stock your freezer… that’s totally up to you.

But I am saying… there are some commonsense things you can do.

#1Wash your hands with soap and water for a minimum of 20 seconds. Try singing happy birthday TWICE. That’ll give you 20 seconds.

#2Don’t touch your face! Your mouth, nose, and eyes, are open gateways into your body.  

#3Eat whole foods!

#4.  Meditate.  Stress weakens the immune system.

Okay, so about #3… What should you eat?  

Here’s a list of foods that are important to include in your diet anytime you want to build your immune system. That means it’s a good list for right now, but also it’s a good list to follow every flu season.  Copy and print it off.  Put it someplace safe that you’ll remember turning cold seasons. 

Build Your Immune System With Foods 

Garlic – you can add it to almost everything, (I even had garlic ice cream once.) It’s antimicrobial, antiviral, and immune-boosting.

Ginger – Makes a great tea. And it can be added to many recipes. It’s antimicrobial, antiviral, and immune-boosting.

Citrus fruits – Great source of vitamin C.

Red and yellow peppers, Thyme, Parsley, Kale, Kiwis, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Lychees, Papayas, Strawberries, are all foods high in vitamin C.

Fermented foods – Most of our immune system lives in our guts. And by adding fermented foods, you add probiotics and balance the gut bacteria. Foods like; sauerkraut, kombucha, yogurt, kefir, tempeh, pickles, miso, kimchi, and sourdough are all in the fermented category.   

Turmeric – Antiviral and anti-inflammatory. 

Vitamin A – especially if you are feeling like you’re coming down with something. It improves your immune system.

Vitamin D – It fights disease and works with vitamin A.

Liver – eat it twice a week OR eat Cod Liver Oil.

Zinc – for building the immune system. 

Propolis – A great natural throat spray. Antimicrobial and Antiviral 

Honey – Antimicrobial and Antiviral 

Okay, print that out and save it. But more importantly, follow it. Add everything in the list that you can. It may be the difference between getting sick and staying well this season and every future flu season to come. 

I hope that helps! 

Do you know where you parked the car?

Do you or someone you care about live with cognitive decline, dementia, or Alzheimer’s? Would you like to reclaim your lost memories, or remember where you parked the car? What would you give to have your mom remember your name? 

Hi, I’m Cathy Ostema and I’ve created a program to give you back what you’ve lost. Join me as we work together finding the cause of your memory concerns.

Did you know there are three main causes of memory loss? 

  1. Heavy metal toxicity
  2. Vitamin and/or mineral deficiency
  3. Inflammation/oxidation

Did you know there are test you can take to find out which one, or combination, of these causes are hurting those you love? 

Would you like help working your way through the jungle of confusion to find you are able to work again? 

Would you like to be able to think clearly and make your own decision without the fear of losing another part of yourself?

I know, I lost more than one loved one to this horrible issue. It led me to years of research and study until I found I was able to actually help others regain what they had lost.

What would it feel like to hear the doctor say, “You no longer have cognitive decline”?

Let me help you too. 

Can your fruit and veggies be making you sick? How about making you fat?

A lot of us have been told that fruit was a healthy snack. Is this true or simply outdated information?

While most plant foods are good for us, we are all different individuals with different microbiomes (the needed bacteria in the gut) and in different stages of health.  For some people a vegetarian diet helps them to feel great, they thrive on it.  For others, they are much healthier adding meat into their diets.  There simply is not a one diet fits all.  

Science has figured out that we are bio-individuals.  Bio meaning life or living body, so we are individual living bodies. Bio-individuality is a term referring to the fact that each person’s unique body has different needs and requires different foods.

The same is true for fruits and veggies… to a point.  Some people thrive on all the veggies this wonderful planet has to offer, while others have reactions to some plants/fruits. 

There is a class of vegetables that can cause inflammation and allergies.  Nightshades!  

Have you heard of nightshades?  

Maybe you’ve heard of them but don’t really know what they are.  Nightshades are a class of vegetables that cause a negative reaction in some people.  The most common nightshades are bell peppers, potatoes, tomatoes, and eggplant.  That’s a list of healthy and yummy veggies for most of us.  For others, they are a source of joint pain, bloating and they can lead to chronic inflammation. 

People with osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, or other joint problems should avoid eating any nightshades. 

When inflammation is not controlled it can lead to insulin resistance and that is the beginning of a long list of diseases. So if you experience sinus issues, unexplained weight gain even though you’re eating a lot of veggies, fluid retention, irritable bowel syndrome, depression, you get a lot of headaches, or joint pain, you many be experiencing a reaction to your food. 

Inflammation is really an entire article all by itself.  Here’s a quick rundown of what it is.  When you bump your toe and it hurts and turns red, you’re jumping around yelling, OUCH, your body has a biological response. It rushes to the area to attack whatever is hurting you and it starts trying to heal the location.  That includes when you eat something you shouldn’t have or inhaled a cold bug.  That’s inflammation which is a good thing.  We need inflammation at times like that.  Then, after we’ve cleared up the invader the body settles back down.  

But when things get out of balance in the body and our body sees food as an invader there can be a build up of inflammation that just keeps coming and doesn’t get the signal to settle down.  That’s when it’s out-of-balance and bad things can start to happen.  Okay, that’s the quick explanation of it. 

So, as I was saying, one of the many things inflammation can cause is insulin resistance.  And that can lead to metabolic syndrome and diabetes.  Science is now finding that Alzheimer’s starts with inflammation. They have started calling it Diabetes III.  

What should we watch out for?  We should watch out for foods that have a high glycemic load (GL), (That’s different from glycemic Index, see side note.)

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Foods that have a high glycemic load can raise a person’s blood sugar.  For the average healthy individual, our blood sugar can go up and down and the body handles it.  We adjust internally as the body sends out insulin to transport the glucose into the cells for energy.  Any glucose that isn’t needed can be stored in the liver and muscles for later use.  We go about our day unaware that this is all happening inside of us.  For others, it’s not that simple.

Repeatedly raising our blood sugar can be traveling down a slippery road.  We have what are called insulin receptors that help with the transport and when bombarded with a constant overload the receptors get a bit tired and start refusing to collect the glucose (sugar). High blood sugar, also called hyperglycemia, leads to pre-diabetes, diabetes, pancreatitis, Cushing’s syndrome, pancreatic cancer, and more. Some medications can cause hyperglycemia while on the medication.  Speak with your doctor if you experience the following; dry mouth, frequent urination, increased thirst, fatigue, lightheadedness, blurred vision, headache, nausea and weakness.

High blood glucose levels are also associated with cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s.

Two of the highest GL foods include baked russet potato and microwavable potato.  This is really sad because I really enjoy a good baked potato. 

To get the most of your veggies eat low glycemic and eat seven to nine servings of vegetables a day, making a good portion of them leafy greens.  Seven to nine servings averages about four cups. 

See the side notes for a list of veggies to include in your diet and the ones to limit or avoid. (Sidebar is not currently functioning. Notes can be found at the bottom of this article.)

As for the fruit, we were told they were healthy snacks.  Don’t get me wrong, fruit contains a lot of good stuff like fiber, vitamins and phytonutrients.  Sadly, some of them can also raise your blood sugar.  

Who doesn’t love a sweet juicy fruit for a treat? I know I do.  I’m not saying you shouldn’t eat fruit, you should eat it, but I am saying it’s best to limit how much you eat and which kind of fruit you eat.  Grapes along with most of the melon varieties are the top offenders for raising our blood sugar. And once again, that leads to inflammation, and inflammation can result in weight gain.

If you’ve started eating fruit to save yourself from eating ice cream and cookies you may simply be swapping out one sugar for another.

Years and years ago, fruit wasn’t as sweet as it is now.  We’ve taken what was growing wild and manipulated it into the perfect looking, and sweeter tasting, fruit we now find in our supermarkets.

Ok, after all that negative talk about fruit, let me say, fruit is healthy.  Try to pick fruits that have an 11 glycemic load or lower.  Pick fruits with fiber so the sugar doesn’t spike as fast. Fruits contain antioxidants, they are anticancer, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory. Berries are the best choices for a healthy diet.  While delicious and healthy, it is still best to limit your fruit to two servings a day.  

Avoid canned fruit, all fruit juice (that’s an article in itself), dried fruit, bananas, grapes and melon for the most part. 

What’s better, fresh or frozen? 

One way to increase the nutrient value is by buying frozen fruit. I’ll bet that came as a surprise.  Buy frozen, it’s often better for you, (and that goes for veggies as well as fruit), and it’s generally cheaper.  When they freeze fruit they pick fruit that is at it’s peak ripeness and freeze it right away.  It holds its nutrition while frozen.  Whereas, fresh fruit needs to be picked prior to ripening so it can ripen in route, which can be over a thousand miles.  And ‘ripen in route’ really means it’s starting the rotting process. 

So, by all means eat fruit, just choose low glycemic load and high fiber fruits.  They really do make a healthy and delicious snack.  

You can find a list of fruits to eat and to avoid in the side bar. 

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Fruits and veggies are some of the best nutrient based foods available to us.  Please eat plenty of them.  But if you’re someone that has a reaction to foods, pay attention to the foods that seem to be affecting you and try to eliminate them for a few weeks to see how you feel.  

For questions or more information please contact me.  

Cathy Ostema

Mountain Sun Healing 

Glycemic Load –

Refers to how much and how fast a particular food will raise a person’s blood glucose level after they have eaten it. It determines how much carbohydrate is in the food which turns into glucose in the body and how much insulin will be released into the system. So a food that has a high glycemic index may actually have a low glycemic load and be healthy to consume.

Glycemic Index –

Is a measure of how much a food, once eaten, causes the level of glucose in the blood to rise. It however, does not calculate the insulin production of a food. So two different foods could have the same glycemic index but produce different amounts of insulin in the body.

It’s best to consume veggies with a glycemic load of 11 or less.

The following list for glycemic load came from, What the Heck Should I Eat? by Mark Hyman, MD

Fruits with a low glycemic load –

Apricots – 3
Oranges – 3
Watermelons – 4
Nectarines – 4
Wild blueberries – 5
Golden Delicious apples – 6
Pineapple – 6
Kiwis – 7
Mangoes – 8
Cherries – 9
Black grapes – 11

Fruits with a high glycemic load

Bananas – 16
Dried figs – 16
Raisins – 28

Veggies to eat freely –

Salad greens
Bok Choy
Tomatoes (unless you shouldn’t eat nightshades)
Peppers (unless you shouldn’t eat nightshades)
Eggplant (unless you shouldn’t eat nightshades)
Brussel Sprouts
Swiss chard
collard greens
turnip greens
beet greens
mustard greens
purple or red or white fingerling potatoes
rainbow carrots
Jerusalem artichokes

Veggies to avoid –

Iceberg lettuce
White potatoes
raw white button mushrooms
alfalfa sprouts
Nightshades if you have arthritis or inflammation
Baked russet potato
microwavable potato

The Mediterranean Diet

The Mediterranean Diet is considered, by many, to be one of the healthiest diets on the planet. Although it is not for everyone, it does fit for most people. And it’s certainly a tasty diet with recipes from the entire mediterranean region.

One of the reasons it’s so healthy is that it is not just about food. The editerranean diet is a lifestyle that has been around for thousands of years. It’s about food, being social, happy, and physically active.

The people of Greece, Crete, southern France, and parts of Italy are known to follow this lifestyle. They live longer, and that is partly because of the food they eat, but also because of the way they eat and interact with others. They believe in sitting down and taking their time eating. They enjoy eating with others as a social event. And because they are chatting and relaxing they get full sooner than most people and don’t tend to eat as much. They believe in exercising every day. This can be walking, working around the house, gardening, biking, hiking, what ever the person enjoys. They tend to see life from a relaxed stance. They don’t worry and make themselves sick with fast deadlines that pump up the adrenaline. They breathe deep and stay calm.

Their diet is also full of rich omega-3 fatty acids. We tend to eat a lot of omega-6’s from packaged and prepared foods and fail to balance it out with enough omega-3’s. We need both. Omega-6’s are pro-inflammatory. And as that sounds bad, we need some inflammation. Omega-6’s are important for cell growth, they strengthen the brain, produces hormone messengers, and are important for our nervous system.

But in order to stay healthy we need to balance omega-6’s with omega’3’s which are not pro-inflammatory. The problem is when we let this balance get ‘out-of-balance’, the omega-6’s can become deadly. When we have an imbalance, omega-6 can create massive amounts of inflammatory issues in the body, including coronary heart disease which can be a silent killer.

Omega-3’s can counter depression and anxiety, improve eye health, reduce symptoms of ADHD, lower triglycerides, lower blood pressure, can raise “good” HDL cholesterol, help prevent blood clots, help prevent plaque build up, and reduce inflammation. So eat your omega’3’s!!!

Eating a diet rich in omega-3’s can counter the omega-6’s and this helps your body stay healthy and active. And the mediterranean diet is loaded with omega-3’s!

People that follow this diet have lower rates of heart disease, cancer, and diabetes than we do here in the United States.

What does the diet consist of as far as food? A lot of extra virgin olive oil. But make sure you are buying real olive oil; here in the States manufacturers are allowed to mix in canola or other transfatty oils to thin the olive oil out and they are not required by law to add that information to the label. And olive oil is healthiest when it is used raw. If you decide to cook with it, cook at low temperatures so you don’t end up turning it into a transfat.

The diet also includes seasonal fruits and veggies, unprocessed grains, and wild caught fatty fish. They eat dairy, (but avoid this if you have allergies), mostly the dairy they eat is from goats. They enjoy eggs and eat the white and yolk together, generally limiting eggs to 3 or 4 per week but this is about intuition rather than rules. If you don’t have food sensitivities go for eggs everyday if you like. For snacks they enjoy nuts and on special occasion they have desserts. As far as meat and saturated fats they eat in moderation and savor the meal. The diet enjoys a lot of legumes, oregano, and lemon. And best of all they like a glass of red wine with their evening meal and love a good cup of coffee. They enjoy their food, their families and their lives.

Foods they avoid are all processed and refined foods. They eat the way their ancestries ate.

So eat, move your body, enjoy life, laugh, love, socialize, and share a glass of wine!

If you have any questions about how to follow this diet don’t hesitate to contact me for more information.

Alzheimer’s May Not Be What You Think

The question was asked, what is Alzheimer’s and why am I losing my memory? So this is as simple an explanation as I could come up with. For those that would be interested in a more thorough explanation stay tuned for future articles.

So many baby-boomers are reaching the age that Alzheimer’s is sadly staring them in the face. It affects more and more every year. The question is what is causing it and how do we stop it?

If we sit back for a moment and think about it, it’s not a hard question to answer. Our parents and our grandparents ate mostly non-processed foods. They ate ‘real food’. They grew their own veggies and butchered their own livestock or they bought local and in season. Monsanto wasn’t spraying our fields yet, so the produce was healthy and full of nutrients. We didn’t need to worry about pesticides and all the harm those chemicals do to us.

We didn’t have cell phones or computers and spent our time outdoors being physically active. Walking to where we wanted to go was commonplace. Running and playing with the dog, the kids, each other, taking care of the animals, fixing our own cars and homes. We played and worked rather than sit in front of a computer for hours.

There weren’t factories on every corner spewing toxic chemicals into our air. There were factories, but not as many as there are now and the air was much safer to take into our lungs.

So what do we do? We can’t get rid of the factories, chemicals are going to be sprayed, life is going to move forward. But how do we prevent our brains from going backward? That’s the real question.

If you’re already experiencing some cognitive decline or little memory blimps here and there, you can breathe easier knowing it can be reversed.

Our bodies are fascinating and fantastic. There are no mistakes in the way our cells work. There is only overwhelm in those cells and that’s when things go wrong.

The body has smartly designed a defense mechanism to protect itself from infection or negative assaults. When an injury occurs in the brain or some sort of infection our brains go right to work creating what is called an Amyloid. (Explaining amyloid and its dangers are for a future post), for now, know that amyloid is being created in an attempt to protect your brain. And the results it ends up sort of downsizing our brain in order to save its ability to continue functioning. It’s a great system, but only if the attack is a one-time event. But when the brain continues to be attacked it goes into overwhelm and the amyloid becomes too much, causing that downsizing.

The attacks that the brain is on patrol to prevent include inflammation from infection, insulin resistance, hormone imbalance, nutrient depletion, and toxic exposure which includes mold, chemicals in our foods and air and the chemicals we put on our skin.

Even though Alzheimer’s is reversible, if precautions are started soon enough, it is not a ‘one size fits all’ solution. Each person can have one or a combination of the attacks happening in their brain. This makes the correction program a very personal one.

So, to narrow it down a bit, there are three different processes that are attacking the brain.

Suboptimal nutrients
Toxic exposures

To correct the issues, we have to identify which one, or combination, of attacks the brain is experiencing.

Then we have to:

Remove the items that are attacking so the brain can stop defending itself.
Replace what is missing, such as healthy nutrients that are missing or lacking.
And finally, remove the amyloid itself. This is where we rebuild the synapses that have been harmed or destroyed. (But I’ll leave that for another post.)

Unfortunately, Alzheimer’s is often at work for fifteen to twenty years prior to the person going in to see a doctor to be diagnosed. I’m not saying that is too late in the game to reverse it, it’s not. Even if you’ve been diagnosed, you can often still reverse it. But you have to be willing to make the necessary lifestyle changes to save your brain.

Inflammation and a shortage of proper nutrients are the largest culprits in this devastating disease. And both of these are linked to our metabolism. And that is directly linked to our diet, our activity level, and our genes. How you handle stress effects your inflammation level. All of this also affects our cardiovascular health, and our weight and our sleep are linked back to inflammation. Even obesity is linked to vitamin D deficiency and that’s a hormone that is needed for heart health and healthy blood pressure. It’s all connected and a bit mind-boggling, for now, just understand that reversal means becoming a healthy and happy individual.

So there is hope out there.

We need to prevent and reduce attacks. Inflammation is a killer. Stress is a killer. Obesity is a killer.

If you believe you have health issues that could lead you to Alzheimer’s it is in your best interest, and in your family and loved one’s interest, to seek help now before symptoms begin.

This is an extremely involved topic and will take several articles to cover it in a more thorough manner.

If you have concerns or questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me or someone with Alzheimer’s knowledge.

More than a health coach

I was walking the dog this morning, and it dawned on me, that calling myself a health coach doesn’t really cover it. I’m a certified functional medicine health coach. I have helped people with a lot of different health issues such as constipation, headaches, sleep issues, acid reflux, skin conditions, memory problems, and more. But I have also helped people with relationship issues, job changes, loss of focus or energy, feeling like they don’t belong, confusion, loss of creativity, and more.

So, health coach doesn’t really say it all. I think it’s more encompassing than ‘health coach’.

For example, a person may come to me complaining that they are feeling a lot of anxiety when they find themselves in crowds and they get the jitters. I’ll ask if there are any other issues and they’ll tell me everything else is going fairly well.

We humans, tend to get used to our health issues, blaming them on age or “just the way it is”. Some will say, “just like my mom, she passed it down to me”. I’ll ask more questions, like questions about their job, relationship, and their life in general. I learn that they have heart palpitations, often feel tired, and sometimes a bit dizzy. A few years ago they started noticing some psoriasis but, “it runs in the family”. They have high blood pressure and tell me it’s to be expected, just an age thing. As long as they’re thinking about it, they would like to lose a few pounds, mostly around the abdomen and face. And the headaches have just started in the last couple of months. Oh, and maybe I could recommend something to help them sleep.

That’s a long list, I know. But it’s not uncommon. The more questions I ask, the deeper we get, and the more we both learn.

Their main concern when they walked in was their anxiety, but we find there is really a whole list of problems that have been accumulating through the years. Issues that had become ‘normal’ to them as time passed.

We end up doing some blood test and find their cortisol levels are off. That makes it hard to sleep without waking during the night. And low cortisol can cause every single one of those problems.

So what do we do? We look at their lifestyle. What are they doing to include joy in their lives? Where are they finding the time to relax, to get out in nature? Do they take the time to meditate or practice some yoga? In other words, we work on their stress levels and their lifestyle. Together we create a plan to work in some needed personal time. Once self-care is included in their life, they find they are sleeping better at night. The skin issues clear up. They don’t remember the last time they had heart palpitations and the doctor is lowering their blood pressure medicine. They come in a few weeks later and announce in an excited voice that they’ve dropped ten pounds. And of course, the anxiety was long gone along with all the other symptoms.

Along the way, we added in some temporary supplements and diet changes to help maintain the new health status.

All-in-all, we ended up working on life situation issues which helped to clear up the health issues, some of which the person had believed were simply inherited or due to age.

Now, back to my original premise. I am more than a health coach. I am a Holistic Life Coach.

I would love to hear what you think.

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.