Not Sure Which Foods, Supplements or Herbs Are Best For You? You Are Not The Only One ... Here Are Some Tools I Use to Break It Down For Clients

There is SO much info out there on helpful health products and foods! Having some easy assessment systems in place to determine what is best for each patient has been a work in progress over the last 23 years I've been in the naturopathic medical field. 

Here's  the 5 tools I turn to regularly these days to fine tune how to optimize energy and overall health through nutrition in a customized patient by patient way ... (-:

1. The Nutri-body Questionnaire - Snapshot of Health
Clients receive a link to an extensive online questionnaire and answers are analyzed and reported in the form of a graph highlighting the top deficiencies or hormonal/digestive/immune system imbalances. I love this as it is an efficient way to see your whole health picture and have a grounded place to start from. Added bonus is that the patterns that show up give good insight as to what is at the root of symptoms so you can really improve your health for good. Here's a couple examples  ...

Example #1: She was clearly low in iron and other minerals yet through the testing and seeing the bigger health picture it was evident that it was more of an absorption issue that needed to be addressed. So rather than giving supplements to replenish, the focus was directed on gut health with key gut healing supportive remedies, yoga nidra to balance the gut-nervous system connection, and diet tweaks.(-:

Example #2: Someone with medicated low thyroid shows up on the Nutri-body Analysis with the adrenal gland health score being below normal (common pattern with moms these days!). This tells me that we won't go far if we focus solely on the thyroid as these hormonal glands work together and both need the support to ultimately feel better overall. 

2. Blood type!  Highlights Beneficial Foods and Much More
Knowing our blood type and your children's blood type is so helpful. I wrote a article on this a way back - if you are interested you can search it on this site. Our body truly has its own operating manual as we figure out what we need as we age. Knowing your blood type is like having a chapter of that operating manual in your hand - it gives insight into key foods that aggravate the system and cause weight gain as well as best practices for exercise. Worth checking out yours to see if you get some 'ahas' that can lead to better health for you. PS - Blood typing is included at no cost as part of consults at the office.

3. Food Sensitivity Testing - Fine-tuning Your Diet & Decreasing Inflammation
Many of my clients - if not all - put a good amount of effort into eating well. When you don't feel well despite making changes it's a serious bummer! Food sensitivity testing is an easy test to rule out food sensitivities as contributing to the current inflammation/symptoms you are experiencing in your body. Figuring them out can, as a client who had an inflammatory skin condition all her life pointed out, "change things in as little time as a month." 0-: I know right.  The results aren't always so dramatic but often they are if there aren't a lot of other things going on. I had a client who could barely breathe, and was sick constantly from consuming a lot of the 2 foods he was unknowingly reacting to, who is now living his dream doing physical activities he never thought were possible for him and feeling better than ever. I love being able to witness these transformations ...

4. The REBA Device - Compatibility
What I love about this  machine is that it assesses compatibility of supplements (and foods) so you only end up taking supplements that are beneficial for YOU. There are so many supplements and brands out there (it really can make your head spin). The REBA makes simplifying simple and oh yeah ... VERY easy to use with kids. (-:

5. Seasons and Body Type Assessment
This piece is pretty obvious once you learn about it. Someone who is freezing cold all the time and has loose stool won't do great drinking cold smoothies and eating lots of raw foods ... especially in the Winter. Healthy oils, warm medicinal teas, ghee, soups and easy to digest protein work better here as we work to get the digestion stronger in many naturopathic ways often including calming the nervous system.

What trumps it all? How you feel on and off certain foods or certain supplements. My checking in with you can help figure that out. Supplements and foods are just one piece of what contributes to our level of health and well-being -- when they are on track it can be a huge positive contributor and help you have the energy and clarity for bigger changes that may be up. New patients often come in saying they don't know where to start with all the options and info out there. These tools come in handy to 1. get you clearer quicker and 2. uncover pieces of your healthcare puzzle that you might not have thought of ... xo, Dr. Monika

PS - I am available for tele-medicine phone/skype wellness consultations as well now (-: monikaherwignd@opentowellness.ca to set this up.

 

Sore Belly/Diarrhea Recovery Food Ideas and Practice Pearls

Basic recommendations and some favourite recipes to get you nourished and feeling better after diarrhea or if you have weak digestion/"digestive fire".

Everyone is unique but a couple general recommendations to start is to 1. really chew your food so your body gets it in a very broken down absorbable form 2. limit raw food (warm food time) and 3. soak nuts or grains overnight to - as with the chewing - decrease the work the digestive system needs to do at this time. 

Here are some other favourites:

1. Ginger and high quality probiotics are my first line go to's. Keep some whole ginger root in your freezer at all times as this is so helpful to have at the start of digestive and immune symptoms. The HMF Intensive at the clinic is the probiotic has been a best seller for over 15 years so we recommend that as our first choice - with diarrhea I recommend avoiding probiotics tat have FOS (fructo-oligosaccharides) as part of it - it will say so on the label.

2. Slippery elm powder - as a tea or mixed with yoghurt or applesauce - very soothing. You can purchase this bulk at health food stores.

3. Congees - there are many 'congee' recipes out there - comes from traditional chinese medicine. A simple one is 1 cup of rice to 9 cups water. Add grated ginger to it and bring to a boil. Then turn it way low and let it simmer covered for a couple hours. This is as unfancy as you can get with cooking but your digestive system will more than likely love it! Adding some very finely cut up chicken or turkey in there is an easy protein variation excellent especially if you are Blood type O.

4. * KEY Soup for diarrhea: The Electrolyte Replacement Soup - zuccinni, potato peels. celery. Chop it all up, boil it for a bit till the water gets brothy looking. Strain, add a whole salt  to taste (i.e. Celtic or Himalayan) and drink up. Warm beverages are excellent for the digestive system and this one is packed with the very nutrients you lose with diarrhea. This will help your brain come back online after repeated diarrhea. I've been there during my India trip and can attest to how important replenishing electrolytes are when you have diarrhea!

5. Miso soup - 1 tsp - 1 Tbsp miso paste in 1 cup hot water and boom you have a super digestible protein rich meal. You can find the containers of miso paste in the refrigerator section of most health food stores. It is made from soy so I would recommend sticking with nonGMO soy. As it is fermented it is the top soy product I recommend. Soooo easy! 

6. Bone broth - our favourite is the Osso brand. We often have some in the freezer at the office at a special client rate because myself and the staff like to have some for backup when we haven't had time to make some from scratch ... it happens! Bone broth is packed with nutrients easily absorbed and utilized for healing by the digestive tract.

7. The unda drainage and repair medicines are what I find works best for chronic digestive issues that need a bit more than the basics above. These can be used even for very young children with good results and are thankfully easy to take.

"I love the undas!" Jill, mom of 3

8. Lastly, figure out your food sensitivities either by an elimination diet or blood test. Figuring out your food sensitivities is a simple way to decrease inflammation in the gut and body in general. We offer several kits at the office. The 120 food assessment is the most popular and it takes 10 days to receive results. This test is highly recommended if you have chronic inflammation of any kind or poor digestion. For more info click on the link below ...