Dr. Kyle: Debunking the Salt Myth

Do you pay attention to how much sodium you take in?

Maybe you should!

It turns out that sodium may not be as bad as we previously thought. In fact, sodium is essential for many metabolic processes. Sodium is responsible for regulating blood pressure, maintaining blood volume and is required for neuron function and signal transduction.

Many believe that high (or adequate) salt intake will lead to high blood pressure. Most cases of hypertension are actually a result of genetics or stress. A small percentage of the people who are sodium sensitive may experience an increase in blood pressure, but an overwhelming benefit for the rest of the population cannot be ignored.

Sodium has several benefits including:

• Increased performance
• Increased stamina / endurance
• Increased blood volume
• Increased recovery

During high intensity exercise, the body actually responds better to a higher blood volume. This improves delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the working cells of the body. High blood volumes are also optimal for kidney filtration and removal of toxins and metabolic waste products.

Low dietary sodium and elimination diets can have detrimental effects for high performance athletes. Low salt intake will decrease overall blood volume, making the blood thicker. This can cause muscle weakness, cramps and lethargy.

What Type of Salt?

I recommend iodized salt. Iodine helps with thyroid function and regulates metabolism. Unbleached, pure Himalayan salt is also a good option.

So if you are hitting a wall during your workout it may be due to sodium depletion. Bottom line, make sure you are drinking plenty of water, eating sufficient carbs for your training needs, getting a balance of micronutrients from a variety of whole foods, and don’t be afraid to sprinkle a little salt on your meals every once in a while!

Friendly Fats

When we talked about fats in the 4380 Fitness Challenge nutrition night, one person asked me if she was eating too much fat. What she actually has found is that, for her, eating more fat actually helps with anxiety. This is a fantastic personal discovery! In the 6 daily diet tips I mention a goal of 6 tablespoons of healthy fat a day. This of course is a general guideline. I cannot tell you how much fat or carbs or protein is exactly right for you. Only you will be able to what is safe and healthy through individual professional guidance and even then, some trial and error.

Also, keep in mind your needs will change with age and season. We all need to eat for the season. When it is cold outside we need heartier, heavier meals. When it is hot and humid, we need light and refreshing sustenance to fuel us without weighing us down. Babes need higher fat as the brain is rapidly developing and different life situations demand different nutrients.

Time  for an Oil Change?

Did you know that the human brain is nearly 60 percent fat? Getting the right fats in your diet is the most crucial way to boost your brain’s integrity and ability to perform. Essential fatty acids (EFAs) are required for optimal message conduction not only in the brain, but across every cellular membrane in the body. 

More of these

If you are sensitive to a food like dairy or nuts, then you need to look at the other alternatives of healthy fats on the list.

  • Fish oil
  • Coconut oil
  • Olive Oil
  • Avocados & their oil
  • Small amounts of real butter or ghee (clarified butter)
  • Oils found in nuts in seeds
  • Fats found naturally in whole dairy
  • Fats found naturally in responsibly raised poultry & meat

Supplemental Fish oil (3rd party tested and cleansed of heavy metals):

  • Reduces cholesterol:
    • reduce triglyceride levels by 20% to 50%
  • In those with coronary artery disease: Heart attacks reduced risk by 20% and sudden death by 30% (better than statins alone)
  • Improves symptoms of depression and increase length of remission
  • Reduces symptoms of psychosis, Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias
  • Reduces inflammation and severity of rheumatoid arthritis (RA), osteoporosis, psoriasis, atopic dermatitis, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, Behcet’s syndrome, and Raynaud’s syndrome
  • Helpful in weight loss
  • Reduces muscular soreness after exercise

Are saturated fats bad for you?

Yes and no. Too much of anything is not good for you. So, yes trim excess fat off your meat and avoid too much chicken skin, however, eating marbled meats and full fat dairy, coconut products and egg yolks will help  incorporate calcium into the bones, protect the liver from damage by alcohol and medications like acetaminophen, has beneficial effects on cardiovascular function, deliver fat soluble vitamins.

Less of these

  • Sunflower oil
  • Canola oil
  • Peanuts, and peanut oil
  • Safflower Oil

Not all fats are created equal.

Industry seed oils are those made from the seeds of corn, cotton, sunflower, safflower or a hybrid called canola. A small amount of these oils is not an issue, as we do need some omega 6 fats in our diet. Problem is with the North American tendency to eat fast food, restaurant food, processed and packaged foods, we tend to get way too many of these and not enough omega 3 fats. This tips the scale towards inflammation. Industry seed oils are easily oxidized and oxidized fats is a leading contributor to modern inflammatory diseases such as cardiovascular disease, Alzheimers, non alcoholic fatty liver disease and fibromyalgia.

 

Never these

  • Transfats
  • Super heat vegetable oil (fried foods)
  • Rancid oils

Trans fats that are manufactured by hydrolyzing an natural fat tends to do all the wrong things to cholesterol. Trans fats raise LDL and triglycerides and lower HDL.  Not good.

Rancid oils, or fats that are past their shelf life will contribute to oxidative stress in your body. This means aging!

Anything eaten in excess can be converted and stored in the body as fat. That includes protein and carbohydrates. Did you know one of the main reasons for young people today being diagnosed with non alcoholic fatty liver is the excessive sugars in their diet?

Friendly Fat Facts

  1. Essential Fatty Acids (EFA’s) must be taken in the diet as they can not synthesized by the body. It is often necessary to supplement. Fish oil that is third party tested and cleansed of heavy metals in either a gel cap or, more economically, liquid, is best.
  2. Fats are required to help us absorb fat soluble vitamins  (A, D, E & K)
  3. Healthy fats consumed earlier in the day (breakfast) will help curb afternoon cravings.
  4.  Naturally occurring saturated fats that marble meat or as a part of dairy have benefits when consumed in moderation

This means

  1. Breakfast: could include your dose of fish oil (EFA’s) and vitamin D, a handful of nuts, or simply a tablespoon of coconut oil in your cup of coffee.
  2.  Lunch & Supper: Salad or vegetables could be complimented with either 2 TBSP of olive oil, 1/4 avocado or  some omega-3 rich fish like sardines, salmon, herring. Even lamb or chicken – light or dark meat or strips of steak will help get the most out of all your nutrients.

From the research and mind of Dr. Laura M. Brown, ND.

 Reference:
Kresser, Chris. 2014. The Paleo Cure. Eat Right for Your Genes, Body Type, and Personal Health Needs — Prevent and Reverse Disease, Lose Weight Effortlessly, and Look and Feel Better than Ever. Little, Brown & Company. New York.
Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Fish Oil monograph accessed Dec 30, 2014. Full monograph available upon request.

 

Feeling Stuck?

If we miss or get stuck at a point in our life, there is potential for emotional buildup that may present as sickness in the body.

When a person is “stuck” at a certain level, a homeopathic remedy, acupuncture, a Chakra clearing, yoga exercises, focused breathing, or other therapeutic efforts may “lift” the person and help them better perceive and move on from their current situation.

Understanding the Stages of Life

Whether we look at Erikson’s Stages of development, Scholten’s Homeopathic Table of Elements, Maslow’s Hierarchy, the Chinese Five Elements or the Chakra system, we can see the natural progression of development we embark on through our journey of life.

Erikson_Stages
Please click for bigger image

 

Often, it is a combination of acupuncture, a Chakra clearing, yoga exercises, focused breathing, massage homeopathy or talk therapies that gets us on our way and eventually to the top of the mountain. What is most important is to enjoy some sights on the path along your journey.

Chakras

The common thread of our personal development is woven from ancient yogis, Chinese Medicine, psychologists and psychotherapists. We all need to have our basic needs of life met before we can develop an element of safety. We need to know who we are as individuals and how we belong into our society before we can further develop the area of our heart and be able to share it interdependently with others.

It is when we can be comfortable with ourselves, we can then withstand the swell of the tide of outside influences.

Keeping the mind steady and calm while the world swells around us, is the first stage of actualization.

Once we have mastered the space of a calm and equitable mind, we can then practice the ability to let all the world go and connect with and allow our spiritual self to unfold.

Balancing the “fight or flight” (sympathetic) and the “rest and digest” (parasympathetic) nervous systems helps gain access to this blissful balanced state of what Heart Math people call “coherence”. It is not only reserved for yogis, meditation artists, super-energetic or “smart” people. It is for us all to climb mountain, at our own pace, with our own challenges and with our own set of earthly and heavenly guides.

The fact is we are all able to achieve this pinnacle of self-actualization, however we are all also susceptible to fall and crumble back down to the basic needs of life. We may actually experience many rises and falls over the course of a lifetime. In each rise and fall, it is like a breath in and out, so long as we live, our breath will rise and we will too again. Hopefully, overall, we are making steady progression up the mountain.

Sometimes it takes intense focus in one area of our life, while the others lay dormant for some time. That is, we can invest heavily in school or career while putting family life or personal relationships on hold. If we excel strongly in one area of our life, without giving time for balance in others, we miss out on the cross-training type of personal development that we need in order to rise to our greatest potential. It is important to loop back and catch ourselves to keep a steady progress in all areas of our life. Sometimes we need the chance to develop one aspect of our being before we are ready and hold the wisdom to get on to the next.
Wisdom is more precious than gold, as we learn from Soloman in the Book of Proverbs and if we do not learn from our mistakes and move forward, then this is the greatest crime.

5elementshealingtherapist

In Chinese Medicine the circles of life go on a 7 year cycle for women and an 8 year cycle for men. At age 7 the vitality of the young girl is vibrant, 14 she begins to menstruate and the governing and conception vessel are primed. Age 21, a woman’s essence peaks, she has reached her physical limit of growth and the wisdom teeth come in. Age 28 the tendons and bones of a woman are strongest and the hair flourishes. Age 35 the Yang channels weaken and the woman’s complexion withers and hair begins to fall. This progresses and the hair grays at age 42. Age 49 the conception and governing vessels are empty and the uterus closes and infertility sets in. This is a time now for more creativity and personal embarkment of growth as the energy is no longer needed to tend the womb. Menopause offers a later life fire that is more than just about hot flushes!

Later Life Fire

™Time to get moving on what you have put off:
–Careers
–Fitness goals
–Relationships
–Talents
–Travel
–Personal development

For males, the Chinese Medicine 8 year cycle begins similarly with abundance of energy at age 8, mounting at age 16 when the sperm arrives and Yin and Yang are harmonized in the male making him capable of producing a child. At age 24, the male’s physical energy peaks and the wisdom teeth arrive. At age 32 his  tendons and bones are strongest and by age 40 the hair begins to fall and teeth become loose. At 48 year old man’s Yang Qi is exhausted and his face darkens as his hair turns gray. At age 56 the male’s liver energy (testosterone) is weakened and tendons stiffen and the sperm dries up. At age 64, from the ancient Chinese circles of life, the hair and teeth are gone.

We can calm the storm within and age more gracefully

Eat well
Sleep well
Control stress
Limit excessive sexual activity.
Thai Qi, Qi Gong and Yoga and HeartMath incorporate breathing exercises that help increase the vitality and essence of our aging being.

From the heart and mind of Dr. Laura M. Brown, ND. Dr. Laura offers personalize lifestyle coaching and professional means to help you Move Forward in Your Health.

Picture credits: pinterest.com, healingtherapist.com

Too Easy Recipe for Collard Green Wraps

Collard Green Wraps

collardgreenGluten free, dairy free, egg free, soy free.

Great for lunches & picnics!

Remove the spine of the collard green leaf from the end and then wash, while still wet, put on a plate and warm up in microwave for 30 -40 seconds (longer if you put your goodies on it and want them warm too). If you have smaller leafs, place end for end to help make more space for the goodies you want to put inside.

You can put lentils, beans, rice, quinoa, grated carrots, grated ginger, sprouts, slivered celery or cucumbers, ground nuts and seeds, chicken, hamburger, chicken burger, left over stew or chili… you get the idea – pack it with anything – including scrambled eggs, but of course then it wouldn’t be egg free.

Some of my favourite combos include:

Rowe’s ground chicken (dark meat) BBQ burger with an avocado slice, sprouts and honey mustard

Quinoa, ground almonds, chopped figs, dash of apple cider vinegar and olive oil, grated ginger

Grated carrots & ginger with chicken breast slices, arugula and a mix (put in small jar and shake) of balsamic vinegar, olive oil and dijon mustard

eggs whites and shredded unsweetened coconut

roast beef leftovers with honey mustard horseradish and baby greens/spring mix

From the heart and kitchen of Dr. Laura M. Brown, ND

(picture from honestfare.com)

Classic Green Monster – For a Burst of Energy

This smoothie has been my go to drink since I discovered it in one of my all time favorite cookbooks called “Oh She Glows” by Angela Liddon.myvega

Packed with goodness, this smoothie will give you that burst of energy that you need to start the day or to keep you going throughout the day. Make a double batch and store it in your fridge at home or at work and grab it when you need that mid afternoon pick me up. If you have a nut allergy, this recipe has substitutions so that you can enjoy this drink too. Not sure about drinking something green….simple add a half a cup of fresh or frozen blueberries to give this drink a beautiful purple hue. Not only will your friends and family be wondering where your energy is coming from..but even why you have glowing skin.

You will love this smoothie….try it out and let me know what you think.

 

Classic Green Monster

1 cup almond milk or other non dairy milk  – for a nut-free option use coconut milk instead

1 cup destemmed kale leaves or baby spinach

1 ripe banana peeled and frozen

2-3 ice cubes

1 tablespoon almond butter or peanut butter

1 tablespoon pure chia seeds or ground flaxseed – use sunflower seed butter for a nut-free option

1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Pinch of ground cinnamon

Protein powder (optional)

1/2 cup blue berries ( for added nutrients and a purple hue to your drink)

 

Picture from www.myvega.com

Rebalance Your Sleep Rhythms

Bothered by tosses and turns through the night, snores, troubles falling or staying asleep or would like alternatives to prescription sleep medication?

On Wednesday, March 9th, 2016 at GoodnessMe! Guelph location 6:30-8pm join  Dr. Laura M. Brown, ND to learn

  • what you may do to get a good night’s rest
  • the importance of sleep for healing and disease prevention.

Stimulate your life with the healing power of sleep.

sleeping zoie

Do you need more vitamins?

What drug should you avoid taking with vitamin C? Why could your feet be tingling? Long term use of Metamucil make you deficient in a what B vitamin? Easy bruising and bleeding could be a sign of what vitamin deficiency?  What vitamin is made by bacteria?

This is Part 2 of 2 on vitamin deficiency. It covers information on vitamins B5, B6, B12, C, D,E, & K.

nutritionbig

Vitamin B5: Pantothenic acid (B5) is used in metabolic cycles is key to the body’s production of energy, cholesterol, heme and acetylcholine. Cholesterol is used as the back bone of many hormones. Heme is used to carry oxygen in your blood. Acetylcholine is controls involuntary functions mediated by the activity of smooth muscle fibers, cardiac muscle fibers, and glands.

Some body signals that you are low in B5: burning, numbness or tingling in the feet, muscle weakness, swollen tongue (glossitis), cracks at the corner of your mouth (chilosis), recurrent upper respiratory tract infections (colds), fatigue, postural hypotension, hypochlohydria, GERD/heartburn, and depression.

Sources of B5:  whole grains, broccoli, kale, cabbage family of vegetables, mushrooms, legumes & lentils, avocado, eggs, milk, poultry and organ meats.

Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine/pyridoxyl/pyridoxamine) is involved in over 50 enzymatic reactions and potentially effects the function of cardiovascular, skin health, blood production, nerve function, healthy pregnancy, blood sugar regulation and cognitive function. Signs of deficiency include anxiety, depression, insomnia, irritability, confusion, abdominal pain, weakness, seizures, anemia, and poor immune function. There is even a rare form of B6 deficient epilepsy.

B6 requirements increase with diseases that affect absorption such as Celiac disease. The increased prevalence of hydrazine and hydrazide compounds as found in aerospace fuels, anti-toxicants in the petroleum industry, plating materials in metal manufacturing and ripening agents used on plants. B6-zapping hydrazine is also found in tobacco smoke, tartrazine (FD &C yellow food dyes). There are numerous drugs that deplete B6 and lead to common sides effects such as neuralgias, depression and anxiety.  Those with Parkinson’s disease should consult a medical expert before supplementing with B6 as it can interfere with L-dopa when taken without carbidopa.

Food sources of B6 include potatoes, bananas, meat, poultry, fish and whole grains.

Vitamin B12: Methyl or Hydroxyl cobalamin. Measured via B12 serum levels. Falsely elevated B12 levels may exist in those with renal failure or hepatitis. Those with vegan diets are at increased risk of deficiency as major food sources are animal based.

Pernicious anemia is the result of loss of intrinsic factor, a protein that is excreted by the stomach and helps B12 absorption in the small intestine. If the stomach has low acidity as in long term use of proton pump inhibitors (a lot of medications ending in “-prazole”, presence of H.pylori, aging or damaged parietal cells as in autoimmune disease, or the small intestine mucosa is damaged as in Celiac or Crohn’s disease, B12 absorption will be reduced. Additionally those on long term use of psyllium (Metamucil) will be at increased risk of B12 deficiency. Large amounts of orally dosed B12 may help compensate by allowing for absorption by diffusion. Intramuscular injection (IM) of B12 (available with Dr. Laura) by passing the need for intrinsic factor. IM or intravenous B12 is also more helpful than oral supplementation for those with a defect in the transportation system of B12 to the brain or a an accelerated breakdown of B12 in the brain tissue. Signs of B12 dependency are dementia, depression, headaches, insomnia or chronic fatigue.

Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is important in immune function, collagen formation (for skin and connective tissue), neurotransmitter formation, plays a role in fighting viruses and bacteria and is a key anti-oxidant. Scurvy is the severe form of vitamin C deficiency. Fatigue, depression and anxiety of health are acute signs preceding the diagnosis of scurvy. Signs are bleeding abnormalities due to poor connective tissue formation and possible vitamin C deficiency include bleeding nose, easy bruising, bleeding gums, bone pain, osteoporosis, arthralgias (pain stiffness and joint swelling), myalgias (muscle aches and pains), edema (swelling), and symptoms of suggestive of cardiovascular disease or mimicking peripheral vasculitis, or venus thrombosis.

Dose limiting symptoms of vitamin C are diarrhea and cramping.  Vitamin C increases the absorption of non-heme iron this is good for those with low levels of iron/anemia. Vitamin C also seems to help the absorption of aluminum, which isn’t so good as it builds up in the bone, brain and liver and may contribute to the development of osteoporosis and Alzheimer’s disease. Avoid taking vitamin C at the same time as antacids, or aluminum hydroxide compounds. Chewable vitamin C may erode your dental enamel (it is an acid). Vitamin C supplementation can help or hinder the function of various medications; check with your medical practitioner for details.

Good sources of vitamin C include bell peppers, citrus fruits, cantaloupe, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, potatoes. Vitamin C is lost in high temperature and prolonged cooking.

 Vitamin D (cholecalciferol) The body makes vitamin D when the skin is exposed to sunshine or ultraviolet light. About 20 min of unprotected exposure mid day in the summer months in Ontario will produce about 1000IU of vitamin D. Small amounts may be found in food sources such as fish, egg yolk, beef liver, however, when sunlight is inadequate (no exposure or seasonal variance), supplementation is essential.

Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium and phosphorous, builds bone mineral matrix, helps the nerves and muscles function, boosts the immune system, and modulates autoimmune diseases. When the supplemental D3 taken with K2, vitamin D helps get calcium out of the blood stream and into the bones. Vitamin D deficiency can be suspect in multiple sclerosis, cancer, pancreatic deficiency, Crohn’s, Colitis, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, chronic low back pain, or severe muscle weakness. You may purchase D3+K2 drops at Forward Health.

Vitamin E: There are 8 different kinds of vitamin E – each a different type of tocopherol. Vitamin E is known as an antioxidant and the most potent, bioavailable form is alpha-tocopherol. When supplementing it is best to have a mixed or blend of tocopherols. Vitamin E is also involved in anticoagulation (inhibits platelet aggregation), is anti-inflammatory and stabilizes the cell membrane. Those with fat malabsorption issues at risk for deficiency. Vitamin E is also depleted in those with a high consumption of fatty foods, as thermally oxidized vegetable oil depletes vitamin E status. Good food sources of vitamin E include almond oil, wheat germ oil, nuts and seeds, whole grains, egg yolks and leafy green vegetables.

Vitamin K: There are actually four different kinds of Vitamin K. Vitamin K1 is what is often tracked so closely for those on warfarin because warfarin is an anticoagulant and affects the INR – the measurement we use to factor coagulation, or thickening of blood. Vitamin K1 is found in lots of leafy greens. K1 is also given to newborns to help prevent hemorrhage; a newborns’ intestinal tract is not yet making its own Vitamin K. K2 is made by some bacteria in our gastrointestinal tract, and by bacteria in some foods, like brie cheese. K2 helps Vitamin D3 get Calcium into the bones, so is useful in those suffering with osteoporosis or steroid induced bone loss and also can help lower total cholesterol in people on kidney dialysis. K3 and K4 still have much research pending. Those with Celiac disease not on a gluten free diet, chemotherapy, anticonvulsants or antibiotics may be at risk of vitamin K depletion, most likely due to the disruption in the bacteria of the gastrointestinal tract.

Good food sources of Vitamin K include dark leafy greens and to maximize absorption are best eaten with a source of fat (butter, olive oil, coconut oil, avocados). Olive oil actually is a source of vitamin K1 so it’s on double duty! Cheese, especially brie, egg yolks and fermented soy beans (natto) are also sources of Vitamin K.

Again, emphasize a diet with a full variety of  fresh wholesome foods, rather than supplementation. There are cases however where supplementation for the short term, and sometimes even the long term, is necessary for optimum health status. A naturopathic doctor has the training and resources to help you decide what is best for your individual requirements.

Dr. Laura M. Brown, ND

Source:

Gaby, A. (2011) Nutritional Medicine. Fritz Perlberg Publishing. Concord, NH.

Brainy Nut Ball Recipe

These brainy nut balls are an anti-inflammatory powerhouse full of vitamins, minerals, protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats. Fuel your brain and your body… a couple of these are great before a work out or a mid-day work snack. Once you get the hang of making them you can alternate the type of nuts and seeds you use to help get variety into your diet.

They are dairy and gluten free if the ingredients you purchase say so. All nuts are raw and have no other coating on them (watch ingredients).

 

Dr. Laura’s Ginger Nut Balls

8-10 dried figs, stems removed

1/2c Pumpkin seeds or coconut (unsweetened shredded) or sesame nutballsseastrokesseeds

1c walnuts or almond or hazel nuts

1/3 cup hemp hearts

1/2c ground flax

¼ c fancy molasses

2-3tbsp olive oil

1-3 tbsp ground dried ginger (depends on strength)

1 tbsp ground cinnamon

 

Food process until it looks like cookie batter (starts to clump a bit but is well mixed).

Roll/press into balls a little small than a Timbit size.

Best eaten in 3-5 days, store in fridge.

From the heart, mind and kitchen of your local naturopathic doctor Dr. Laura M. Brown, ND.

Picture complements of seastoke.com