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Archive for the ‘Natural Medicine’ Category

Dr. Shawn Morris, ND

Estrogen & Progesterone

During and after menopause, many women experience symptoms related to progesterone and estrogen decline. This is a timeherbs for menopause Seattle WA where there are also changes in types of estrogen, which may cause inflammation. Many women experience migraines, hot flashes, brain fog, and irritability during this period. In the short term, balancing hormones with supplements, herbs and minerals supports healthy transition into menopause. Long term, it is possible for most women to balance hormone levels through diet and lifestyle alone.

Hormone balance through diet, lifestyle, & herbs

Although progesterone is not found in foods, there are many ways to balance progesterone with nutrition. Primarily, if the body is in an estrogen dominant state, balancing excess estrogen metabolites is the first step. Post-menopause, too much of 4 and 6 hydroxy-estrogen is inflammatory, and also antagonizes remaining progesterone. To reverse estrogen metabolite dominance, weaving in nuts and seeds can support healthy estrogen and progesterone levels. If you are approaching menopause and still have an active cycle, then adding flaxseeds and pumpkin seeds days 1-13 will boost healthy estrogens, then shifting to sesame and sunflower days 14-28 will boost progesterone. After menopause, including all seed types in the diet is beneficial.

Foods high in selenium support the corpus luteum, which is the region of the ovaries where progesterone is formed. Adding four Brazil nuts to the diet will provide enough selenium, or supplementing with 200 mcg per day.

Vitamin B6 also supports the corpus luteum in the ovaries. To build levels, supplement with B6 in the short-term. Then, add in foods rich in vitamin B6, which include turkey, wild-caught tuna and salmon, beef, chicken, pistachios, chickpeas, potatoes, eggs, and dark leafy greens. Adding in 3-4 servings per day of high B6 foods will help sustain healthy levels. Beyond progesterone, B6 also supports serotonin balance and melatonin conversion, promoting sound sleep and balanced mood. Speaking of sleep, getting enough sleep supports neurotransmitter and hormone balance, along with healthy weight. Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per night.

Herbal medicines can help with menopausal transition and treating symptoms as well. In particular Vitex, or chasteberry, supports progesterone production and decreases symptoms of menopause in clinical trials. Black cohosh and blue cohosh balance estrogen dominance and decrease hot flashes. Raspberry leaf is a gentle tonic that supports the female the reproductive system. Talk with your doctor about an individualized herbal and nutritional approach that works for you.

Focus on healing the GI. If you have a history of GI symptoms and inflammation, soothing the digestive system is a key step in hormone support. Healing the GI is vital to allow for nutrient absorption. Food provides the building blocks for our hormones, neurotransmitters, and tissue health, laying the foundation for overall wellbeing. To heal the GI, avoid fried foods, refined ingredients, excess acidity, and heavily processed foods. Focus on fresh fruits and vegetables, healthy fats, complex grains, and adequate protein (around 60 grams per day). Specific foods that heal digestive function include aloe juice, coconut, cinnamon, turmeric, peppermint and chamomile tea, and probiotic foods like yogurt & kefir.

Get regular exercise. Gentle exercise supports immune system health, metabolism, and healthy weight, which helps balance estrogen and progesterone. Try hiking, light jogging, eliptical machines, swimming, and resistance exercises. For simple home resistance exercises, pick up a theraband for upper and lower body workouts. However, avoid overexercise, as this places stress on the body that decreases pregnenolone and hormone synthesis. Long distance running, Cross-Fit, and intense cycling classes may cause more harm than benefit when dealing with low hormone function.

Natural progesterone cream. While implementing these lifestyle steps, adding in extra hormonal support may be necessary for a short period. Natural progesterone creams containing bio-identical progestins help replenish levels. Monitoring progesterone levels is important once per month to keep progesterone in a healthy level. Long-term, use of progesterone cream is tapered down. Yam and soy based creams are not effective. Taking pregnenolone and DHEA also supports progesterone by providing the building blocks for production.

Xenoestrogens and phytoestrogens

Along with managing hormones in the body, monitoring input of hormones from the environment is also key. Xenoestrogens are synthetic estrogen-like compounds produced in manufacturing. They are commonly found in makeup, packaging, pesticide residue, and plastic products. Certain xenoestrogens act as estrogen-disruptors by blocking or binding estrogen receptors. They have detrimental effects on the immune system, bone health, and the female reproductive system. To avoid xenoestrogens, choose additive-free makeup and bath/body products, organic produce, and glass bottles versus plastic.

Also, taking phytoestrogens has a protective effect. Phytoestrogens are plant-based estrogen-like compounds that occupy receptors and prevent xenoestrogens from binding. Moderate amounts of soy, alfalfa, brassicas, and clover taken in the diet as sprouts, food, and supplements protects the endocrine system.

By working with nutrition, herbal medicine, and lifestyle, it is possible to support the body while transitioning into menopause. This is a natural part of the lifecycle, and in most cases the body’s intelligence knows what to do. When extra support is needed, there are safe and effective treatments available.

Dr. Shawn Morris is a native of Whidbey island where he lives with his wife and son.

Shawn Morris Naturopath Seattle WA

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Spring is in full swing but you can still find fresh, tender nettles for harvest. Nutrient dense and delicious these local “weeds” are a culinary delight. Touted as a tonic herb, nettles are rich in minerals and cleanse the kidneys. They are astringent and provide relief from water retention, promote lactation, treat diarrhea and help control blood sugar.

The best leaves are the tender new growth of the top 3-4 leaves. Makes sure your wear gloves as the sting of nettles is no joke! The best plants are 1-2 feet high.

Two of my favorite ways to use fresh nettles are in tea and in pesto. Enjoy these seasonal delights!

Fresh Nettles Tea

  • 4 cups nettle leaves
  • 4 cups water

Boil water and then add leaves. Simmer for 5 min. Strain. Tea may be sweetened with honey if desired. It will have a grassy, green taste.

Makes 4 cups, enjoy 1-2 cups daily

 

Nettle Pesto or Pesto D’Urtica

 I love making pesto. It’s fun to make it with greens other than basil too! Right now in my garden I have some Italian parsley that has over wintered. It makes delicious alternative or addition to a traditional pesto.  It could easily be added to this recipe in place of some of the nettles for a fresh, healthy taste.  I also use walnuts instead of pine nuts but feel free to substitute pine nuts if you wish or even pecans for a sweeter flavor.

  •  3 cups nettle leaves (You can use the same ones that you reserved from the nettle tea otherwise simmer for only 1 minute and place in an ice water bath. Squeeze out all the water)
  • 1 cup basil ( Optional: this will impart some of the traditional pesto flavor)
  • 1 cup walnuts, pan toasted
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese (optional)
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • ¾ cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 T lemon juice

Place all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until creamy.

Serve over polenta, pasta, or on grilled veggies

Serves 4

Lindsey Lawson SeattleLindsey Lawson MS EAMP is an Acupuncturist, Chinese Herbalist and Clinic Director at Glow Natural Health in Madison Valley and West Seattle and Seattle Fertility Acupuncture. She is passionate about healthy, happy living and a regular blogger. For an appointment call Glow at 206 568 7545.

 

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Shakes are a great way to get a good dose of protein and nutrients in the morning. In the IMG_7317winter they can sometimes feel too cold and damage the digestive fire. We solve this problem but adding a healthy amount of warming spices to aid in digestion. Great for your health and delicious too.

1 cup brewed Rooibos tea

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon nutmeg

1 in piece of fresh ginger peeled and grated

½ cup almond milk

1 tablespoon raw organic honey

2 tablespoons sunflower butter

1 scoop Medclear powder by Thorne or protein powder of your choice

Blend and enjoy.

Lindsey Lawson MS EAMP is an Acupuncturist, Chinese Herbalist and Clinic Director at Glow Natural Health and Seattle Fertility Acupuncture. She is passionate about healthy, happy living. For an appointment call Glow at 206 568 7545

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It’s that time of year again when our thoughts turn to with new resolve towards our IMG_7315health. Many will opt for diet and lifestyle changes, some of which are too harsh for this time of the year. Juice cleanses, smoothies, and fasting can injury the digestive functions if done incorrectly. We solve this problem with the following 10 steps.

 

1.) Work to consciously warm your body by taking warm baths, or try our infrared sauna to ramp up your detox game.

2.) Bundle up! Wear warm clothes that cover your neck both inside and out. East Asian tradition holds that colds and flu are more likely is the back of the neck is vulnerable to wind and cold. -Make sure to keep your feet warm as well.

3.) Cook with warming spices like ginger, turmeric, and cinnamon. Great for circulation and to revitalize the body they are also antiviral.

4.) Try our Elemental Detox! Recipes, daily mantras, and more. 3 weeks of yummy food and transformative supplements

5.) Revive your body with tea. There are a myriad of teas that support cleansing. Experiment with trying a new blend. Nettles, dandelion, and cinnamon are great choices.

6.) Book yourself a Manual Lymphatic Drainage Massage. Gently moves toxins out and benefits the immune system. It’s also so relaxing and gentle.

7.) Calm your mind with mediation. Just 10 min a day can detox all the media and screen time in our lives. Add incense to your practice with one of our mediation blends. Choose from Awareness, Power, Balance,

8.) Spend time outside. When it’s cold out it can be easy to stay inside but the benefits of fresh air and light exercise cannot be overemphasized for a fresh perspective.

9.) Set an intention. Remember your thoughts shape your life. The winter is a great time to go deep, find what really nourishes you and set your mind on it.

10.) Focus on hearty and nourishing soups. Great for improving digestion, soups are a mainstay of winter cleanses. Try our Replenishing Soup Herbs for a potent and warming tonic.

Lindsey Lawson MS EAMP is an Acupuncturist, Chinese Herbalist and Clinic Director at Glow Natural Health and Seattle Fertility Acupuncture. She is passionate about healthy, happy living. For an appointment call Glow at 206 568 7545

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Recently, attention has been drawn to some studies questioning the value of vitamins and minerals.  This comes mostly from a few recent studies: one showing modest prevention of future heart events after someone has had a heart attack, one showing no improvement in brain function in elderly men after taking Centrum, and a third looking at prevention of cancer and heart disease showing mixed results.  One problem is that there are recent studies showing a protective effect that were not included in these reviews.

Multivatamins at Glow Natural Health Seattle

The vast majority of studies on multivitamins use Centrum which is low dose, has poorly-used forms of the nutrients, contains chemical binders, and whose ability to dissolve has been questioned (though improvements have been made).  I have been shocked at the poor design (form, dose used, not distinguishing between food and supp sources) of some supplement trials.  This poor design would never be tolerated in a trial of a pharmaceutical.  Also, no one is saying, “Here, take this multi to prevent your heart attack!”  I would be a terrible doctor if that was all that I discussed with a patient after heart attack.

While the studies on Centrum have shown little to mixed benefit, solid scientific research on nutrients *abounds*, so statements that supplement use is not scientifically based are unfounded.  Further, when used in conjunction with someone trained and who understands the science, therapy beyond correction of deficiency comes into the process.  For example, B12 is used for energy production, vitamin C stabilizes cells to minimize releasing histamine (involved in allergic response), magnesium is a muscle relaxant, etc. The nutrients are cofactors for every reaction in the body.   So, keep researching, tell it like it is, and be careful about blanket statements.

McNaughton color small  Trained as a family practitioner to address acute and chronic conditions, Dr. McNaughton focuses on  autoimmune disease, allergies, and digestive issues.  She facilitates healing as a knowledgeable guide and partner,  helping her patients make lasting changes and achieve health goals.  She graduated from Bastyr University in  2003.

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Eat your greensGlow Newyears Seattle

When in doubt eat a plateful of lightly cooked greens. This is of my basic tenants in life. It really fixes everything. Packed with vitamins and fiber they nourish your body and aid in liver detoxification. Try to make this a daily goal. I like to see half my dinner plate covered in cooked greens. I eat them first to make sure I get them all in. Use a salad plate and pile it high so it looks abundant. On a smaller plate portion size is much easier to control without leaving you feeling deprived.

Drink your water and herbal tea

Drinking plenty of water is especially important while cleansing. Once you mobilize all the crud that’s built up, it needs to be flushed out. Make sure you are drinking your water is filtered and take it without ice. In Chinese medicine cold water is thought to be damaging to the Spleen and Stomach, the main digestive organs. This time of year your food should also be lightly cooked to make it easier to digest. Adding in a detox tea will really ramp up your cleansing. I like dandelion leaf, nettles and mint in equal parts of a delicious and detoxifying drink. Remember most herbs have diuretic properties and you will need to drink a cup of plain water for every cup of tea.New years cleanse seattle

Don’t push yourself

If at all possible take this time to get plenty of rest. This isn’t the time to burn the midnight oil because you are asking your body to do extra work eliminating toxins. This is a great time to become more introspective and tune in to what is nourishing you in life, what is stuck and what needs to be let go.

Move your body

Aim for some light to moderate exercise every day. This is not the time to train for a marathon. Some cardio is fine but if you start to feel depleted back it off. Yoga, Pilates, Bar method and swimming are all great choices. Aim to sweat but not go anaerobic, or breathless for too long.

Plan Ahead

There’s nothing worse than coming home from work while cleaning to realize you’re starving and there’s nothing to eat. Plan your menu and make sure you have plenty of healthy snacks around for emergencies. I love cooked beets lightly pickled in ( unseasoned) rice vinegar and olive oil. Easy, filling and detoxifying for your liver. I keep a protein supplement on hand for high protein breakfasts and snacks. This will keep you blood sugar even through the day and your energy high.

Want more information on how to do a food and supplement based cleanse? Try our Elemental Detox.

Lindsey Lawson MS L.Ac Seattle ChristmasLindsey Lawson MS EAMP is an Acupuncturist, Chinese Herbalist and Clinic Director at Glow Natural Health and Seattle Fertility Acupuncturist. She is passionate about healthy, happy living, food and is a regular blogger.  For an appointment call Glow at 206 568 7545.

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I thought I’d share my own introduction to the benefits of a simple, food based detox diet. Growing up, my mother was always very health conscious. I was raised vegetarian and we ate organic, farm raised food before it was the thing to do. I remember driving back from the dairy farm down the road very slowly to keep from disturbing the milk. It was unpasteurized with a thick, fatty top.

First experience: Fasting I did my first broth and juice fast in high school. I wanted to go a week but I stopped after 5 days. I was amazed at how good I felt but thought but was ready to eat again. The most miraculous thing that happened involved a small cyst in my arm pit (gross right?) I had had it as long as I could remember. Not a pimple just a small lump that didn’t hurt. During my fast it turned into a pimple and then went away, forever. I asked my doctor about it later that year and he thought it might have been an encased lymph node. Basically, my body thought that this area would never heal and just shut it off. Clearly the diet did something.

Enter food based cleansing I was introduced to the kind of cleansing I do now when I was 19. It took me awhile to be brave enough to do a 3 week cleanse. I followed it with another month of adding in foods I suspected I was sensitive to. This is called “challenging.” First eat the food several times in 1 day and then go back to the anti-inflammatory diet. If you have any reactions like gas, bloating, skin, irritation, headache etc. this food is red flagged as one you are sensitive to.

This cleanse was different than the fast. Number one it was food based (!). I added supplements to increase liver function, sooth irritation in the intestines and promote elimination. Similar to the effects of my earlier fast, I felt great but I had even more energy. My digestion was regulated. I wasn’t bloated and I felt clear headed.  My skin glowed.

Change your habits and change health. I learned so much about my body starting with that experience.  Now in addition to my regular healthy diet I cleanse at least once a year. It’s easy to let a few treats become regular habits. Too much dark chocolate, too much caffeine, a good IPA, and eating out are my usual vices. I’ll never forget being up until 3 AM wired on the caffeine in a chunk of dark chocolate I ate at 3 PM just a day after I stopped cleansing! Beyond that I also use it as a time to detox from other things like TV, phones or the addiction of rushing.  If that isn’t possible, then I add in more of the things that feed my soul like exercise, nature, mediation, and reading.

Make your plan and follow it  So now you’ve heard my story but don’t take my word for it. Try it yourself. All you need it three weeks and a plan. If you have a plan for what you CAN eat you won’t notice the things you’ll be avoiding.

Lindsey Lawson MS EAMP is an Acupuncturist, Chinese Herbalist and Clinic Director at Glow Natural Health and Seattle Fertility Acupuncturist. She is passionate about healthy , happy living and a regular blogger. For an appointment call Glow at 206 568 7545.

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