SOY: Healthy or Not?

There is so much controversy out there about soy. Even medical professionals have vastly different views on soy. It’s hard to know what’s true and what’s not true when there is so much contradictory information out there.

So, I wanted to share with you my thoughts on soy. Based on all my research and education, this is the information I found to be true.

Eat it ORGANIC or don’t eat it at all

Only eat soy if it is organic and non-GMO. Conventionally grown soybeans (meaning non-organic) are grown with herbicides and pesticides and often genetically modified. The soybean plant readily absorbs these herbicides and pesticides. If you eat soy non-organic, you will also be readily absorbing those herbicides and pesticides into your body. Herbicides and pesticides are literally created to kill cells. So by eating soy that is rich in herbicides and pesticides, you are directly inviting something into your body that is going to create inflammation and kill your own cells. YIKES! Look for soy to be organic and non-GMO before you put it into your grocery cart.  

Whole foods > Processed Foods

The best way to eat soy is in its whole form, such as soybeans or edamame. When we start looking at processed forms of soy, they often contain a lot of added and inflammatory ingredients. Examples of these processed forms of soy are soy milk, tofu, miso, natto, soy sauce and tempeh. That’s not to say you can’t eat soy in these forms. Just look at the ingredient list and if you see ingredients you can’t pronounce, added sugars, carrageenan, or natural/artificial flavors, then don’t eat it. Here are a few brands of soy products that I like based on their ingredient list: Miso Master Organic Miso, Trader Joes Brand Organic Soy Milk, House Foods Organic Tofu. There are many more out there, this is just a small list of organic soy products I like the ingredient list of.

Nutritious and Delicious

Soy is nutrient dense. It contains a great macronutrient profile being rich in protein, has a good ratio of healthy fats, contains both soluble and insoluble fiber, and contains a decent amount of carbohydrates to fuel our body while also balancing your blood sugars. Unlike most other plants, soy is considered a complete protein, meaning it gives us all 9 essential amino acids (essential amino acids are the building blocks of protein that our body itself cannot create). Micronutrient wise, it contains potassium, vitamin K1, folate, copper, manganese, phosphorus, calcium, vitamin B1, molybdenum and magnesium. Soybeans also contain isoflavones which makes it a wonderful antioxidant reducing inflammation in your body.

Benefits of Soy

Along with being a nutritious powerhouse, soy has been studied to have significant health benefits.

  1. Lowers LDL cholesterol and total cholesterol levels. This helps to keep our blood vessels healthy to prevent cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, and stroke.
  2. Helps support a healthy gut microbiome by feeding the good bacteria in our intestines
  3. Balances estrogen levels
  4. Reduces menopausal symptoms, such as hot flashes, night sweats, mood changes/irritability, and vaginal dryness
  5. Supports healthy bones
  6. Improves memory and overall cognitive functions
  7. May reduce the risk of both prostate and breast cancer

Phytoestrogens to the Rescue

For estrogen to create any effect in the body, it needs to first bind to its receptor. These estrogen receptors in your body can be bound by ENDogenous estrogen (estrogen your body creates), EXogenous estrogens found in birth control pills and IUDs, xenoestrogens (basically fake, harmful estrogens found in our environment), and phytoestrogens (found in some plants). Once bound, these different forms of estrogen create a varying degree of an estrogen response. For example, ENDogenous estrogens bind to estrogen receptors and creates a medium estrogen response. EXogenous estrogens, either from birth control measures or xenoestrogens, create a higher, more harmful estrogen response. On the other hand, phytoestrogens create a lower estrogen response.

So, if you have a high level of estrogen in your body, are exposed to a lot of xenoestrogens (which most of us are), or are on a hormonal birth control, you likely have a high estrogen response in your body. To help dampen that estrogen response down, we can eat foods rich in phytoestrogens. These phytoestrogens bind to your estrogen receptors, decreasing the ability for all other forms of estrogen to bind, which ultimately creates less of an estrogen response.

On the flip side, if you have low estrogen in your body (maybe you are post-menopausal or have ovarian insufficiency), phytoestrogens are also helpful! In this scenario, there is too little estrogen in the body that not all the estrogen receptors can be bound. This means there are empty receptors which means there is less of an estrogen response. If you eat phytoestrogens, these phytoestrogens come in and bind to the empty receptor. What would have been no estrogen response from that estrogen receptor is at least now a low estrogen response in the body.

Hopefully that all made sense!

So what foods are rich in phytoestrogens? Soy, flax seeds, and legumes/lentils are our main dietary source of phytoestrogens. Eating any of these foods will help to decrease your estrogen response if you have excess estrogens in your body OR will help increase your estrogen response if you have a low amount of estrogens in your body.


Need some recipe ideas to get the ball rolling with adding soy into your life? I got you! Here are a few of my favorites:

Women's Health

Exercising in Pregnancy

Exercise is crucial in pregnancy. Movement in pregnancy supports circulation of your blood, increases oxygenation of your cells, tonifies your pelvic floor, helps the body eliminate toxins, keeps your bowel movements regular (aka avoids being constipated), balances hormones, stimulates secretion of neurotransmitters and hormones that make you feel good, balances your blood sugars, tonifies your nervous system, helps you cope with stress, and so much more!

Women are often scared into not exercising when they are pregnant for fear they will overdo it and hurt the baby. You can most certainly exercise safely throughout your entire pregnancy. And your baby’s health will be better because you got in all that nourishing movement!

Exercising Safely during Pregnancy

As a general rule, pregnant woman can maintain their exercise level that they had prior to becoming pregnant. If you are a morning jogger, keep hitting the pavement. If you like to play tennis on the weekends with your gals, continue to show up at the court. If you like to get your movement by dancing around the house while doing chores, dance away my friend.

Or if you don’t have a regular exercise routine, pregnancy is the perfect time to start. Start slow to give your body time to build muscle and strengthen your heart and blood vessels. This could be going for a walk for 5-10 minutes per day or practicing a gentle yoga flow for 30 minutes or biking on a trainer for 20 minutes, or swimming laps at your local pool. Find something you enjoy doing and do it everyday; increasing the duration and/or intensity until you find a sweet spot where you get your body sweating and increase your heart rate.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) states, “physical activity does NOT increase your risk of miscarriage, low birth weight, or early delivery”. They also recommend that pregnant women exercise for at least 30 minutes 5 days a week of moderate-intensity aerobic movements.

With all this being said, there are a few exercises to avoid or at least be aware that they may be dangerous to do while pregnant. Contact sports or sports that entail a risk of falling should be avoided due to the risk of getting hit in the belly. Exercising in extreme heat and humidity is also generally not recommended. Unless you are used to high altitudes, exercising in high altitudes or even the potential for low oxygen states with scuba diving should be avoided.

A Pregnant Body Just Isn’t The Same

In pregnancy, your ligaments (which hold your joints together and provide limitations for excessive movement) become more relaxed. This relaxation of your ligaments is caused by relaxin and progesterone that your ovaries and placenta create an abundance of in pregnancy. It is important to be aware of this while pregnant because your joints will have more mobility and the risk of injury becomes higher.

It may be obvious, but pregnancy also throws off a woman’s center of gravity. Even in activities you are used to doing, this change can throw off your balance and put more stress of your joints.

As your uterus grows bigger, laying on your back can put pressure on your inferior vena cava, which is a blood vessel that returns blood to the heart. When practicing yoga or other forms of exercise that require you to be on your back, be aware that you can squish this inferior vena cava which disrupts blood flow to the heart.

As a pregnant woman, your body is putting a lot of its energy into growing a human. You may find that as you exercise, you tire more quickly or don’t have the energy to go as long or as intense as you did before you got pregnant. This decrease in energy is normal, but there are also lots of things you can do to increase your energy in pregnancy as well.

Your heart also works harder in pregnancy because it has a whole other being to oxygenate and bring blood flow too. When exercising during pregnancy, your heart rate will increase faster than it did prior to pregnancy.

Nourishing and Hydrating your Precious Body

When you are moving your body, you should also be cognizant of staying hydrated to nourish all your cells, increase muscle repair, and prevent dehydration. You may even want to add a bit of salt to your water to replace any electrolytes lost through your sweat. To do this, add a pinch of salt to a glass of water. Your water should taste more robust, or like it has more body to it, but should not taste salty (if it does taste salty, you’ve added too much salt).  

A pregnant body already has an increased demand for macro- and micro-nutrients to nourish the baby. Add exercise on top of growing a human inside of you and you’ll need to make sure you are eating enough calories and getting enough nutrient dense food in your diet every day.

Exceptional Women

If you have complications in your pregnancy, such as placenta previa, cervical insufficiency, preeclampsia, or severe anemia, talk to your health care professional about what movements are safe for you. We should all be moving in some way while we are pregnant. A sedentary life should never be an option.


Listen to your body. You know your body and your capabilities better than anyone. Pay attention to when your body is telling you to decrease the intensity of the exercise or when your body is craving movement after a sedentary day. Listen to your body and then make changes with your exercising that take into account what your body is trying to tell you.

If you feel like you need more guidance, talk to your health care professional about how to get in nourishing movement during your pregnancy!


Organic Food as Medicine

Is organic food more powerful medicine than conventionally grown food??

This may get a bit “science-y” but bear with me.

Plants contain nutritious and healing compounds called primary metabolites and secondary metabolites.

Primary metabolites, we are often more familiar with. These are our proteins, carbohydrates, fats, and nucleic acids.

Secondary metabolites, although less known are just as important, if not more important! Plant’s secondary metabolites are the compounds in plants that give the plant medicinal properties. These secondary metabolites protect the plant from pests, drought, other dominating plants around them, etc. Just like how humans and animals have an immune system to protect them from viruses and bacteria, plants have secondary metabolites to protect them. And when we eat plants, we get the healing properties of those secondary metabolites. Examples of these healing properties include antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, bitter to stimulate digestion, and adaptogenic (helping you adapt to stressors).

So, how does this relate to organic vs conventionally grown foods?

Conventionally grown foods are sprayed with pesticides and herbicides that protect the plant from insects, microbes, weeds, etc. Since the plant doesn’t have to protect itself from these pests and weeds, it doesn’t have to create as many secondary metabolites. Another reason why conventionally grown foods are very low in secondary metabolites is because they are typically grown rapidly, with a controlled amount of water, sunlight, and nutrients. They haven’t had to struggle and adapt to their environment to build up their secondary metabolites.

On the other hand, organically grown foods have to adapt to pests, microbes, draught, weeds, etc. These foods have to build up their own defenses in the form of secondary metabolites to these stressors. The more secondary metabolites, the more medicinal the plant is for you.

Because organically grown foods contain more secondary metabolites than conventionally grown foods, they are more medicinal. Every time you eat an organic plant, you are gaining their powerful defense and healing properties. Plants are our ultimate healers so don’t let a day go by where you aren’t eating plants, drinking herbal tea, applying a botanical lotion to your skin, or spending time with plants outdoors.

Women's Health

Living in Line with Your Menstrual Cycle

Our bodies, hormones, and physiology undergo a lot of changes throughout our menstrual cycle. But we often ignore these changes and live our lives the same way regardless of what part of our cycle we are in. Fortunately, there is a lot we can do with nutrition and exercise to support our hormones and body changes throughout our cycles.

During menstruation (3-7 days)

  • Eat warming, nourishing foods, such as cooked veggies (the more colorful the better), soups, stews, oatmeal.
  • Healthy fats, like salmon, avocados, nuts, seeds, olives, olive or avocado oil, are great for reducing inflammation and help you to create healthy hormones! Fats are also the body’s fuel of choice during lower intensity exercise which is what you should aim for while menstruating.
  • Drink lots of water, maybe even adding in some ginger or chia tea.
  • Engage in gentle forms of exercise, such as going for a walk, stretching, and yoga. Lifting weights is also a great form of exercise during menstruation because you have a higher amount of testosterone and more ability to build muscle mass.  
  • Spend time journaling, reading your favorite book, taking a bath, or doing breathing exercises.
  • Allow your body to get a good night’s sleep everynight!

During the follicular phase (7-10 days)

  • Continue to eat lots of veggies, but add in more plant-based proteins, such as beans, lentils, nuts, and seeds.
  • Engage in exercises that raise your heart rate and challenge your body. This could be HIIT training, lifting weights, running, dancing, and cycling.
  • Spend time in creativity and be social.

During luteal phase (12-15 days)

  • Eat 1 cup of cruciferous vegetables per day to help support the increase in progesterone during the second half of your cycle. Examples of cruciferous veggies are broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, asparagus, arugula, turnips, kale, and radishes.
  • Focus on eating foods that are high in magnesium, such as steamed spinach, black beans, almonds, pumpkin seeds, quinoa, oatmeal, avocados, cashews, and dark chocolate.
  • Root vegetables are another great food for luteal phase because they help you connect to the Earth and feel grounded.
  • Your metabolism tends to increase during the luteal phase which increases your body’s breakdown of protein and ability for the body to use fat as fuel. So, make sure you are still eating plant-based protein sources and healthy fats!
  • Go for a barefoot walk
  • Continue exercising, just a bit less intensely than during your follicular phase.

Living Life to the Fullest

Live. Your. Life. So. Fully. That. Every. Time. You. Think. About. Your. Life. You. Smile. From. Ear. To. Ear.

Are you truly LIVING the life you want to be living?

When you wake up in the morning, do you express GRATITUDE for another day to live, laugh, and love?

Are you chasing after your PASSIONS?

Does the path you are on fill you up to the brim with JOY?

Are you using your GOD-GIFTED TALENTS in your everyday life?

Are you taking time to prioritize the RELATIONSHIPS in your life?

Do you spend time outside daily to allow NATURE to NOURISH you?

My HOPE for you in this New Year is that you can answer yes to ALL of these questions. If you answered no to even one of these questions, why not make changes in your life that flip that answer to a big, fat YES?

Reach for the stars, dream big, and take action to pursue all your hopes and dreams. And make sure that while you are in pursuit of happiness, you are making time for the relationships in your life.

They say that as you get older, all the little stuff falls away and you truly find out what is important in life. Well, I’m thinking that relationships are what they mean by the important stuff in life. Relationships, whether those relationships are with friends, family, partners, nature, and/or God, seem to be what life is all about. We get to share, give, receive, and love in relationships. We get to fill others up, heal others, be there for others, and support others. We get to be goofy together, to not take life too seriously together, to laugh with each other, to cry with each other. Connecting with other beings on this planet and making the world a better place through those connections is what I think life is about.


Say Goodbye to Food Sensitivities

If you are sensitive to certain foods or most/all foods for that matter, you are not alone. Food sensitivities are becoming EXTREMELY common and the subsequent digestive upset from those sensitivities is something I see regularly in my patients. Abdominal pain, gas, bloating, belching heartburn, and indigestion are your bodies way of screaming at you that something is wrong in your gut and that you need to make changes in your life to heal your gut.

Characteristics of a healthy gut:

  • In a healthy gut, you have a plethora and diverse amount of good bacteria that work together to help you digest the food you eat, feed the cells that line your intestines, and take up space so harmful bacteria can’t take up residence.
  • A healthy gut will also be lined with intestinal cells that fit together all snug as a bug in a rug.
  • These intestinal cells also have gates within them that only allow specific nutrients to pass into your blood stream to nourish your body.
  • In a healthy gut, there will also be a nice mucus lining coating your intestines to protect your intestinal cells from inflammation.
  • Our mouth, stomach, and intestines require the correct pH and lots of different types of enzymes to break down the foods that we eat. A healthy gut and surrounding organs that aid digestion regulates the pH and enzymes secreted.

Characteristics of an UNhealthy gut:

  • In an unhealthy gut, there will likely be some sort of disturbance to the gut microbiome; either the healthy/good bacteria won’t be as prevalent or there will be bad bacteria inhabiting the gut microbiome.
  • Our gut bacteria like to be nourished by the foods we eat, specifically fiber rich foods. If we aren’t eating enough fiber in our diet, our gut bacteria (even the good ones) start eating the mucus that lines our gut. With less mucus creating a protective barrier, bacteria and food particles come into direct contact with our intestinal cells. This creates inflammation.
  • Inflammation in the gut and a decrease in the mucus lining leads to destruction of the tight junctions that used to hold our intestinal cells together. When our intestinal cells aren’t attached together snuggly, food particles that typically aren’t allowed into our blood stream (either they are too big and should have been broken down more or are typically excreted in our feces) travel through the not-supposed-to-be-there space between our intestinal cells. Our body recognizes these food particles that are NOT supposed to be in our blood stream as “foreign”. Our immune system goes on high alert and creates an army of cells to attack these foreign food particles creating even more inflammation. The more inflammation there is à the more unhappy our gut is à the more symptoms the body creates.  Even foods that were typically always “safe” foods that never gave the body any symptoms, now may lead to inflammation and symptoms because our body isn’t breaking them down and absorbing them properly. Once you have one foods sensitivity, it will likely lead to more food sensitivities unless you change your diet and lifestyle to create less inflammation in the gut and support a healthy gut microbiome.    
  • An unhealthy gut may also be due to an imbalance in the pH of our gut and/or a disruption in enzyme production. With this combination, you will not be breaking down the foods you eat effectively.

On Your Way to a Healthier Gut

I love helping people restore their gut health! My hope is to help my patients who have food sensitivities have a positive relationship with foods once again, knowing that the foods that they eat will be assimilated properly and not lead to digestive upset. Eating food should be enjoyable and should nourish every cell making us stronger, healthier and happier individuals.

So how do we do that? Dietary changes are typically the number one thing you can do to help heal the gut. This means eating whole foods with lots of plants and avoiding foods that you know your body is sensitive too. It is important to restore your gut microbiome and ensure that you are feeding those good bacteria every single day with lots of fiber. Botanical medicine can also do wonders to help your gut heal and to decrease inflammation. Some of my favorites are cabbage, yarrow, licorice root (NOT black licorice), plantain, comfrey, aloe vera, and calendula. Want more ideas and a uniquely created wellness plan for you? Book an appointment with a naturopathic doctor who is trained to help you heal your gut and say goodbye to your food sensitivities once and for all.

Pediatrics Wellness

Asthma | A Naturopathic Approach

Asthma is a nightmare. There is nothing scarier than not being able to breathe or watching the ones you love not being able to breathe. It is important to treat asthma seriously and seek out the appropriate care. The care we get at a hospital or with asthma medications is meant to open up the airway by decreasing inflammation and making our airway bigger/dilated, which is necessary and life saving in an acute attack. But what would be even better than taking life-saving medications during an acute attack is to prevent the attack in the first place. And that is where naturopathic medicine shines, but more on that later!

What is Asthma?

Let’s start with what actually happens in asthma. When someone experiences difficulty breathing due to asthma, it is because their airway has less of a pathway for air to travel through. This happens for a multitude of reasons. 1. The smooth muscle surrounding your airway contract and spasm in response to something our body has recognized as a “threat” making the airway a smaller passageway for air. 2. The already small airway is filled with immune cells, inflammation, and mucous that prevent the “threat” from entering the lungs and causing further damage. Basically, the symptoms that we get in asthma are due to our body trying to protect us from further damage by the “threat” getting deeper into the body.

What triggers asthma?

Environmental toxins, environmental allergens, smoking, strong odors, weather changes, viruses, exercise, emotions, heartburn/GERD, and some medications are all potential triggers of asthma. When a person who has asthma is exposed to these triggers or “threats”, their airway becomes smaller leading to the difficulty breathing.

Why do some people have asthma and others don’t?

So why is it that some people can be exposed to these same triggers and not get asthma while others get exposed and they create an asthma response? This has to do with how many toxins the body is exposed to on a daily basis, how much inflammation the body has in it already, the body’s ability to detoxify, and how healthy the respiratory microbiome is. Unfortunately, in the toxic world we live in, we are exposed to environmental toxins every single day. Our body responds to these environmental toxins by creating some level of inflammation and either storing the toxins or removing them from the body. The more toxins we are exposed to, the greater toxic load/burden our body has which leads to more inflammation. The greater the toxic load and the greater inflammation the body has, the easier it is for a trigger or “threat” to create an asthma attack.

What are the long-term consequences of asthma?

Unfortunately, the more asthma episodes a person has, the more their airway becomes damaged and begins to undergo fibrosis. Fibrosis basically means hardening of the walls of the airway which decreases their functionality. There is so much we can do with naturopathic medicine to prevent these long-term consequences and have a healthy respiratory system for the rest of your life.

How Naturopathic Medicine targets the root cause of asthma?

Now that we know more about asthma, let’s talk about a naturopathic approach to helping someone with asthma. As a naturopathic doctor, my goal is to treat the ROOT CAUSE of asthma and HEAL the WHOLE BODY. This means taking measures to decrease the toxic load and inflammation in our body. Here are the fundamentals of how a naturopathic doctor would help a person who experiences asthma.

  1. Heal the gut. When we heal the gut, we focus on eating a healthy diet, decreasing inflammation, restoring our gut microbiome, and allowing out gut to heal from any damage that has incurred during the lifestyle we currently have.
  2. Decrease environmental toxin exposure. This means addressing what we put in our body, what we put on our body, what we breathe in, what we listen to, and what thoughts we have. Since our home is where we spend the majority of our time (including our precious sleep), this especially includes education on making the home environment as free of environmental toxins as possible.
  3. Supporting our organs of elimination. Our body is designed to remove toxins and waste. Our liver, skin, lungs, kidneys, digestive system, lymphatic system, and circulatory system all work together to eliminate toxins and wastes from our body. By supporting these organs, we can decrease our toxin burden, decrease inflammation, and prevent asthma attacks.
  4. Eat a healthful diet. By eating an organic, plant-based, whole foods diet, we are healing our gut, decreasing environmental toxin exposure, supporting our organs of elimination, and giving our body the necessary nutrients to function appropriately. Eating a healthy diet, also means not eating foods you are allergic to or sensitive to. We often see food sensitivities/allergies in people who have asthma. Avoiding these food sensitivities/allergies is a main component of treating asthma because it decreases a lot of inflammation in the gut which decreases inflammation throughout our entire body, including our airway.
  5. Decreasing inflammation. Although everything we talked about so far will decrease inflammation, there are so many other things that specifically target decreasing inflammation in the body like eating omega-3 rich foods, adding turmeric into meals, drinking adequate amounts of water, and the list goes on and on.
  6. Botanical medicine and homeopathy are two amazing modalities to help support the respiratory system and entire body in the naturopathic treatment of asthma. There are specific plants that we use in botanical medicine that support your immune system, decrease inflammation, and decrease the contraction of the smooth muscle in your airway to help prevent asthma or help open the airway during an asthma attack. Homeopathy supports the entire body in healing and helps a person respond more appropriately to asthma triggers.
  7. Breathing exercises and movement help exercise the lungs. This helps to clear any mucus and inflammation that is in the lungs. It also helps bring more blood flow to our respiratory system which brings, oxygen and nutrients and everything our lung tissue needs to heal.
  8. Supplementation is not a go-to for me as a naturopathic doctor because there are so many nutrients in supplements that we can get from our diet instead. But there is a time and a place for supplementation in regards to asthma. One supplement I would consider is magnesium because it can become depleted when using an albuterol inhaler, which is a common medication given to those with asthma. Magnesium acts as a smooth muscle relaxant to prevent the spasming and contraction of the smooth muscle surrounding the airway creating less constriction of the airway. There are many other supplements that contain vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and probiotics that help in the prevention/treatment of asthma.
  9. Hydrotherapy is another modality used by naturopathic doctors. Hydrotherapy is the act of using hot and cold water to bring blood flow to the lungs, to detoxify the body, and to stimulate the body’s own healing vital force.
  10. While treating the root cause and healing the body with everything we’ve talked about so far, it is important for a person with asthma to have the appropriate asthma medications/inhaler to use when they experience difficulty breathing. This can be life saving and therefore, something that should be a part of the treatment plan. That being said my goal as a naturopathic doctor is to help you treat the root cause of the asthma and heal the whole body so you can go completely off the pharmaceutical medications in the future. There are side effects to the pharmaceutical medications used in asthma with the most concerning being suppression of immune system and inflammation caused by steroids. In general suppressing symptoms alleviates symptoms for now, but often drives the pathology deeper. Diet, lifestyle changes, and other naturopathic medicine modalities do the opposite of helping to drive the pathology out of the body rather than deeper into the body.

The Triad

In our patients, we often see a triad of asthma, allergies, and eczema either all at one time or in succession. This is because they all have their causes rooted in immune system dysregulation, inflammation, and increased toxic load. Thankfully, the naturopathic approach of treating the root cause and healing the whole body in regard to asthma helps to prevent/treat allergies and eczema as well.

On the path towards health and healing

If you or your child has asthma, there is so much that can be done to help. Do NOT accept the fact that you or your child will have asthma for the rest of your/their life. Making changes in your diet and lifestyle and using other naturopathic modalities can be LIFE CHANGING and completely reverse asthma. If you have asthma, it is time to heal your whole body and get your lungs breathing better!


Inflammation: Healthy or Not?

We often think of inflammation as “bad”, but that’s not always true. Inflammation for a short period of time following an injury or exposure to a toxin/pathogen is our body’s healthy response!

Acute Inflammation = Healthy

Inflammation is the result of our immune system (often thought of as our body’s army) gathering in an area of our body that requires an army to heal damaged tissue and/or defend against a toxin/pathogen. When a part of your body is inflamed, you will likely notice swelling, redness, heat, pain, a stuffy nose, a cough, etc. It may be uncomfortable while your immune system is at work, but having that inflammation is a good sign that your body is mounting an appropriate response to restore your body to health. As your body heals and your immune system eliminates the toxin/pathogen, the inflammation should go away completely as your immune system awaits its next task to keep you healthy.

Chronic Inflammation = Unhealthy

It’s when chronic inflammation takes hold of our body that we start to see the negative impact of inflammation. Chronic inflammation results from the high levels of environmental toxins we are exposed to, eating poorly, living sedentary lives, being under constant stress, etc. Chronic inflammation has consequences in our body. Under states of chronic inflammation, our organs are unable to function appropriately, and our tissues undergo destruction. This results in a plethora of diseases that are now becoming common in America, such as high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, constipation, cramping during menses, autoimmune conditions, and the list goes on and on.

Lost Signals

Normally when a body is exposed to an acute threat, like a pathogen, the body detects the threat and creates signals to bring our immune system to the right area to defend our body. But when we are already in a chronically inflammatory state, that acute signal is lost amongst all the other signals a chronically inflamed body is consistently giving off to our immune system. So our immune system can’t appropriately defend our body against that pathogen because it can’t hear the acute signal over the roar of all the other signals. This is why someone who is experiencing chronic inflammation can easily get sick and be sick for long periods of time because their immune system army is so overburdened and overworked throughout an entire chronically inflamed body.

Supporting our Immune System

So what do you do with this information? First of all, thank your body for creating ACUTE inflammation because this tells you your immune system is at work defending you and healing you. Second of all, do what you can to avoid becoming in a chronically inflamed state. This means treating your body right, eating nourishing foods, drinking water, moving your body every day, engaging in deep breathing exercises, and finding ways to healthfully cope with stressors. And if you are already in a state of chronic inflammation and need more support, I am always here as a naturopathic doctor to help you decrease chronic inflammation in your body and increase your immune system functionality.


Better Mood | Better YOU

Your MOOD isn’t just determined by your emotions and experiences. There are PHYSIOLOGICAL reasons you may be feeling sad or depressed. Your neurotransmitters and hormones have A LOT to do with the way we feel. So why not do all we can to support these happy-giving molecules every single day?


It all starts with how we eat. If you want to feel full of life, then you need to eat foods that are FULL OF LIFE, like sprouts and fresh fruits and veggies. We can’t help but feel more BALANCED and HAPPY when we are eating organic, plant-based whole foods rich in micronutrients, proteins, carbohydrates, and healthy fats.

Our MICRONUTRIENTS are the vitamins and minerals our body soaks up when we eat fruits, vegetables, legumes, beans, nuts, whole grains, and seeds. To the create neurotransmitters and hormones in our body that make us feel oh so good, we NEED micronutrients and lots of them! Furthermore, our body breaks down the PROTEIN we eat into amino acids, which are the building blocks to neurotransmitter synthesis, like norepinephrine and serotonin, which both make us feel happy and energized. And the HEALTHY FATS we eat can be used to create our steroid/sex hormones, which gives up our libido and makes us feel happy, energized, and at peace.


Our brain is made up of 75% water. It makes sense that in order for your mental health to be supported, you need to be PLENISHING your brain with water! Not only that, but every cell throughout our entire body requires water to perform its appropriate functions. For example, our brain needs water to create SEROTONIN, which is a neurotransmitter that submits signals throughout our entire body of BALANCE and HAPPINESS. We also need water to create energy in our body and who doesn’t feel like they are in a better mood when they have more ENERGY?!


Sleep is crucial for our mood! Just like water, our whole body functions better when we get a good night’s sleep. The examples are literally endless of how sleep helps our mood! Here is one for you: Your body turns serotonin into melatonin using a process called METHYLATION. Among other things, we are better methylators when we are sleeping and eating our dark, leafy greens. It’s a beautiful CYCLE; the more sleep we get, the more melatonin we create and the more melatonin we create, the better sleep we get.


Did you know having REGULAR bowel movements can make us happier? Having a bowel movement helps to remove hormones that our liver just metabolized for us. Two commonly talked about hormones are estrogen and progesterone. They should be in balance, but frequently estrogen is in excess (making us feel irritable and sad) and progesterone is deficient (making us feel anxious and tired). By having a bowel movement everyday, more excess estrogen can leave the body which allows progesterone to have a greater voice in how you feel, giving you feelings of CALMNESS and HAPPINESS. You can support your body in having bowel movements every day by drinking plenty of water, having an active lifestyle, eating fiber and magnesium rich foods, and engaging in deep breathing exercises.


Along with having regular bowel movements, our liver must METABOLIZE those excess hormones and put them into our gut. We can show our liver some love by drinking water, eating dark, leafy greens and cruciferous veggies, drinking dandelion tea, not drinking alcohol, eating organic, moving our body every day, and the list goes on and on.


When we are stressed, we are spending our energy on the stressor which takes away energy from the creation or metabolism of neurotransmitters and hormones creating imbalances. Stress puts our nervous system into a sympathetic sate and when we are in a sympathetic state, we don’t digest well, our muscles tighten, our breathing becomes shallower, our blood doesn’t flow as well, and we certainly aren’t in as good of mood as we could be because we aren’t able to perform the necessary reactions that balance our neurotransmitters and hormones.  Fortunately, there is a lot we can do to manage stress. The most fundamental way to help us cope with the stressors in our life is to take a pause and BREATHE DEEPLY.


Breathing for Your Health

Why Do We Breathe?

You breathe about 20,000 times everyday and 600-700 million times in your lifetime! That’s a lot of breaths in and out that your body does for you without you even thinking about it. Yet another reason to be grateful for our amazing bodies! We think of the purpose of breathing as mainly to bring oxygen into our body and to release carbon dioxide. But even more importantly, breathing helps to balance the pH in our body! Breathing helps to regulate our nervous system, our cardiovascular system, our digestive system, our immune system, our hormones, our mood, and so much more. When we are breathing, we have more energy, are more resilient to stressors, and have greater endurance and strength. So how do we breathe to capitalize on all these wonderous benefits?

Be Curious and Observe Your Breathe

First, take a moment to close your eyes and discover how you breathe. Don’t try to change your breathing, just observe how you typically breathe. Don’t worry about what may be the “right” way to breathe or the “wrong” way to breathe, just breathe and explore how your body breathes.

As you breathe, what draws your attention first? Do you breathe through your nose or mouth? How does your body move when you breathe? Do your shoulders lift, does your chest expand, does your belly expand, does your back expand? How far down does it feel like the air you breathe in reaches? Can you hear your breathing? What pace are you breathing at? Do you spend a longer time inhaling or exhaling or are they equal? What is your posture like? Do you notice any areas of tension in your body? How does your mind, body, and spirit feel after closing your eyes and observing your breathing?

Hopefully, you discovered something new about your breathing that you never noticed before! Write down what you noticed, so after you practice breathing for a week or two, you can go back to those notes and compare what you notice now.

Breathing for your Benefit

So how should you practice breathing? Here are my recommendations:

  1. Breathe intentionally for 5-10 minutes everyday in a relaxed, comfortable environment.
  2. Sit in an upright, yet restful posture.
  3. Breathe through your nose rather than your mouth. Your nose moisturizes, filters, and warms the air that we breathe more efficiently than your mouth.
  4. Breathe into your belly and lower back. With each breath, your belly and lower back should expand outward.
  5. Exhalation should be equal to or longer than inhalation.
  6. Breathe slower. Take your time with each inhale and exhale. Try to take a moment and pause at the top of each inhale and the bottom of each exhale.
  7. Breathing should be silent when you practice breathing at rest. When you are in yoga or working out, it is okay to make noise, but at rest, try to not make any noise when breathing.

I encourage you to breathe for 5-10 minutes everyday as a part of your routine. Choose a time of day that works best for you, whether it’s in the morning, evening, or during the day. The more times you practice breathing in this manner, the more your body will breathe in that beneficial way without you even thinking about it!

Happy Breathing!