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!


Sleep | Benefits of Sleep | Healthy Sleep Habits

The average person spends 25 YEARS of their life asleep! With that many years devoted to catching zzzz’s, the act of sleeping must be extremely important for our health. And it is! Sleep is a time for our body to reset and restore! When we are sleeping, we are healing!

How Sleep Works:

Your circadian rhythm talks to every cell in your body to regulate the timing of when you sleep, your temperature, and hormonal production and release. Melatonin is one of the hormones our circadian rhythm tells the pineal gland to produce once it starts to get dark outside. Melatonin orchestrates the activation of all your sleep inducing parts of the brain to get the brain ready for sleep. As we sleep, we begin a series of 90 minute sleep cycles starting in REM and then dropping into NREM stage 1, then stage 2, then stage 3, then stage 4, before coming back up through that same path. In the first half of the night, our brain spends more time in NREM sleep in the 90 minute cycles, but as the night goes on REM sleep begins to dominate the 90 minute cycles.

During NREM sleep, we remove unnecessary neural connection, move short term memories into long term memory storage, and the slow, synchronized waves that characterize this part of sleep helps the furthest away regions of the brain to be able to communicate and collaborate. During REM sleep, we strengthen our neural connections, integrate what we learned throughout the day to create a deeper understanding, and creates a greater capacity for making intelligent decisions and solving complex problems.  

Benefits of Healthy Sleep:

Sleep really has an infinite amount of benefits and we are constantly learning how valuable sleep is for our health and wellbeing. Here are a few benefits healthy sleep offers:

  • Strengthens your immune system
  • Decreases inflammation in the body
  • Supports a healthy flourishing gut microbiome
  • Increases growth hormone with stimulates tissue regeneration, restores your liver health, builds muscle, decreases fat stores, and helps stabilize blood glucose.
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Increases HDLs to prevent cholesterol build up in your vasculature.
  • Increases leptin  (a hormone that makes you feel satiated) and decreases grehlin (a hormone that makes you feel hungry and crave sweets, salts, and simple carbohydrates.
  • Accelerates muscle recovery and repair from injury or strenuous exercise
  • Lowers the rate of lactic acid build up in muscles, increases blood oxygen saturation, and increases your ability to sweat to allow for adequate temperature regulation while exercising
  • Increases your ability to rationally think, regulate your emotions, be more creative, have a greater capacity for learning and memorizing, and make logical decisions.
  • Creates time for the glymphatic system (basically your lymphatic system of the brain) to clear away any metabolic toxins generated by your neurons as they perform their functions.
  • Helps balance your nervous system and bring you into a more relaxed, calm state.
  • Supports healthy testosterone and sperm production.
  • Makes us more beautiful!

Healthy Sleep Habits:

  • Maintain consistent sleep and wake times, which helps to regulate your circadian rhythm  
  • Sleep in a cool, dark room
  • Don’t use screens at least 1 hour before bed. Turn off your cell phone when you sleep and turn off your wifi router.
  • Only use your bed for sleeping and sex. Make sure your bedroom is void of computers, televisions, worrying, and arguments.
  • Spend as much time as you can outdoors. Sunlight hitting our eyes, especially in the morning helps balance our circadian rhythm. Avoid the use of artificial light in your home in the evening.
  • Exercise regularly. Exercising during the day or early evening decreases the time it takes to get to sleep and increases the amount of deep sleep obtained. Probably best to avoid strenuous/intense exercising right before bed.
  • If you find that you are waking up during the night (and not just to pee), try having a small protein snack (ex. apple and peanut butter or hummus and carrots) before bed to help regulate your blood sugars throughout the night.
  • Warm baths with Epsom salts help to relax and subsequently cool the body for bed.
  • Breathing exercises, progressive muscle relaxation (find a video on YouTube), or meditation before bed can help to relax the body and quiet the mind before bed.
  • Listen to relaxing sounds, such as thunderstorms, beach waves, or piano music
  • Drink herbal tea in the evenings with herbs that support sleep. Herbs to look for in a sleepy tea: lavender, chamomile, skullcap, oat straw, passionflower, valerian, lemon balm.
  • Although alcohol may help you fall asleep, the sleep obtained after drinking is typically fragmented and light.
  • Avoid caffeine, especially consumption later in the day.

Supporting a Happy and Healthy Microbiome

There is so much to love about bacteria! Did you know for every single human cell in your body, there are 10 bacterial cells?! That’s a lot of bacteria in your gastrointestinal tract (making up the gut microbiome), on your skin, on mucous membranes, in your lungs, and on any other body surface that is exposed to the outside world. We tend to think of bacteria as bad (and don’t get me wrong, there are harmful bacteria out there) but there is also a plethora of good bacteria that keep us healthy, nourished, and disease-free. Our bodies need our microbiome to survive and our microbiome needs us to survive, so we work together to survive and thrive.

How we help our microbiome:

  • We nourish our gut microbiome with the foods we eat. In addition, goblet cells in our intestinal tract create mucus, which the bacteria consume.
  • Our lower intestinal tract is void of oxygen, which is necessary for the survival of anaerobic bacteria.
  • We create a warm, dark, moist place for the bacteria to flourish.

How our microbiome helps us:

  • Our gut bacteria are quite good at taking up space, leaving no room for bad bacteria to take up residence. If you have ever received an antibiotic, it has killed some of the gut microbiome, leaving space for bacteria that aren’t typically in our microbiome to come in and potentially wreak havoc.
  • Our gut microbiome can actively fight off pathogenic bacteria.
  • Our gut microbiome helps us to digest foods that are too hard for our own bodies to digest, such as fiber and complex carbohydrates. By doing this, the bacteria create short chain fatty acids which our colon cells use as energy.
  • Bacteria in the gut synthesize vitamin K which is mainly used to help our blood clot.
  • Our microbiota teaches our immune system which bacteria are helpful and which bacteria are harmful. In doing so, the immune system learns to discriminate between the different types of bacteria to create an immune response to the appropriate microbes.

Ways to support a healthy gut microbiome:

  • Eat fiber and complex carbohydrates to feed the microbiome. This means eating a variety of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. We can actually starve and kill off healthy bacteria in our microbiome by not eating fiber and complex carbs.
  • Eat probiotic rich foods, such as sauerkraut, sourdough, yogurt, kimchi, kombucha, kefir, tempeh, miso.
  • Avoid the use of antibiotics when possible. And take a probiotic supplement if you do have to receive an antibiotic.
  • Avoid use of hand sanitizer and wash your hands instead.
  • Spend time in nature with your hands and feet in the dirt.
  • If you have the ability, grow your own organic food and eat foods right out of your garden.
  • Engage in movement everyday.

Living Life As A Busy Bee: Adding Movement Into Your Life

Even though most of our lives are really busy, we are often busy with activities that keep us sitting in a chair, being indoors, and mostly leading sedentary lives. We are all like busy bees minus all the movement that busy bees do all day every day! Our bodies need movement for our muscles and bones to be strong, healthy, and supportive to the rest of our bodies. Our circulatory system, digestive system, immune system, lymphatic system, respiratory system, and frankly all our systems REQUIRE movement to function properly. So I decided to create a list of ideas to increase movement into your busy-as-a-bee life! Try them all and see which ones are the most sustainable to keep up! Try picking three to do on a consistent basis.

Movement Ideas:

  1. Do heel lifts/calf raises when you are brushing your teeth.
  2. When you are flossing your top teeth, balance on your right foot. When you are flossing your bottom teeth, balance on your left foot.
  3. While waiting at a stop lights, retract your shoulders as you breath in and protract your shoulders as you breath out.
  4. Go for a ten minute walk outdoors with your family when you are done eating dinner together.
  5. Turn on music and dance around as you cook dinner
  6. When you are vacuuming, exercise those vocal cords by singing out your favorite tune. The vacuum is roaring so no one will hear you!
  7. As you are sitting down at work, to watch TV, or to drive your car, do Kegel exercises. To do Kegel exercises, contract your pelvic floor muscles for 5 seconds and then release for 5 seconds. Repeat as many times as you want.
  8. Every time a commercial comes on, get up from the couch and do whatever form of movement you want. You could keep weights in your living room or a yoga mat to help assist you in this movement.
  9. When you wake up in the morning, exercise your breathing muscles by taking 5-10 deep, intentional breaths.
  10. If you have a job that requires sitting all day, set a timer on your phone to get up out of your chair every 30 minutes to do 5 squats.
  11. During your lunch break at work, get outside and go for a walk if you have time.
  12. Every night before bed, stretch whatever in your body feels like it needs some stretching. Maybe do this with your spouse, your parents, your kids, or your siblings. You could take turns choosing different stretches to do together.
  13. When you are talking our the phone, put the phone on speaker phone and do neck stretches and neck rolls.
  14. If you have the option to take the stairs versus the elevator or escalator, always choose the stairs!
  15. Turn meetings into walk-and-talk meetings by walking around in your nearest park.
  16. When you go up the stairs, go up as many different ways you can think of; hop the entire way up the stairs, take the stairs 3 at a time, with each step do a squat, grapevine up the stairs, with each step do a heel lift.
  17. Instead of your usual evening routine, make a playlist of dance songs and have a family dance party!
  18. Come up with your own ideas and message them to Mother Earth Medicine so I can add them to the list.

Happy Movement you Busy Bees!


Staying Warm this Winter: Increasing Your Circulation Naturally

Brrrrr….It’s cold out there! With the coldness and darkness of the winter settling in, we tend to turn inward and allow our bodies to rest and restore in this slower pace of life. In the summer, our days are chock full of backyard gatherings, days at the beach, evening festivals, and lots of activities and movement. We tend to be constantly moving and grooving, enjoying the long, sunshiny days. In contrast, we like to spend our time in the winter reading by a cozy fire, making homecooked meals, sleeping longer, doing indoor craft projects, playing board games, and watching movies. All of these winter activities are a part of our bodies naturally slowing down to adapt to the changing in seasons. Not only that, but this slowing down supports our body in using its energy towards restoring and healing itself.  

With this slower pace of life, we want to make sure that our circulatory system isn’t slowing down as well. Not only does our circulatory system keep our body warm, but it carries with it oxygen and nutrients that need to travel to every single part of our bodies to keep us healthy. There are many fundamental ways we can support the optimal functioning of our circulatory system:

  1. Move your body every single day. This could be anything from yoga to stretching to snowshoeing to skiing to indoor rock climbing to dancing in your living room.
  2. Drink clean water. As a rule of thumb, you should drink half your body weight in ounces of water every day. Our bodies absorb water best when it is plentiful with minerals. If you have a purification system in your home, try adding a sprinkle of salt in each glass of water you drink to help your body absorb the water you drink.
  3. Take deep, invigorating breaths every morning upon rising or when you are feeling cold to increase your circulation bringing warmth into your body.
  4. Add cinnamon, garlic, ginger, nutmeg, black pepper, rosemary, onion, and cayenne into your everyday cooking as these are all herbs that stimulate the movement of your circulatory system. You could also add these herbs into hot water to make a tea! Have you ever heard of fire cider? It is apple cider vinegar infused with circulatory stimulating herbs that you would take a spoonful of once per day. Try looking for recipes online to create your own! If you like the convenience of just picking up a bottle of apple cider vinegar versus making your own, one of my favorite local businesses, Soul Shine Healing, sells an invigorating fire cider!
  5. Sit in a sauna for at least 20 minutes everyday. The heat of a sauna will increase your circulation and help in the detoxification of your body. This one may be hard because a lot of individuals don’t have access to a sauna. Some places to find a sauna in your community may be your local gym, YMCA, spas, or use a friend’s. Or if you can’t take a sauna, enjoy a warm bath before bed to increase your circulation and help you sleep.
  6. Sleep at least 8 hours per night. Sleep has a significant impact on our cardiovascular health. It is crucial to get a good night’s sleep every single night!
  7. Dry skin brush your body before showering to stimulate the movement of your circulatory system and lymphatic system. Always brush the skin on your legs towards your groin and the skin on your arms towards your armpits as this is where most of your lymph nodes are located.
  8. Spend time in gratitude thanking your circulatory system for pumping blood, oxygen, nutrients, and life throughout your entire body.

I hope you stay warm, safe, healthy, happy, and gratitude-filled this winter season!