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A great piece by Dr. Mark Hyman!

Mark HymanThe slow insidious displacement of home cooked and communally shared family meals by the industrial food system has fattened our nation and weakened our family ties.

The Great Life Cookbook, written my oldest dearest college friends with whom I shared countless communal meals over 30 years ago, is the catalyst that can turn this tide and help Americans take back their kitchens, take back their homes, and rebuild community and connection. Health happens in community.

In 1900, 2 percent of meals were eaten outside the home. In 2010, 50 percent were eaten away from home and one in five breakfasts is from McDonald’s. Most family meals happen about three times a week, last less than 20 minutes, and are spent watching television or texting while each family member eats a different microwaved “food”. More meals are eaten in the minivan than the kitchen.

To read the rest of Dr. Hyman's post, click here.
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Just as a juggler can only keep so many balls in the air at one time, the human body can handle only so many immune system issues and repair needs at once. For many people, illness is like the proverb of the “straw that broke the camel’s back.” While a camel can carry a large amount of straw, it is inevitable there will be a “last straw”—that is, one piece too many. It is not enough to simply remove the last straw—whether in the example of a camel or the human body. We must remove as much straw as possible, re-set the bones and allow time to heal. Only then, can one walk again (in the case of a camel) or be well (in the case of the human body).

In the case of the chronically un-well, we need to reduce the total load and optimize the body’s ability to clean itself in addition to looking for any causative agents. By doing so, we optimize the body’s ability to defend and repair. Exactly what makes up the total load, you ask?  The list includes environmental allergies, environmental toxins, food allergies, heavy metals, byproducts of internal metabolism, and stressors.

Environmental allergies are more common than you might imagine. Symptoms such as nasal discharge, nasal obstruction, watery eyes, sneezing, wheezing, cough, itching and hives are all common. However, symptoms also frequently include or are related to eczema, headache, chronic fatigue, food intolerance, recurrent sinus/ear infections, frequent "cold/sore throat", learning disability/foggy thinking, poor memory/concentration, hyperactivity, abdominal pain/gas/cramping, arthritis, muscle aches, and even asthma.

Food allergies are frequently a symptom of a larger problem rather than simply the cause itself. These allergies often include two or more abnormal interactions at the level of the intestinal border. About 70% of the immune system tissue found in the body lines the intestines. When a person’s intestinal lining is "leaky" due to chronic insult (i.e. antibiotics, alcohol, travel, stress, steroids, birth control pills, pain medication, antacids, chronic illness, etc.), he/she will have abnormal interactions between the staff that should be contained in the lumen of the intestines and the immune system. These interactions can result in food sensitivities and immune reactions to things that normally reside in the gut. This can result in many conditions including autoimmune disease.

Environmental toxins are all around us, and we live in a progressively toxic world. Here in Minnesota, we are told not to eat the local fish more than once per week (once per month for pregnant women) due to mercury contamination. In addition, we are surrounded by bug spray, weed killer, plasticizer, and other heavy metals. It is of interest that despite the explosion of new chemicals on the market, the number of chemicals on the EPA’s "generally recognized as safe" list has shrunk.

Even electronics, once thought to be a "clean" industry, is now known to dump many toxic chemicals and heavy metals like cadmium, arsenic and others into the environment. It has been documented that ashes from municipal incinerators are used as a source of mineral in commercial fertilizer. Many times this ash contains heavy metal contamination from substances such as batteries.

Stressors ranging from the standard American diet and medicine (including use of NSAIDs) to toxic relationships, financial concerns, and the stress of chronic un-wellness are all known to inhibit our immune systems. Even the "good stress" such as planning an exciting event (wetting, reunion, etc.) can have a negative effect if not handled with "love and graze" rather than "grit and determination.”

My goal is to identify and minimize these contributors to the total load. The minimization of distracting factors will let your immune system and repair mechanisms focus on the real problems, without the distraction of these annoying but less important contributors to un-wellness.

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When it comes to our health, we often become so focused on medications, supplements, and the latest gizmos that we forget the basics. Below is a 3 part comprehensive foundation and strategy for combating your (or a loved one’s) risk of cardiovascular disease.

1) Diet: A healthy and well-balanced diet is key! The best-studied diet that I recommend is the "true Mediterranean diet.” This diet consists of one-half vegetables and low glycemic-index fruits, one-quarter meat, poultry, fish, and legumes and one-quarter nuts, seeds and grains.

2) Activity:In terms of daily activity such as walking, gardening, or dancing, do what you love and love what you do. It is simply a matter of mindset to find an activity you enjoy. The basic idea is to achieve 10,000 steps per day in any way that you choose. However, be sure to bring joy to your choice of activity.

3) Attitude: Anger is your enemy. In our polarized society, the conversation often seems to be negative and focused on "all those idiots.” Importantly, compassion and forgiveness have been shown to reduce stress and help foster healthy relationships.

The right diet, activity level, and attitude are three simple but important things to incorporate into your daily life. Sure, the important things are not always easy to do. However, heading in the direction of more fruits and vegetables, increased movement, and a more compassionate attitude will help move you away from high blood pressure and stress as well as lower your risk of heart attack and stroke.

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From Ken Cook of the Environmental Working Group 

Spring cleaning is enough of a chore. It shouldn't be even harder to find a product that doesn't have ingredients that cause allergies, asthma or cancer. 

It's important to note that the words "natural" and "green" don't mean less toxic. Right now there is no federal law requring most cleaning products to disclose their ingredients on the labels. Some ingredients that seem healthy, such as botanical oils, can trigger allergies.

The Environmental Working Group updated their Healthy Cleaning product database, so before you head to the laundry room or grab the mop, check out how your favorite cleaning products scored. 

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A great piece by Dr. Mark Hyman!

BurgersFried-Chicken-200x200Can burgers and fried chicken really be good for you? Yes. But not the Five Guys killer burger—not that kind. It’s burgers and chicken you cook yourself. And why do you need to cook them yourself? Here’s why.

Eating out can kill you, especially if you eat fast food or the addictive processed sugar and fats typically packed into almost every food that is made in a factory. The average American eats 29 pounds of French fries, 23 pounds of pizza, 24 pounds of ice cream and consumes 53 gallons of soda, 24 pounds of artificial sweeteners, 2,736 pounds of salt, and 90,700 milligrams of caffeine per year. Do we really think we can create health in that toxic food environment?

To read the rest of Dr. Hyman's post, click here. 
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Listen to Your (Leaky) Gut We often offer the advice, “Listen to your gut,” meaning, follow your instincts and listen to the voice deep inside, because it really knows best.


Although that advice is figurative, you should also take it literally. Your gut, or your intestines, can provide a surprising amount of information about what is happening in your body, and listening to it can sometimes reveal the source of a chronic illness.


Your intestines are also called the bowel. Together the small and large intestines form a tube that carries food from the stomach, absorbs the useful nutrients, and forms waste to pass from the body through the anus.


Intestines have a unique job in the body. Most barriers in the body have one job. Skin and kidneys, for example, exist only to keep things out. The intestines, however, selectively let nutrients and water in while also pumping waste out.  The entire time, your intestines are trying to understand what is friend or foe. It has a very complicated job and is a very active organ, requiring a lot of energy.


In addition to this essential work, the gut also hosts 70% of all the immune system tissue in your body. If something goes awry in your gut, you may eventually see seemingly unrelated problems, such as autoimmune diseases and arthritis. If you go to your doctor because you are bothered by arthritis, you may get a prescription for a type of pain reliever and joint medicine but not one that addresses why your immune system is working against you. And that answer is: leaky gut.


So, what is leaky gut?  When your intestines become inflamed, you get something known as hyperpermeability. That means the intestines' barrier system is not working properly; harmful bacteria may get into the intestines, while nutrients may not be absorbed well.


This crossing of the barrier confuses the immune system, and it sends out antibodies to fight the unwanted bacteria, resulting in inflammation. Patients may notice symptoms such as gas, bloating, cramping, diarrhea, and irritable bowel syndrome. If not addressed, the inflammation can cause fatigue, muscle aches, and/or joint pains, and it can lead to autoimmune diseases such as thyroiditis, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis.


But for those who listen to their gut, there is hope and treatment. In functional medicine, we focus on treating not just the symptoms, but also on what went wrong in the first place. For the person who comes in with arthritis, we look at how to ease his joint pain because that is what is hurting him from day to day. But we also focus on the irritable bowel to see how we can heal the gut.  We'll check to see if the patient has an imbalance of bacteria, yeast, fungus, or other substances that are supposed to be in the gut. Then, we will restore that balance. We may use prescription medicines, along with cultured foods like yogurt or sauerkraut, to increase healthy bacteria. We may give the patient a probiotic pill to help kill off the bad bacteria, along with additional nutrients to calm down the inflammation.


Understanding the origin of a chronic illness is absolutely necessary in developing an effective treatment plan. Listening to your (leaky) gut and finding out what it is trying to say can help heal the body and not just manage the symptoms.

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Watch for exciting news coming from 3rd Opinion with the release of Dr. Sults new book!

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