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Nutrition for Health: A Client’s Story

Wednesday, October 12th, 2016

This week I would like to share the story of one of my patients/clients. She came to me for acupuncture about 6 years ago, struggling with a number of issues. In addition to treating her with acupuncture and neurofeedback, I counseled her on nutrition. She began by engaging in some temporary trial and error with many of my suggestions; as time went on, she began to realize clear and significant differences in her symptoms and how she was feeling. Today she follows the nutritional approach that I introduced her to, sharing with others her incredible journey to the best health of her life.

-Steve

If you’re having digestive issues, mood issues, brain fog, pain, cravings, etc. consider your diet. Increase intake of REAL foods – mostly grass-fed meats and organic vegetables – and *decrease* your intake of processed, artificial, “food” – especially sugar, fake sugars, wheat, food coloring, words you cannot identify, etc. Also consider adding probiotic-rich foods to help repair the damage and promote gut health – which in turn promotes overall digestive health, good mood, focus, satiety (as opposed to cravings), and more.

I personally find that the drinkable kefir helps me a lot. I’ve taken to adding a few ounces to my post-workout protein shake, as well as after dinner as a way to seal the gut and curb evening cravings. I have found that when I am “craving” something it is usually a clear sign that something is off – and 9 times out of 10, drinking kefir or kombucha tea satisfies and re-balances my system, satisfying the sense of urgency to give in to cravings.

For years I struggled with my health, including intense joint pain, ADHD, depression, anxiety, and an eating disorder. I went through every medication available; I even underwent in-patient treatment. When I came to Steve for acupuncture, I was distraught, nearly hopeless. He began treating me with acupuncture and neurofeedback, as well as counseling me on nutrition. At the time I was eating egg whites and rice cakes much of the time, then having uncontrollable food binges where I consumed just insane amounts of wheat and sugar. My weight fluctuated drastically week to week, and my mood was… Inconsolable. I was depressed, anxious to the point of feeling trapped inside my own body. There were days that I couldn’t get out of bed, where I couldn’t even speak.

Steve encouraged me to add healthy fats into my diet. I started with a slice of avocado every afternoon. I gradually added egg yolks back in.

He encouraged me to limit sugar, and even consider giving up wheat.

I tried it for 6 weeks. My weight began to stabilize. My mood and focus improved.

The holidays came, and I began eating all of the baked goods and holiday treats that we’ve come to associate with Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Hannukah.

For the next year I cycled up and down, until my weight climbed from the mid-140s to 178 lbs. Despite all of my efforts, I couldn’t get it back down below 165. I felt sick, sluggish, tired, moody, irritable. I was obsessively counting calories, living in the shame of an eating disorder.

I went back to the advice Steve had given me. I took a break from the dieting, from measuring and counting and obsessing. I began eating healthy, whole foods. Eggs and bacon for breakfast, meat and vegetables for lunch and dinner. The fog began to lift. The weight began to melt off. My overall health and state of being began to improve. And it has just gotten better from there.

Steve armed me with the tools necessary to get my health on track. He completely changed my approach to health, he has changed the questions I am asking. Now when I feel a symptom, I ask myself, what is my body trying to tell me? What am I missing, or consuming in excess? What am I doing differently? Have I taken any new medication that could be impacting my gut health? My health is what it is today because (1) I am asking the right questions and (2) I know the right answers.

If I eat unhealthy, i.e. bad oils, sugar, wheat, processed foods, I feel incredibly strong symptoms of depression, anxiety, ADHD, cravings/urges to binge, and an overall brain fog. I even find that I have difficulty with my coordination, dropping things, being clumsy. I suffer from bone pain as well.

If I eat healthy, i.e. healthy fats like coconut oil, grass-fed butter, full fat raw dairy, grass-fed meats, organic vegetables, and probiotic-rich foods like kefir and kombucha tea, with only a small amount of sugar or processed foods, I feel… Healthy. Energetic. Focused. Vibrant. Strong. Satiated. All of my issues resolve.

I would urge you to consider every symptom of your body – mental or physical – as a sign that something is missing or in excess from a nutritional standpoint, then work to bring things back into balance. This has resolved every symptom that has arisen for me, from intense bone and joint pain to feelings of depression, anxiety, OCD, lack of focus, brain fog, fatigue. The things is, the majority of our health concerns, physical and mental, are tied to nutrition. We can resolve many of our symptoms and complaints by cleaning up our diet. Steve is a major proponent of the traditional/ancestral diet, of eating real food, organic, grass-fed, free from chemicals, GMOs, pesticides. His food service Farm Fresh Direct 2U offers just that – he brings the best of the best from farms around the state right here to Orlando, Altamonte Springs, Saint Cloud, Windermere, Oviedo, all around Central Florida. He brings us the opportunity to improve our health from the ground up.

I have never been healthier than I am now. My entire quality of life has changed. I am forever in gratitude to Steve. With every delicious bite of grass-fed brisket and every creamy sip of drinkable kefir I say thank you.

-Jade Alexandra

Holiday Eating: Tips to Beat the Post-Holiday Blues & Weight Gain

Monday, September 19th, 2016

As summer gives way to fall, the holiday season begins gleaming from just around the corner. Shelves are filled with holiday lights and trees, gifts and goodies. The holidays mean so much in so many different ways, family, togetherness, tradition, gratitude and giving – and let’s be honest – over-indulgence. From Thanksgiving to New Year’s, days are filled with holiday gift baskets and gift exchanges while nights ring with the toasting of cheers, coupled with decadent holiday treats.

Many people find that they end up suffering from post-holiday blues (and weight gain!), a sort of emotional drop after the celebratory craze of Thanksgiving, Hannukah, Christmas, and the like. What most people don’t consider is why they end up feeling this way. In fact, the post-holiday letdown seems to be offhandedly attributed to perceived social or cultural elements. What most fail to consider is that it is in fact the huge spike in indulgent eating and drinking from the end of November to the beginning of January.

High sugar, wheat, and alcohol, food coloring from red and green everything, and even more sugar – this is the true culprit for the post-holiday blues – and of course, weight gain.

Here are some tips to help you avoid, minimize, or at least bounce back from the holidays:

  • DO make moderation your friend. DON’T make November to January a free for all.
  • DO choose a few key days or events to allow yourself to indulge, i.e. actual holidays and holiday parties. Keep your in between eating extra healthy and SATIATING with grass-fed butter, meats, and eggs, organic greens, and fermented foods.
  • DO keep your gut health in check. Sugar, wheat, alcohol and processed foods wreak havoc on the gut, which in turn wreaks havoc on neurotransmitter functioning, which leads to cravings, brain fog, moodiness, irritability, and digestive complaints. Increase your intake of probiotic-rich foods like kombucha tea, grass-fed kefir, fermented sauerkraut and kimchi. Grass-fed bone broth is also highly beneficial to gut health and the digestive tract.
  • DO skip low-fat, high sugar, processed foods as much as possible – and opt for high quality fats such as grass-fed butter, pastured eggs, grass-fed meats and coconut oil. Not only will they keep you satiated but they will help manage potential blood sugar spikes from all the sugar and alcohol. Enjoy a bullet coffee or some grass-fed butter on butternut squash before heading out to your next holiday event. By going in with a high quality fat in your stomach you won’t be as tempted to high tail it to the dessert table – especially if your gut health is in check.
  • DO consume extra probiotics and omega 3 fatty acids after indulging. They will help repair some of the damage done and can help get you back on track so that one bad meal doesn’t turn into weeks of over-indulgence.
  • DO ask people to bring non-dessert items and/or non-traditional foods to holiday gatherings. Pinterest has so many cute, festive ideas using healthy foods. Enjoy a nice warm seasonal butternut squash soup or sweet potatoes with grass-fed butter. Make a holiday scene out of organic fruits and vegetables. Make a pumpkin yogurt dip using raw honey and grass-fed yogurt.

What tips or tricks do you use to get through the holidays without excess weight gain or post-holiday blues? Send us your suggestions!

Grass-fed Beef: Good for the Heart

Monday, February 29th, 2016

Whether you’re worried about heart health, embracing the Paleo lifestyle, or just looking to improve overall health, grass-fed beef is an ideal addition to your diet. Why grass-fed?

The dietary and environmental differences in how cattle are raised impacts the nutrients you get from eating them. A conventional, factory raised cow subsists off of grains and corn, antibiotics, and living conditions that are both unhealthy and inhumane (hence the need for antibiotics). A grass-fed cow eats grass and naturally foraged foods, and gets to live a natural life, i.e. pasture raised.

Besides the obvious benevolence in pastured raised versus factory farmed, food sources from a grass-fed cow is going to provide infinitely more nutrients due to both sun exposure and the animals consuming their natural, healthy diets.

What’s more, grass-fed beef may have heart-health benefits that factory farmed/grain-fed beef sources lack. Benefits include:

  • Lower in total fat, including saturated fats which have been linked with heart disease
  • Higher in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids
  • Higher amounts of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), a type of fat that has been linked with reduced heart disease and cancer risk, as well as increased lean muscle and fat loss
  • Higher antioxidant vitamin content, including vitamin E
  • Higher in minerals including minerals calcium, magnesium, and potassium
    • Higher in the B-vitamins thiamin and riboflavin
    • Higher in beta-carotene

Note: Grass-fed beef cooks a bit faster than grain-fed beef. Keep an eye on the temperature with a cooking thermometer. Remember that the meat will continue to cook after you remove it from the heat, so remove it from heat once it reaches a temp that is 10 degrees lower than your desired temperature.

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How to Enjoy a Healthier Holiday Meal

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2015

Here are some simple substitutions to make your Christmas dinner even more delicious – and a little bit more nutritious:

  • Eat the protein, veggies, and healthy fats first to fill up your stomach, then go for the sweet and carb-ridden items
  • Choose organic and grass-fed wherever possible – especially with turkey, ham, beef, pork, apples, potatoes, and other fruits and veggies that don’t have a protective skin. This is the best way to ensure higher nutrient content without the added dangers of antibiotics and fillers, pesticides, GMOs and chemicals. Grass-fed foods have also been shown to have significantly higher nutrient content, including valuable vitamins and minerals like omega 3 fatty acids, conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), vitamins B, D, E, and K, and more.
  • Substitute white sugar with raw honey and enjoy the anti-viral, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, and anti-bacterial benefits along with delicious taste
  • Skip the runny, flat, tasteless factory eggs and try a plump, nutrient-rich pastured egg instead – more flavor, more filling, and naturally rich in omega 3 fatty acids, beta carotene, vitamin A, E, D, B12, and folic acid, and is lower in saturated fat
  • Opt for grass-fed butter in your mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, pies, and more – it’s chock full of CLA, rich flavor, and the right ratio of Omega 3 to Omega 6 fatty acids
  • Stomach hurting after indulging in that 3rd piece of pie? Try some sauerkraut or another probiotic-rich fermented food to promote healthy digestion and restore gut health.

Bonus tip: Wheat and refined sugars wreak havoc on the body, throwing off your gut health, ph levels, appetite, and even mood and cognition.

How can you bounce back faster after a post-holiday food hangover?

Instead of reaching for a helping of leftover pie or going on a drastic starvation diet, try these simple solutions to restore balance in the body:

  • Eat lots of greens to rebalance ph levels and minimize sugar cravings
  • Eat fermented foods to restore gut health – and mood
  • Eat healthy fats like avocado, pastured butter, and coconut oil to keep your hunger satiated

Raw Milk, Processed Milk, pH Levels, and Your Health

Sunday, May 31st, 2015

The body must maintain a pH level between 7.35 and 7.45. When the body’s pH level goes below 6.8 or above 7.8, this causes sickness, cell death, and disease runs rampant.

It’s important to be clear that not all raw milk is the same. Raw milk that comes from healthy cows (that are fed organic grass, raised in humane conditions) and the milk that is properly obtained from the cow is the best raw milk to drink.

Milk in its all natural state, what we call ‘raw milk,’ is an alkaline food. Once it goes through the pasteurization and homogenization processes it becomes an acidic food. And this is one place where the problem lies.

Alkaline or Acidic: Which is Your Body?

The more processed and refined foods we eat, the more acidic our bodies become. Unfortunately, these “foods” comprise much of the American diet today.

In order to compensate for this, our body begins leaching alkaline from other places in our body, including our bones. Over time, this leads to osteoporosis, i.e. weak, brittle, porous bones.

The more acidic our pH levels, the more the body has to leach alkaline substances from our bones. This high level of acid is known as acidosis, which is linked to many chronic diseases like osteoporosis.

Furthermore, cancer and tumor cells thrive in an acidic pH.

Extensive research has been done refuting the FDA and CDC claims that raw milk is dangerous. One major study done by medical research Dr. Ted Beals, MD found that you are actually 35,000 times more likely to get sick from other foods than from raw milk. Out of the 48 million food borne illnesses reported to the CDC every year, only about 42 (0.0005%) have been attributed to unprocessed milk.

Reasons why over 10 million Americans regularly drink raw milk:

  • Increased bone density
  • Weight loss
  • Improvements in lean muscle
  • Healthier skin, hair and nails
  • Strengthened immune system
  • Decreased allergies
  • Neurological support
  • Decreased lactose intolerance