A gut feeling

Bloating, gas, diarrhea, constipation, cramping...yuck. When your gut doesn't feel good, you don't feel good. These symptoms can come from a lot of offenders, but what helps us narrow some of those down is a test called the Doctor's Data Comprehensive Stool Analysis (with optional parasite or H. Pylori add-ons). 

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As always with functional medicine, we would always rather test than guess. Even an educated guess often times won't tell us exactly which beneficial bacteria you are lacking in your GI tract. This test from Doctor's Data gives a lot of great information, ask us if you think you could benefit from a peek inside your digestive tract environment!

Winter is coming

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With the rapid changing of temperature outside, the ever popular "Flu Season" is upon us. You may or may not have heard the recent buzz, but I challenge you to consider this:

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Let's break down this little sticky note with a big message. The "flu" is an infection, we can get it at anytime. College students may know this scenario well, for example. After a long week of finals an otherwise healthy 20-something falls ill over their break from school, which only half the time falls during classic "flu" season time. Why do we still get sick in the summer? It's because an infection causes the flu, not a time of year.

We are most susceptible to the flu during the colder months. Why? 

A lot of factors gather together as we gather with our families to create the perfect sniffly, scratchy-throat, congested, sore-all-over storm.

Our exposure to sunlight dramatically decreases come fall/winter. The sun is out for shorter periods of time, and combining that with wanting to be indoors to avoid the cold, our opportunity for sunlight to create Vitamin D in us plummets. (See our post about the importance of Vitamin D to the immune system.) Water intake also decreases since we don't feel as hot and sweaty, we don't seem to feel as thirsty.

Then we have increased sugar intake. Is it enough to just mention Thanksgiving dinner (ahem, dessert), Pumpkin Spice Lattes, office holiday parties, ginger bread men, candy canes, late night Christmas cookies... I could go on and on. Our intake of sugar sky-rockets during the holiday season compared to our already-high levels. Sugar is a pro-inflammatory substance that attacks the body and keeps the immune system fighting it rather than the important things (like an infection from a flu-bug).

The final piece of our sugary-sweet, flu-inducing pie is the amount of stress we are under during the holidays. Whether it's from family, money-induced, decreased sleep, or travel, stress attacks our immune system as hard as anything else. Again, when the body is busy fighting inflammation from foods we eat or elevated stress levels, it is too tired to fight anything else off.

I hope this puts together a complete picture of why the flu is more or less self induced, from us not properly fortifying our own immune systems. Learn how our doctors and the services we offer can help you fight the flu this year and enjoy the season, not your tissue-covered bed!

Food Sensitivity Testing

The concept of being "sensitive" to a food (as opposed to allergic) is becoming a more common concept thanks to media and the population educating themselves. If you are new to the idea of food sensitivity, read further to learn the basic concept.

Our immune systems have 5 separate parts, the most widely understood is the anaphylactic branch, the IgE. This immune response manifests in a way that if exposed to an active allergen, a person would have an immediate and potentially life-threatening response (think a common peanut or shellfish allergy in which a person's throat would constrict or their skin breaks out in hives).  That's the IgE -- it's immediate (or up to 3 hours), and is what we typically think of when we think of an allergy.

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Now let's discuss a second branch of the immune system -- the IgG, which is the branch we are testing against foods when we test for sensitivities. These reactions tend to be less severe, but can lead to serious problems over time. These responses are noted 3 hours to 3 days following exposure. Knowing that, it's understandable why these are so hard to identify without specific blood testing. Many people live with one or multiple food sensitivities and never know it -- though they have chronic symptoms they've resigned themselves to living with.

Common symptoms associated with undetected food sensitivities included (but certainly are not limited to): GI upset/leaky gut, migraines, systemic inflammation, achy joints, chronic pain, fatigue, sleep apnea/snoring, stubborn skin irritation and lesions, inability to lose weight, and many more.

Some opt to do an elimination diet in this situation, where they would remove all of the most common food sensitivity items from their diet. After the body can "heal" from the potential damage of those foods, they are reintroduced one at a time, week by week, and the slightest of any symptoms are tracked. An elimination diet is a fine option for some, but for many, the blood test is quicker, easier, and more accurate as to which foods their body is truly reacting to.

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The FIT (Food Inflammation Test) which we offer at Prairie Sage evaluates 132 foods, colors, additives. The test is a finger prick and blood spot sample.  Along with results of the test, patients have the option to have a custom meal plan formed for them based specifically on their results.

This test is a cash-based test, meaning no insurance plan covers it. If you are interested in taking the next step to healing your body and making a profound shift towards quality health, contact our office to learn more about the test or schedule yours today!

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Ain't no sunshine

- Vitamin D and how you can feel better this winter -

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The Winter Blues

Have you heard the term "winter blues"? Maybe you have heard it by it's more clinical name, Seasonal Affect Disorder (appropriately abbreviated to "SAD").

There are folks who tend to become more depressed as the colder months set it. Light therapy is a common recommendation (check out our infrared sauna), as well as traditional psychotherapy and medications. 

A Potential - and underutilized - Solution

Let me throw something out there for you though. In the spring, summer, and even autumn months, the weather is nice, it's lighter longer, and we are in general exposed to the sun more.  Sun exposure kicks off the Vitamin D synthesis process in our body. We even set up a small store of extra Vitamin D that we can use later in the year when we need it (because our bodies are geniuses!). 

Then, as the cold and dark set in, we use up our excess stores and can often become deficient in this vitamin. Why is it so important -- and why do we end up feeling so crummy when we are low on it?

Vitamin D is a precursor to a lot of processes in the body -- one important process is the synthesis (building) of some hormones -- hormones that give us energy, strength, help us build muscle and strengthen our bones.

Make Vitamin D work for you

There are a few considerations when taking Vitamin D to make sure you are getting all the benefits. 

1) Get it from a quality source:  All supplements are not created equally. If you are looking for a "bargain", consider that your health is an investment and not an expense. Is this really an area you want to be cutting corners? The quality of your supplements will determine their absorbability and utilization in your body. In other words, get a good one and your body will actually use it. Otherwise, you'll be paying for expensive urine.

2) Take with food: Vitamin D is a fat-soluble compound. All that means is it needs some fat from your food to grab onto to travel around in the body  so it can get to where it needs to go.

3) Get the right form: Not all supplements from all companies are made with the correct scientific processes in mind. The compound needs to be in the correct form (think of all those complex structures you learned about in chemistry) to be utilized.

Try it for yourself

If this sounds like something you could benefit from (experts are divided on the subject, stating anywhere from 10-40% of Americans are Vit D deficient), contact our office. We only carry supplements from companies we trust will provide quality products. There is also an option to do a simple blood lab test to determine the levels of Vitamin D in your blood. 

Don't be SAD this winter!

(If you are experiencing depression, please consult a physician. This post is intended to be informative and not a substitute for clinical decision making and diagnosis.)

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Yoga, but not as fancy

We like to refer to this as, ahem, "stretching". Ya heard? Well this morning (along with the start of our 30 day reset) we decided to start the week off right with stretching in Steven's park! I wish I could say we did a fancy yoga vinyasa warrior pose...but since I'm very under-educated in the vast world of yoga...Nope. We stretched. And it was fantastic! Still cool enough in the morning that sweating was at a minimum, we could watch the sun rise, hear the birds chirp, and smell the dew on the grass. Hey, maybe we should make this a thing and invite people....thoughts?

30 Day Reset

So first of all, if you haven't read Wired to Eat by Robb Wolf (or his first book, The Paleo Solution) go ahead and pick yourself up a copy. For the last 5 or so years Dr. George and I (Dr. Michelle) have been learning about the science and clinical relevance of the Paleo diet, and are continuing to follow as more research evolves this concept to adopt even more of a Ketogenic approach.

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(Following a ketogenic diet essentially allows the body to become a fat-burner as a primary energy source, as opposed to the much more common sugar-burner. Ketosis is not to be confused with ketoacidosis, a very serious condition that is not healthy aspiration. In choosing to adopt a ketogenic diet, it would be very wise to consult with your doctor or healthcare professional to ensure a safe experience.)

Ok, so the key to any new diet program (that is ideally going to lead to a lifestyle change...not an all-out binge) is having a plan. SO, first step to our pilot is a meal plan, shopping list, and meal prep. (Some of our recipes are coming from Wired to Eat so if planning to follow our plan, you'll want to get his book. It's awesome anyway.)

Oh...and did you hear we met Robb at Paleo f(x)? Because we definitely did! And he was fantastic and every bit as brilliant in person!

New town, a New kind of practice

Ok, so we aren't exactly "new" to Garden City anymore, since we opened back in October of 2016. But we ARE adding a lot of new services to our practice! Check it out:

We've recently started offering in-house lab draws, including basic labs, and specialized tests like Food Sensitivity, Micronutrient Testing, Hormones, and many more super exciting --at least for us-- labs for our patients!

Currently en route is our Sunlighten Infrared Sauna! (You can see a review of it on The Doctors here.) This unit may help patients decrease blood pressure, relieve muscle and joint pain, lose weight, and assist the body in it's natural detoxification processes. Infrared is what we get exposed to from the sun, without possible harmful effects of UV exposure. Keep in touch to learn more about the launch date of our new Sauna!

Nutrition is a hot topic, in the media, on our social news feeds, and certainly in our office amongst patients. We have began offering in-house seminars regarding all-things-diet, from basic entry-level information to those with more advanced knowledge. AND we will be offering a 30-Day Reset challenge, complete with recipes, shopping lists, and probably more information than most people will care for :) Stay tuned as Dr. George and myself (Dr. Michelle) kick off our pilot program! (This will also be a process of easing into the Ketogenic diet --which we will talk more about later.) 

So you see, it's not that we're new...but you sure will see a few new players around!

edited 10/10/17