Bottom's Up to Freedom!

Grab a drink and let’s CELEBRATE! It’s America’s 241st birthday! We may be a young country, but there’s certainly one thing we have mastered: drinking. America sure knows how to throw ‘em back with the best of ‘em. This Independence Day, make healthier drinking choices with a little help from Spectra Wellness.

[Warning: preachy advice ahead]… It must be said that we are a medical office so we do need to quickly note that this blog does not encourage excessive or binge drinking. Moderation is always key to a happy and healthy holiday.

That being said, here is a short guide to making the best alcohol choices now, and well, ever.

LIQUOR

Surprisingly, liquor can be one of the best choices for your diet. While not necessarily low in calories (in general, the higher the alcohol content, the higher the calories), most liquors have little to no sugars, carbs, or gluten.  We’re talking about unflavored:

Vodka
Tequila
Gin
Whiskey*
Rum

Brandy
Scotch*

As we have been learning in the nutritional world, calories aren’t necessarily a deal-breaker. It’s the sugar and carb content that can hinder weight loss or cause health issues. Liquor alone is very diet friendly, it’s the mixers we need to watch. Most mixers are basically all sugar. That means all those juices, soft drinks and energy drinks. Go ahead and switch those out for flavored or unflavored soda water (0 calorie, 0 sugar) and we’re back in business.

*There is a lot of disagreement among experts as to whether whiskey or scotch can be considered gluten-free due to the distillation process that is said to kill the gluten protein. Our advice: take it slow and drink with caution if gluten intolerant.

 RED & WHITE WINE

Dry wines are the lowest in sugar and carb content and generally very diet friendly. Wines can be a little deceiving because one would think that something made from grapes would be naturally gluten-free. However, gluten and yeast can be added during the aging process so just be wary if you’re going sans gluten this holiday. Whether you enjoy the reds or the whites, there are choices for everyone. You’ll just have to leave the sweet wines on the shelf and reach for these instead:

Cabernet Sauvignon (red)
Merlot (red)
Pinot Noir (red)
Pinot Grigio (white)

Chardonnay (white)
Riesling (white) 

Too bad there aren’t blue wines as that would round out this whole patriotic, Independence Day blog pretty nicely. That’s OK though, Meatloaf taught us that two out of three ain’t bad.

BEER

Obviously, light or gluten-free beers are a better diet choice but beer is just never going to be healthy. Sorry. At least there’s tequila???

 

Happy Independence Day from Spectra Wellness and a hearty CHEERS to your newly found dietary FREEDOM.

 

 

 

Let’s Talk About D, baby! Vitamin D, that is…

Let’s Talk About D, baby! Vitamin D, that is…

It may seem like a simple subject talking about a vitamin that most people are aware impacts our health, but just how aware are we? I know that years ago before I started in the medical field I was well aware that Vitamin D was necessary for our health. It was all over T.V. in milk or juice ads, I mean even tanning bed companies were touting the benefits of Vitamin D exposure in their tanning beds (please don’t use tanning beds to get Vitamin D, or a tan, or a nap, or anything -- that’s another blog that I don’t have time for right now). But until I started working at my first medical office 7 years ago, I was seriously under-educated about just how necessary Vitamin D is for humans and how much we should be consuming daily.

Let's start with what Vitamin D does for the body:

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin primarily responsible for the gut’s absorption of essential vitamins and minerals such as: Calcium, Potassium, Magnesium, Zinc, Iron, etc. It is also directly related to immune function, new cell growth, muscular function, and is a natural anti-inflammatory. Sounds just as important as you thought it was, right?

Well, there are some other little side-effects that Vitamin D is responsible for. No big deal or anything, you can skip this boring part if you want….

A healthy Vitamin D level can also be responsible for preventing CANCER, CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE, ALZHEIMER’S, AUTO-IMMUNE DISORDERS, OSTEOPOROSIS, DIABETES. Even DEPRESSION has been linked to low levels of Vitamin D.

So maybe it is a little bit more important than we all originally thought? It’s OK if you didn’t know just how much of an impact low-D can have on your body. Why would you know? It’s not like your traditional doctors are testing your levels or your insurance is paying for Vitamin D testing. So how could you have known?

It’s no secret in the medical community that Vitamin D is a major player. Heck, you can find all that I’ve written above on Big-Pharma baby, WebMD. So what gives? Why isn’t it being tested? Why does your insurance classify it as “experimental” when screened on a patient with no prior testing of Vitamin D, therefore no prior Vitamin D deficiency history? I don’t know the answer to that. I know there are some conspiracy theories we could lean into, but we’re not going to let this educational blog go down that rabbit hole.

Instead, we’re going to delve into how you can help yourself ensure your body it’s proper Vitamin D level.

So how do we know that you currently have a low Vitamin D level? Well, obviously, we don’t, hence the importance of testing. But, from just what I, personally, have seen in the 3 medical offices I have worked in over the last 7 years (2 holistic offices, 1 traditional office), is that most people just do.

The traditional primary-care medical world just doesn’t test for Vitamin D. They do the bare-bones, insurance mandated wellness screenings and only stray from the bare-bones test if there is an abnormality they need more information on (For example, a high fasting glucose level would lead to screening a confirming test for diabetes). Yet, they still don’t test for Vitamin D. The only time that I saw them get remotely close to testing Vitamin D is when they would have post-menopausal women do their bone density scan once per year. But, even then, if the results showed osteopenia (precursor to osteoporosis), these women were told to take calcium and if there was a confirmation of osteoporosis, they were put on a drug. I mean, didn’t we just learn that Vitamin D helps absorb calcium??

(…I know this is a bit long, but hang in there tiger, we’re getting to the good stuff & almost done…)

From what I have seen in the holistic offices I have been in, new patients transferring from traditional offices know something is missing. Turns out, there are usually many things that are missing but one common thread is Vitamin D. The vast majority of new patients coming into Spectra Wellness are Vitamin D deficient. Vitamin D is screened on almost every new patient. I spend a lot of my day informing these patients that their results came in and their Vitamin D is low and here is how much your provider is recommending you supplement.

These patients aren’t aware that they have not and probably will never receive enough Vitamin D from their daily diets to maintain a healthy level. That is not to say they are eating unhealthy, even the healthiest eater can be Vitamin D deficient. There just isn’t enough D in the foods we are eating to maintain what our bodies need. This comes down to:

We’ve been pretty conditioned to believe that milk alone can provide enough daily Vitamin D. Well, this simply is not true. You’re better off giving up the dairy and switching to almond milk if you want a decent helping of Vitamin D.

Also, most people have heard that sun exposure boosts Vitamin D levels. While, yes, this is true, it is not true for everyone. This route really only works (somewhat) on people with lighter skin tones whereas darker skin-toned individuals will need about 10x the amount of sun exposure to equal the Vitamin D absorption of their lighter-skinned counterparts. This just isn’t sustainable. Also, what about people that live in areas that only have a few months of sunlight per year? Where are they to get their Vitamin D if their diet isn’t enough and they have no sun to lean on? I mean, even I’m Vitamin D deficient and I’m a young person with light skin and living in THE SUNSHINE STATE. Is anyone Vitamin D heavy anymore??

OK, I am going to calm down now and tell you where your Vitamin D level should be and how you can get it there.

First of all, ask to be screened by your PCP so you can get a number to work with. Yes, you may have to pay out of pocket for it, but it’s worth it at least once. Your lab will probably tell you that anything equal to or greater than 30 NG/ml is a good level. This is actually the absolute minimum you want to be. You really want your level to be between 60-80 NG/ml. This is important to everyone, but especially important to post-menopausal women. Healthy bones are essential and a good Vitamin D level is how you can avoid osteopenia or osteoporosis.

If you are an adult and have a level that is lower than 60-80 NG/ml you can start to build your Vitamin D level by introducing green-leafy vegetables to your diet such as kale, spinach, collards, watercress, and broccoli as well as almonds or almond milk. This is a great start, but you will also want to add a Vitamin D3 or Vitamin D3/K2 supplement to your daily regimen. You will want to take 4,000-5,000 units of Vitamin D3 daily (with food) to increase your level. You can do this for about 2 months, then decrease to 1,000-2,000 units daily (with food) to maintain your level.

If you cannot obtain a Vitamin D level through lab testing, you can still add the dietary recommendations and a supplement of 1,000-2,000 units daily with food.

Also, slow down for a minute, put your bare feet in the grass, and soak up a few minutes of sun.
It’s good for your Vitamin D level and, more importantly, good for the soul.

LEAKY GUT: JUST AS GROSS AS IT SOUNDS

The term “Leaky Gut” may induce the same repulsive feeling that the word “moist” does, but please stick with me.. I swear it’s worth the mild discomfort.

So what genius decided to give this affliction the absolute worst name? Not sure. I didn’t research that little factoid. I did try to come up with some alternative names, however. Like: Loose Lining, Inflammation Station, Liver Attack, Belly Drip, etc. Basically, the poor soul did the best they could and who am I to judge? We’ll leave the name the way it is for now, though suggestions are welcome.

So what is Leaky Gut? Well, pretty much what it sounds like. Due to many factors (we’ll get to those in a bit), the lining of your intestines can “loosen” and allow food particles, bacteria, fungi,  parasites, and toxins to “leak” into the bloodstream.  Why is this important? Well, besides giving you intuition, your gut is the leader of the body’s immune system. A compromised immune system is no body’s friend. (get what I did there?) When these unknown particles start to infiltrate your bloodstream, your body’s first response is to start destroying them. Also, your liver will kick into overdrive to try and filter these particles that should have never made it that far through the digestive system. An overwhelmed and overloaded liver will allow these foreign bodies to get backed up, allowing their numbers to increase, and now you’ve got war.

So what happens when a foreign entity encounters your immune system? That’s right, your immune system will develop antibodies to fight and conquer. Well, when you have Leaky Gut, It isn’t just the bad guys leaking into your bloodstream, the food you eat is also getting in on the party. Food particles are not supposed to be in the bloodstream, so now your body has to create antibodies to fight and kill them. That may sound like a good thing, but that is now, technically, what us in the medical biz would call a food allergy.  You are not alone if you are able to eat a particular food one day, and suddenly cannot tolerate it the next. You are especially not alone if most of what you eat starts causing bloating, cramping, diarrhea, vomiting, fatigue, etc.

The body has officially set its site on public enemy number 1: itself. Now you’re inflamed, have pains that you cannot explain, have opened the door to a slew of autoimmune problems (IBS, Ulcerative Colitis, Fibromyalgia, etc), and have forgotten what normal ever felt like. Just to throw a cherry on top of if all, you’ve also most likely awakened a once dormant chronic fatigue virus such as Epstein Barr or Herpes Simplex. And now you barely have enough energy to hold your head up or form a coherent thought. Your traditional doctors don’t know what to do with you and you’re stuck. Now you’re depressed, can’t sleep, your thyroid and hormones are throwing in the towel and your emotional state, well we better not bring that up at this sensitive time. Oh, and one more thing, you’re now just ripe with fungus (yeast to be more specific).

So what on earth did you do to bring this on? We owe this mess to a few different things. The main culprits are stress, inflammation, gluten sensitivity, yeast overgrowth, medications and food-related toxins.

Stress, well we’ve all got that. Uncontrolled stress can lead to inflammation and lo and behold your gut just got leaky. Gluten, well over the last few years we’ve started hearing more and more about the downside of consuming this guy. He can be pretty mean. We aren’t only talking about people with diagnosable intolerances, like Celiac Disease. Little by little, the medical community is starting to accept that gluten can contribute to gut and inflammation problems in people without a condition like Celiac. This isn’t just some hippie notion anymore. It can be hard to convince people that they have a sensitivity they cannot see a clear-cut reaction to. Just because you ate a piece of wheat bread and didn’t immediately throw it up, does not mean that you can’t have a gluten sensitivity. If you are curious about the possibility of having a gluten sensitivity, you can test it by eating completely gluten-free for 3 weeks and then introducing gluten again to your diet. See if there is a noticeable change. I know when I stop gluten for a stretch of time and then eat it again, I swell up so bad that my clothes don’t fit and my face looks like I was crying all night. Not too much of a stretch to think it could be the cause of Leaky Gut.

Yeast (or Candida) overgrowth, another culprit that causes inflammation and, in turn, Leaky Gut.

Medications and food-related toxins… where to begin? I think we all know that half of what we consume is a mystery. Food dyes, pesticides, chemicals, fillers, preservatives, they’re in, like, everything. Drinking soda and eating chicken nuggets made from “pink slime” is basically a bomb to your digestive system, so, yeah, it can contribute to Leaky Gut. Medication has an important role in modern civilization, but it isn’t perfect. To keep this brief, I’ll just give one example: prolonged use of painkillers such as NSAIDs can have lasting and damaging effects on the stomach and intestinal lining as well as the liver. Once again, leading to inflammation, and all-around leaky-ness.

So, it’s pretty easy for Leaky Gut to develop. We see it in humans of all ages, even pets. Luckily, given the right tools, it can be an easy fix. You will need an arsenal of supplements like potent/high-quality probiotics to combat bacteria and fungi, enzymes to aid digestion, glutamine to heal your gut lining, a natural anti-fungal to kill the yeast, liver detoxification and some changes to your diet. You’ll want to avoid wheat/sugars to slow inflammation and avoid feeding the yeast. In a matter of weeks, you can be recovered.

For help in diagnosing and treating Leaky Gut, come in to Spectra Wellness Solutions. Like, really, we do this every day.

You. Yes, you. Have adrenal fatigue.

Haven't heard of adrenal fatigue? Do you have a year for me to properly explain just how important healthy adrenal gland function is to your entire well-being? Probably not. Here goes my best effort to keep it concise.

Adrenal 101: small walnut-sized glands located in your lower back atop each kidney. They control your energy levels as well as certain hormones, such as cortisol, DHEA, aldosterone, and adrenaline. While small in size, they are the true powerhouses of the endocrine system. They’re like the Al Pacinos of the body. We should do whatever we can to keep our Al Pacinos happy, right? We all know how messy that can get.

Symptoms of poor adrenal function:

Fatigue
Stress
Anxiety/Irritability
Thyroid imbalance
Hormone imbalance
Insomnia
Poor metabolism/weight control
Poor blood pressure regulation
Joint pain
Brain fog
Etc.

Western medicine is still a bit behind in getting to the root of our symptoms. High/low blood pressure, brain fog, fatigue, insomnia, mood swings… these are SYMPTOMS. Why do we assign each of them their own medication without looking to what may be the CAUSE? As stated above, these could all be explained by abnormal adrenal function. Isn’t it time we do something about it?

Poor adrenal function can literally affect every aspect of your well-being. We all have stress in our lives, but how our bodies regulate that stress can determine our physical health. Your adrenal glands help produce the stress hormone, Cortisol. Ideally, our cortisol peaks in the morning and slowly decreases throughout the day, hitting the lowest level in the hours just after midnight. This allows our bodies to follow their normal circadian rhythm. The adrenal glands will produce more cortisol in response to stress, then return to normal following the stressful event. But, what happens when stress is constant? Most of us deal with high stress situations on a daily basis and if our bodies never get a break from the stress, how are our adrenals to keep up?

Think about your day-to-day life. Are you getting a consistent amount of sleep per night, yet still wake exhausted and yawn most of the day? Are you over-anxious and under-performing? Are you tired all day, but wired all night? Most of us fit into one of those categories. It is important to determine where you fit so you can find the appropriate treatment. A simple adrenal supplement is usually the solution and it is important to use only high-quality products. You’ll want to stay away from the pharmacy brands and purchase from a health food store or healthcare practitioner.  

Most patients notice improvement in energy, stress, and sleep immediately after starting an adrenal support. It is not uncommon to be on treatment for an extended amount of time, some patients will even need to be on some type of adrenal support for the rest of their lives. Also, it is not uncommon for patients to cycle through potent and less-potent varieties of adrenal supplements as they improve or as stress comes in and out of their lives.

For more guidance on your adrenal function and finding appropriate treatments, seek out an integrative healthcare practitioner or read “Adrenal Fatigue” by Dr. James Wilson. It's important, OK?

Natural Weight Management

Dr. Koche has developed a program for natural weight management unlike any other on the market today.  With a combination of supplements, personalized follow-ups and customized meal plans, her 12 week program can get you back on the road to health and happiness. 

The Koche Approach is the product of over 15 years of research and patient care.

Call our office to see if The Koche Approach is right for you.

 

Mental and Spiritual

We provide a broad and new approach to healing and treating depression and anxiety by trying to get to the root cause instead of always first prescribing medications. Many people do need prescription meds if the symptoms are severe enough and we are able to prescribe medication to stabilize your mood if needed in the short term while we work on curing the multiple potential causes. We will try to find the triggers that led to your symptoms and refer for cutting edge treatments like ART (see description below). We will work on healing your gut as the gut is responsible for over 90% of your serotonin production! Additionally we can help you identify foods that you may be reacting to (most commonly gluten and/or dairy) which can commonly act as a trigger for anxiety, insomnia and mood swings. We have a full spectrum of nutrient, homeopathic, and herbal support to help with mood management without causing some of the dangerous side effects that can be seen with prescription medication.

We have a psychologist on staff providing therapy utilizing methods such as talk therapy, ART, and other cutting edge modalities.

We also address the mind/body and spiritual connection in regards to total body health and vibrance. We will work on teaching you how to become more empowered and in control of your life. Basic techniques such as meditation, grounding, and specific journaling are taught in a stress-free way that will be easy to incorporate into your busy schedule. By working on living in the present and practicing gratitude and positivity we will help you shift your perception and regain your power. We have a multitude of healers and resources to help on every step of your journey including the best possible first step into energy healing, the Life Force machine.

Meditation and Journaling

The technique of meditation is one that is often not well understood and is definitely under-utilized. Most people really don’t know what it is or they think they will have not have the time or the ability to successfully practice in their daily lives. However what we teach is that meditation can be simple, free, and easy. By taking 5 minutes out of our crazy lives to listen to calming words and breathe deeply we can go from your life/events controlling you to YOU controlling your life. We have easy journaling and visualization exercises that anyone can learn. The power of meditation, journaling, and visualization has changed the lives of just about anyone who tries!

Affirmations

Affirmations:

How affirmations work—seems like since we are all energetic beings we work like magnets and the law of attraction…what we put out is typically what we get back and some of these thoughts are being confirmed by science. If thoughts are just another form of energy then we are getting physical symptoms from our negative thoughts. Affirmations help to replace the negative thoughts with a positive statement. They are a great tool for everyday life where the negativity seems to sneak in. we can replace a thought like “I will never get everything done. I am so sick and tired.” With one like this “I am happy, I am healthy, I am strong. I can do anything I set my mind to.”

Affirmations recommended:

I am a healthy weight. I love my job. I am in a loving relationship. I am financially stable. I am strong. I am healed. I am happy.

Make sure to understand that these statements should never be “I am not afraid” or any other I am not statement. You must only use the positive form of the word or emotion.

Real Patient stories:

“My world literally started to change the day that I decided to stop thinking or acting negatively. I started replacing my thoughts with positive affirmations. Before I knew it they were actually coming true! I began realizing that I was in an unhealthy relationship and finally had the strength to move on. I have enjoyed my time getting to know myself again. I also had to let go of many of my so called friends. It seems they were really involved in making me feel tired. The new people I meet now are happy, fun and interesting. More synchronicities occur as well.”

Thyroid

IMBALANCES THAT CAUSE WEIGHT AND PERFORMANCE ISSUES:

Thyroid

Why essential organ—master gland especially for metabolism

The thyroid is the gland that sets metabolic rate and influences baseline caloric expenditure. If not balanced can work on body fat, muscle mass, etc without success. The gland is also very easily influenced by outside factors—the adrenal must be supported or the thyroid hormone cannot get intracellularly. You must have the proper nutrition including high enough intake of selenium and iodine. Toxins from the environment also often resemble thyroid tissue and the gland becomes targeted/attacked. Therefore the gut always has to be addressed to be certain to get optimal function of both the gland and the cellular responses to the hormone. The thyroid is like the gas pedal but if there is no gas in the tank (the adrenal) then the car will actually drive worse as you push the pedal.

Life Force Chamber

The life force chamber is a cutting edge device that is utilized to teach you how to relax and meditate. The chamber combines the healing modalities of color, music, and vibrational frequencies in a relaxing and restorative treatment. Sessions are one hour long during which you are “unplugged” from devices and stress. A protocol is 3-4 one hour sessions over 2-3 days and provides the most results when 3 full protocols are completed each separated by 4-6 weeks. Patients have reported dramatic improvements in pain, sleep, mood, and many other symptoms. Additionally, many people will be able to learn from the experience how to meditate and can more easily incorporate meditation into their daily lives. Come and try this amazing device today!

THE VAMPIRE FACIAL

The Vampire Facial®  is a very simple, yet incredibly effective strategy for rejuvenating the face.  Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) derived from your own blood is applied and worked into the skin with a professional micro-needling tool.  The micro-needling tool creates micro-punctures in the skin, thus activating the collagen and elastin cascades to create new cells and rejuvenation.  The PRP is used to stimulate stem cells that exist in the face.

The Vampire Facial®  is provided at Spectra Wellness through Amanda Camp, ARNP for $1000

Journaling

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Journaling

Why journal—Journaling can help in multiple ways increase the connection to your higher self/the universe/God. It will clear the path of obstructions to your inner athlete.

Morning journal while still not quite awake can help people transition as they try to clear out negativity, concerns, fears, questions. Writing about these issues seems to access deeper knowledge.

Positive journaling at night helps to set the intention. You can write things such as I am healthy, I am my perfect weight, I have all the energy I need, I can do all of the things I want, I have a wonderful relationship, I have all the money I need, etc.

Real patient stories

“I can feel the excitement and anticipation as I visualize and journal what will be my true inner athlete. I can feel the sweat on my face and warmth in my hands and feet. The crowd is cheering and I feel ecstatic.”

Adrenal Health

The adrenal glands are 2 walnut sized glands above your kidneys. Despite their very small size they are very powerful in total body function and in relation to other glands/hormones. The adrenals are responsible for your energy level and secrete the stress hormones cortisol, DHEA, and adrenaline. When out of balance (and we all are due to the society we live in) your body does not function at optimal levels. At Spectra Wellness we will determine the best replacement nutritional support based predominately on your symptoms, labs, and applied kinesiology testing. Many people notice improvements right away after starting the supplements in their level of energy. They often say that they can finally get out of bed in the morning and are no longer having the 3 in the afternoon crash. The level of stress both mentally and physically in the body can shift and we will work with you to determine adjustments in your regimen as you progress in the healing process. Since the adrenal gland truly drives the other hormones it is one of the most important aspects in total body healing.