Vegan diets have become more popular in the last couple years. Don’t get me wrong: a vegan meal can be very healthy. Vegetables are necessary and so good for you; they’re the best!
But for some nutrients – zinc, B12, protein, D, omega 3s, and iron – the best source for these are animal proteins.
The problem with vegan supplements is what they’re made of. Most vitamins are synthetic and made in a laboratory. For example, synthetic, lab-produced B vitamins are made from things like coal tar and fermented sewage. I shit you not, so to say.
Many long-standing vegans and vegetarians will argue that all those nutrients are found in plants. But I said the “best source” for those nutrients not just “any source.” Some things are more bioavailable and easily absorbed in some forms than in others. And some really are just NOT found in plant-only sources. Some examples of those are vitamin D (but you may say “my body makes vitamin D!” Yes, because you are an animal 😉 but you still need to get it through your diet); DHA Omega 3 (so essential for brain health); and B12.
Oh, and this: there are no traditional cultures that are vegan. This is a really new concept for the human body, and one that I don’t think will sustain the test of time. Because, think about this, it takes protein to make a human body. So, if you’re wishing to procreate at some time in your future, you really are going to need some source of animal protein to do so with ease.
Many people say they feel better after switching to a vegan diet which I don’t doubt. If your diet has included a lot of processed or poor-quality animal proteins like fast food or most restaurant food, you probably are better off with a vegan diet…until you’re not.
Switching to vegan usually coincides with other changes: cooking more at home with higher quality ingredients and more vegetables. A vegan diet can be very healthy…for a while. Eventually, depending on your level of activity or stress, you will want to add some quality animal proteins back in or you will start to show signs of depletion of zinc, protein, iron, vitamin D, omega 3s, and B12.
If you hate the taste of meat, you may have a zinc deficiency which is a sign that it’s exactly what you need. A zinc deficiency could be from several things, but eating too much sugar is one of them. Start taking a supplement and adding proteins in slowly.
It’s also possible you have some leaky gut issue which can interfere with protein absorption. That’s something you can work with a natural healthcare practitioner (like me!) to remedy.
The ethical reasons for not eating meat I understand (to an extent). I believe that animals do deserve a good life and deserve respect. I don’t think “modern farming” is healthy. A lot of ranching practices, especially in the US, are unethical and unhealthy for sure. Cows are fed corn which makes them very sick. Chickens and pigs do not fare much better. They’re pent up, abused, given drugs, and then killed. It’s terrible.
But with some forethought, you can avoid conventional meats. Most people live within a reasonable distance to ethical farmers who raise free-range chickens and grass-fed and grazed cows. Or buffalo! Or you can go fishing. Or raise your own chickens. There are options.
Signs it’s time to add some quality animal proteins back in:
- fatigue; just not enough energy to optimally function
- weight loss or gain
- unexpected hormone changes (you need dietary fats to synthesize hormones)
- moodiness (from iron and B-deficiency)
Some ideas, other than a big slab of meat, that will help you add some vital nutrients back in:
- quality, food-based supplements
- whey protein protein powder
- free-range, soy-free eggs
- bone broth to eat plain or to cook with
I don’t say it. You’re supposed to say it at the end of yoga class with your hands in prayer position, but I typically rebel against most things you’re “supposed to do.”
Mostly it’s because I don’t really understand the meaning of it. I’m not Hindu and I won’t pretend to be for someone else’s comfort.
Another phrase that I instantly turned up my nose to was “holding space,” as in “you need to hold space for someone…”
“Holding space,” phhhft. “What a bunch of hippies!”
Now you still won’t catch me saying those words; it helps if you say it with an ultra-spiritual voice, “holding space.” But I have come to understand the meaning.
Listening to someone without interrupting is holding space.
Being with someone as they’re going through some intense emotional shit is holding space.
Pretending to be Rainbow Dash when your daughter asks you to play my little ponies with her is holding space.
Scheduling time for an acupuncture treatment is holding space for yourself.
Holding space means taking the time without being overly concerned about the time being taken.
And I think it may be the antidote to all the craziness we’re dealing with: consumerism, violence, Netflix-and-iphone-techno-binges, sexism, racism, classism, hey, it’s starting to sound like a John Lennon song here.
So how about for the holidays, you hold some space.
What are the best breakfasts?
Yes, some foods are healthier than others, and a lot of what your body needs to eat depends on, well, your body, and your needs will fluctuate over time as well.
Do the “breakfast test”
Take 4 or 5 different ideas for breakfast and just carefully track how each makes you feel for a few hours afterward. Of course, eat the breakfasts on different days, not all in the same day! And I would even try one breakfast meal idea several times over a longer period of time before forming an opinion to how it makes you feel.
When I did my own breakfast test, these were the meals that I tested out:
Breakfast #1: bacon and eggs
Report: decent energy and satiated until afternoon
Breakfast #2: yogurt with nuts and fruit
Report: low energy and hungry almost instantly afterward
Breakfast #3: bacon, eggs, and sprouted grain toast with butter
Report: OK energy but hungry just a few hours after
Breakfast #4: eggs and kale salad
Report: great energy and full until lunch time
Breakfast #5: eggs, bacon and kale salad
Report: the best energy and full until almost 2 or 3 pm
I’m not saying that I found the one true breakfast for everyone, because we are all different, but since I am carb-sensitive (and I know many of you are too!), one of the lowest carb meals with the highest fat content won out. Just eggs and bacon was OK, but I definitely noticed better energy when I added in some vegetables.
Try it out:
See what your body is telling you by paying attention to how you feel after you eat. Then you automatically know what is right for your body regardless of what diet books or Weight Watchers tells you.
Pick out a few different combinations of foods that you already know you like and that agree with you. Try the same thing a few days in a row or at different times of the month and different days of the week. Pay attention to how your body feels – emotionally and physically – after.
Pay attention to
- your energy
- your mood
- your digestive system
- other symptoms you tend to get (like joint pain for example)
Breakfast meal ideas to try:
Try various combinations of any of these foods, and please, feel free to add in your own ideas.
Salad for breakfast?!?! That’s right. Don’t knock it till you try it.
Eggs. The perfect protein.
Bacon, sausage, and other animal proteins. Try various qualities of proteins: organic vs non-organic, highly processed vs more natural.
Bread: white and processed breads vs whole grain or compare those with sprouted grains. Sprouted grains are much more easily digested. Try it and compare how you feel compared to eating processed and refined grains.
Oatmeal (with various toppings). This is a very popular breakfast food from what I gather by talking to people a lot about what they eat. I’m not a huge oatmeal fan, so please, test it out for me and report back!
Smoothies. These are not my first choice because I usually feel hungry right after I drink it. It’s like it just warms up my digestive system and I’m like, “Ok! What’s next!” Not a good choice for me, but please, let me know how it works for you.
Breakfast bars. I won’t go there myself because most packaged foods like “protein bars” are really just full of sugars, soy protein, and grains. Let me know how you feel after eating these types of foods versus eating more whole foods like eggs.
Oh, yeah, and for pancakes, in case you’re wondering because they are my favorite food. I like to refer to pancakes as my “death row” food because that’s exactly what I would eat if, you know, I ended up there, which of course I won’t, but still…
I feel terrible after I eat pancakes! Even though the taste during the eating process is amazing, I can’t justify eating them on a regular basis because afterward I feel bloated and anxious and I can’t go about what I need to do during the day feeling like that. But, if you’re on your way out anyway…have pancakes! Let’s just say they’re a rare treat.
Last month I started coughing – with no other symptoms – and it was really bad. Like hacking up a lung kind of bad. I tried every single herbal remedy and vitamin I could get my hands on. It would get a little better, but it just kept coming back.
Out of desperation, after 2 weeks of coughing, I finally went to a MD. He wanted to test me for the flu (I know what the flu feels like and this wasn’t it) which I refused. Then he tested me for my lung capacity … which was low. Big surprise there. He gave me an inhaler which he guilt-tripped me into trying. I did, and I hated every anxiety-inducing minute that crap was in my body.
Then he gave me a prescription for antibiotics and a cough suppressant. Which is exactly what I expected him to do. And I took them like a good patient does. Except that inhaler. I tossed that in the trash as soon as I could. I know I’m not an asthmatic.
I didn’t take the antibiotic prescription lightly. Taking antibiotics is what got me into Chinese medicine in the first place. In the past – over 22 years ago – I kept getting prescribed antibiotics for things that were not due to bacteria!
And here I was again. I was really torn, emotionally, about taking them, but I did take them.
The prescription antibiotics worked nominally, but I certainly was not 100% better. On my last dose of antibiotics I was coughing so hard that I vomited on my floor. Right at that moment, it dawned on me what was going on. It was not a virus; it was not bacterial; it was a fungus.
I had done a complete 360 and was right back where I was 22 years ago.
Duh, Nicole. I talk to people all the time about how chronic respiratory symptoms are often due to yeast / mold / fungus, but it hadn’t sunk in to a deep level of understanding. Kind of like when you cram for a test and you know the material, but you don’t really understand the material.
So I promptly went to my clinic right away (in my pajamas; it was Sunday night) and got the one herbal formula I hadn’t tried yet: an anti-fungal. The cough instantly was better.
MOLD AND YOUR RESPIRATORY SYSTEM: THE BIG PICTURE
I knew I had this tendency toward fungal infection. I had a skin fungus – non-contagious and more common in this climate than you would imagine – that never 100% went away. But as I’ve mentioned before, I’m my own worst patient and I never thought too much about it because it just wasn’t bothering me too much anymore. Except when I went jogging. Heat and sweat made it itchy.
So, not coincidentally, the areas where my respiratory system were effected the most – my lower lungs and throat – are where the topical fungus was hanging out. It had grown into my body and into my lungs, probably boosted by the extra humidity and mold count from the heavy rains last month.
This mold is in the air and we’re all breathing it in. Some things make some people more susceptible to its effects than others: diet, stress, antibiotic use (even from – and especially from – WAY in the past), hormone imbalance.
Once the mold takes hold in your respiratory system, it attaches to your mucosal membranes. It drills in. Your respiratory system includes: your skin / your nose or sinus cavities / your lungs. In Chinese medicine, the respiratory system (Lung) is paired with the Large Intestine system, so there could be some symptoms in the lower GI tract as well.
Any chronic complaint lingering in those areas like
- sinusitis that is year-round,
- a cough that never goes away,
- a skin rash that never clears up, or even
- digestive weirdness
should be investigated as a potential mold / fungus condition.
Some things that may indicate it’s due to mold / fungus:
- it gets worse in the summer
- it gets worse when you’re sweaty
- it gets worse when it rains or the mold count is high
- it never totally goes away, but it ebbs and flows with the above conditions
THE GOOD NEWS
There are herbs that clear this pathogen out of your body! We use herbal remedies combined with immune-fortifying supplements to get rid of it (for good) and make sure it doesn’t come back. In my opinion, they work better than medications for fungus because they are non-toxic and have fewer side effects.
The bad news is that is does take time. I have been treating myself for about 1 month now and I still cough if I miss a dose of herbs. The main herbs that I’ve been rotating are
Also taking a pre and a probiotic to help myself heal from the “medication”* I got from the MD!
*shouldn’t “medicine” make you better and not more sick???
When you have your health, everything runs so much more smoothly. Your job is easy; your home life is fun; you sleep good at night; it’s all good.
It’s like Spring-time.
Just as sure as there is spring, there is winter. And, yes, I’m speaking in metaphors here.
When you are in a personal winter-time, it’s like you just can’t catch a break. One illness leads to another. The pills aren’t working. It starts to impact your mood. Your mood and low energy start to impact your work. Which impacts your money and time. Which impacts everything else.
In spring, be thankful. Also, stay vigilant. Keep up your health maintenance: eating healthy; maintain proper sleep habits; exercise. Because winter is bound to be right around the corner.
Hopefully it’s a short one.
If you’re in winter, keep hope, because spring is next.
Pain in the Neck – GONE
I’ve had chronic neck pain for over 20 years. Conventional doctors masked the pain with muscle relaxers and pain killers. Chiropractors aggravated it with their treatments. Just a few visits to Natural Health Center has it feeling better than it has in years. Thanks so much!
I started coming to the Health Center for issues I was having with my stomach. Even while making the initial appointment I felt like the person I was speaking with was empathetic about my situation. I had gone to two medical doctors before trying NAET and acupuncture, but had not seen results. After my treatments at the Health Center, my stomach feels better than it has in years and continues to get better every day with the help and support of the staff. I am thankful for all they do for me and our community.
Baby is Better
My son came here for treatment for eczema when he was 3 years old. He is 4 now and completely cured of it. My youngest son has the same issue at age 1, so we’re back!
Stress! Stress! & More Stress! Coming to this office gives me one hour to decompress and slow down. I look forward to my visits. They are the highlight of the day and week for me. Positive energy. 🙂 This has given me another (or better) avenue to release tension and bad mojo. Thank you. The doctors really connect with you and truly care about your well-being.
Shoulder Pain and More
I originally came in for a tweak in my shoulder which soon disappeared with regular treatments. Since I’ve had the pleasure of treatments from Nicole and her outstanding staff, my inner calm and overall attitude toward the stresses of life have vastly improved. I’ve come in crying, anxious, distressed, in pain and leave – every time – well-cared for and successfully treated. I wholeheartedly believe that acupuncture can be so much more than a go-to for emergency pains. I intend to incorporate it into my regular lifelong health regime.
Back is Stronger
My back has been feeling significantly better. I no longer have the daily aches and pains that I had before. My back feels stronger and my posture feels better. Before acupuncture, I tried stretching to relieve my pain, but the results were unsatisfactory. Stretching is great, but does nothing if it is not done in conjunction with acupuncture.
I’ve been going to the NHC for acupuncture and NAET for my Chron’s disease. To say that the treatments helped me would be an understatement. I have been hospitalized multiple times for my condition and was in constant, severe pain before I decided to go to the NHC. I can’t remember the last time I felt this good. The staff are all friendly, care for their patients and are truly there to make you better. I can’t say enough great things about these ladies.
A few months ago at my wits end with extreme pain, I attended a Fibromyalgia support meeting and met Nicole Lentfer. From that night on, I am a different person. Like many others I tried all the conventional Western medicines with no relief. After having a mini-trial of acupressure that night, I put 100% trust in Nicole and her staff and the Natural Health Center. After starting the acupuncture and NAET treatments, I am much calmer, and I have less pain and more energy.
My son and I had both food and environmental allergies. We tried over the counter medications and different supplements over the past 2 years or so. We were both suffering with skin rashes, runny noses, and itchy eyes. We started coming to the NHCA for treatment after a recommendation from a friend. My son and I saw a big improvement of our symptoms. We are happy to be allergy-free at the end of our treatments!
I started acupuncture for numerous reasons but primarily anxiety. The process has helped me feel calmer, more relaxed, and less like I am living in a mental box. It has helped me feel free.
Inhaler is Out
I came to acupuncture due to constant short breaths which made working out difficult. I also had tension in my neck and shoulders that felt like I had been holding a shrug for 10+ years. Now I’m more comfortable since my neck and shoulders have relaxed. I can work out harder and for longer periods of time since I don’t need to use my inhaler anymore.
PTSD and Pain Managed
I found the NHCA after 10 years of pain and discomfort. I was a mixed martial artist, high school football player, and infantryman in the Marine Corps. I had put my body through entirely too much torture, and I was suffering for it. When I left the Marine Corps in 2009, I had ankle, knee, hip, back, shoulder and neck pain. I suffered from insomnia, restless legs syndrome, and post traumatic stress disorder. I would take close to 20 painkillers a day, and I was still in pain. I was hurting far from happy. With acupuncture, I felt instant improvement and I’ve been coming to the office ever since. I do acupuncture and NAET treatments and I have never felt better in my life. I’m able to live again. Thank you.
I have fibromyalgia and have had severe body pain for the past 5 years. Every day, hands were numb, feet throbbed, sternum hurt, shoulders and hips were sore, calves and thighs hurt, arms were heavy. Doctors really don’t know what to do for me since I didn’t want pharmaceuticals. I can’t believe acupuncture has helped me so much. I noticed it right away. Things aren’t perfect yet, but they’re improving with each treatment. I am so thankful.
Healing From the Inside Out
I came to the NHCA for food sensitivities, poor sleep, moodiness, and lack of energy. Now I sleep better so I am more awake and in a much better mood during the day. I was surprised by how well I felt after treatments and feeling my body heal from the inside out. Unlike Western doctors, this office runs on time, all the time. Nicole explains everything, answers all your questions and doesn’t talk down to you.
My chronic pain and fatigue are much better. I’ve been able to come off some medications completely and reduce the dosage of others. I had never tried acupuncture before but decided to try it. Nicole and her staff are very informative and I was surprised that the needles don’t hurt. The services are affordable, relaxing, and it works!
Sports Injury Healed
I was surprised how the treatment was able to heal my sports injury when regular doctors could not. Sometimes a pill won’t cure everything!
Western medicine has left me with no answers to help me manage a long-standing condition of inflammation that comes and goes in various body parts and for various lengths of time. I am not fond of taking pills and found the Natural health Center at a point when I was feeling tired, flamed and with no solutions in sight. The herbal tonics, weekly visits, acupuncture and encouragement to lose weight eventually led to a healthier, happier, pain-free existence! My energy is back; I do not hurt. I repeat; I do not hurt. Such a joy!
Quality of Life Improved
I came in due to pain from fibromyalgia. Constant pain from the neck down to my toes and could never sleep more than a couple of hours at a time. I tried antidepressants, muscle relaxers, sleeping pills and several types of pain pills. Nothing would work. I used to sit, sleep and eat in a recliner. After coming here, my quality of life is so much better. I can actually plan outings and enjoy myself. I don’t have as much pain and I can actually sleep at night in my bed!
From Anxious Exhaustion to Calm Energy
I started acupuncture treatments for extreme adrenal fatigue and body pains that I had for over 3 years. I didn’t sleep and had panic attacks. I had been to numerous doctors and they’d spend 5 minutes with me and prescribe something; I was on a lot of different medication. I’ve had absolutely incredible results! I was at my wits end trying to get help from doctors but no one could figure out what to do other than give me pills. Nicole listens to what you have to say and then designs a plan to get you back to optimal health. She completely turned my life around and I don’t say that lightly. I had given up hope that I’d be the same person I was 4 years ago. Even my family is amazed at the change and I will recommend her services to everyone I know!