Blog

The latest from the Alternative Family Medicine team.
Meditation-altfammed-denver-1200x1434.jpg

November 12, 2018 Ann BarterPosts

In Chiropractic philosophy, the goal of treatment is to help the body heal naturally. We help create an environment that removes stresses or triggers to allow the body to do its own healing. Providing Chiropractic manipulations takes stress off of the nervous system and realigns the body to help it perform with more coordination, relieve strain on joints, and decrease pain. We do soft tissue techniques to stimulate healing and balance musculature and fascia. We prescribe dietary supplements to support immune, digestive, lymphatic, and energy producing pathways. We help people pinpoint dietary triggers, overwhelming stresses and often refer to different practitioners to help dial in the areas we don’t specialize. All of what we do is to help the body optimize itself, because the body has the ability to do that.

What is even more powerful is being able to recognize your own body’s warning signs before they become a bigger problem. In our culture, we tend to ignore a lot of these warning signs and in a sense normalize our symptoms. What is actually normal is to feel good in our bodies. To have ample energy, normal bowel movements, a clear mind, healthy skin, mostly level moods, and healthy strong joints. Being in chronic pain, frequent feelings of anxiety and low mood, hormonal imbalances, acne, etc. are not things you should settle for or just blame on aging or stage of life. The beautiful thing about this work is experiencing first hand and witnessing the body’s ability to heal and restore itself when we address the root issue(s).

So, what are some of these “warning signs” your body might be giving you?

· Brain fog
· Trouble recalling words
· PMS
· Feeling low/ depression
· Waking up tired
· Anxiety
· Restlessness
· Chronic bloating
· Acne
· Low libido
· Feeling like cement while working out
· Exhaustion after working out
· Feeling feverish or like you might get sick after working out
· Allergies
· Chronic sinus congestion/ phlegm
· Morning nausea (not related to pregnancy)
· Losing enjoyment in normal activities
· Low grade headaches
· Dry, flaky skin
· Becoming vegetarian/vegan because your body “doesn’t like meat”
· Rashes
· Brittle hair and/or nails
· Not having a full bowel movement daily
· Diarrhea
· Difficulty losing weight
· Vitamin D deficiency with ample amounts of sunlight

These symptoms are all signs that something in your body isn’t quite performing at 100%. What we aim to do with Chiropractic and Functional Medicine is to help you pinpoint what the stressor(s) is and remove it.

Chronic illness often arises from several small, constant stresses to the body. This is not a hard and fast rule; there are always exceptions. However, many chronic illnesses can be prevented and/or reversed. What symptoms are you tolerating or normalizing for yourself?


pestle-and-mortar-1326016-1279x1113-1200x1044.jpg

November 7, 2018 Ann BarterPosts

We get calls every day at our Longmont and Denver, Colorado practices from those assessing their health care options trying to decide whether alternative medicine is right for themselves and their families. Perhaps as alternative medicine practitioners we’re a little bias but we’d like to shed some light on the question all the same.

First, let’s dispel a few myths.

Myth #1 – Practitioner education seems to come up a lot. Many Alternative and Functional Medicine providers are Chiropractors. The Doctor of Chiropractic designation is a Doctorate level degree obtained after completing a Bachelor’s degree (much like MD’s.). Many of today’s Chiropractic schools focus heavily on Functional Medicine and Clinical Nutrition, so likely (like in our practice) your chiropractor will have as many or more hours in the classroom as an MD. Many often then go on to focus on specific specialities, therefore additional classroom hours and accreditations are necessary.

Functional Medicine practitioners in particular will spend many hours training in Functional Blood Chemistry before they begin to practice. Having a background in chiropractic techniques only benefits the patient as treatment can be focused not only on treating chronic conditions but structural issues as well. It can be the perfect blend for a holistic approach. Additionally, DC’s are beholden to Continuing Education requirements as part of their licensure. So they never stop learning and are continually introduced to the latest techniques and treatment protocols.

Myth #2 – There’s no such thing as sub-clinical conditions. Not only do they exist, but when successfully treated the patient will begin to feel better because their symptoms are being addressed, and will generally thwart disease progression. A great example of a sub-clinical diagnoses is a patient who has been told they are “pre-diabetic.” By keeping an eye on blood sugar history a practitioner can make certain predictions, such as declaring a patient “pre-diabetic.” They may not fit the criteria of diabetes yet, but they are well on their way. They can be treated and the condition mitigated with the right nutrition and supplement regimen. It’s very similar to many other precursors used to correct issues before they really get started. Many people who seek alternative treatments have been told that they are “normal” or “just fine” when they know they don’t feel well. When their labs are reassessed by a practitioner using functional blood chemistry reference ranges instead there are often very obvious answers, and obvious protocols for individualized treatment .

Myth #3 – Often it is incorrectly assumed that alternative medicine practitioners are fully “anti-pharmaceutical.” That isn’t exactly the case. Using the rise of antibiotic-resistant superbugs as a terrific, albeit dangerous, example – not every ache, pain, sneeze and tummy grumble needs a pharmaceutical! Sometimes they are altogether out-of-line (antibiotics prescribed for the common cold virus, for example), sometimes they are overkill (hello, opioid epidemic!) and sometimes people are prescribed medications they never really needed in the first place, that eventually depress the body’s ability to produce needed chemicals on its own, creating a vicious cycle of physical dependency.

Patients who share these concerns often seek alternative treatments as a way to avoid these types of health pitfalls. And who can blame them? Watch an evening of TV and commercial after commercial lists drug side-effects that often sound worse than the original condition! Alternative medicine relies heavily on dietary remediation, and nutritional supplementation. Of course not all dietary/nutritional supplements are created equal. Only therapeutic grade supplements and herbal remedies should be trusted and used by any practitioner.

That said, many alternative medicine practitioners would agree there are instances pharmaceuticals are necessary and practical. That doesn’t mean they should be reached for first in every instance. Communicating with all of your healthcare practitioners is vital. Often, when pharmaceuticals are needed, an alternative medicine practitioner will make the correct referral to a traditional practitioner and will help in providing additional support for the patient. Many will go as far as working in conjunction with traditional practitioners. Again, communicate with your practitioner and ask their opinions on integrative healthcare. Medicine should never be about a doctor’s ego – patient health is paramount.

Now let’s take a look at who can benefit from Alternative Medicine?

Sufferers of conditions such as IBS, PCOS, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, adrenal fatigue, hormone irregularities, and those with symptoms commonly associated with underlying food sensitivities such as depression, anxiety, fatigue, gas, bloating and other GI upset often find the answers they’ve been seeking once they find their ideal alternative medicine provider. Also, many people with chronic SIBO and reactivated viral infections, such as Epstein-Barr find relief. Additionally,  many types of chemical and mold exposures are glossed over by traditional medical practitioners even though these exposures can wreak havoc on their patients’ health and wellbeing.

Alternative medicine often becomes the healthcare of choice for those seeking whole-body wellness, not just the treatment of a collection of symptoms. We are more than a collection of our symptoms! Many patients feel stuck on the hamster-wheel of doing the same thing over and over again but still not feeling better. They then begin to want to understand the state of their health through specialty diagnostic testing and the evaluation of these labs using Functional Blood Chemistry instead of standard reference ranges. They begin to want to be treated as an individual, with protocols tailored to their unique body chemistry, not what might work for the average individual. Understanding the root cause of conditions and disease is a giant step in mitigating these issues.

Many alternative medicine patients are seeking a natural approach to medicines and nutritional supplementation, instead of pharmaceuticals first and only. The more they learn the more they become acutely aware that all the systems of the body must be working in harmony to feel their best and are just unsure how to make that happen. That’s where the guidance of a well trained alternative medicine practitioner comes in. We encourage you to ask questions, do your research and make informed choices in all your healthcare decisions. 

 


chiropractic-denver-altfammed-5-1200x800.jpg

November 1, 2018 Ann BarterPosts

You’ve got questions about natural treatments for IBS, and we have answers.

We treat a lot of IBS cases in practice in our Longmont and Denver, CO offices. Often, we see patients who have run the gauntlet with chronic GI pain, gas, bloating, constipation and diarrhea (or a combination of all of these), who have seen every doctor and taken all the prescription medications they’ve been recommended, and yet, they still feel miserable and their symptoms have not subsided. Or, they get some temporary relief, only to find new and (uncomfortable) triggers resulting in more flare ups.

We practice Functional Medicine. We take a different approach to treating gut issues. Especially Irritable Bowel Syndrome, because it affects people so differently, yet it’s disease processes are often similar for most sufferers. In Functional Medicine, we do not automatically assume IBS is solely a “gut issue” because we know that IBS is often the symptomatic outcome of a combination of issues.

One of the first things we will recommend is blood work or other diagnostic testing (depending on your specific situation). Now, that may be met with a bit of hesitation at first as you say to yourself, “well, I’ve had blood work done already and they told me there’s nothing wrong! Everything checked out as ‘normal.’” Depending on the specific training of whom exactly is looking at and interpreting the results of these tests can mean a world of difference between continued recurrences of IBS, and the relief you’re seeking. We say this because not all tests are created equally and viewing their results through the lens of Functional Blood Chemistry (which uses a different set of reference ranges) can detect whether the symptoms you experience are from infection, stress, a food sensitivity or a combination of many factors. Many men and women with IBS suffer from:

  • SIBO (Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth)
  • Parasites
  • H. pylori
  • Yeast overgrowth
  • Food sensitivities

It is imperative then to treat the root cause(s) of the IBS in order to control the symptoms. We generally like to treat IBS as a metabolic condition, because all of the body’s systems must be brought back into harmony before any real, quantifiable, long term relief can begin. In addition to treating determinable IBS protagonists like those above, a “typical” Functional Medicine IBS protocol should also include…

A Metabolic cleanse heavily focusing on the Hepatic system. Clearing the liver, pancreas and gallbladder of sludge and toxins helps support those organs in order for them to work most efficiently. Not to mention, when these organs are fatigued, they cannot clear hormones as intended or help in digestion properly.

Next we will look at the patient’s diet. We will either have an idea of foods they need to permanently avoid from the results of their food sensitivity test(s), or we will recommend an elimination diet to find offending items. In our practice we strongly recommend food sensitivity testing through a lab called Cyrex. They have many arrays and can test for sensitivity to hundreds of foods. In our opinion food sensitivity testing is one of the most important steps in any solid IBS treatment protocol. Many, many patients come to us having no idea part of their issue was something as simple to avoid or modify as a very common gluten sensitivity, or lactose intolerance, for example. Elimination diets can end with similar outcomes as sensitivity tests, but they aren’t nearly as accurate, they are very time consuming, and unless you’re a nutrition pro there’s always the possibility of encountering a food you thought was going to be safe but actually turns out to contain an ingredient that turns out to be anything but safe for you.

Additionally, we want to make sure the patient has very steady control of their blood sugar. This will happen through dietary modification and possibly all-natural supplementation (depending on multiple health factors). Keeping steady, regulated blood sugar will reduce stress and mood swings (which is a giant IBS culprit), it will also ensure your metabolism remains on an even keel. This helps reduce stress on all the various body systems. When putting up a “fight” on one front, we need to make sure the other “fronts” are able to do their jobs well. It’s not easy on the body to have GI issues, immune issues, hormonal dysregulation and sleep fluctuations at the same time. Many of those issues can cause one to feel poorly on their own, add them on top of IBS and you have a perfect storm making people absolutely miserable.

Once we have cleaned out the liver and gallbladder, and steadied the blood sugar swings, we will move on to a Gut Cleanse and Repair. This will be done with all-natural nutritional supplements and will be helped along by your modified diet. The repair portion is very important, as you can imagine. Many patients don’t know they have imbalanced gut flora (the “good” bacteria that aid in digestion) or leaky gut (which can lead to further issues like autoimmune disorders). IBS patients who have been traditionally treated for SIBO may have taken many courses of antibiotics which can also wipe out our “good” bacteria. That is one issue with antibiotics, they are very indiscriminate with the bacteria they kill off. They can also be less effective against bacteria encapsulated in what are called biofilms. These lipid-based films are the evolutionary protection response of pathogens, the fittest of which survive, despite medications given to kill them. We recommend a strict protocol of supplementation that eliminates these biofilms making other medications more effective.

Many patients also don’t know that around 80% of their neurotransmitters (brain chemicals) are made in their gut. A healthy gut makes healthy levels of neurotransmitters (guess what an unhealthy gut makes?). Neurotransmitters are very important to our mental and emotional well being, as well as hormone regulation, sleep and immune response. Although supporting neurotransmitters may not sound like part of a common IBS treatment, we know from years of treating this condition that it helps ease stress and emotionally triggered IBS. There are very strong links between the gut and the brain. For more on this topic, specifically, go here.

We will also add in supplementation for inflammation. We know “inflammation” is often billed as a new-age bogeyman, but think about more common inflammation (like a sprained ankle for instance). At first, your body does what comes naturally, it swells and attempts to stabilize an injury, and it sends your immune system in to help save the day. But if your sprained ankle continued to stay swollen forever, you’d start to wonder if there’s something wrong. The guts of people with IBS are often inflamed long-term and not only is that not helpful in healing, it creates a negative feedback loop with your various systems trying to maintain the “healing.”  

Lastly, we recommend a chiropractic technique for pain relief known as Visceral Manipulation. This isn’t something that all chiropractors are trained in, or practice, so if you haven’t experienced the relief of this modality or haven’t heard of it, you can learn more about its effectiveness in treating IBS here. We do recommend finding a practitioner of this technique in your area if you are not close by. This therapy is an IBS patient’s Secret Weapon and can really help in the relief of discomfort.

In conclusion, in our opinion (and practice) an effective natural IBS protocol should include:

  • Diagnostic testing and interpretation of results using functional blood chemistry
  • Systematically treating root causes, whether they be pathogenic, imbalances in gut flora, or a combination of multiple factors
  • Modifying the patient’s diet and lifestyle
  • Regulating the Metabolism
  • Only trusted, pharmaceutical grade nutritional supplementation and herbs
  • Visceral Manipulation for pain relief

 

 


functional-blood-chemistry-1200x800.jpg

October 9, 2018 Ann BarterPosts1

In both our Longmont and Denver, Colorado offices we are often asked how and why functional blood chemistry differs from more traditional readings of blood tests. The easiest answer relies on the examination of reference ranges (what is considered low, high or normal) and viewing this information through the lense of evidence-based research that helps us parse this data.

When a patient comes in with a complaint that could be considered more of a “metabolic complaint,” we like to analyze lab work to get an entire picture of what could be going on with them.  Some examples of metabolic complaints can be fatigue, inability to lose weight and constipation. Patients will often have one or two primary complaints but often secondary complaints, as well. For example, the inability to lose weight might be the primary complaint that brings a patient in to see us, but as we gather more information they may also suffer from bloating, constipation, brain fog, inability to complete tasks, or trouble falling/staying asleep at night, for example.  

Patients often present for all sorts of different reasons, but ultimately they may all fall into what we call the “grey zone.” The “grey zone” is when a patient has symptoms that continue to worsen and are on their way to a disease process, but they are not so far enough along to be diagnosed with a particular disease or condition. Many of us are familiar with the term “pre-diabetes” or “pre-diabetic” – this is a terrific example of the “grey zone.” Unfortunately, unlike with diabetes, many conditions do not have a codified “pre” stage, but that doesn’t mean that it is impossible to make educated recommendations before an actual diagnosable condition or disease is present.

In our practice we have many patients that have previously visited multiple healthcare practitioners to get help only to be told they are “normal” or are just given a prescription or two to manage their symptoms.  These patients continue to feel worse and are merely surviving on a day to day basis. Discouraged, they know if they continue to wait, the problem will likely get worse, but at least they will be diagnosed with something!  When these patients eventually make their way into our office (often very frustrated) we assure them that this is a good thing.  The reason this is a good thing is, these patients are not far enough gone yet to be diagnosed with a full-blown condition or disease. This means that far less intervention is necessary and many of these patients can heal by natural means versus using pharmaceuticals.  

More often than not, these collections of symptoms are the body’s way of giving early signs that something needs to be addressed. That being the case, we always empower patients to have open conversations with all of their healthcare providers and to be honest when things are not right or not getting better.  Our patients are correct when they tell us something is wrong, or not quite right. You are in your body all day, every day and know when something is wrong. Trust your intuition! We are happy to share our findings and recommendations with other healthcare providers in an integrative approach to overall health and wellness.

In treatment, in order to properly diagnose and/or treat metabolic issues and conditions we run basic labs, which we will talk about in more detail, and analyze them using evidence-based reference ranges commonly used in functional medicine.  Herein lies the major difference between traditional and functional medicine: we use different numbers than the standard reference ranges, because standard reference ranges are based on population averages. It isn’t always helpful to be compared with everyone else.  Although all human bodies are put together the same way, not all bodies thrive with matching chemical compositions to the rest of the world! We are all unique and our diagnostics should reflect that!

Let’s take a look at some of the tests we rely on.

Complete Blood Count (CBC)

This is a test that checks to see how well one’s immune system is functioning.  We are also able to glean other important information from this test such as a vitamin B12, folic acid, or iron deficiency.  

We are able to look at patterns with the white blood cells such as lymphocytes, and neutrophils, to determine if a patient has an acute or chronic infection. Lymphocytes are broken down between B and T cells. The B cells produce antibodies in order to attack invading bacteria, viruses and toxins, while the T cells destroy the body’s own cells that have themselves been taken over by viruses or have become cancerous. Neutrophils are a type of immune cell that counts itself amongst the first cell types to travel to the site of an infection. They help the immune system by both ingesting invading microorganisms while also releasing an enzyme that kills off microorganisms as well. This is all very important because during periods of high stress the immune system can weaken and old, latent viral infections can flare back up.  A very common stress-reactivated viral infection is EBV (Epstein Barr Virus) a.k.a Mononucleosis. A large percent of the population are EBV carriers, but not all old EBV infections will reactivate. While EBV is just one example of a virus that can reactivate, it’s a great example of just how helpful a Complete Blood Count can be.

Another amazing marker on the CBC are Monocytes. Monocytes are a type of white blood cell created in the bone marrow that travels through the bloodstream to tissues in the body where they become macrophages. Macrophages surround and kill microorganisms, ingest foreign material and remove dead cells. Thus, Monocytes are a great marker in determining if a patient has inflammation in their system.  Inflammation can lead to chronic pain and/or inability to lose/gain weight among many of its negative impacts.

Complete Metabolic Panel

The Complete Metabolic Panel is another great test in determining specifically where a patient is struggling.  It gives us a snapshot into the health of the internal organs. It can also tell us a great deal about the patient’s blood sugar regulation (or dysregulation). By identifying patterns on the test we can hone in on insulin resistance (this is a major issue with difficult weight loss), hypoglycemia (low blood sugar and fatigue associated with this), or hyperglycemia (elevated blood glucose leading to diabetes).  Regulating and knowing what is going on with glucose and insulin levels is incredibly important. Food is not the only thing that affects glucose (blood sugar). Stress is a huge impediment to effective glucose regulation. Glucose dysregulation can also be at play with unrelated issues like the “ Energy Crash at 3pm”, waking up all night, or having dizzy spells as well.

We are also able to identify kidney dysfunction.  The Complete Metabolic Panel shows us early signs of kidney failure.  The CMP generally covers BUN (which can rise when the body isn’t able to remove urea from the blood), Creatinine (a waste product of Creatine, a compound used by the muscles for energy, later filtered by the kidneys for removal) eGFR (a test designed to measure the kidneys’ filtration rates), and BUN/Creatinine ratio.  All of these combine to show us a fairly complete picture of the health of the renal system.

The Complete Metabolic Panel also looks at electrolyte function.  This can give us insight on hydration, breathing issues, and adrenal function.

A CMP will also provide levels for calcium and magnesium. Many patients show magnesium deficiency. With a deficiency in magnesium a patient may suffer with mood issues, leg cramps (at rest) and constipation.   We also like to determine the cause of the magnesium deficiency, as to correct or support it.

The proteins section of the CMP results can help us determine digestive function.  We can successfully link these numbers with symptoms. A lot of people have issues digesting because of our stressful lifestyles. Our body sees all stressors in the same way: whether you are running from a bear or you are trying to get a paper finished for a deadline, this is all stress.  Since we are constantly stressed, this leads to decreased digestive function. This often leads the way to gastrointestinal infections, bloating, gas, and undigested food particles in the stool.

Utilizing a CMP we can identify early dysfunctions with the liver and gallbladder.  The hepatic systems are important because they filter all of the environmental toxins we are exposed to on a daily basis. (Some estimates site exposure to about 80,000 chemicals every 7 days).  These systems also help to detoxify and convert chemicals. For example, most of the conversion from T4 to T3 in the thyroid gland occurs in the liver. Thyroid health is incredibly important and often overlooked.  More recently in practice, we have been finding more and more issues with the gallbladder and are able to give patients relief that do not want their gallbladder removed.

Lastly, we are able to look at a panel of iron markers.  Anemia, low iron, or hemochromatosis (high iron), are all very important to diagnosis.  Where you have low iron the patient will struggle with extreme fatigue, brittle nails and hair loss.  If the patient has too much iron it acts as an oxidant. It is like being constantly exposed to any heavy metal.  Ultimately, this can create major issues down the line, if not addressed.

Thyroid Panel

We also run a full thyroid panel.  Running TSH or T3 is not sufficient enough to see the entire thyroid picture.  Most patients come in and tell us that their thyroid gland is normal, yet when we look at their existing labs, only a TSH has been run.  TSH is only one very small part of the overall thyroid picture. We see conversion problems, autoimmune thyroid, pituitary thyroid problems, and even excess estrogens creating thyroid symptoms.  

Functional blood chemistry is invaluable for both disease and condition treatment, but also diagnosis and preventative care. If you find yourself suffering needlessly in the “grey zone” we strongly recommend making an appointment with a Functional Medicine specialist.  

 


Chiropractic-Denver-e1550167276339-1200x363.jpg

September 25, 2018 Ann BarterPosts

We hear this question fairly regularly in our day to day interactions. Though Chiropractic is a very powerful treatment for injury, it is a preventative medicine as well. Oftentimes, before someone develops a repetitive overuse injury, arthritis, even acute injury, there are typically warning signs. For instance, with low back injuries, a person may be struggling with chronic low back tightness, achiness in the upper back, stiffness with bending forward or back, stiffness that is worse in the morning or evening for several months, headache, etc. Then suddenly one morning they bend over to tie their shoe and their low back seizes!

Another common injury is repetitive ankle sprain. These patients have some instability in their ankle from repeated injury, which leads to some form of instability in the knee and hip. These two issues can perpetuate one another, making them easier to re-injure.

How can Chiropractic help avoid these scenarios? For lack of a better analogy, I am going to use a car (your body is much more complex than a car, of course). When the alignment is off in your car, this can cause premature wear and tear on very important, expensive parts. So what do you do? You get the alignment fixed! When you have a restricted joint in your body, whether from joint fixation, muscle tightness, instability, scar tissue, nerve impingement, etc, this leads to wear and tear to other joints and tissues in the body. Even more so, this can lead to things like chronic pain, lack of flexibility, arthritis and the eventual need for surgical joint replacements. So what and how can you do about this?

I am a Chiropractor, so I will do my best not to be biased, but you can see a Chiropractor, a Physical Therapist, a Massage therapist, an acupuncturist, a really talented personal trainer or movement therapist like Feldenkrais, or even better, a combination of practitioners if needed. The point is: do something to improve your body’s ability to move well, and do it often.

With the low back scenario: We get many patients in our office that have desk jobs. No matter how hard you try, it is fairly impossible to sit with good posture for 8-9 hours a day. In an ideal world you would be changing positions and moving frequently. That said, people develop chronically shortened, tight hamstrings and hip flexors and inhibited gluteal muscles. This chronic imbalance causes restrictions in hip motion and changes in core activation, that lead to more strain on the low back, oftentimes creating fixations in the joints. With Chiropractic, we can help restore joint motion, relieve muscular and fascial strain and help guide you to an appropriate strengthening regimen to improve overall function and prevent acute flares.

In the case of the repeated ankle injury example: The most common form of ankle sprain is an inversion sprain. This means the foot rolls in towards midline. When this happens the muscles, ligaments and nerves on the outside of the calf are predominantly the injured tissue. This leads to swelling and inflammation that stimulates the repair process. During this process your body lays down scar tissue to try to stabilize the injury, and over time as you continue to heal and use your ankle, these tissues are remodelled based on the types of stresses applied to the joint. This new scar tissue is incredibly strong, but can also create restrictions in joint motion. Through the healing process, your body will also compensate, i.e., other muscles take over for the job of the injured muscles to allow healing. This can become the new pattern you walk around with; a compensatory pattern, creating instability and setting you up for future ankle sprains or even unexplained knee problems. This is where we can help. The joints in the foot can become restricted, scar tissue and fascial restrictions develop and muscles become imbalanced. We use a number of therapies, Chiropractic manipulations and mobilizations to reset the joints, dry needling to stimulate tissue healing and remove restrictions, IASTM (instrument assisted soft tissue manipulation) to help with scar tissue remodelling and fascial restrictions, and corrective exercises to help strengthen and stabilize the area. By balancing the structural restrictions, muscle imbalances and strengthening and reprogramming movement patterns, we help to prevent further injury.

Chiropractic is one of the safest, non-invasive treatments for musculoskeletal injuries. However, as you can see from our website, we do much more that treat musculoskeletal conditions at our office! We also practice Functional Medicine. As Chiropractors, we see many patients with chronic aches and pains that do not get resolved with Chiropractic and adjunct therapies alone. Many times there is much more to the story. Many people with chronic aches and pains have systemic inflammation, thyroid disorders, digestive dysfunction, chronic infections, allergies, food sensitivities, the list goes on. When these issues are not addressed these patients often get short-term symptomatic relief, but seldom get full resolution. When we start treating the whole person, our patients tend to get even better results.  

 


detox-altfammed-1200x900.jpg

May 24, 2018 Ann BarterPosts

We get asked about detoxification side-effects often. Whether you may be embarking on a Metabolic Cleanse or dissolving biofilms, you may experience some brief, but not-so-pleasant side effects. This isn’t unusual, but can make our patients nervous if they don’t know exactly what they may feel during the process.

Metabolic cleanses are designed to get your system running optimally again. They include active ingredients to help heal the liver and pancreas and to get bile and toxins moving in the right direction (well, technically, the bile starts doing its job correctly again, and the toxins are permanently evicted from your system).

Biofilms, in brief, are gelatinous, protective coverings that are developed by pathogens such as bacteria, viruses, yeasts and even fungus and parasites, in order for them to successfully thwart the effectiveness of medications and supplementation meant to destroy them. Fairly nifty example of evolution at work, although, not much fun for their human hosts! In patients where low-grade pathogenic infections are preventing wellness we seek to dissolve these coverings in order to better battle the pathogens themselves. It’s nearly impossible for supplements, and even prescription antivirals and antibiotics, to be fully effective against these nasties until their protective coverings are dissolved. Enter stage right: Monolaurin (we recommend Lauricidin brand in our practice), which is a proteolytic enzyme that helps break down these films, and Serrapeptase, a derivative harvested from silkworms (we know, wild stuff, right?)! Needless to say, the pathogens that have found their way into human bodies really like their accommodations, they don’t want to be evicted or killed off. They will put up a fight! They will eventually die off as the medications and supplements we take begin to work and as these pathogen die they release toxins which the body must filter.

These are not always easy processes for the people involved. Although, we know from years in practice and much scholarly evidence, they will feel exponentially better once the process is complete. It’s just the getting through it part that can be a little uncomfortable, while wellness remains the ultimate goal.

Common side-effects from Metabolic cleanses and biofilm dissolution can include: fatigue, mild swelling, stomach upset (gas, bloating, diarrhea), aches and pains in the joints, rashes and sometimes hives, as well as brain fog and mild anxiety (generally brought on by the “not knowing” and the overall feeling of being unwell, if only temporary).

If you are experiencing any combination of these side-effects, please know they are completely normal and nothing to worry about. We know they can be uncomfortable but they are short lived. They are generally only noticeable for the first 24 to 72 hours and will subside thereafter. Our advice is as follows: Get plenty of rest. Sleep is essential whether our immune system is battling something or not. It is that much more important when we are not feeling our best. Our bodies regenerate and do their best immune work at rest. During detoxification make sure you are getting at least 8 hours of sleep per night. Drink lots of water. You want to keep well hydrated and your system flushed. This will help hasten the process and will help get you through it faster. If your symptoms begin to make you feel sick to your stomach, especially fatigued, or the brain fog becomes a hindrance, you can reach for activated charcoal (which you’ll take about an hour or so after your detoxification supplements, as to give them the chance to work without being absorbed by the charcoal and removed from your system inadvertently). You can start with one capsule and increase to two if your symptoms don’t lessen. Although, we find that one capsule is enough activated charcoal to bind with these toxins and biofilms in order to move them out of your system. Also, a teaspoon of Bentonite Clay mixed with a little water and consumed with your detoxification protocol works as well and in the same way as activated charcoal.

The benefits of detoxification far outweigh the discomforts they bring and again, are not permanent and do not generally last long. Some people will actually go through the process without a single physical sign that things are working as they should. If these tips don’t help the way you feel during a detoxification always consult your practitioner to review the timing and dosage of your protocol.


IBS-Longmont.jpg

May 10, 2018 Ann BarterPosts

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is much more than just a gut disorder. It causes chronic discomfort, anxiety, social limitations (especially where food and drink is involved), and a decrease in quality of life. There are  a variety of contributory factors leading to IBS including but not limited to altered bacterial microbes in the gut, inflammation from the immune system, inflammation of the bowels, stress: emotional and physical, food sensitivities, and chronic microbial infections (viral, bacterial, protozoan, etc).

Are you struggling with:

  • Chronic bloating, even when you eat a seemingly healthy diet?
  • Are you chronically constipated without the help of fiber supplementation or laxatives?
  • Do you have pain and cramping in your stomach after eating?
  • Are you chronically fatigued even after getting a “good night’s rest”?
  • Do you suffer from anxiety and/or depression?
  • Struggle with social eating, not knowing how your body will react to food?

IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) is a gastrointestinal motility disorder of the intestines. IBS is defined as a widespread condition involving recurrent abdominal pain and diarrhea or constipation, often associated with stress, depression, anxiety, or previous intestinal infection.  Common symptoms of IBS include: recurrent abdominal pain, change in bowel habits (constipation or diarrhea, or both), indigestion, bloating, weight gain/loss, nausea, chronic foul smelling gas, urgency of needing to empty the bowels, fatigue, difficulty sleeping, anxiety and depression.

Approximately 11% of the population are diagnosed with this condition by their primary care physicians, many suffer silently and go undiagnosed. There are self-help and support groups, popular searches relating to IBS, and general gut cleanses offered all over the web. We see patients frequently trying to control this condition on their own using different diets, oregano oil and probiotics, to no avail. Many people come to the conclusion that this is just their “new normal.” To the contrary, just because these symptoms are common in the general population, they are not normal!

IBS is a tricky condition to diagnose as there is no “gold standard” test. IBS is often a diagnosis of exclusion; meaning, you can rule out all the scary things like cancer, Crohn’s disease or internal bleeding, then what you are left with is a blanket diagnosis for a long list of digestive and systemic symptoms.

What Causes & Contributes To IBS?

  • Microbiome imbalances: We’re talking gut flora.
    • Dysbiosis
    • SIBO (Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth)
  • Adrenal health/chronic stress. When the nervous system is in a dominantly sympathetic state it shuts down the rest and digest mechanisms. This leads to poor digestion and malabsorption, which in turn causes anxiety and moodiness from blood sugar swings.
  • Blood sugar dysregulation will often cause oxidative damage to nerves in the gut and bowels further damaging digestive function and creating inflammation.
  • Increased and decreased gut motility depending on the portion of the gastrointestinal system.
  • Chronic infections/with biofilm. Often, this will happen after a bout of Gastroenteritis. In fact acute gastroenteritis accounts for 30% of all IBS cases.  
  • Food sensitivities.
  • Stress: Both emotional and physical – History of abuse (physical, emotional, chronic, anxiety). We often see that the less support people have in their lives, the more severe their IBS can be.
  • Visceral sensitivity aka rectal pain sensitivity – Perceived pain in the rectum – this pain is lower for patients in IBS.  IBS patients notice more gas and discomfort in the bowels. IBS patients show changes in the brains esp in afferent pain signals in the brain.

Let’s look at some of these in greater detail:

  • The Microbiome

Dysbiosis

Why is the microbiome, or the bacteria in your gut so important?  Did you know that some of your neurotransmitters are made in your gut? That’s right, the bacteria in your gut can determine how well you break down and utilize your food, and even how happy you feel.  Did you know that the enterocytes in the intestines are one of the main producers of serotonin (your happy neurotransmitter)? Having imbalanced bacteria can lead to symptoms of depression and anxiety. Furthermore, neurotransmitters in your gut regulate your perception of pain and digestive function.  

Bacterial Overgrowth

You can read in more detail about small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) here. SIBO in essence is having too much bacteria in your gut. With SIBO healthy foods, especially slow digesting carbohydrates actually feed the overgrowth of bacteria. This perpetuates symptoms like gas and bloating – especially as the day goes on and seemingly no matter what you eat.

The Immune System

The immune system is very important in the pathogenesis of IBS.  Your immune cells, primarily Mast Cells, are important in the motility of your gastrointestinal tract. When these cells are activated, they cause inflammation in the gut wall affecting peristalsis (contractions of the gut wall moving food through the gastrointestinal system).

Low Grade Infection & Inflammation

Ever had a parasite? Montezuma’s Revenge? Mononucleosis (Also known as Epstein Barr Virus)? Chances are you still have it! We like to refer to these as subclinical chronic infections. The reason for that is you might not be experiencing swollen lymph nodes and fever, but maybe you are chronically fatigued, or your digestion hasn’t been quite right since the initial infection. This can be an indication that though you don’t have an acute infection, you might have a low grade and chronic infection. These infections can create biofilms that make them virtually untouchable by your immune system. Without breaking these biofilms down, these pathogens continue to wreak havoc on your immune system and gut. Biofilms can be attributed to lingering symptoms like chronic gas and bloating, diarrhea and constipation, chronic fatigue, and poor immune function.

Food Sensitivities

Food sensitivities are not an allergy. Though they do not create a life-threatening, immediate response like a true food allergy, they stimulate and up-regulate your immune system, creating symptoms like bloating, gas, diarrhea, acne, fatigue, blood sugar swings… the list goes on. The only way to control these symptoms is to eliminate or minimize the foods creating these symptoms to allow your body to heal and regulate. The tricky part can be figuring out which food(s) are the triggers. Simply eliminating one suspect food might help dampen your symptoms, but if there are multiple foods triggering you, your symptoms will not completely go away; leading many to the conclusion that that wasn’t their food sensitivity and continue eating it. For this reason elimination diets like the Whole30 have been designed to cut out the most common food sensitivities to “reboot” your system in a sense, and then slowly reintroduce said eliminated foods.

The most common food sensitivities for the majority of the population are gluten (sometimes all grains), eggs, dairy, soy, corn, and seafood. However, because everyone is so individual, even a healthy food like bananas or sweet potatoes might be creating your symptoms. If you find an elimination diet is not doing the trick, it could be because you are still eating something you are sensitive to. Always start with the foods you are eating most frequently. This might be the culprit. Diet diaries are also a great way to track your eating habits. In our office we highly recommend food sensitivity testing – these tests help cut out the guesswork and also identify foods that might be cross-reactiving in your system.

Leaky Gut

If you aren’t familiar with leaky gut, it is when the wall of your intestine becomes compromised and permeable, allowing for particles of food to get into your bloodstream, thus activating the immune system to respond to the alien “invader.” Over time you can become sensitive to more and more foods. Making you reactive to foods that you were once not sensitive to. As you restore your gut wall, many of these new sensitivities will resolve.

Stress

Stress is all to common among our society. From traffic jams to long office hours while raising a family. It can be hard to find time for yourself, period. Forget simple self care like meditation, exercise, breathing, you’re lucky to get a shower in 4 days a week. Sound familiar? Stress has a huge impact on your physiological processes. It slows and makes your digestion less effective (perpetuating IBS), causes inflammation and blood sugar swings and lets not forget anxiety, insomnia, depression and pain. Practicing techniques to help your body adapt and calm down from stress are incredibly important. Taking breaks from drinking stimulants like coffee and substituting adaptogenic herbs like Ashwagandha, Reishi mushroom, and Maca can be incredibly beneficial.

How We Treat Differently from the Traditional Model

Much of what is commonly done for IBS in the Traditional Medical model is symptomatic relief. More and more this is changing, which we Love to see! However, where antibiotics, laxatives, anti-diarrheal (or antispasmodic medications) and long-term elimination diets fail, we do our best to pick up the slack.

We use functional medicine to evaluate your blood work. We use different values than the standard to evaluate for optimal health and see where your body might be starting to struggle. Through this model we find we get to the root cause of the issue to resolve symptoms rather than treat the symptoms.

  • After blood work confirms the presence of infection/co-infections we will treat the pathogen(s) PLUS eliminate biofilms
  • After blood work confirms any and all food intolerances, or leaky gut, we will treat the permeability of your Small Intestine as well as recommend which food or foods to avoid or substitute.
    • Elimination diets
  • Lifestyle changes
    • Exercise regimens
    • Identifying stress factors, and how to properly adapt
    • Treating depression and anxiety through supplementation and exercise
  • Detoxifying your system and supporting your microbiome
    • Liver
    • Gut
  • Reset your metabolism
  • Manual modalities such as Visceral Manipulation to decrease pain and inflammation

IBS can be a tricky condition to tackle on your own, as there are typically several variables contributing to your symptoms. If you don’t figure out all of the variables, you will have a difficult time eliminating your symptoms for good. With all of these factors adding to IBS, having a little guidance can be incredibly beneficial.


chiropractor-denver-posture.jpg

April 20, 2018 Ann BarterPosts

A common complaint we see in our practice is upper back and neck pain associated with working a desk job or long hours of sitting. This type of dysfunction is called Upper Crossed Syndrome (UCS). If you are not familiar with what Upper Crossed Syndrome is, it is a postural syndrome associated with long periods of sitting, looking at smartphones and/or computer work.

Upper Crossed Syndrome generally results in the following symptoms:

  • Forward head carriage
  • Forward rounded shoulders
  • Chronic neck pain
  • Tension headaches
  • Back pain

And will usually present as:

  • Tightness in the tops of the shoulders (upper trapezius and levator scapula muscles)
  • Tightness of the sternocleidomastoid (SCM) muscles
  • Tightness of the pectoralis major and minor muscles
  • Weakness of the deep neck flexors
  • Weakness of the back muscles between the shoulder blades (rhomboids and mid and lower traps)

Patients with this pattern of muscle imbalance commonly complain that practicing good posture or sitting up straight is physically difficult, fatiguing and feels very forced or unnatural for more than a few minutes. Many try taking preventative measures such as adding a lumbar support to their chairs, making sure their desk and computer monitor are at a good height with their arm supported, etc. Others, who do not take any particular preventative measure will often have the same issues, regardless.

What we have found when evaluating our patients is that even though they have a low back support (built into the chair, or accessory), they are still sitting in a rounded position with their low back (lumbar spine).

The spine is designed in such a way that we have what is called a lordotic curve in the low back and neck and a kyphotic curve in the mid/upper back.

 

Simply put:

Lordotic = curves forward

Kyphotic = curves backward

 

The image on the right above is the optimal position for your spine. So when we see someone sitting with their low back rounded (backward) we know this is creating an uphill battle trying to sit with a good upright posture. When the low back is rounded backwards, it changes the base for which the spine sits. This creates a pull in the upper back even further into a kyphosis or backwards curve (i.e. rounded shoulders) and a subsequently more exaggerated forward curve of the neck. Whereas, when the low back is in its optimal lordotic, or forward curve, it creates a solid base for that coveted “good posture.”

Optimal positioning for the low back can be achieved by sitting on your sits bones.

This automatically puts the low back in the optimal position for good posture; making sitting upright much less effort! From here, gently relaxing your shoulder blades down and back as well as doing a mild retraction of your chin to assure you aren’t jutting your chin forward.

As you probably know, especially if you are reading this article, holding any one posture for a full 8-hour work day is virtually impossible! This is why we highly recommend taking mini-breaks from sitting (or standing, if that is your desk type) to move around and give your body a break.

For muscle reprogramming/strengthening for postural support please read our blog, Four Exercises You Should Be Doing For Better Posture!

 


hashimotos-2.jpg

March 13, 2018 Ann BarterPosts

If you are reading this blog than you probably suspect you have, or were diagnosed with, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis.  You are likely looking for answers because you can’t figure out why you feel so bad. Hopefully, this blog offers you some answers that give you hope that treatment is accessible, and that your symptoms can be managed, thyroid blood work numbers can be improved (even the autoimmune markers!) and you can get your life back!

Patients often seek treatment for one of two reasons. Firstly, they are currently being treated with a thyroid medication but still feel terrible with worsening symptoms of anxiety, sleep problems, brain fog, constipation, acid re-flux, sweating, weight gain, fatigue, racing heart, the list goes on and on.  The patient can’t figure out why they have worsening thyroid symptoms but their primary care tells them their labs are normal and their thyroid looks fine. Most of these patients have had their thyroid medication dose adjusted multiple times but still don’t feel well, or only have a slight reprieve in symptoms. These patients have only had their low functioning thyroid identified, yet no identification of a potentially lingering autoimmune disease called Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis.  

The second scenario we often encounter occurs once a patient has already been diagnosed with thyroid autoimmunity and low functioning thyroid (aka Hashimoto’s). Both their immune system and the functioning of their thyroid gland continues to decrease as the autoimmune disease progresses.  These patients have been prescribed thyroid medication for low functioning thyroid and are told that they are being treated effectively. Not a single mention of the immune system is typical for patient education in these cases. As their symptoms progress patients will experience racing heart, anxiety and sleepless nights.  That is because they are only being treated for the symptoms of the Hashimoto’s, but most likely very little attention is being paid to what could be causing the immune system dysregulation in the first place.  

So, no matter which category you are in, if you just have low functioning thyroid or if you have autoimmunity along with your thyroid issue (aka Hashimoto’s) the treatment is exactly the same!  Does this seem odd? Both of these conditions will continue to progress without a little education on what could be causing the thyroid, and immune issues to begin with. The lack of answers and treatment options become incredibly frustrating for most patients.  A lot of these patients eventually seek us out hoping to find answers to the why, yet they are beaten down, sick and frustrated all the same.

Some staggering statistics:

Did you know that Hashimoto’s can be found in 13.4 to 38 percent of the population.  Synthetic thyroid hormones have begun to top the pharmaceutical top-seller list for the last 3 years.  With statistics this high, it makes great sense that something more is going on inside our bodies, in our environment, or in our lifestyle to cause these statistics!

Since  this problem is so common, you would think modern medicine would be better at diagnosing it. Yet, the unfortunate story is that many people, especially women, live with either underdiagnosed overactive or underactive thyroid function. Often, these same people have been diagnosed but subsequently improperly treated. For example, in a December 2010 survey out of the United Kingdom, 1,037 people being treated for hypothyroid consented to having their hormone levels rechecked – about 37.2% of them were taking incorrect hormone dosages; 19.8% too much hormone and 17.4% too little.  Why is this important? The mismanagement of this condition, or the improper diagnosis, is going to end up making the patient feel worse, not better. If they are prescribed too much thyroid medication they can end up with inability to sleep, anxiety, panic attacks, sweating, hearing voices, heart palpitations, and an increase in resting pulse rate. If they are taking too little they generally end up continuing to feel all of the original symptoms they felt before, like being sluggish, gaining weight, constipation, temperature dysregulation, acid reflux, etc. What if we told you that the bottom line is that it isn’t just a low functioning thyroid causing the problems but an autoimmune condition?  

The number one question I get asked when we find TPO antibodies on lab work is, what is Hashimoto’s?  Hashimoto’s unfortunately, is a condition wherein the immune system begins attacking the thyroid gland, as if it were an outside pathogen needing to be addressed, instead of just another body system. These constant immune attacks eventually render the thyroid gland unable to perform its functions and ultimately leaves it unable to produce the hormones the body needs.

So the first question to be posed should be:

Where exactly is the patient on the spectrum?   Do you they have hypothyroid, Hashimoto’s, or both?

The conventional medical treatment for hypothyroid, or simultaneous hypothyroid and Hashimoto’s, is generally synthetic hormones.  We’ve heard of all sorts of interesting treatments for Hashimoto’s over the years within mainstream medicine. One of the most jaw-dropping treatments for the management of Hashimoto’s was, “drink a lot of water.”  In our years of treating thyroid conditions, we’ve never had a patient tell us they drank enough water to suddenly cure their chronic autoimmune condition! It is incredibly frustrating to see just how sick patients are, along with the lack of answers they’ve received, (even with a diagnosis), and despite hormone treatment, they still feel terrible.  

We say all of this because it is important to find anything that could be causing the immune system dysregulation.  During an initial appointment it is so important to ask about past viral infections, previous living situations, past travel, past chemical exposure, etc. In our experience the patient has encountered something that could have dysregulated their immune system.  When we run lab tests dormant viral infections will more often than not come back positive. On their CBC (complete blood count) we will see changes to white blood cells, lymphocytes, neutrophils and increased inflammation.  Some of this blood work is off pathologically which means they are outside of the standard laboratory reference range and it was flagged, or it is only outside of the functional laboratory range, which is generally not flagged.  When additional labs are run, you will surely find a chronic infection that as been laying latent in the immune system. I find this always to be the case with Hashimoto’s patients.

So what causes the immune system to attack your thyroid?

One of the main chronic viruses we see in our Hashimoto’s cases is an old Epstein Barr infection.  EBV is also known as Mononucleosis. EBV is part of the Herpes family. These types of infections are opportunistic, which means they lay dormant for years until someone experiences a life event that compromises their immune system.  Lo and behold, that old virus rises up and creates havoc on the system. A common finding is a patient will be in a car accident, go through menopause, or a divorce, or similar stressful life event for example, and suddenly their health plummets. Another unfortunate issue we see in practice, is sometimes these viruses can be managed with antiviral herbs. What we find more often than not, is the herbs suppress the virus, but they do not eliminate it.  Then, when cold and flu season arrives they end up with the same upper respiratory infection they always come down with, or their reoccurring sinus infection comes back. This is most likely their weak area where some pathogens are already harboring.

Essentially, what happens is viruses, bacteria, and yeast overgrowth can create biofilms.  Biofilms are a protective barrier around pathogens that keep them protected from antivirals, antibiotics, and antifungals.  These pathogens are left active in the body even after a course of antifungal, antibiotic or antiviral medications. This goes for both mainstream medical and alternative treatments. Unless the practitioner is directly targeting the biofilms first, then the pathogen inside them, odds are good that they will continue to have biofilms around the infection (whatever infection that might be).  Those biofilms consistently create issues for your immune system. In every last one of our chronic cases, from Hashimoto’s to Addison’s disease, all of these patients have experienced Mononucleosis (Epstein Barr virus) or another unexplained infection, that was never diagnosed but they recount being “pretty sick” at some point in their history. These patients also generally have parasites, yeast overgrowth, SIBO, Helicobacter pylori (H.pylori) infections, and/or a combination of all 3, which is not uncommon.  Most of the patients all also have a chronic viral infection, like EBV.

Are you beginning to understand how all of these issues could weaken the body over time leading to immune system confusion?  

To make things worse, we factor in all of the chemicals we are exposed to every 7 days (estimated over 80,000 each week).  A large portion of these chemicals have not been studied for effects to the human body or its systems. A lot of the chemicals that have been studied are identified as “endocrine disruptors.”  An endocrine disruptor is something that can adversely affect your hormones.  Some of these chemicals also have a high likelihood of causing cancer. Did you know most tap water has detectable levels of chemicals known to cause cancer? You can check your zip code here. Many of the chemicals that we are exposed to can be found on www.ewg.org.  You can look up many of the products you use to clean your home, put on your skin or in processed food.  The Environmental Working Group’s website is a great source of information to help people make better informed decisions about the chemical exposure they can control in their homes, in their food and personal care items. You can view what types of things could be weakening the immune system (potentially carcinogenic), dysregulating hormones (endocrine disruptors), or causing unnecessary stress on your liver from their site.

Possible dietary contribution to Hashimoto’s:

The foods we eat play an important role in modulating the level of inflammation in our bodies and it helps keep our autoimmunity at bay or from worsening.

We will have another blog soon that covers food sensitivities, specifically.  That said, in order to determine food sensitivities we will have patients commit to an elimination diet or we will run a Cyrex Labs food sensitivity panel found here. Most patients have been through food allergy testing previously, which is different than food sensitivity testing.  A food allergy can be a life threatening histamine reaction and is much further down the spectrum than food sensitivity. If you have a food allergy, you must avoid that food at all costs. A food sensitivity can be very unpleasant and can cause the patient much harm, but they are generally less dramatic than an allergy and are technically different.

Food sensitivities create unnecessary inflammation in your system and cause the body to be inflamed. Because food sensitivities create an immune response, it is possible that repeated exposure to that item can eventually turn into an allergy. To add to the confusion a bit there are also foods that cross react to each other.  

Let’s say for example you have an allergy to wheat or even a sensitivity.  You avoid wheat because you feel bad when you eat it, mood changes, etc. You tend towards gluten-free products or eating additional rice.  Suddenly, you start to feel bad on your new diet. Certain foods can cross react to wheat in both food sensitivities and food allergies. Meaning, your body begins to develop a sensitivity to rice or tapioca. The body is now having an immune system reaction to other products or cross reacting to other types of grains.  If we can’t figure it out on an elimination diet, we use the Cyrex Array 4 to determine what other foods could be causing issues or progressing the autoimmune disease. Knowing what is a food sensitivity helps us craft a diet for optimal eating for the patient to reduce inflammation and decrease the immune system flares in the body.  Food we eat that we are sensitive to causes and immune reaction. An immune reaction is going to progress a disease like Hashimoto’s or any other autoimmune disease.

We hope this blog gives you some good ideas of what could be at the root cause of creating autoimmune flares and progressing autoimmune diseases like Hashimoto’s.

 


meal-delivery-1200x863.jpg

March 7, 2018 Ann BarterPosts

There is truly nothing to fear when it comes to changing your diet, if you’re open to the help of a little technology. Changing one’s diet can be extremely stressful for many. Particularly when they don’t feel that they have control over it, like when they’ve been told they must follow a specific protocol to help manage a chronic disease, or they resent the disruption to their normal routine. Admittedly, the initial changes can be an adjustment but thankfully, many enterprising chefs have decided you can take the guesswork out of your new protocol by letting them do the cooking at your place, (sort of). Meal and meal kit delivery is becoming increasingly popular among many. From time-crunched students, to busy families, to people needing to keep strict dietary compliance, these services are brilliant!

These types of services are extremely convenient and can be separated into two basic categories (although a few have hybrids of both). Some will prepare entire meals that are ready to be reheated and eaten, others, will deliver the fresh, prepped ingredients with detailed cooking instructions and you prepare the rest of the meal yourself. We don’t recommend one type of service over the other, we think the best way to consider them, beside which may fit a specific protocol best, is how much do you enjoy, or how much time do you have, to devote to being in the kitchen? Is part of using a delivery service attractive to you because you don’t have to cook? That’s completely fair and is exactly why these services exist in the first place! There’s also absolutely nothing to say you can’t use more than one service, either. Regardless of where your meals may be coming from, we all eat so many times a day, so many times a week, right? For someone who loves to cook, but only when they have time on the weekends, that may mean using one service a few days a week and another for the weeknights when they’re in a hurry, which provides fully prepared meals that save time. That may sound like a hassle, but with easy to use mobile apps and desktop sites to work with, it can certainly still be easier than pouring through cookbooks and websites and trying untested recipes, then slogging to the dreaded grocery store to collect everything you need.

After looking over so many of the menus offered by the companies we’ll talk about below, we can say their prices are all fair for their offerings.  If you’re the type of cook who ends up with a lot of waste at the end of the week, we can even go as far as saying they can be money savers, too. As always, we are not affiliated with any of these services and aim only to help our patients and readers on their journey with dietary change, and helping them make informed decisions while they learn about new strategies for eating. Improving their quality of life while we’re at it never hurts, either.  If our unaffiliated status should ever change, we will update this blog to reflect any new relationship(s).

We used several broad criteria when selecting which of these services to recommend. To begin, we looked for companies that support specific dietary protocols such as: Paleo, Keto, Autoimmune Protocol (AIP), vegetarian, gluten-free, vegan and more. Then, of course, we checked pricing, because that’s just logic taking over. We think it makes the most sense to judge each of them for their own value, instead of judging them against each other, because in many cases it can be like comparing apples to oranges. Companies that offer organic, antibiotic, hormone and GMO-free foods were especially attractive to us for a myriad of health and environmental reasons. And finally, if they aim to provide local and/or sustainable meat and produce, that was all the better!

Without further ado.

SunBasket.com – This service met many of our criteria easily. In terms of the protocols they support, there are many, including: Paleo, gluten-free, vegetarian, and a proprietary menu they call Lean+Clean (which we have not reviewed specifically and cannot recommend for any one particular protocol. That is not to say we will not review it in a future blog, or that we do not encourage you to do your own research if you are interested, please do!). They use sustainable and organic foods in their recipes and are committed to using only hormone and antibiotic free meats. Their seafood is always recommended as Best Choice or Good Alternative by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch Program. Their recipes are designed to be on the table in 30 minutes, so they’re great for weeknights. Orders come delivered weekly in 100% recyclable packing materials. With their Classic Menu they offer 18 menus to choose from at $6.16 per serving. Family menus have 6 menus to choose from at $6.62 per serving.

Plated.com – We will begin with the caveat that they do not offer protocol specific menus, rather, “Globally inspired, Chef designed menus.” That said, they offer so many mix and match dishes that depending upon the dish and protocol, this service might still very well work for you. They offer 20 recipes to choose from and even a “rate and review” option that helps curate future menus for you. That was something we only noticed Plated doing and believe it’s another reason to check them out, even if they may not list your specific protocol, they may still very well have dishes that fit all your criteria. They are committed to sustainable fishing, and serve only hormone and antibiotic free meats, supplementing with organic ingredients when possible. They use a volume pricing method, meaning the more servings you buy, the less expensive they become. 2-3 servings are $11.95 each while 4 or more drop to $9.95. They offer free shipping on orders over $60.

GreenChef.com – This service really stood out to us due to their seriousness towards gluten-free cooking. They were the first meal delivery service to be certified with the Gluten Intolerance Group’s GFFS program. That gives us much confidence when recommending gluten-free eaters check them out. In addition to their gluten free menus they also offer: omnivore, carnivore, Paleo, Keto, vegan, and vegetarian menus. Many of which come in Family size. They use all organic ingredients. Their pricing is fairly straightforward but dependent upon which menus you order from and how many you are feeding. From their site:

“Our pricing is based on the plan you choose and how many people will be eating each dinner.

2-Person Plan: 1 box contains 3 dinners for 2 people (6 meals/servings total per box).

Family Plan: 1 box contains 2 dinners for a family of four, served family-style for parents and kids (8 meals/servings total per box).

Vegetarian $10.49 per meal

Omnivore $11.99 per meal

Vegan $11.99 per meal

Carnivore $13.49 per meal

Gluten-free $13.49 per meal

Paleo $14.99 per meal

Note: Based on the protein preferences you set for the Omnivore or Carnivore Plan, you may receive a menu that falls under a different meal plan. Don’t worry—we’ll always charge you the lower price of the two plans.

Family Omnivore $11.99 per meal

Family Carnivore $12.99 per meal

Note: Above prices do not include $9 shipping and handling per box.”

CavemanChefs.com – This is a Colorado-based company directly serving the Denver-metro area, but they do offer next day shipping to areas outside of it. One of the things we found interesting is that they provide pick up locations at many CrossFit boxes in the area, killing two birds with one stone for many. What could be better than a workout then returning home with dinner without an additional stop? As their name implies, they focus on preparing Paleo meals and even Paleo catering, which is especially awesome when you’re hosting an event but don’t want to derail your dietary progress. As we were looking around their site we noticed they also offer menus for SIBO, low fodmap, Keto, Whole30 and PaleoAIP. In fact, according to their site, they are the first SIBO-specific meal delivery service in the U.S.! They offer up to 10 meals each week to choose from. As well, they are champions of environmental stewardship, sustainability, and humanely raised meats.They offer 100% grass-fed wagyu beef and lamb. As well as 100% antibiotic and hormone free pork and chicken, and wild caught Alaskan and verlasso salmon. They strive to use local, organic, and seasonal vegetables when available. One thing we noticed, that really set them apart from other services, is that they are willing to work with their customers in customizing meals, which means if you have an allergy or another dietary restriction they are there to help. Not that we’re saying other companies are inflexible, but some of their business models just don’t allow for substitutions or omissions, so they may not work for everyone. You can call or email to talk with their staff of professional chefs to keep you safe and healthy! We found that to be especially appealing for people with very strict protocols. We have added a link to their pricing page, because they offer a lot of options, including ordering by the pound, and we thought it might be easier to view it as they have it neatly presented on their site instead of run-on sentences trying to explain!

SupperBell.com – Is another Colorado-based delivery service, with a familiar name at the helm, Chef Frank Bonnano. Many of you who live in and around the Denver-metro area may be familiar with his family of restaurants that include Luca, Mizuna, Bones, Osteria Marco, to name but a few. If you have ever eaten at any of them, you can see why we’d recommend this service from their Chef! They provide a filter feature for their menus that you can select from: gluten-free, nut-free, Paleo, vegetarian, Light’NFit, and dairy free. These filters can be applied across entrees, sides/salads, breakfasts, families, and kids. And speaking of kids, there’s even something for the littlest ones! SupperBell offers their own line of baby food! Called Baby Fresh, they offer 4 stages of organic items ranging from purees to solids for babies 6 months to all ages. They work with many local and sustainable purveyors such as Seattle Fish Co., Polidori Sausage, The Spice Guy, and 5280 Culinary. Their pricing and ordering system reminds us of restaurant takeout just slightly, in that you can place your order day-of (by 3:00 p.m. local time), dishes aren’t priced the same across board but rather a la carte, and are delivered later that day between a time-window pre-selected by the customer. There are no contracts and a low order minimum of just $10 with a $2.95 delivery fee in their delivery zone.

Finally, we came across a website and Facebook page for a new service called SimplyAIP. They haven’t started delivery yet but will be launching their service this Spring (2018). They will be specializing in Autoimmune Protocol-friendly meals, treats and indulgences, which we are very excited to check out! Their Facebook page is already chock-full of information, recipes and blog links. We highly recommend you check them out, very informative! There tends to be a real sense of community among AIP’ers and we expect their pages to be no different. They also currently have an email sign up on their web page so you can be on their list for grand opening information and notifications. We have been in contact with SimplyAIP, and will be updating our blog once they have hit the ground running with all the news and information we can provide! We think they’re going to be a tremendous new resource for those following the AIP protocol!

In all, we are really excited these services exist and strongly recommend doing your own research to see which fits your specific needs and budget. We know that changing your diet, or following a strict protocol every day, can be stressful and intimidating for most people, especially at first. Even if you don’t use a meal delivery service 7 nights a week, the times you may can certainly be a great jumping off point to learn about your new protocol, the ins and outs, and get some future meal inspirations for when you are feeling more comfortable and confident in your protocol. We are huge proponents of saving time and remaining as stress-free as possible and these services are right up our alley. Imagine the time you can reserve for other pursuits to enhance your health such as going to the gym, taking a yoga class or meditation. Certainly makes cooking sound a little less appealing when there are convenient, healthy and reliable options like these!





Discover a new you today!






Discover a new you today!





Copyright by Alternative Family Medicine 2019. All rights reserved.



Copyright by Alternative Family Medicine 2019. All rights reserved.