Ultimate step to Healthy Life
Every autoimmune disease, such as multiple scleroses (MS), rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis and every degenerative disease including cardiovascular (hart attach, storoke, etc) and cancer are known to be triggered by autoimmune conditions – inflammation.
And autoimmune conditions are triggered by Genetics, Leaky Gut, and Environment.
The good news is that out of these three, you can control Leaky Gut and Environment. If everyone took preventative steps in their gut
health and environment, we could reduce the incidence of these diseases dramatically.
8 Steps to Minimize Environmental Toxin Exposure
- Air filter — investing in a quality air filter that removes pollens, dusts, and other allergens will go a long way in reducing toxic body burden.
- Food — organic or naturally-grown products as much as possible—many synthetic pesticides and herbicides are known carcinogens and contributors to chronic disease. If budget or availability is an issue, focus on the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) “Dirty Dozen” and “Clean 15” Shopper’s Guides. This alone will reduce your exposure tremendously resulting in better health.
- Natural skin, hair, and dental products — some of the most toxic, unregulated chemicals we consume come in the form of trendy creams, soaps, toothpaste, and hair care products. Use EWG’s Skin Deep Database to search for thousands of affordable alternatives for the whole family.
- Water Filter — clean water is of the utmost importance to maintaining overall health. Though any filter is better than no filter, experts recommend choosing a filter that removes chlorine, heavy metals (beyond lead), pharmaceuticals, fluoride (a classified neurotoxin), pesticides, and herbicides. We recommend EWG’s Water Filter Buying Guide to compare brands and make the best choice for you.
- Ditch toxic conventional cleaners — highly unregulated, popular chemical-based household cleaners are an absolute nightmare of poisonous carcinogens, fragrances, and other deadly toxins that have been linked to a slew of chronic diseases—from cancer to asthma. For a list of the best non-toxic cleaners use EWG’s Guide to Healthy Cleaning. In fact, White vinegar and baking soda, work as powerful cleaners.
- Take shoes off in your house – Shoes carry in all kinds of disease-causing bacteria and toxins and chemicals, including heavy metals, Roundup and whatever you tracked in from the street (or public bathroom). When they land on your carpet or floor, you are contaminating your home environment.
- Do not use non-stick pans which contain carcinogenic chemicals, instead opt for stainless steel, cast iron, or enameled cast iron
- Ditch bottled water—water in plastic bottles is often contaminated with BPA and other plastic-based chemicals. Opt instead for home-filtered water in stainless steel or glass containers or water bottled in glass.
Controlling Intestinal Permeability aka “leaky gut syndrome”
Leaky gut is typically caused by stress, food sensitivities, drugs such as NSAIDs and antibiotics, poor gut bacteria diversity, infections, and lifestyle choices.
- Reduce stress – Thanks to the discovery of the gut-brain connection, many experts now believe that stress, not diet, is the #1 cause and aggravator of leaky gut. Gut-brain connection means whatever you worry about in your head goes straight to your gut. If you’re serious about gut health you must take daily measures to reduce stress and calm your mind.
Meditation, spending time with loved ones, listening to music, laughing, exercise, and
journaling have all been shown to help reduce stress if practiced regularly.
- Eat gut-friendly foods – You want to eat foods that encourage the proliferation of “good” bacteria as opposed to “bad” bacteria.
Sugars, in the form of sweets and refined carbohydrates, feed “bad” bacteria in the gut which degrades the intestinal wall over time.
Also, research has shown limiting or avoiding gluten can go a long way in restoring your gut lining.
- Stop over-sanitizing – Many experts, including those quoted in a 2016 New York Times article entitled: “Educate Your Immune System”, believe we have weakened our immunity through over-sanitization and overreliance on drugs.
The simple solution? Get dirty! Within reason of course.
But you can make a HUGE difference to your gut diversity by spending time outdoors, ditching chemical hand sanitizer in favor of soap and water, buying your food direct from farmers, opening windows, hugging your pets, allowing your immune system to be challenged and strengthened by fighting a viral illness without drugs, and playing around in the dirt.
Handling Chronic Disease
The solution here is to start taking steps away from costly treatments, and go towards root-cause resolution of chronic disease.
- Seek Functional Medicine approach. There are dozens of studies to support the root-cause approach to disease. Perhaps the most well-known is that of the Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Functional Medicine, which has doubled its size since its opening in 2014, based on their wild success in treating patients primarily using nutrition and natural therapies. This approach has been shown to improve patient outcomes while reducing overall costs, making it a model for future Functional Medicine hospital centers.
- Partner with a root-cause resolution specialist who understands your condition. The Functional Medicine team at Knew Health, led by Dr. Jeffrey Gladd, MD are experts at helping members get to the root cause of their health issues using signature approach to cost-effective, root-cause resolution. www.knewhealth.com.
Know about Medications
- GoodRx.com — to locate the best price on medications in your area. Often the cost difference can be dramatic.
- Ask about generics rather than brand name.
- Consider drug alternatives — ask yourself: is your medication leading you to a sustainable state of health? If not, it’s time to re-think that and consider alternatives. A Functional Medicine physician can help you safely explore options in the field of nutrition, movement, supplements, herbs, and other proven natural remedies that have far fewer potential side effects or long term dependency issues.
- Use Mytavin.com to avoid drug-induced nutrient deficiencies—we are rarely told about the impact drugs can have on our nutrient levels—like B12, iron, CoQ10, magnesium, and vitamin D. Drug-induced nutrient deficiencies can create a host of problems and future ailments such as anemia, osteoporosis, and heart disease (to name but a few) if we aren’t aware of them. Simply taking suppliment could improve your health.
- Check rxlist.com for the nitty gritty on side effects—to help you make better informed decisions and stay ahead of potentially dangerous side-effects.
- Create greater health from within—when you build greater health from within, you can often eliminate your need for a drug and discontinue it from a place of strength (saving both costs and side effects).
Direct Primary Care Provider (DPCP) may be able to advise his patients on a variety of cost saving tips, including:
- Use of generic prescriptions
- Discounted lab work negotiated directly through his office
- Tips on where to get the best price on imagery and diagnostics
- Medical tourism guidance—where patients are advised on where they could travel to save on a medical procedure, with more than enough left over to recover whilst enjoying a relaxing vacation
www.knewhealth.com is one of the sources learning about the benefits of Functional Medicine, at the best possible price.
Health Promoting Tip
- Optimize Your Food and Nutrition
The goal here is simple: eat real, whole, natural food.
One of the simplest ways to get healthier is to remove all processed food from your home, and focus on eating real foods that don’t come out of a bag, box, or factory.
Choosing organic or naturally-grown as much as possible will go a long way in preventing toxicity and reducing the negative effects of pesticides and herbicides.
Anti-inflammatory food protocols like AIP (Auto-Immune Protocol) are robust and well researched.
As an example of inflammatory foods, gluten promotes intestinal permeability (which causes the immune system to be overwrought), and should be eliminated from the diet of everyone who has a chronic or autoimmune disease.
- Avoid Toxins and Enhance Detoxification
Avoid toxins in your food and
Enhance your consumption of the following detox-enhancing foods:
- Brassica vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, brussels sprouts, and kale)
- Leafy greens
- Organic berries
- Healthy fats (coconut oil, pasture-raised butter, and extra virgin olive oil)
- Pasture-raised meats and poultry
- Cultured foods—probiotic-rich foods like yogurt, sauerkraut, and kombucha support gut health
- Green and white teas
- Wild mushrooms such as shiitakes, oysters, and porcini
- Stay Hydrated
Studies have shown just 2-4% dehydration can lead to cognitive impairments including poor memory, lack of focus, and comprised critical thinking.
Health experts recommend aiming for at least 8 glasses of pure, filtered water per day. This will help keep your energy and focus sharp while enhancing detoxification, promoting healthy skin, and supporting all bodily functions.
To get the most blood-cleansing, stress-relieving, energy-boosting oxygen from our air, we need to practice deep belly breathing.
The easiest way to do this is to take a deep breath in through your nose, filling your belly, without raising your shoulders. You want your belly to stick out as you breathe in. Then exhale through your mouth…”ahhhh”. Repeat 10-30 deep belly breaths every hour or so.
By becoming aware of our breath, we will naturally breathe better thus enhancing our body’s oxygen supply.
- Exercise and Move
Make it a point to get 20-30 minutes of exercise a day and as much natural movement as possible. To increase your natural movement, you may try using a standing desk, walking to work, or taking public transit, gardening, taking the stairs, sitting on an exercise ball at work, or mowing your neighbor’s lawn.
However you do it, incorporating more exercise and movement in your life will help maintain a healthy weight, move your bowels, enhance detoxification, improve your mood, and increase self-esteem.
- Quality Sleep
If you have trouble falling asleep, try these simple strategies:
•Get enough exercise during the day
•Shut off devices 2-3 hours before bed
•Naturally enhance melatonin production (your master sleep hormone) by getting 20-30 minutes of bright morning light and keeping your room completely dark at night
•Meditate and/or journal before bed
•Stop caffeine consumption after 2PM
•Drink calming herbal teas before bed such a chamomile, lavender, lemon balm, skullcap, or valerian
•Eat protein at dinner to avoid blood sugar crashes at night
•Avoid alcohol before bed for deeper, uninterrupted sleep
- Reduce stress levels with restorative practices
•Try any of these restorative practices daily, to reduce stress and recharge your batteries:
•Connecting with friends and loved ones
•Listening to music
•Time in nature
•Earthing or “grounding”—the practice of connecting your bare skin to the Earth via walking around barefoot, gardening, or using an earthing mat
- Connect through Community
Studies have shown that loneliness and social isolation are now a leading cause of mortality in affluent countries, particularly in middle-aged men.
- Take your social life seriously and get out there!
Reducing Medical Cost
Paying cash can help even the insured negotiate and save thousands of dollars on medical procedures.
Sites like www.clearhealthcosts.com compare rates at different hospitals.
For lab tests, you may want to use Know. At Knew, they offer members deep discounts (up to 97%) on lab work, through their direct relationship with one of the nation’s largest medical laboratories. Check out the chart below to compare savings through Knew membership.
If your Functional Medicine practitioner does not have negotiated rates with a lab, or is not covered by your insurance you may be able to save in two ways:
- Have the recommended lab panels run independently through a direct-to-patient laboratory (yes, you can have your own labs run independent of your doctor).
- Or, have your primary care physician run the labs, then bring the results to your Functional Medicine practitioner for interpretation and recommendations.
Take Advantage of Direct-to-Patient Testing Services
Knowing your genetic profile is an incredibly powerful tool in crafting your health strategy.
Direct-to-patient genetic tests like 23andme allow anyone to get a full picture of their genetic history, including ancestry and what diseases, deficiencies, genetic mutations, and other health hurdles you may be prone to. Once you have your results, you then plug them into an assessment tool that analyzes the variants into a useful report.
The results last forever and the cost is minimal.
You can then take your results to your practitioner and/or start taking steps to adjust your lifestyle accordingly. Either way, the power to prevent costly diseases is in your hands.
Get Familiar with Biomarker Testing
A key part of owning your own health is not only assessing it daily (e.g. How do I feel?) but assessing it objectively on a regular basis.
The challenge with conventional approaches to lab work assessment is that physicians are (1) mostly assessing downstream markers and (2) waiting for the markers to become so negative that there is a “condition” to diagnose.
This is not the approach that’s going to keep you staying well and saving money in the process.
For example, most physicians will measure your fasting glucose as a marker of blood sugar management. And as long as your level is within “normal reference range”, you will likely be told you are “fine”.
However, by the time your fasting glucose rises high enough to be flagged by a conventional doc, you already have pre-diabetes. In this case, “fine” doesn’t mean optimal; in fact, it doesn’t even mean “healthy”.
Behind the scenes, your fasting glucose has likely been trending higher and higher over several years. Yes, years! You will have missed many opportunities to change your day-to-day choices and avoid disease and diagnoses.
With the education from qualified practitioners, you would know the optimal zone for fasting glucose. Plus, we would recommend you check fasting insulin as well, a marker that typically becomes suboptimal years before blood sugar starts to be affected.
There are many scientifically rigorous opportunities like this. You can measure oxidative stress to know if your body needs more antioxidants. You can measure homocysteine to see if you are having trouble with methylation (genetics don’t tell the full story on their own!).
Good Health Websites and Apps
- Wearable Health and Fitness Trackers—like FitBit® and Jawbone®
- Myfitnesspal.com to track nutrition, hydration, exercise and more
- Mywaterbalance or Waterloggedto help you stay hydrated
- Natural Cycles contraception app is as effective as the pill with no drugs or side-effects
- Headspace a meditation app with specific packs for sleep, focus, performance, relaxation, and more
- InnerBalance is a biofeedback program you can use on your phone or computer to help balance your stress levels and reduce anxiety
- Healthyout helps you make better foods choices when eating out
- The Environmental Working Group’s Healthy Living Apps allow you to scan any food or personal care product barcode to check for toxicity, nutrition, GMO status, and more…
- Clue for women to track their periods and fertility
- Mamanatural weekly pregnancy updates for health-minded parents including natural remedies to ease common ailments, baby updates, and more
- Anylist helps families or couples collaborate on a single shopping list, set up location-specific reminders for certain items (eg: if you’re at Whole Foods and don’t want to forget your favorite yogurt)
- 100 Days of Real Food Menu Planning free recipes, menu planning, and shopping lists with a focus on real, whole foods
- nudgu.com helps families caring for themselves and elder loved ones to stay in touch and have a reliable system in place to maintain healthy habits