I am excited about changes coming to the office space at DuPage Family Wellness. In the next 6 months, we will be painting, decorating, and building a consultation room. In the mean time, I've started with step 1: The lending library.
The Lending Library is Open Now!
There will be 3 types of information for you to use:
- Books: I have my entire collection of books available to you in a lending library! These range from cookbooks, to books about movement, to books about breastfeeding and more! If you want to read them, I am happy to loan them to you! Need a recommendation for your situation? I am happy to provide that as well! Please borrow the books while you are using them, but if you find them sitting around on your coffee table, bring them back so someone else can learn!
- Magazines: I have subscribed to some new magazines including Pathways to Family Wellness and Paleo Magazine.
If you arrive early for your appointment- or just want to swing by and hang out, these resources provide valuable information for your journey to health! New information and research about health improvement comes out all the time. I try to keep learning and make sense of all this information for myself, my family, and my patients. We are all constantly striving to become healthier.
My passion is teaching others to improve their health, get relief from chronic health conditions, and feel great!
If you are interested in improving your health, please use the resources that I am extending to you, and tell a friend who is looking to improve their health as well!
Dr. Jamie Thomure
There is a buzz about bees in the media lately. The bee populations have been declining. Why is this so important?
“If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe, then man would have only four years of life left. No more bees, no more pollination, no more plants, no more animals, no more man.” --- attributed to Albert Einstein
Did you know that one in every three bites of food originates from plants either pollinated by honeybees or other pollinators (butterflies and moths)?
Although there is not one leading cause for the decline in the honey bee population, several recent occurrences have become the perfect storm and are being blamed for this sudden decline.
- Chemicals. The emergence and dramatic increase in the use of pesticides and herbicides has a detrimental effect on bees. The chemicals are ingested as the bees make their regular pollination rounds. A specific class of pesticides called neonicotinoids causes particular concern. These synthetic pesticides are commonly used in farming and home landscaping and are a featured ingredient in many standard brand name gardening products. Unfortunately, there is no label that a pesticides or insecticide may be harmful to bees, and the active ingredient has many different names including Acetamiprid, Clothianidin, Dinotefuran, Imidacloprid, Nitenpyram, Thiocloprid, Thiamethoxam.
- Electromagnetic radiation. Another modern day convenience, cell phone and wireless communication towers, has dramatically increased the amount of electromagnetic radiation in the atmosphere. This radiation is thought to effect the ability of the honey bee to navigate its way back to its hive. A study done at a German University found that honeybees would not return to their hive when cell phones were placed nearby.
- Global Warming. Scientists suspect that global warming has caused an increase in the population of mites, viruses, and fungi that are known to attack bee colonies. Furthermore,dramatic hot and cold temperature swings may interfere with bee populations accustomed to more consistent seasonal temperatures.
What is the impact?
A Whole Foods in Providence, Rhode Island demonstrated the drastic impact that the loss of honeybees and other pollinators could have on our food (see photos). They removed the food from their shelves that would no longer exist without these valuable insects. 237 of 453 products (52%) had to be removed. More than 85% of the plant species on Earth require pollinators to exist. Among the most popular produce items to be removed include apples, onions, avocados, carrots, mangos, lemons, limes, honeydew, cantaloupe, zucchini, summer squash, eggplant, cucumbers, celery, green onions, cauliflower, leeks, bok choy, kale, broccoli, and mustard greens.
What can you do? In order to turn this around, commit to being part of the change.
- Buy organic. Organic food is not only better for your health, it’s one of the simplest ways you can support the health of pollinating insects.
- Be conscious of the products you are using. There are many ways to solve lawn and garden pest problems without using harsh chemicals. Use google to find natural remedies.
- Garden. When you grow clean flowers and fruit, you provide healthy plants for bees and other pollinators to pollinate.
- Joelle Kurczodyna NTP
Every month I attend a seminar called the "Functional Forum", a meeting to help clinicians use the latest scientific discoveries to take better care patients with complex chronic diseases. Last week, the keynote speaker was one of my favorite medical doctors/authors.
I love attending talks like this. First, because I'm a bit of a nerd so it's always fun to learn new ideas. Second, because they inspire me. This talk confirmed that I am on the right track with the messages I am sending to all of you, which inspires me to keep it up!
Who was this speaker?
Terry Wahls MD. The author of The Wahls Protocol.
Why does she inspire me?
Dr. Wahls is a medical doctor who was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) in the early 2000s. She looked to experts for the best treatment possible for her disease. She went to the Cleveland Clinic, where doctors prescribed medication to suppress her immune system. To her surprise, she got worse. She knew that MS was a progressive disease, but she did not expect it to progress so quickly. Soon Dr. Wahls was limited to a tilt recline wheelchair, and could not support her own body weight.
Dr. Wahls decided that she was an intelligent doctor and there must be a better solution, so she went to the research. She found potential experimental drugs, but decided they would be too difficult to get quickly, and that they might not even work. Her next line of research was nutrition. Little do most people know that medical doctors have little, if any, training in nutrition. She found some studies on how certain nutrients might be helpful, but she did not know what foods contained those nutrients. She started using her body as an experiment, giving it as many nutrients as possible. Much to her surprise. her condition improved. In 1 year, she went from being in a wheelchair to bicycling 18 miles! She stopped taking the medication, and realized that the nutrients in real whole foods were healing her body! She was amazed at how the body can heal itself when you give it what it needs, and remove the junk that is getting in the way and causing the body to attack itself!
What did I learn at the seminar?
Dr. Wahls explained that autoimmune disease means that the body is attacking itself. but it manifests itself in different ways in different people:
- Multiple sclerosis: the body attacks the myelin surrounding the nerves.
- Diabetes: the body attacks the insulin producing cells in the pancreas,
- Psoriasis: the body attacks the skin,
- So many more: I have a list of well over 100 autoimmune conditions if you are curious about something specific!
Dr. Wahls is relentless to get studies done to show that nutrition protocols are effective. It has been an uphill battle because there are no big companies with financial interest in seeing this happen. She has finally received grant money to fund her research and the initial results are phenomenal!
She currently works at a VA hospital. She has been working with veterans who struggle from conditions like obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, pain, post traumatic stress/traumatic brain injury, and sexual dysfunction. She has realized that the protocols that helped with her multiple sclerosis are also helpful for these veterans. The veterans that have complied with her protocols for 100 days have seen improvements with all of these conditions WHILE LOWERING their medications! That's right, they were able to take less pain medication, less blood pressure medication, etc- while having fewer symptoms! She has also been granted money to begin a comprehensive randomized nutrition study on MS patients.
So what does this mean for you?
First, it means I am re-inspired to keep telling you to eat real food (vegetables, meats, some fruit) and to ditch the crap (all things processed). I know that you might think I am a broken record, but it is so important for any condition or pain that you are struggling with. If you aren't giving your body all of the right ingredients and nutrients, you can't expect it to heal properly and perform the way it is supposed to perform.
Second, I was inspired by Dr. Wahls to be more direct with people who ask for my help. If you want to see real changes and improvements in your health. you might need to make some big changes! Dr. Wahls expects 100% compliance from her patients for 100 days. This seems like a big commitment, but when it is your health were talking about, you are worth it! Making big changes will get you real results which will inspire you to keep going.
If you are curious about the changes Dr. Wahls made to her diet, watch her Ted Talk on You Tube
Start thinking about changes you'd like to make. If you are ready to make some changes, and need help figuring out how to get started, please Contact Me!
If you know anyone suffering from Multiple Sclerosis (MS) or any other autoimmune disease. please share this with them!
When I was studying nutrition in college, one of my professors always told us “everything in moderation.” I clung to this well known saying and used it to excuse my occasional (but really more like daily) consumption of sweets and treats. I have since come to believe that this is not the best advice.
What is Moderation?
Moderation: the avoidance of extremes or excesses
The first problem is that it's there are no "rules" to know what moderation means. Who decides what is extreme or excess? There was a recent study to delve into this concept more. Researchers found that not only was everyone's definition of moderation different, but the more people liked a certain food, the more they considered moderate. They almost always set their definition of what was moderate above the amount that they ate- therefore passing off their own behavior as being moderate.
I really like ice cream- so in my mind when I used to have a bowl of ice cream everyday- I was still under the threshold of eating it "in moderation."
You may have problems even if you can avoid excess.
Several years ago, Dr. Jamie told me this analogy, which has resonated with me. Think about this:
When you are born, you have a cup. Each person’s cup is unique, some very small and others, quite large (based on your genes). The cup represents how much junk (stress, toxins, sugar, etc) that your body can handle before showing external signs of break down. For those with smaller cups, you may notice symptoms beginning from a young age ranging in severity from headaches or digestive issues to more serious chronic disease. For those with larger cups, you may be able to go a long time in life before experiencing any negative side effects from your diet and lifestyle choices.
Although this analogy is simplistic, it illustrates why you may not remain healthy if you consume “everything in moderation” forever.
Once your cup overflows, “everything in moderation” is not good advice. At this point, your body is trying desperately to fix itself, while giving you warning signals that something is not right. If you ignore these signals, every little bit causes more damage to your body. When this happens, taking drastic measures for a time will allow your body to heal, remove the warning signs, and restore health.
I often hear people say, “But I’ve done that my whole life” in regards to eating a certain diet or some other lifestyle habit. This leads to the belief that the diet or lifestyle choice could not possibly be tied to whatever negative symptom they are experiencing. Unfortunately or fortunately, your body works hard to keep you healthy. You can abuse it for quite awhile, depending on the size of your cup, before the signs of damage begin to show. The poor choices we make "in moderation” lead to damaging consequences over time.
What advice would I give instead?
My advice would be to listen to your body. If you experience a negative health symptom, your body is trying to send you a message. Do not ignore these symptoms. Rather, dig deep and reach out to figure out the root cause of the symptom you’re experiencing. It just might be caused by the thing that you are "doing in moderation".
What kind of negative health symptoms could be caused by this "overflowing cup?"
The list is long, but here are a few: constipation, diarrhea, bloating, heart burn, joint pain, arthritis, acne, dry skin, allergies, poor blood sugar control, anxiety, depression, headaches, high cholesterol, asthma, fatigue, brain fog, and many more.
Many people have at least one of these symptoms and live with it thinking it is normal. They either think that there is nothing they can do, or that the only solution is to take medication. What most people don't realize is that diet and lifestyle changes could alleviate their symptoms altogether!
This week we have two challenges for you:
1. Think about what you are doing. Notice when you convince yourself that something is OK because it is "in moderation", when you know it's not a good thing. For many people (myself included), avoiding unhealthy foods altogether is easier then just eating a little.
2. Pay attention to your body. Are you ignoring symptoms? Do you assume your aches and pains or digestive symptoms are normal, or just something have to live with?
Do you have any questions or want to discuss this with us? Simply reply to this email, or head over to our facebook page and comment there!
- Joelle Kurczodyna NTP
I have a confession to make. Four years ago, I was a couponer, and we ate the Standard American Diet (SAD) full of processed, convenience foods. I got home from the grocery store, proudly spread my purchases on the table, and made my husband guess how much I paid for everything. I could buy a table full of “food” for just a few dollars. I now understand that this "food" was not really food at all, but chemical fillers with few nutrients. The "food" was cheap, but when I think about the long term effect on our health, it was NOT really cheap.
When we switched to eating a real, whole food diet I was concerned about how much it would cost. As an extreme couponer, I got most processed foods for almost free, but there are few, if any, coupons for fruits, vegetables, or meat. If you are not an extreme couponer, processed, packaged foods are expensive.
When you switch to a real food diet, you will spend more produce and meat, but you will no longer need to buy the processed foods.
- Buy a bag of carrots rather than a bag of chips
- Buy a dozen eggs rather than a box of pop-tarts
You get more nutrients per dollar when you buy real food compared to processed food containing fillers and few nutrients.
We've been able to eat real food on a tight budget. To break it down, here is the monthly grocery budget for our family of two:
- $100 for meat from a CSA at Walnut Acres Farm. (They are wonderful people. If you sign up, tell them Joelle sent you!)
- $250 for everything else (fruit, veggies, and other staples). I take this money out as cash each month, so I know exactly how much I spend and do not exceed that amount.
For the month of July, I challenged myself to shop local. I shopped only at farmers markets and a small health food store within walking distance. Why? If you go back to reading the post "Should I Buy Organic Produce?". I realized that the absolute best option for our health is to buy locally and sustainably grown food. As an added bonus, this benefits the local community and the environment. It was not that difficult to shop local in July, and I plan to continue this challenge.
Now, back to the budget. With a little creativity, I can stick to my new shop local policy and stay within the budget. You can do this too! Here are a few tips to help you stretch your dollar:
- Buy what is plentiful and in season. Whether you are at the grocery store or a local farmer’s market, you will notice that there is an abundance of the items that are in-season, and the price of these goes down to sell them while they are fresh. These are the bulk of the items that I buy. In July, we ate a zucchini, a variety of greens, cabbage, onions, kohlrabi, broccoli, and cucumbers. Although, I mainly stuck with these less expensive, in-season foods, I supplemented them with a few more expensive items like berries, potatoes and carrots. The beauty of buying in-season is that as the weeks go by and the seasons change, the in-season foods are also constantly changing. Although we’ve been eating zucchini now, I know that that soon there will be an abundance of tomatoes and not long after that winter squash will be in season.
- Use all of what you buy. A great way to stretch your money is to eat the entire edible portion of what you buy, without letting any go to waste. For example, in our recent seasonal spotlight on beets, you will notice that the recipe included both the beets and the beet greens. Add items that you aren’t sure what to do with to a stir fry or soup. If it’s a vegetable try roasting it (see "Making Vegetables the Taste Good").
- Don’t be afraid to try new foods. Prior to this challenge, I shopped at Aldi. While there are a lot of things that I like about Aldi, I was stuck in a rut when it came to buying produce. Along with the idea of point #1, often the things that are cheaper may not be the things that we are used to buying or even think that we like. I’ve been pleasantly surprised when I tried radishes, rutabagas, kohlrabi, and a variety of greens this month.
- Buy in bulk when appropriate. Buying in bulk can save you money if the items freeze well. I specifically noticed this with berries. I could buy a very small container of blueberries for $3-$4 or I could buy the 5 lb box for $15. I opted for the 5 lb box and immediately portioned out what I thought we’d eat for the next few days and put the rest in the freezer. Now we are able to enjoy blueberries all month and a fraction of the price, I am actually snacking on some frozen blueberries and walnuts right now. Keep point #2 in mind and only buy and freeze items that you know you will eat, so the food does not go to waste.
- Get to know your farmer. One of the reasons that we did the shop local challenge was to connect with local people that grow the food that we eat. Once you build that relationship, you might be able to barter services for veggies, purchase the less pretty and therefore less desirable produce at a lower price, or buy leftover produce for less at the end of the day. Even without these advantages, I feel so much better knowing where my food comes from, and I am excited to directly support the people that are growing and raising my food.
I’d love to hear about tips and tricks that you have found to save money on your food bill! Connect with us on facebook.
Joelle Kurczodyna, NTP
@kfamilygoessustainable on Instagram
Recently I was fascinated by a podcast featuring breakthrough work in the area of human genomics to discover the common factors of populations that live the longest.
The term “Blue Zone” has been coined for the five regions that have a significantly greater concentration of centenarians, that is, people that live to be at least one hundred. There are five areas that have been named Blue Zones, which include: Ikaria, Greece; Okinawa, Japan; Ogliastra Region, Sardinia; Loma Linda, CA; and Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica.
Scientists have learned that both lifestyle and diet have the ability to turn on and off genes that contribute to longevity and robust health.
Common Lifestyle Factors
People move their bodies - a lot. They walk, and garden, and have an active life.
Healthy lifestyle is important to the entire community ! They have close social circles that reinforce healthy behaviors.
Time to de-stress daily is part of the culture. There are different traditions in each area including siesta (afternoon nap), a happy hour sort of tradition, or a daily time for prayer and meditation.
The centenarians are an integral part of their communities, often religious communities. These people were not alone but had neighbors, friends, and family frequently dropping to spending time with them.
The centenarians are committed to their families.
Common Nutrition and Diet Factors
- Stop eating when your stomach feels 80% full to avoid weight gain.
- Eat the smallest meal of the day as your last meal in the evening.
- Eat mainly plants and beans. Eat meat rarely and in portions of 3-4 ounces. In the Blue Zones, they only eat meat five times per month, on average.
- Limit alcohol consumption to 1-2 glasses per day.
- Eat mostly locally sourced food, including a lot of herbs.
What are the most common foods in each area?
Since the foods are locally sourced, they differ for each region.
- Ikaria, Greece, the foods known for longevity include: feta cheese, lemons, and herbs like sage and marjoram that they use daily in tea.
- The healthy staples in Okinawa, Japan are bitter melons, tofu, garlic, brown rice, green tea, and shitake mushrooms.
- In Sardinia, Italy they eat goats milk and sheep cheese, sourdough bread and barley, along with fennel, fava beans, chickpeas, tomatoes, almonds, milk thistle tea, and wine from the locally grown Grenache grapes.
- It may be surprising that one of the Blue Zones was actually in the United States. What are they doing right in Loma Linda California? Most members of this community are Seventh-day Adventists, so they avoid smoking, drinking, TV, movies, and other forms of media. Their diet follows biblical principles, thus focusing on whole grains, nuts, and vegetables with a small amount of meat and fish. It also includes avocados, salmon, beans, oatmeal, and eggs. They drink only water.
- In the Nicoya Penninsula of Costa Rica, one of the mottos is "Put an egg on it". In addition, they eat beans, corn, squash, papayas, yams, bananas, and peach palms.
Learning from My Great Grandmother
The photo is my great-grandmother, who lived from 1900 - 1999, almost 100 years with a good quality of life, and without chronic illness. I wish I could talk to her now. From what I can gather, she shared many characteristics of those in the "Blue Zones".
- She was always active, walking, swimming, and riding a "tri-cycle" even into her 90's.
- Along with my great grandfather, they grew a big garden, cooked from it, and shared it with the family.
- She was part of social groups that kept active playing games.
- She was active in her communities, and volunteered frequently.
- Family was important to her. She came to stay with us for a few weeks every summer, and when she was not here she always kept in touch.
Not only is she my longest living relative, she is also a good role model following these lifestyle patterns. In addition, she always had a positive outlook on life and was a joy to be around.
What Can We Take Away from the Blue Zones?
We can learn the following from the Blue Zones:
- There is no one size fits all diet that is best for everyone. Rather, we should eat the real whole foods that are found locally.
- We should listen to the signals of our body.
- We must realize that our lifestyle affects our health and pay particular attention reducing our stress and maintaining our community involvement.
Joelle Kurczodyna, NTP