Why does counseling belong in your doctor’s office?
Our counselor on staff, Donna Goldberg, was posed the question, “Why does counseling belong in this office?”. Her answer is as follows:
“When seeking help for anxiety, depression or other challenging problems where do most people head first? If you said their doctor’s office you are correct! People look for trusted resources when issues arise and if they have a good relationship with their doctor this is a wonderful place to seek help. But what happens if you want to work on the issue without medication? What if you want to face the problem and work within your own resources to address it? That’s where a counselor in your doctor’s office can step in and help with the process.
If this is such a good idea then why are there not counselors in all medical practices? This is a new idea, and changing an existing system takes time. Functional medicine is leading the way, with integrative health models taking notice. With time the health care in this country can move from sick care to a system that supports all aspects of being a well human. Luckily, at Oubre medical you don’t have to wait for the medical system to catch up! We offer counseling services to give you the tools and strategies to handle any bumps along the way to wellness.”
If you would like to meet Donna or any part of our team, we would love to hear from you! Donna is included in the price of a medical membership with our practice, and she also has a separate membership for just her services.
I had surgery on my lungs this morning. I am currently hospitalized, fighting a
severe pneumonia with a large pleural effusion.
Read below for my cautionary tale of waiting too long to
take antibiotics or seek medical treatment.
If you avoid antibiotics for too long, infections can get dangerously
out of control.
Even young functional medicine doctors who regularly compete in triathlons get sick.
WARNING: Some mild graphic images of my health journey are included. Viewer discretion is advised.
— — —
This story started 34 days ago. I have been having fevers and night sweats every
night for 34 days. Unbelievable,
right? Believe it.
January 3, 2020
The fevers and night sweats started January 3, 2020, and I
have been tracking it regularly with my Oura Ring, which measures body
temperature every night.
Despite having fevers and night sweats, I had minimal
symptoms other than fatigue and brain fog.
I presumed it was a virus since I had lots of sick people coming into
the office. In addition, I had just come
from a plane ride after traveling to Louisiana for Christmas. I kept telling myself that “tomorrow would be
better.” That tomorrow never came.
January 18-19, 2020
After 15 days of fevers and night sweats, I began developing
some minor coughing that wasn’t productive of any mucous. I still didn’t think much of it. I had signed up for a half marathon months
prior in Houston, and I didn’t want to miss it.
While sick, I drove to Houston to compete in the race.
The race was cold. It
was 6am. The temperature was in the 40’s
and windy. I was bundled up for the race
more so than most of the other runners, but I didn’t think much of it. I frequently feel colder than others, so I
dressed for the occasion. I had ear
warmers, thermal long sleeves, a thermal windbreaker jacket, spandex pants, shorts,
and thermal socks. I was shivering and
freezing standing next to people with a shirt and shorts. It started to dawn on me that I was sicker
than I expected.
I hadn’t exercised since the fever, so I knew that I wasn’t
going to have a good race. I ran slower
than I knew I could run. I made it 7
miles at a 9 min / mile pace.
(My prior to illness goal was 8 min / mile).
At mile 7, I developed severe right rib and diaphragm pain
that was restricting my running to 0.2 miles at a time. I ended up walking the majority of the
remaining 5.1 miles. I finished the race
in 2 hours and 20 minutes, which I considered quite an accomplishment,
considering my state of illness.
It took me an hour to get back to my hotel due to the race
traffic blocking off the roads. I was
frozen down to the core of my being. It
took me 30 minutes in the hottest shower possible before I could stop the
shivering and feel my fingertips.
It was dawning on me that I was really sick. Something was wrong. But, I didn’t want my staff to know because
they wouldn’t let me see patients. I
didn’t want my family to know because they would worry about me. So, I minimized symptoms and told everyone
that I finally started antibiotics.
January 20, 2020
I finally started an antibiotic. A lame one.
I started azithromycin, which is not the best choice for pneumonia due
to resistance patterns of bacteria. I
chose azithromycin because it’s rather gentle on the microbiome.
Over the next several days, I began feeling better. I had more energy and was able to skip
ibuprofen / Tylenol dosages. I thought I
was on the mend!
Too soon to say that.
Although I had finally started an antibiotic, it wasn’t powerful enough,
and I got worse.
I began developing chest pains from the pneumonia as well as
excruciating diaphragm spasms when I laid down at night. The coughing got worse, and it became
productive of thick mucous from my bronchial tissues (deep lungs). The coughing triggered debilitating diaphragm
and rib pains. It was the worst in the
middle of the night when laying down. I
would lay semi-upright on pillows to help, but it still happened.
One night, my spasms were excruciating enough that I couldn’t
sit up in the bed without triggering a spasm that threw me back down on my back
with an extreme “attack” of shortness of breath and chest pain. It took me 2 hours to get it under control
enough to crawl downstairs to get more ibuprofen. I was fine by the morning, so I went to
work. Yet this became a nightly attack
for the next 10 days.
Despite this, I kept pushing forward … stubbornly taking the
maximum amount of ibuprofen allowed in a day.
January 21, 2020
During this time, I was taking lots of ibuprofen to manage
my fever / body aches in order to continue seeing patients and working. Due to the stress of the race and ibuprofen,
I developed a severe case of gastritis (stomach lining erosion). This woke me up at 1am, and it lingered for
hours. I had to cancel my patients for
the day at the last minute because it was too painful. I went home to recover using Heartburn TX,
DGL, and Intestinal Repair Complex, which works like magic! My pain was completely gone within 4 hours of
taking it. I haven’t stopped taking them
since I have continued using ibuprofen to function.
A few days after the gastritis resolved, I began noticing
significant short of breath and hyperventilation with small tasks like walking
up a flight of stairs. I had also begun
having chest pains in my right chest and diaphragm, which was causing spasms
and severe pain.
January 31, 2020
After 10 days of the lame antibiotic not working, I finally
went in for a Chest X-ray after my family, friends, and staff begged me to investigate
The Chest X-ray was not good news. It showed that I had 2 lobes of my lungs
infected with pneumonia: Right Middle
Lobe and Right Lower Lobe. These 2 lobes
consist of approximately 40% of my right lungs.
It also showed a small pleural effusion.
The pleural effusion was small and was only taking up 5% of my lung
A pleural effusion is an accumulation of fluid
outside of your lungs yet inside of your chest cavity. In essence, as the fluid accumulates, it
compresses your lungs like a vice grip.
At this time (28 days of fever and night sweats), I finally upgraded
to the correct antibiotic (levofloxacin).
I began having severe chest pains and diaphragm spasms where the
pneumonia and effusion was accumulating.
Again, I waited because I thought the antibiotic was going
After 5 days of intense pain relieved only by ibuprofen, I
was unable to fake the amount of breathing difficulty and pain that I was
having. My staff noticed me breathing
heavily after walking the small flight of stairs to get into our office. I was short of breath during my patient
consults, and people were beginning to notice.
No one knew the severe attacks of pains that I was having in
the middle of the night throughout all of this.
I continued lying to my parents telling them how I was feeling better in
order to prevent my mother from worrying.
It turns out that they didn’t believe me.
February 5, 2020 @ 8am
I swung in for a repeat Chest X-ray before my first patient
that morning. Upon walking out, the
staff let me see the X-ray since I’m a physician. I was immediately alarmed at the image. My brain immediately went into denial about
how bad it was, but I was finally, utterly scared that I might die from this
February 5, 2020 @ 10am
I scurried to the office with my X-ray CD and immediately
started my first consult. We finished a
little early, so I called the radiologist after pulling the images up on my
computer. I was scared. The radiologist did not help. He answered the phone like this, “Dr. Oubre
– this is your chest x-ray? … You are in big trouble. I’m not going to sugar coat it. You need a doctor other than yourself, and
you need to get this drained … TODAY!”
My mind is now in full blown panic mode. I don’t have a doctor, so I called my ex-wife
(Kelli Oglesby, MD) who is the smartest family doctor that I know, and I knew
that she would know how to navigate my stubborn personality. She suggested a STAT CT scan and began making
phone calls to pulmonologists.
February 5, 2020 @ 11am
Arlinda, my wonderful medical assistant and second mother, swooped in and helped me get a STAT CT Scan at ARA downtown. The CT scan confirmed the Chest X-ray: I had a severe, worsening double pneumonia with a large effusion. The fluid outside of my lungs in my chest cavity was now occupying 50% of my right chest cavity. In essence, it was strangulating my right lung into the size of a grapefruit.
February 5, 2020 @ 11:30pm
In a scared, emotional state, I called my parents. I
couldn’t hide the bad news any further.
Me: “Dad, I have bad
news. I am very sick, and I am going to
need drainage of the fluid around my lungs.
I need you guys to come to Austin.”
Dad: “Okay, we are
1.5 hours away.”
Me: “What do you
mean? You live 7 hours away.”
Dad: “We didn’t
believe you, so we left this morning at 5am to force you to seek treatment.”
have the most wonderful parents, and I am extremely blessed and grateful for
them. They haven’t left my side since
they got here. They even shared a crappy
couch made-for-1 in the hospital overnight.
Thank you Mom and Dad! I love you!
February 5, 2020 @ 12pm
Arlinda and I drove home to meet Kelli and my parents in
order to come up with a plan. We were
not having much luck finding a pulmonologist that could drain the infection in
office the same day. Kelli made the
executive decision that I would require more than an outpatient drainage, and
she advised me to go to the ER immediately.
February 5, 2020 @ 2pm
I arrive in the ER to find an absolutely amazing team of
nurses, administrators, and an awesome ER doctor. The wait time was minimal, and the care was
STELLAR and full of compassion … and humor!
Thank you: Barry,
Collin, Dr. Ajay Yadav, and all of the other nurses that I cannot remember your
They quickly get IVs in both arms as well as lots of blood
tests to rule out sepsis (bacteria in my bloodstream). They pulled a lactic acid level despite me
not needing one. Tell me I’m wrong,
Barry! I’m still waiting to win that
Dr. Yadav reviewed the X-rays and CT scans, and he was able to get a thoracic surgeon to evaluate me within an hour. Unbelievable speed and efficiency!
February 5, 2020 @ 3pm
Dr. Dan Fortes, a thoracic surgeon, shows up in record
time. He is kind, empathetic, funny, and
straight to the point. On top of that,
his skills are exceptional. Without
hesitation, he tells me that he needs to insert a tube into my chest right now
if I wanted any hope of avoiding surgery.
A chest tube is an extremely painful procedure
where a physician makes a cut between your ribs and inserts a tube into your
chest (smaller than a garden hose).
Then, they connect the tube to a box that applies suction in an attempt
to get all of the fluid out of your lungs.
He reassures me that he has techniques to reduce the pain of
a chest tube placement, and I don’t believe him. But, I’m hopeful!
…He was absolutely right.
He has neat techniques to reduce the pain of insertion. It was still painful, but it was
significantly lower than every other chest tube insertion that I’ve seen in my
The tube is inserted and half of a liter of fluid
gushes out of my chest cavity.
Good news: The
fluid is clear, which means it’s most likely not infected and not cancer! The fluid is simply an inflammatory drainage
secondary to the severe pneumonia.
Bad news: It
was supposed to drain 1.5 liters of fluid.
This means that I will most likely need surgery, but Dr. Fortes gave me
48 hours to drain the remainder of the fluid.
February 6, 2020 @ 1pm
My Chest X-ray is minimally improved, and I have only
drained 200mL of the 1000mL that needs to be drained. Dr. Fortes team decides to place a medication
called TPA into my lung cavity. This
drug is an enzyme designed to break up fibrous tissue and disrupt the
loculations (or pockets) of fluid that is trapping the fluid.
The TPA is pushed into my chest cavity through the tube, and
the tube is clamped to prevent it from draining. I now have 4 hours to rotate like a
rotisserie chicken in order to work this medication all around my chest
cavity. If I can’t break it all up, I
Despite significant amounts of pain changing positions
(laying on the tube, moving side to side, sitting up, and lying down), I endure
the pain in order to get the TPA worked all around my lung cavity. I really don’t want surgery!
February 6, 2020 @ 5pm
My nurse in the PCU (progressive care unit – It’s like a
lower acuity ICU) is going to unclamp the tube in order to see what comes
out. We are all excited, and Mitch is
too since he hasn’t had much experience with chest tubes. It is the moment that we’ve been waiting
for. My parents are waiting. Kelli (my doctor and ex-wife) is with
there. We are ready, so I lay down to
get in position.
The tube is unclamped, and it’s a huge success! Approximately 400mL (half of a liter) flies
out of my chest. However, this causes a
severe, excruciating diaphragm and rib spasm that I cannot control. I cry out for them to clamp the tube in order
to stop it. They quickly clamp the tube,
but it doesn’t stop the pain. It is
excruciating and unrelenting. It is
preventing me from breathing, and I’m gasping for air in agony. I can manage to get just enough air to not
require an emergency.
With the suggestion of Kelli, the nurse asks my hospitalist
physician (Dr. Pothala) on the phone to get an emergent order of pain
medication. Within minutes, Mitch has IV
pain medication in hand, and he quickly gets it into my body. This is enough to drop my pain from
excruciating to severe where I can breathe without hyperventilating.
We are still hopeful that more fluid will come out, so we
unclamp the tube to let the remaining half a liter come out. Hopefully it will be less painful.
Bad news: It’s
dry. Most of it came out already. The rest is still trapped. At that moment, I now realize that surgery is
most likely my only option. I am
saddened and scared.
Thank you Mitch for being a stellar nurse. He was calm and collected in a wacky
situation. He was able to focus and
accomplish tasks despite the chaos and unpredictable outcome. Skills of an experienced nurse and future
nurse practitioner! Good luck, Mitch!!
February 6, 2020 @ 7pm
Dr. Fortes swings by at the end of a very long day for
him. He has already been working in the
early morning, but he made the effort to come see me anyway, which I will
forever be grateful. He confidently
tells me that surgery is my only option, but he appeases me by doing a Chest
X-ray to see if I got it all. Of course,
he was right, and I was wrong. My lungs
were not empty, and I will definitely require surgery.
February 7, 2020 @ 7am
I am wheeled to the pre-op area, awaiting surgery. Dr. Fortes, anesthesia, and nursing teams all
swing by to get me prepped for surgery.
Anesthesia comes by with 2mg of Versed to help calm me down and prep me
for surgery. After he puts this in my
IV, I don’t remember anything. Lights
Surgery goes well, and they got the rest of the loculated
fluid out of my chest cavity. They
examined the outside of my right lung after fully collapsing it under
anesthesia. Then, they re-inflated my
lung and looked at the inside of my lungs with a bronchoscope.
Hours later, the first thing I remember is waking up,
coughing with intense pain in my chest.
It quickly fades after the coughing stops. I’m held in recovery for an hour or so. Then, I am wheeled back to my PCU room. I look at my chest to find a new battle scar
that has been glued shut. This is the
hole they created. Another scar for
waiting too long to seek treatment.
The rest of my day goes rather smoothly. I am able to walk and do more than I had
previously, and I am feeling confident that I’ll be out soon.
February 8, 2020
Day 4 with a chest tube sticking out of the right side of my
chest. It hurts more today than
yesterday. I am able to do less. I cannot walk as far. It hurts to move more. I cannot sleep as well. I am beginning to get concerned as to why I’m
getting worse. Exhaustion from the
frequent interruptions overnight by the nursing staff is beginning to weigh on
Dr. Fortes’ partner, Dr. Medbery, comes by to do a post-op
check, and she informs me that during surgery, Dr. Fortes placed a long-acting
nerve block that is beginning to wear off.
This is why I’m feeling worse.
She says that everything looks good, and we will take the chest tube out
The night goes terribly with lots of pain with any sort of movement. I am still short of breath due to the pain
associated with breathing. Coughing and
burping causes immense pain throughout my right chest cavity.
At this time, I am on a significant amount of narcotics to
help limit the pain. As you can imagine,
the constipation that has set in is becoming unmanageable. I am chugging Natural Calm (Magnesium
Citrate) in order to start the engine.
As I expected, I ended up overdoing it and paying the price for it all
night long. I’ll spare you the details.
I am visited by friends and family who continue to show their love and support for me. They are positive and uplifting. They help me realize that this is not forever, and I will get better. They reassure me that everything at work is going smoothly, and I don’t need to do anything. They promise me that my patients are doing fine, and they understand that I can’t help them right now.
I continue to walk around the hospital and practice breathing exercises. I am willing to be the best patient that I can be in order to get out of the hospital!
February 9, 2020 @ 11am
Another night of terrible pain, frequent interruptions, and
minimal movement. I am anxiously
awaiting the chest tube removal, yet I’m also secretly scared of how much it
will hurt. Dr. Medbery comes by to
remove the tube. A Chest X-ray is done
prior to the removal to make sure that I have not worsened. Everything looks great, and she begins to
reassure me that removing the chest tube will not hurt much at all. I’m not inclined to believe her, but Dr.
Fortes made me the same promise for inserting the chest tube … and he was
right. She undresses the tube, and she
quickly removes the 12 inches of tube from my chest cavity. It did cause a searing pain at the chest wall
where it came out, but it was brief. She
quickly stitched the wound shut, and she said I should start feeling relief
quickly. She was right. My chest began to hurt much less with less
spastic feelings in my ribs. My dad noticed me using my right arm above my head
(unintentionally), which I hadn’t done in a week. As it turns out, this chest tube sticking
through my ribs was causing a constant stabbing pain that would not go away.
By 2pm, I am given discharge instructions and finally
allowed to leave the hospital. I slowly
hobble to my dad’s car with the little dignity that I have left. I get home to see the loving, smiling faces
of my children. I am relieved that I
will get to see them grow up. I have
never been this close to death, and I don’t plan to repeat it.
After about 2 hours of being awake, I went to bed. Finally, without any interruptions in my
sleep (other than pain), I sleep 16 hours straight.
Over the next several days, I continue to regain my strength
and stamina as well as reduce my pain.
Tramadol was causing blurry vision, so I have only been using Ibuprofen
to manage the pain.
From here on out, it’s all about getting stronger without
pushing too hard or fast. Luckily, I
have multiple people in my life that will stop me before I injure myself again.
I have lost 11 pounds (5 pounds of muscle) since the beginning of the fevers. My appetite is finally coming back, and I am slowly working to improve my stamina. At this time, I can walk up the stairs without stopping due to shortness of breath. Please excuse the bathroom selfie, but these 2 scars will be my lifelong reminder to never ignore my health and to never take it for granted. I hope you do the same.
— — — — —
Thank you to everyone who showed their love, kindness,
and support for me. You made an
extremely difficult situation more tolerable and pleasant.
Ahhh… it’s almost impossible to resist the enticing colors, graphics, and slogans on the packaged food in our grocery stores. The corporations responsible for drawing as in are dang good at it, and it’s their job to use marketing and advertising to deceive us into thinking packaged food is on a pedestal. With all the “added vitamins” and claims such as “gluten free”, “vegan,” “your daily amount of fiber in one serving,” we are given the assumption that unpackaged, unprocessed food is simply inferior.
You Mean I Was Deceived?
To be fair, the faces behind this marketing and advertising are paid to make you feel deceived and draw you in. With the constant bombardment of lifestyle trends, “diets”, and ways of eating (keto, vegan, carnivore, etc.), we are all left confused and bewildered at trying to figure out what we actually need. When packaged food claims to supply us with all of the nutrients we need plus more, it’s almost a no-brainer for us to just blindly listen. After all, we have our family to take care of, our job to work, and our own hectic schedule to manage. Leaving these decisions in the hands of the food “professionals”, who are mostly portrayed as brilliant scientists/chemists, gives us the ability to surrender and let someone else make those decisions for us. However, we don’t realize that added vitamins and minerals, preservatives, toxic chemicals, hydrogenated oils, refined sugars, artificial and natural flavors (which are the same thing – I’ll dive into this later), and other stabilizers are being added to our food. Nutrients are depleted during the processing. The food is started to look like food, but falsely resemble it. It’s quite heartbreaking, actually.
How am I Supposed to Know What to Eat?
How are we supposed to know what’s healthy and safe to eat, or what could be contributing to our ill health? That’s what we’re here for. Misleading health claims on packaged foods are designed in order to catch your attention and convince you that the product you’re eating is healthy. It’s a bit ironic seeing advertising needing to convince you that something you’re eating is healthy. You don’t see billboards, commercials, or mass advertisements for fresh produce, do you? Let’s take a look at the most common marketing terms for packaged foods, and decipher it a bit.
There are terms designed to confused us and mislead, mostly seen as, “light, no added sugar, low calorie, low fat, low carb, fortified/enriched, gluten free, GMO free, high fiber, heavy metal free, natural flavors, organic, etc.”
To our society, food is more than just… food. Aside from nourishment, we use it to celebrate, to mourn, to seek comfort, and to indulge when we’re feeling excited or sad. Our produce is a gift from nature. It provides nourishment, helps us gently detoxify, and gives us the macro and micronutrients needed to power our body. One of my favorite quotes from Dr. Alejandro Junger is, “Food becomes us.” It builds our internal architecture that is responsible for every movement, thought, and chemical reaction in our body. It’s absolutely fascinating.
What Happened to Our Produce?
Although our produce is a gift from nature, our modern civilization has somehow managed to turn it into a monetized bartering system. Produce is now used as a financial gain for large companies, who are able to produce mass quantities by spraying them with toxic chemicals, coating them in shiny waxes, and changing the genetic makeup up them, all so they’re more desirable to the consumer. It’s almost as if we’ve forgotten that we have craved nature’s candy before mass consumerism decided to unapologetically inundate produce with toxins.
What Toxins Are in Our Produce?
What are toxins? They are something that interferes with normal physiology and interferes with/impacts normal bodily function. In the world of produce, these toxins are herbicides, pesticides, and other chemicals used for aesthetic purposes.
Consuming large quantities of chemicals, herbicides, and pesticides, was not apart of our original human design. One of the most consistently toxic food items we consume on a daily basis is conventional/non-organic produce. Conventional produce is sprayed with toxic chemicals that can cause neurological disorders, hormone disruption, cause cancer, lead to Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, and even cause cellular death. Pesticides and herbicides are known neurotoxins associated with these conditions.
Transitioning food in your pantry and the staples in your kitchen into clean, healthful options can be a bit overwhelming. We’ve been given these “tools” from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to help us decipher what’s in the package food we choose to buy. However, they’ve done a fantastic job at misleading us as customers. With multi-colored, vibrant packing, buzz words, and marketing terms to coax us into buying their products, we have fallen into thinking we are making healthful choices. We couldn’t be more wrong. Taking the bold, yet powerful, move to transition your food into more clean options can be overwhelming in itself. When you add the marketing and advertising fluff that’s inundated our foods in the grocery stores, even stores who claim to be superior in health food products like Whole Foods and Central Market, you can become more massively overwhelmed. At this point, I’m sure you thinking, “What the heck do I eat?!” There are a few tips and tricks to help make this process easier, hopefully alleviating stress throughout your health journey.
What are the Requirements for Nutritional Labels?
The Nutrition Facts labels is one of the most confusing tools the FDA has given us. It seems a bit straightforward, thinking, “Oh, okay. I see how much fat, calories, and sugar is in this. Perfect.” It seems easy enough, but the somehow brilliantly deceptive minds behind these claims have found a way to sneak in toxic ingredients, mislead our way of thinking, and deceive us by thinking we are making healthful choices. While the basic information of these labels are helpful, they still are a bit difficult to decipher. The Nutrition Facts label us required to list all ingredients in food on its label in accordance with these rules and regulations:
Ingredients must be listed in descending order, with the highest percentage of ingredients listed first.
They must be listed in descending order by ingoing weight. This means the first ingredient listed is the largest contributor to the food product itself. The last product makes up the lowest percentage of the food. All the ingredients which make up a compound ingredient must be declared in the ingredient list, except when the compound ingredient is used in amounts of less than 5% of the final food. This means they can not disclose ingredients that are less than 5%, which leaves room for deceptiveness. In this small percentage of food, there can be food allergies, toxic chemicals, additives, and other ingredients that can take a toll on your health, which is pretty frightening to think about.
Always check the first 3 ingredients, as they make up the majority percentage of the food you’re eating.
If the first ingredients include refined grains, a type of sugar, or hydrogenated oils, the product is inherently unhealthy.
Certain ingredients can be listed underneath broad/vague terms such as “artificial coloring,” “artificial flavors,” “natural flavors,” “spices,” and more.
We’ve discussed earlier that natural and artificial flavors are toxic to your health, but we haven’t addressed the fact that other ingredients can sneak into these umbrella terms. Monosodium glutamate (MSG) can be included under “spices,” and this is one of the most popular and dangerous additives. MSG has been linked to brain damage, nervous disorders, and even cellular death.
The names of any FDA-approved color additives must be included in the label.
This, yet again, does not mean an ingredient is healthy if allowed by the FDA. These colors include Blue No. 1, Yellow No. 5, Red No. 1 and No. 3, and more. They’re found in sodas, candies, packaged cereals, and more. While allowed on the U.S. Nutrition Label and in our food, they are banned in countries such as France, Finland, Norway, and other European countries. They are synthetically produced and can lead to brain tumors, chromosomal damage, bladder damage, lymphomas, hyperactivity, thyroid tumors, allergies, insomnia, aggression and violent behavior.
If a food contains one of the eight major food allergies, it must be included in the label.
This includes: milk, eggs, fin fish, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, soybeans, and wheat. If a spice, color, or flavor includes one of these ingredients, they must be labeled separately in addition to the other ingredients.
While popularly the most neglected treasure in our American society, produce is one of the most important staples of grocery shopping. The massive array of vegetables and fruit in the grocery store is the most enticing set up. Not only is it an artistic marvel the way its arrayed in a rainbow ombré across the perimeter of the store, it’s the section that quite literally gives us the kick in our step.
Why is color important?
Fruits, vegetables, herbs, etc.should be the staple and core bulk of our daily diet. In an ideal world, we would incorporate each different color, size, shape, and texture into our daily diet. However, sometimes that abundance is a bit unattainable for people who are constantly on the run, have a hectic work schedule, or an “on the go” life at home. Regardless, simply an effort towards implementing this wide array of nature’s nutrients is still possible. The phytonutrients of the plants are what give each one their vibrant colors and unique health properties. Each of these nutrients are essential to our health, supplying fuel and crucial building blocks for every cell in our body.
How can I implement a rainbow of color?
By eating a “rainbow” of vegetables and fruits, you can maximize your intake of a broad range of nutrients, supporting every system in our body. This can be as simple as adding a quarter of a roasted beets with orange slices to your breakfast. Or, it can look like adding some blueberries in addition to the vibrantly pink strawberries and toasted creme-colored coconut in your morning granola. It doesn’t have to be a huge addition to make an impact. Plus, who doesn’t like to look at a colorful plate, avoiding the mundaneness and blandness that can sometimes creep into our meals? Adding in the rainbow during your meals gives us access to utilizing our creative side. It may seem a bit silly, but simple things such as making your food a more theatrical and colorful addition to your day can make you feel uplifted and, if you’re a food geek like me, slightly excited.
Cleaning out your kitchen is the first step you should take while transitioning into a clean lifestyle. We’re aware of the addictive chemicals in ingredients like sugar, natural and artificial flavors, and other additives, which means we need to be continuously conscious of what we’re storing in our house. Keeping an addictive food product or food you know isn’t healthful/a benefit to you in the home will only set you up for failure. You’re working so dang hard on progressing, why hinder it with a constant tease waiting for your in your pantry? Out of sight, out of mind. It’s so much easier to avoid temptation when those stupidly delicious cookies aren’t luring you in every time you walk past the pantry door.
What is the Main Goal?
The main goal of cleaning out your pantry is to remove all major culprits that can cause inflammation, illness, weight gain, fatigue, and much more. These bulk items are breads, pastas, cereals, granolas, bulk rice, vegetable oils, refined sugars, and processed food. This can be very intimidating, but I have faith in you. Yes, even from behind this computer screen. I’ve found that spending a dedicated amount of time to the purge may seem daunting, but it’s setting you up for success in the long run. Taking everything out of your pantry, then only putting food back into there that will support your healthy journey is the most effective.
Alright, y’all, here comes to meat and potatoes of our health journey: navigating the grocery store. So, you’ve discovered to wanted to transition into a clean, whole-foods based diet, and want to propel yourself into an energetic, healthy, youthful person. You’ve been given instruction on what foods to eat, what foods to remove, how to transition your diet, and you soon. Then, you walk into a grocery store, and become completely overwhelmed with the options and what to choose. Sound familiar? This happens with most patients, and has happened with myself when I first began this journey.
Isn’t This Intimidating?
The grocery store is intimidating. Point, blank, period. It doesn’t have to be, though. Most people find going to the grocery store a bit unnerving: it’s jam packed with people, condensed with thousands of food products, and it seems as if they’re always rearranging the aisles every week (is that just me?). Unless you’re a strange food-obsessed person like I am, you most likely avoid going to the grocery store at all costs. It seems a bit daunting to begin with, and now that you’re transitioning your diet, it seems near impossible to be successful with shopping. You’re not alone in thinking this, which is why I want to help you find a smooth way to conquer this.
How to determine your ApoE genotype from 23andMe raw data
If you are reading this article, you probably already know the reason for understanding your ApoE status. If you have any copies of the ApoE4 gene, then you are at increased risk of inflammation, heart disease, strokes, and Alzheimer’s.
This gene has gotten all the attention in the Alzheimer’s department, but I want you to know that this gene has much larger ramifications.
You can deactivate this gene by eating a diet low in refined sugars / carbohydrates, high in vegetables, and full of great fats.
If you have an ApoE4, you need to make sure that you are tracking your inflammation because you may need to get more aggressive based on your disease activity.
ApoE4 determines are you disease RISK; whereas, inflammation testing determines your actual disease ACTIVITY.
Disease Risk = Do I have the ability to have the disease? Disease Activity = Do I have presence of the disease?
What do my genes mean?
You get 2 copies of the ApoE gene. Disease Risk: If you get one copy of ApoE4, then you are at increased risk. For example: ApoE 3/4 or ApoE 2/4
Disease Risk: If you get two copies of ApoE4, then you are at an extremely high risk. Luckily, this is very rare. For example: ApoE 4/4
Low risk: If you do not get any ApoE4, then you are at lower risk, but it does not mean that you cannot develop Alzheimer’s. For example: ApoE 3/3, ApoE 2/2, or ApoE 2/3
Instructions how to determine your ApoE Status:
1) Login to 23andMe 2) Click the dropdown menu in the top right by your name. 3) Click “Browse Raw Data” 4) Type rs429358 and search 5) Write down what’s written under “Your Genotype” 6) Type rs7412 and search 7) Write down what’s written under “Your Genotype” 8) Look at the graphic below to determine your ApoE status.
Urinary Tract Infections Treated By A Natural Sugar? Impossible!
Urinary Tract Infections | If this title grabbed your attention, then you or someone you know has had a urinary tract infection and would like to know a natural way to treat or even prevent Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs). It seems impossible that a sugar could prevent such a common illness, but it is true. This natural sugar is called D-Mannose.
D-Mannose may cure up to 90% of Urinary Tract Infections. I am sure that you have heard of drinking cranberry juice to treat UTI symptoms, but it is usually ineffective because it does not contain enough D-Mannose.
D-Mannose is a sugar that humans absorb and urinate out unchanged, so it is considered calorie-free. It is a naturally occurring sugar, and it is not related to synthetic sugars like Aspartame.
To understand how D-Mannose works, it is important to understand a few basic concepts.
E. coli is a bacteria that is normally found in our large intestine, and it is the most common bacteria that infects human urinary tracts (UTI), including bladder infections (Cystitis) and kidney infections (Pyelonephritis). Because the anus and urinary tract are close in proximity, the same bacteria that colonize our bowels cause urinary tract infections. E. coli is the most likely pathogen because it has finger-like protrusions called lectins that allow it to stick to our urinary tract. Since they can stick to the walls, urine is unlikely to rinse these bacteria away. However, these lectins have a higher affinity for D-Mannose than our human urinary tract walls. Therefore, by ingesting D-Mannose, the D-Mannose is absorbed by our bowels and filtered by the kidneys, placed into the urine, and coats the E. coli’s lectins. A lectin bound to D-Mannose cannot bind to the urinary tract wall.
Therefore, the next time that you urinate, you will simply rinse away the E. coli bacteria.
It is important to note that D-Mannose does not kill the E. coli bacteria, so if your doctor performs a urine culture, your urine may still grow E. coli. You will know that the D-Mannose is working if your symptoms are improving.
D-Mannose is readily absorbed in your upper intestinal tract, so it will not affect the E. coli present in your large intestine (or colon). You want and need E. coli in your colon, but it is an unwelcome visitor in your urinary tract.
D-Mannose is safe for children to take, and it does not have any known side effects. Plus, since D-Mannose is a sugar, it tastes great! … much better than antibiotics.
How do I take D-Mannose?
For an infection in adults, it is recommended to take ½ teaspoon (1-2 grams) every 4 hours while awake or (minimum 3 times per day). It can be mixed with any liquid, including water, tea, juice. You will need to take it for at least 2 days, but you should continue it for longer if symptoms are persisting. For kids, simply substitute a ¼ teaspoon instead of ½ teaspoon.
If you would like to use D-Mannose for preventing UTIs, then there are several options. Over time, you will likely discover the dosage and timing that works best for you. If you do not know your triggers, then you should take ½ teaspoon once or twice daily. If you know a potential trigger like intercourse or hot tubs, then you should take ½ teaspoon roughly 1 hour before and 2 hours after the known trigger.
D-Mannose is much better for your system than antibiotics. Use of antibiotics can disrupt your healthy bacterial balance in your intestines. One round of antibiotics can disrupt your microflora for years. Imbalanced bacteria continue to be linked to all kinds of conditions, including asthma, Crohn’s disease, and inflammation.
Since D-Mannose does not kill bacteria, it does not contribute to the antibiotic resistance organisms that are on a rampage. D-Mannose is useful against drug-resistant E. coli since it does not use the same mechanism as antibiotics.
D-Mannose will not work if any bacteria other than E. coli is causing your urinary tract infection. However, as we discussed earlier, 90% of UTIs are caused by E. coli.
Do not use D-Mannose in place of antibiotics if you are really sick. If you are having symptoms like fever, nausea, vomiting, or low blood pressure, you need urgent antibiotics. As always, consult with your medical doctor before using D-Mannose to treat urinary tract infections. If an infection is not clearing up, you should seek out your healthcare provider. D-Mannose does not treat kidney infections (pyelonephritis) as the infection is too severe, and it is infiltrating the kidney tissue, which is not exposed to D-Mannose in the urine.