Dr Frank Lipman http://www.drfranklipman.com Functional and Integrative Medicine Thu, 29 Sep 2016 09:00:52 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Q & A with Dr. Amy Myers about The Thyroid Connection http://www.drfranklipman.com/dr-amy-myers-thyroid-connection/ http://www.drfranklipman.com/dr-amy-myers-thyroid-connection/#respond Thu, 29 Sep 2016 09:00:52 +0000 http://www.drfranklipman.com/?p=28049 Why do millions of Americans suffer from thyroid dysfunction without even knowing it?

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Thyroid Connection
By Be Well Team

A whopping 27 million Americans suffer from thyroid dysfunction — and many don’t even know it — says functional-medicine doc Amy Myers, MD.

In her new book, The Thyroid Connection: Why You Feel Tired, Brain-Fogged, and Overweight — and How to Get Your Life Back, Myers outlines a 28-day plan to reverse thyroid dysfunction, including Hashimoto’s disease, hypothyroidism, and hyperthyroidism.

Even though millions of people suffer from thyroid disorders, says Myers, conventional medicine continues to miss the boat. We wanted to talk to her about why that is — and how to actually get a correct diagnosis and reverse thyroid dysfunction. Here’s what she had to say:

What are the various symptoms of thyroid dysfunction, and why do millions of people suffer from symptoms of thyroid dysfunction without even knowing it?

There are actually a huge range of thyroid dysfunction symptoms because your thyroid affects all of your metabolic processes.

If your thyroid is underactive and you are hypothyroid, then everything slows down, leading to fatigue, weight gain, hair loss, infertility, anxiety, and hormonal imbalances.

If your thyroid is overactive and you are hyperthyroid, then everything speeds up, which can cause symptoms such as weight loss, tremors, anxiety, panic attacks, loose stool, and insomnia.

Because these symptoms are so vague and your doctor typically only talks to you for 15 minutes or less, they’re often written off as symptoms of aging or stress.

There’s also a big problem with doctors not checking your thyroid if you’re not a woman in the age range where most thyroid dysfunction is diagnosed or if you’re a man. Then, if your doctor does check your thyroid levels, they’re using reference ranges that are far too broad and looking for “normal” instead of optimal levels.

Why do more women experience it than men?

The truth is that we don’t know 100 percent yet. We suspect that because women usually develop thyroid or autoimmune issues (or often both) during pregnancy or menopause, that it’s related to hormones.

Why do you think thyroid dysfunction is especially hard for conventional medicine to diagnose versus functional medicine?

To put it plainly, they’re often not looking for it. As I mentioned, they’re typically only spending a few minutes with you and if you have another health condition such as autoimmunity, fibromyalgia, or chronic fatigue they can overlook it.

They’re also using reference ranges that are too broad and only ordering one or two thyroid markers, namely a TSH or thyroid stimulating hormone and a T4. TSH tells you what your pituitary gland is doing because it signals to your thyroid to ramp up or slow down thyroid hormone production, so it’s not telling you what your thyroid is actually doing. T4 is the storage form of thyroid hormone, and even if your T4 levels are normal, you might not have enough of the active form of the hormone, which is T3, or you might be high in RT3 (Reverse T3) which actually puts the brakes on your thyroid hormone receptors.

What is the best way to diagnose it? What are the best tests?

I run a complete thyroid panel on all of my thyroid patients to see what their pituitary is doing, their T4 levels, their T3 levels, and their reverse T3 levels, plus the two types of thyroid antibodies, which tells us if your thyroid dysfunction is actually caused by autoimmunity, which means your immune system is attacking your thyroid.

Here’s the full panel that I run on my patients, and you can read more about what the levels mean in my book, The Thyroid Connection.

  • TSH
  • Free T4 (the storage form)
  • Free T3 (powers metabolic processes)
  • Reverse T3 (slows down metabolic processes)
  • TPO, TG -AB

I also check for the essential nutrients that your body needs to produce thyroid hormones, convert them into their active form, and allows them to enter your cells and bind to thyroid hormone receptors. The nutrients that you can test for include selenium, iron, zinc, vitamin D, magnesium, and vitamin A.

Once thyroid dysfunction is diagnosed, what is the typical conventional medicine approach — and what’s wrong with it?

If you have hypothyroidism, or an underactive thyroid, the conventional medicine approach is simply to prescribe supplemental thyroid hormone and calls it a day. The trouble with this is that most commonly prescribed form of supplemental thyroid hormone is only T4, the storage form of thyroid hormone, so if you’re having trouble converting it to its active form you’ll still experience hypothyroidism symptoms.

If you have hyperthyroidism, or an overactive thyroid, the treatments are much more severe. You’ll be prescribed propylthiouracil (PTU) or methimazole, which stops your thyroid from producing hormones, but carries the unpleasant side effects of dry skin, hair loss, and hair loss. (I was prescribed PTU and was one of the rare people who developed toxic hepatitis as a result, in addition to extreme dry mouth and nostrils.) If this isn’t successful, their next step is ablation with radioactive iodine, I-131 or surgically removing part of your thyroid. Iodine ablation essentially destroys your thyroid, leaving you with no thyroid function to restore, and it can lead to infertility. If you opt for surgery, you are at least usually left with some part of your thyroid, which you can then restore through proper diet and lifestyle changes.

What about the typical functional medicine approach? What are some key lifestyle-based approaches to treating thyroid dysfunction?

In functional medicine, we look at the root cause of thyroid dysfunction and work to restore proper thyroid function by addressing them. This involves optimizing your diet for the nutrients essential for thyroid function, healing your gut, reducing your toxic burden, healing underlying infections, and relieving your stress.

All five of these environmental factors play a big role in thyroid health, and by addressing these, patients can often restore their health and vitality naturally, and come off of their supplemental thyroid hormone.

There are thyroid-calming herbs, including bugleweed, motherwort, and lemon balm, that can be used for hyperthyroid patients to manage their symptoms without harsh medications, ablation, and surgery, while we work to address these root causes.

Do you ever need drugs for thyroid dysfunction?

If your thyroid has become too damaged, or it was ablated or surgically removed, then you will likely need to be on supplemental thyroid hormone for life.

This is the case for me, as I no longer have a thyroid, and part of the reason I wrote this book is to clear up the myth that if you’re eating right, eliminating toxins, and managing your stress that you shouldn’t need supplemental thyroid hormone. These hormones are no different than someone with type I diabetes taking their insulin. Your body needs them to function properly, and there should be no shame or stigma around taking them to support your health.

Of course, we always want to make sure we’re addressing the root cause of your thyroid issues, so that you can achieve optimal health and prevent future chronic illnesses, but these lifestyle changes can go right alongside your supplemental thyroid hormone.

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Here’s a Meditation Exercise from Gabby Bernstein’s New Book http://www.drfranklipman.com/meditation-exercise-gabby-bernstein/ http://www.drfranklipman.com/meditation-exercise-gabby-bernstein/#respond Wed, 28 Sep 2016 09:00:42 +0000 http://www.drfranklipman.com/?p=28025 Best-selling author and self-proclaimed “spirit junkie” Gabby Bernstein wants to help folks transform fear into faith.

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By Be Well Health Coach Amanda Carney

“Energy flows where intention goes.” So says New York Times best-selling author and self-proclaimed “spirit junkie” Gabby Bernstein.

Bernstein’s new book, The Universe Has Your Back: Transform Fear to Faith (Hay House), aims to help people transform their anxieties into a sense of purpose.

“Fear creates resistance in our energy,” Bernstein notes. “When we are stuck in fear, that resistance blocks us from the natural support of love that is available to us all the time. Throughout the book I refer to this loving support as the energy of the Universe. When we block the energy of the Universe we feel stuck, depressed, sick, weak and alone. When you read the book, the lessons within it will help.”

The book is filled with stories, lessons, and meditation exercises that Bernstein says will guide readers to release resistance and reconnect with happiness, security, and clear direction.

Here is one of Bernstein’s meditation exercises, aimed at helping people create visions of the world they want to see:

A Course in Miracles says, “The mind is very powerful, and never loses its creative force. It never sleeps. Every instant it is creating. It is hard to recognize that thought and belief combine into a power surge that can literally move mountains.”

We must learn to train our mind to create with love rather than with fear. This exercise is a great practice for you to begin awakening to the power of your own creations.

Begin the practice of image making by answering this simple question: What do you want to see? Be unapologetic about your answer. Maybe you want to see a world without war. Maybe you want to see yourself in a wildly romantic relationship. Maybe you want to see yourself walking through life free from fear. Create the images that you most long for.

Write down your answer now. What do you want to see?

Next, reread your response and then close your eyes and sit in stillness for five minutes.

Image making meditation:

Sit up straight resting your hands on your thighs with your palms facing upward. When you sit up straight with proper, natural (not stiff) alignment, you become a channel to receive positive energy.

Close your eyes and turn your focus inward.

Allow your inner spirit (your inspiration) to come forth and surrender to the images that you want to see.

Let the wisdom within you create images in your mind’s eye.

Surrender to this wisdom now.

Breathe deeply in through your nose and out through your mouth.

With each inhale and exhale surrender more fully to the visions that you want to see.

Consciously focus your attention on them.

Allow visions of what you want to guide you on a journey of new perceptions.

Sit as long as you wish.

When you’re ready, gently come out of your meditation and take a moment to jot down any images that may have come through. Maybe what you want to see is a newborn baby and in your meditation you saw the eyes of a child. Or maybe you long for a romantic partner and in the stillness you saw yourself in a warm embrace with a lover. It’s even possible that you saw images that were far less literal and in time you’ll come to understand the message behind them.

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The Be Well Recipe: Kale and Shiitake Mushroom Sauté http://www.drfranklipman.com/well-recipe-kale-shiitake-mushroom-saute/ http://www.drfranklipman.com/well-recipe-kale-shiitake-mushroom-saute/#comments Tue, 27 Sep 2016 09:00:33 +0000 http://www.drfranklipman.com/?p=28019 Mushrooms add an earthy, soulful flavor — and an immunity boost — to this Cleanse-friendly dish.

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(Photo: Betsy Nelson)

In the world of plant-based foods, the mushroom is a nutritional superhero.

Loaded with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, mushrooms are powerful immunity boosters with several anti-cancer properties.

They also taste deliciously earthy and are a great way to add a meaty texture to dishes.

Here’s an easy Cleanse-friendly dish that pairs mushrooms with kale, lots of garlic, and a splash of apple cider vinegar.

We used shiitake mushrooms because we love the flavor and the powerful health benefits, but feel free to swap in other mushrooms, including oyster, portobello, cremini, or even plain old white-button mushrooms.

Kale and Shiitake Mushroom Sauté

Mushrooms add an earthy, soulful flavor to this one-pot dish. Looking for something more hearty? Simply add cooked fish, roasted chicken, or other protein to the finished dish.

  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 T. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 oz. shiitake mushrooms, about 1½-2 cups
  • 1 bunch kale, tough stems removed, leaves torn into pieces (about 6 cups loosely packed)
  • ¼-1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp. chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 T. coconut aminos
  • 1 tsp. apple cider vinegar

Mix the garlic and olive oil together in a small bowl and set aside. Discard the stems from the mushrooms, and quarter the mushroom caps.

Heat a heavy sauté pan over medium-high heat, and strain the reserved olive oil into the pan, saving the garlic to add later. Add the mushrooms to the pan, and sauté for a couple of minutes, then add the reserved garlic, kale, black pepper, rosemary, coconut aminos, and apple cider vinegar.

Give it a stir and then cover the pan for a couple of minutes to allow the kale to steam. Remove the lid, stir, and serve.

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9 Tips to Sleep Better When You Travel http://www.drfranklipman.com/9-tips-sleep-better-travel/ http://www.drfranklipman.com/9-tips-sleep-better-travel/#respond Mon, 26 Sep 2016 09:00:31 +0000 http://www.drfranklipman.com/?p=28011 Here are my favorite tips to help you sleep better at a hotel.

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By Dr. Frank Lipman

Whether you’re traveling for business or pleasure, it can be challenging to fall asleep in hotel room, no matter how lovely and accommodating. Even if you’re usually a good sleeper, simply crossing time zones can throw off your sleep cycle.

To help you rest easier, I’ve compiled a list of my favorite tips to help you sleep away from home. Sweet dreams!

Set Yourself Up for Success

Some people can sleep through just about any noise imaginable. Others? Not so much. If you fall into the latter camp, ask the front desk for a room on a higher floor and far away from elevators, vending and ice machines, and outdoor patios. And don’t forget your earplugs!

Eat Earlier in the Evening

You’ll sleep better if your belly isn’t digesting dinner all night, so try to eat at least three to four hours before you plan to turn in. Stuck with a late-night dinner reservation? Remember to eat simply, choosing lighter, easy-to-digest foods that won’t make you (or your belly) toss and turn all night.

Skip the Nightcap

An after-dinner drink in the lounge is a sociable way to decompress from the day, but if sleeping well is a concern, trade the bubbly for a cup of soothing chamomile, mint, or valerian tea.

Create an “Electronic Sundown”

An hour or two before going to bed, turn off the television, and shut down your laptop, tablet, and phone. The light emitted by electronics will make your brain think it’s daytime, and achieving deep, restorative sleep will be difficult.

Get Steamed (In a Good Way!)

A hot bath, shower, or stint in the hotel hot tub an hour or so before bed is a fantastic way to prep for sleep. A bit of tub time will help relax muscles and lightly boost body temperature, which in turn promotes falling asleep faster. A sauna will offer similar sleep-promoting benefits, so if there’s one in your hotel, indulge!

Keep the Room Cool

A sleeping temperature of 60 to 65 degrees is best for most people, even in the dead of winter, so be sure to adjust the room temperature before you climb into bed.

Unwind Your Body

Most people associate yoga with the early morning hours, but there a number of simple yoga poses that can help ease your body into sleep — and you don’t need to be a yogi to do them. Two classic, relaxing poses are the Supta Baddha Konasana or Reclining Bound Angle Pose, and Savasana, also known as the Corpse Pose. For added relaxation, try a few basic Restorative Yoga poses. Another way to decompress? Book an end-of-day massage at your hotel.

Downshift Your Brain

When you’re away from home and your routine, it’s easy to get stressed out and wound up. To mellow out before bedtime, try a guided meditation, tune into an ambient music channel, or listen to Brainwave Power Music, which utilizes ‘binaural beats,’ a collection of meditative sound patterns that encourages deep, restful sleep.

Light Your Way — But Not Too Much

Many people leave the bathroom light on in case they need to visit in the middle of the night, but the harsh light can disrupt sleep. Instead, travel with a few battery-operated tea lights. Before hitting the sack, place the tealights in a line to light the way to the loo.

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Dr. Lipman’s Wellness News Roundup (Sept. 23) http://www.drfranklipman.com/dr-lipmans-wellness-news-roundup-sept-23/ http://www.drfranklipman.com/dr-lipmans-wellness-news-roundup-sept-23/#respond Fri, 23 Sep 2016 09:00:13 +0000 http://www.drfranklipman.com/?p=27993 Every day, we scour the Web for compelling wellness stories. Here’s a look at this week’s roundup.

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By the Be Well Team

Every day, we scour the Web looking for compelling wellness stories that provide the information — and inspiration — you need to make good choices. Here are this week’s must-read wellness articles.

Grass-Fed Beef Goes Mainstream

Driven by consumer demand for healthier meat, grass-fed beef is becoming more widely available and is sold at almost every Wal-Mart in the United States. Although grass-fed beef made up less than 2 percent of the fresh-beef market in the U.S. in 2015, sales increased by 40 percent over the previous year — compared to only a 6.5 percent growth rate for conventional beef.  (The Wall Street Journal)

That ‘Natural’ Lemon-Fresh Scent? Not So Good for Allergies

Chemicals in household cleaners used to create “natural” flavors and smells can worsen allergies — especially for people with high exposure levels — according to a new study published in the journal Occupational & Environmental Medicine. The study focused on genetically modified enzymes in household products. According to the research, Time notes, “the process of genetic modification could change the products’ allergenic properties in a way that leaves humans more susceptible.” (Time)

Veterans Struggling With PTSD Turn to Alternative Therapies

A growing number of veterans are turning to alternative modalities, including yoga and animal-assisted therapy, to combat PTSD. Many new studies have suggested that alternative therapies can be as beneficial as drugs in treating depression, the New York Times notes. “Treatment had always been someone telling me I was dysfunctional and giving me a bunch of pills. I became more withdrawn to the point where I was considering ending it all,” Mike Hilliard, a former Army sergeant who now practices scuba diving therapy, told the Times. “As soon as I was underwater, everything went quiet. Seeing the fish, hearing the ocean — there is a complete innocence about it. There are no bad memories in the water. Everything just wants to live. It made me want to live again.” (NYT)

One More Reason to Never Light Up

Smoking permanently scars your DNA, according to a new study published in the journal Circulation. Specifically, it impacts a process called methylation that can control gene expression. The good news? If you give up smoking, most of the damage will fade. “The encouraging news is that once you stop smoking, the majority of DNA methylation signals return to never-smoker levels after five years, which means your body is trying to heal itself of the harmful impacts of tobacco smoking,” the study author said. (NBC)

Road to Alzheimer’s Paved With Refined Carbs

Insulin resistance can put us at high risk for a number of chronic diseases, including Alzheimer’s. In fact, notes Georgia Ede, MD, about 80 percent of people who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease have insulin resistance or type 2 diabetes. “Eating too many of the wrong carbohydrates too often is what causes blood sugar and insulin levels to rise, placing us at high risk for insulin resistance and Alzheimer’s Disease,” Ede notes. “Our bodies have evolved to handle whole food sources of carbohydrates like apples and sweet potatoes, but they simply aren’t equipped to cope with modern refined carbohydrates like flour and sugar. Simply put, refined carbohydrates cause brain damage.” (Psychology Today)

Are Botanical Treatments the Answer to the Antibiotics Crisis?

Can ancient herbal remedies help mitigate the antibiotic-resistance epidemic? That’s the question a slew of researchers are trying to answer, including Emory University ethnobotanist Cassandra Quave who underlines the urgency of the situation: “We’re standing on the precipice of a post-antibiotic era. We just haven’t fallen off yet.” Researchers hope to follow the lead of Nobel-Prize-winning phytochemist Tu Youyou, who developed artemisinin, one of the most successful existing treatments for malaria, based on the sweet wormwood plant. “Nature is a superchemist,” Simon Gibbons, a medicinal phytochemist at University College London, told the Times. “It’s been doing this for a lot longer than we or even mammals have been around. Plants have been doing this for about 400 million years.” (NYT)

US Maternal Mortality Rate Increases

The maternal mortality rate in the United States is rising, which makes it an outlier among wealthy nations, according to new data released by the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation. Specifically, there were 28 maternal deaths for every 100,00 births in the U.S. in 2013 — compared to 23 in 2005. Some experts have theorized that the increase in chronic disease, including diabetes and heart conditions, is contributing to the increase. “The really scary thing to us is all the deaths from cardiovascular disease and heart failure,” Dr. William Callaghan, who runs the Maternal and Infant Health Branch in the Division of Reproductive Health at the CDC, told the Times. “It’s a quarter of all deaths. There were almost none in the remote past.” (NYT)

Celebrated Chefs Embrace Wellness

A group of noted chefs, including David Bouley, Marco Canora, and Dan Kluger, are reimagining their menus based on the healing powers of food. “I’ve given away over 300 copies of Dr. Frank Lipman’s book, The New Health Rules,” Bouley told Well + Good. “It’s changed lives. People have to realize that they have to focus on learning how to cook the foods that they need — and it’s my job to teach them.” (Well + Good)

All Prostate Cancer Treatments — Including Doing Nothing — Equally Effective

Active surveillance is as good as surgery or radiation when it comes to treating prostate cancer, according to a new study published in The New England Journal of Medicine. The study, which followed three groups of men for 10 years who either had surgery, had radiation, or did nothing, found that all of the men studied had a low — and identical — death rate of about 1 percent. “I hope this helps patients to be better informed and to not rush into treatment decisions,” says Dr. Freddie Hamdy, professor of surgery and urology at University of Oxford and lead author of the study. “In the end, we’re giving them good news. If you have this kind of cancer, you’re going to have to wait a long time for that to damage your health and affect your mortality in any significant way.” (Time)

Big Sugar Started a Long Time Ago

The revelation last week that the sugar industry bribed scientists in the 1960s to downplay the link between sugar intake and heart disease and instead blame saturated fat is still big news. But, as historian David Singerman notes in this opinion piece, Big Sugar has been influencing the American diet for more than 150 years. Specifically, he says, today’s powerful sugar industry is a result of 19th-century tariffs on sugar imports intended to protect domestic refiners.”If we want to check the power of Big Sugar,” Singerman notes, “we’d be well served to acknowledge the long record — past as well as present — of the industry’s machinations.” (NYT)

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How To Dine Out With Food Sensitivities http://www.drfranklipman.com/dine-food-allegies/ http://www.drfranklipman.com/dine-food-allegies/#respond Thu, 22 Sep 2016 09:00:20 +0000 http://www.drfranklipman.com/?p=27922 Eating out when you have food allergies doesn’t have to be stressful. Try these five tips to savor your meal.

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By Be Well Health Coach Amanda Carney

When you have food sensitivities, are experimenting with eliminating certain foods from your diet, or are embarking on the Be Well Cleanse, eating out can be daunting. Trying to suss out what you can eat on a menu filled with no-go foods can be stressful — and that takes away from the enjoyment of the meal.

We want you to feel clearer on what you can eat — and have a fun time out — so here are our five tips for dining out with food sensitivities:

1. Choose the Restaurant

Do some research and get to know the restaurants in your area, particularly which ones have dishes that are in line with the way you eat. This way, when it is time to make dinner plans, you have some suggestions under your belt and can recommend ones that you know will have something you can enjoy.

2. Look Over the Menu in Advance

Whether you are dining at a new location or returning to one of your favorites, take some time to look at the menu beforehand to figure out which foods are “safe” for you to eat. Not only is this less stressful, but you can also decide what you are going to order before you sit down at the dinner table feeling ravenous. Preparing in advance allows you to sit at the restaurant, menu closed, and enjoy the ambiance and company.

3. Learn to “Menu Hack”

This is one of my favorite terms, mostly because it has totally changed the way I dine out! When looking over a menu, take note of the variety of foods used in different dishes, particularly the ones you are looking to incorporate into your meal. Then, simply piece together your own dish! If foods are listed on the menu, the chef has them in the kitchen, and most of the time, it shouldn’t be an issue to swap them in.

4. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Questions

Most servers want to keep their diners happy, and to do that, they need to know which way of eating is best for you — so just let them know! This doesn’t need to be a big scene; simply mention to them that there are certain foods you need to avoid, and let them guide you towards dishes that will be good options for you. If you’d rather avoid having a conversation, you could bring along a list of foods that you are sensitive to or looking to avoid. (A list is also a handy way for the chef to know what to include in your dish and what to leave out.)

5. Do Your Best

When it comes to food sensitivities and dining out, there will be times when things don’t work out exactly as you planned. At the wellness center, we are constantly telling patients to do their best, and we are always reminding them that things will rarely be perfect. Plan ahead and prepare as best you can, but don’t forget to enjoy yourself!

Amanda Carney works as a Health Coach at the Eleven Eleven Wellness Center with Dr. Frank Lipman.

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How to Prevent Hormonal Breakouts and Get Your Best Skin Ever http://www.drfranklipman.com/prevent-hormonal-breakouts/ http://www.drfranklipman.com/prevent-hormonal-breakouts/#comments Wed, 21 Sep 2016 09:00:36 +0000 http://www.drfranklipman.com/?p=27909 No amount of expensive creams or prescription pills will truly heal your acne. Try these lifestyle-based changes.

The post How to Prevent Hormonal Breakouts and Get Your Best Skin Ever appeared first on Dr Frank Lipman.

Written by Alissa Vitti
Reprinted with permission from Well + Good

You know how sometimes you’re a fully functioning, fabulous, have-it-all-together adult woman? And then you wake up with a giant zit on your chin and suddenly feel like a teenage girl barely surviving puberty?

It happens to the best of us. But especially those of us with imbalanced hormones. I should know: I had terrible cystic acne all over my face, chest, and back well into my 20s as a result of my struggle with my period and a hormonal imbalance called PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome).

It wasn’t just embarrassing; it was painful. I tried every supposed solution on the market, from antibiotics to benzoyl peroxide to Retin-A, and nothing worked. In fact, a lot of these irritants and drugs just made matters worse.

Hormonal acne is no joke, and it’s not the same as the occasional bump or blemish everyone gets from time to time.

How Hormones Affect Your Skin

Hormonal acne is the result of a serious endocrine imbalance, and most women experience the effects around mid-cycle, when they ovulate, and/or right before their periods.

This makes sense from a hormonal perspective: It’s the two points in the cycle when estrogen and testosterone are both at their highest points. For women with optimally functioning endocrine systems, these hormonal peaks don’t wreak havoc. But for women who can’t process hormones correctly, a buildup of estrogen and testosterone can accumulate in their systems and may not be properly eliminated.

Hormonal acne is no joke, and it’s not the same as the occasional bump or blemish everyone gets from time to time.

If you’re one of these women, your body is likely unable to carry out proper detoxification (and if you’ve been chronically making poor food and lifestyle choices, chances are your elimination organs — including your skin — won’t be up to the task, either). This can lead to estrogen dominance that inflames your skin and extra testosterone that encourages your sebaceous glands to churn out more oil.

This effect can be even more pronounced right before your period because, during this time, blood comes closer to the skin’s surface, exacerbating acne and redness. You may even be more prone to unwanted hair growth or loss at this times, due to all that testosterone messing with your follicles.

The Path to Better Skin

Here’s why this hormonal chaos plays out on your face (and maybe chest and back): Your skin is your biggest organ responsible for elimination, and it works in tandem with other important important players in elimination like the liver, lymphatic system, and large intestine.

Once you recognize and appreciate how inextricably linked these organs truly are to one another, you can start to understand why dabbing some drying ointment on one pimple at a time isn’t going to do the job; the problem starts so much deeper.

To put it simply, what you put into your body is what will determine the outcome on your skin. The foods you eat, the products you use, and even the cleaning substances you handle have to be properly eliminated.

No amount of expensive creams or prescription pills will truly heal your acne. So what can you do about it? The answer is (thankfully) simple: Prevent the problem through food and personal-care choices.

Here are some items to avoid — and add! — to get your skin clear and gorgeous again.

What to Skip

  • Dairy: Aside from the fact that a lot of our dairy options include synthetic hormones that add to your body’s hormone excess, dairy is also a primary cause of leaky gut syndrome since it’s an inflammatory agent.
  • Soy: If you’re already hormonally sensitive, then the phytoestrogens in soy may compound the problem and contribute to more acne. Soy can pop up in unexpected places, like supplements, so keep an eye on nutrition labels.
  • Gluten: Just like dairy, gluten contributes to inflammation of the gut.
  • Peanuts: Even people who don’t think they’re allergic to peanuts can experience adverse reactions to them, including skin inflammation and breakouts.
  • Canola, sunflower, safflower, and vegetable oil: These cooking oils have more omega-6 than omega-3 fatty acids, which produces skin inflammation during peak estrogen time.
  • Caffeine: I’m not a fan of coffee or black and green teas. Both can strip your body of essential B vitamins, magnesium, and zinc — which affects the skin’s immune response.

What to Embrace

  • Get the right nutrients: Try my Clear Skin Juice recipe: half a cup of cilantro, half a green apple, two stalks of celery, half a cucumber, four leaves of romaine lettuce, four frozen or fresh strawberries, and the juice of half a lemon. Add up to a half-cup coconut water if needed.
  • Replenish good bacteria: Probiotics are so important to good gut health, and good digestion is key to balanced hormones. There’s a set of gut bacteria (or bacterial genes, more specifically) called the “estrobolome” that produce an enzyme that helps to metabolize estrogen. To ensure you have enough good bacteria, start taking a daily probiotic.
  • Go organic with your beauty products: You may already be eating organic fruits and veggies, but putting organic products on your face and body is just as important. Throw out anything containing:
    • Endocrine-disrupting phthalates (look for the acronyms DBP and DEHP)
    • Sodium lauryl sulfates and ether sulfates (look for the acronyms SLS and SLES)
    • Parabens (including methyl, propyl, butyl, and ethyl)
    • Anolamines (look for the acronyms DEA, TEA, MEA)
    • Petrolatum or petroleum jelly. You can find tons of amazing, natural alternatives that are safe for your skin and still effective.

Alisa Vitti, HHC, is an integrative nutritionist, best-selling author of WomanCode, and the founder of FLOLiving.com, a virtual health center that supports women’s hormonal and reproductive health. A graduate of Johns Hopkins University and the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, Alisa has a web series on Lifetime, serves on the Yahoo Health advisory board, and is an advisor to several health and health tech startups. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.

This article is reprinted with permission from Well + Good.

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The Be Well Recipe: Brussels Sprouts Coconut Curry http://www.drfranklipman.com/brussels-sprouts-coconut-curry/ http://www.drfranklipman.com/brussels-sprouts-coconut-curry/#respond Tue, 20 Sep 2016 09:00:42 +0000 http://www.drfranklipman.com/?p=27955 Looking for a Cleanse-friendly recipe for Brussels? Try this comforting Thai-inspired dish, which comes together in a flash.

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(Photo: Betsy Nelson)

There was a time when Brussels sprouts were reviled by kids and adults alike. No longer. Brussels sprouts have been on trendy restaurant menus for years now, and some folks even refer to them as “the new comfort food.”

That’s great news for all of us because these miniature cabbages are nutritional powerhouses. A member of the cruciferous family, which is known for its cancer-fighting power, Brussels sprouts are loaded with vitamins and minerals and have a high antioxidant quotient.

Looking for a Cleanse-friendly recipe for Brussels? Try this Thai-inspired dish, which comes together in a flash.

Brussels Sprouts Coconut Curry

Nourishing bone broth and warming spices make this a comforting dish for all. Turmeric adds a beautiful golden color to the broth and is a strong anti-inflammatory. Works beautifully with added protein, such as grass-fed beef, organic chicken, and wild-caught fish.

  • 1 lime
  • 1 T. coconut oil
  • 1 tsp. cumin seeds
  • ¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup sliced shallot
  • 1 tsp. ground turmeric or 1 T. fresh grated turmeric root
  • 1 T. fresh grated ginger
  • 12 oz. Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved (about 3 cups)
  • ½ cup coconut milk
  • 8 oz. organic chicken bone broth, grass-fed beef bone broth, or vegetable broth
  • Sea salt to taste

Using a vegetable peeler, peel the zest of the lime in one large continuous strip. Cut the peeled lime into wedges for serving.

Heat coconut oil in a medium saucepan over moderate heat. Add the cumin seeds and toast for 1 minute. Add the black pepper and shallot and cook, while stirring, until the shallot is golden and softened.

Add the turmeric, ginger, and lime peel and stir for 30 seconds and then add the Brussels sprouts. Stir to coat with the seasonings, then add the coconut milk and broth.

Cover the saucepan and simmer gently until the Brussels sprouts are tender, about 5 to 7 minutes.

Season to taste with salt and serve warm with a squirt of fresh lime juice.

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7 Ways to Cut Pesticide Exposure http://www.drfranklipman.com/7-ways-cut-pesticide-exposure/ http://www.drfranklipman.com/7-ways-cut-pesticide-exposure/#comments Mon, 19 Sep 2016 09:00:05 +0000 http://www.drfranklipman.com/?p=27902 Kick pesticides to the curb and reclaim your health.

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By Dr. Frank Lipman

Much of my practice centers around guiding people back to health by giving them the tools they need to make it happen. One of the first steps on the wellness path involves reducing your ‘toxic load,’ which involves cutting the volume of chemicals and toxins that enter your body every day.

High toxic exposures can overwhelm the body’s ability to detoxify itself which, over time, can trigger a litany of diseases. To cut your toxic load relatively quickly, put chemical pesticides — and its toxic cousins, herbicides and insecticides — at the top of your detox list.

Here are some tips to start improving your health today:

Pay Attention to Your Plate

These days, unfortunately, the vast majority of people get their food from industrial-scale ‘factory-farms.’ Often subjected to pesticide sprayings throughout the growing cycle, these chemical-doused crops wind up on your plate, adding to your toxic load with every bite. So what’s a consumer to do? Try these four workarounds:

  • Buy USDA-certified organic produce: Though the certified seal system may not be foolproof, it goes a long way towards ensuring that certified organic produce, be it fresh or frozen, will contain little, if any, chemical pesticides. Another bonus: Most organics also deliver a bigger nutritional punch than conventionally grown crops.
  • Buy local produce at the farmer’s market or a community-supported agriculture group (CSA): Farmer’s market and CSA products may not always be labeled organic, but oftentimes that’s because many small producers cannot afford the cost of obtaining USDA certification. It’s always great to just ask. Small producers also typically use fewer (if any) toxic synthetic chemicals, relying instead on more environmentally friendly, natural methods of pest and weed control.
  • Buy smarter: If eating an all-organic diet simply isn’t in your budget — and for many people, it’s not — be sure to always consult the essential ‘Dirty Dozen/Clean Fifteen’ 2016 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides In Produce from the Environmental Working Group (EWG). The guide identifies the top 15 conventionally grown fruits and vegetables that test low for pesticide residues, as well as the top 12 that test high, so consumers can buy accordingly.
  • Grow your own produce: Veggies and herbs grown in the backyard or on the windowsill connect you with nature’s bounty — and you can create healthy, clean, and inexpensive food sans pesticides. Have a bumper crop of zucchini? Trade veggies with the neighbors, or make your own fermented veggies to carry you into the fall.

Let Your Lawn Run a Little Wild

Instead of soaking your lawn in highly toxic glyphosate — the main ingredient in the ubiquitous weed killer RoundUp — get back to nature. Switch to an organic lawn care service or implement your own chemical-free lawn care methods that won’t pollute your body, water supply, or the local bee population. Also, remember that the chemicals you spray on your lawn get tracked into your home by the entire family, including your pets, so the less you use, the better for all. To keep from spreading pesticides throughout your home, store all shoes and boots in a separate area, hallway, or mudroom. Feeling bold? Then take it a step further and ask the neighbors to stop using RoundUp as well.

Use Natural Bug Repellents

Keep bug spray use, both indoors and out, to a minimum. Avoid bug ‘bombs’ and conventional extermination treatments, both of which tend to leave a lot of toxins in their wake long after their release. If bugs indoors are a problem, consider using an environmentally friendly enzyme spray or natural bug killer with ingredients that are toxic to bugs — not to you and your family.

Ditch Industrially Grown Flowers and Shrubbery

According to a 2014 report by the Friends of the Earth and the Pesticide Research Institute, many of the commercially grown trees, plants, and shrubbery for sale at local or big-box lawn centers are doused in insecticides. And those inexpensive cut flowers at the local market? They’ve most likely been bathed in pesticides that pollute the environment and sicken the workers who pick, process, and pack them — not so pretty. To buy cut flowers and potted plants that are kinder to the earth and its inhabitants, look for sustainably grown fair-trade flowers with the Veriflora certification.

Looking for more ways to kick toxins to the curb? Check out these 6 additional tips to lighten your toxic load.

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Dr. Lipman’s Wellness News Roundup http://www.drfranklipman.com/dr-lipmans-wellness-news-roundup-sept-16/ http://www.drfranklipman.com/dr-lipmans-wellness-news-roundup-sept-16/#respond Fri, 16 Sep 2016 09:00:16 +0000 http://www.drfranklipman.com/?p=27931 Every week, we scour the Web for compelling wellness stories. Here’s a look at this week’s roundup.

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By the Be Well Team

Every day, we scour the Web looking for compelling wellness stories that provide the information — and inspiration — you need to make good choices. Here are this week’s must-read wellness articles.

Sugar Industry Paid Heart Researchers to Blame Fat

Huge news: The sugar industry bribed researchers in the 1960s to downplay the link between sugar and heart disease and, instead, point the finger at saturated fat, according to a new paper in JAMA Internal Medicine. “These tactics are strikingly similar to what we saw in the tobacco industry in the same era,” Stanton Glantz of the University of California San Francisco’s Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education, told NBC. Unfortunately, not much has changed, NPR notes: “What might surprise consumers is just how many present-day nutrition studies are still funded by the food industry.” (NBC)

To Beat Diabetes, Adopt a Low-Carb Diet

When it comes to diabetes, forget bariatric surgery and eat low-carb. That’s the upshot of a commentary co-written in The New York Times by a medical director at the Joslin Diabetes Center at Harvard Medical School and the medical director of the weight-loss program at Indiana University Health Arnett. The piece says low-carb diets are “a better, safer and far cheaper method” to tackle diabetes than weight-loss surgery. (NYT)

An Entire State in India Goes Organic

India, which has more organic farmers than any other country, is home to the first state in the world to receive 100 percent organic certification. Sikkim, a state in northeast India that is bordered by Bhutan, Nepal, and Tibet, has pledged that its 66,000 farmers will forgo GMOs, chemical fertilizers, and pesticides. (GOOD)

The Caribbean is Running Low on Coconuts

Coconut water, milk, and oil have never been trendier, which is good news for health-minded folks. The bad news? The Caribbean, which supplies many of the world’s coconuts, is experiencing a coconut shortage. “Storms, droughts and the Lethal Yellowing disease, spread by plant-hopping insects, have wiped out entire farms,” Bloomberg notes, adding that “growers have failed to invest in new trees, or fertilizers to improve yields.” (Bloomberg)

Beverage Industry Goes to War on Philly’s Sugary Drink Tax

Beverage companies and retailers are suing the city of Philadelphia to try and stop the sweetened-drink tax slated to go into effect in January. This summer, the city approved a 1.5 cents-per-ounce levy on sugary drinks like soda, sports drinks, and energy drinks. The beverage industry argues that the tax is unfair and would raise prices on sugary drinks by 31 percent. (The Wall Street Journal)

Advocacy Groups Urge FDA to ‘Immediately’ Restrict Antibiotic Use on Farms

The growing epidemic of antibiotic resistance spurred several advocacy groups, including the Natural Resources Defense Council, to file a petition Tuesday asking the FDA to “immediately” restrict certain uses of antibiotics in livestock and poultry. The groups say that the voluntary program created by the FDA three years ago has not reduced antibiotic use on farms. “In fact,” STAT notes, “the groups argue that antibiotic use in food-producing animals has actually increased by 5 percent since the program was announced.” (STAT)

German Nutritionists Give Thumbs Down to Vegan Diet

Although Berlin is known as a vegan mecca, the German Nutrition Society came out with a new position paper pooh-poohing the plant-based diet, saying it was “difficult or impossible” to get an adequate supply of nutrients without supplementation. Read the paper here. (NPR)

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