Paleo Pear Crisp

It’s pear time! And while apples get all the attention, pear can be just as good!

Paleo Pear Crisp:

  • 4-5 pears, cored, and sliced
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 2 Tbsp coconut sugar
  • 1 Tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp arrowroot powder

Topping:

  • half stick of butter (or 1/4 cup coconut oil)
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 Tbsp coconut sugar
  • 1 Tbsp of apple pie or pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 1/2 cups almond flour

Directions:

Mix the filling ingredients together until coated and put in an 8×8 or 9×13 depending on how thick you want it.  Crumble the topping ingredients together and cover the filling.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 20-25 minutes.  Turn the oven to  broil and brown the topping  for about 3 minutes!


Antibiotics? Now What?!

Let’s face the facts. Despite the best intentions, the healthiest lifestyles, and the desire to stay as natural as possible, sometimes antibiotics creep into the equation because it was an emergency, it was life-threatening, someone didn’t know better, or it was presented as the only option. I get it. I also get the uncertainty moving forward for those who know just how detrimental that round of antibiotics may have been to their precious microbiome (aka all the healthy bacteria living in your body making you healthy!). So, let’s jump over the guilt trip because you can’t change it now! Let’s get down to what you can do today, and for how long to put yourself in the best position possible for the future of you microbiome moving forward.

I want to start by saying, while not ideal, many people have been on antibiotics and gone on to live a life full of health if they take their body ecology seriously. So, it’s not the end of the world, but it does put ownership in your court. To me that can be a blessing in disguise because I’m sort of a control freak. I do better with things I CAN control then things I can’t. So, consider this moment a blessing in disguise.

The post-antibiotic plan:

  • Take a probiotic with 20 billion CFU and S. boulardii during and after antibiotics daily for 4-6 months. Giving your bacteria a crutch will be helpful despite the fact that probiotics are transient. I also know there has been some research suggesting that probiotics are not beneficial after antibiotic treatment, but clinically, I see otherwise, and there were some questions that I have regarding that study data. Although I do agree that a fecal transplant would likely be ideal and better! But unless you have a C. diff infection, you’re not likely going to have that option at your finger tips. I digress.
  • Eat a variety of fermented foods daily. Sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, kevita, plain kefir, plain yogurt, and even some brands of pickles (Bubbies) are the bees knees when it comes to probiotics in foods. Not only do you get the benefit of the food nutrition, but those probiotics are abundant and essential to everyone, whether you’ve taken an antibiotic or not! Shoot for at least one of these options daily, and ideally you’d continue this habit forever!
  • Cut the sugar, alcohol, and processed foods. Opportunistic organisms can quickly become pathogens and overgrow quickly if the competition has just been wiped out! That means, in order to give the good guys a fighting chance to hold their own, you need to starve the potentially bad guys. They love sugar, alcohol acts like sugar, and processed foods are full of chemicals that kill good guys and sugars that feed bad guys. This, you guessed it, is probably a habit that should last a lifetime, too! I would say for 2 weeks following treatment, try to cut alcohol completely and keep your carbohydrates less 50g a day. Even some healthy carbs can act as a simple food source for pathogens. That can be short-term.
  • Go outside. Eat from the garden, put your hands in the dirt, and try not to be too clean. I know, I sound crazy, but sterile isn’t good. We want nutritious foods without chemicals, fresh air and sunlight, some sample of soil-based organisms to help our ecology. You’re a glorified plant.
  • Eat lots of organic plants and cook with coconut oil and grass-fed butter. Plants contain probiotics that feed your health bacteria, and getting them without chemicals that kill bacteria will tip the scales in your favor. Shoot for at least one big salad a day, and 2 non-starchy veggies as sides at dinner. Do this continuously throughout your life, but be diligent for at least 2 weeks. Use coconut oil and grass-fed butter to cook, as they are anti-microbial.
  • Manage stress. Stress creates chemical changes in your body that isn’t great for gut health and it actually causes leaky gut. That can predispose you to bad bugs or foods getting into your system because they aren’t staying in the gut. That’s why yoga, meditation, prayer, or walks can help your gut environment stay tip top!

Most of these things aren’t rocket science and should be a part of a healthy lifestyle for a lifetime! The difference is being slightly more strict for the first month following antibiotics by restricting carbs, sugar and alcohol, in addition to being sure to get as many probiotics in as many ways as possible. It will take you potentially 4-6 months to restore your microbiome and some studies suggest it will never be the same. So, staying on the probiotic and fermented food bandwagon could be essential. What we do know, is that now is not the time to throw caution to the wind if we want to set ourselves up for a future of health despite an antibiotic mishap. Do your best and let go of that which you can’t control.

*If you’re interested in my post-antibiotic probiotic suggestions, feel free to check out the “store” and sign up for an account, which will give you access to that template in my online dispensary, since some of my suggestions are not available through retail channels.


Increasing Testosterone Naturally

It’s super interesting to me that women speak so freely about their hormone issues and eagerly seek out solutions, but men tend to be more protective of the symptoms that they may be experiencing.  Trust me, I get it.  No one wants to talk about symptoms that impact their sexual performance or masculinity.  However, this topic is one that needs to be addressed because of 2 things:

  1. Women and men want men to feel good about themselves and function optimally.  It keeps everyone happy.
  2. Low testosterone impacts more than sexual function and traits of masculinity, it increases the risk of prostate cancer.

So, we are putting all embarrassment aside for the moment, and we are going to talk freely here. 

Healthy testosterone levels in men require a few things:

  • Proper enzyme function
  • Management of Sex Hormone Binding Globulin (SHBG)
  • Leydig cell health (the cells in the testicle that make testosterone)
  • Optimal Hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal (HPG) axis function

If any of those things are not present, and a man is not producing enough testosterone, he may experience the following symptoms:

  • Breast tissue development
  • Small testes or penis (yes, there are measurements for what is normal)
  • Spattered hair growth patterns
  • Low libido
  • Decreased energy
  • Lack of spontaneous erections
  • Decreased muscle mass and increased fat mass
  • Poor sleep
  • Poor concentration
  • Joint and muscle pain post-workout

Why would someone’s testosterone levels be low?

  • Certain drugs such as spironolactone, corticosteroids, alcohol, and opiates all decrease testosterone production
    • Even hair growth (Propecia) or prostate growth (Cialis) medications that are alpha reductase inhibitors can loss of sexual functionality.  So, you end up keeping some hair, but losing some testosterone.  Pick your poison.
  • Endocrine disruptors in hygiene care products like lotions, creams, and fragrance
  • Age: Men start to lose testosterone production starting at age 30; 10% of men in their 40s and 25% of men in their 70s have definitive diagnoses for low testosterone
  • Decreased levels of SHBG due to hypothyroidism, liver disease, or obese men due to higher insulin levels.  It’s not uncommon for men with thyroid problems to gain weight, call me, and in the consult confess to having symptoms of low testosterone.  If SHBG is too high, you can see bone density loss.  You want SHBG to be not too high or too low.
  • Use of licorice or stinging nettles supplements
  • Stress: Stress causes the release of cortisol and cortisol is the enemy of testosterone production.  According to one expert, “cortisol castrates.”  Come on.  That’s pretty catchy.

What can someone do to optimize testosterone production or increase libido?

  • Optimize their blood sugar with diet.  Low carbohydrate is a good place to start.
  • Exercise.  Specifically lifting weights for big muscle groups (think squats and deadlifts) and NOT doing prolonged cardio activity.
  • Supplement with Horny Goat Weed.  It’s a PDE-5 inhibitor just like Viagra. (message me for a link to a brand I like)
  • Use adaptagens like maca, rhodiola, ashwaghanda to help balance cortisol levels
  • Sleep!  Sleep increases testosterone production and is a major player in the world of hormone balance in general.
  • Optimize vitamin D levels with supplementation, liver intake, and/or sun exposure.  You want your Vitamin D levels to be between 40-70ng/dL, and normal testing ranges allow for less than that.  Look at the test and do something if it’s less than 40ng/dL.

In all seriousness, this is an issue that many men experience at some point in time, and it doesn’t need to be something that they try to manage.  It can be corrected, and should be corrected not only for quality of life purposes, but to minimize the risk of prostate cancer.  I’m always here to help, and feel very strongly about demystifying sensitive topics!


Histamine Intolerance: What You Need to Know and Why Antihistamines Aren’t the Solution

Most of the time, when the word “histamine” comes up, people are speaking about the dreaded symptoms that present with IgE-mediated allergies, like runny nose, itchy eyes, and sneezing.  These types of allergies tend to be seasonal for most people, and they are typically quite predictable.  However, histamine can be a part of so many more problems than just those associated with seasonal allergies.  Elevated histamine levels in the body can contribute to indigestion, GERD, rashes, migraines, and even pain.  Because these issues tend to be so global, it can be a misdiagnosed or undiagnosed problem that is fairly easy to solve!  Now, take that with a grain of salt because while explaining the issue and how to correct it is fairly simple, actually taking the steps to do so can be more difficult.

Where does histamine come from?

Histamine lives abundantly in immune cells called mast cells.  When mast cells burst, they release all of their contents, including copious amounts of histamine.  Anyone who has true seasonal allergies knows exactly what that feels like because when you breathe in allergens, they attach to the outside of mast cells and cause them to burst open.  Boom.  Itching, watering, misery.  Over the counter meds, antihistamines, try to address all that excess floating around; however, supplements actually stabilize the mast cell, so even in the presence of allergens, the mast cell doesn’t burst.  This allows patients to feel relief of symptoms without having the drowsy-inducing chemicals that cross the blood brain barrier.  Not that that topic isn’t important, BUT, we are here to talk about all the reasons someone can have histamine issues WITHOUT seasonal allergies. 

There are tons of things that cause mast cells to explode and release all their histamine:

  • Stress
  • Heavy metals such as aluminum and mercury
  • Infections
  • Autoimmunity

Now, histamine doesn’t just live in mast cells.  We eat food with histamine every single day!  Most of us know nothing about this because when it reaches the intestines, our body produces an enzyme called diamine oxidase (DAO) that breaks it down and we never feel any ill effects from it.  However, many people have damaged gut linings where that enzyme is made and that means that when they eat foods high in histamine, it goes unbroken down and ends up in our system, causing issues like indigestion, brain fog, migraines, pain, or rashes.  You may be thinking: “Can’t I just take that enzyme and be good?!” or “Can’t I just avoid histamine foods and be good?!”  The answer to both of those questions is “You could absolutely take DAO or avoid histamine foods to decrease histamine load in the body, but that doesn’t fix the problem and is a very expensive or difficult-to-sustain bandaid.  The better solution is to reestablish the health of your gut lining, so your body makes enough of its own DAO, and you no long have unbroken down histamine causing issues.

High histamine foods:

  • Alcohol
  • Mature cheeses
  • Shellfish
  • Beans
  • Nuts
  • Chocolate
  • Processed meats like sausages and lunch meats
  • Leftover foods
  • Fermented foods

You can see how avoiding this list may be challenging, not a long-term solution, and may even contribute to nutrient deficiencies!

What are the symptoms of histamine intolerance?

  • Skin issues (eczema, hives, rashes, itching)
  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches or migraines
  • Joint pain
  • Racing heart
  • Anxiety
  • Allergies

What are natural ways you can decrease the histamine load and heal the gut?

  • Stabilize mast cells with supplements containing quercetin and consuming plenty of onions, kale, broccoli, and asparagus
  • Healing gut cells by consuming bone broth daily and/or taking supplements with glutamine
  • Getting your gut bugs in check by consuming probiotics and/or eating fermented foods if tolerated
  • Treating any infections with antimicrobials like berberine
  • Do yoga or meditation to decrease stress
  • Cut out alcohol for a period of time
  • Take B-vitamins or eat lots of colorful plants because many medications deplete b-vitamins which are necessary for DAO to function and breakdown histamine.  Think birth control, blood pressure meds, and mood regulators
  • Try to decrease the intake of high histamine foods because histamine is dose dependent.  That means a little isn’t an issue, but it just takes a little once you’ve reached the threshold to cause a response.

It shouldn’t be any surprise that, once again, lifestyle choices matter for you to live a life free from histamine intolerance.  There’s no magic bullet.  There’s no quick fix.  It takes a few months before you can really see optimized gut restoration, so give yourself 3 months before assessing your progress.  Hope this was helpful, and if you want to establish if this information pertains to you prior to trying the things listed above, I encourage you to meet with a knowledgeable functional medicine doctor.


Urinary Tract Infections: Natural Solutions

Urinary tract infections are not something we sit around the dinner table discussing, but google searching on the internet, that’s another story. Believe it or not, this topic is one of the most highly searched health terms. That means, you are not alone, and let’s hope there’s valuable information out there. When I asked my audience on media the other day what conditions they wanted information for, this was what they decided! I had NO CLUE that so many people were interested in UTI solutions, but considering that if many people get them, especially women, elderly, and men with BPH, I shouldn’t be surprised. The other thing to take note of is that if you get them, they often reoccur, which means antibiotics over and over again if you go a traditional treatment route and are unable to prevent them.

Let’s get down to business.

What causes Urinary Tract Infections?

The short answer? E. coli getting into the urinary tract, penetrating the cell lining and taking up shop. This is just another case of infection due to bacterial overgrowth.

How do you treat or prevent Urinary Tract Infections?

This is where visiting a doctor who can diagnose the infection and evaluate the severity is important. If there is a severe active infection, you may want to consider antibiotics as the treatment option that is needed because no one wants it to progress into a kidney infection! However, if it is somewhat early and benign, you may be able to get away with an antimicrobial combo like Uva Ursi and Berberine to get the job done.

In the case of prevention, my preference in practice is the use of cranberry extract that contains at least 36mg PAC (proanthocyanidins). These plant compounds found in cranberries have the ability to attach to E. coli and PREVENT them from attaching to the lining in the urinary tract. Having said that, that’s why we use this in folks who have the tendency to get them over and over. You know you want prevention for these patients, and cranberry extract supplements tend to be a great solution! Studies show that if you combine a cranberry extract with 36mg PACs with a broad spectrum probiotic, that it has even slightly better prevention rates (which were already great!) I’m pretty transparent about the supplement industry and what is pretty standard across the board and what you need to be intentional about in terms of quality, and this is one that is notorious for not having many PACs when tested. Be sure to ask your doc for a good cranberry extract!

In addition to antimicrobials for treatment or cranberry extracts for prevention, whether they be prescriptive or natural, you want to make sure to do implement the follow lifestyle habits:

  • drink plenty of water because hydration will help drive urination, flushing out the urinary tract
  • urinate after intercourse
  • wipe front to back, ladies. You don’t want anything bacterial from the back entering the front.
  • steer clear of too much sugar and simple carbs in your diet, because that tends to be a fuel source that bacteria thrive on!
  • take a probiotic or eat fermented foods to help keep your internal environment balanced

Implement these simple solutions, and you could avoid a trip to the doc, another round of antibiotics, and all of the time you waste not being able to pee, having burning during urination, or pain in the back and pelvis!

Mental Health Impacts on Immunity

Everyone has heard that they need to have a more positive outlook or stress is bad for their health.  Try telling that to someone who is sick and has more bad days than good!  It’s not an easy place to be those with any chronic disease, let alone autoimmunity or cancer, but there’s some evidence to suggest that having a positive outlook and a healthy mental state pays dividends in the immunity department!

There is a field of research called psychoneuroimmunology.  Let’s break that down: pyscho (mental)-neuro (nervous system)-immunology (immune system).  There’s an entire of field of research targeted at uncovering the mysteries of how these systems work together.  Do we have it figured out? Nope.  I don’t even think that will happen in my lifetime.  Just because we don’t have the mechanisms explained, doesn’t mean we don’t see some of the correlative effects of optimistic attitudes like:

  • -better natural killer cell activity (NK cells keep cancer in check and help you fight infections)
  • better ratios of helper to suppressor T-cells (T-cells tipped out of balance equals autoimmunity)
  • -increased sIgA function (this is crazy important for the gut barrier that can be compromised in autoimmunity)

Ways to improve mental outlook

There’s nothing more frustrating than recognizing that your attitude sucks, you have negative self-talk, and maybe even some depression and someone telling you to “stop, be more positive.”  What does that even mean?!  Of course, I’d be more positive if I knew how!!!!  These tips are going to feel forced initially, but I will list some helpful suggestions in order of ease.  The top of the list is where you should start if you feel stuck and “being positive” feels forced.  The better you get, work your way down!  Be gentle, because some people take years before they can do some of the lower list comfortably.

  • volunteer– find an organization that helps people, and simply show up to help.  Animal shelters, soup kitchens, Habitat for Humanity, after-school programs.  You ALWAYS have a positive mood when you’ve made another person’s life better.
  • random acts of kindness– randomly throughout your day, do something small for someone that you may not have done otherwise.  Buy their coffee, open a door, let them out in traffic, give a stranger a compliment, look at someone and smile.  Little things go a long way.
  • write and send thank you cards– not only does this task make you think of people who mean something to you, but it also gives you a purpose to remember why your thankful for them, and then you will also feel amazing when they feel good about someone recognizing them and being grateful for their presence.  I do this every year around Thanksgiving, but this is an insta-feel-good anytime you’re feeling down.
  • start a gratitude journal– simply writing 3 things you are grateful for down every day for 21 days without repeating any will force your brain to focus on the blessings.  Your brain will begin to search for these things as a part of everyday life.
  • meditate– being able to practice checking in with yourself, letting go of expectations, knowing that how you are in the moment is enough and exactly how it’s supposed to be is extremely freeing.  Try downloading the headspace app or purchase one of Chopra Center’s meditation series.  I LOVE the Chopra meditations because they start with telling you what to focus on and how to relate it to your life.  You’ll be better at starting yourself as time goes by.

When you think about the fact that cancer patients in studies have been proven to have better outcomes when they visualize and create positive environments over those with negative thoughts, it’s definitely worth a shot.  If for no other reason than the opening the door of opportunity in a time when your immune system needs some help, smile and make a small step towards finding the silver lining!  It will pay you back in ways you never imagined. 


Patient Journey: Graves’ Disease

  1.  What health issues were you struggling with when you began to work with Dr. Angela?

I had just gotten diagnosed with Graves’ disease, and I also just had an open surgery to remove a benign tumor the size of a cantaloupe, as well as one of my ovaries.  My symptoms were fatigue, racing heart, high blood pressure, hand tremors, excessive sweating, and more!

2.  What treatment methods had you tried prior to Dr. Angela’s program?

I had just started on an anti-thyroid drug after seeing an endocrinologist.

3. What health benefits did you gain from working with Dr. Angela?

I feel like a completely different person than I did before starting this program.  I feel so much better when I ate real whole foods compared to processed foods I was eating before. (Also, got pregnant of first try even when the medical doctors told me it would be a problem for us. ;) )

4. What did you find most beneficial to you in the program?

Dr. Angela does a really good job of educating her patients.  It’s easier for me to follow through with something when I know the “why” and not just instructed to do it.

5. What was your biggest struggle during the transition to a healthier lifestyle?

Wanting to have cheat meals!!

6. Did you food options taste good?

Yes! There are so many good meals we could make and most were more satisfying than our previous meals.

7. Did you have an ah-ha moment that helped you commit to the change?  If so, what was it?

I know that if I didn’t try this, I would have to most likely have my thyroid removed or destroyed, and I did not want to have to do that.

8. If you were going to give a piece of advice to someone on the fence of following a program like Dr. Angela’s, what would you say to them in order to help them decide?

Anything is worth a try, especially before taking medications with harmful side effects, or having a definitive surgery.  Dr. Angela really cares about her patients and devotes everything to help them heal naturally.  I would recommend her to anyone!

Dr. Angela side comments:

Graves’ disease is a very serious condition, and this patient speaks about food and natural healing, but there were also components of medications and supplementation that played a role, too.  These patient journeys are for me to help anyone trying to make decisions about their health get answers to the questions from a patient perspective.  I have every patient do this voluntarily, and I do not alter any of their words.  I couldn’t be more honored to be a part of this person’s health journey, and wish her all the abundance moving into motherhood!


The Top 5 Reasons You Should Use an Infrared Sauna

Every winter I make my way to the sauna and I would go everyday if my schedule allowed!  For me, it started with the desire to be warm to the core and sweat during a season where it didn’t matter how many layers I worked out in, there was not a bead of sweat.  While the sauna certainly helped me warm up, and allowed me to sweat, I started to realize there was more to it than that.  There is valid research on the health benefits of the sauna, thermogenesis, activation of heat shock proteins, etc, but I just want to keep this simple.  After all, if you’ve never been to an infrared sauna, you are problem wondering whether it’s worth the time and effort.  I’m here to tell you that if I had one therapy in my office that wasn’t delivered by a person, an infrared sauna would be it.

Here we go…

  1. Detoxification– Sweating is one of the body’s ways to detoxify through the largest organ: the skin.  When I am working with patients that have chronic diseases, there is always a need to provide detoxification support. Heavy metals, pesticides, endocrine disruptors…they can all keep you from healing.  Sweat it out!
  2. Cardiovascular health– Cardiovascular events kill more people than any other disease.  It’s a real thing. Just like exercise gets your blood pumping, so does heat.  That means you get some of the same exact cardiovascular benefits from using an infrared sauna as you do hitting the gym!  That also means it’s a great way to continue “training” when you have an injury that keeps you from pushing your limits.  It has been shown to dramatically reduce the incidence of cardiovascular events in men due to having positive effects on blood pressure and vessel pliability.  The more the men used the sauna, the greater they reduced their risk in a Finnish study that has been following people over the course of a lifetime to study impacts of sauna use.  They aren’t quite sure yet, but it appears that 20 minutes or more is the magic threshold.
  3. Energy-It’s no surprise that getting your blood pumping to tissues like your muscles and brain make you feel more alive, alert, and energetic.  When I leave the sauna, I can honestly say I feel rejuvenated!  I’m starting to sound like an infomercial, but this is the real deal.
  4. Weight management– Ok, I have never used the sauna for weight management, but there are a few reasons why saunas help do this: metabolic expenditure, increased growth hormone, increased nutrients to organs that regulate metabolism like the thyroid, and increased mitochondrial activity. Let’s call it the lazy man’s weight loss program not just because of lost water, but because of the cellular influence and hormonal impacts.
  5. Sleep– I have always been a deep sleeper, but I have many patients that struggle with sleep.  There are tons of things that impact someone’s sleep quality, but drastic changes in body temperature is one that has an amazingly positive impact.  Exercise can do the same thing.  Think about a hard day’s work of manual labor, or how wiped out the kids are after a day in the sun, or how sound you sleep on the days you do heavy lifting.  Outside temperature or physical activity have an influence on core body temperature that helps you fall deeper into restorative sleep.

Cholesterol, Heart Disease, and What You Should Do

Coronary Heart Disease is our single most common cause of death and it is caused by something called atherosclerosis.  Atherosclerosis is a fancy term for “your vessels get more narrow due to plaques and that reduces the blood flow to whichever organ that vessel is going to.”  IF you have atherosclerosis of the coronary artery, then you have obstruction of blood flow to the heart…..hello, coronary heart disease: the number one killer.  Most people people are familiar with the most common form of coronary heart disease known as a HEART ATTACK!

Symptoms of the early stages:

  • During physical activity, people may experience chest pain that may go into the neck and left arm.  The pain goes away after rest in the early stages.
  • Fatigue during normal activities.  This is due to the lack of blood supply to the heart, so you feel fatigued doing normal activity.

Symptoms of heart attack:

  • Severe chest pain not connected to physical activity.
  • Fear, cold sweats, nausea

Given the fact that autopsies show that by the age of 60, 100% of people have some signs of atherosclerosis, it’s not surprising that people want to know what to do when the doc starts talking about this when they go in for their exam!

What causes atherosclerosis?

People have been led to believe that cholesterol and dietary fats are the root of all this nonsense. We’ve all had someone we know quit eating meat and eggs and opted for non-fat products in attempts to correct the cholesterol issues on their labwork. This is a myth you need to get comfortable rejecting, so keep an open mind here.  Atherosclerosis is an INFLAMMATORY condition! The plaques on the wall of arteries are not cholesterol stuck; it’s actually more like a damaged portion of the artery wall that is covered with a bunch of stuff, but the main component is actually tissue trying to repair that is mostly made from collagen.  The fat part of the plaque is mostly UNSATURATED FATS. This is complex, but the gist is:

  • Something in the bloodstream attacks the artery tissue
  • Immune cells come to the rescue to destroy whatever is attacking the artery tissue
  • Those immune cells call for more help by sending out the bat signal known as inflammation
  • As the body is trying to repair the damage, it grows more collagen and creates a cap on top of the plaque
  • When the inflammation stops, it becomes hard and calcium may take up shop there.  This is like a scar. THIS WOULD BE NORMAL AND WE ALL HAVE SOME SCARS IN OUR ARTERIES.
  • In atherosclerosis, the inflammation doesn’t stop and it forms something similar to puss in a wound.
  • Inflammation is driving the production of enzymes that break down collagen and if the cap over the area gets weak? Boom. Rupture.
  • Within second, the blood tries to thicken to stop bleeding, a clot forms, and the artery is blocked or a portion of it can break off and float downstream and stuck in another location.  This is what we all really fear.

Why avoiding cholesterol isn’t helpful:

The body uses fats and cholesterol as the building blocks for creating new cells and tissues in any healing process.  This is because a huge part of a cell is the membrane and it acts sort of like your skin.  Without it, what would hold in your insides?!  Those membranes are made out of fat and cholesterol and if you want to get geeky, many cells in the body have 50% of the membrane made from cholesterol. THE REASON WE SEE CHOLESTEROL IN AREAS OF PLAQUING IS BECAUSE THAT IS YOUR BODY’S ATTEMPT TO REPAIR THE DAMAGE TO THAT TISSUE!  It’s like saying umbrellas must cause it to rain, because every time it rains, I see all these people holding umbrellas.  Cholesterol is the umbrella.  It’s there BECAUSE OF THE TISSUE DAMAGE, not causing it.

Ok, so let’s cut to the chase.  You understand what I’m saying, so now you want to know what causes that arterial damage that starts this whole thing in the first place.  Without further adieu, let’s look at a list…

  • Chemicals: chemicals in your beauty products, medications, home cleaning products, cigarettes, pesticides, water, processed food.  I bet you had no idea that even what you slather on your skin goes straight to the bloodstream and could be contributing to heart problems!  Stay woke. (If you don’t know what that means, it’s ok, just keep reading)
  • Infections: if you have issues with the barriers between the outside world and inside of your body like gum disease, leaky gut, sinus infections, etc, then you basically have a highway for pathogens to get into your bloodstream and wreak havoc wherever they see fit, which means not just your arteries.  This is also a huge problem with autoimmune diseases and cognitive issues.  I bet you didn’t have any idea your oral hygiene could be a part of your heart disease.
  • Nutrient deficiencies: in order to repair, your body needs adequate building blocks and deficiencies in things such as b-vitamins, vitamin c, vitamin D and amino acids set you up for failure.  If you have b-vitamin deficiencies, you may see elevation in markers like homocysteine on your labs.  If your doc runs complex labs, you may also see vitamin C deficiency pop up as elevated Lipoprotein A. (you have a 70% greater chance of having a heart attack if you have elevated lipoprotein a!)

So, let’s simplify this into some actionable things you could do to help yourself:

  • Eat a healthy diet including lots of plants and good sources of healthy fats
  • Stop eating processed foods and excessive amounts of sugar
  • Clean out your beauty drawer from all the chemical crap (check out this website for information)
  • Work with a physician to get off as many medications as possible.  This is ironic when it comes to statins because statins cut off your ability to produce cholesterol, ultimately lowering your cholesterol numbers.  Knowing what you know now, is cholesterol trying to help heal or trying to hurt your vessels!  Bye, Felicia.
  • Take B-Vitamins, omega 3 fatty acids (1g for prevention or 3g for someone with active conditions), CoQ10 (100mg for those taking statins and want to prevent issues or 500mg if you are experiencing issues of statin use like forgetfulness or muscle/joint pain).  (If you want specific recommendations for the products I prefer, feel free to email me at angela@angelalucterhand.com for links to those)
  • Stop smoking.
  • Start exercising.

Take away points:

  • Prevention is key, so don’t wait until you have heart disease to take your diet and lifestyle seriously.
  • You MUST be on CoQ10 if you are going to continue to take statins.
  • Cholesterol is not the enemy, so do not go low fat in attempts to correct the problem.

Believe it or not, these cases are some of the easiest patient cases I take on!  It doesn’t take much time to see drastic changes in someone’s labwork in these cases, and the solutions are pretty simple when you compare them to more complex issues like cancer and autoimmune diseases.


Toast Alternative for Egg Dippers (paleo, gluten-free, dairy-free)

Every person who loves breakfast, runny eggs, and the toast that you dip in it cries a tear when they decide to give up bread.  It’s a bittersweet tear because it’s a complicated topic, but I think it’s safe to say that most wheat products these days are not exactly helping our healthy cause.  So, I decided to come up with a savory pancake that could double as an egg-dipper!  I can still have my runny yolks and dip them too, sans bread.
Egg Dippers (grain free, dairy free)
Ingredients:
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/2 cup tapioca flour
4 eggs
1/2 cup shredded zucchini
1 cup water
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp paprika
2 Tbsp fresh minced chives
1/4 cup chopped kale
salt and pepper
Directions:
Mix together your dry ingredients and then add you wet ingredients until you have a batter.  Heat a nonstick pan over medium high heat and use bacon fat for the first batch to grease the pan.  Cook the batter on one side until the edges are firm.  Flip the pancake and cook for another 2 minutes or so.  After your first set of pancakes you can see how long you need to be cooking them on each side so they are cooked through since every stovetop is quite different!