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.

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!

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 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.

Raynaud’s: Natural Solutions

Raynaud’s.  What the heck is that?!  Well, you either clicked to read this article because you have the diagnosis, or you related to the picture, which essentially tells you what Raynaud’s is, visually.  In a nutshell, it’s the lack of blood flowing to the finger tip(s), most commonly.  There can be other areas involved, too, like toes or the tip of your nose;  however, most people who experience the garden-variety version have it happen to a finger tip or two.  When something happens to cause the vessels to the finger tips to constrict, they spasm and don’t open back up as quickly as they should.  That is why you will see white tips when the rest of the finger is red.  The cold is the most common reason for this to happen, but it could also be due to stress.  When the finger tips lose blood flow, they become numb, and the person can’t feel things with those fingers that they would normally.  Typically, it returns to normal in a short time, but it can be rather annoying.

What’s a person to do about this?!

The key to dealing with Raynaud’s is addressing the cause: lack of blood flow.  Sometimes, this can be a side effect of a more serious condition, such as an autoimmune disease (especially scleroderma), medication use impacting blood flow, or certain thyroid conditions.  However, most of the time the key is addressing the spasm of the arterioles.

Here are some easy tips to address to problem: 

  1. Wear warm gloves when in cold temps.  Duh.
  2. Exercise regularly.  Exercise forces blood to pump and keeps your arteries responsive.
  3.  Stop smoking.  It’s well-known that nicotine damages vessels, which is why smokers don’t heal from injury or surgery as well as non-smokers.  It’s all about blood flow to tissue when we are talking about healing.
  4. Address medication use.  Finding and correcting the need for certain medications that impact blood flow, like beta-blockers and even OTC meds for sinusitis!  The reason they stick chemicals in meds for sinusitis is to reduce the blow flow in order to decrease pressure.  Makes sense, right?  But the pressure is not the cause of sinus issues.  Many times, the best option is to address the reason someone is experiencing allergies, stop the release of histamine, or correct the underlying issues impacting recurrent infections.  That could mean taking a different approach to the nutrients you take for these issues.  I digress.
  5. Consider supplements that increase blood flow and oxygen while you are addressing lifestyle factors.  Nutrients such as niacin have been used for a very long time to increase blood flow, and if you have ever used it, you know there’s something called “niacin flush.”  You could also consider nutrients that increase nitric oxide, like l-arginine.  Often times, people with Raynaud’s have low nitric oxide levels.
  6. . Get massages and adjustments regularly.  Adjustments will make sure your nervous system is functioning in tip-top shape, and massages will enhance blood flow to all the areas of your body. I personally think a monthly adjustment and massage is what works best for me!
  7.  Use saunas.  Heat increases blood flow!  It’s not rocket science.  Use saunas regularly throughout the winter to enhance blood flow to tissues. In the winter, I will use a sauna a couple times a week, but I would do it more frequently if my schedule permits!

While many people experience this issue, traditional medicine approaches aren’t that successful.  Try these simple lifestyle changes to address Raynaud’s or heck, just move to the sunny states!  You have to admit, it’s not a bad idea.


Flu Prevention 101

2018 Flu Pandemic.  In full swing.  What should we do?

Well, flu statistics tell us that February is the month with the highest rate on infections.  So, the worst is yet to come.  Pharmacies are having difficulties keeping Tamiflu in stock, and they are saying this could be the worst flu season since the bird flu scare.  As a functional medicine practitioner, I have never been a fan of the flu shot for a couple reasons:

  1. The flu shot is a vaccine that we produce BEFORE flu season.  This means that we GUESS which pathogen will be the issue, and we are notoriously wrong.  That means that massive amounts of people are convinced to get a shot that includes adjuvants.  What are those?  Things that wake up the immune system.  Often times they use things like components of an egg.  It always makes me wonder if they has anything to do with why so many people have egg allergies now.  It’s just not normal to have egg anything in the bloodstream and it actually makes sense that the immune system would recognize this as abnormal and produce antibodies against it.  Hello food sensitivities.   Anyway, that’s exactly what happened this year.  We dispersed vaccines against a strain that was not the correct one.  So, even if you had a flu shot, you are just as susceptible as everyone else.  Sorry, Charlie.
  2. The flu vaccine was created specifically for immunocompromised populations.  The elderly, HIV patients, you know, people that will DIE if they catch the flu.  However, a healthy individual may be down for a few days, but then they will be fine.  We shouldn’t need to intervene with toxic therapies.

We can’t take back the fact that the vaccine was against the wrong strain.  So, is there anything we can do now?  Yup.  Here are my tips for preventing and treating the flu naturally and effectively:

  1. Wash Your Hands.  When you go around touching surfaces and then touching your face, you expose your mucus membranes to all the organisms that may have been resting on those ledges, hand rails, door handles, dollar bills, pens, you name it. So, washing your hands before you eat is huge deal right now.  Just do it.
  2. Eat plenty of plants and organ meats.  Plants are full of phytochemicals that keep your immune system robust.  Spices also contain compounds that can stimulate the immune system, so use them generously.  Organ meats (from appropriately-raised animals) are full of fat soluble vitamins like A and D.  These are heavy-hitters for the immune system.  They also have minerals like Zinc.  Zinc is a well-known immune-supporting mineral, which is why zinc lozenges adorn the shelves of every pharmacy.
  3. Get 8 hours of sleep.  When you sleep, cortisol levels go down.  When you wake up, cortisol levels go up.  Cortisol levels are inversely related to immune system function.  That means that you immune system is allowed to its best work at night when cortisol is down.  If you deprive yourself of sleep, then you don’t do much to support your immune system’s ability to fight infection.  Why do you think people just want to stay in bed when they are sick?  Sleep matters.
  4. Take supplements.  I’m not a huge supplement person, but there are a couple supplements to consider in these types of situations.  The first one is colostrum.  Colostrum contains antibodies.  The antibodies have the ability to bind up viral antigens like those present in influenza to eliminate them before they would get into your bloodstream.  The other supplement is one that has a mixture of herbs and nutrients that specifically support immune function.  You should be looking for beta-carotene, zinc, Vitamin C alongside herbs like Echinacea and Andrographis.  If you feel the slightest tickle in your throat or “off-ness” start taking an immune stimulating formula right away.

A word of advice:

The flu is caused by a virus, which means antibiotics have absolutely zero impact on it’s treatment.  If you have confirmed flu, consider denying the antibiotics and letting it run its course if you are healthy.  Most people will be just fine.  Keep hydrated, get rest, get some nutrients, and consider taking some supplements to boost immune function, but DO NOT take antibiotics and expect them to treat your flu.  What they will do is wipe out the healthy bacteria in your gut that is fighting for you  It will take 3 months to rebuild that bacteria, so think about it!

Cheers to a happy and healthy winter season!