Which Diet Is Best For Me?

Avocado

Your guide to choosing your best dietary plan

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I often find myself looking for the next best way to boost my health. The next best thing to add or cut out of my diet in order to lose that one extra pound or to optimize where I already am. So I did a deep dive into the most popular diets of right now and listed the pros and cons to all of them. Read below for more information on the top five dietary protocols being researched, adopted and implemented in homes, schools and doctors’ offices alike.

All five diets have in common no processed foods, no hydrogenated oils and no high fructose corn syrup. Ideally, the best diet for you is the one that most significantly decreases inflammation in the body, because disease and aging is ultimately created and exacerbated by inflammation in the body.

Vegan

What it is: 100% plant-based diet

Allowed foods: Fruits, vegetables, lentils, beans, legumes, nuts, seeds, plant based oils, herbs/spices, mushrooms/yeasts, vegan meat and dairy substitutes

Avoids: All meat, fish, dairy, eggs, honey

Benefits: High phytonutrients, antioxidants, fiber, lower in fat; supports the environmental and ethical purposes

Challenges: Can be difficult to maintain blood sugar, as it is higher in carbohydrates. There are also many foods on the market that are vegan, but are highly processed. If adopting this diet, I recommend eating whole foods in order to consume adequate absorbable nutrients.

Paleo

What it is: “Ancestral Diet,” meaning that it only includes foods that our prehistoric hunter-gatherer ancestors would be able to find and prepare. Protein is the majority of daily intake, carbohydrates are restricted and it is higher in fat, but not as high as ketogenic diet.

Allowed foods: Focuses on grass fed meats, wild-caught fish, high-quality fats and oils, nuts, seeds, most vegetables, some fruits

Avoids: Dairy, cereal grains, legumes, potatoes and refined sugar, alcohol, most fruits, processed fats and processed meats

Benefits: Anti-inflammatory diet, which helps to regulate blood sugar and cravings by consuming satiating protein and healthy fats. The diet is based on natural foods, which have a high nutrient density full of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. If one’s goal is to lose weight, calorie and macronutrient counting isn’t needed if you’re eating the allowed foods and not too many of them.

Challenges: It can be easy to overeat meat and not enough vegetables on the paleo diet. This leads to low fiber intake, possibly causing constipation and increased inflammation, especially if the source of the meat one is consuming is of poor quality or mass-produced. This diet can also be expensive and may not be the cure-all, as today humans are genetically much different than our ancestors.

Ketogenic

What it is: Very high fat, (75-80%) moderate protein (10-15%), low carb (5-10%); This puts the body into state of ketosis (creation of ketones by the liver), thus adapting the body to burn fat for fuel instead of sugars and carbohydrates.

Allowed foods: All meat, fish/seafood, vegetables, nuts, seeds, fats, oils, nut flours, natural sweeteners like stevia

Eliminates: Wheat, flours, most fruits, sugars, grains, starches, starchy vegetables, lentils, beans, legumes

Benefits: Adapts the body to burn fat for energy instead of glucose, which is beneficial for limiting growth of cancer cells and improves mitochondrial health, beneficial for diabetics

Challenges: Can be difficult for many to eat so much fat and so few carbs. In the first 2-3 weeks many people also experience something termed the “keto-flu.” This is when the body is in transition from using sugars for fuel to fat and can cause an immune response, thus a cold, chills, fatigue, headache can occur. Other challenges include low fiber and possible nutritional deficiencies from lower fruit and vegetable intake as well as higher carcinogen intake from cooked meats.

This website can help someone who wants to learn exactly how many macronutrients for them to consume for their individual body. https://ketodietapp.com/Blog/page/KetoDiet-Buddy

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Whole30

What it is: Eating only whole foods for 30 days, See book: The Whole30: The 30-Day Guide to Total Health and Food Freedom, by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig

Allowed foods: Meat, fish, eggs, vegetables (no corn or peas), fruits, nuts, seeds, fats/oils

Eliminates: Grains, dairy, sugar, alcohol, legumes, soy, packaged/processed foods, sweeteners/sugar substitutes

Benefits: This diet has an achievable 30 day window for those who want to reset their relationship with food, decrease sugar cravings and inflammation and increase energy. This diet can also support proper sleep and digestion as well as support natural detoxification and metabolism.

Challenges: This diet often requires more time to cook and prep meals. It can be pricey and may feel particularly limiting.

Gluten Free

What it is: Avoiding all foods that contain gluten protein (wheat, barley, rye), specifically for individuals with Celiac disease and those with gluten intolerances/allergies and leaky gut syndrome.

Allowed foods: Meat, fish, vegetables, dairy, eggs, fruit, beans, legumes, non-gluten grains- rice, corn, buckwheat, quinoa, teff, millet, etc.

Eliminates: Wheat, barley, rye, beer, soy sauce, some processed meats and sauces, etc.

Benefits: For those who have been medically diagnosed with Celiac disease, eliminating gluten is a must in order to live a pain-free and healthy life. For those who have a non-Celiac gluten intolerance or choose to eat a gluten free diet, people may benefit from better nutrient absorption, weight loss, more energy, better mental clarity and clearer/brighter skin.

Challenges: There are many hidden sources of gluten in packaged and processed foods, as well as in restaurants. Some of these include deli meat, dressings, nut mixes, etc. Additionally, if one is switching wheat-based products for gluten free products like cakes, cookies, breads, etc, know that there is often increased sugar and fat content in order to replace the gluten.

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So which diet is the best one for you? The best diet is the one that you can stick to and the one that makes you feel good. If it’s one of the above or a combination of them, a diet that fits best with your lifestyle, dietary needs and beliefs is what’s important. Having a balanced diet that you can enjoy is the bottom line.

If you have more questions on which diet works best for you, best weight loss practices or support with starting and sticking to a diet, please contact Balanced Care to schedule with one of our practitioners! Dr. Rachel also offers a 5-week weight loss program that has shown lasting results. Inquire for more info!

Allergy Season is Upon Us – Where to Find Locally Sourced Honey and Why It’s Important 

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Last week you were looking out your window at the doom and gloom of the winter. You longed for warmer weather as you added another layer just to head outside.  It has been a long, harsh, and cold winter, but there are hints of spring everywhere you look.

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While you are out shopping, you notice the displays around the stores are decked out in floral patterns with clever, cheery sayings, and the end caps have fun outdoor items like herb gardens and gardening tools. You are feeling excited and refreshed with the change in season.

You continue walking along and you also notice the allergy medication has dominated one of the end caps. Then you remember: You love the idea of spring, but with all the new blooms comes all the pollen. With all the pollen comes all the sneezing. Oh, the sneezing. And that’s just the half of it.

You contemplate stocking up because you know how miserable you get. However, as you stand there with the medication in your hand you wonder: Am I going to be on allergy medication for my whole life? Is there an alternative option? Lucky for you, there is a more natural and delicious way to help your body through your seasonal allergies.

It’s honey. Honey? That’s right, honey. Perhaps this doesn’t come as much of a surprise because you might already use honey for other medicinal purposes, such as soothing your sore throat when you have a cold. Honey has a host of other benefits that help more than your cold.

Continue reading to learn about the benefits of using honey for allergies.

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What are Allergies and What Do They Do To Your Body?

Seasonal allergies, also called Allergic Rhinitis (nasal allergies), trigger your immune system to respond when a foreign substance like pollen is introduced to it. For some people, the response is mild, while others experience a more severe response. Allergies can affect all people from all different backgrounds, races, and genders. This can be  upwards of 50 million people each year. Just because they are common and affect so many people doesn’t mean allergies are any less annoying to combat.

The most common type of allergy is a seasonal pollen allergy. When things are in bloom, pollen is everywhere. When the wind blows, it carries the pollen from grasses, trees, and weeds long distances which will cover anything in its path. During allergy season it seems as though nothing is safe.

Your immune system must work so hard to keep your body functioning normally.

Common symptoms include

  • Itchy, watery eyes
  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Congestion
  • A sore throat

There are other symptoms, such as fatigue, that aren’t as commonly talked about but can throw your whole body through a loop. It makes sense when you think about it. Your body is working tirelessly because your immune system is on overdrive. No wonder you are feeling so exhausted.

In addition, people can experience irritability, low productivity, and memory loss when they are in the midst of allergy season.

Seasonal pollen allergies are common, but it doesn’t mean you have to live with this discomfort the rest of your life.

Continue reading to understand the benefits of raw honey, and how it can help your allergy symptoms.

Honey

Benefits of Raw Honey

Some experts believe that pollen from bees ends up in the honey. If people consume this honey, they will slowly build up immunity to and therefore be able to tolerate the pollen. While this might help slightly, this isn’t the main reason why local honey is beneficial for allergies.

Here is the deal with raw honey: It is packed full of nutrients, enzymes, sugars, minerals, amino acids, vitamins, and let’s not leave out its antiseptic and anti-fungal properties. Best of all, it’s jam-packed with polyphenols (infection-fighting antioxidants). So what exactly does all of this mean?

It means that honey can help your immune system which, as stated above, is working extra hard and causing you to be miserable, irritable, and exhausted. If honey can help your immune system, it can also help fight your allergies.

Additionally, honey can help with hay fever symptoms which tend to go hand in hand with allergies.

Local Raw Honey vs. Processed Honey

So what exactly is the difference between local raw honey and processed honey? For one, the look of the two kinds of honey is very different. Processed honey is very clear while raw honey is cloudy. This is because raw honey has not been heated or filtered.

When you buy local honey, you know exactly where it comes from because the farmers are local, and the bees are local. In addition, the pollen that ends up in the honey is from the local area, so you could be introducing small amounts to your body. As stated previously, the local pollen in the honey isn’t necessarily what helps your body with your allergies, but it is an added benefit that processed honey doesn’t have.

You just read about all the fantastic health benefits that raw honey has. While processed honey might have some of those benefits, most of them have been destroyed during the pasteurization process.

You will be doing your body a huge favor by using local raw honey instead of processed honey. You can generally find raw honey in your local grocery stores or specialty health food stores, but you will find that using locally sourced honey will be the least processed and you will get the most significant health benefits.

How Local is Local Honey?

In general, to be considered local honey it should be from your state. Use this search to find local honey near you.

At Balanced Care, we would like to provide you with the care you deserve to manage your chronic illnesses and seasonal allergies. Please contact us to find out how we can help you start feeling better today.

We Have Some Exciting News!!

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We are moving to 3209 W 76th St Edina, MN May 1st!!

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Balanced Care will be moving on May 1st to the York Business Center in Edina. We will be conveniently located off 494 and is a quick 5 minute drive from our current location. Our patients are the number one priority and we felt this is what is best for our patients and our practice. Nothing will change for patients other than an upgraded space for patient visits. We can’t wait to share it with you and hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

Meet My New Business Partner Megan Pankratz!

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Megan is an Aesthetician with Aesthetic Skin Studio in Edina. We have been working together for the past year to provide  skin and health care needs for our patients. We are thrilled to offer our services in the same space! Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns. Stay tuned for more updates from Megan, Dr. Rachel and I.

Eat Your Medicine! 8 Natural Home Remedies to Try For the Common Cold

Eat Your Medicine

You wash your hands, you stay away from others when they are sick, and you eat your fruits and veggies. You do all of these things, and yet those pesky viruses have still found a way into your body.

Eat Your Medicine

An unfortunately timed upper respiratory infection has attacked you like the common cold.  Did you know adults get about 2 to 4 colds each year? Children are double that, getting on average 6 to 8 colds each year. That is a lot of sick people to try to avoid. No wonder you have landed yourself with a cold.

Regardless of statistics, your nose is a faucet, your throat is sore and scratchy, and your pile of tissues on the coffee table makes you consider becoming the world’s next Jenga champion.

You know you will get better eventually, but right now you would like some relief. Life doesn’t slow down when you are sick, and you are ready to start feeling better, like yesterday. Natural home remedies are becoming increasingly popular since people are getting more serious about their health.

So go ahead, curl up on the couch with a blanket (you deserve to because you’re sick) and continue reading below to find eight ways you can eat your medicine. That’s right, eat it. (And technically drink it for some of them.) The best part about the following list of natural home remedies is the fact that most of these ingredients are already sitting in your kitchen.

Some of these remedies are old favorites that you might already know, but some might surprise you and become your next favorite cold go-to.

1. Honey

Honey is liquid gold. It is high in nutrients and enzymes which help kill the nasty cold viruses. Honey will coat your throat and help protect it from the extra mucus which is causing your throat to be sore. Honey can also be given to adults and children with sore throats before bed to help them sleep.

Best Ways to Eat Honey

  • A spoonful of honey!
  • Add honey to your tea
  • 1 tsp lemon juice and 2 tsp honey. Take every 2 hours

Note: You should only give honey to children that are over 1 year old

2. Ginger

Ginger has a long history in medicines, so what is so unique about it? Ginger has some essential medicinal properties like antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties. It will help your body fight off the infection.

Best Ways to Eat Ginger

  • Eat raw ginger
  • Ginger Tea
  • Boil 2 cups of water
  • Add 1 tbsp chopped ginger
  • Cover and simmer for 5 minutes
  • Take off heat for another 5 minutes
  • Strain
  • Add a little lemon juice and honey, then enjoy.

Chicken Soup

3. Chicken Soup

Chicken soup and colds go hand in hand. Good thing it is delicious as well as nutritious. While you are slurping down this delightful soup, you are doing your body another favor. The soup is full of ingredients that help fight off the infection. So go ahead and have a second bowl, or third.

Best Ways to Eat Chicken Soup

  • Homemade chicken soup using organic vegetables and chicken will provide you with the best ingredients
  • Bowl and spoon

4. Red Onion

Yes, red onion. When you inhale red onion oils, relief from your cold symptoms might feel immediate. Also, since red onions are high in antioxidants, they can help your body fight off the infection.

Best Ways To Eat Red Onion

  • Red onion syrup
  • In a mason jar, alternate layers of a thinly sliced onion and raw honey. Repeat until the jar is full. Cover for 12-15 hours.
  • Drink a spoonful of syrup often during the day for relief

5. Black Pepper

Black pepper contains piperine which is known to help open up the airways. That can help with breathing and reduce coughing. Since there is probably pepper sitting on your counter next to your stove, go ahead and add some to your next meal.

Best Ways to Eat Black Pepper

  • Sprinkle on meal
  • Gargle 1 tsp with warm water
  • Smell it (just smelling pepper can help open up your airways)

6. Garlic

Garlic is known to be antibacterial and antiviral which will help give your immune system an extra boost. Like pepper, garlic can help open up airways to make breathing more comfortable, but it can also flush out toxins from your body which will help you recover faster.

Best Ways to Eat Garlic

  • Munch on raw garlic cloves
  • Garlic paste
  • 1 crushed garlic clove, 2 tsp honey, 1 tsp cayenne pepper (or chili powder). Eat daily until your symptoms go away.
  • Add fresh chopped garlic to your food

Turmeric Milk

7. Turmeric Milk

Turmeric is known to have antioxidant, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory health benefits. Turmeric milk will help with not only coughing but also body aches and headaches.

Note:  I suggest using unsweetened coconut milk…

Best Way to Drink Turmeric Milk

8. Cinnamon

Cinnamon can help a scratchy and sore throat in addition to helping fight off the infection. Cinnamon contains cinnamaldehyde which is full of anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

Best Ways to Eat Cinnamon

  • Cinnamon Tea
  • Combine 1 tbsp powdered cinnamon, 2 cloves, and 2 cups boiling water
  • Let it simmer for 15-20 minutes
  • Strain, let it cool, and enjoy!
  • For added benefits, and best results, add honey

Upper respiratory infections of any kind are never a welcomed experience. They are annoying, untimely, and they can make you feel miserable for days. People continue their daily lives feeling miserable until the cold goes away, but remember you will recover faster if you are taking care of yourself. Not only is it imperative to take care of yourself to get better, but it’s also important to take care of yourself, so you don’t get worse. A cold can turn into other more severe upper respiratory infections if untreated.

That means that you are getting proper sleep, drinking plenty of liquids, and eating and drinking foods that are high in antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Please, stay home from work you deserve to rest and get better. There are so many simple, symptom-relieving foods available that you can try above. Check your cupboards to see what you have on hand already and give one of them a shot. You might be surprised at how much better you feel.

Note:  If you haven’t recovered in about two weeks or are catching colds frequently, it is time to check in with your doctor.

6 Health Benefits Of Sesame Seed Oil and How to Use it to Improve Your Health

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Sesame seed oil has been used through the ages in many Asian cuisines. It is high in nutty flavor and brings so much joy to those who eat it. It’s no wonder it has infiltrated Western culture in more recent years. People are using this small seed oil as an alternative to vegetable oil in their cooking.

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Sesame seed oil has been used through the ages in many Asian cuisines. It is high in nutty flavor and brings so much joy to those who eat it. It’s no wonder it has infiltrated Western culture in more recent years. People are using this small seed oil as an alternative to vegetable oil in their cooking.

6 Benefits of Sesame Oil

1. Healthy Skin and Hair

Skin: Sesame seed oil is loaded with zinc which means it’s incredibly good for your skin. It can be used to treat a plethora of different kinds of skin ailments. Sesame seed oil is useful for treating inflamed, irritated and damaged skin because it is high in antioxidants and antibacterial properties. The oil penetrates deep into the derma, fighting bacteria and leaving your skin vibrant and detoxified.

Reasons to use sesame oil on your skin include:

  • Fights and prevents bacterial infections (including acne)
  • Repairs skin cells
  • Soothes eczema and psoriasis
  • Reduces the appearance of age spots
  • Natural moisturizer
  • Natural Sunscreen
  • Natural diaper rash cream for babies

How to use as a moisturizer

Apply liberally to your skin after a hot shower, and leave it on your skin for 10 minutes or so. Thoroughly rub it in after the 10 minutes. Apply more as needed.

How to Use to Detoxify

Before your bath or shower, apply and let it soak into your skin. This will allow the oil to have time to penetrate your skin and target the toxins deep within your skin. Finally, wash the oil away along with the toxins.

Hair: Sesame seed oil is high in vitamins and minerals which your scalp loves. From soothing a dry, flaky scalp to getting rid of lice, there are so many different ways to use this oil on your hair.

Reasons to use sesame oil on your hair include:

  • Deep conditioning
  • Lice treatment
  • Soothes and calms a dry and flaky scalp
  • Adds shine
  • Treats dandruff
  • Treats premature graying

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2. Improves Bone Quality

Sesame oil is used to help promote active bone growth. It is high in copper, zinc, and calcium, all minerals that are necessary for bone growth. It can be used by people to mitigate the effects of osteoporosis and other bone-weakening diseases brought on by age. In addition, it can be used to speed up the regrowth and healing process of damaged bones.

3. Oral Health

Many people don’t realize that brushing and flossing can cause micro-tears in their gums, which can open a gateway into the rest of your body for infections. While brushing your teeth is an essential practice for good oral hygiene, you might also benefit by giving oil pulling a try.

Reasons to use sesame oil in your oral care:

  • Fights oral infections
  • Prevents plaque build up
  • Prevents gum/mouth diseases like gingivitis and cavities
  • Fights bad breath causing bacteria

How to Oil Pull

  • Swish oil gently for about 15-20 minutes
  • Make sure it is reaching all parts of your mouth
  • As it pulls out toxins, the consistency will change
  • Once it reaches a thick consistency that is milky white, spit out before toxins are reabsorbed
  • Rinse well with water
  • Repeat a few times a week, or daily if you prefer

Note: Spit out oil in the trash so you don’t clog your pipes

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4. Boosts Heart Health and Improves Circulation

Sesame seed oil is high in zinc and copper, which by now you probably know has many benefits to your body, including your heart and your blood.

Your heart will benefit because sesame oil contains lignins which contain polyphenols. Polyphenols are micronutrients that can prevent diseases such as cardiovascular disease. Lignins are known to help lower cholesterol levels naturally.

Your circulation will improve after you start using sesame oil. The additional zinc and copper will enable your body to begin functioning at optimal levels for the production of new red blood cells. Healthy red blood cells in your tissues mean healthy organs, which means a healthier you. Not only that, but sesame oil is touted for its ability to lower blood pressure which will improve blood circulation.

5. Helps Manage Anxiety, Depression and Stress

Sesame seed oil contains an amino acid called tyrosine. This is great news for people who are dealing with chronic stress, depression or anxiety. Eating foods that contain the amino acid tyrosine will directly affect your serotonin levels which signal an increase in your mood.

6. Anti-Cancer Properties

Some of the chemical compounds in sesame oil, such as sesamol and sesamin, have been found to reduce certain types of cancer cells. This means that the growth of the cancer cells was slowed down or stopped altogether. Additionally, sesame seed oil stimulates antibodies which are your body’s natural way of attacking cancer cells.

What Kind of Oil Works Best?

There are different kinds of sesame oil. To get the most health benefits, look for cold-pressed or organic sesame oil. These are the least processed options, and they contain the most nutrients compared to any other type of sesame oil out there. Organic and cold-pressed sesame oils can generally be found in specialty grocery stores or online.

If you are considering adding sesame seed oil to your everyday life, contact the experts at Balanced Care. We are a wealth of knowledge and would love to help you make the right decisions that fit your lifestyle. Contact us today.