Anxiety and Natural Healing

By Elizabeth Kahn, Dietitian

It is estimated that ten to twenty percent of the population will have a panic attack at least once during their lifetimes. Anxiety can either be chronic or acute. A panic attack is acute anxiety. Panic attacks are a nervous system response also referred to as the “Fight or Flight” response. The fight or flight response is the body’s reaction to a stressful situation, in which hormones including adrenaline are released. In a panic attack this response occurs at an inappropriate time. In the face of a wild animal this response can save you, in an inappropriate situation this can produce unnecessary stress. Anxiety can be uncomfortable and also takes a toll on the body.

During a panic attack there can be feelings of impending doom, shortness of breath, a smothering or claustrophobic feeling, heart palpitations, chest pain, dizziness, hot flashes and/or chills, sweating, trembling, numbness, tingling sensations in the extremities, a feeling of not being in reality and a distorted perception of time passing.

Long term anxiety can cause muscle soreness, twitching and tightening as well as fatigue, depression, insomnia, nightmares, decreased libido and an inability to relax.

Chronic anxiety is more mild and generalized than acute. Sufferers often feel a vague sense of anxiety much of the time. These individuals may also suffer an anxiety attack but generally the feelings are less intense. They may experience headaches, chronic fatigue and startle easily and often have a persistent feeling of uneasiness, especially around other people.

Diet

Nutrition can reduce the number and intensity of panic attacks and overall anxiety. Following a natural plan can either end the need for medication or make it possible to reduce drug dosage.

Nutritional deficiencies including low selenium, iron and chromium levels can cause anxiety. Food allergies can also trigger these disorders.

Food that are helpful for anxiety are apricots, asparagus, avocados, bananas, broccoli, blackstrap molasses, brewer’s yeast, brown rice, dried fruits, dulse, figs, fish (especially salmon), garlic, green leafy vegetables, legumes, raw nuts and seeds, soy products, whole grains and yogurt.

Eat small frequent meals rather than fewer larger meals, i.e. five meals rather than three. Limit intake of animal protein and eat more complex carbohydrates and plant proteins. Avoid foods that have refined sugars or other simple carbohydrates. For maximum nutritional benefits avoid all simple sugars, carbonated soft drinks, alcohol and tobacco.

Caffeine can trigger anxiety. Determine if caffeine is affecting you by keeping a food log of your intake while noting your anxiety levels, or simply limit or avoid the substance altogether. Coffee, black tea, chocolate and many cola’s contain caffeine.

Herbal Treatment

Kava kava is an herb that can treat anxiety. Kava or most any herb should not be taken for more than two weeks at a time. Catnip, chamomile, cramp bark, hops, linden flower, motherwort, passion flower and skullcap can also aid in preventing panic attacks and promote relaxation.

Fennel, lemon balm and willow bark reduce gastrointestinal upsets caused by anxiety. Feverfew and meadowsweet can relieve anxiety related headaches. Meadowsweet can be taken as a tea or extract. Check with your local health food store for more information on availability and ideal ways to take individual herbs, as staff in these locales are often very knowledgeable.

If you are taking medication consult your doctor or pharmacist before taking any herb to check for possible drug interactions.

Other Causes

Recreational drug use such as marijuana use can cause anxiety attacks.

More Natural Treatments

Meditation and exercise are effective tools to alleviate anxiety. Call a trusted friend to talk as this can also diffuse anxiety. Positive thinking can be very helpful for this and just about any other mental or physical issue.

According to famed author and motivational speaker Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, “whenever a negative thought concerning your personal powers comes to mind, deliberately voice a positive thought to cancel it out”. This and other tools for positive thinking can reduce the feelings of stress or anxiety dramatically. Stress is, after all, in the eye of the perceiver.

As I often do, I recommend a naturopathic doctor to analyze an individual’s needs and develop a customized treatment plan for those suffering from anxiety disorders. Look for one of these practitioners in the phone book or on the Internet, and contact them one by one until you find a good fit for your situation. These practitioners can often refer you to the appropriate provider if they are not the best match for you, as many naturopaths have specific areas of expertise. Some natural practitioners accept insurance and some insurance plans will help cover naturopathic treatment. However, if you have to (and can) pay out of your own pocket for natural medicine, solving the underlying problem will be well worth the expense.

Sources

Balch, P. A. (2006). Prescription for nutritional healing (4th ed.). New York: Avery Publishing.

Peale, N. V. (1992). The power of positive thinking. New York: Simon & Schuster. Retrieved October 30, 2011, from http://self-improvement-ebooks.com/books/tpopt.php.

 

 

Ofelia’s Kitchen and A Nutrition Revolution

Local Business Owner’s Team Up to Inspire Health

By Elizabeth Kahn

Ofelia’s Kitchen in Livermore is an independently owned and operated restaurant that serves healthy, homemade meals using fresh, local, organic ingredients.

Ofelia Gomez and her husband, Jay Gomez came to the United States from Columbia in 1985. They arrived in California in 1995 and soon after opened Ofelia’s Kitchen. Jay worked for many years in the Silicon Valley until an economic downturn took his job, and he now happily spends more time at the restaurant. The Gomez’s decided to open the restaurant after being encouraged by Ofelia’s friends to share her amazing cooking abilities, and to instill the value of hard work and joy of healthy cooking in their children, Jennifer and Alexander.

Their daughter, Jennifer, is a medic in the U.S. Army and has served in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Their son Alexander graduated from the University of California at San Diego with a degree in International Studies. Alex now works for the UCSD Medical Clinic as a computer database manager.

Ofelia’s serves a variety of salads and sandwiches including chicken, tuna and crab salad, artichoke, eggplant, pastrami and vegetarian meatloaf. Their sandwiches are all served on fresh bread that is baked daily and topped with items like lettuce, sprouts, cucumber and tomatoes. The restaurant offers a variety of smoothies such as a delectable blackberry-banana smoothie and an invigorating green-tea frappe. They make delicious homemade soups, most of which are vegetarian, and include pumpkin, minestrone, chicken noodle, white bean and broccoli.

About Me

I too was inspired and lucky enough to be able to follow my passion, nutrition. I returned to school after being laid off from my high tech job as well, in the same economic downturn that changed Jay’s path. I graduated in 2006 from the University of California at Davis with a Bachelor of Science degree in Clinical Nutrition. I am now a Health educator, author and maintain a private nutrition consulting practice. Ours are stories of making lemon-aide out of lemons- literally!

The Collaboration

I recently had the chance to work with Ofelia’s to analyze the nutritional content of their recipes. During the process, I tasted many of their handcrafted creations and was continually impressed with the quality and taste. I was inspired by the fresh ingredients—and love—they incorporate into every one of their dishes.

I will be offering nutrition talks and signing my new book A Nutrition Revolution: Uncover the Mysteries of Nutrition at Ofelia’s soon. During the presentations Ofelia will offer tastings of some of their fabulous food. Look for the schedule at Ofelia’s and on my website.

If you have a chance in the meantime, do visit Ofelia’s for a healthy, heart-warming meal. And we hope to see you at the talk and tastings!

Ofelia’s is located on Hillcrest Avenue in Livermore off of East Avenue. They are open Monday through Friday from 10:30-5:30, and Saturday from 11-4:30. You can visit them online at: http://ofeliaskitchen.com.

Beth Kahn is a Dietitian, educator, and author of A Nutrition Revolution: Uncover the Mysteries of Nutrition. For more information or to connect with Beth visit: anutritionrevolution.com.

 

Got GERD? Learn to Balance Body Acid Naturally

By Elizabeth Kahn, Dietitian

The foods we eat contribute directly to the pH balance in our bodies. If the acid levels in our diet are out of balance, health problems will often occur. Problems associated with high acidity include acid reflux, GERD and indigestion. Acidic environments are also linked to cancer and other diseases.

Acidic foods are highly prevalent in the average American diet. These foods need to be consumed in balance with more basic (alkaline) foods to keep the body chemistry in line. Use the following list to help balance your body chemistry naturally.

Highly Acidic Foods (avoid):

Alcohol, asparagus, beans, Brussels sprouts, buckwheat, catsup, chickpeas (garbanzo beans), cocoa, coffee, cornstarch, cranberries, eggs, fish, flour based products, legumes, lentils, meat, milk, mustard, noodles, oatmeal, olives, organ meats, pasta, pepper, plums, poultry, prunes, sauerkraut, shellfish, soft drinks, sugar, all foods with added sugar, tea and vinegar. Also aspirin, tobacco and most drugs.

Moderately Acidic Foods (limit):

Butter, canned or glazed fruit, cheeses, dried coconut, dried or sulfured fruit (most), grains (most), ice cream, ice milk, lamb’s quarters, nuts and seeds (most).

Highly Basic Foods (consume liberally):

Avocados, corn, dates, fresh coconut, fresh fruits (most- even citrus), fresh vegetables (most- especially kudzu, onions, potatoes, rutabagas), honey, horseradish, maple syrup, molasses, mushrooms, onions, raisins, soy products, sprouts, Umeboshi plums and watercress.

Moderately Basic Foods (consume liberally):

Almonds, blackstrap molasses, brazil nuts, chestnuts, lima beans, millet and soured dairy products.

Resources:

Balch, P. A. (2006). Prescription for nutritional healing. Avery Publishing: New York.

About the Founder and ANutritionRevolution.com

Elizabeth Kahn is a dietitian, an educator and author and the founder of A Nutrition Revolution.com. Elizabeth received her degree in clinical nutrition from the University of California at Davis. She has published several health-based articles and a book titled A Nutrition Revolution: Uncover the Mysteries of Nutrition.

Elizabeth teaches nutrition and wellness and maintains a private nutrition consulting practice, where she counsels individual clients about their diet. She also serves on the Board of Directors of the Cooking with Kids Foundation. To hire her please visit the Contact page. For a list of services she provides see the Services page.

As a trusted source for comprehensible and up-to-date nutrition information, Elizabeth is dedicated to increasing consumer awareness about nutrition. Shethrough ANutritionRevolution.comwill help consumers navigate the sea of misinformation and propaganda regarding nutrition and natural heath.

We must arm ourselves with information and demand a nutrition revolution!

Peace and natural healing,

Elizabeth

“No army can withstand the strength of an idea whose time has come.” — Victor Hugo

 

Press Release: “A Nutrition Revolution: Uncover the Mysteries of Nutrition” is Published by AuthorHouse

By CLK Photography

For Immediate Release

October 1st, 2011

Want to know the real secret of how to heal your body and remain healthier and why it seems so difficult to get the traditional establishment to accept alternative, complementary and natural medical or health care treatments—let alone a trip to the nutritionist? In A Nutrition Revolution, Elizabeth Kahn reveals why Americans are kept in the dark about the benefits of good nutrition—eating well can heal your ills without the need for doctors or medicine. Additionally she offers information on how to use alternative, complementary and natural health care for healing and achieving better health while encouraging consumers to instigate change in America’s infrastructure so it becomes easier to attain sustainable good health.

Not another “how to” diet book or “healthy eating” book, A Nutrition Revolution provides a “how-to-understand-nutrition” book that asks readers to make a philosophical shift in their approach to medical and health care, dieting, eating, and food shopping. In a personal, comprehensible and compelling manner, Kahn points out that learning to eat in a healthy manner shows the way not only to a healthy body and lifestyle but, in many cases, to healing. The author helps readers see the real barriers to nutrition, health care and natural healing alternatives so they can overcome them.

By educating readers about the misleading information they receive from food manufacturers, drug corporations, doctors, politicians, and the diet industry, Kahn shines a spotlight on what makes it so difficult for most people to integrate nutrition into typical medical treatment. Additionally, A Nutrition Revolution provides readers with problem-solving methods to implement in doctors’ offices, grocery stores, homes, schools, and voting booths so they can create the necessary shifts in consciousness, attitudes and priorities on both a local and national level. Kahn encourages all consumers to influence how those in power affect the delivery of healthy products and services today and in the future, thus creating a revolution in America’s current approach to nutrition.

Jon Erlandson, founder of Healthy Food in Schools, says A Nutrition Revolution “is a very perceptive and thorough analysis of not just our American diet but the pharma[ceutical], food and education industries as well. This should be required reading for all school district decision makers…This message is too important to let it go unnoticed.”

A visit to a nutritionist made Kahn realize she could eliminate the symptoms of her lactose intolerance, rid herself of borderline hypoglycemia, heal her early-stage thyroid problems, and prevent herself from getting diabetes—all simply by eating a balanced diet. Had she instead “followed the doctor’s orders” and taken prescription medication, the affects of her lactose intolerance, continued intake of processed foods, and long-term lack of proper nutrition would have taken a toll on her body. Kahn’s paradigm shift set her on a new path, and she became a nutrition consultant and educator as well as an advocate for changing not only how people approach their own health care but how they view food manufacturers, school cafeterias, pharmaceutical companies, and the political, economic and educational systems in our country.

“Healthy food, nutrition therapy and nutrition education can eliminate 80 percent of our disorders,” claims Kahn. “And we can treat many of the disorders we have, even autism and Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), with good nutrition. However, accomplishing this requires educating consumers’, doctors’ and politicians’ about the value of good nutrition and natural health alternatives.”

Those consumers who can or want to influence public policy will find A Nutrition Revolution of particular interest. “For those who know, deep down, there has to be a better way, this book is for you. It will take a lot of people standing up to their doctors and insurance companies saying, ‘I want a nutritionist,’ and demanding healthy food in stores to create the needed change. I hope my book will create a desire in people to stand up for themselves and for their needs.”

In the foreword to A Nutrition Revolution, Jaime L. Mitchell, publisher and owner of Natural Awakenings Magazine, writes, “Elizabeth Kahn is at the forefront of a paradigm shift: a re-shifting of focus toward root causes like nutrition and education. If you are a parent, an educator, or even a policy maker, this book is a must-read for you to empower yourselves, your children, your students, and your community.”

For more information on A Nutrition Revolution or on the author, please visit the author’s website at www.anutritionrevolution.com. To purchase a copy of the book, go to http://bookstore.authorhouse.com.

For more information:

fill out our contact form here.

Holistic Nutrition

By Elizabeth Kahn, Dietitian
A healthy offering
Credit: Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of D. Sharon Pruitt

Holistic nutritionists treat the whole individual with natural remedies. These practitioners can alleviate symptoms of and prevent disease by using natural remedies such as diet and exercise. Modern medicine sets out to treat symptoms of disease as doctors often do not understand a cause. Many disorders and diseases such as ADD and diabetes are caused by poor diet. Many holistic nutritionists believe that many of today’s diseases are being caused by undiagnosed nutritional imbalances. Holistic practitioners attempt to heal people by giving the body what it needs to heal itself and by correcting any nutrient deficiencies. Holistic nutrition is often used in conjunction with modern medicine. This multifaceted approach to health care that incorporates mainstream medicine with natural treatments is called integrative medicine. Many practitioners of all walks, believe that integrative medicine is the future of health care.

How Nutrition Works

Healthy food
Credit: Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Rene Ehrhardt

Natural treatments like holistic nutrition attempt to stimulate the body’s natural defenses and immune system in order for the body to heal itself. Many people in our society now have a poor diet due to the consumption of highly processed, refined foods. Nutritional imbalances can often be at the root of many of today’s diseases as a result. Holistic nutrition therapy can often cure many of today’s health problems by evaluating the diet and nutrient balance in the body. Holistic nutritionists work with the client to alter their food and drink intake and exercise to adjust nutrient balance and put the body into a more balanced, nourished and whole state.

Types of Holistic Practitioners

Integrated medicine: A team approach to health
Credit: Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Pop!Tech

There are many natural practitioners in addition to holistic nutritionists that can often benefit health by using a holistic, or whole approach. Examples of holistic practitioners include acupuncturists, general holistic medical, chiropractors and herbalists. In integrated medicine, all of these practitioners work together in a team approach to treat the patient by using all available therapies. As in mainstream Western medicine, in integrated medicine a primary-care physician would recommend the treatment and could include many of these complementary therapies. Holistic nutrition and other natural practitioners along with Western medicine can be a powerful team approach to healing.

Health Literacy

Many people do not have a basic knowledge about health, and this includes nutrition. According to the 2003 study, the National Assessment of Adult Literacy found that millions of people in the United States lack basic health literacy. Health literacy is defined as the degree to which individuals can obtain, process and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions.

Lack of Information Leads to the Need for More Natural Healing

Empty chair and desk
Credit: Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Alex

The people who lack basic health knowledge have misinformation about the body and disease and then often don’t make the connection between lifestyle choices like diet and disease. According to the National Assessment of Adult Literacy study, only 11 percent of those studied had a proficient health literacy. Proficient in health literacy includes skills like calculating cholesterol and blood-sugar levels and understanding nutrition labels. With so many people lacking in nutrition knowledge, there is an even greater need for holistic nutritionists that can teach them about proper nutrition and their health.

Better than Drugs or Surgery

No more pills!
Credit: Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Shutr

Natural remedies like holistic nutrition do not cause dramatic side effects like pharmaceutical solutions do. Surgery removes body parts after they have broken down. Since natural solutions can prevent disease and alleviate symptoms without side effects, they are therefore preferable to drugs or surgery. Nutrition has a regenerative and healing effect on the body and its organs and can often make drugs and surgery unnecessary.

Finding a Good Provider

There are many credential programs that certify these alternative practitioners. When seeking the advice of a holistic nutritionist or other alternative practitioner you should ask for their credentials and verify them and that the institution that gave them to them is a credible one. Many nutritionists are registered dietitians. This means that they completed a four-year bachelor’s degree program, completed an internship, passed the exam and have been registered with the American Dietetic Association. You can also call them for a referral.

Keyword
  • holistic nutrition
  • integrated medicine
  • healing
Reference
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