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Back To School 2020

We are all preparing for our families to go back to school this month. Some are staying in for ‘at home learning’ and some will be going back into classrooms. This year let’s stay on top of your family’s health. There are some simple things to add to your routine that can keep you healthy during this cold and flu season.

1. Get to bed earlier. I understand it is difficult to get kids to sleep with the sun still up but adequate sleep is essential for our immune systems. Under quarantine many people fell out of their natural sleep rhythms and stayed up to the wee hours of the morning. Getting out of your healthy circadian rhythm is hard on your hormonal system and immune system. Try to get to bed earlier as we head into the fall.

2. Cook at home and make it fresh. It’s harvest time at local farms in your area and there is no better time to eliminate processed foods from your diet. Prepping on the weekend for a busy week can make a big difference in the meals you can provide. Make sure kids are getting enough protein at breakfast and lunch to focus on school. Save the higher carbs for snacks and dessert.

3. Get sunlight each day. Your melatonin and vitamin D levels will improve with some time each morning in natural sunlight.

4. Invest in blue light blocking glasses for online zoom calls or google classroom. Even if your children are attending school most kids spend hours on screens each day. We have partnered with BluBlox blue blocking glasses. You are welcome to use code PRATT15 for a 15% discount on your order. BluBlox glasses cut down on headaches, eye strain, and fatigue when you or your family are stuck on a screens during the school/workday.

5. I suggest everyone get a vitamin D and vitamin A tested this time of year. I often find that although my patients spend a lot of time in the sun, their vitamin D levels are still not adequate. Many of us need supplemental vitamin D and vitamin A during the winter months and it is important to know what your levels are before cold and flu season. The current virus severity seems associated with vitamin D and glutathione status. Talk to your doctor before you supplement with any nutrient to make sure it is right for you.

6. After you clean up your diet by eating unprocessed fresh food, consider adding high nutrient foods and supplements to help your immune and gastrointestinal systems.

  • SBI Protect (bovine derived immunoglobulins) is a wonderful way to support you against viruses and can help your immune system regulate itself.
  • Eat high zinc foods like pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, hemp seeds, legumes, almonds, pine nuts, and dark chocolate. If you have been taking zinc on a regular basis it might be a good time to check that on regular blood work too. Getting too much zinc can deplete you of another essential nutrient called copper.
  • Increase prebiotics in your diet. Prebiotics are foods that feed your good bacteria. Foods that are good for your gut bacteria are: apples, asparagus, banana, dandelion greens, onion, jicama root, chicory root, Jerusalem artichoke, leeks and garlic. (Careful to eat prebiotics if you have Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth)
  • Consider growing your own broccoli sprouts. These little powerhouses can increase your master antioxidant. Glutathione is essential to your immune and inflammatory response. You can take the supplemental formula of glutathione too.
  • Try to avoid sugar, caffeine, and alcohol to help your immune system stay strong. You may want to add some liver support with dry skin brushing, castor oil packs or supplements. Ask your doctor what would be right for you.
  • Ask your doctor for a good probiotic. These are the beneficial bacteria that help your immune system.

7. Consider investing in a good air filtration system. I suggest Austin Air Systems. They can remove 95% of microbes (virus, bacteria, and mold) out of your indoor air. Our homes have some of the worst air quality and we want to make sure we are breathing fresh air while we work and attend school. Our office has 12-15% discounts on the Austin Air SystemsPlease reach out to my office to get more information.

8. Stock up on supplements to strengthen your family’s immune systems heading into the school season. My TOP 5 Recommendations for the coming school year: 1) SBI Protect, 2) MegaSporebiotic, 3) Everyday Nutrients, 4) Vitamin D3 (2000 or 5000), and 5) Glutathione (liposomal or caps). Be sure to call our office and ask about our Back to School recommendations.

As we go into the fall, adapting a healthy lifestyle and supporting your immune system is a great commitment to your health and the health of others. Let us know if you need any of the recommended testing, supplements or if you would like to re-evaluate your health program. If you have questions or get sick, I am here to help. Please let us know how to support you.

With Love,

Dr. Shelese Pratt, N.D.

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Feeling Exhausted? FREE Series to Help Restore your Vitality!

Have you been feeling completely fatigued? Absolutely EXHAUSTED?

Lacking the energy to do the things you know you should really be doing? The things you WANT to be doing?

That’s your body saying you should rest… get more sleep… take a few days off. Right? Well…

What if there’s a deeper reason why you feel so exhausted all the time?

The secrets of health in a basic sense are really not secrets – we know to skip the processed foods, drink a ton of water, get good sleep, and exercise.

Yet why is there such a crippling epidemic of exhaustion and fatigue in our society?

We’re tired. We’re low energy. We’re exhausted from days stacked on days spent running around, chasing our kids, going back to school, working full-time, trying to maintain a loving relationship with your partner, keeping up with your friends so you won’t lose your support network when you need it, grocery shopping for nutritious certified organic ingredients that are ethically sourced…

Whew.

Take a breath. How could you not be exhausted?

What causes it? What is going on at the molecular level we’re not even aware of? How do we begin to find out what we don’t know? How do hormones, the microbiome, our diets, our physical activity all affect mitochondrial function in our cells?

I’m excited to share FREE ACCESS with you and your loved ones, to the new 9-part documentary series about Exhaustion that I have been collaborating on!

The series reveals the startling truth about what causes our crippling fatigue and provides actionable insights from myself and over two dozen globally recognized functional medicine and health & wellness experts. Each episode will provide you with highly effective (and safe) approaches to wellness that will help you regain, restore and replenish the “endless energy” you through had been lost forever… and it’s FREE to watch!

Click HERE to watch the trailer and reserve your seat!

The exclusive premier is airing in less than a week, on August 18th at 7pm MST.

In the meantime, I’m happy to share two free e-book resources:

– 8 Ways to Stop Exhaustion Cycle
– 15 Smoothie Recipes for Natural Energy

Be sure to share this premiere and resources with your friends and family. Everyone can benefit from the actionable insights in this documentary series. Whether they’re struggling with exhaustion or simply want to optimize energy, there are life-changing treasures in this series.

If you have any questions about how we can help you improve your energy levels, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our office.

With Love,

Dr. Pratt

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Dr. Pratt’s Air Pollution Recommendations

2020 has brought many twists and turns. With all the changes we have seen, most of us are spending more time in our homes. Some of us have found that our health has diminished with more time at home.

Did you know your home gives you 2-5x more air pollution than outdoor air?

The way homes are built these days they have much tighter seals and pollution is trapped in your home. It is important to find the source of air pollutants in your home and get rid of it with a quality air purifier and lifestyle changes.

The fastest way to consolidate toxins in your body is through breathing in air pollution. Let’s dive in and see what you need to do to keep your home safe for you and your family.

So, what are the common pollutants and how do we achieve clean and healthy air in our homes?

Common pollutants causing poor air quality in your home:

1. Microbial pathogens including Mold/Mildew, Viruses and Bacteria – any natural fibers like particle board, wood, dry wall, and paper are all sources that feed mold. Overtime a small patch of mold can cause major health issues by releasing thousands of mycotoxins that travel all over your home. Mycotoxins, viruses and bacteria can live in your HVAC system and destroy your health one day at a time. Hint: A good air purifier can remove 95% of the virus from the air. These units are invaluable during the cold and flu season and COVID19!

(To learn more about Mold Illness and Mycotoxins, check out our 3 Part Blog Series: Part 1: All About Toxic Mold IllnessPart 2: Mycotoxin Health Effects and How to Test for Mold, & Part 3: Treating Mold Illness.)

2. Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)– These toxic compounds are a major source of pollution in your home. These are found in your furniture, paint, cleaning supplies, aerosol sprays, dry cleaning, air fresheners, wood treatments, and candles.

3. Dust – House dust is very irritating to your lungs and can accumulate quickly in your home.

4. Allergens – Pet dander, dust mites, and pollen settles in the dust and carpet of your home.

5. Tobacco Vape or Marijuana Smoke– This adds to particulate and air pollution of your homes.

6. Diesel Exhaust – Attached garages introduce diesel and other exhaust fumes into your home polluting the air.

7. Formaldehyde – This chemical is a product of off gassing that can happen with wood products (hardwood plywood, particleboard and fiberboard), building materials and insulation, glues, permanent press fabrics, paints, coatings, lacquers and finishes, paper products, dishwashing liquids and fabric softeners, and fertilizers and pesticides.

8. Flame Retardants – These are found in furniture foams, carpet, curtains, paints, food packaging, home insulation, appliances, toys, electronics, car seats, and many baby products.

9. Radon– Check your levels in your home to insure you have the right amount of ventilation to keep radon at a low level in your home.

10. Carbon Monoxide and Natural Gas– Leaks in your furnace, kerosene heaters, wood burning stoves and fireplaces, gas ranges, generators, appliances fueled by gasoline, gas fueled space heaters, cigarette smoke can all create levels of carbon monoxide in your home.

11. Solvents– Home cleaning supplies and detergents are common solvents that are impacting your health.

12. Particulate from fireplaces, wood stoves and outdoor contamination from highways near your home.

13. Herbicides and Pesticides – these are acquired from parks and landscaping and brought into your home on your feet.

When we are exposed to air pollution we have 2 rules:
1. Remove Toxin Exposure
2. Clean the Air

What can you do to prevent air pollution in your home?
1. Use a quality air purifier.
 I recommend an Austin Air Purifier because:
– Their HEPA technology and HEGA carbon cloth offers the highest quality air purifying system to remove and destroy airborne viruses (like the flu & COVID19), particulate, allergens, formaldehyde, VOCs, and other airborne pollution.
– This is an American company that manufactures all machines in the USA.
– These are the machines used by FEMA and American Red Cross for remediation after natural disasters.

*Contact our office for 12-15% off your purchase of an Austin Air Purification System!*

>> Click here to learn more about the systems and access exclusive pricing. <<

2. Take your shoes off when you enter the house. This will limit the amount of herbicides/pesticides and other toxins you track into your home on your shoes.

3. Do not run your vehicles (cars, trucks, lawn mowers, leaf blowers, etc.) in your garage.

4. Get proper ventilation in your home and above your cooktop.

5. Use low VOC paint.

6. Avoid dry cleaning your clothes.

7. Try to buy solid wood furniture and fixtures.

8. Buy organic furniture and mattresses for your home.

9. Reduce moisture in your home and have all areas of water damage remediated beyond surface appearance.

10. Avoid teflon, plastic and other toxic cook ware in your kitchen.

11. Avoid using oils that burn easily (canola, peanut, sesame, corn, and olive). These oils can create toxic smoke when cooking with them.

12. Have your HVAC system cleaned every 5 years.

13. Use natural cleaning supplies to reduce toxic exposure.

14. Avoid dryer sheets unless they are made of natural products.

15. Avoid synthetic air fresheners and buy products that have natural fragrance.

16. Ventilate your stovetop and keep a close eye on your furnace and gas fireplaces for natural gas leaks.

17. Install a carbon monoxide detector in your home.

Having clean air is essential to your health. I am happy to offer you a discount on the highest quality air purification system. Let us know if you would like to order a unit for your home or office to reduce air pollution and lower your viral load exposure. We are here to help and answer any questions you have about how to keep your family healthy and happy.

With Love, The Pratt Clinics

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Dr. Pratt Featured in FREE Series on PROVEN Healing Breakthroughs Backed by Science

I am excited to share FREE ACCESS with you and your loved ones to the world premiere launch of the 9-part documentary series I have been collaborating on!

PROVEN: Healing Breakthroughs Backed By Science is about the power of alternative medicines to heal the diseases of our time. The series will open your eyes to evidence-based healing methods that you may not have known about, as it provides fact-based solutions for things that may be ailing you or your family members.

The exclusive premiere is airing June 2nd – 10th, and it is an absolute must-see! 

Click here to watch the trailer and register for the series.

In the series, I will be specifically discussing Autoimmune, Brain, Gut and Reproductive Health in the following episodes:

– EPISODE 2: Immunity 101: Strengthening Your Body’s Defense And Rooting Out Hidden Infections (June 3rd, 7PM MST)

– EPISODE 3: How To Restore And Protect Your Brain (June 4th, 9PM MST)

– EPISODE 4: How To Balance Your Microbiome, Heal Digestive Issues And Overcome Autoimmune Disorders (June 5th, 9PM MST)

– EPISODE 9: Reproductive Health Secrets And Hormone Wellness (June 10th, 9PM MST)

Each episode will provide you with highly effective (and safe) approaches to wellness that will change your life… and it’s FREE to watch!
 

Click HERE to watch the trailer!

There are so many complementary, alternative and natural ways to protect – and to reclaim – strong, optimal health. Many of these healing resources are amazingly simple, and you can take advantage of them all by yourself!

Far more treatments and therapies exist in this world than you are being told about – and their power has been proven, scientifically.

Regardless of whether you want to turbocharge your immune health, boost your energy levels, or if it’s something more serious like healing a chronic disease, I cannot recommend this documentary series highly enough. I know there will be some treasure in it for you.

Click HERE to sign up for this limited-time premiere.

With Love,
Dr. Shelese Pratt

P.S. Be sure to share this world premiere with your friends and family – you can just forward this email directly and they’ll get access too.

Everyone can benefit from the powerful and practical information in this documentary series. Whether they are struggling with illness or simply want to stay healthy for the decades to come, there are life-changing treasures here for the taking.

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Dr. Pratt’s COVID-19 Update Revised 4/08/2020

Updated 4/08/2020 

I hope you are all sleeping well, eating healthy, and taking your supplements! If you are not, please give us a call! My team and I will be in our virtual office this week and next. 

As many of you are aware, I see many people who are immunocompromised. My first oath to my patients is Do No Harm. I take your care very seriously and want to provide you the best care possible in the safest way I can. This is why I have decided to move all in person visits at my clinic to video or phone consults until we are all safe from Covid-19 exposure.  

If you are quarantined at home or you get sick and would like to schedule with me, you are welcome to call the office, we are here to help or get your supplements to you.

We are not offering supplement pick up at the office as of 3/19/20. All orders will be shipped for your safety and our staff’s safety.  

If you have Brain Integration Technique sessions scheduled, we will need to reschedule you to a safer time. 

At this time, I highly recommend these lifestyle choices to keep you healthy.

  • STAY HOME
  • Practice Social Distancing 
  • Don’t share food and beverages.
  • Avoid touching your face.
  • Shop wisely. Avoid being in crowds.
  • Don’t eat off the same utensils as others. 
  • Wash your hands and stay clear of people who are sick.  
  • Get 8 hours of quality sleep at night.
  • Manage your stress with yoga, meditation/prayer, and laughter.
  • Try intermittent fasting. This means only eat between 8 am and 6 pm. Eat regular meals during this eating window but do not skip meals during this time of year. It is very hard on your adrenals and you will get sick if your adrenals are stressed.  
  • Avoid sugar and high carbohydrate foods. Spiking your blood sugar is the fastest way to inhibit your immune system from working well.
  • Avoid Alcohol.
  • Get more sunlight by getting outside and taking a walk. Even short walks count.
  • If you have access, get in the infrared sauna and keep sweating everyday.
  • Practice Deep Abdominal Breathing. Breathing exercises help boost your ability to circulate your blood properly so you can fend off pathogens. 
  • Stay hydrated. Drink ½ of your body weight in ounces per day. If you weigh 150 lbs, you will need 75 oz of water/day. If you drink coffee or other caffeine, you will need to add 8 oz of water per caffeinated beverage.

Please call the office for nutrients I suggest to keep you healthy or support your immune system in case you get sick. 

I hope you and your families are healthy and safe from both the stress of the pandemic and Covid-19. We are here to help

Dr. Shelese Pratt N.D.

New Year, New Staff, New Hours, and Current Pricing

I hope you are feeling amazing in 2020! Have you made health goals this year? Are you wondering what to do next for you or your child? If so, we are here to help you! 

We have a great new front office team! 

Holly and Pam are both new to our front office but come with a lot of wonderful experience in natural medicine. Pam is our receptionist and Holly is our Office Manager/Operations Manager. Please don’t hesitate to give them a call or send them emails in the CHARM portal (Front Desk) for scheduling, supplement orders, or anything else you need from our office. 

We have new office hours this year!

We are in the office the following days and times.

Monday 8:30 AM – 5 PM

Tuesday 8:30 AM – 5 PM 

Wednesday 9 AM – 1 PM 

Thursday 8:30 AM – 5 PM

Friday 9 AM – 1 PM 

Saturday CLOSED 

Sunday CLOSED 

We did not increase Dr. Pratt’s rates in 2020.

Here is list of our current pricing for Dr. Pratt:

Follow up hour: $425

Follow up ½ hour: $212.50

New Patient Adult – Complex (13+): $600

New Patient Adult (13+): $500

New Patient Child (12 and under): $450 

Return Patients for Brain Integration Technique: $250/hour 

Here is Caroline’s 2020 pricing for Brain Integration Technique (BIT): 

Never heard of BIT? If you or your child have learning issues like ADD, Dyslexia, Sensory Processing Disorder or any other learning difficulties, this treatment could change your lives.  Please check out our website for all the details. 

Brain Integration with Caroline: $135/hour 

Pam, Holly, Caroline and Dr. Pratt are here to help you and your families have optimal health this year. Please let us know what we can do to support you. 

With Love,

The Pratt Clinics 

The Gut Microbiota-Neurobehavior Connection (Part 1)

By Lindsay Christensen

Nutritionist @ The Pratt Clinics

12/9/2018

Neurobehavioral and mental health disorders, including autism spectrum disorder (ASD), attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), depression, and anxiety are on the rise. At present, a shocking 1 in 59 U.S. children has autism, compared to 1 in 150 in 2000! 11 percent of U.S. school-aged children have ADHD, and an estimated 6.7 percent and 18.1 percent of American adults suffer from major depressive disorder and anxiety, respectively. What is to blame for soaring rates of neurobehavioral and mental illness? Emerging research points to the gut microbiota as a central factor in the development and pathogenesis of autism, ADHD, depression, and anxiety. However, by beneficially altering the gut microbiota, it is possible to change the course of these disorders, eliminate symptoms, and significantly improve quality of life!

The gut-brain axis

Have you ever been nervous about an upcoming event in your life, such as an exam or public speaking engagement, and felt “butterflies” in your stomach? This strange feeling is a simple but perfect example of the communication that occurs between your brain and gut via a structure called the “gut-brain axis.” 

The gut-brain axis is a bi-directional communication network between your central nervous system (CNS), which includes your brain and spinal cord, and the enteric nervous system (ENS) of your digestive tract. The gut microbiota, the community of microbes inhabiting the intestine, lives in close contact with the ENS. Gut microbes interact with intestinal cells to influence the release of hormones, neurotransmitters, and immune system molecules. These gut-derived molecules interact with the ENS, and, via the gut-brain axis, influence brain function. A healthy gut, with a balanced population of microbes, is thus a prerequisite for a healthy brain! When the gut microbiota is compromised by factors such as antibiotics and an unhealthy diet, the molecular signals sent from gut microbes and intestinal cells to the ENS and CNS changes, ultimately impairing brain function. Via the gut-brain axis, adverse changes in the gut microbiota contribute to changes in the brain and thus to neurobehavioral and mental health disorders. 

A healthy gut and brain begin in infancy

The development of a healthy gut-brain axis begins at birth. A mounting body of evidence indicates that the mode of delivery by which an infant is born significantly influences the development of the gut-brain axis. Infants born vaginally are first exposed to their mother’s vaginal microbiome, whereas infants born via C-section are first exposed to their mother’s skin microbiota and other microbes floating around the hospital. Research indicates that infants delivered vaginally have higher amounts of beneficial bacteria in their guts, which may shape a healthy gut-brain axis. Infants born via C-section, on the other hand, experience delayed bacterial colonization of their intestines, abnormalities in their gut microbiota, and an increased risk of autism and ADHD. 

The method by which a baby is fed also influences gut-brain axis development. Breastfeeding inoculates the infant gut with beneficial bacteria, such as Bifidobacteria, which produce GABA, a calming neurotransmitter. Breastmilk also contains indigestible sugars that fuel the growth of beneficial gut bacteria and stimulates the production of IgA, a molecule that shapes the immune system, in the infant gut. The beneficial effects of breastmilk on the gut microbiota may explain why breastfeeding is associated with positive neurodevelopmental outcomes, including increased resilience to stress during childhood and reduced risks of ADHD and autism. Infants fed formula, on the other hand, have higher levels of Clostridium difficile, an opportunistic bacteria that can become pathogenic if the gut lacks sufficient good bacteria. The dysbiosis induced by formula feeding may impair normal gut-brain axis development. (13) 

Antibiotics also have a huge influence on the gut-brain axis. Children treated with antibiotics during the first three years of their lives have gut microbiotas that are significantly less diverse than those of children who didn’t take antibiotics. Children on the autism spectrum typically have a history of significantly more antibiotic use than neurodevelopmentally normal children. 

How the gut microbiota affects neurobehavior 

How do gut microbes affect neurobehaviors, such as those displayed by individuals with autism, ADHD, depression, and anxiety? The answer has to do with gut microbiota metabolites. As I mentioned before, gut bacteria produce unique molecules as part of their metabolism, including ones similar to neurotransmitters. They also stimulate intestinal cells to produce hormones, neurotransmitters, and immune molecules. The release of metabolites triggered by gut bacteria sends signals to the enteric nervous system and brain via the gut-brain axis. These signals modulate brain function and behavior. 

An overgrowth of pathogenic bacteria and a lack of beneficial bacteria in the gut results in the transmission of skewed signals to the brain. These skewed signals may result in abnormal behaviors, an inability to focus, an impaired stress response, and depressed CNS function. 

Researchers have found relationships between certain neurobehavioral and mental health disorders and bacterial imbalances in the gut. Autistic children frequently demonstrate reduced levels of Prevotella, a beneficial bacterium associated with plant-rich diets, increased Clostridia and Candida, and decreased levels of helpful Bifidobacteria and Firmicutes. Clostridia overgrowth produces neurotoxins that negatively impact neurochemistry, including a compound called 4-cresol that interferes with the conversion of dopamine to norepinephrine, a neurotransmitter required for attention and focus. In fact, 4-cresol has been proposed as a diagnostic marker for autism. High levels of Candida prevent the absorption of carbohydrates and minerals in the gastrointestinal tract and cause a buildup of toxins that harm the brain, including ammonia and propionate.

Children with ADHD also exhibit gut microbiota abnormalities. A slight increase in Bifidobacteria has been observed that may alter the activity of an enzyme involved in dopamine synthesis. Altered dopamine activity decreases something called the “reward anticipation pathway,” a neurological pathway that regulates motivation and the initiation of effort. Interestingly, children with ADHD also have high rates of gastrointestinal issues compared to “normal” children, suggesting that gut dysfunction plays an important role in their behavior.

Anxiety and depression are both stimulated by endotoxins, which are toxins produced by pathogenic bacteria in the gut. In both human and animal studies, endotoxin induces anxious and repetitive behaviors, dysregulates the body’s stress response system, and promotes depression.

In Part 2 of this two-part blog series, I’ll discuss two tests that are useful for diagnosing gut dysbiosis and how you can correct gut dysbiosis and improve brain function with probiotics, prebiotics, botanicals, and dietary changes.

If you need more information or help with your overall health, contact us at The Pratt Clinics.

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Regain the Power to Control Your Own Health (Part 1)

by Dr. Shelese Pratt ND @ The Pratt Clinics

Boulder, Colorado

(Part One)

Everyone knows that eating more vegetables, protein, and fruit will make you feel better. However, most of us find it hard to eat well. So what happens along the way? How do we overcome cravings? Is it even possible to eat healthy in this day and age?  It seems like everything is working against our health and we are powerless. I am a realist. I understand that eating well all the time is not always possible, but I do know it is possible to regain the power to control your own health. Over the next few weeks you will receive several blogs outlining how to make better choices with food. 

The first thing you need to do is love yourself. That’s right! You need to believe that your body is worth taking care of.  You can change your habits. You can control what you eat. When you love yourself, you make better choices about what you will and will not allow in your body.  One way to love your self is eating healthy.  This is not always as easy as it sounds. You have been conditioned to have an emotional response around food, soda, and alcohol since your childhood. Marketing firms have worked tirelessly and spent a fortune to convince you that you will feel better if you eat or drink what they are selling. Even as an adult you are still bombarded by subliminal messaging in an attempt to make you to believe comfort food will make you feel sexy, fit, and healthy. 

Let’s say you walk into a friend’s house who just made warm chocolate chip cookies. It might bring back a wonderful memory of your grandmother’s house and her delicious chocolate chip cookies. You’ve had a long stressful day so you decide to indulge and have a cookie. You decide to have it despite the fact you don’t feel well when you eat gluten and dairy, and you have been fighting to stay awake since lunchtime. While you are eating that warm chocolate chip cookie you feel amazing. Your neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine are soaring and for about 10 to 20 minutes you feel great. And then you don’t feel great. So you search for something else to make you feel better. Maybe you want a cup of coffee? Maybe you want a bowl of pasta? Maybe you want a beer? Maybe you want a bag of potato chips? What you might not know is that this is a normal response. You have been conditioned to feel this way. But when you start to eat clean, healthy food you will notice your cravings go away.

Neurochemistry is what fuels food addictions. How many of us are addicted to sugar? Most of us grew up being rewarded with sweet food. Therefore, when we feel bad we associate eating sugar or carbohydrates with feeling better. In addition to our emotional response to foods, we have neurochemical cravings too. When we are low energy we crave stimulants like sugar, simple carbohydrates and caffeine to bring us up. This only works for a short period of time. We have to make more sustainable choices to bring up our serotonin and dopamine.   

I have many patients who know they feel better when they avoid their food sensitivities.  So they try to avoid those foods, but eventually they say ‘I can have a little of that and then I’ll avoid it tomorrow’. This is where they usually slide down a slippery slope and eventually find themselves eating the foods that make them feel bad on a regular basis. I suggest making a commitment to your health and asking yourself why you would want to eat something that isn’t serving your body. If your priority is wellness, it is easier for your brain to say ‘no’ to the foods that are not good for you. Like any muscle, the more you train your brain to avoid eating unhealthy foods the less you will want to eat them.

In order to retrain your brain to eat healthy foods, you have to realize that you need more self-love.  Comfort foods and food sensitivities are toxic to your body and you are poisoning yourself every time you indulge in your cravings. You need to change your emotions, awareness, and brain chemistry around what you are eating and why you are eating it.  By giving in to foods that are unhealthy for your body, you are feeding bad habits. By consciously choosing to say ‘no’ to the foods that don’t serve you, you are empowering yourself toward health.

In short, just love yourself more. Your body is worth it.  If you need a coach, give me a call.

Click here to explore our services at The Pratt Clinics.

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How to Stay Healthy While Traveling Part 2

By Lindsay Christensen 

Nutritionist @ The Pratt Clinics

In Part 1 of this two-part blog series, I discussed how to support your health when traveling via airplane. Here in Part 2, I’ll discuss strategies for biohacking your hotel room, eating healthy while traveling, and other methods for staying fit so you can enjoy your travels to the fullest! 

Biohack your hotel room

You’ve finally made it to your destination and have checked into your hotel room. What a relief! However, there are some simple things you can do to make your hotel room, Airbnb, or wherever you’re staying, healthier for you and your family.

Bring a portable air cleaner

If you suffer from allergies or are traveling to a place with poor air quality, consider bringing a portable air cleaner. The white noise produced by the air cleaner may also help you sleep better in your new location.

Unplug the alarm clock (and anything else on the nightstand)

If you read my blog series on EMFs, then you know that EMFs emitted from electronic devices can significantly disrupt your sleep. Travel already does a number on your circadian rhythms, so anything you can do to prevent further sleep disruption is well worth the effort. Whenever I travel to a hotel, I unplug the alarm clock and any corded phone on the nightstand next to the bed. These devices emit EMFs when plugged in, which can hinder restful sleep. Instead, use your smartphone on airplane mode as an alarm clock at night. 

Eat a healthy diet 

Eating out frequently while traveling is not only expensive, but also unhealthy. Restaurant foods tends to be high in refined carbohydrates, processed seed oils, non-organic meat, and conventionally-grown produce harboring pesticide residues. While you should feel free to enjoy restaurants here and there, I highly recommend trying to source healthy food for your other meals while traveling. 

Pack healthy snacks

Whether you are doing a road trip or flying, packing some healthy snack options is a great idea. Chopped veggies (carrots, celery, bell peppers, etc.), apples, berries, hummus, nuts and nut butter, homemade trail mix, bars (Lara bars and Bulletproof collagen protein bars are my favorites), and grass-fed, organic jerky (try Paleo Valley beef sticksThe New Primal jerky, or Wild Zora bars) make for convenient, healthy, and delicious snacks. 

Find healthy food wherever you go

Before you arrive at your destination, I recommend scouting out the nearest Whole Foods, co-op, or local health food store so you can get a healthy meal and stock up on food for later. If I’m staying in a hotel with a kitchenette or mini fridge, I’ll often get a small rotisserie chicken, some salad greens and veggies, and fresh fruit and stick them in the fridge to have on hand for a quick, healthy meal. 

When you decide to eat out, try to select a restaurant with healthy options. I’ll frequently preview restaurant menus online before deciding where to go, as I like to go to restaurants with gluten-free and organic options as much as possible. If you are gluten sensitive, the Find Me Gluten Free app can help you locate establishments with gluten-free options. The Happy Cow app finds vegetarian and vegan restaurants near you; while I’m not vegetarian or vegan, I’ve found this app useful for directing me towards restaurants with options that are above-average on the healthiness scale. I also like to Google “restaurants with local and organic food” for whatever destination I’m visiting, as the options at places that fit this description are often relatively high-quality, tasty, and healthy. 

As a rule of thumb, try to choose meals that are primarily vegetables when eating out. Decent protein options at restaurants include turkey, lamb, and bison, as these meats are more likely to come from grass-fed animals and to be free of antibiotics and hormones. I recommend avoiding fish at restaurants unless it is wild-caught. If options are limited, I’ll often choose to have a large salad with olive oil and vinegar dressing and some protein. 

Camping and backpacking

I do a lot of camping and backpacking and initially struggled with finding healthy options. After much research, I’ve put my “seal of approval” on the whole foods-based freeze-dried food options from Mary Jane’s Farm and Wild Zora. When I’m car camping and can bring along my cooler, I like to pack grass-fed ground beef for making burgers or taco meat, Siete foods tortillas, hearty vegetables that stand up well to transport such as sweet potatoes, white potatoes, brussels sprouts, and healthy oils such as coconut oil and olive oil. I’ll typically cook my food in a cast iron skillet over a fire (if there’s a fire pit with a grate) or on a portable Coleman stove. 

If you’re road-tripping or camping, another option is to make food ahead of time and store it in a cooler. I like to use glass and stainless-steel food containers to store pre-made food. I do a lot of road trips and have found my Yeti cooler to be indispensable for keeping food cold. It keeps ice frozen for approximately 3 days, which longer than the average hard-sided cooler. 

Hydrate! 

Don’t forget to stay hydrated while traveling! Airplane travel is especially dehydrating. Since tap water tends to contain levels of pollutants not conducive to optimal health, I recommend bringing along a portable water filter such as a Berkey travel filter. Store your filtered water in a glass or stainless-steel water bottle, rather than a plastic one. 

Support your immune system

While traveling, wash your hands frequently to keep infectious microbes at bay. I suggest using natural soap and carrying some botanical-based antibacterial wipes such as CleanWell wipes. 

Should you happen to pick up a bug, taking Biocidin at the first sign of illness can prevent things from escalating. Xclear xylitol nasal spray is also great for keeping your nasal passages and sinuses clear and healthy. 

Support your gut health

Circadian rhythm disruption and exposure to different food and water can cause digestive system dysfunction while traveling. When your digestive system feels off, it can be hard to enjoy a travel experience to the fullest. To alleviate digestive issues, I recommend taking a probiotic while traveling, particularly one that doesn’t need to be refrigerated, such as ProbioMax Daily DF. You may also want to bring along some activated charcoal; this can be a godsend in cases of acute food poisoning or ingestion of foods that upset your stomach, such as gluten. 

Sleep

Traveling across time zones, or even just sleeping in a new place in your usual time zone, can disrupt your sleep and cause undesirable downstream effects such as low energy. Optimize your sleep wherever you travel by practicing good sleep hygiene. 

  1. Maintain a regular sleep/wake schedule throughout your trip, as much as possible. See the section on “circadian rhythm disruption” in Part 1 of this blog series.
  2. Sleep in a completely dark room. If you are in a hotel, hopefully you have room-darkening shades. It may be wise to bring an eye mask with just in case your room lacks blackout shades.
  3. Wear blue-light-blocking glasses for at least an hour before bed to minimize blue light exposure and promote melatonin production.
  4. If you need extra sleep support, a low dose of melatonin taken approximately 2 hours before bed can help.  

Don’t forget to move! 

Sitting for long periods of time on a plane or in a car can lead to a stiff, sore body. If your vacation gets you out and about doing physical activities, great! However, if you’re on a more sedentary trip, such as a business trip, don’t forget to fit in some exercise. Hit the gym at your hotel, get outside for a run in the morning or a walk on your lunch break, or do some simple body weight exercises in your hotel room. Check out Ben Greenfield’s videos on how to efficiently work out in a hotel gym if you need some workout ideas. 

To alleviate stiff, sore joints and muscles after extended plane or car travel, use a portable foam roller such as the Brazyn Morph Trek foam roller. 

I hope you’re feeling inspired to up your travel game after reading this blog series! Will you try any of the healthy travel tips I’ve suggested here? What are your favorite travel hacks? Contact me here at The Pratt Clinics

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11 Mindset Shifts for Healthy Living

By Lindsay Christensen 

Nutritionist @ The Pratt Clinics

3/25/2019

The world in which we live can certainly make it difficult to lead a healthy lifestyle. Between the abundance of junk food available at grocery stores, the siren calls of Netflix urging us to binge on TV shows rather than go to bed, and our largely sedentary jobs, there are many factors working against us in our efforts to be healthy. In this blog post, I’d like to share 8 mindset shifts that can help you let go of unhealthy habits and make sustainable, beneficial nutrition and lifestyle changes that can help you get and stay healthy for life. 

Release perfectionism

When many people first begin to make diet and lifestyle changes, they see it as an “all or nothing” effort. While this attitude is well-intentioned, it can actually work against you in the long-run by generating excessive amounts of stress. Recognize that you can’t be “perfect” with your diet and lifestyle all day every day and that there will be twists and turns in your journey towards optimal health. As long as you stay the course, your health will continue to move in the right direction, despite the occasional piece of birthday cake or missed exercise session. 

You are worthy of optimal health! 

One of the greatest barriers to sticking to a healthy diet and lifestyle that I’ve observed is under-prioritizing oneself.  Unfortunately, many well-meaning people put the needs of their spouse, children, or employer ahead of their own needs, leaving little time for health-promoting self-care. Rather than looking at your health as an “afterthought,” make it a priority! Recognize that you are worthy of the attention and time it takes to be healthy. Set aside time “personal time” each day to exercise, meditate, and prepare healthy meals for yourself; these tasks needn’t take a ton of time, especially if you meal prep (more on that later!). Valuing and taking care of your health will, in turn, allow you to show up as a better spouse, parent, and employee to those individuals who depend on you. 

View food primarily as fuel 

In our modern-day world, food has come to serve many roles for which it was not originally intended. At its essence, food is the fuel that we use to create and maintain our bodies. However, many people instead view food as a distraction, reward, or an emotional band-aid, leading to the consumption of processed and refined foods. Contrary to popular belief, the inability to stick to a healthy diet is not due to a lack of willpower; rather, research suggests that it is the result of the reflexive tendencies we have developed to view food as a tool for relieving boredom, celebrating achievements, and placating negative emotions. 

To develop a more positive relationship with food, tune in to your body and recognize the difference between your emotions and true physiological hunger. Each time you reach for food, do a quick self-check: Are you truly hungry, or are you bored, sad, or anxious? If you are bored, engage in a healthy activity that grabs your attention, such as reading a good book or exercising. If you are feeling sad or anxious, take some time to meditate, write in a journal, or talk about your feelings with a loved one. If you find yourself regularly turning to food as a reward after a stressful day of work or to celebrate an achievement, find a non-food means of rewarding yourself, such as going out to a movie or concert. 

These recommendations are not intended to remove the joy and positive emotions associated with food; eating should always be a pleasurable experience. What these recommendations are intended to do is help you parse out your emotions from true hunger so that you can create a healthy and enjoyable relationship with food.  

In addition to reframing your view of food primarily as fuel, rather than a salve for your emotions, I also recommend letting go of the idea of food as being “good” or “bad.” Classifying food as “good” or “bad” attaches a moral stigma to foods and makes us feel guilty when we eat foods associated with the “bad” nametag. Instead of viewing foods as “good” or “bad,” take a more objective view and consider whether they are effective or ineffective for supporting your health. For example, vegetables are clearly effective for supporting your health, while refined sugar is ineffective. Having refined sugar now and then will not ruin your progress, but recognize that it detracts, rather than adds, to your health. 

Become aware of patterns that are not in your best interest. 

Many of us follow patterns in our daily lives that are not conducive to optimal health. Some people  indulge in too much wine on the weekends or eat a bowl of ice cream every night before bed. Others spend hours on social media or watching TV in the evening, disrupting their circadian rhythms with blue light and depriving themselves of sleep. Harmful patterns such as these can significantly sabotage your efforts to get healthy. To get and stay healthy long-term, first identify the patterns that are holding you back. Then, the next time you see yourself beginning to engage in a pattern, stop yourself and course-correct. For example, if you tend to reach for ice cream every night before bed, ask yourself whether you are still hungry because you didn’t eat enough at dinner, or if this is just a pattern that is adding more calories and sugar to your diet. If you are truly hungry, then add more nourishing food to your evening meal, so that you stay satiated all the way until breakfast the next day. 

Refocus negative thoughts

Science has proven that negative thoughts are harmful to our health, whereas positive emotions and optimism are associated with better physical health and longevity. If you want to make lasting changes in your health, then wrangling your negative thoughts and replacing them with positive ones is essential. Research has found that people who express more positive emotions and report more positive experiences have better immune function and heart health and lower systemic inflammation.  (1, 23

You may be wondering, what if I’m not a naturally positive or optimistic person? Am I destined for poor health? The answer to this question is a resounding “no!” Exciting research indicates that it is possible to change your brain’s “default mode” to be more positive and optimistic through simple exercises such as keeping a gratitude journal, reframing negative events, and helping others.  

See sleep as non-negotiable

Many times, when people feel hungry, it is because they are sleep deprived and not because they are truly in need of more calories. A single night of sleep deprivation raises levels of ghrelin, the body’s “hunger hormone,” which stimulates appetite and triggers food intake. (4) Sleep deprivation also diminishes activity in the higher cortical regions of the brain, where decision-making occurs, and increases activity in the amygdala; together, these effects result in the selection of hyper-palatable (i.e. sugary and high-fat) foods capable of triggering weight gain. (5) Conversely, adequate sleep can lead to healthier food choices. (6

To maintain a healthy appetite and minimize food cravings, commit to getting 8-9 hours of sleep a night in a completely dark, cool environment. I also recommend avoiding blue light exposure at least one hour before bed to optimize your melatonin production; this can be achieved by wearing blue-light-blocking glasses such as True Dark glasses. 

Use exercise as a motivational tool

Exercise doesn’t just promote weight loss and tone your muscles; it also “tones” your brain, making you more likely to engage in healthy diet and lifestyle habits! Scientists have found that engaging in a consistent yoga practice encourages healthier eating behaviors and higher levels of physical activity. (7) Other forms of exercise, such as running, biking, and hiking may have similar effects. Choose a form of exercise that speaks to you, and use it as a tool for motivating healthy changes in other areas of your life. 

Plan meals ahead of time 

Meal prepping is both a mindset shift and a lifestyle change that can SIGNIFICANTLY up your odds of sticking to a healthy diet long-term. Meal prepping refers to the concept of preparing whole meals or dishes ahead of schedule. Having pre-prepared meals on hand means you’ll be able to satisfy your hunger immediately with a healthy option, rather than turning to processed snack foods, fast-food, or takeout. 

There’s no hard and fast rule for when and how often you should meal prep. Depending on your schedule, family size, and lifestyle, you can either prep meals a week at a time, a few days at a time, or a day in advance. Whichever strategy you choose, you’ll increase your odds of sticking to a healthy eating pattern. As the nutritionist at The Pratt Clinics, meal prepping is something I can help you with! Give us a call to learn more. 

Mindfulness

Mindfulness training is a scientifically-proven way to improve your mindset and increase your ability to maintain healthy habits. Research indicates that mindfulness training, such as mindfulness meditation, rewires the brain, leading to smarter, healthier choices. Staying mindful while eating moderates food consumption and prevents binge eating. (8) It may also improve digestion and your enjoyment of food!  

If you are new to mindfulness, I recommend starting by using the Calm app. This app offers guided meditations, courses on mindfulness, and relaxing music that can help you achieve a more mindful state. To stay mindful while eating, avoid responding to emails, texting, and watching TV during your meal. Instead, focus on the food in front of you and the company with whom you are eating the meal. 

Find a support system and get the family involved

Making healthy diet and lifestyle changes can be difficult in a world where unhealthy living is so prevalent. Finding a support system of people with the same goals can make working towards optimal health an easier and more enjoyable process! This support system could be your family, new friends in an exercise class, or members of a health-oriented Meetup group. Visit Meetup.com to find nutrition and exercise-related groups in your area. 

If your family is not already on-board with making diet and lifestyle changes, bringing them into the picture could dramatically enhance your chances of success. Furthermore, research has found that when parents engage in healthy behaviors, their children are more likely to develop healthy habits. Getting the family involved may, therefore, not only make a healthy lifestyle easier for you but set your children on a healthy path for life. 

Make a plan!

Having a comprehensive healthy living “roadmap” can do wonders in helping you achieve your health goals. Whether you want to fine-tune your diet or overhaul your lifestyle, Dr. Pratt and I can help by creating a health and nutrition plan that fits your unique needs and will help you successfully reach your goals. Give us a call at The Pratt Clinics to learn more about what we have to offer.