Naturopath specializing in Women's Health, Hormone Balance, Weight Loss, Fertility, and Holistic Medicine.

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21 Day Acne treatment

If you want to do whatever it takes

For 21 days, you’re going to do whatever it takes, no matter how hard it is. If you’re not there, go ahead and stop reading. I’ve been there. In that place you would do anything to not look in the mirror and see a disfigured face anymore. I like to think that I’m not vain, but it’s not about vanity. It’s like you feel like there is this disgusting thing standing between you and everyone else that looks at you and it hurts. That’s why I’ve done literally everything you can think of throughout my life. I’ll tell you what to do if you are desperate, and I think you’ll be glad you did.

You have to do all of it 100% if you want to see a dramatic change in a short time.

Have mild acne and want to clear it for something special?

No problem.

Have severe acne and want to see improvement?

This works.

Some holistic concepts, some not. Follow these steps:

  • Start with an oil cleanse at night using pracaxi oil.
  • Spot treat with nizoral shampoo. The active ingredient, ketoconazole, will help block hormone induced changes. You can get this at any CVS.
  • Daily clay mask. I use premier medi body pack. Apply a thin later over acne prone areas each morning and let it sit while you get ready. Wash this off, and instead of using a cleanser after, just moisturize.
  • Use zen med moisturizer if needed. I like this product a lot, but only use the red label products.

This is your daily routine. Now start healing from the inside out.

Before you start, treat constipation 100%. No exceptions!.

I use Priority One Aloe Complex for a strong laxative. For mild constipation, I like Triphala daily for 6 months. I suggest you have both on hand.

Do not continue until you are having daily bowel movements.

Start a 3 day apple fast. This means nothing but apples and water for 3 days. You can have about 10 organic apples in a day. Make sure you are taking a probiotic.

I recommend Ortho 225. It has 225 billion organisms per packet to restore your gut as you flood it with natural sugar.

After the apple fast, you must be gluten free dairy free sugar free. You have to start your day with protein or fat. Eggs are perfect!

Apple fast and eggs! Perfect combination.

Apple fast and eggs! Perfect combination.

Throughout the day, have a 2 liter Wheatgrass cucumber carrot drink. I use plain wheatgrass powder from Starwest botanicals.

Put 1 tbsp of wheatgrass in the blender with 1 liter of water, 3 carrots, and ¼ of a cucumber. Dilute in 2 one liter bottles and drink through the day.

If you want rapid clearing, I also take a cue from a less common practice. Urea is the healing component in urine that has led many cultures to use urine topically for wounds. I know it sounds gross.

Before you think you have to apply urine to your acne, keep reading.

Urea is used in many acne products. It isn’t easy to find alone, so I will often have compounding pharmacies make it for my patients. If you can add topical urea to your program, I think you will be amazed at your additional progress. More information in future blogs on treating the scars once you heal.

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The unknown keys to treating acne

My first trip to the make up counter was at 9 years old. Concealers, foundations, powders, acne washes, creams, gels, and toners filled my drawers. My mother found everything she could to hide my face. In hindsight, I probably looked like a child pageant contestant who did their own make up and costumes.

It wasn’t until I was 22 that I started to learn that acne needs to be healed from the inside out.

I can say with absolute confidence to anyone who thinks “oh, you don’t know what this is like” that yes, I do. If we were going to put skin on a scale of how acne prone it is, mine is a 10. I’ve made experts gasp at the sight of my face. I’m going to share with you some of the things I have learned in my own journey. In a future blog, if I can muster up the nerve, I am even going to share a picture that no one has seen. One breakout that I documented a few years ago that was so bad that I saw a friend in the gym locker room with no make-up and she literally didn’t know who I was. I’ll never forget that moment.

1. Treat the digestion:

When I see someone who has acne all month long, I always assess the digestive system. Treating constipation is crucial in the treatment of acne. Hormonally active waste products are eliminated through the liver and dumped into the digestive system. If they digestive system is stagnant, that junk gets recirculated and can cause multiple symptoms, including acne. If you are constipated, you cannot be successful in treating your skin. You must go every day.

Treat it right

2. Stop sugar:

For some, acne is aggravated by the stimulation of insulin like growth factor on the skin. This means that sugar is your biggest enemy. You MUST keep overall carbs to 120 per day, and sugar to an absolute minimum. If you have cystic acne, I’m talking to you. Fruit counts. Juices count. That coffee drink counts.

sugar? Thanks but no thanks

3. Clean the skin gently:

Consider oil cleansing, especially for adult skin. Give up the teenage acne products that burn the skin. Oil cleanse with Pracaxi oil. Spot treat with acid if you must. There are many blogs online about oil cleansing. It is easy and it works.

Clean skin gently

4. Pay attention to triggers.

Do you have a breakout every Monday morning? Maybe it’s alcohol. After a pizza? Maybe it’s cheese. If you’re not sure but you know it is food related, consider a food allergy test.
Check out my upcoming post on the 21 day acne experiment. It’s only for people who are ready to do whatever it takes.

Food triggers

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Make losing the baby weight easy!

I’m going to tell you my solution to a weight loss trend that we all still believe even though it doesn’t work. Everyone believes it by now. Low far, low carb.

So wait…removing 2 out of 3 macronutrients?? And then we say meat causes problems.

So don’t eat too much. Have protein powder.

Can’t we just say don’t eat? Everyone knows someone who has been successful doing this. I see it over the long term, and that’s why I say it’s ridiculous. The lean meat and veggies only diet is not enough. You will break down and eat desserts and sugar to compensate. Or, you’ll be perfect and start to see fun changes like hormone suppression, thyroid changes, anxiety, hair loss, low libido, depression, insomnia, and fatigue.

So how do we eat right if carbs are bad, protein is bad, and fat is bad?

Step 1:

Step 1 is always eat real food.

Step 2:

carb fast.

  • No carbs after dinner.
  • Protein and fat only in the morning. Eggs are good.
  • Mid morning have more fat if needed (like nuts)
  • Have 30 carbs at lunch
  • Have 15-30 carbs with a snack
  • Have 30 carbs by 6 pm

In a 6 hour period, you get to eat carbs 3 times. That’s not deprivation at all. For breakfast, you have fat. That’s always fun. Why does this work? Remember these tidbits:

  • The longer we go without glucose, the more we repair broken insulin / glucose balance. Only 25% of your day requires insulin balance, so you can repair for 75%.
  • We go into storage mode with too many carbs. Staying under 120 per day means you probably are not going into storage.
  • Weight gain from night time eating is triggered by insulin levels increasing while melatonin is high. Fat doesn’t trigger insulin.
  • You have 8 hours to utilize fat. You have about 2 hours to use carbs or store them.

    Storage = weight gain

This is the basic framework to rapid weight loss that works for many of my patients. I was thrilled with how easy it was after my third baby when I switched to this approach.

Keep in mind, you may still need hormone testing, thyroid testing, nutrient assessments, and a personalized plan. If you have done that and you want faster progress, this works. As always with all plans, if you do everything and nothing works, you need to have an expert test you metabolically to see why.

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Saturated fat

Ever looked at a bottle of human breast milk? What’s floating at the top? A thick layer of fat. That fat doesn’t look like olive oil, right? It looks like butter. Lard. Saturated fat. But surely there’s a little bit of “healthy” oil too, right? Some olive oil? Nope. Maybe we should give those babies a statin with that milk!

The truth is that we were designed to consume saturated fat.

If you believe that the food here on our earth is bad, and that fat in a bottle is good, you’ve seriously been duped.

Points to advertisers, and statins are your consolation prize. Whenever I talk to people about this, they always start asking me about their favorite bottled fats. Salad dressing and hummus.

Am I saying that salads and hummus are bad?!

Let’s just zoom out and get a larger perspective. What I’m saying is that nuts and olives on your salad are good. Olive oil and peanut oil on your salad are processed foods that should be thought of as a treat. How often can you have a treat? My perspective from working with many people who have healed from healed from chronic disease is this.

90% real food if you’re trying to make progress, and maybe you can do 80% if you’re just wanting to maintain your changes without further improvement. 90% of an 1800 calorie diet means 180 calories come from a source that isn’t a “real” food. Saturated fats like grass fed butter, pastured eggs, and grass fed meat can be part of your diet, and shoot for about 50% plant fats as well.

Think nuts, olives, avocado, and coconut. What about coconut oil? I can’t tell you that I’ve done a double blind study of the oil vs just the coconut. My assumption is that cracking the coconut is better, but coconut is saturated fat (more stable) and isn’t as susceptible to changing on the shelf. No fats (including coconut) in nature are exposed to air. Nuts have a shell. Avocado has a skin. Eggs have a shell. Air damages fat and makes it less healthy for us. Saturated fat doesn’t get as easily damaged by air. It’s more stable.

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Think that fight with your husband and blow up with your little one ended when you stormed off?

Think that fight with your husband and blow up with your little one ended when you stormed off?

Think again!

Relationship stressors can elevate an inflammatory chemical called IL6 for up to 3 days.

That means more pain in your neck (literally), fatigue, aches, and even weight gain. Stress has a profound impact on our immune system.

If you have chronic stress and chronic pain, maybe your pain treatments are not helping. If that is the case, start by focusing on stress and mood instead and see if the pain gets better.

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The crucial 3 reasons people eat too much

We all know the feeling of stuffing chips in our mouths way past the moment of knowing it’s time to stop. It feels out of control, and we make excuses and justifications until it feels normal. For some, this is occasional. For others, it’s a daily battle. In my practice, I work to decide what is at the heart of that battle. Once we treat the medical issues, there are still 3 core issues to face:

  • Compulsive thoughts
  • Impulsive thoughts
  • Emotional eating

1. Compulsive thoughts:

Compulsion is a repeating though or idea that forces you to keep coming back to the same place. There’s ice cream in the freezer. There’s ice cream. Ice cream…It keeps going until you can’t ignore it. Compulsion often comes from low serotonin. Sometimes treating food addiction is as simple as identifying why the serotonin is low and how to bring it up. Antidepressant meds are not always the answer. Many even cause weight gain.

2. Impulsive thoughts:

Impulses are the actions that you take without thinking about consequences. You’re stuffed from dinner and never want to eat again. Then you see cookies and instantly eat 5. Regret seeps in but it’s too late. Impulses are often tied to dopamine, which impacts attention, addiction, and mood. Some people are born unable to regulate this pleasure seeking chemical, and those people need some help with that to control the eating.

3. Emotional eating:

Obviously, all three of these issues can overlap. Some people simply medicate with food. How often do you see parents offering a cookie when a child is hurt? In hospitals, they give crying babies pure sugar to calm them down. It works, and using sugar and food is a learned behavior. Unlearning this behavior takes focus and help. On a simple level, find something that “medicates” you and doesn’t do any harm. You may need a therapist to help with that. I recommend that you start with finding something else to bring you joy. If you are not sure what that is and can’t see a therapist, think about a book like The Miracle Morning. I find that process very helpful for finding meaning.

Thinking about food

Thinking about food

Compulsive, impulsive, and emotional eating are at the heart of many weight problems. Understanding this is half the battle so you know where to direct your energy. You may need to have an in depth analysis of your metabolism to understand your eating patterns, but if we overlook the mind, we are overlooking a critical piece of the puzzle.  Click here to book an appointment or a free 15 minute consult if you need to dig deeper.

https://aspirehealthkc.com/book-appointment/

 

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deadliest thing

The deadliest thing on your plate

If you could do one single thing to slow aging, what would it be?

Get a handle on sugar.

Why is it so important?

That carb load we get from sugar simply doesn’t exist in nature. We are not designed to handle it. Without control mechanisms in our body, the sugar would quickly cause damage to every organ and every tissue, clogging all the tiny vessels and slowly suffocating your toes, eyes, kidneys, brain, heart, and genitals. Every part of you is susceptible to this. Insulin puts us into storage mode to survive, so instead of clogging our vessels, we store the sugar as fat.

The consequence is weight gain.

This year, I committed to a year without sugar. I don’t eat a whole lot anyway, but I’ve never gone a year without chocolate. Nothing else in my diet changed. So far, I’ve noticed my “set point” weight has dropped about 15 pounds (below my high school weight). My appetite is lower than ever. My sleep is better. Hormone balance is better. My mood is better. Digestion is better. My skin is better. I find myself so incredibly relieved to not desire the sugar at all. I’ve thought that maybe at the end of the year I’ll just keep going. It’s not because I don’t like sugar, I’m just like anyone else.

It just feels so much better to avoid it completely.

I know that I am one chocolate bar away from forgetting how much better I feel, so I don’t make exceptions.

Scattered Sugar image

Sugar image showing scattered sugar

I don’t expect you to quit sugar forever. My perspective is different, I see people suffering from their sugar intake all day. I get constant reminders, and I watch people suffer as they are powerless against it. I am reminded of the terrible addiction that people face and I don’t want it. I think about Type III diabetes (more in another blog) and think about my keeping my brain healthy and that alone makes me want to keep going. I see people who will trade their self-esteem, mood, energy level, weight, sleep, work function, favorite clothes, skin, hair, and teeth for sugar. They will give up anything before they give this up. Literally, people will give up their happiness because they are afraid they will be unhappy without sugar. I would argue that nearly every non-violent cause of death in the US is more likely with sugar consumption. I would argue that the biggest thing you can do to live a longer and healthier life is to cut or at least reduce sugar. We eat it because we like it and because we are addicted.

You think you’ll stop if you develop a disease caused by sugar?

Lots of people can’t. You may wonder why people smoke or drink excessively. You may look at them and think about what they are giving up for that habit. What are you giving up for sugar? What could you have if you quit it? The truth is, so many things will improve for you that you won’t even know until you try it. I will challenge you today to go for 21 days without sugar and see how it makes you feel.

For my patients, I recommend the 21 Day Sugar Detox book.

It is easy to read and has helpful recipes and ideas. If you get through that, you are just getting started on realizing that cutting the worst thing on our plate may not be that hard after all.

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4 Simple Rules to Fix the Microbes

This is arguably the most important part of healing naturally, so learn why:

Think about this. All day, you eat mouthfuls of bacteria, viruses, chemicals, and plants that need to be modified by the body to make it safe and usable. The gut absorbs the good and gets rid of the rest. That’s the goal anyway. The acid barrier fries as much of the living bacteria as possible. Then bile and the enzymes in the small intestines break it down and we absorb fuel.

About 1% of our body weight (so 15ish pounds) is bacteria.

They should be in a symbiotic relationship with us. They help us digest and prevent the bad stuff from living there. In that context, imagine the gut as literally the front line for the immune system. That’s where the biggest battle is. Most of our immune tissue is located right there on the front line. So what happens if the immune army looks out and sees armies of bugs that don’t belong? It sends a message back to everyone: get ready for a fight. That means increase inflammatory mechanisms.

What does that look like? Fatigue (for rest), mucus (for protection), bowel changes, skin flares, joint pain, even changes in thoughts and behaviors. And just think about that.

We have all had the flu and had a hopeless feeling so intense that we thought it might not get better. That feeling is chemical and it’s measurable. It’s all part of how we force ourselves to rest. Name literally just about anything and ask if it’s made worse by having the wrong 15 pounds of bugs living off of your food. The answer is probably yes. And think about that. Those good bugs, our allies, live off our food. A natural human diet. Just real food. Plants. Animals. Nuts. Eggs. The basics. Throw anything else in there, and now you’re feeding stuff that doesn’t naturally live in a human. You can take a probiotic, but that doesn’t change the fact that you’re still feeding the enemy and breeding big beastly armies. The only way to successfully repopulate is this:

  • Kill
  • Starve
  • Replace
  • Feed

If medications like hormones, steroids, excessive antibiotics are in the mix, you need help.  If you’re missing major functions of digestion (stomach acid, gallbladder, less than one bowel movement daily), you need help.  But here’s the basic 10 week strategy:

Kill:
Take a strong antimicrobial herb


Starve:
Eliminate simple carbs and sugar as much as humanly possible, even fruit. One or two fruits per day is fine


Replace:
A good probiotic has 20 billion living organisms and more than one strain


Feed:
Eat plants. That’s what the good guys eat. Eat food that will rot if you leave it out. If bacteria in your kitchen won’t eat it, the good guys in the probiotic cap probably think it’s gross, too.

What about all those diets that say no olives, mushrooms, vinegar, etc.?? Let’s be real. I’ve done with hundreds of people. The problem isn’t olives. It’s super processed food that our friendly guys can’t eat, antibiotics, sugary alcohol, steroid hormones, and simply a lifetime of people not eating people food. 10 weeks on this plan, in the absence of the med history or missing piece of digestion, is all you need to reset. How strict to you have to be after? Depends on how healthy you want to be. Deciding how that looks based on your needs is usually a one on one convo with me. If you’re more complicated, you might need help beyond what I can do here, but it’s still very doable!

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An Unexpected Reason for Your Mood Swings

The week before your period, your melatonin (sleep hormone) levels are lower than average. That means your deep sleep is often not as good. This can impact different women in different ways. Some women are actually very sensitive to changes in melatonin levels. Melatonin is controlled partially by light exposure. We should have light exposure in the morning, but not at night. I am going to cover a few topics related to light exposure and women’s health.
Women who are very sensitive to changes in light exposure and melatonin are at much higher risk of having severe mood changes before their period. Sleeping in a really dark room and using bright light exposure in the morning can help to alleviate those mood changes. Using melatonin can also help. In fact, the changes are not just mood related. It turns out having more normal melatonin patterns impacts hormones like FSH, LH, and even the size of the follicle (the part of the ovary the holds the egg). Bright light exposure in the morning and dark at night can even help with binge eating before your period. For bright light exposure, I like the Phillips brand broad spectrum light box. It can be found on Amazon. You use it like an alarm clock, and it can also help with seasonal depression.

sleep

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What Your Doctor Doesn’t Have Time To Tell You

What Your Doctor Doesn’t Have Time To Tell You:
  1. How to eat to stay thin
  2. How to exercise and get results
  3. How to manipulate your diet to treat illnesses
  4. How to use home remedies that actually work for common illnesses
  5. How to use basic psychology, physiology, and nutrition to have kids you like more
  6. How to improve your appearance from the inside out
  7. How to find happiness without pills
  8. How to know if your lifestyle is incompatibly with our basic physiology
  9. How to find realistic ways to prep / buy / order food that is good for you
  10.  How to find resources (many of them free) that can help you feel and perform better

The average doctor spends between 9 and 16 minutes in each visit, depending upon their specialty. Your doctor doesn’t have time to tell you about how to feel well.  Your doctor has time to make sure you’re not very sick.  There’s a big difference.  In fact, most doctors do not know much about how to feel well.  They’ve spent years on overdrive.  Overachieving in school, overpaying for student loans, overworking in the office, and overexending themselves trying to keep up with all of their committments.  Having time to eat right, sleep right, think right, and stay active are distant ideals for most people in health care.  The lack of knowledge about “wellness” isn’t the fault of your provider.  It is simply the reality of a broken system.  The medical system is designed to teach a systematic approach to eliminating symptoms with pills.  Many doctors eliminate symptoms very well.  Many doctors are also excellent at emergency intervention.  They are simply not taught to think about how to prevent the disease state causing the symptom.  That literally is not part of medical training.  So we really can’t blame your doctor for not knowing how to make you feel well.  Chances are, your doctor isn’t able to keep herself feeling all that vibrant either.

The purpose of this blog is to teach you all of the things you should know about your body.  Upcoming posts will be your interactive owner’s manual.  I will help you learn how to maintain your body, inside and out.  It is the only body you will have.  You get to drive it until it doesn’t work anymore.  Take good care of it, and you might just enjoy the ride.  While I don’t answer clinical quetions via e-mail, I will take your questions.  Whenever I can, I will post answers publicly so that your answers can reach more people.

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