Category Archives: Uncategorized

School Health: Be Fragrance-Free

Things you might not think about regarding your school.

I have recently learned that some schools allow the use of fragrance in the classroom.

Unfortunately, fragrance can cause breathing difficulties, especially for those with asthma. Fragrances in scented wax products, vaporizers, soaps, cleaning products, perfumes, or colognes may also adversely affect brain and immune function, and may cause muscle pain, nose bleeds, and digestive imbalances.

A school with a fragrance-free policy is one that puts their student’s health first.

The Healthy Schools Network has compiled a comprehensive handout to help parents understand how school indoor air pollution that may affect their children’s health and how to address any issues. For more information click here.

Click here for additional resources on Dr. Rodgers’ website.

Back to School – Nutrients to Stay Smart and Healthy

As kids go back to school, routines and stressors change. What shouldn’t change is a healthy diet when your child is in school. Providing healthy food is one way to help your child succeed in school.

Here are some ideas for fun and healthy foods.

  • Berries are tasty and deliver healthy nutrients that act as antioxidants. Choose organic berries as much as possible. Raspberry, blue berries, black berries, strawberries.
  • Protein. Protein at every meal balances blood sugars and helps to maintain energy levels throughout the day. Nuts, nut butters, meat jerkies, hard boiled eggs, edamame (soy beans), or dinner left overs are easily brought in a lunch box.
  • Bento Boxes are known as Japanese boxed meals. For children, Bento boxes make lunch fun. Even fruits and vegetables become fun to eat. For simple bento box ideas, click here.
  • Incorporate children in the food making process. For a fun video about how school children experience lunch in japan, click here.
  • For kids who choose not to eat their fruits and vegetables, a fruit/vegetable drink may be helpful. For suggestions for quality vegetable drinks and other supplements to keep your child healthy, see below.

For people who don’t want to eat their vegetables, consider the following:

Multivitamins provide all necessary vitamins and minerals.

Probiotics and fish oil keep us healthy and smart.

Ready to Lose the Weight?

First 3 Steps for Sucessful Weight Loss

Women, specifically postmenopausal women, are strongly targeted by the weight loss industry.  Ads are everywhere highlighting the secrets to weight loss success.

However, these marketing efforts forget the first 3 steps. 

Step 1.  One has to be ready to do the work. 

As women, we are judged by our looks from day 1.  We are primed to always want to look great, but given the workload of raising children, working, and organizing life in general, being ready for one more thing can seem overwhelming.

A weight loss program is work, both mentally and emotionally. One needs to ready to learn a new way of eating and living while letting go of negative self talk and emotional reactions to body image.   

The first step in any weight loss program is being ready to do the work.  If you are in the middle of moving your residence, changing jobs, divorce, wedding planning, or other major life change, it may not be the time to embark on a serious weight loss program. 

However, if you are mentally and emotionally ready to tackle a dietary change, then check out the next steps.

Step 2.  Get your hormone house in order.

There are numerous hormones that govern our ability to burn or store fat.  Many people assume thyroid hormone imbalance is the main reason for weight gain.

When life has been stressful over a long period of time, some of us loose our ability to generate sufficient cortisol, and become what I diagnose as  “pooped out,” (technically thought of as adrenal insufficiency).

A lesser-known hormone is cortisol, a stress hormone secreted by the adrenal glands. 

If thyroid and cortisol rhythms malfunction, weight gain, brain fog, belly fat production, sleeplessness, anxiety, and an inability to calmly react to even small amounts of stress may occur.

If thyroid support is provided WITHOUT addressing cortisol production, increased fatigue and weight gain can occur. It is important to assess and address BOTH cortisol and thyroid dysfunction.  

It is also important to understand that nutritional deficiencies can lead to reduced cortisol and thyroid function. Without proper nutrition, these hormones are not properly produced in the body.

A natural decline in other hormones such as testosterone and DHEA may also contribute weight gain. These muscle/bone building hormones are important in their own way, and can be assessed along with thyroid and cortisol levels.

Step 3.  Accept that a weight loss program is not a one-time process. 

The effort you put in to lose weight is worthy of the lifestyle changes that will keep the weight off.   After you achieve your weight loss goal, certain lifestyle factors will help to maintain the weight loss. In other words, see Step 1 – be ready for long-term lifestyle changes. 

Idaho Naturopathic Medicine’s weight loss program provides the support you need to achieve your goals.

  • A comprehensive intake visit to review your goals, current and past health issues.
  • A diet plan to get you to your target weight.
  • Protein powder specifically designed for weight loss.
  • Weekly weight and measurement visits.
  • Hormone testing if needed:  cortisol, thyroid, and if needed, estrogen, testosterone, progesterone, DHEA.
  • Professional level supplements as needed.

Cardiovascular Disease Prevention: Vitamin C

Vitamin C may be a significant key to prevent cardiovascular disease. When unable to consume foods rich in Vitamin C daily, supplementation is advisable.

Vital Nutrients Vitamin C with Bioflavinoids contains 1000 mg and a bioflavinoid complex in 2 capsules. Take 1-4 times daily with food.

For those with allergy symptoms, Vital Nutrients Aller-C provides 900 mg Vitamin C in 2 capsules and provides the enzyme Bromelain to reduce inflammation. Take 2 capsules 1-4 times daily with food.

Foods high in Vitamin C include: Guava, Kiwi, Strawberry, Oranges, Papayas, Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts, Cauliflower, Green and Red Peppers, Dark Leafy Greens, Sweet and White Potatoes, Tomatoes, Winter Squash.

Food Sensitivity – How to Identify

Food Sensitivity

The immune system protects us from infection. When activated by infection, the immune system produces proteins called immunoglobulins and other inflammatory compounds.

Foods can also trigger similar immune reactions when food particles pass through an inflamed intestinal barrier.

Sometimes, these reactions cause a histamine release that can lead to severe tissue inflammation as seen in anaphylaxis. Histamine reactions fall in the category of Allergy.

What is Food Sensitivity?

Foods can also trigger non-histamine immune reactions that result in numerous non-specific symptoms such as fatigue, muscle aches, headaches, skin rash, mood disturbance, digestive complaints (i.e., constipation, diarrhea, nausea, acid reflux, etc.) and more. These non-histaminic reactions are classified as sensitivity reactions.

As a Naturopathic Physician, Dr. Rodgers offers two methods for identifying food sensitivities. By using these tools, patients are provided a powerful method to help identify and control the underlying cause of inflammation.

  • Elimination-Challenge of the most common foods notorious for causing inflammation.
  • IgA/IgG food sensitivity blood testing.

Call 208-275-0007 if you would like more information about these diagnostic tools.

6 Ways to Improve Bone Density

Bones are in a constant state of flux, varying between building and breaking down, allowing for healthy growth.  The bone building process is dominant until around age 30, when the breaking down process starts to dominate. For some, the bone loss process is significant enough that fractures occur.

6 ways to reduce bone loss.

  1. Vitamin D. Vitamin D helps us absorb the calcium needed to build bone structure.  The best way to determine how much Vitamin D one needs is through a simple blood test. For most people, the desired range is 60 mg/dl. For some people with anxiety, this level is too high and must be evaluated on an individual basis. If supplementation is suggested by blood testing, a re-test 6 weeks after regular supplementation is suggested to ensure the supplementation was successful.  
  2. Bone Nutrients.  Besides calcium, the bone needs magnesium vitamin K, boron, copper, zinc, boron, methylated folate and B6.  A good multivitamin or bone density formula should provide these nutrients.  Dr. Rodgers suggests a quality multivitamin and Osteopblend by Vitancia for her patients. These can be found on her on-line dispensary.
  3. Healthy fats. Diets high in polyunstaturated fats (such as omega 3’s found in vegetable and deep water fish oils) help improve bone formation.   Alternatively, diets high in saturated fats (those found in animal products) reduce bone density. 
  4. Complex carbohydrates from fruits and vegetables provide the fiber that breaks down into organic acids that then provide the right pH for calcium absorption. Alternatively, diets high in simple sugars (i.e., candy, sugary drinks, etc) enhance bone breakdown.
  5. Exercise.  Bone remodeling occurs when stress is applied to the bones. This occurs with using our bodies. Traditional wisdom includes suggesting weight-bearing exercise such as lifting weights, walking, running, and skipping rope.
  6. Osteostrong. Located in East Boise, OsteoStrong provides structured weight bearing exercise that can be completed in about 20 minutes once weekly to improve bone health or reduce bone loss. These exercises can be done by most people and may be especially helpful for those who are not able to maintain balance while walking/running, or skipping rope.  The program is based on a study that showed significant improvement in bone density utilizing these exercises on participants that were not using bone building drugs. To learn more, contact Osteostrong.  Phone: 208-331-4072, email: eastboise@osteostrong.me. You can learn more about Osteostrong on Facebook

Being prepared for Forest Fire Smoke

As the summer progresses, the chance that forest fire smoke will settle in the valley increases. Poor air quality can trigger asthma, heart attacks, and other illness.  Being prepared for poor air quality may help you avoid these costly diseases.

5 ways to combat poor air quality

  1. When the smoke presents: exercise inside. For those of us who love being outside, this is probably the hardest suggestion to follow-through on. However, even a little smoke can increase oxidative stress on the lungs.
  2. Make sure to replace your air conditioner/furnace filter(s) and clean your air ducts. Air conditioning units push air through the same ducts as your furnace. Air filter and air duct maintenance helps to improve indoor air quality.
  3. Sleep with windows closed at night. Sleeping with your windows open is just like spending those hours outside in the smoke.
  4. Nutrients can help support lung health. Please ask your medical provider for dosages that will work for you.
    1. N-acetyl cysteine helps to break up mucous associated with asthma and pneumonia.
    2. Vitamin C helps reduce oxidative damage to the lungs.
    3. Magnesium and Vitamin B6 are associated with nutrient deficiency found in many asthmatics.
  5. A personalized herbal formula or homeopathic remedy may be helpful when you do suffer from forest fire smoke. Contact Dr. Rodgersif you need such a remedy.

Endocannabinoids

The Endocannabinoid System – you have one.

My most recent continuing education journey has been learning about the Endocannabinoid System (ECS). Endo= endogenous. Cannabinoid = compounds classified as cannabinoid in structure. Animals with spines and plants all manufacture cannabinoids.

The Endocannabinoid system is responsible for balancing other body systems including the immune and nervous system. For example, if a nerve cell releases too many stimulating neurotransmitters, the receiving nerve cell will release endocannabinoids to dampen the 1stnerve cell’s output. Imbalanced nervous system responses (anxiety, PTSD) and imbalanced immune responses (autoimmune disease) may be due to a lack of an adequate endocannabinoid response.

When endocannabinoids are depleted due to excess stress, toxins, or genetic changes, plant based phytocannabinoids can be used to supplement the endocannabinoid system.

Because every person is genetically different, the amount of replacement phytocannabinoids needed may vary greatly.

Two well known phytocannabionoids are cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Both act on endocannabinoid receptors and can exert different responses.

THC is known to provoke a psychoactive response (ie, “getting high”) when heated. When not heated, THC does NOT cause a psychoactive response: it does NOT make one “high.”

Phyocannabinoids have been shown useful in the treatment of epilepsy, diabetes type I, traumatic brain injury, post traumatic stress syndrome, anxiety, cancer, Parkinson’s Disease, and chronic pain (with the potential to avoid or reduce opioid use). Phytocannabinoids also have potential to treat autoimmune conditions, Alzheimer’s disease, autism and many other diseases.

*Dr. Rodgers does not prescribe cannabinoids in her practice.

Learn more: Watch on YouTube:

Sacred Plant Episode 1

Using the Sacred Plant to Treat Silent Killers

Backyard Medicinal Herbs

I garden, therefore I weed.

I have a small backyard garden that provides lettuce, tomatoes, basil and other vegetables. To make sure these vegetables get all the soil nutrients they deserve, I ruthlessly remove all weeds.

I define a weed as any plant growing where I don’t want it to be. I use 2 toxin-free weed removal methods.

  1. Pulling weeds by hand.
  2. Spraying of concentrated vinegar on stubborn plants.
  3. For added help, the Northend Organic Nursery has an organic yard care program.

Five beneficial weeds also reside in my yard. I don’t try to grow weeds, but I do leave one small area in my yard where I don’t eradicate them completely. In that space, they magically transform from weed to beneficial medical herbs.

Mallow.  Mallow leaves contain both vitamins and minerals: beta-carotene, vitamin C, selenium, iron, potassium, magnesium, calcium. If one is not willing to use in a salad, the plant can be dried into a powder and added to soups or smoothies. The leaves and roots are slippery (mucilaginous) and can be used to soothe the digestive tract.

 

Dandelions seem to be the bane of every home owner. However, this is one of the most powerful medicinal herbs we all have at our disposal. The leaves can be used as additions to spring salads. As medicine, the leaves help increase urination. The roots contain compounds to strengthen the cleansing action in the liver. 

 

 

 

Lemon Balm. Like most mints, Lemon Balm has the propensity to take over any garden if left to its own devices (i.e., make sure to plant in a container). Lemon balm’s leaves are easy to pick for making tea. It is calming and helps reduce anxiety. Leaves can be used fresh or dried. Cats and bees also love it.

 

I love Burdock as an herb until a velcro inspiring seed pod becomes lodged in a pet’s fur. The root is used in many liver-cleansing formulas.

 

 

 

A new weed arrival to my yard this season: Mullein.  This statuesque desert plant’s spring leaves are used in lung tonic formulations.