The type of gut bacteria you have could be influencing your health and you don’t realize it. We should have a ratio of about 85% good bacteria to about 15% bad bacteria living in our digestive tract but for most people that relationship is inversed. Yes! That means 85% bad bacteria!

The issue is that these bacteria effect a lot more than just our digestive system. They can have far reaching effects. Depression and anxiety are linked to this imbalance, as are auto immune issues, behavioral problems in children and many of the chronic disease we are seeing today.                             

The “gut” is basically the digestive system.  However, it does so much more than just digest the food we eat.  The gut helps to regulate metabolism and weight, and is responsible for most of our immune system response.  It is estimated that 70% of our immune system is controlled in the gut.  It communicates with the brain and regulates our sleep and our moods.

The problem is that we have been putting almost anything in our mouth and expecting our digestive system to deal with it.  It is a part of our body most people take very little care of.  Most of us don’t realize the harm they are doing without even realizing it.  You may be thinking, “Well, I’m not sick, my gut is fine”.  Unfortunately, the problems in the gut usually go unnoticed until there is a bigger problem.

Many of the physical and mental disorders that plague America today start in the digestive system.  Gastrointestinal illnesses are on the rise, many that we had never heard of before.  Acid reflux, IBS, colitis, diverticulosis, Crohn’s to name a few.  Even seemingly unrelated issues such as autism, heart disease, arthritis can be traced back to the gut.

The problem occurs when the bad bacteria outnumber the good bacteria.  The bad bacteria damage the small intestine.  The small intestine’s job is to absorb nutrients from the food we eat but when it is damaged it cannot do this well.  Eventually, the damage can cause microscopic perforations in the lining of the small intensities causing Leaky Gut Syndrome.   As the food particles are permitted to leak into the blood, it can cause all kinds of issues.  Food allergies and sensitivities, as well as skin conditions, such as eczema. These substances can even cross the blood-brain barrier and cause anxiety, depression, mood swings and behavioral problems in children.

Researchers have discovered across the board that children with autism all have these types of issues in their digestive systems.   

The Standard American Diet (SAD) that we have been eating for the past generation has allowed the bad bacteria to proliferate. This coupled with a diet high in processed foods and low in nutrition has created dysfunction within the gut.

The good news is that the body will heal itself, given half a chance.  Once you realize how important your digestive system is to your overall well-being, you may feel motivated to give the good bacteria a fighting chance.  After all, they are on our side! 

First you need to stop feeding the bad bacteria. By removing food that converts quickly to sugar feed the bad bacteria, by doing this we can rework the balance of bacteria in the digestive system.  Then we give the good bacteria what it needs in the form of prebiotics and probiotics, with fermented food and supplements.

I have had clients that have seen their rheumatoid arthritis symptoms disappear, had anxiety alleviate, behavior and mood issues improve, not to mention solving digestive issues like IBS and colitis.

Dysfunction in the gut is an issue for almost all of us, as very few people today have a properly functioning digestive system.  There are many ways to optimize this important system of the body.  I will be teaching classes on digestive health and its many benefits in both Southgate and Monroe. If you are unable to attend these classes but are interested in more information, please contact me. 

Learn the age old secrets to keeping yourself healthy.  Clean up your gut, and your health and feel better!  

All Disease Starts in the Gut

Southgate –Asher School

Mondays – 3 weeks (2 hour class)
April 8 – April 22
Click here to Register

Monroe County Community College

Thursdays – 6 Week Class
May 2 – June 6
To Register, Call: 734-384-4127

We hear more and more about mercury in the environment. One of the sources of mercury exposure is amalgam dental fillings. You know the ones we all had as kids, the “silver fillings”, these actually contain mercury.

Amalgam fillings are made from a variety of metals, 50% mercury along with a combination of silver, tin, copper and sometimes zinc. The problem with these fillings is that they can emit mercury vapor. Studies have found the amount of vapor from amalgams can vary from 1- 3 micrograms per day to 27 micrograms per day.

The World Health Organization has stated that the exposure to mercury vapor from fillings can significantly increase with activities such as grinding of the teeth, chewing gum, and drinking carbonated drinks. There could be five times the amount of mercury vapor being emitted due to these practices.

The U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination, in 2001, conducted a survey of 31,000 adults and found that the number of dental fillings they had correlated to the incidence of cancer, mental conditions, thyroid conditions, neurological issues (including MS), diseases of the respiratory system, and diseases of the eye.  Although, the FDA and several Supreme Court justices determined that “the correlations do not sufficiently demonstrate causation.”

Swedish studies indicate a 78% improvement in pre-existing neurological and Chronic Fatigue-type symptoms when amalgam fillings were removed.  However, in the U.S. official studies hired by the FDA and National Institute of Health stated that “the current data is insufficient to support an association between mercury release from amalgams and the various complaints that have been attributed to this restorative material.”

Scandinavian countries banned the use of these fillings back in 2008, however here in the U.S. approximately 47% of dentists are still using amalgam fillings. In fact, several years ago we had a pediatric dentist ask us if we wanted to pay extra for composite fillings (white fillings) because our insurance would only pay for amalgams!

According to the American Dental Association and the FDA amalgams are “a safe restorative material”. However, there are many dentists who disagree. Some who have suffered the health consequences first hand and have seen their health improve as the fillings were safely removed. If you are considering having these fillings removed, look for a dentist specializing in safe removal of amalgams.

Want to learn more about natural dental care and how dental issues can significantly impact the health of the body and how to cure them?

Heal Thy Mouth, Heal Thy Body and Strengthen Your Immune System

Southgate – Asher School
2 Hour Class Monday March 11 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.

Monroe County Community College
Thursday March 21 7:45 – 8:45 p.m.
TO REGISTER, CALL  734-384-4127

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure…An old saying but is just as true today.

So how do to ensure that you stay healthy, especially this time of year?


Wash Hands – I do not advocate using hand sanitizer constantly but it is easy to pick up germs when we are out and about. Hand sanitizer is not as effective as washing your hands, so wash when you come home, before eating, try not to touch eyes, nose and ears before washing your hands and encourage your kids to wash their hands when they come home from the germ-factory (otherwise known as school!).

Vitamin D – optimizing vitamin D is essential to immune health. Living in the Great Lakes area, leaves us vulnerable in the winter. The cloud cover (caused by the lakes) means that we don’t get much sunshine and the cold temps mean that we aren’t out in the sunshine much, thereby leading to low vitamin D levels in most people. Use Vitamin D3, not Vitamin D2 as it is synthetic and our bodies don’t know what to do with it. Be aware the Vitamin D that is in milk is D2! Supplement with D3 and have your levels checked occasionally, Vitamin D can build up in the body over time.

Avoid sugar and white foods – while these foods seem to be most people’s favorite, they definitely leave the immune system more vulnerable. Watch how much bread, pasta, rice and dairy you are eating, especially if those around you are sick or if you are feeling run down or stressed. Believe it or not, eliminating these foods when the immune system is stressed can keep you from getting ill.

Fermented Foods – Try eating or drinking some fermented foods each day. Some people swear by this! Try kombucha (fermented iced tea), properly made sauerkraut or pickles or kvass (a drink made from beets).

Sleep – even just a couple of nights of poor quality or not enough sleep can wear the body out and leave your immune system susceptible. This is another good time to watch what you eat! Don’t discount the power of sleep to resist illness and disease. The body repairs and rejuvenates while we sleep. If you do get sick, sleep is one of the best ways to get you back to health.

Many of these health tips aren’t just for colds and flu, most of them can actually protect us from chronic disease like high blood pressure, diabetes and even cancer!


Want to learn more ways to stay healthy and the best ways to recover as fast as possible if you or your family does get sick? Join me for my next class:


Strengthen Your Immune System and Heal Thy Mouth, Heal Thy Body

Southgate – Asher School
2 Hour Class Monday March 11 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.

Monroe County Community College
Thursday March 21 7:45 – 8:45 p.m.
TO REGISTER, CALL  734-384-4127

There has been a lot of talk about the Keto diet lately. Maybe you’ve heard the talk, maybe you’ve tried the diet. There is also a fair amount of confusion about “Keto”. Keto is short for Ketogenic and refers to a process the body uses to burn fat for fuel as opposed to carbohydrates.

Carbohydrates are easy for the body to use and when we are eating a fair amount of carbs the body doesn’t have to use fat for fuel. However, if the carbohydrates are not the primary diet for the body, it will convert to burning fat or go into a state of ketosis. During ketosis, the body will burn the fat we eat for fuel and also the excess fat that is stored on the body, which is what will lead to weight loss on the diet.

The Ketogenic diet was originally a medically prescribed diet for Epileptic seizures in children. It was found to prevent or dramatically reduce seizures and after a time many children never experience seizures again even after stopping the Ketogenic diet. More recently, it has been found to significantly impact diabetes, auto immune issues and even certain cancers.

One reason the Keto diet has such medical benefit is that an over-consumption of carbohydrates causes body to create toxic byproducts which affects the body at a cellular level and puts stress on the liver (our main detoxing organ). By removing excess carbs, the body starts to regenerate healthy cells and the liver can function more normally.

I originally participated in a Ketogenic diet training program with doctor who prescribes this for his patients. After learning more about the potential benefits for the body, and seeing how much confusion there is about ketosis, I decide to create a class to help people to understand how it could benefit them. Every time I have offered this class it has sold out.

It is a great way to rebalance the metabolism, loose weight, eliminate cravings, get blood sugar issues under control, detox the body, have much more energy and surprisingly more focus and clarity of thought. This was the biggest surprise for me, I feel much more energized and motivated.

I don’t believe in fad diets, I also don’t believe in yo-yo weight loss. I think the Ketogenic diet is helpful for everyone because it allows for an understanding about foods that are good for us and gives us sustained energy. We were scared away from fat and have been misinformed about healthy and unhealthy fats. We have also been misled about carbohydrates, if you look at the food pyramid, we are instructed to make refined carbohydrates the bulk of our diet. This is completely false and is leading to obesity and chronic disease.

I don’t advocate that everyone stay on the Ketogenic diet indefinitely, that should be based on your individual metabolism, health and lifestyle. What I do advocate is that everyone try the Keto diet (even temporarily or as a cleanse) so that you can understand its principles and make it work for you and your lifestyle. Once you understand what healthy carbs are, what fats are truly healthy and how much protein we should be eating, you can move into a healthier way of eating that works for you. Not just because it is healthier but because you will actually feel better.

My Keto classes this semester are:

Southgate – Asher School
Monday, February 11 6:30-8:30pm

Monroe County Community College
Thursday, February 28 6:30-8:30pm
TO REGISTER, CALL  734-384-4127

New!!! In-depth Keto

(2 week/ 2 hour classes)

This class will provide a jump-start into the Ketogenic diet with all the resources you need to be successful. In addition to the information presented in the regular Ketogenic Diet class, this class will provide meal ideas, grocery lists, meal prep suggestions, as well as a two-week format to support your progress and get all your questions answered.

Southgate – Asher School
March 18 and 25 6:30-8:30pm

Monroe County Community College
April 17 and 24 6:30-8:30pm
TO REGISTER, CALL  734-384-4127

“Don’t eat anything your great great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food.” — Michael Pollan

Do you brown bag? Do you send your kids to school with a packed lunch? Does your child buy the school lunch? Do you go out to lunch at the local restaurant? These are the choices we all face every day.

Many people who are reading this try to do the right thing and make better choices for lunch.

The first problem is that marketing of food can be deceptive. You can’t believe all the health claims you read on packaging.

Another issue is that our children want to eat like their friends and it is hard to send them with a healthy lunch every day. And, truthfully, most of us have so many issues going on in our gut that we often have cravings and are powerless to actually make a healthy choice.

Big food companies have caught on to the trend toward healthier eating. Many of the companies that used to provide healthier food choices in the grocery store have been bought out by larger corporations. Many of the foods that are advertised as healthier alternatives or “natural” really are not.

Have you looked at the school lunch menu recently? Mini tacos, pizza, hamburgers, cheese-filled breadsticks, chocolate milk — and the list goes on. Is it any wonder childhood obesity is on the rise? The worst part is that this menu is required to meet government guidelines and it does!

Lunch meats are not good for you. Lunch meats contain nitrates and are high in sodium. These processed rolls do not resemble the animal they came from. Boar’s Head and Applegate Farms brands provide better options. Boar’s Head makes an all-natural ham, turkey or roast beef that is about the best you can get in processed, non-organic lunch meats. Applegate Farms also has organic lunch meats. Even though they are better choices they are still processed meats.

Restaurants of all types and price ranges are in the business of buying food at the lowest possible prices. Even places that market themselves as healthier alternatives to fast food serve conventional vegetables and meat and poultry products from the same factory farms that supply the fast food industry. A good rule is the more convenient the food, usually the worse it is for you.

So what is a person to do? Know where your food comes from! The most important thing is to make knowing where your food comes from the No. 1 priority. Until you make this a priority, you can’t take charge of your health.

How was it grown? How was it raised? What was it fed? Which pesticides were used to grow it? Which chemicals or medicines were used to raise the food? What was the environment like where the animals were raised? Has this food been genetically modified? Has the animal been raised on genetically modified food? How has it been processed?

These are not always pleasant things to discover but all of these things matter and directly impact our health. When did not wanting to know what we are eating become the norm? Truthfully, we ask more about our sports teams and ask more questions of our car mechanics than we do about the food we put into our bodies every day.

We need to look at the cheap food we are consuming. We use the term “cheap” as a derogatory term for everything except food. We get excited when food is cheap. Cheap food is cheap for a reason. The good news is that once you make the decision to prioritize your food sources, better options are available.

Lunch choices need to go back to what people ate in the 1950s. Try cooking organic, antibiotic-free chicken the night before or in the morning and make a salad or sandwich from that. Leftovers make great lunches and save money.

How much are you spending per day per person on lunch? Organic fruits and vegetables are great lunch options and pack easily and do not require refrigeration.

So as the school year winds down and your child is at home for the summer, take the time to evaluate your health priorities. Start thinking about where your food comes from and look for better options. For most people, lunch is the most challenging meal of the day to try to eat healthy. Try making your own lunch and start getting ideas for what you can pack your child next school year.

Use the summer break to build healthier eating habits for your child so that he or she will be more willing to accept the lunch options that you pack for them during the coming school year.

Find local food sources at


Originally published in The News Herald column Food for Thought by Theresa Edmunds.

Did you know that gluten is one of the most difficult substances for humans to digest? Gluten is the protein in wheat, rye and barley. From these grains, wheat is the predominate grain in our diet.

Wheat also is the grain that has been hybridized over the last 50 years. This hybridization caused the gluten content in wheat to increase. This is believed to be the main reason that many people are reacting to gluten today.

Reactions can be quite varied from digestive issues like diarrhea or constipation to headaches, arthritis, thyroid problems and even infertility. These can all be symptoms of gluten intolerance.

Behavioral issues also can be attributed to gluten sensitivity. ADHD, autism and bipolar disorder can be exacerbated by gluten. Many people find their symptoms of these issues are significantly reduced by eliminating gluten from their diet.

Celiac disease is the most serious form of gluten intolerance and is considered an autoimmune disease. The body sees gluten as a foreign substance and begins to makes antibodies against it. Celiac disease is considered a gateway autoimmune disease. Conditions such as multiple sclerosis, lupus, type 1 diabetes, osteoporosis, fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis and thyroid disease all can be triggered by celiac disease.

The good news is that there are many ways to manage gluten intolerance. From learning about hidden sources of gluten to gluten-free alternatives, it is easier to live gluten free today than ever before. There is also evidence that suggests that a specific type of diet could even heal gluten issues.

These are the types of things that I will discuss in a four-week class about gluten beginning Wednesday at Monroe County Community College. Helpful resources and information will be supplied.

A second class on Wednesday will focus on allergies, autism and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.

The three conditions are on the rise. Doesn’t it make you wonder why these problems that were virtually unheard of a generation ago are so prevalent today?

Food allergies have become so prevalent among children that it is not uncommon for each classroom to have several children with food sensitivities. Many children have multiple food sensitivities. This is usually a result of a compromised digestive system, which can be healed.

Seasonal allergies are no longer something that adults experience just in spring and fall. Many people, including babies, are experiencing “seasonal” allergies most of the year. Often this is also a result of a compromised digestive system and/or chemical sensitivities.

Years ago, autism affected 1 in 10,000 children; today it is estimated that 1 in 50 children are affected. There are many theories as to why autism is on the rise. The one obvious connection is that something is causing autism; it is no longer simply genetics. There are many different theories about possible causes and ways to lower the risk of autism. There are also several therapies, diets and doctors that can treat and even cure autism.

ADHD is a term that we didn’t even know 25 years ago. It started as ADD (attention-deficit disorder) but then the hyperactivity component was recognized. We then had ADD and ADHD. Now medical literature uses the term ADD with or without hyperactivity.

There are two schools of thought with ADHD. Many people are encouraged to put their child on Ritalin and some see improvements. Unfortunately, there haven’t been long-term studies of these types of medications.

There are alternatives to treating ADHD. Many functional medicine doctors are finding that deficiencies can play a role in behavioral and learning problems. We also know that many of these children can be sensitive to chemicals in our environment and our food. Some children also have a genetic component that can be managed effectively.


Originally published in The News Herald column Food for Thought by Theresa Edmunds.

We spend weeks looking forward to our summer vacation, a time to relax and have fun. It is good for us to take a break from the everyday routine and, usually, it means less cooking and more eating out. 

This is great from time to time but there are ways to stay on track with healthy eating, even while travelling.

We should enjoy our vacation and eat foods that we like but often we wind up eating foods that we normally wouldn’t, due to convenience. With a little planning, we can eat foods that taste good and leave us and our family feeling good too.

Maybe you’ve noticed that while on vacation, children’s behavior sometimes deteriorates. Obviously, children get tired with so many activities and late nights, however, this is often a result of a change in diet and poor nutritional content.

Many kids are sensitive to dyes and preservatives, which are so prevalent in package, processed foods as well as fast food. Often, children have much more of this while travelling and also consume more sugar than normal.

In addition, most kids aren’t eating enough fruits and vegetables on vacation. The lack of nutrition that this can cause can catch up with kids over the course of a few days.

Sometimes, this can be the cause of deteriorating behavior as the trip goes on.

There are many great options for eating fun and healthy while on vacation. With a little forethought, your next vacation can be healthier and less stressful!

When planning a road trip or going camping, pack a lunch for your first day on the road. This cuts down on one day of fast food. If you have a plug-in cooler for your car, pack the second day’s lunch.

Make some interesting sandwiches, try pretzel buns, sub buns or bagels to change up the routine. Cut-up veggies and fruit, nuts, granola bars, trail mix or cheese and crackers are all good options for snacks.

When you do have to eat on the road, look for healthier choices. Some restaurants are providing healthier offerings, like Panera Bread and Chipotle.

If you are a camper, you have a great opportunity to eat well if you forgo the typical hotdogs. Prepare some grass-fed beef hamburger patties and freeze them before you go.

Make a big pot of Sloppy Joes with the same grass-fed beef. Cook some organic chicken breasts to serve with a salad, or cut in strips and serve with veggies and dip.

If you are camping late in the season, a big pot of chili made at home can be a welcome addition on a cooler night around the campfire.

Cooking over an open fire can be a fun activity. Try salmon, whitefish or sausage with onions, potatoes, bell peppers and tomatoes to wrapped in parchment paper inside of aluminum foil and cook it up over the fire.

If you leave the potatoes out, you can make these at home. They can be cooked on a grill, as well.

The parchment paper keeps the vegetables from sticking and also protects your food from the aluminum foil. Foil can transfer aluminum to the food.

If you’re staying in a hotel, the free breakfast many hotels offer is convenient and saves money but, unfortunately, it is almost always fairly low quality.

Refined carbohydrates like cereal, bagels, muffins and waffles offer little in the way of nutritional value. Feel free to choose some of the offerings and add some of your own.

Bring a stick blender and make your own smoothies in the room. Take along a cooler with some frozen organic berries, add a banana and hemp seed hearts, nut butter or Greek yogurt for protein.

For lunch, look for a local deli or market that will make a carry-out lunch, which can make a nice picnic or beach lunch. Keep an eye out for restaurants that serve organic or local food. Farm-to-table restaurants are on the rise and can often be found in the unlikeliest of places. Ask the locals where they would recommend.

No matter what restaurant you are eating in, try to make salad and veggies part of the meal, even for the kids. If you order a pizza, order a salad to go along with it or stop at the grocery store and pick-up a vegetable and dip platter.

If you can offer the salad or veggies to kids before the pizza, chances are you’ll get more vegetables into them. Getting some nutrition into kids can make a big difference in their moods and behavior.

If you are renting a house or staying at a hotel with a kitchen, do your pre-trip research. Search for local Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods and other regional markets that offer organic products. Make sure to have a grocery list ready before you get to the store and stock up for the week. Buy some of their pre-made food to get a headstart on cooking. If you do find yourself preparing more food, consider using paper plates to cut back on the clean-up.

With a little planning before you head out to enjoy your vacation, you can feed yourself and your family well. Making the extra effort just might make the next trip more fun and less stressful.


Originally published in The News Herald column Food for Thought by Theresa Edmunds.

Is buying organic really that important? It’s a question a lot of people ask me. The answer is a resounding “yes.”

What many people don’t realize is that everything used to be organic. Until about 60 years ago, all food was organic. That’s right, pesticides, herbicides and synthetic fertilizer and hormones didn’t exist a generation ago. Humans were eating food in its natural form. If that isn’t enough reason to buy organic here are 10 more.

Reduce your toxic load. Toxins like the chemicals found in pesticides, herbicides, synthetic fertilizer as well as antibiotics are being found in the human body. While you may not be able to control toxins entering your body from certain types of pollution, you can certainly control what you eat. By choosing to consume organic food you lighten the load on your body and give it an opportunity to detox the chemicals you can’t control.

Protect your kids. Research shows that children are four times more susceptible to these chemicals. The “safety” testing of these chemicals was based on adult tolerance levels, not on children’s. Their bodies are still developing, physically and mentally. The brain can be affected by these toxins, according to the National Academy of Science “neurological and behavioral effects may result from low-level exposure to pesticides.” These chemicals are also known to impact the nervous system. The endocrine system, which is our master hormone system, has been shown to be adversely affected by pesticides including decreasing fertility.

Protecting each other. The “pesticide drifts” from farming are carried on the wind, wafting into a multitude of local communities, affecting air quality and causing these toxic chemicals, not only to be ingested but also inhaled. This affects the workers on these conventional farms, too.

Preserving the nutrient value of our food. Mono-culture farming, which is the practice of growing only one massive crop, has depleted our soil of many necessary nutrients. Synthetic fertilizers has also damaged the micronutrients, minerals and organisms in our soil. This depletion has led to many of the mineral deficiencies we are seeing today.

Be a part of the change. The movement back to real food is growing. In 1994 there were approximately 3,000 certified organic farms, compared to 10,000 in 2006. However, as a percentage of the two million farms in America, organic is still a small percentage. Only by supporting organic farming will we see it continue to grow and thrive and to see pricing come down.

Support small business. Many organic farms or farms based on organic principles but not certified are independently owned and operated. These farms operate in biodynamic harmony with nature and provide for the local economy. As farm co-ops, Community Supported Agriculture and farmers’ markets gain popularity, it gives everyone a chance to support local organic farmers. In these days of giant corporations and their giant profits, local independent farmers need our support.

Eat real food. Much of what we are eating today should not be considered food. Between GMOs, hormones, pesticides, antibiotics, fertilizers and herbicides found in whole foods and dyes, flavorings and preservatives in processed foods, much of our food is created in a lab. These technologies have not been properly researched and research that indicates concerns has been discounted. Buying organic means that you are buying food free from these laboratory created compounds.

Understand the global food scene. Many of these chemicals and technologies have been banned in other countries. Corporate America is so powerful and far reaching that it, more often than not, dictates the regulations and policies passed by the government. Want a broader view? Look at what other countries allow into their food supply.

Chronic diseases are linked to these foods. Cancer, diabetes, heart disease, autism and ADHD have continued to increase with our greater consumption of chemically treated, laboratory engineered and processed foods.

Our environment. With only .5 percent of the farmland in this country designated as organic that means 99.5 percent has been exposed to herbicides, pesticides, antibiotics, fertilizer, not to mention other chemicals used in the farming process. These chemicals infiltrate our soil, air and water supply. Runoff from fertilizers is causing dead zones in our oceans. The Gulf of Mexico has a dead zone that was reported in 2002 to be 22,000 square kilometers — an area larger than New Jersey.


Originally published in The News Herald column Food for Thought by Theresa Edmunds.