help me get healthy!


Many Of US can relate to Deb Coleman's health issues (see box, at left, for details]. The good news is that with dietary diligence and a few supplements. Deb can see positive changes in her health and achieve reduced joint pain, radiant skin and improved digestion. The following five changes would be a good first step.

Start the day strong. Deb should begin with breakfast and cut down on coffee. When she chooses donuts, her whole day begins off balance. She needs foods with staying power, such as protein and whole grains. Breakfast success begins with a well-stocked pantry and refrigerator. Staples include eggs, cottage cheese, yogurt, multigrain bread, nut butters, low-fat milk and cheese (or soymilk), fresh or frozen fruit, flaxseed, beans, nuts (walnuts, almonds, pecans), oats and protein powder. Deb should try eggs and veggies, protein shakes, or some oatmeal spiked with protein powder, ground flax and blueberries.
Cut the caffeine. Instead of brewing an entire pot, Deb needs to wean herself from coffee altogether. Given her complaints, coffee is not a good choice. For one, the acid, caffeine, tar and oils irritate the stomach and trigger excess acid production, which contributes to acid reflux in the throat and may be responsible for her heartburn. Coffee can also contribute to irritable bowel syndrome with alternating diarrhea and constipation. Coffee acts as a diuretic, can leave the skin dehydrated and may cause the body to lose important vitamins and minerals, including vitamins B and C, calcium, iron and zinc. Coffee may contribute to hormonal imbalances. Because quitting cold turkey often causes distress. Deb could cut her coffee intake in half and drink up to three cups daily of green tea. Drinking plenty of water throughout the day is important, especially when exercising.
Weed out the pantry. No more donuts or chips, or any other foods that trigger bingeing. To prevent overeating, keep a stash of snack bars (with around 250 calories and at least 10-20g) and ready-to-drink whey protein beverages. These will help balance blood sugar and stave off hunger for a few hours. Focus on healthful meals consisting of protein (chicken, fish, tofu, lean grass-fed beef), dark green veggies (broccoli, kale, asparagus, chard, spinach) and whole grains (brown rice, quinoa). An occasional glass of wine is fine. Pinot Noir has a high concentration of the healthful antioxidant resveratrol.
For one month, Deb should avoid veggies from the nightshade family, including tomatoes, potatoes, bell pepper and eggplant. Her arthritis symptoms may improve. Studies have linked consumption of foods in this family to increased inflammation.

4. Supplement your diet. To help with digestion and elimination, Deb would benefit from taking digestive enzymes with meals and starting her day with probiotics. A full-spectrum digestive enzyme can improve digestion and decrease indigestion, heartburn, constipation, gas and bloating. Products should contain amylase, protease, lipase, lactase, cellulase, sucrase, maltase and hydrochloric acid. Probiotics, also called friendly bacteria, are living microorganisms in the intestines, They aid in digestion and reduce acid reflux. A good probiotic supplement will help support Deb's digestive and immune systems.

Taking more fish oil and/or adding additional flaxseed oil can improve skin (eating more fish and less sugar and other carbs also eases puffiness and improves skin's texture). Find a good multivitamin, too, and consider additional vitamin C (some multiples have less than 100mg). Space out the vitamin C in 250-500mg doses, totaling up to 1000mg daily. Getting tested for gluten intolerance/celiac disease, which can cause digestive symptoms, would also be wise.

5. Seek expert advice. Deb's TMJ, tinnitus and hyperacusis may be related. Taking 500mg daily of magnesium 30 minutes before bed, stress-reducing exercises such as yoga, meditation and biofeedback, and acupuncture may reduce TMJ symptoms. Magnesium may help hormonal issues and prevent migraines and alleviate allergies. A holistic dentist or specialist familiar with hyperacusis can monitor Deb's progress. The Pain & Stress Center ( offers extensive information on alternative pain options, including supplement suggestions. A source for hearing help is

[Editor's note: Other related articles in this issue are "L.-Theanine" on p. 32 and "What's Hating You?" on p. 58.

Dr. Deb's Health Tip of the Month
Begin each meal with a broth and veggie-based soup or green salad. This increases your vegetable and antioxidant intake for the day and reduces cravings for more caloric foods later.

NAME AND AGE: Deb Coleman, 43, from Hobbs, NM

DEB'S TOP HEALTH GOALS: Good skin and less joint pain; reduce symptoms of hormone, changes; reduce cravings.

TOP HEALTH CONCERNS. Deb has joint pain (particularly in her knee and hips from arthritis). She has temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ) and occasionally suffers from tinnitus (ringing in the ears). Tightness in her neck, upper back and head, as well as anxiety, headaches from hormonal changes, and dry hair, nails and skin are other symptoms. Recently, acid reflux and digestive problems have become issues. Eating sugar and starches can trigger binges. "I love veggies, but one bite of breads or sweets sends me completely out of control." says Deb, who lists coffee, chocolate, crackers/chips, wine and donuts as weaknesses. "I maintain a fitness routine. At least five days a week, I walk two miles and run on my treadmill two to three miles."

WHAT SHE TAKES; Glucosamine-chondroitin with MSM ("This has really helped reduce knee pain!"), fish oil, niacin. garlic, and vitamins C, B12 and 86.

PHOTO (COLOR): Deb Coleman, right, with her husband, Tyler



By Debra Rouse

Debra Rouse, ND, aka Dr. Deb, is a licensed naturopath in Colorado.

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