Why Functional Medicine Rocks!

When you’re not sleeping well, you’re always congested, having stomach upset, and even feeling down a lot, what do you usually do? Go to your family doctor, have a hopefully ten-minute conversation with them, and then they say, “Okay, here’s a prescription!” and off you go to the pharmacy. But does this approach to modern medicine actually make anyone better? In actuality, it does not. Some people would even go as far as to say that it makes people less healthy. So, what is functional medicine? And why is it such a good alternative to traditional medicine? In this article, we will go over just that.

Functional Medicine Focuses on You

Simply put, functional medicine is the optimal therapeutic, personalized, and one-on-one relationship that you could have. It is a partnership where patient and doctor work together to figure out the root cause of disease and illness. We develop a usually drug-free, health enhancing plan by not only examining the patient, but also their lifestyle, environment, unique history and any underlying factors that may be causing the patient to feel unwell. Functional medicine absolutely looks at the whole person when determining how to treat instead of just looking at symptoms.

Functional Medicine is Artisanal

The patient experience is anything but conventional with functional medicine. In functional medicine, instead of treating the disease a person has, we treat the person who has the disease. It involves patience, care and time put in by the doctors, because real healing does not happen in a day. It is not uncommon for people in Functional Medicine to spend over an hour with patients, trying to ask questions, examine histories, and try to figure out what is effecting their health and causing disease and illness. By approaching patients in this way, practitioners of functional medicine are able to create treatment plans that people in conventional medicine just are not capable of making.

Functional Medicine Searches for the Cause

Unlike traditional or conventional medicine where you go to the doctor complaining of certain symptoms and are treated for these symptoms, functional medicine takes the person as a whole into account, allowing practitioners to more easily figure out the root dysfunctions or imbalances within the body. Ultimately, finding the causes of these imbalances helps more efficient courses of treatment be created.

You Get the Best of Both Worlds

Functional medicine does not discredit conventional medicine, especially their strengths in crisis and acute care, rather, it combines traditional medicine with other complementary or alternative therapies. Drawing methods of healing from around the world, and paying special care to exercise, nutrition, diet and supplementation, functional medicine allows people to help themselves achieve vitality and sustainable wellness.

Unlike traditional healthcare’s disease care model of medicine, functional medicine is true healthcare that takes a more personal approach to patient health.

If you would like to learn more about functional medicine or how to incorporate it into your life, please contact Flourish Integrative Health at Info@FlourishIntegrative.com or 415.721.2990.

How to Choose Your Probiotics

Before we get into choosing a probiotic, it’s probably best that we go over what a probiotic is. Well, a probiotic, by definition is a microorganism introduced into the body for its beneficial qualities. There are many beneficial aspects of taking probiotics, such as improved digestive health, immune health, mental (anxiety and stress-related disorders as well as depression), oral health and skin health, as well as helping with weight loss.

But how do you pick the perfect probiotic for you? There are hundreds upon hundreds of helpful bacteria living in the human gut. To find specific strain imbalances in your colon, a comprehensive stool sample can help create a treatment plan that works for you. It can also tell you if you have an excess of certain strains as well. Doing this before you purchase can help you financially so you don’t buy an ineffective probiotic for your body, and help you feel healthier and happier faster. Here are some easy steps to follow to pick a good probiotic for you:
• Choose a formula with multiple strains
• Choose a potent probiotic by looking at the CFUs (Colony Forming Units)
• Try to pick a shelf stable probiotic (one that doesn’t need to be refrigerated)
• Make sure you check the expiration date
• It is recommended to take your probiotic before you go to bed (if you are taking a once a day dose)

You can also get great sources of probiotics by eating fermented foods. Fermented foods are found in cultures all over the world, although the Mediterranean diet is one of the most researched diets in history and it is thought that the probiotic-rich diet is one of the causes for the high quality of health in people that eat this diet. You can either make your own fermented foods with probiotics, or buy them from your local health foods store. Some of the most common options are:
• Miso
• Sauerkraut
• Yogurt
• Kefir
• Kombucha
• Kimchi

The length of time that probiotics will work for has been highly debated, and some say that the beneficial effects will only last while you are consuming them. By ensuring that you have a daily dose of probiotic-rich foods or a supplement, you can make sure that your gut stays happy and healthy all the time. Probiotics are a new and highly researched field, and something that we learn new things about all the time. After discovering that more of us is made out of bacteria than any other type of cell, more and more people are considering bacteria a new frontier in healthcare. Some studies have even suggested that bacterial imbalances may be some of the cause of things like obesity, cancer, autoimmune diseases, as well as a laundry list of other conditions.

If you need help deciding if you should take probiotics, or which one would be most beneficial for you, please feel free to contact Flourish Integrative Health at Info@FlourishIntegrative.com or 415.721-2990.

Detoxing: Is it Time?

Because the term “detox” has become used so ubiquitously that most people just think of it as the next new supplement you can take to lose weight, most people do not truly know what a detox is and what it does to your body.

The human body detoxifies itself all the time. If it didn’t, our bodies would shut down. The body isn’t like a car in the way that you can just change the oil when it’s running slow and it’ll be all better. It needs to be maintained all the time, and it does that in several different ways. The major organs that help our bodies detoxify themselves are the liver, kidneys, colon, lungs (breathing), and skin. The skin, even though it is the largest organ in the body, is often overlooked. If you suffer from acne, it may be a huge indicator that your body’s detoxification process has slowed down. We also don’t usually think about breathing as a way of interacting with our external environment, but it most certainly is. You might notice that when you are in nature, as opposed to a busy city, your breathing seems to come easier. This is because our bodies highly prefer breathing fresh air instead of polluted air. Many things can affect the air quality, especially in your home. Some of these things are off-gassing from new hardwood, carpet, furniture, cabinets, kitchen counters, painted walls and mattresses.

The other detoxing organs in your body, the liver, kidneys, and colon, work systematically to process and get rid of toxins that you bring in to your body to prevent them from building up. In someone healthy, the liver and kidneys are able to filter out the majority of toxins we put in our bodies, and our colons are able to help rid the body of these waste products through stool. This is why urinalyses and stool tests can help us figure out how our bodies are working and in what areas it needs help.

So what are some common signs that your body needs help detoxing? If you notice any of these, it may be a red flag your body is trying to send to you to change something:
• Chronic fatigue
• Acne (or any other skin issues)
• Constipation
• Intolerance to certain smells (such as perfume, gasoline, or cigarette smoke)
• Weight gain
• Edema (swelling) and swollen lymph nodes

What can you do about it? There are many ways to lower the level of toxins in your body, and most of them are incredibly easy!
• Eat lots of organic produce
• Drink 8 cups or more of high quality filtered water per day
• Buy hormone and antibiotic free, grass-fed meat
• Get as much fresh air and time outside as possible
• Throw out toxic makeup and personal care products
• Don’t drink out of plastic water bottles (even BPA free bottles)
• Avoid exposing yourself to toxic metals, mold, or other environmental pollutants
• Make sure to exercise and break a sweat regularly

If you need help formulating a detox plan or just need advice, please contact Flourish Integrative Health at Info@FlourishIntegrative.com or 415.721-2990.

Chopped Mediterranean Salad

Chopped Mediterranean Salad
A summer staple, this flavorful salad is also good with grilled fish or chicken.
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Ingredients
  1. 2 medium organic scallions, chopped
  2. 1 medium organic green pepper, seeded and chopped
  3. 2 Tbsp fresh mint, chopped
  4. 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  5. 1 cup canned organic chickpeas, drained, chopped
  6. 2 medium organic tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  7. 1 1/2 Tbsp fresh, flat leaf parsley, chopped
  8. 1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped
  9. 8 oz organic spinach, chopped
Instructions
  1. Add spinach, tomatoes, chickpeas, pepper, cucumber, scallions, mint and parsley to a nonreactive bowl.
  2. Drizzle with salad dressing, stir well to combine.
Apex Functional Medicine http://mywellbeingandhealth.com/

Balsamic Vinaigrette

Balsamic Vinaigrette
Perfect on any salad or drizzled over roasted veggies.
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Ingredients
  1. 1 pinch Celtic sea salt
  2. 2 cloves organic garlic
  3. 4 Tbsp organic extra virgin olive oil
  4. 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
  5. 1 tsp mustard powder
  6. 3 Tbsp organic white balsamic vinegar
Instructions
  1. In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, white balsamic vinegar, garlic, and mustard powder.
  2. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.
  3. Stir in minced fresh herbs if desired.
Apex Functional Medicine http://mywellbeingandhealth.com/

Beef and Broccoli with Garlic

Beef and Broccoli with Garlic
Tender beef and healthy broccoli in a super yummy sauce, just mnutes to make and dinner is ready!
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Ingredients
  1. 4 cups organic broccoli florets
  2. 1/2 tsp arrowroot
  3. 1 tsp organic tamari (gluten-free soy sauce)
  4. 1 tsp organic sesame oil
  5. 1/4 cup organic low sodium chicken broth
  6. 6 cloves organic garlic, finely chopped
  7. 2 tsp organic ginger, finely chopped
  8. 1/4 tsp white or black pepper
  9. 8 oz grass-fed beef sirloin
  10. 1 can sliced bamboo shoots, drained
  11. 1/4 tsp Celtic sea salt
Instructions
  1. Cut beef lengthwise into 2-inch strips. Cut strips crosswise into 1/8 inch slices.
  2. Toss beef with salt and white pepper.
  3. Place broccoli in 1-inch boiling water; blanch until just bright green. Drain.
  4. Mix tamari and arrowroot; stir in sesame oil and broth.
  5. Heat wok over medium high heat and spray with organic high heat cooking spray.
  6. Add beef; stir fry 2 minutes. Remove beef from wok.
  7. Cool wok, wipe and spray again. Heat wok over medium-high heat.
  8. Add ginger and garlic; stir fry 30 seconds. Add bamboo shoots; stir-fry 20 seconds.
  9. Stir in beef and broccoli. Stir in tamari mixture; cook and stir 30 seconds.
  10. Serve over organic brown rice.
Apex Functional Medicine http://mywellbeingandhealth.com/

Baked Citrus-Herb Salmon

Baked Citrus-Herb Salmon
Ready in just 30 minutes, this salmon recipe is easy and the perfect way to incorporate more fish into your family's regular diet.
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Ingredients
  1. 1 tsp Celtic Sea Salt
  2. 5 tsp chopped fresh organic chives
  3. 1 whole organic lemon, sliced into 10 slices
  4. 1/2 tsp grated organic orange rind
  5. 1 Tbsp grated organic lemon rind
  6. 1 tsp fresh oregano, chopped
  7. 2-1/2 pounds wild salmon fillet
  8. 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  9. 2 Tbsp tarragon sprigs
  10. 2 sprigs thyme
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Line a shallow roasting pan with foil, coat foil with cooking spray.
  3. Sprinkle salmon with salt and pepper.
  4. Combine rinds; spread over fish.
  5. Arrange chives, thyme, oregano and tarragon horizontally across fish.
  6. Arrange lemon slices on top of herbs.
  7. Place fish on prepared pan.
  8. Cover with foil; seal.
  9. Bake at 450 degrees for 30 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork.
  10. Serve warm or at a room temperature.
Apex Functional Medicine http://mywellbeingandhealth.com/

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Easy to follow recipe for delicious and healthy brussels sprouts.
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Ingredients
  1. 4 cups organic Brussels sprouts
  2. 2 tsp organic coconut oil
  3. 2 Tbsp organic olive oil
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F with rack in upper third.
  2. Grease 17 x 12 inch pan or cookie sheet with coconut oil.
  3. Wash sprouts.
  4. Slice Brussels sprouts in half lengthwise and arrange cut sides down on baking sheet.
  5. Roast, without turning, until outer leaves are tender and brown, about 40 to 45 minutes.
  6. Place in serving dish, add olive oil and toss to coat.
Apex Functional Medicine http://mywellbeingandhealth.com/

Ultimate Detox Drink Recipe

Ultimate Detox Drink Recipe
This is an optional drink that can help with detoxification and health improvement. You can do this during any phase of your program and anytime thereafter.
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Ingredients
  1. 6oz Spring Water
  2. 2oz Organic unsweetened cranberry juice
  3. 1/3 of a fresh lemon squeezed into juice
  4. 1/2 - 1 tsp Organic apple cider
  5. OPTIONAL 2Tbsp fiber
  6. OPTIONAL Freshly ground cinnamon
  7. OPTIONAL Freshly ground ginger
This mixture should be taken three times per day (three 8oz glasses)
  1. First thing in the morning
  2. Before lunch
  3. Before dinner
  4. It is recommended that you mix the entire combination together in a container the night before and place it in the refrigerator. If you absolutely cannot stand this drink mixture, don't force yourself to drink it. Some bodies just can't tolerate the vinegar; so, there is some flexibility in drinking the mixture without vinegar.
Purpose of the ingredients
  1. Organic Unsweetened Cranberry Juice -
  2. ~ Helps support normal kidney, bladder and urinary tract functions, the body's filtration system.
  3. ~ Very high in potassium and low in sodium.
  4. Lemon Juice - Supports normal immune function
  5. Apple Cider Vinegar -
  6. ~ Balances the pH of the body
  7. ~ Eliminates waste acids
  8. ~ Provides potassium
  9. ~ Fortifies the friendly bacteria in your intestines
  10. ~ Reduces water retention
Apex Functional Medicine http://mywellbeingandhealth.com/