Archive for May, 2014

402 coffee enemas

When most people hear the term “coffee enema” they think, “Oh, gross!” But before you click the back button, consider the following; coffee enemas have been known to:

  • greatly relieve chronic pain
  • help boost energy levels
  • relieve depression
  • improve mental clarity and sluggishness
  • ease die-off symptoms during cleanse regimens
  • aid elimination of parasites and sludgy buildup from years of slow intestinal action 
  • help improve digestion

Enemas have been a regular part of medical treatment around the world since at least 1500 BC. Coffee enemas are believed to have been created in the 1920s; in fact, they were listed as a standard of care in the Merck Manual until 1977, when they were removed due to lack of room. Coffee enemas are an integral part of the renowned Gerson cancer therapy, and the National Institutes of Health recently allocated $1.4 million for research on the use of coffee enemas and dietary therapy for treating pancreatic cancer.

Why Do Coffee Enemas?

The modern environment is hard on our bodies. We cope with environmental toxins in our air, water, food, and the many products we use each day. It’s simply impossible to avoid all toxins. The liver is one of the main organs in charge of detoxification, metabolizing many toxins and escorting them via bile to the gallbladder, where they are then sent to the colon for removal. The catch: bile is reused up to ten times. In the past when our environment was cleaner, this recycling system worked fine. Today, however, the toxic burden is so great that it may overwhelm this system, increasing the body’s toxic load and hence the risk for disease.

The Most Powerful Benefit of the Coffee Enema: Detoxification!

In addition to the long list of benefits above, coffee enemas are known to be a powerful tool for detoxification:

  • Liver Detoxification: The caffeine in coffee dilates the liver’s bile ducts, facilitating elimination of toxins trapped in the liver.
  • Blood Purification: The lower colon is designed to re-absorb liquids from waste. Here, two palmitic acids in coffee — kahweol and cafestol palmitate — are absorbed into the portal vein system, which leads directly to your liver. These palmitic acids boost one of the body’s most powerful detoxifier, the glutathione s-transferase (GST) enzyme system, by up to 700 percent! GST captures and metabolizes toxins and binds them with reduced glutathione (the body’s master antioxidant) in the liver and escorts them out of the body via the colon. All of your blood passes through the liver every three minutes. Because a coffee enema is typically held for 15 minutes, it facilitates the elimination of toxins, purifies the blood, and prevents the reabsorption and recycling of toxic bile. Who wouldn’t want that?
  • Improves Tone and Motility of the Colon: It is believed the theophylline compound in coffee causes blood vessels in the colon to dilate, enhancing blood flow and improving muscle tone and motility. In addition, the enemas help neutralize common toxins in liver and intestinal tissue, supporting repair and regeneration and improving function.

I Don’t Drink Coffee … Will I Get A Coffee Buzz?

Only the palmitic acid and other valuable compounds are carried to the liver from a coffee enema. The coffee itself remains in the lower colon until it is eliminated. A coffee enema engages different metabolic pathways than drinking it. Most people who don’t tolerate coffee have no problem with coffee enemas, and, in fact, many say they produce a calm, clear mind. People who are very fragile or sensitive may want to start with a very diluted coffee solution in case the detox overstimulates their system.

Cautions and Tips

Potential risks can be averted with common sense and attention:

  • No hot coffee: The rectum has no nerves after ¾ inch, so each time you prepare an enema, make sure to dip your entire hand into the water for a full 5 seconds to test the temperature. The water should be warm, not hot.
  • Physical damage to the rectum: The tissues in the rectum are delicate. Use a rounded enema tip, move slowly, and use plenty of lubricant. Only insert the tip as far as your little finger’s length, or less.
  • Consider minerals: When doing coffee enemas regularly, you are not recycling bile salts (minerals) as much as before. Increase mineral rich foods and consider mineral supplements.
  • Choose organic coffee: Many countries still grow coffee using chemicals banned in the U.S.. Additionally, instant coffee can be contaminated with gluten. Use organic coffee only. Look for coffees that have higher levels of the beneficial active compounds.
  • Use a non-toxic setup: Use a metal bucket or silicone bag and silicone tubing. The acidity of coffee can leach toxins from a rubber or plastic enema bag or tubing. Seeking Health offers non-toxic stainless steel and silicone enema kits.

Okay, So How Do I Do This?

Ask my office for detailed directions on how to perform a coffee enema. Some guidance will help make the experience less awkward and more successful. And who knows? You may find yourself becoming an advocate of this time-tested health remedy.

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gluten in meds

So you’re officially gluten-free. You have your kitchen and shopping lists dialed in and you know how to look for hidden gluten in packaged foods. Ready to go! But wait — did you know that some body products and household items, as well as over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription medications contain hidden gluten? These items can be the source for ongoing immune activation for those with celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity. Additionally, many people with autoimmune conditions experience cross-reactions with corn, a filler used in many medications that the body can mistake for gluten.

Keeping Gluten Out Of Medications and Supplements

Most medications and many supplements contain fillers or excipients that perform several functions: they provide bulk, lubricate ingredients, or help the tablet disintegrate in the gut. Many of these ingredients are sourced from wheat, barley, or corn. Cross-contamination in the factory can also be an issue.

The FDA monitors active ingredients closely; excipients, however, are only required to be an FDA-approved substance. We assume brand name and generic drugs will be the same, but in fact, generic drug fillers may be different than the brand name version. This means you need to read the label to determine GF status. In addition, manufacturers change the inactive ingredients in products regularly, so a periodic check of ingredients is necessary on all products. Tip: keep an eye out for labeling changes that include “New and improved,” “New formulation,” “New product appearance,” or “New manufacturer.”

Apparently, some diabetes medications contain gluten; while a diabetic may not be sensitive to gluten in the same way as someone with celiac disease, gluten has been shown to cross-react with pancreatic islet cells (in the case of Type 1 diabetes). Some thyroid meds also have gluten or corn fillers, which cause immune cross-reactions for patients.

Below are some commonly used excipients and their sources:

  • Pre-gelatinized starch (corn, wheat, potato, tapioca)
  • Sodium starch glycolate (commonly potato, but has other starch sources) (Any product containing pre-gelatinized starch and sodium starch glycolate are to be avoided if not specifically labeled GF)
  • Be on the lookout for any starches; they are primarily derived from corn, potato, and tapioca, however they have been known to contain starch from wheat
  • Maltodextrin (corn, wheat, potato, rice)
  • Dextri-maltose (barley malt)
  • Dextrins (primarily corn and potato, but can come from wheat, rice, tapioca)
  • Dextrans (sugar)
  • Dextrose (corn starch)
  • Dextrate (starch — source not listed)
  • Maltodextrin (corn, wheat, potato, rice)
  • Sodium starch glycolate (commonly potato; can come from any starch source)

Useful Tips for Avoiding Hidden Gluten In Medications

1. Read those ingredient labels! Become familiar with gluten/corn-based fillers. Keep an eye out for key labeling terms that indicate the need for deeper inspection!

2. If uncertain, ask your pharmacist. Although drug experts, pharmacists may not know the source for an ingredient and may need to call the producer to ask.

3. Call the drug company yourself. Ask your pharmacist for the number or find it online.

4. Ask ahead about hospital medications; some inpatient meds for surgery, radiology and other procedures contain gluten. Explain the potential risks to your health and demand verification.

5. Remind your doctor that you will be checking into the GF status of your medications and ask for first- and second-choice medications. This can save you time and help avoid problematic gaps in medication.

6. When generic medication is available your insurance company may not approve brand name labels. If you need to go with the brand name for health reasons, call your insurance company and ask how to obtain approval for the more expensive medication.

7. If you require an unusual medication that does not offer a GF option, find a compounding pharmacy that will make a custom GF medication for you.

8. Remember to periodically re-confirm the GF status of your medications and supplements.

What About the Rest of the House?

Manufacturers often use gluten or wheat flour to aid the manufacturing process for non-food items, such as fillers, lubricants or absorbents, and gluten-based ingredients are common in certain body products. While gluten is not absorbed through the skin, it is possible to transfer traces from your hands or face to your mouth, where it can be swallowed and cause a reaction. Children are prone to putting fingers and items they touch in their mouths, so monitor them closely if they have a gluten sensitivity.

Below are some common body and household items that can have hidden gluten. Look for a GF label, and if you see an unfamiliar ingredient, don’t hesitate to call the company and ask about its source:

  • Lip stick and lip balm
  • Sunscreen
  • Children’s stickers
  • Price tag stickers
  • Stamps and envelopes
  • Cough syrup
  • Shampoo
  • Toothpaste
  • Lotions
  • Soaps
  • Mouthwash
  • Cosmetics 
  • Play dough
  • Laundry detergent
  • Pet food

As you can see, gluten can lurk in plenty of places past the dinner plate, potentially throwing a wrench in your gluten-free lifestyle. If you are gluten-free yet still experience gluten-related symptoms, it is worth checking the labels on all medications, supplements, and household and body products for ingredients that contain gluten. With good label-reading habits and an eye for hidden gluten, you can create a safe and healthy gluten-free environment for you and your family.

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352 hidden gluten

Congratulations, you’ve gone gluten free to improve your health! Perhaps you have celiac disease, or non-celiac gluten sensitivity, both of which require avoidance of gluten for optimal health. You know to avoid wheat, barley, rye, triticale, einkorn, farro, kamut, spelt, farina, emmer, durum, and semolina, plus most oats because they are commonly cross-contaminated with gluten grains in the field or factory. That pretty much sums it up, right?

Well, not quite. Gluten can actually reside as a hidden component in many common food ingredients, which can make food shopping, restaurants, travel, and potlucks a risky business. In this article, we’ll offer some guidelines for successfully navigating this tricky terrain.

Navigating Food Labels

Manufacturers are not presently required to identify gluten as an ingredient on labels. Just because a product doesn’t list a gluten grain, doesn’t mean it’s gluten-free.

Your greatest tool in determining what is safe to eat is to read food labels, and become familiar with stealthy ingredients that may include gluten. Have you ever seen an ingredient that you can’t identify? If so, it’s best to avoid it. Here is a (non-exhaustive) list of some common ingredients that can contain gluten:

  • Malt, and barley malt
  • Food starch and modified starch
  • Dextrin and maltodextrin — sourced from corn or wheat
  • HPP = Hydrolyzed Plant Protein
  • HVP = Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein
  • TVP = Texturized Vegetable Protein
  • “Natural flavor”
  • “Spices”
  • “Artificial flavor”
  • Brewer’s yeast
  • Gelatinized and pregelatinized starch
  • Brown rice syrup

Pre-packaged foods can add a challenge as well. Below are some common foods that may have gluten in them. Look for a certified GF label if you aren’t sure; otherwise, pass it up.

  • Soy sauce (a good replacement is coconut aminos, or wheat-free tamari — 100% soy)
  • Many salad dressings use gluten thickener
  • Gravies, sauces, marinades
  • Fish sauce (common in Thai restaurants)
  • Canned and boxed soups
  • Soup mix
  • Bouillon
  • Licorice candy
  • Instant coffee
  • Coffee substitutes
  • Condiments
  • Puddings and pie fillings
  • Processed meats (gluten is used as a binder in cold cuts, hot dogs, sausages, and some specialty/reformed meats)
  • Many reduced-fat and ready-made foods have binder starches sourced from wheat
  • Ice cream –- look out for added gluten (cookie dough, anyone?) and beware of scoop cross – contamination where ice cream is served
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Imitation crab
  • Some wasabi
  • Vegan meat substitutes
  • Chips (factory cross-contamination)
  • Beer
  • White sauce (made from a wheat flour roux)
  • Worcestershire
  • Communion wafer (ask your church about bringing your own GF version)
  • All Chinese condiments contain wheat, including soy, oyster, hoisin, and bean sauces
  • Some spice companies use glutenous fillers; use only pure, high-quality herbs and spices with no fillers

The Restaurant Dilemma

Restaurants can pose their own challenges. Here are some things to look out for:

  • Fried food; those delectable fries may have been cooked in the same oil that fried the onion rings doused in wheat batter
  • Vegetables may have been par-boiled in the pasta water
  • At Asian restaurants, you may ask for GF but the busy chef may not be looking at the ingredients on the hoisin or fish sauce; ask for no sauce if uncertain.
  • GF foods may be prepared on the same surfaces or with the same utensils that glutenous foods touch.

If you are uncertain at a restaurant, talk to the chef directly. If you aren’t happy with the answer, don’t eat there. Many restaurants are becoming aware of the need for truly GF foods, but it’s always good to make sure they are careful about food prep. Ask friends, and ask local online GF groups about recommended eateries.

Gluten Free Shopping: When In Doubt, Go Without!

When you are new to eating GF, restaurants and grocery shopping can be daunting, but the more you do it, the better you’ll get at determining what goes in your belly. If you aren’t sure, don’t eat it. Ask questions, read ingredient labels; just because those noodles say, “Rice” on the front, that doesn’t mean they don’t have a gluten grain added in. “Wheat-free” doesn’t necessarily mean gluten free. Lastly, always check product labels for warnings that state a food is produced in a factory that also makes gluten-based products; if it is, cross-contamination could be an issue.

The more you do it, the more natural it becomes, and soon you will be navigating your gluten-free life with ease.

Gluten cross-reactivity with non-gluten foods

Non-gluten grain options include: rice, corn, amaranth, millet, quinoa, sorghum, teff, and buckwheat (not actually in the wheat family). However, these grains can cross-react with gluten in some people. This means their body recognizes them as gluten and responds with a reaction. An elimination/provocation diet or food sensitivity test  can let you know which grains are safe to eat. Dairy is another food that commonly cross-reacts with gluten, as is coffee. If your gluten-free diet is not helping you feel better you may need to consider cross-reactive foods.

Diet soda, artificially-sweetened foods

Though it does not actually contain gluten, the artificial sweetener aspartame is recognized as a serious offender for many with gluten intolerance or celiac disease. Since aspartame often triggers similar allergic symptoms, including severe stomach pain and bloating, avoiding it can spare you the pain and suffering.

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diabetes management

Anyone with diabetes knows it’s important to manage insulin levels. Functional medicine offers unique tools to manage insulin and blood sugar — including diet, exercise, stress management, detoxification, and maximizing essential nutrients. To understand how all these tools apply, it’s helpful to know how insulin works.

Insulin and Blood Sugar: A Balancing Act

Insulin helps keep glucose (sugar) levels in the bloodstream within normal range. When you eat, carbohydrates are broken down into glucose, our primary energy source. When glucose enters the bloodstream, the pancreas responds by producing insulin, which enables glucose to enter the body’s tissues. Excess glucose is stored in the liver; when needed to sustain blood sugar between meals, the liver releases sugar and the pancreas responds with more insulin to help it enter cells. This balancing act keeps the amount of sugar in the bloodstream stable.

When the pancreas secretes little or no insulin (type I diabetes), when your body doesn’t produce enough insulin, or when your cells are resistant to insulin (insulin resistance, common in type II diabetes), sugar levels in the bloodstream can get too high. Chronic high blood sugar can lead to complications such as blindness, nerve damage, and kidney damage.

Managing Insulin with a Multi-Faceted Approach

Certain environmental and lifestyle factors increase the need for insulin, which is a problem when the body can’t produce enough.


What you eat directly affects your blood sugar and insulin levels.

  • Not eating regularly, and eating larger meals causes drops and spikes in blood sugar and insulin, driving insulin resistance  If blood sugar is a problem, better to eat smaller, more frequent meals to keep blood sugar and insulin levels stable.
  • Processed and fast foods drive inflammation, which causes insulin resistance and other disease processes. It also increases cortisol levels, which can increase blood sugar levels.
  • Food sensitivities cause immune and inflammatory responses, which causes insulin resistance. Many people have food sensitivities they don’t know about.
  • Pay attention to Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load. Glycemic index measures the insulin response your body has after eating a food. The higher the number, the more insulin your pancreas needs to secrete. Glycemic load is the amount of that food eaten.


Fat cells have insulin receptors. Exercise burns calories and fat; fewer cells mean less need for insulin. And, when you exercise, your muscles need more energy to fire and insulin receptor sites become more receptive. Even a short walk can reduce blood sugar levels and insulin demands dramatically.


Up to 90 percent of doctor visits are related to chronic stress. Stress has big impact on insulin by:

  • decreasing insulin receptor sensitivity, which means the body must make more insulin to have the same response to blood sugar.
  • elevating cortisol, which can raise blood sugar levels.
  • causing the liver to raise blood sugar (the body’s way of increasing energy to handle stressful situations). Raised blood sugar means more need for insulin.


Toxins are found throughout our environment — in body products, food, air, and water. The body gets overworked trying to deal with them, causing inflammation and increasing insulin resistance. Inflammation shuts down receptor sites, requiring the body to make more insulin.

Essential Nutrients

Essential nutrients are necessary for healthy bodily function. Key nutrients commonly lacking in patients with blood sugar issues are:

  • Alpha-Lipoic Acid — Alpha-lipoic acid is one of the main nutrients responsible for making sugar into energy. Anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant, it helps reduce insulin resistance.
  • Magnesium — Diabetics tend to utilize magnesium faster than non-diabetics. Magnesium is responsible for making energy, helps muscles and nerves fire, and is responsible for over 300 processes in the body. Low magnesium can contribute to constipation, depression, and high blood pressure.
  • Zinc — Excess inflammation causes you to use more zinc than normal. Because diabetes is rooted in inflammation, a lot of diabetics are low in zinc. An important nutrient to the pancreas, it plays a role in almost 300 reactions in the body.
  • B-Vitamins — The b-vitamins play a role in almost every cellular process. Diabetic medications can deplete b-vitamins.
  • Chromium — Chromium helps make insulin receptor sites receptive to insulin, helping lower blood sugar levels.

A Multi-Faceted Approach is Key

For proper diabetes management, we must provide adequate exercise, proper nutrition, and manageable stress levels. As a functional health provider, I understand that you have unique needs and am prepared to help you develop a customized action plan to manage your blood sugar and insulin levels.

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photo taken by RachelleBy Dr. Hoda Kiama

There is so much information available today pertaining to nutrition and diet and a great deal of it is contradictory. Yet for each type of diet there are proponents that claim that there is only one right way to eat. It’s not easy to sift through all the books, research and magazine articles and determine which diet you should follow as it can be quite confusing.

It may be more important to understand that no one diet is right for everyone as we are each unique individuals with specific nutrient and energy needs. And our needs change throughout our lifetime, so that the diet you followed in your early twenties may no longer be the appropriate diet when you are pregnant and breast-feeding. And the diet you followed while pregnant is not the appropriate diet when you are post-menopausal.

An athlete needs to nourish oneself differently from someone with type II Diabetes. In addition, children, teenagers and seniors all have varying specific nutritional requirements. And those individuals who have chronic health challenges or who are recovering from surgery and illness will need to follow a diet specifically tailored to their needs.

This really highlights the concept that there is no one-size-fits-all diet, and that ultimately the best diet to follow is the one that meets your specific needs at a particular time in your life. Meeting your specific nutritional needs will then help optimize your health, increase your energy, balance and maintain your weight and keep your immune system strong.

Finally, the common ground for all diets should be one that is comprised of nutritious whole foods, preferably grown locally, sustainably and organically, and the avoidance of fast food, junk food, and nutritionally empty foods.

Dr. Hoda Kiama is a Naturopathic Physician with a part-time family practice at Healing Path clinic. She can be reached at (971) 533-6947.

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By Anja Middelveld, L.Ac., LMT, NTPAnja website pic

I usually talk about nutrition, but I also strongly believe in the power of movement. One of my favorite ways to get “exercise” is to do yoga, as it works the physical body, and simultaneously the emotional and spiritual side of us.

Do you like the idea of taking a yoga class, but are having a hard time finding a class and time that work well for you? If so, I have found just the thing for you: Yogaglo.com. It is an online service with over 2000 classes to choose from. You may try it for FREE for 15 days, and thereafter it’s only $18.00 per month. Considering a lot of classes go for $12.00 per class it’s a great deal!

I have been using yogaglo myself and I must tell you that it really works well for busy people. When you sign up, you have the option to choose the class’s length, level, style, and what body part you would like to focus on. It’s great that I don’t have to do head stands, and other monkey yoga positions. The directions the instructors give are clear and easy to follow. I love that I can wake up in the morning and slide over to my yoga mat to wake up my body. Also, before the day is over, I might do a 30 minute relaxation yoga class to get into the perfect state before hitting the pillow.

If you have never practiced yoga before, try a class with a teacher first, as Yogaglo is ideal if you have at least a little prior yoga experience.

We would love to hear from you! Let us know how you like yogaglo or if you have any other favorite ways to move your body.

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