By...Maureen Dunn, ND
In our most recent guest blogger post, naturopathic physician Dr. Maureen Dunn shares her top five tops for staying healthy and resilient during the colder months of the year. Here at the NC Center for Resiliency, we believe in addressing all aspects of your health, knowing that mental health is achieved best when addressing lifestyle and diet as well! As such, we work closely with like-minded providers in the area, like Dr. Dunn to provide you with a comprehensive path to wellness.
Are you finding that you are fighting colds more often than you have in the past? Or are you having difficulty recovering from an upper respiratory infection or the flu? There are proactive actions you can take when you first start to notice symptoms such as a sore throat, congestion, runny nose, fever, and/or a cough. These actions can help to reduce the severity and duration of the illness and they are especially helpful if you do them early on - as early as possible. It goes without saying that in order to stay healthy, particularly during times of increased stress and when everyone is sick around us, we need to stay well-hydrated, get plenty of rest, wash our hands frequently, exercise and minimize stress. Call your practitioner if your symptoms do not improve or worsen. Here are some basic naturopathic steps you can take to boost your immune health:
1. Nutrient rich diet: Eating an anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antimicrobial rich diet can help to fight and prevent infections. Foods such as garlic, ginger, turmeric, oregano, thyme, and parsley have antimicrobial properties that can be useful to prevent and fight infections. Foods rich in vitamin A such as yellow, orange and green vegetables provide antioxidant support and also help the immune system function properly. Eating a “rainbow of color” with your meals daily will help ensure you have plenty of nutrients.
2. Bone broth: People around the world have been drinking bone broth for hundreds of years for its medicinal qualities. It has recently garnered substantial attention nationally due to the density of nutrients it contains, including electrolytes, collagen, glucosamine, chondroitin, hyaluranic acid and others. These benefit the gastrointestinal tract, immune system, bone health, joints, skin, neurological and metabolic health. While it can be used for a wide variety of conditions it can also be used to help symptoms of colds and flus because it helps reduce inflammation and increases good bacteria in your gut. It is easy but time-consuming to make properly. You can find it sold locally, at Left Bank Butcher in Saxapahaw, NC.
3. Optimize your gut health: 80% percent of your immune systemis located in your gastrointestinal (GI) system, thus by supporting and enhancing your GI health you can help prevent and fight infections. Include probiotics such as yogurt and fermented foods such as sauerkraut, yogurt, kefir, miso, soy, Kombucha, kimchi in your diet. I would recommend consulting your physician or Naturopathic Doctor for recommendations for a high quality probiotic as supplements are not regulated for quality.
4. Optimize vitamin D: with your doctor about taking Vitamin D. They may want to test your vitamin D as low levels are associated with decreased immune function and bone health.
5. Make an appointment with your local Naturopathic Doctor: Naturopathic Doctors are skilled at supporting and improving chronic and acute illnesses including immune, gastrointestinal, neurological, reproductive, and rheumatic complaints. To find your local
Naturopathic Doctor, one that is trained at an accredited school, check out the following website: www.ncanp.com.
Dr. Maureen Dunn, Naturopathic Doctor, is a graduate of Bastyr University in Seattle, Washington – a four-year medical school and the world’s leading accredited university in the natural health sciences. To learn more about her practice or make an online appointment you can visit her website at www.carolinawholehealth.com. She has two practices, one at Chapel Hill Doctors and one in downtown Carrboro at The Wellness Alliance. She can be contacted at The Wellness Alliance at 919-525-1577.
Written by Paula Scatoloni, LCSW, CEDS, SEP
Guest blogger for NC Center for Resiliency, PLLC
One of the first things I tell my clients is, “eating disorders are about food and they are not about food.” This usually gets their attention. Next, I explain that eating disorder behaviors inform us about two things: First, our relationship to ourselves (our capacity to self-regulate), and second, the behaviors inform us about our relationship with people (our capacity to co-regulate). Today, thanks to emerging research from pioneers such as Dr. Stephen Porges and Dr. Allan Schore we know that self-regulation and co-regulation are inextricably linked. Schore’s Regulation Theory and Porges Polyvagal Theory both demonstrate that infants come into this world with a limited capacity to regulate their nervous systems, emotions, sleep, etc. and it is primarily through the dyadic interaction with caregivers that the neural platform for co-regulation and, later, self-regulation are put into place.
Food (suckling) is one of the first ways that humans learn to regulate as infants. The act of eating uses the same neural platform as the social engagement system - our neurobiological system that supports the ability to bond and seek out relationships for support (Porges, 2012). The field of eating disorders has mainly referred to behaviors such as binge eating, exercise, or purging as “compensatory” behaviors, or attempts to regulate emotions when other methods fail. But a more nuanced view of the disorders invites us to move away from focusing on symptom reduction to consider the ways that the symptoms reflect the relational struggle that most individuals with eating disorders encounter. These interpersonal difficulties are often concurrent and precede the development of the diagnosis (i.e. difficulty reaching out for support, taking in needs, and digesting relational connection).
Similarly, the field of trauma is providing a new paradigm for us to understand eating disorder behavior through the defensive systems. The defensive system involves our biological impulse to protect and defend through fight, flight, or freeze. Individuals with disordered eating can be “stuck” in their defensive systems due to an early trauma or pervasive trauma that is reflected in the eating disorder behavior. Consider the following: individuals who experience stuck flight energy will present with anxiety, panic, obsessive thoughts, food rituals, binge eating, or excessive exercise. Individuals struggling to express fight energy manifests it through purging, chewing and spitting, anger turned on the body, and self-harm behaviors. The freeze response involves a sense of disembodiment (dissociation, numbing), inability to track fullness or hunger, inability to engage in relationships, and depressed mood. Often individuals who struggle with disordered eating manifest all of the above, shifting from one nervous system state to the other on any given day.
Understanding eating disorders through the attachment and defensive systems involves a paradigm shift away from traditional cognitive models of treatment that are designed to intervene at the level of the prefrontal cortex (the thinking brain). This part of the brain is usually “offline” when a person is experiencing high states of emotional arousal or shutdown. Current body-oriented models of treatment that incorporate the body, the very place where the war is being waged are the missing link to treating this pervasive, and at times, life-threatening disorder. Incorporating the body through modalities such as Somatic Experiencing™, Sensorimotor Psychotherapy™ and related methods provides pre-cortical interventions to support areas of the brain that are responsible for attachment and basic nervous system regulation. A somatic-based approach to eating disorder treatment recognizes the connection between eating, attachment, and trauma and works to cultivate the biological and relational structures that support the ability to regulate emotions, connect with other humans, and ultimately thrive in the world.
At the NC Center for Resiliency, all of our clinicians are trained to work with
psychobiological methods. Whether working with eating disorders, trauma, or mood disorders we are committed to helping clients move toward coherence through the vehicle of their own bodies and nervous systems.
Paula Scatoloni, LCSW, CEDS, SEP is a Somatic Experiencing™ Practitioner, an eating disorder specialist, and the creator of EASE™ (Eating, Attachment, and Somatic Education), a professional workshop for health and mental health practitioners. She is also the co-founder of Embodied Recovery, a professional training program in Durham NC. The training program offers courses on the Embodied Recovery approach for individuals, groups, and treatment centers. The curriculum is designed for somatically trained providers with limited background in eating disorders and for eating disorder professionals who wish to gain awareness in the basic principles of somatic therapy.
For more information contact Paula Scatoloni at www.paulascatolonilcsw.com.