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By Lynn Mikel, ND, Natural Health Clinic 01 Jan, 2018
Healthy digestion is the cornerstone to good health - “You are what you eat” and “You are what you don’t eliminate.” Digestion, absorption, and elimination are what make our bodies function, fuel our metabolism, and create and support our immune system.

Optimal digestion depends on adequate enzyme production in the stomach and small intestines, a healthy mucosal cell lining in the gastrointestinal tract, proper assimilation, and successful elimination. When digestion is inadequate, it robs the body of vital nutrient processes. We miss out on the protein and fats which build and maintain everything from our body tissues to our nervous system, on down to the protective coating of every cell.

What is not broken down and absorbed must be eliminated from the G.I. tract, and what is not eliminated or efficiently absorbed becomes a source of toxic waste for the body to deal with. Food may sit in the digestive tract too long when enzyme production is inadequate, absorption is inadequate, and transit time is too slow. As a result, the rotting food gradually becomes a source of irritation to the cells lining the digestive system.

A weak intestinal lining due to inflammation has a much harder time keeping large molecules from entering the blood stream; this is known as “leaky gut syndrome.” As large food molecules gradually make their way into the blood stream, the immune system becomes stressed by trying to clean up and break down the “foreign” molecules, thus stimulating the production of antibodies. An overproduction of antibodies is hypothesized to be linked to food allergies, intolerances, and autoimmune diseases, which may also lead to autoimmune reactions.

These abnormally large molecules also induce stress to the liver which detoxifies your blood, breaking down and eliminating anything that is not supposed to be there. As the liver already has a big job protecting us from toxic exposure in the air, water, and foods we eat, undigested food proteins become a burden that often over-saturates its capacity. Toxins that cannot be eliminated end up stored in fat cells. Weight gain is not always the result of eating the wrong food or even too much food, but often of an ineffective digestive system.

Poor digestive function and overwhelmed liver function can cause a cascade of problems to other systems in the body, such as stress to your adrenal and thyroid glands, hormones, and blood sugar levels. An overactive immune system and excess proteins in the bloodstream can create acidity which contributes to inflammation everywhere, ultimately contributing to problems like arthritis and heart disease. Foods that frequently begin this cascade of maldigestion, organ stress and inflammation are: wheat, cow dairy, sugar, soy, eggs; and in that order of most frequent and most stressful.

Conditions that indicate the digestive system is impaired include: heartburn or reflux, ulcers, irritable bowel, constipation, and diarrhea, but also can be associated with other problems like inflammatory joint disease and allergies. Working on improving digestion, healing and strengthening the mucosal cells lining the digestive tract, and eating a diet that promotes good digestion and metabolism are some of the treatment goals for almost any digestive complaint or condition. Optimizing digestive function and health will also prevent the chronic progression of many other disease processes. Digestive enzymes are a good place to begin when looking to improve digestive function and health!

Dr. Mikel’s experience and education help her formulate individualized treatment approaches, including diet assessment and education for your specific symptoms and underlying cause. For more information, visit
By Roman Krupa, ND, Puyallup Wellness Center 01 Jan, 2018
Many of us make New Year’s resolutions. In the beginning of the year, we feel renewed motivation to achieve our goals. Year after year, losing weight has been one of the most common resolutions. This begets the question, “Why is this so?” The obvious answer is because so many of us are overweight.

The U.S. is one of the most obese nations on the planet. As of 2014, a staggering 71% of adults are either obese or overweight.1 The rate of childhood obesity is skyrocketing, as well, with one in five kids being overweight or obese. This is a tragic situation as obesity is the one medical condition that increases our risk of virtually every other known disease including diabetes, autoimmune diseases, cancer, heart disease and dementia.

How did we get this way? Our current busy, high-stress American lifestyle has a lot to do with it. The availability of convenience foods, fast food and the lack of widespread availability of what I call “Real Food” is not helping the situation, to say the least. These days I hear from parents on a daily basis about how busy and overwhelmed they are and how they just don’t have energy to cook when they get home from a long day of work and tending to their kids.

Unfortunately, the world of conventional medicine has little to offer. A prescription for a stimulant, which decreases feelings of hunger, or bariatric surgery is often all that is offered to patients who seek their physician’s help in losing weight.

So, what to do? The good news is that there is a lot we can do to lose weight and keep it off. A key to this is in understanding what the underlying causes of this modern day scourge are. Working with a holistic physician who can diagnose and treat the root causes can be very helpful.

Based on my clinical experience, the top five causes of unwanted weight gain are:

1. A diet high in refined and processed foods. Eating convenience foods rather than whole foods will greatly lead to increased fat stores.
2. Sedentary lifestyle and lack of exercise. When we sit around too much and not use our bodies the way they were designed to, we add to our fat stores.
3. Chronic unmanaged stress and not enough sleep. Perpetually elevated cortisol, in some people, will make gaining fat easy and losing weight challenging.
4. Low or suboptimal thyroid function. If thyroid hormones are not in optimal ranges, losing weight will be a virtual impossibility. When we hear someone say, “I eat an orange and gain a pound,” you can bet that’s someone who has low or suboptimal thyroid function.
5. Environmental toxicity. We are exposed to chemicals on a daily basis that predispose us to gaining unwanted fat. This is why detoxification is a necessary component to any comprehensive weight loss plan.

We do have options and we can lose the weight we want! Whether you commit to losing weight at the New Year or in the middle of the summer, it’s important to remember that there is no single magic bullet that will make us shed 20 pounds overnight. However, with a few tools under your belt, some inspiration and determination you can take actions that will lead to a new and slimmer you.

Roman Krupa, ND, has a passion for empowering his patients to lose weight and achieve optimal health. He is a graduate of the National College of Natural Medicine and holds a Doctorate in Naturopathic Medicine. He has helped over a thousand people lose weight and keep it off. Dr. Krupa has served as Medical Director of Puyallup Wellness Center for the past seven years. For more information, visit

By Roberta Bennett, Body Care Department Head - Tacoma Marlene's 01 Jan, 2018
It is so cold outside! If you are like me, you have the all the heaters on and you might even spend a few cozy evenings by the fireplace. As pleasant as all that is, it’s murder for your skin! If you haven’t had a chance to stop by and chat with me about keeping your skin as lovely as ever, even in these harsh winter months, I’d love to share a few of my winter skin care tips with you.
By Hannah Lima, MS, RDN, CDN 01 Jan, 2018
Detox diets are popular for many reasons, including weight loss and toxin elimination, but effective detoxification requires nutrients. Period. You can’t remove toxins from the body without providing your body with the tools it needs. Being nourished by the foods we eat is a way of protecting our body from toxins. There are many types of detox diets, but there are two things an effective detox requires: protein and plants. Before we look at how to detox, let’s glance at the “why” behind detoxing.

Toxins are everywhere and, unfortunately, there’s no avoiding them. Xenobiotics are compounds that are “foreign” to our bodies (or at least they used to be), including heavy metals, advanced glycation end-products (foods exposed to dry and high temperatures), and persistent organic pollutants (POPs). While the FDA has deemed most of these compounds “safe,” recent research is showing they have toxic effects after both short and long-term exposure. The amount of these substances in our body builds up over time, leading to inflammation, free radicals, and damage to our cells and DNA. This toxic build-up has been linked to high blood pressure, glucose intolerance, cancer, and changes in liver, thyroid, and immune function. While it’s impossible to completely avoid these toxic compounds, we can harness the power of food to counter their effects.

Phytonutrients are the chemicals and ingredients naturally found in plants that play a key role in detoxification. These chemical compounds are a means of protection against insects, germs, fungi and other threats. The plant’s ability to protect itself and assist us with detoxification is not just related to one nutrient, but to the harmonious effects of multiple phytonutrients within. More than 25,000 phytonutrients are present in plant foods, and consuming a variety of plants helps us remove xenobiotics from our bodies.
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By Jeanne Logman, NT, Market Manager - Tacoma Marlene's 01 Jan, 2018
I’m fascinated with the idea of using medicinal herbs in food! Astragalus has been a favorite deep immune system-building tonic for centuries with Eastern and Western herbalists alike. The subtle, woody flavor complements the mushrooms and garlic beautifully. And the little punch of heat from the chili paste effectively delivers the nutrients and helps to warm sluggish circulation. Try this delicious bone broth-based soup! Every ingredient offers nourishing support for these wet, chilly months.

Makes 6-8 servings
2 (16 oz) boxes Kettle & Fire bone broth (I use mushroom chicken)
1 ½ cups thinly-sliced shiitake mushrooms
1 ½ cups sweet potato, diced
1 oz astragalus, dried
2 cups water
½ inch ginger, sliced
5 garlic cloves, smashed
1 kale leaf, stem removed, sliced into thin strips
½ tsp chili paste (or 1 diced hot chili)
Himalayan salt, to taste

In a medium sauce pan, add water, astragalus, garlic, ginger and chili paste. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Immediately reduce to low and cover, simmering about 15 minutes. Be careful to watch the temperature as the astragalus has a tendency to foam and boil over. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a large sauce pan, add bone broth, sweet potato and shiitakes. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, reduce to low and simmer about 15 minutes—until sweet potato pieces are fork-tender. Add astragalus mixture to bone broth by pouring through strainer.
Combine, mix and simmer a few more minutes before salting to taste and serving. Can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.
By Marlene's Market & Deli 01 Jan, 2018
Traditional detox teas in Ayurvedic practices usually differ from western ideas about tea. The blends are made of what we would consider herbs and spices. The Ayurvedic approach encourages the body to release toxins and increase digestive power through 6 specific flavors—all encompassed in the following blends.

In the daytime mix, green tea is a fantastic addition for those who are fasting or attempting to utilize fat for energy. For those who are sensitive to caffeine, there is holy basil, also known as Tulsi tea. Tulsi has stress relieving and immune supporting properties that complement the detox blend brilliantly.

The bedtime mix cools and soothes the digestive system and encourages the release of heat from inflamed areas of the body. This blend allows for the process of detoxification to gently continue while the body renews and restores overnight.

Ayurvedic Detox Tea for Daytime

Makes one day of tea, about 5 cups

1 Tbsp whole coriander seed
1 Tbsp whole cumin seed
1 Tbsp whole fennel seed
1 Tbsp cinnamon chips
¼ C loose leaf green tea or Tulsi tea

Place in a jar and shake to mix. To prepare, place 1 level Tbsp of mix and 5 cups of water in medium saucepan. Bring to a boil. Turn heat to low, cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand for 5 more minutes. Strain tea into thermos (or refrigerate) and sip throughout the day.
By Marlene's Market & Deli 01 Dec, 2017
by Mitra Mohandessi

Persian cuisine is rich with hearty, nutrient-dense, and wonderfully flavorful dishes – Borani Esfanaj, or spinach borani, is no exception. Borani is a Persian dish made with yogurt and a cooked vegetable. Spinach borani is packed with flavor and healthful ingredients - suitable for any time of the year, but important enough to be present at every Persian New Year dinner table. To this day, I enjoy spinach borani, just as I did as a child, when I would come home from school and have it as my afternoon snack. Typically garnished with yogurt and served with bread, this recipe is a perfect appetizer for your next gathering… or just a Tuesday evening.
By Marlene's Market & Deli 01 Dec, 2017
by Organic Valley

Break a piece of chocolate covered toffee and try not to smile. We dare you. Organic Valley Unsalted Butter is the secret ingredient to this family-table favorite.

Makes 25 bite-sized servings.

¾ c Organic Valley Unsalted Butter
1 c granulated sugar
1/3 c water
1/8 tsp salt
6 oz dark chocolate, melted
2-3 tsp rosemary leaves, finely chopped
Kosher or coarse sea salt, to taste
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