THE HEALTHIEST YOU

Progress not Perfection, straight forward changes to create your healthiest you.

One half of ALL adults have a chronic illness, which means multiple medications...side effects....drug interactions and yet nothing to solve the ROOT of the problem.  Instead we treat the symptoms of the disease.  Sure some medications help to prevent complications of the diseases, but what about PREVENTION or better yet HEALING!?!    As medicine advances we are learning that increasing certain foods, herbs, vitamins, minerals and decreasing others can help us heal from the inside out.  Limiting our chemical exposure...increasing our movement...focusing on natural or homeopathic medicine we can heal ourselves from the inside out.

it can be very confusing and extremely overwhelming!!!  Most people make drastic changes and then cannot stick with it.  Let's learn about making lifestyle changes that stick. If we take time to learn the WHY behind things it helps motivate us to make the changes more permanent.  I'm not your average physician, I trained and practice as an MD, but I love the intersection of traditional medicine and holistic medicine.  Every day I learn more about both.  

Join me on this journey of decreasing stress and inflammation through the food we eat and the life we live.  Let's become the healthiest version of ourselves one step at a time while learning the science behind it all!

BIO

Marguerite Weston, MD
I am a Family Medicine and Sports Medicine Physician practicing in Ohio. I have been practicing for over ten years and in three different states, but am finally back home, Go Buckeyes!  I am currently studying Functional Medicine and planning for certification to be complete this fall.  I love the intersection of traditional training and holistic medicine.
I am a wife, mom, encourager of others and lover of education.  I love trying new recipes although I am not an adventurous foodie!  I love to make healthy choices although I also love pizza and homemade chocolate chip cookies.  At the end of the day we are all a lot more alike than we are different let's show each other some grace.

 

MY TEST RESULTS THAT LED ME TO FUNCTIONAL MEDICINE

MY JOURNEY INTO FUNCTIONAL MEDICINE

 

I have always wanted to be a doctor and I loved every rotation in medical school so family medicine was the logical choice.  I also love sports, I played soccer at a small university in Ohio (GO POLAR BEARS!)! And so I completed a sports medicine fellowship after my family medicine residency.  

 

THE TURN

My first job was with the University of Oklahoma and in Oklahoma everything changed.  I started having numb patches over a couple different areas.  I cannot remember if it was before or after my first child.  You think you are going to remember things…like the date of your last mammogram…you can’t!!  I’ve had patients unable to tell me which knee was operated on!  We’ve had to look for scars!  So anyway…weird neurological symptoms in a 30 something year old female equals MRI’s and labs to rule out MS.  Have you had an MRI?  I felt like the criminal in Con Air with that mask on my face.  My ANA (an autoimmune marker) was in the “gray zone”, not negative, but not quite high enough to be considered positive. However it was definitely high enough to freak me out.  Plus my brain MRI had some abnormalities, abnormal but not quite consistent with MS.  Great just what everyone wants to hear...that your brain is not quite normal.  Couldn't be my left elbow or a toe...had to be the brain!  Followed that up with spinal MRI’s, which were completely negative (great news because typically lesions in the spinal cord means active MS).   And so I will continue with MRI’s yearly to every other year-ish to make sure nothing is changing in my brain.  What caused the MRI changes?  No one knows. But it is pretty freaky knowing they are there.  

THE FREAK OUTS

Many of you have gone through similar scenarios I’m sure.  So you start playing the “WHAT IF” game…a dangerous little game!   I can what if myself into having an incurable cancer, into something happening to one of my kids, to the plane crashing.   Specifically with the MS scare I “what if-ed” myself into a wheelchair.  I remember one day my kids were in the car and one of them forgot something so I ran back up into the house, bounding up the stairs to grab it.  While I was going up the stairs I thought to myself, “what if in ten years you can’t run up the stairs?” ….cue water works.  I cried often and hard.  In my warped mind I already had mom guilt about imagining the girls having their mom in a wheelchair at graduation and worried that they would be embarrassed of me, sad they would have to care for me.  Seriously…and I have a lot of anxious patients so I know I am not the only one with the “what if’s”.  Why don’t we “what if” my kid is so smart she gets a full ride or “what if” I meet an amazing group of friends that I just click with?  Why does it have to be worst case scenario on crack?? 

THE UNKNOWN & UNCONTROLLABLE

I tend to be a tad of a control freak.  So logically I looked at what I could control with these symptoms.  How could I normalize my labs?  I wanted to know the WHY.  And so I started studying inflammatory foods, which led me to functional medicine.  I changed my diet.  Luckily I’m married to the most amazing man ever so when I said we are now eating a plant based diet he was totally supportive.  We were not perfect but we were pretty good.  And lo and behold…my labs normalized!  My ANA dropped from 1:640 to 1:40…whoop whoop!!! Now the MRI is still abnormal, I'm not saying it is going to be normal next time. Honestly, medically speaking ANA is not part of the MS diagnosis, BUT no one likes having abnormalities.  You want to be boring and normal when it comes to medical testing.  

NEW WAY OF THINKING

For over ten years I have been treating patients with medicines...medicines and more medicines. I wanted to learn about natural ways.  Well guess what…FOOD IS MEDICINE!  What we eat matters.   

Now I'm not perfect, we still love ourselves some pizza and I still bake cookies with my girls. We are no longer all plant based but we definitely eat more plant based.  It is so cool (inner nerd alert) to see what a body was made to do and how a body uses the foods we give it. I grew up learning a calorie is a calorie is a calorie....oh so not true!! It is about the cascade of hormonal reactions that occur when we eat certain foods...it is amazing!! 

One of the areas of my job that I love the most is education. I love educating patients. Now believe me there are times when I start on my "rants" about things I think are so great and a patient will stare blankly. Yes I then wrap it up quickly. However when I see a patient move towards the edge of their seat or their eyes widen in awe...it is on!! I will draw, demonstrate, re-inact, raise my voice in excitement! I love that part of my work. After all, who is going to do what I ask of them if they do not know the why behind it?! I have to "sell" my patients on the reason they need to eat a certain way or exercise a certain way. My goal is to give you the why behind things. Then and only then will you truly believe and then act.  And once you prove it to yourself then you will be hooked!!

 
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7 Reasons to Try the Elimination Diet

1. IDENTIFIES FOOD TRIGGERS: I don't think people realized how crappy certain foods make them feel until they eliminate it, and in my case until I tried to add it back in! When these foods are eaten every day you become more sensitized to them. Then when you continue to eat them you have problems with your digestion and absorption. Wheat, corn and soy are in many processed foods and so we are not aware of how profoundly they can affect us until we take them out.

2. PROMOTES BODY AWARENESS TO FOOD: This was my biggest surprise. I felt good during the three weeks, but I felt awful when I started introducing foods back in! So the reintroduction phase is super important...otherwise you went through the first three weeks for nothing! I'll have a future post on reintroduction. I was also surprised by my lack of sugar cravings!! It was amazing, it is as if my taste buds have changed!

3. REDUCES INFLAMMATION: When we eat foods we are sensitive to we damage our gut lining. The gut lining is already very thin (one cell thick!) so causing any more damage leads to a "leaky gut". This means that the chemicals from processed foods, allergens, toxins, or bacteria/viruses can get into our bloodstream easier. This puts our immune system on overdrive. The good news is that our lining can regenerate every 2-4 days! This means we can change it and quickly!

4. HEALTHY MICROBIOME: We all have "healthy" bacteria (and viruses) in our body...everywhere in and on our body. This helps keep us healthy. However over the past decades as we have sanitized everything, given antibiotics for every cold and sniffle and have moved towards processed foods we are losing this microbiome. In order to keep our good bacterial healthy we need to feed it what it needs. Yes probiotics are good... these are the actual healthy bacteria we try to put back in our bodies BUT you also need to feed those good bacteria or they will die like the rest of 'em. Probiotics! You can find probiotics in health food stores or you can eat foods that help such as fermented foods and certain vegetables such as asparagus, onion, garlic, bananas, jicama, chicory root, dandelion root, seaweed, oats, apples, yukon root, burdock root, flax, wheat bran, cocoa, konjac, barley, and leeks. We focus more on the microbiome during reintroduction phase but you can never start too early so feel free to add these foods now! I've never used as much onion and garlic as I have during those three weeks. Flax in every smoothie and you don't have to tell me twice to use cocoa!!

5. PHYTONUTRIENTS AND ANTIOXIDANTS TO HEAL THE GUT: Phytonutrients are chemical compounds produced by plants, usually to help fight predators or pathogens. Some examples are carotenoids in squash and pumpkin and polyphenols found in berries. Phytonutrients reduce inflammation and improve our response to stress.

Antioxidants protect cells from damage during detoxification. For instance when you drink alcohol you create free radicals when we try to break it down. Antioxidants help to fight these free radicals. Plant foods also help to make the body less acidic and therefore the kidneys can excrete the toxins easily. Antioxidants are found in certain foods. The nutrient antioxidants are vitamins A, C, E and the minerals copper, since and selenium.

6. REDUCES TOXIC BURDEN: We have so so so many toxins!! We have artificial everything, additives, pesticides, insecticides and herbicides. One of the biggest issues is the amount of sweeteners in highly processed foods. Did you know the United States has the highest sugar consumption per person of any country? In 1915 the average person consumed 17.5 pounds of sugar per year...in 2011 it was 150 pounds!! The average amount of sugar eaten each day is 25 teaspoons, the recommended amount for women and children is no more than 6 teaspoons and 9 in men. And we wonder why we have an obesity epidemic and an increase in diabetes?!? Eating high fiber foods while drinking recommended amounts of water will help the detox process and lower your toxic burden as well.

7. NO CALORIE RESTRICTION: Weight loss is not a goal although often occurs especially once triggers are identified. It is not as restrictive as other diets. Once I got meal planning down and snacks I cannot say I was ever hungry. If I was hungry, bad planning was to blame.


HINTS:

~KNOW YOUR WHY!!! This is true in ANYTHING!!! Why are you doing this?!? Remind yourself of it often throughout the day. The more passionate you are about your why the higher likelihood of success!

~PLANNING IS KEY: you need to plan your meals and your snacks. Don't allow yourself to go hungry. Eat plenty of the permitted foods. I felt as though I was chopping and cutting all the time, but you get more efficient and learn to plan better.

~EAT REGULARLY: if you are typically a breakfast skipper, just be prepared in case you cannot skip breakfast while on this plan. Eating consistently and including proteins will help fight any hunger and subsequent "cheating".

~CHOOSE ORGANIC when you can. Wash your fruits and vegetables well (even if organic!) to reduce toxic burden

~PLAN FOR ELIMINATING CAFFEINE: if you drink 4 glasses of coffee a day you may need to wean down before the diet starts

~DRINK WATER!

~GET REST


Remember this information is to be used for education and is not to substitute recommendations from your personal physician.

Fail to Plan and you Plan to Fail. Planning is the most important thing you can do. Not only planning your meals but knowing your why! Remind yourself of your why! Are you doing this to play with your kids, to beat your autoimmune disorder, to finally rid yourself of your gut issues, to have energy, to get healthy? Your why will get you through!!

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