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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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Foods to Eliminate During the Elimination Diet and Others to Add

Let's finish up going over the foods we cannot eat during our elimination phase! We've already hit on dairy and gluten...so long pizza!! (only for a bit)


What we cannot have:

-alcohol

-beef

-chocolate (although if you are dying you can do pure cocoa powder in hot water with a tad of honey or maple syrup). I tried this at the beginning of the three weeks and thought...disgusting. HOWEVER your tastes WILL change!! I am currently drinking some now and I'm off the elimination phase. Once you detox your sugar, things that seemed bitter taste sweet! I promise I was shocked! So cocoa is borderline since it has caffeine. However for me it was cheat or drink the cocoa water so I went for it!!

-Coffee, soft drinks, tea. We drank non-caffeinated herbal teas. Another fave is hot water with real ginger and lemon!! You can keep your ginger root in the freezer, I just take it out and use a vegetable peeler to peel some into my water.

-Corn...this includes corn starch, corn oils

-Dairy (see prior post)

-Eggs...if recipes called for eggs I used flax and water, it is a great binder. I missed eggs more than I thought I would!

-Gluten (barley, rye, spelt, wheat)...see previous post

-Peanuts (yes that includes peanut butter!)

-Pork

-Processed meat (see my post on turkey sausage...great recipe!!)

-Shellfish

-Soy and soy products..includes soybean oil!! I had no idea soybean oil was in so many things!

-Sugar (white sugar, high fructose corn syrup)...you can sweeten with honey, maple syrup, agave, stevia although honey or maple syrup are recommended (less than 2 tsp).


What we CAN have:

-Dairy alternative: coconut, nut milk (I've heard milk companies want them to start calling it nut 'drink' because it is technically not a milk! HAH!). Watch for added sweeteners and gums. Unsweetened coconut kefir has both prebiotic and probiotic potential.

-Fish. Low mercury fish such as halibut, salmon, sardines, tuna, herring. Wild caught is preferred over farmed fish to limit hormones and harmful chemicals.

-Fruits: fresh or frozen (no sugar added). It is a good idea to add a protein with fruit to avoid sugar spikes. Berries are wonderful because of their antioxidants (blueberries are one of the highest!). Pomegranate seeds support detox! Apples suppress inflammation! Dried fruits are allowed but in small quantities.

-Proteins...Wild game including buffalo (I love a good bison burger!), elk, lamb, venison. You can also eat chicken, Cornish hen and turkey. It is recommended to eat lean, pasture-raised, grass fed and non GMO sources. Vegetarian options for protein are spiraling, legumes, lentils, peas and some protein powders (hemp, pea, rice)

-Legumes...one serving a day is recommended (our biggest one was hummus although beans are a favorite of mine!)

-Nuts (except peanuts)...raw, unsalted rather than roasted in oils. Nut butters are permitted as well. One serving a day is recommended.

-Seeds

-Vegetables...ideally we should get 10-12 servings of vegetables a day!! That is right!!! A serving is 1/2 cup of vegetables or 1 cup of green leafy veggies. Most important thing to remember with vegetables is RAINBOW!! Try to get all colors during the day. Yes the darker ones are higher in phytonutrients but they are all important. Our go to snack? Homemade sweet potato chips...baked in the oven with olive oil!

-All herbs and spices. Vinegar is permitted. No other condiments as they contain sugar. Mustard without added sugar is allowed. ~To help digestion: cinnamon, cumin, dill

~To aid in detox: cloves, oregano, rosemary, thyme

~To reduce pain and inflammation: cayenne pepper, chili powder, cilantro (our staple!! We put it in everything!), ginger, nutmeg, paprika, and the infamous turmeric

-WATER: remember from previous posts...take your weight divide by 2 (to get an estimate of your kilogram body weight) and that is how many ounces you should drink per day

-Fats and oils: high quality fats on a daily basis are recommended for reducing inflammation, stabilizing blood sugars and minimizing sugar cravings. This is a hard concept to swallow depending on your age. I grew up in the fats will kill you and everything needs to be low fat or fat free!! NOT SO!!! Extra virgin olive oil will help with your good cholesterol. Medium Chain Fatty Acids (MCFA) are awesome because they go straight from our gut to the liver to be used as energy or they are made into ketones for our brain to use. Therefore they do not have time to be changed into fat! We use them too efficiently! Where do we get these?? Coconut based fats, which includes canned coconut milk!! I did not even know avocado oil existed until functional medicine entered my life! Did you know half of an avocado has more potassium than a banana. We all know the antioxidant potential in avocado so bring on the guac!! Ghee...ever hear of it? I hadn't until last year!! It is clarified butter and it is still on my list to make because I love butter! You can eat ghee because the milk proteins are removed. Ghee is made of short chain fatty acids (SCFA) and they help stimulate stomach acid production (acid reflux is an entirely crazy topic on its own!!). Butyric acid is great to help digestion and contains antiviral properties! Other oils to use: sesame oil (helps the liver and reduces inflammation), almond oil, flax oil, hempseed oil, walnut oil!


Some practitioners may recommend you stay away from histamine foods, oxalates, salicylate or nightshades as well. This is beyond the scope of this post but I'm sure we will hit on these foods in the future, but let me know if you have questions.


As always this information is for education and should not replace advice or recommendations from your own personal physician.






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