Options Naturopathic Newsletter




Ho Ho Ho!

Dr. Erin Holston SinghSeason's Greetings from Dr. Erin

My best wishes to everyone during the, often frantic, holiday season!  I am a ittle frantic myself, as I will be in Cleveland next week from Monday through Friday, December 17th-21st!  

Next week's schedule is almost full, but there are a few appointments left for those of you who have been meaning to get in.  I know the week before Christmas can be a hectic time, but I hope to see those of you who I've not seen for months, or have been wanting to get back on track.  NOW is the time to get back in shape and support yourself with all your tempting dietary indiscretions!  Protect your liver from overload with all the excess sweets, portions and alcohol that are likely to be dropping down the holiday gullet this December!

We know there isn't much time to be sitting at the computer and reading, so we are keeping this month's e-news short and sweet!  Dr. John has written an elegant and informative article on Metabolic Typing, which makes up the bulk of this month's e-news. Please note: we are only running the special introductory price for Dr. John's Metabolic Typing work  through January 15th.  See the end of his article for pricing information.

I think you will find some larger naturopathic notions to reflect on regarding your own health in this article, even if you are not intending to investigate what metabolic balancing is all about.  Also, visit our website if you have missed previous newsletters, and don't miss the scrumptious recipe for the Warming Wintry Squash Soup!



Metabolic Typing: The key to optimal health?

 by John Sherman, N.DImage of John Sherman, N.D.

Health has been described as a state of optimal physical, mental, and emotional well-being, and not merely the absence of disease.  But like nirvana, or Shangri-la, this describes an ideal state which is elusive, hard to define, and impermanent.  How can we define health, and how do we stay healthy when we get there?  I believe health is a clearly, defined path in which specific biomarkers are monitored that accurately analyze all the intricate workings and functions of the body on a day to day, month to month, ongoing basis.  And just as there are different roads to the top of the mountain, I also believe that acquiring perfect health is a different path for each of us.

The number of different biochemical interactions which help create balance in the body seems infinite.  For example, just monitoring the various rhythms of major hormones would take 128 different feedback loops, which have different peaks at different times of the day, month, and year.  These interactions are also influenced by exposure to outside forces such as temperature, humidity, sunlight, oxygen and many other factors.  Through this intricate system of biochemical monitoring, the body is constantly attempting to maintain a state of balance.  An example of this is when a high level of carbon dioxide in the blood triggers the lungs to increase the breathing rate, which in turn causes a decrease in carbon dioxide in the blood.

A person’s health may be described by analyzing the final effects of all these feedback functions.  Once all of our feedback mechanisms are interacting harmoniously, then our system is truly balanced.  As a naturopathic physician, I am constantly inspired by observing the earth as a macrocosmic design of how a human being could live in balance.  For example, as I look at a seashore, I see the continual up and down, ebb and flow, surge and regression of nature’s forces, sometimes extreme, but all moving toward maintaining a balance.  This is never as clear as in the ever changing seasons creating a predictable rhythm of dark and light, hot and cold, wet and dry; ascending and descending forces.  Another example of this is the moon’s rotation around the earth, which continually causes the ocean currents to wax and wane in the form of tides.  Without these tides, stagnation would cause an unhealthy constancy in water gases, micro flora, and minerals, changing the earth’s ability to support many variable ecosystems.   It is the same within our internal environment—constant opposing forces align to maintain stability of biological functions.  Since these forces will always be present, we need to ‘exercise’ them to prevent stagnation, and thus find our optimal biological function.  Just as there is no ideal tide level, there is also no ideal calcium level, only an understanding of where our ‘functional’ calcium is going, away from our bones or replenishing our bones?  Should we all drink 8 glasses of water a day?  Not without testing to see how hydrated or dehydrated one is, and checking the electrolytes levels, which help store the water within the right compartments of the body.  

Although intimidating for the clinician, measuring these states of balance does not have to be an overwhelming task.  In my clinical practice, I attempt to determine how these major dualistic forces are influencing a person’s health and assess each person’s ability to compensate for these forces.  For example, many conditions are present due to an imbalance in the body’s ability to maintain a healthy tissue pH (acid/alkaline).  A patient may complain of eczema, colitis, asthma, migraines, etc., but these labels don’t really explain what is happening in terms of the body’s ability to balance itself.  A common theme amongst all these conditions could be an overly acid condition.  By simply adjusting the diet and removing external sources of acidity, relief from these conditions can be fast and dramatic.  Of course, it may not be that simple.  Other imbalances may be present such as electrolyte deficiency or electrolyte excess.  Or the nervous system may be effected creating a sympathetic (fight or flight) dominance, or a parasympathetic (rest and digest) response.  Asthma, more often than not, is an acid, parasympathetic imbalance.  A heart arrhythmia is often an alkaline, electrolyte deficient state.  Simple changes in diet can often have a dramatic effect on these imbalances.  This is why each of us has an ideal diet that keeps us in balance, and our ideal diet is different from everyone else.  Along with diet, a specific nutritional supplement, herbal product, or homeopathic can also help speed the metabolism toward its balance point.

Conventional medicine teaches people to take a drug, which takes away the symptoms of the imbalance, e.g., an anti-inflammatory for eczema, or a steroid for asthma.  The result is usually more imbalances, and now a person has to deal with the side effects of the medication itself creating a different imbalance, perhaps worsening the condition over the long term.  This approach may require the person to take more and more medication.  This is a common occurrence in conventional treatment for high blood pressure and insomnia, where drug dependence becomes very strong.  The path to healing becomes very murky.

Finding a person’s metabolic type helps one discover what their ideal lifestyle design looks like; and, depending on how far one is from perfect balance, the path to manifest it.  Metabolic typing involves analyzing five basic dualistic parameters:

Tissue Acidity vs. Tissue Alkalinity
Sympathetic dominance vs. Parasympathetic dominance
Electrolyte deficiency vs. Electrolyte excess
Anabolic metabolism vs. Catabolic metabolism (building up or breaking down)
Glucogenic metabolism vs. Ketogenic metabolism (sugar and fat metabolism)

There are several other less important parameters, but by balancing these basic five, one’s optimal health can be realized, often with a complete amelioration of symptoms.  A person’s overall toxicity level must also be taken into account in determining the quickest path to healing.  It can be noted that testing for individual minerals such as calcium or sodium is not necessarily critical—the question becomes is the mineral contributing to signs of electrolyte excess or electrolyte deficiency?  Or is it making the system more acid or alkaline?  Or testing for individual hormones may not be crucial for health, only if it is contributing to a sympathetic or parasympathetic dominance; or is it making a person anabolic or catabolic?   

Of course, not all natural products direct the body toward balance, and not all drugs create imbalance.  Whether a natural product or a drug is used, if the body is directed toward the correct balance, then it can ultimately help achieve a healthy state.  It all depends on whether the substance is directing the body toward balance, or is it just suppressing symptoms.

Thus, the key to healing has become more obvious.  By becoming aware of our metabolic weaknesses and strengths, we learn to understand exactly what our personal healing path looks like.  Each day, each season, becomes an experiment in how to stay balanced.  The key is not how much Vitamin C one needs to take to be healthy, but how much do I need to stay balanced?  And because an Eskimo living in the Yukon can’t find health by eating the same food as a Hawaiian, metabolic typing also helps determine the effects of one’s climate, or even genetics, on health.  By having a clear understanding of our individual metabolic needs, one maximizes immune function, digestive function, energy production, and elimination of toxins.  Once our physical bodies are balanced, we can then move on to exploring our emotional and spiritual balance, and start discovering the reason we are here in the first place:  to be fully human.

Dr. John Sherman is a naturopathic doctor, practicing at OPTIONS NATUROPATHIC CLINIC. 
For information regarding metabolic balancing, or to set up an appointment, please call 216-707-9137, or e-mail: johnshermannd@gmail.com

Click HERE to read Dr. John's Bio

Metabolic Typing Pricing

The metabolic balancing work Dr. John offers is packaged to cost $290 until January 15th.  After this date, the price will go to $325.

Wintry Squash Soup

I have started cooking together with  neighbor here in Louisiana who shares many of the same passions for natural foods and true nutrition.  This is a soup we made a few weeks ago that turned out delicious.  This receipe is designed to be played with, and is intentionally inprecise, as an experiment, for those of you who feel you need to follow recipes to a tee.  I really think you can;t go wrong, as long as you taste the finished product and adjust before serving!  I'm giving approximate measurements, and encourage you to trust that you can vary the amounts of most things within reason. 

This soup is a scrumptious and nutritious way to prepare several meals at once.  As the exact recipe can be varied, so can all the ingredients.  That is what is so fabulous about soup!  You can hardly go wrong and almost always go right! So let's get started.

Of the following, use what you have.  Not all vegetables are required, but the ** ones make for a much better soup!!

For the Broth**:
2 Carrots, ends removed and halved
1 white onion, peeled and halved
1/2 bunch of celery, ends removed and halved
Water to cover

For the soup:
1 Leek**, sliced all the way up to the end of the green (don't use just the white part of the leek).
1 & 1/2 inch piece of ginger, peeled and sliced into small, thin strips
2-4 cloves of garlic minced
1/4 small pumpkin &/or 1/2 acorn squash*, peeled and seeds removed.
1/4  head of a small green cabbage
1 bunch of kale, swiss chard or other greens
Herbamare (A Swiss Sea salt flavored with dried vegetables) or sea salt to taste
Coconut oil (Virgin adds more coconut flavor, if you prefer)
2 T. curry powder
1.T. cumin

Avocado slices and hemp seeds to garnish 

To prepare the broth, place the ingredients in a large pot and bring to boil.  Lower to a simmer until the vegetables are clearly cooked.  Use a blender, or immersion blender to puree the ingredients once cooked.  

To prepare the soup, saute the leeks, ginger and garlic in coconut oil until soft and wet.  Meanwhile, cut portions of the squash and pumpkin into large chunks that you can place in a food processor.  A few quick pulses should give you several reasonably small chunks to throw into the leek and garlic saute.  Same for the cabbage- use the rotating blade and enter the cabbage from the top of the Cuisinart to slice. Once the leeks, squash and cabbage have "sweat" (become slightly cooked and wet) add just enough water to cover the vegetables and simmer on low for 15 or so minutes.

Mix the saute with the pureed broth.  Add the curry powder, Herbamare, and coconut oil to taste.  If the soup seems to need more salt, another option is to add brown or white miso at the very end of the cooking.  1/4 cup should be sufficient for such a large pot of soup.  Better to add less first and more, as needed.  It is also ideal to not boil the soup once the miso has been added, since this kills the beneficial flora found in miso.