Are You Ready for Change?

By Dr. Jerome Craig

What we can learn from models of change and stages of grieving when setting health goals?

As a Functional Medicine Practitioner working with my patients to overcome their health challenges and create positive change, I have to be aware of mind set and my expectations regarding their wants and needs.

It is never as simple as “tell me what to do and I’ll do it” or “this is the plan and these will be the outcomes.” Creating health is really about changing lifestyle and that involves transformation of not only the physical, but the mental and spiritual practice that we engage in every day.

If you have had involvement with Psychotherapy or studied psychology in school you may have heard of the following two models. While I have not studied these in depth I have used these to help myself and my patients understand where they are in their desire to change. No matter how much we associate transformation with what we do i.e. exercise, diet,...

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FAVES for Vibrant Health

Acronyms can be super-easy ways to remember healthy habits. Here are our FAVES for vibrant health!

Focus on Healthy Fats: Research has repeatedly demonstrated that fat is necessary for our health, particularly omega 3 fatty acids. Omega –3′s are an essential fatty acid, meaning our body cannot produce them on its own. These inflammation-fighting fats must be obtained from our diet. Two crucial ones, EPA and DHA, are primarily found in certain fish and pasture-raised beef. ALA, another omega–3 fatty acid that can be converted to EPA and DHA in the body, is found in plant sources such as nuts and seeds. The benefits of omega–3s are well documented in the scientific literature. Unfortunately, the Standard American Diet contains entirely too many Omega–6 fats from vegetable oils and processed foods. We want to have a 1:1 balance of omega–3’s to omega–6’s. Eating 2 decks of card-sized servings of fatty fish like salmon, lake trout,...

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The Hard Truth About Constipation - Part 1

By Dr. Jerome Craig, Dr. Jerome Craig Website

Constipation is the most common digestive complaint in the United States, resulting in over 5 million visits to the doctor annually. Old statistics from a 1991 National Health Survey, estimated 4.5 million people in the US were constipated most or all of the time. And 2006 data showed that constipation was a diagnosis or reason for seeking care in an estimated 5.7 million ambulatory visits per year. (1)

Now most people don’t seek medical treatment when dealing with constipation and it probably is not always necessary to do so. There are many Internet remedies out there to induce a bowel movement if you don’t want to buy over the counter laxatives - which plenty of people do. Americans spend over $700 million on laxatives each year. (2)

Speaking of the internet, visit and you’ll see the current wisdom these days is that one should have 1–3 daily bowel movements to assure healthy elimination of waste that...

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Strategies for Restful Sleep

A large part of today’s population is suffering from a lack of restful sleep. Most people report some difficulty falling or staying asleep on a regular basis. Sleep is an important part of a healthy life. Our body uses our sleeping hours to repair damage, rebalance hormone levels and engage in physical healing and maintenance. Sleep deprivation has been implicated in heart disease, increased stress levels, diabetes, increased accidents, depression, lowered sex drive and diabetes. A good 8–10 hours of sleep is important for vital health.

External Steps to Improve Sleep:

  1. Make sure your room is dark. Invest in blackout shades or an eye mask to increase the darkness in your sleeping space. Move cell phones and other light emitting items out of the bedroom.
  2. Stick to a schedule. Try to go to bed and wake up at roughly the same time every day. Our bodies respond best to a regular routine. Following a similar routine every day signals to our bodies that bed time is approaching....
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My Sober Year - Week 16

Oh my goodness, I can’t believe it’s been 16 weeks since giving up the sauce and yet it seems like 16 years at the same time. It’s been quite a journey thus far!

The Journey to Health…

…is just that - a journey! It’s not always an easy one either. Remember I had 32 reasons to give up alcohol. Because I’ve been sober for 4 months now I’ve made MASSIVE improvements in my physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and even financial well-being. That being said, I still have a few stubborn issues remaining and I’m working vehemently on them with my naturopath and now an acupuncturist, as well.

Finding the Will to be Resilient

Considering all that I’ve removed from my diet I _should_ (such a dangerous word, I know) be the picture of health:

  • alcohol
  • sugar
  • processed food
  • store-bought flours
  • gluten
  • caffeine

Struggling with a few remaining items on that list can be exhausting and I’ve even succumb to the “woe...

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Dandelion Root Detox Tea

picture of a dandelion By Joel Wasmann

The Dandelion is used as an herbal remedy in European, Ayurvedic, and Traditional Chinese Medicine, and oh yeah, its also a lawn weed.  The roots, leaves and flowers are all edible and very healthy, containing vitamins A, C, Potassium, Iron and Zinc, in much denser proportions than any other leafy green. The primary reason this flower is used worldwide however is for its bitter properties. “Bitter,” a taste that has become quite rare in our diet, is actually very important for our health. Our palate has a diminished  sense for the flavor “bitter” as salty and sweet have become increasingly and overly represented. Bitter naturally increases the flow of gastric juices including saliva in the mouth and bile flow which benefits the liver and gallbladder. Bitter flavors aid digestion but also help regulate blood sugar. Dandelion assists with these crucial functions especially well.

The Dandelion flower can be eaten fresh, just...

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My Sober Year - Week 10

It’s amazing how in tune you become with your body and mind through a detoxification process. Week 10 of My Sober Year felt like all ailments were amplified as my attention tuned into my physical body after loads of mental/emotional work. I guess it was time!

A Trip to the Naturopath

Several of the 32 reasons I gave up the sauce (and sugar, gluten, processed carbs, and caffeine) were being addressed with my amazing naturopath beginning 8 months ago. Some of those included: insomnia, constipation, low libido, and cravings to name a few. I certainly knew making radical changes to my diet and cutting out alcohol would undoubtedly support these getting better.  But with all that was resolving physically, I became hyper aware of issues that continued.

I was working out 6 days a week through a mix of yoga, strength training, and aerobic classes, yet when I did my weekly running routine I noticed by heart rate was skyrocketing up to 165 BMP at...

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My Sober Year - Week 9

My Sober Year - Week 9

Week 9 of My Sober Year brought a new challenge to light. I’m not fearful of the upcoming St. Patty’s Day celebrations, or even NCAA March Madness outings. It’s the onset of good weather and here in Portland, that’s something MAJOR to celebrate because it means our sunny season (yes, we do have sun!) starts and everybody is out to enjoy it.

Missing Out

Sunny season in Portland means sitting outside on the sidewalk of your favorite restaurant-bar-lined street drinking your favorite spicy margarita, followed by a stroll up the street to the best gourmet ice cream in our fine country. As I walk along our awesome neighborhood streets with AJ & Bandit, I’m faced with “missing out.” Sure I could sit at the local pub and drink my soda water, but again I’m being honest, I miss sitting out in the sun having my favorite cocktail with friends, just shooting the breeze.

The Fear Realized

In preparation for My Sober...

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My Sober Year - I'm still off the sauce!

Still Sober

I’ve been absent for a while and I hope you didn’t think that was because I let go of My Sober Year! I didn’t. I’m still sober and thrilled.

It’s now coming up on Week 8 and I feel like I owe you all a big explanation as to why I’ve been silent, as well as get you caught up. My last entry was a whopping 5 weeks ago!

My First Sober Vacation

Believe it or not, I can’t honestly recall a time when I went on vacation and didn’t drink…since I started drinking. I’m 42 and I started drinking before I was 21 - ouch. Saying it like that sounds terrible, but I will refrain from harsh self-judgment - HA!

My husband and I won a trip to Telluride, CO, our favorite place on earth and we have our favorite traditions when we go there like visiting the local “watering holes.” We got engaged there nearly 3 years ago and right after I said “yes” we enjoyed the Champagne of...

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My Sober Year - Day 13

Day 13 of My Sober Year is a real b#@*h. I knew going into this not every day was going to be butterflies and rainbows and I’ve certainly hit an “ugly” day…so I’ll share it with you in hopes to help you get through your b$%&h days of being sober or getting through an elimination diet.

A 180 from Day 7

Emotionally, I’m a feeling a complete 180 from Day 7. I’m struggling to see anything outside of what I can’t eat or drink. Remember, I’ve also wiped out sugar, refined carbs, caffeine, gluten, and most dairy.

I’m filled with angst as I added a Bike and Brew Tour for our friend’s birthday this week. I knew this was coming, but it’s hitting all at once. I also sent my hubby off for the weekend to work on his passion for adventure photography and I’m alone with all of my thoughts and feelings, which for an extrovert is quite difficult, but I know this is all part of my journey. It’s a chance...

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