Summer Digestion Made Simple

Article provided byClaire Morris, ND  Dr. Claire Morris, ND is a Doctor of Naturopathy, Master Herbalist & Certified Natural Health Practitioner.  She is highly passionate about helping others regain health freedom, vitality and abundance using nutrition and gentle, non-invasive, natural remedies.

Perhaps you’ve noticed your digestion causing discomfort, especially in the summer.  There are a number of reasons for this and a few simple suggestions to alleviate the symptoms.

Articles concerning what and why summer heartburn happens are in abundance.  Some believe there are eight foods that trigger the acid response.  Others believe taking over-the-counter pharmaceuticals is a solution.  In case you were curious about the eight foods, they are: hotdogs, cheeseburgers, baked beans, lemonade, ice cream, corn on the cob, BBQ Ribs, and iced coffee.  While those may cause some stomach distress, because of the extra fat content and spices, I would like to offer another consideration.

In the winter months it is common to consume more of the “meat and potato” type diet, which is not a bad combination, when it comes to digestion in the stomach.  When summer arrives, we begin to eat more fresh and raw produce, along with the meat and potatoes.  This is when the trouble begins.

Food combining is a practiced form of chemistry, balancing acids and bases that can neutralize each other.  The food combining diet can be particularly useful for individuals that suffer from acid reflux or chronic indigestion.  Because stomach stress is relieved by this form of eating, often weight loss and health will follow.  Some people begin to notice a difference almost immediately.

Here are a few tips to put good food combining practices to use in your household this summer:

  • Melons should ALWAYS be eaten alone!  Melons are a summer fruit which break down quickly, in as little as twenty minutes.  So wait at least that amount of time before consuming any other food.
  • Liquids should be taken separately, as well.  This includes water.  There are some conflicting opinions on this point as it is believed that consuming too much water with a meal dilutes stomach acid, impeding digestion.  I suggest drinking only enough to wash the food down.
  • Fruit, in general, should be consumed on their own.  Some believe morning to be the best time to consume these as it is the time when the body is already cleansing and eliminating.
  • Proteins (beans, nuts, seeds, meat, fish, poultry) should be eaten separately from starches (at different meals) but vegetables may be combined with both proteins and starches.  Potatoes are considered a vegetable, not a starch, for combining purposes.  Stomach acid is required for digestion of proteins, and if starches are combined with the proteins, the digestive environment is neither acid nor alkaline enough for either food group to be absorbed well.
  • Starches are, usually, digested well when consumed alone or with vegetables.

Perhaps, you’ve noticed when you combine certain foods, it causes tummy trouble.  In our culture it’s not as common to think we have too much acid when we actually have too little.  When there is not enough digestive acid, the foods break down differently and cause gas which pushes into the esophagus, burning and resulting in belching and inflammation.  Sugars break down more quickly than proteins, so, save that dessert for a couple of hours later.

If this doesn’t’ appeal, (which I think it is at least worth trying), consider digestive enzymes before reaching for the acid blockers.  This also good if you’ve eaten too much and need relief.

Here’s to a well digested summer… Enjoy!

Article originally published 6/25/2013 & republished 7/11/2016

Say “Goodbye” to Summer Pests Naturally

Article provided byClaire Morris, ND  Dr. Claire Morris, ND is a Doctor of Naturopathy, Master Herbalist & Certified Natural Health Practitioner.  She is highly passionate about helping others regain health freedom, vitality and abundance using nutrition and gentle, non-invasive, natural remedies.

You know the ones…fleas and mosquitoes, makes me itch just thinking about them.

Theses tiny insects are great disease carriers.  The diseases include bubonic plague, murine typhus, tapeworms, flea allergy dermatitis, denque fever, yellow fever, viral hemorrhagic fevers, West Nile virus, helminthiasis (filariasis worm), viral encephalitis (brain inflammation).  …and you thought they were just terribly annoying.

Have you ever noticed how they are attracted to some more than others?  This attraction is caused by individual chemistry.  If they like yours, look out!

Commercial insect repellents may be effective but use some toxins that cause sensitivity.  If you are looking for natural alternatives there are a few you should be aware of.  Caring for yourself and your pets inside and out are important.

Internally it is important for humans and animals to consume plenty of B vitamins.  These are found in unprocessed whole grains, liver and brewer’s or nutritional yeast.  Specific B vitamins are found in a variety of foods, amazingly they are all found in the brewer’s yeast.  {On a personal note, my parents forced my sister and me to take brewer’s yeast as children and to this day mosquitoes and fleas do not like us.}  Keep in mind it may take up to six weeks for the effectiveness to reach its peak and some may need more than others.

Externally, the natural ingredients usually include citronella oil, lemon eucalyptus oil, cinnamon oil and castor oil.  These essential oils are mosquito deterrents.  They can be mixed with carrier oils or food grade alcohols.  To make, just mix the essential oil with the carrier base to dilute.  Essential oils are potent, so use the motto “less is more” to prevent irritation.

Citronella oil is good to use around your door way and on pets.  Mix 1oz. citronella oil with 1 cup of yellow colored lemon dish soap and 32 oz. of yellow mouthwash.  Mix in a spray bottle and use as needed.

Fleas are more complex as they have the advantage of burying and hiding.  Extreme cleanliness is important to eliminate infestation or re-infestation.  While we may get them on our clothing and bring them in, it’s usually our pets get them and become and unwilling host.  Garlic and brewer’s yeast are important to add to their diets.  The rule of thumb is a clove of fresh garlic a day.  This gets rid of the odor and flavor of the skin that attracts fleas.  (Note, too much garlic could become toxic to a pet, whether consumed in large quantities or even in smaller quantities over a longer period of time.  Talk to you veterinarian regarding the use of garlic on your pet and for help determining an acceptable amount based on your pet’s size.)

Citronella, rosemary and wormwood make good herbal rubs and sprays. Using a fresh lemon rinse is another way of repelling fleas.  This can be done daily until the skin heals.  An off the wall solution is diatomaceous earth.  This can be dusted on and rubbed into the animal’s hair for protection.  It will suffocate the flea eggs and larva.  With fleas it is important to stop the life cycle.  It can take up to three months to truly get things under control.

Have a natural pest free year!



Article originally published 5/25/2012 & republished 7/11/2016