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Seasonal Eating Enhances Performance

The seasons are changing and so are your needs.  It’s more than just changing the clothes you work out in; eating seasonally and locally will go a long way to support your health and performance both emotionally and physically.  How is that?  Our body responds to the weather of each season.  The air temperature, the humidity or lack of, the length of the daylight and the intensity of rays all play a role in your bodies’ needs and performance.  The mother earth in her infinite wisdom naturally grows things that match our needs.

The healthier you are and the more reserves you have the less likely you are to put your bodies out of kilter during season changes and stress.  Being active increases your need to be conscious of the changes.  You tend to tax your reserves more and require greater availability of the resources you do have.  As I mentioned in a previous article, as little as 1-2% dehydration can create fatigue.  As temperature and humidity changes with the coming of fall you are likely to drink less fluids.  Then unexpectedly you find your performance dropping and your feeling of well-being slipping from your grasp.  Once dehydration sets in so does weakened digestive and athletic performance abilities.  It sets off a domino response.

Then of course as the days shorten, your list of need to accomplish doesn’t.  So often you cut back on sleep.  This extra stress activity throws your body off.  Less fresh fruits with higher water content and nutrients can cause a deficiency you aren’t aware of until you are off.  Studies show most people lower their respective rate of physical activity due to cold and darker days.  It also seems with the weather changes, the way we utilize our nutrients changes.  Even the nutrient content of milk is different in the winter than the summer.  So the same foods do not provide the same support, at different times of the year.  Seasonally eating can help balance this.  Squash, a winter vegetable has more vitamin A that is needed in the winter months, Oranges and other fruits are higher in vitamin C, needed so much in the summer months.  Each of these foods has the other nutrients, just in different ratios.  Eating seasonally and locally for your area can improve your performance by providing more available nutrients. 

I mention locally because food raised or grown locally can be picked later and purchased earlier.  Vitamin C is known to be particularly unstable.  So an orange grown in Florida and picked early has lost the last few days of nutrient gathering and by the time it reaches the diagonal end of the country in 3-5 days it has lost over 60% of the already lowered Vitamin C content.  The same is true with all the wonderful fruits we get from other southern hemisphere growing areas.  I am assuming you are buying organic because I do not have space here to go over all the health concerns of the different pesticides much less them mixed together in your system.

Looking for maximum nutrient value with limited calories, local and seasonal food choices become essential.  Food equals energy, eat the best, to be able to perform the best.  For more specifics on this topic: Search the internet for locally grown in WA. (or your state).  A myriad of resources will come up.   “Food choices” is also something to keep in mind when you are traveling.  The local areas environment may pull more of one type of nutrient from your body.  If staying for more than a few days, consider eating like locals.  For example in sunnier climates low essential fatty acids can cause the skin to burn easier.  Traveling diet, lifestyle and locality changes affect your needs.

As always consult with a health care professional before making changes to your lifestyle.  Katherine Branigan is a Certified Nutritional Therapist in private practice in person and online in Nine Mile Falls, WA.  She has been in practice for 23 years.  In her practice she also addresses the physical, emotional and energetic components of health and healing.          ©K Branigan

Summer’s Pace Got You Down?  posted 8/12/23

Run out of energy, before you run out of day?  Summer is a busy time full of adventures and activities.  If you notice a dip in your energy levels, it can be because something is out of balance.  Low energy not only means missing out on daily fun but also more rapid aging.   

Well the truth is it may be that you have let yourself get out of shape.  Even with watching your diet and exercise you can find your energy lower.  I know your medical doctor says your blood tests all look “normal.” Did you know that “normal” changes?  Normal is based on a bell curve of the population’s health.  It is not based on what a healthy body could be.  We all know many people more out of shape than ourselves.  Do we really want to compare ourselves to them?  Maybe it is time to step out of the medical paradigm and look at your health from the options of nutritional optimum.

Yes they are different.  Even if you are eating fairly well there may nutrients that you are missing due to lifestyle, stress and aging.  If you are feeling the joy of summer and the aches of the extra hours and activities. here are some things to consider.

Take an Inventory of your Lifestyle, Diet and Symptoms.  For example do you regularly wake up tired?  Do you have a gas or bloating feeling after eating?  Do you run out of energy before you run out of day?  If you want to take a complete survey of your health go to Nutritional Assessment  and fill it out.  If you have a number of issues in any one of the sections, there are things you can do to feel better and have more energy.  Low energy not only means missing out it means you are using your reserves.  The older we get the more work the reserves are to replenish.  Notice the weak area in your body and seek a knowledgeable person to help you.  If it is structural you may want to see a chiropractor, cranial massage or physical therapist.  If it is physiological you can choose an acupuncturist, body trainer or nutritional therapist.

The Nutrition Component:

Almost all physical conditions have some sort of nutrition component.  Sometimes it is healing the digestive track or stimulating the endocrine system.  Looking at your symptoms can give you an idea where to start.  If most of your symptoms are related to digestion you may need more amino acids.  Good stomach acids can be encouraged by betaine HCL supplementation or by taking some Bragg apple cider vinegar with each meal.  Amino acids can be attained by eating live foods, like raw vegetables.  As we age our endocrine system seems to take a beating.  Our thyroid or pituitary glands don’t function as optimally.  This often shows up as foggy brain or forgetfulness when we talking about poor pituitary function.  A sluggish thyroid might be the cause of weight gain, head aches or moodiness.  Dietary changes can correct some of these problems, you may need to seek a professional as some of these can develop into long term problems.  A doctor might do a blood test and say everything is fine.  Yet in the nutritional world there is a different formula for looking at blood work.  The medical world bell curve perimeters don’t allow for treatment until there is a medication answer.  A nutritional specialist or other experienced person in nutritional blood chemistry can see things earlier.  It is much easier and healthier to deal with these prior to the medical paradigm.  At this stage: lifestyle, diet and supplementation are simple solutions.  The above questionnaire is a way to become aware of weaknesses you may have.  Simple changes can bring big changes.

For more information or an appointment call Katherine Branigan, NTP, MSA. MFP  (206) 779-1959 or email for an appointment   

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Health Tips for Northwest Summers

The Pacific Northwest has special summer concerns: ever-changing weather, seasonal allergies, and a variety of times to go on vacation. Each of these aspects can challenge our health and immune system.  This is a summary of things to day for staying energized and enjoying the summer.  Enjoy a sensational and healthy summer season!   

Weather: Hot and Cold ~ Wet and Dry ~ Sunny and Cloudy

  • Tips layer clothes ~ chilled and overheated bodies strain immune
  • Use fleece and synthetics ~ dry quicker & offer breathe ability when damp
  • Beware of the evening drop ~ can lose 15 degrees +
  • Wear sunscreen in cloudy weather ~ Cancer causing UV rays still there
  • Hats recommended
  • Use good sunglasses especially on or near the water ~Glare can damage eyes esp w/ adrenal stress
  • Carry water and drink regularly ~Drink before thirsty
  • Eat light and fresh when hot ~ high water content, alive
  • Eat protein with your veggies when damp and cold  ~ Carbs also for sustained energy, Nuts and seeds are great to carry

Allergies: Animals ~ Blooming Flowers ~ Trees and Grass

  • Know your space, minimize exposure
  • Clean your body ~ diet and exercise
  • Liver and Colon supports ~ ex. herbals (Milk Thistle) and foods (Fiber)
  • Lymph drainage ~ water, herbals & fruits
  • Fruits (especially in the morning)
  • Distilled water ~only upon waking
  • Don’t touch your face ~ Wash your hands regularly
  • Walks in the morning are easier than mid-day ~ damp & cool air
  • Use homeopaths to assist in clearing allergies ~ see you health provider

Vacationing: Diet ~ Time Schedules ~ Locations

  • Eating on the go ~ choose live, avoid junk, not $, quality  
  • Drink water before eating ~ 20 min is best
  • Don’t skip meals ~ eat regularly to avoid fatigue & blood sugar
  • Eat less than you want & carry something with for later ~ keeps away highs and lows
  • Know the availability of food and drink where you are going ~ can ruin the day
  • Get good sleep ~ warm, dry, allergy free and long enough to heal
  • Have a backup plan ~ Stress & cancelled activities can ruin the break

Three Major Cause of Allergies
posted 5/27/2023

Although many people think of spring as the time for allergies, they are a year round, full time concern for many people.  Whatever sense or senses that an allergy affects, it is unpleasant.  Allergies tend to fall into at least one of three categories.

Physical Deficiencies: A deficiency in the body can be something you are born with or you can develop it later.  For example, even as a baby, I was sensitive to milk.   It caused constipation and stomach pain.  However, I grew up in a family that didn’t believe in allergies.  So, I was told to drink my milk, to have strong bones.  It wasn’t until I was forty and studying nutrition that I realized my milk issue was related to the fat in the milk.  I had been born with a weak gallbladder and a simple supplement cured my constipation and digestive issues.  Other people think they have developed food allergies when often it is just an amino acid deficiency. Especially as we age, these can cause us to develop sensitivities to foods or smells.

Environmental Overload: The second cause of allergies is when our body experiences a chemical, smell, or plant that it doesn’t have the resources to handle.  Again this can start at any age.  Some people don’t have a problem because their bodies can clean up the disruption.  If you can’t, you need to detox your body.  Sometimes we have been deficient so long that we not only need to detox the body, we need to reintroduce the needed nutrients to help the body keep itself clean. 

Emotions: The one is the hardest to define and yet easiest to cure once it is identified.  It is an allergy that is related to an emotional issue.  For example, as a 3 year-old you are at the table eating your peas.  Mom and Dad start arguing loudly and you get frightened.  You may develop an allergy to peas.  Sometimes just the memory of the incident can cure the allergy.  Other times, homeopathics are needed.

Having personally experienced all three types of allergies, I can tell you the solution can be easy or challenging.  It is a joy when the answer becomes clear and the problem goes away.  I recommend always starting with a digestive check first.  When we have a weak spot in our system it will borrow where it can; but, often that creates an unidentified weakness, allergy.  Once you know you are getting good nutrients in the body; then detoxify it to make sure you clean out the crud that has accumulated.  Detoxifying is much harsher on the body when it isn’t able to get the nutrients it needs.  Seek a good nutritional therapist or other health care practitioner to assist in the process.  Looking at the emotional cause of allergies is more challenging.  However, it can be done without discovering the exact cause. 

By: Katherine Branigan, NTP
(206) 779-1959