You are what you digest


You’ve probably heard, “You are what you eat,” and I’m going to challenge that even further and say, “You are what you digest.”  You need to digest the foods you eat and absorb the nutrients in these foods so it doesn’t just pass right through you.  I see clients who don’t feel themselves, complain of brain fog, fatigue, anxiety/depression, etc., regardless of the clean diet they are following.  A clean diet is going to be good for you however, if you aren’t getting the nutrition from these foods due to an underlying cause, it’s going to inhibit you from your health potential.

What are some reasons for this?  There are many factors that can affect your digestion and ultimately absorption.  If you have GI inflammation, food sensitivities, infection, decreased enzyme activity, medication use, imbalance of microbiome, bad diet, etc. – this can affect your gut and your body’s ability to absorb nutrients.  For example, if you’re eating gluten (which is one of the top causes of leaky gut) that’s damaging the lining of your gut leading to leaky gut, thus causing GI inflammation and affecting your body’s ability to properly absorb nutrients.  Some people may have an underlying gut infection such as candida (yeast), parasite, or SIBO (small intestinal bacteria overgrowth).


Another factor potentially affecting your ability to absorb nutrients is your stomach acid/digestive enzymes.  Your stomach acid (or HCL) and digestive enzymes work to break down food to help you properly absorb it.  It will break down proteins into amino acids – amino acids are building blocks used to make neurotransmitters which are the chemicals in your brain to control mood.  If you ask me, that’s important for more reasons than one to have proper stomach acid and digestive enzymes!


If you’re having difficulty with your gut, there’s a good chance you aren’t absorbing all the nutrients you’re eating.  With that, you probably have some deficiencies to address.  I think it’s important for you to know your micronutrient status because I see a lot of deficiencies in people regardless of how ‘healthy’ they are.  Your nutrient status is important.  Deficiencies can create the potential for long-term chronic disease, inflammation, and illness therefore affecting your mental and physical health and ultimately, your quality of life.

What to do?  First and foremost, eliminate foods you are reacting to and intolerant to (check out my post on food sensitivities) and remove gluten from your diet.  Next and very crucial, heal your gut through diet and supplementation.  After you’ve healed your gut from infections and eliminated food sensitivities/gluten from your diet, you may still notice symptoms.  You may benefit from supplementing with digestive enzymes and stomach acid (HCL).  Keep in mind that everyone is different and sometimes there is more going on that needs to be addressed so don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any further questions or are interested in any testing, such as a micronutrient panel.


In good health,

Dr. Stephanie

Kids Meals (Part 2)


What we feed our children greatly matters to their physical, mental, and emotional health.  With the rise of childhood obesity and Type 2 diabetes rates in kids that appear younger and younger – it’s time we start really paying attention to what they’re eating.  Unfortunately, not all food is created equal and you can’t trust that they’re getting nutrient dense foods at school anymore.  With our busy lifestyles these days I understand why it’s easier to justify quick food but hopefully we can help pick

What to feed your child. 

I’m going to start with what NOT to eat

First off, determine that a given substance is truly a food.  If the substance will not decompose for over a year, do you think that it’s fit for consumption? I would argue not.  What ‘foods’ have we basically eliminated from consumption; fast food, microwaveable food, food bars, etc.

Other substances to eliminate:

-hydrogenated oils

-high fructose corn syrup

-artificial sweeteners

– processed grains


Avoid high sugary drinks or beverages.  Next time you’re in the store check out what is in a Gatorade, vitamin water or other drinks that are perceived as ‘healthy.’  You may be surprised how much sugar is truly in there!  Also, how do some of those sport drinks get such bright colors – yes, artificial food dyes.  Water is always a good choice as most of us are chronically dehydrated as it is.  If you want any healthier options for beverages there are plenty, just ask and I would be happy to share ideas.  An option is powdered greens that you can add to water to enhance the flavor as well as help to get your servings of fruits and veggies.

(Most of the foods to avoid are in the middle isles of the grocery store.  That is because these foods are typically foods that can sit on the shelf for long periods of time.)


What to eat

I promise there are lots of good healthy foods left to eat!  Foods to give your child to give them the necessary sources of nutrition on a regular basis are as follows:

  • Protein (from good sources)
  • Vegetables
  • Healthy Fats
  • Fruits


Proteins are vital for all of us and are especially important for kids who are still developing bones and muscles.  Healthy meats offer complete proteins for growth.  Also, vitamin B12 is not found in plant foods so it’s important to get it from animal sources.

Great sources of protein include:

  • Grass-fed beef
  • Free-range chicken or poultry
  • Wild caught fish
  • Organic organ meats
  • Free range eggs
  • Wild game
  • Bacon (make sure it’s nitrate or nitrite-free)

Protein sources to avoid: processed meat, meats with nitrates, commercially or farm raised beef, fish or poultry, and non-meat alternatives such as soy.


Most children don’t eat enough vegetables and the top consumed veggies for Americans are potatoes and tomatoes.  You can guess what sources those are likely from…French fries and ketchup maybe?

Great sources of vegetables:

  • Organic leafy greens
    • Spinach, lettuce, kale, chard, turnip, mixed greens, etc.)
  • Colored veggies
    • Peppers, tomatoes, onions, eggplant, carrots, celery, cauliflower, broccoli, cabbages, squashes, cucumbers, avocados
  • Other veggies
    • Brussel sprouts, olives, artichoke, beets, asparagus, kohlrabi, radishes, leeks, bok choy, fennel, parsnips

Avoid vegetables that are fried like French fries, potato chips, onion rings, chicken nuggets, etc.

It’s best to have veggies come first before fruits.  More on that when I get to fruits…

Healthy Fats

Fat, yes, fat!  We NEED good healthy fats in our diets!  Our brains are made up of   % of fat!  It makes sense why it’s important for brain health then isn’t it?  Dietary fats carry the important and necessary fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K.  I hope people are realizing the low-fat trend that happened in America did not make us healthier.

Great sources of Fat:

  • Avocado
  • Olive Oil
  • Butter/Ghee (organic/grass-fed)
  • Fish
    • Fermented Cod Liver Oil
  • Organ Meat
  • Eggs
  • Coconut
  • Nuts/Seeds

Avoid fats that are pro-inflammatory such as polyunsaturated oils (soy, canola, vegetable, etc.), hydrogenated oils and trans fats.


As I mentioned in my previous post; ancestrally, sugar was available a few months of the year.  Fruit is good just make sure it’s in moderation because it still contains sugar.  A great rule of thumb would be to eat fruits sparingly and ones that are naturally in season.

Great sources of fruit:

  • Berries (organic as most are on the dirty dozen list)
  • Apples (organic as high on the dirty dozen list)
  • Melons
  • Citrus fruits

Avoid conventional fruits that are high on the dirty dozen list – always buy those organic if possible.  Here is a link to the dirty dozen list: Also be aware that some fruits are higher on the glycemic index (which means that they will spike blood sugar fast) such as pineapple, mango, watermelon, etc.

Start making meals at home. 

This is something that is simple yet is being lost these day.  I’m thankful that my parents did and still do make majority of meals at home.  When making meals at home, don’t make a second meal specially for your children, but instead have your children eat what the rest of the family is eating.  By making food at your home you can teach your children how to help make meals as well as have the ability to know exactly what is in your food.  This can ultimately cut back on highly processed foods with inflammatory oils, preservatives, hidden sugars, etc.  Now some of you may already be in the habit of making ‘special’ meals for your children however it’s never too late to make changes.  I’m not saying that it’s going to be an easy transition, but it won’t take long before your child knows he/she needs to eat what is prepared.  Call me old fashioned but I remember my parents making food and if I didn’t want it then I had the option of going to bed without supper.  I never had the expectation of them making a separate meal just for me.

Along with preparing and eating meals at home, it’s another way to have time set aside for bonding over food shared.  With how busy most of our lives are it’s a wonderful opportunity to just “be” with one another and have great conversation while enjoying your meal.  I challenge everyone to put away their phones, turn off the television and allow your meal times to be free from all distractions.  You may be surprised how invigorating it feels to be ‘disconnected’ from technology and completely present with your family.


Meal Prep

It may sound intimidating at first but meal prepping and planning for the week ahead makes things SO much easier to stay on track and avoid going for the fast junk foods.  If you do need something fast on the run, have veggies, fruits, or easy, fast proteins on hand to grab and run.

Baby Steps

Once you’ve made up your mind to incorporate these changes into you and your families lives, it’s okay to do so gradually but be diligent.  Make trying new foods exciting!  Your kids may test you on this initially however you’ll probably be surprised how much easier your kids will adapt to these dietary changes!  A large and important step is to model healthy eating yourself.  If they see you enjoying veggies regularly, they are more likely to choose it themselves.  Children are going to learn behavior more on what they see versus what they are told.


Good eating habits start at home.  I’m not saying one should never eat out or enjoy a treat but as the saying goes, “everything in moderation.”  Your children will thank you in the future!

Dr. Stephanie

Kids Meals (Part 1)


A child grows tremendously in just one short year and that’s a big reason why it’s important for them to get a well-balanced diet.  For some parents, mealtimes can be especially stressful with ‘picky eaters,’ busy schedules, and the hustle and bustle of life. How do we get our children to eat nutrient dense foods then?  This can especially be difficult with today’s standard American diet.  And don’t get me started on all the food marketing ploys that are targeted towards our young.

I started to question why we have a different menu’s designated to children when I was planning our wedding years ago.  When I looked at the options for our child guests, what did it consist of?  For a lack of a better term, junk.  The options were: mac n’ cheese, deep fried chicken tenders, or a cheeseburger – all while my other adult guests were given the option of broiled fish, steak or gluten free vegetarian option.  Does this sound fair?  I must admit, even though I didn’t have a child at that time, it really bothered me that there was such a drastic difference in the quality of foods offered between adults and children.  Now being a mother, it bothers me even more.


Children grow exponentially in a short period of years.  They are growing and being made from the nutrients they are fed, from the foods that they eat.  If I were building a house – I would want to make sure that the structure and foundation of my home was strong.  Right?  Well the same goes for growing and building your child.  So that leads me to question the foods that are targeted towards our children.

It’s the beginning of the year and most people have made resolutions – most revolving around being healthy.   I think I can say that most people who are dedicating their year to eating healthy would not be choosing to eat hot dogs, cheese pretzels, macaroni and cheese, deep fried nuggets, French fries, pizza, etc. all which are classic items on the kid’s menus.  These foods are highly processed, are pro-inflammatory, and lack nutrients needed for our bodies.

Let’s talk about how our young are being targeted towards choosing unhealthy foods.  The Center for Science in the Public Interest reports: marketing toward children puts their long-term health at risk by enticing them to eat foods that are low in nutrition.  Fast food restaurants invest billions of dollars a year to attract children to eat at their establishments.  What about the candy companies?  Why do you think candy is so brightly colored with artificial food dyes?  Why is the candy sitting right at the checkout isle at your grocery store?  These are all ploys targeted toward your child to get them to ask and beg for that product.


As a mother and healthcare provider this scares me.  These foods are void of nutrients, addictive and can lead to health complications like obesity, chronic illness, low self-esteem, depression and more.  We know sugar is addictive, it is 8 times more addictive than cocaine according to Dr. Hyman.  (I recommend watching the documentary ‘Fed Up’ to learn more about sugar.)

Let’s not ignore the negative health effects of sugar so that we don’t become victims to it.  Remember at one point, tobacco claimed that it was okay.  Ancestrally, sugar was available a few months of the year (fruit, honey).  Dr. Lustig says, “Nature made sugar hard to get; man made it easy.”

Dr. Mercola states, “for the first time in history, “lifestyle” diseases – diabetes, heart disease, and some cancers – are killing more people than communicable diseases.”

Let’s raise our future leaders in this world with wholesome foods.  Let’s limit the amount of sugar that our young are getting so that they don’t acquire an increased desire for it.

Stay tuned for the next post on ways to help make healthier choices and how to help avoid ‘picky eaters.’

-Dr. Stephanie

Chiropractic & Pregnancy

Chiro & Pregnancy

To piggy back off the last post on chiropractic and relate it to the importance of chiropractic care during pregnancy – lets first get a mental image of the anatomy.  Think of your uterus as a deflated balloon sitting in your pelvic cavity.  You have two ligaments that attach to the front of your uterus that also attach to your pubic bone (round ligaments) as well as two ligaments that connect to the back of your uterus to your sacral bone (uterosacral ligaments).  Now, when you are pregnant, and your uterus starts to grow and expand with your developing baby, imagine how that deflated balloon is going to start filling up.  This is where I use the analogy of your uterus being a hot air balloon and the 4 ligaments as the ropes that tether the hot air balloon down (in the case of your ligaments they attach to your bony pelvis).


The importance of this is for you to imagine if your pelvis is out of alignment how that is going to pull the ligaments thus ultimately pulling on the uterus and causing torsion within the structure.


The uterine tension may decrease the ability of the baby to move into a desirable position for birth.  Remember that balloon analogy?  Think of the pull and the uterine tension that will happen if a ligament is pulling on the uterus due to a misalignment of the sacrum/pelvis.  The Webster chiropractic adjustment begins the process of realigning the sacrum/pelvis.  This then helps to relieve the pull that created the uterine tension and once that tension is removed, your baby may be free to assume its best possible position for birth.  The Webster technique is a natural approach that focuses on balancing the pelvis and helps to facilitate normal function throughout pregnancy.  I think we can all agree that it’s important for your joints to be moving in preparation for labor and delivery so that your pelvis open up and baby can make its way through the birth canal.


What does that mean?  It means labor progresses easier and faster because the Mother’s body is in the best possible alignment for the “big launch!”   If you want to move the baby, you need to move the mother.

Getting adjusted consistently during pregnancy can decrease labor time.

° First time Mom’s labor goes from an average of 14 hours down to 9 hours

° Second time Mom’s labor goes from an average time of 9 hours to 7 hours

The best time to start getting adjusted is BEFORE you are pregnant (prepared parenting) but it is never too late to start taking better care of yourself and your family.

-Dr. Stephanie



It is no surprise I feel the need to write about chiropractic as it’s what I do and LOVE!  I have found there can be misconceptions and questions regarding what chiropractic is and what we do so I will briefly explain this in my terms.

First and foremost, answer me this… what controls everything in your body?  Your brain.  Now how is your brain connected to the rest of your body – this is via the spinal cord.  Now from your spinal cord you have nerves that branch off and go to different areas of your body.  This is how your brain communicates with your body and how your body communicates with your brain.  Are you following me yet?  Here is a picture to show you what I am talking about.


Your nervous system is very important and is housed and protected by your vertebral spine.  However, think of how a misalignment of the spine can put pressure on the nerve that is exiting that region and how it is going to affect the signals to and from the brain and body.  Most people think there is always pain associated with this but majority of the time that is not the case.  Only a small portion of the nerve deals with the pain pathway so for a lot of circumstances you can have a misalignment of the spine that is putting pressure on the nerve exiting that region, ultimately affecting the signals or messages to and from your body without you even knowing it because there isn’t pain associated with it.  This is important to understand because it explains why chiropractic is so much more than just pain management.


Chiropractic care benefits all aspects of your body’s ability to be healthy.  This is accomplished by working with the nervous system – the communication system between your brain and body.  Those nerves that I mentioned go to every single muscle, organ, and tissue in the body.  It is no wonder that it’s important to be free of any interference so that your body can communicate to one another.  Doctors of Chiropractic work to correct spinal, pelvic, and cranial misalignments (subluxations).  When misaligned, these structures create an imbalance in surrounding muscles and ligaments.  Additionally, the resulting nerve system stress may affect the body’s ability to function optimally.

“The nervous system holds the key to the body’s incredible potential to heal itself.”

To relate this to the gut, your gut has its own network of neurons, called the enteric nervous system that links your digestive system to your nervous system.  If you refer to my post on the “second brain” you will see why a healthy functioning gut is important.  Your nervous system has complete control over various aspects of your digestive function, especially the nerves from the lower levels of your spinal cord.  When the spine is aligned improperly, stress and strain are put on these nerves, making it difficult for the signals to your digestive organs to work properly.  As a result, ailments such as constipation, acid reflux, etc. may arise.  A chiropractor can safely, gently and non-invasively correct these misalignments in your spine by gently guiding your vertebrae back into their proper position.  This will take the strain off your nervous system and allow it to function at its optimum level.

If you are wondering how chiropractic care may help you, feel free to contact our office at 920-243-7140 to set up a consultation.

Dr. Stephanie

Bowel Movements

Here’s a topic that isn’t very popular but yes I’m going there – how well do you go to the bathroom?  More specifically, how well do you poop?  Most people don’t talk about this due to embarrassment or disgust but as one of my daughter’s book title states, Everyone Poops.  It’s a natural and very important bodily function!

I want to shine light on this topic because it should not be ignored.  Your stool can give you a glimpse into your overall health.

If you remember when I spoke a little about digestion – it starts in the mouth.  Food is put into the mouth where we chew and expose it to enzymes to start breaking it down.  Food then travels to the stomach where it is broken down further and nutrients are absorbed in the small intestine.  Undigested food then travels from the small intestine to the large intestine where water is absorbed.  This undigested food continues to make its way through the sigmoid colon and rectum before being passed out as stool.  Here is a picture to give you an idea of what I just went over.


Not all bowel movements are optimal – for instance I do not consider diarrhea or constipation normal.  Another thing, going a day or multiple days without having a bowel movement should NOT be considered okay.  The longer stool sits in your intestinal tract – the more your body is going to reabsorb those toxins/waste.  Let’s dive in deeper, shall we?

Diarrhea happens when stool passes through the large intestine too quickly whereas constipation occurs when stool passes through the large intestine too slowly.  When someone is experiencing one or both it’s important to figure out the why behind this.  There are so many people who experience this and don’t realize that their body is trying to tell them something is amiss!  For example, I recently had a client who had their foods tested for sensitivities and after elimination of these foods she had her FIRST solid stool since 1987!  It makes me sad to think that she went all those years having liquid/diarrhea stools.  We also tested her micronutrients and it wasn’t surprising that she had numerous deficiencies.  It’s hard for your digestive system to work properly when it’s highly inflamed.

Here is a diagram of the Bristol Stool chart to give you an idea of what a ‘normal’ bowel movement should look like. The optimal poop should be between type 3 and type 4 with a smooth, sausage shape to it.  When we get away from those then we need to figure out what is going on with our health.


Have I made you uncomfortable yet?  Now that you have an idea of what a normal stool should look like let’s also talk about smell.  When you have a bowel movement it shouldn’t be foul smelling to the point of clearing out the room.  I’m not saying that poop should smell like roses as it’s not supposed to smell beautiful, but it’s NOT supposed to have an extremely foul odor.  If you or someone you know does experience this, it’s another sign to take notice.  Are you eating foods you are intolerant to?  Are you eating foods that are making your GI system inflamed leading to a range of issues?  Do you have enough good bacteria (probiotics) living in your gut?  This is a just a start to questions you may need to think about.

My goal is to make you conscious of what your bathroom habits are like and to notice if they fall into the ‘normal’ category.  If they are not, your body it trying to tell you something and it’s important to find out what that is.   As Hippocrates, the father of medicine, states “all disease begins in the gut” and it’s time we start loving our guts.

To discuss you or your family’s health, email me at or contact our office to make an appointment for a consultation at 920-243-7140.

In good health,

Dr. Stephanie

Digestion Starts With The Mouth

Digestion.  First let’s think of digestion as a process of breaking down food.  Where do you think that begins in our body?  If you didn’t read the title of this post, most people want to think of the stomach as the place where digestion begins however digestion starts in the mouth.  The stomach is an important organ for breaking down food however this process first begins in the mouth.  I want to share with you why it’s important to know this.

The reason for eating is to break down food to absorb the nutrients inside.  It’s very important.  When we put food into our mouth we are breaking down food in a couple of ways – mechanically and chemically.  Mechanically we break down food through physical chewing of our food with our teeth.  Chemically we break down food even further when it mixes with our saliva.  Saliva, secreted by the salivary glands, contains enzymes that work to begin the breakdown of food.  Even just the smell of food can generate saliva (thus some may challenge me that digestion begins even before food is put into your mouth).

The process of chewing your food is not one you should rush through.  As I have said, it breaks your food down from large particles into smaller particles.  This is important because it helps to make those particles more easily digested thus improving absorption of nutrients from the food particles.


Chewing your foods thoroughly may be a simple way to improve your health.  Digestion itself requires a great amount of energy so it’s best to avoid making the job harder by forcing it to digest improperly chewed food.  Chewing your food so that its partially liquefied is the best way to start your digestion.  You should chew your food 30 times before swallowing!  Now you can probably understand why.

Why am I talking about this?  I want to challenge you to be more conscious about the way you eat.  Do you chew your foods down to liquefied mush?  Maybe you swallow large particles of food.  Could you slow down your eating instead of rushing through your meal?  Another advantage to chewing your food more, the longer it will take you to finish a meal  can ultimately help you to eat less.  You may or may not know that it generally takes about 20 minutes for your brain to signal to your stomach that you’re full.

Drink your solids and chew your liquids.

So the best way to feed is to eat in a non-distracted environment.  Don’t eat on the run.  Make a conscious effort to take smaller bites of food and chew your food slowly until it becomes liquefied and lost its texture.  Make sure to finish chewing and swallowing BEFORE you take another bite of food.  You may be surprised how you eat once you start paying attention to your habits.


Ultimately taking these steps to chewing your food properly will help you enjoy your food, slow down your eating and really get the opportunity to taste all the flavors within your meal.

Happy Eating!

-Dr. Stephanie

Optimizing Fertility

Whether you are trying to conceive or avoiding conception please read.  I say this because I believe optimizing fertility is synonymous with improving your health. With that said, optimizing one’s fertility IS beneficial and important for everyone.  The lifestyle you have right now can affect your fertility in the future.  As a provider working with people of reproductive age, I’m passionate about the health of parents prior to conception as it will influence the health of their unborn babies.

So first, what does this fertility word mean?  If you look at Wikipedia, it says fertility is the natural capability to produce offspring.  Simple right?  Unfortunately, this is not always the case.  Most people would probably agree that a healthy individual of child bearing age is designed to be able to reproduce.  However, if there are problems with this, we need to look deeper into what is amiss.  Usually when our reproductive system isn’t working the way it’s designed to, it can be a sign of some level of ill wellbeing.  I have worked with men and women who had been trying unsuccessfully to have a child whom have gone on to having beautiful healthy babies once their health was in balance.  (This is ruling out any anatomical or structural malformations).


First, I need to address the widespread use of birth control.  I know this topic all too well because I was put on the pill at an early age since I had very painful and debilitating cycles that kept me home from school.  Little did I know then that this wasn’t normal and hindsight I would have looked at what was causing such horrible symptoms instead of just artificially suppressing my entire reproductive system.  When women take artificial hormones in birth control, we are tricking the body into stopping ovulation (the release of an egg).  When we think of fertility – releasing an egg is absolutely 100% necessary for conception.  When women quit taking the pill, think of how a woman’s body must figure out how to start making its own hormones and get back to its natural rhythmic state to start releasing eggs again during her monthly cycle.  For some women, this doesn’t take long but for others it may take much longer.  For women coming off the pill I always recommend support with diet and supplementation to help the body detox and eliminate artificial hormones that may have accumulated in her body.

Optimizing your fertility is synonymous with improving your health.

Other things I look for in individuals besides hormonal imbalances include correcting any nutritional deficiencies, eliminating food sensitivities, and eliminating chemicals and toxins from the body.  One very important and possibly overlooked area to add is how I help coach individuals on tracking their cycle through the fertility awareness method (FAM) to optimize chances of conception.  Too many women have unnecessary stress and disappointment when trying to conceive because they are trying on the wrong days of the month!  When you track your cycles through FAM, you can get a lot of information regarding your body and can find what day you are ovulating.  This is important because once you ovulate – that egg is viable for approximately 24 hours, so you have a short window that you want to maximize.


As you can see there is a lot to this subject and I don’t want to make things complicated.  Let’s review as this is generally a great place to start on your fertility journey.  First if you haven’t done so, get off birth control.  Allow your body to have real cycles with real hormones your body makes on its own, so you can begin to ovulate again.   Also, I recommend you track your cycles using the Fertility Awareness Method.  If your cycles include lots of pain, mood swings, heavy bleeding, etc. then there’s a chance your hormones are out of balance (Don’t hesitate to reach out to me and we can discuss further).

Next, eat a nutrient dense diet.  I cannot stress this enough.  I see too many individuals with major deficiencies and you need your nutrient stores built up – remember you are going to be building a little human being!  How can you build a strong house without a good solid foundation?  I am extremely passionate about this and I think I need to write a separate post on it.  This leads me to Pre-Natal supplements – not all pre-natals are created equal.  I find it is my duty to tell you that you should avoid any with folic acid in it.  This is the synthetic form of folate.  If you are an individual who has a genetic variation of their MTHFR gene then you will not have efficient enzyme activity to process folic acid completely.  Long story short – avoid synthetic vitamins and take the most biologically active forms so your body can process them more efficiently.  (For more information on MTHFR – visit Dr. Benjamin Lynch’s website:

Along with correcting nutrient deficiencies, I recommend reducing your exposure to toxins.  This means cleaning up the foods you eat, the water you drink, the air you breathe, and the things you put on your skin (deodorant, cosmetics, etc.).  Ladies, have you ever thought about your feminine hygiene products?  If you haven’t already done so switch to organic tampons and pads to reduce exposure to toxins that you so easily absorb.  Even better look for a menstrual cup!  It sounds intimidating at first, yes but do your research and you’ll see lots of women love them and it reduces your toxin exposure as well as your environmental footprint.  A few other things I don’t want to miss mentioning is the importance of a healthy nervous system and reducing your stress.  See a Chiropractor to check your spine and reduce any interference you may have in your nervous system to reduce the physical stress.  This will also make sure that the nerves and signals to your reproductive system are working optimally.  We live such busy lives and we need to remember to find ways to relax whether doing yoga, take a walk, meditate, or whatever it is that you do to re-energize, slow down and be present in the moment.

The topic on fertility alone can be a very emotional one.  I realize it sounds like fertility is all on the woman’s shoulders but that is NOT the case.  The male partner should be taking these steps too and getting their health to maximum potential.  I think of other cultures who prepare their people of reproductive age for conception.  Couples prepare themselves physically and spiritually for anticipation of inviting a child into their family.  According to the Tibetan Art of Parenting, “The environment at conception is important.”  I think we have lost that and I hope I can bring awareness to it and help couples prepare as much as they can.  An ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure; please don’t wait to make changes.  If you’re planning on having a family now or even if it’s down the road – it’s never too early to make these changes.

To discuss you or your family’s health, email me at or contact our office to make an appointment for a consultation at 920-243-7140.

In good health,

Dr. Stephanie

Gut-Brain Connection

Some say your gut is the ‘second brain’ but I would almost argue that it’s the ‘first brain.’  If your gut is compromised – everything else is too!

Have you ever had a ‘gut feeling?’  You’ve likely felt “butterflies in your stomach” at some point when you were nervous or excited or you’ve probably had a gut instinct sometime in your life.

Besides your brain, your gut is the only organ with its own nervous system.  The small intestine alone has as many neurons as your spinal cord.

There is a relationship between your gut and your psychology – you may have heard of the Gut and Psychology Syndrome.   There is a gut-brain connection.  Your gut is very important for making neurotransmitters.  What are neurotransmitters you ask? These are chemical messengers that our brain and body use to communicate information throughout your body. Your gut, in fact, contains more neurotransmitters than your brain.   This is an example of how the gut influences one’s mood and well-being.

There is mounting evidence that gut bacteria affect mood and behavior.  There are certain strains of gut bacteria that can secrete neurotransmitters such as acetylcholine, GABA and tryptophan.  GABA is a neurotransmitter that is important for a healthy brain and nervous system.  It is also estimated that 90% of the body’s serotonin is made in the digestive tract!  Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that plays a large role regarding mood, learning, appetite control, and sleep.  It is most well-known for its role in the brain where it plays a major part in mood, anxiety, and happiness.

The idea that our intestinal tracts shape our mental states is not a new one.  Medicine has a long history of blaming our guts for psychological disorders.  Latest research shows that the digestive tract and the CNS (central nervous system) have a two-way line of communication.  This communication is through the “gut-brain axis.”  The effects on the brain may involve signaling through the vagus nerve which anatomically connects the gut and the brain.

Does this make sense why your gut must be in balance for your brain to be in balance?  When things go awry in our guts, they can also go awry in our brains.

Up to 80% of people with irritable bowel syndrome experience increased anxiety and depression.

So where does one go from here?  It is crucial to clean up your diet if you have not done so already.  Eliminate any food sensitivities that you have.  I can test for these with a simple blood test.  Otherwise, start with eliminating the most common sensitivity foods.  The 5 most common food intolerances include:

  • Wheat (gluten)
  • Corn
  • Soy
  • Dairy
  • Eggs

I would also like to mention to eliminate food dyes as there is a relationship between food dyes and behavior issues.  For some persons, the GAPS diet may be the place to start heal and seal up the gut, especially with leaky gut.  Incorporation of probiotics daily from food and supplementation is going to help flourish and inoculate your gut with a wide variety of good bacteria.  Read my post on the gut microbiome if you have not done so.  We are learning that certain strains of bacteria are better for certain conditions and you want to make sure to choose appropriate probiotics.  Have your micronutrients tested to see if you have any underlying deficiencies that are important for your health.  Certain pathways in your body require certain nutrients to work properly.  Do you know the status of your vitamin D, magnesium, B vitamins, etc.? We know how important Vitamin D is for our mood, along with a ton of other benefits for our bodies, however majority of clients I test are deficient in this crucial vitamin!

If we want to truly be healthy we first need to look to our gut.

To discuss you or your family’s health, email me at or contact our office to make an appointment for a consultation at 920-243-7140.

In good health,

Dr. Stephanie

Why Fermented Cod Liver Oil?

Many people will cringe when they read the words, “fermented cod liver oil.”  You just did, didn’t you?  Don’t stop reading this because you think it sounds disgusting because it really is not bad and it has tremendous health benefits when incorporated into your daily routine!

Fermented cod liver oil (FCLO) is just that, cod livers that are fermented.  The process of fermentation is a natural preservation and this allows the fat soluble vitamins and beneficial oils to separate from the rest of the liver.  This is able to be done without damaging the fat-soluble vitamins.  This is unlike other methods of processing that use heat which is damaging to delicate nutrients.   Cool temperature fermentation allows the cod liver oil to maintain its Omega -3, Vitamin D and Vitamin A content.  Fermentation or enzymatic breakdown will help reduce food into their end usable forms thus help make the nutrients more absorbable to the body.

If you have been following some of my posts, you know that not all supplements are created equal.  This DEFINITELY is true of fish oils.  Why?  As I mentioned, the processing of these oils can damage all the nutrients as well as the oil.  You would never purposefully take rancid oil am I right?  No, you wouldn’t because this could cause the opposite effect on your body and be more harmful than beneficial.

I already mentioned that fermented cod liver oil contains your omega-3s, Vitamin D and Vitamin A.  Vitamins A and D are both necessary for many aspects of health.  Let’s face it, living in a northern state we are not getting enough Vitamin D, period.

As the Weston A. Price Foundation explains, Vitamins A and D need each other for proper absorption.

Vitamin D

At least 2,000 genes, or nearly 10 percent of your genes, have been identified that are directly influenced by Vitamin D.  I will write a future post on Vitamin D because there is SO much to be said about its impacts on our health from preventing the common cold/flu to detoxification to mood health, etc.

Vitamin A

We don’t hear as much about Vitamin A however this vitamin should not be overlooked.  Vitamin A is a little more difficult to obtain as our bodies need to convert beta-carotene, which is the inactive form to retinol (active form of Vitamin A).  I don’t want to make this more complicated than it is, but some people cannot do this conversion at all.  Vitamin A is found in significant amounts only in animal products like liver and grass-fed dairy.  Let’s be honest though, we don’t eat liver and other organ meats like our ancestors did.  This is another topic for discussion in the future!  Back to Vitamin A and to put it into perspective – 3 oz of beef liver contains about 27,000 IU of vitamin A.  To get the same amount from plant sources (however remember you need to be able to convert), you would need to eat 50 cups of cooked kale!  I’m a total foodie but that’s way too much to eat to get the same amount of Vitamin A.

Vitamin D and Vitamin A are essential for your immune system.  They work in tandem and are precursors to active hormones that regulate the expression of your genes. 

Since there are many studies regarding cod liver oil and its benefits with certain conditions, I am including a link to the Weston A. Price Foundation’s website so you can browse through it if you are interested:

I believe mother nature is more intelligent than us and provides us with nutrients in the proper proportions.  Fermented cod liver oil has a synergistic ratio of Vitamin A and Vitamin D that work in concert with one another along with your wonderful omega-3s.  My family takes fermented cod liver oil daily for a variety of reasons specially to help our immune system!  I trust one company that uses a cold process fermentation process as I know the cod liver oil is in its most natural state.  Don’t hesitate to reach out to me if you want to try this superfood!

To discuss you or your family’s health or for more information about functional medicine and testing, email me at  or contact our office to make an appointment for a consultation at 920-243-7140.

In good health,

Dr. Stephanie