Tag Archive for: nutrition

Part 1: Lowering Inflammation

By Carrie Rutledge, Nutrition Therapist Master 


The “Why?” Behind this Series

I am the proud mother of a healthy five-year old girl who began struggling with Atopic Dermatitis, or Eczema, at 3 years of age. I approached this chronic inflammatory disease by exploring the root cause, instead of with topical steroid creams that may relieve symptoms but never address the fire inside. Although the Eczema took almost a year to heal (True healing is rarely a quick fix), with many setbacks, we have finally gotten to a place in which her body can withstand assaults and not break out into an itchy, uncomfortable rash. 

Over the course of this 4-part series, I will share with you my protocol for healing my daughter’s Eczema through diet, supplements, and herbs. Although there are other parts of the protocol that I will not cover, I will be giving you some wonderful tools to get you on your way to healthy skin. 

As always, everyone is biochemically different; however, my hopes are that this information will set the stage for recovery from a chronic inflammatory state. 


What is Eczema? 

According to the National Eczema Association, Eczema or Atopic Dermatitis is an inflammatory skin condition that causes dry skin, rashes, blisters, or skin infections and can leave someone at a higher risk for developing asthma or food allergies. The cause is unknown, but is attributed to genetics and environment, or epigenetics. Epigenetics is when our genes are “turned-on” by an environmental influence such as mold, heavy metals, fragrances, or chemicals.  Currently there is no “cure” for Eczema and can only be managed by avoiding triggers and using topical creams or immunosuppressants. 

My first question is: What is the “root cause”? As a nutritionist, I am always investigating the root cause. When my daughter was struggling with Eczema I asked myself, “Is it an allergy or an inability to detoxify appropriately?” “Is it because she was born via C-Section or because I had antibiotics when breastfeeding?” “Do we have a moldy house?”

I don’t subscribe to the idea that chronic disease happens by accident or purely through a genetic disposition. And if Eczema is an inflammatory condition, what is causing the inflammation?  We all want the best for our children, and my biggest concern for my daughter was Eczema turning into asthma. I was determined to heal this condition to the best of my ability, and not by masking it with long-term creams or steroids, but through a holistic means of nutrition and herbal supplements. 


The Top 4 Foods to Avoid When Combating Inflammation

When my daughter was 3, she broke out in a rash on the backs of her knees and in the creases of her arms. As a Nutritional Therapist I was already feeding her a healthy diet, so how could this happen? Was it even Eczema, or could it be some sort of allergy? I went down the rabbit hole into a year-long battle of getting a diagnosis, a prescription cream (or a band-aid if you will) and still no answers as to why my healthy child had inflammation of the skin. 

I quickly learned that Eczema is a chronic inflammatory skin condition and can range from mild to severe. There is no “cure” for Eczema, and experts are not aware of the cause, but they do believe it is a combination of genes and environmental triggers or epigenetics. The skin is the largest organ of the body and is involved in many important functions including protection from the external environment and as an excretory organ. That’s right, many of the toxins your body is harboring (heavy metals, pesticides, drugs, steroids, and cytokines) are excreted through the skin. For this reason, having healthy skin is going to require the body to be less toxic. 

Nutrition is of the utmost importance when healing Eczema. In fact, healing any skin condition requires a nutrient dense, whole-food diet. According to an eighteen-year study, the consumption of ultra-processed foods in America, consisting of fast food, ready-to-eat meals, sweets, salty snacks, canned soups, and breakfast cereals, has increased from an already high 53.5% in 2001 to 57% in 2017%.  Although my daughter did not eat an ultra-processed diet, she did eat many of the foods that would be under a list of common allergens such as, wheat, dairy, eggs, peanuts, and tree nuts, so I began the process of removing these foods from her diet. 

I do not suggest removing all the above foods at once, especially if you are trying to help a small child with Eczema. I am going to briefly touch on the four most important foods to eliminate when you are trying to bring down inflammation quickly. 



Gluten intolerance and Celiac Disease is on the rise and has seen a drastic increase since 1990. The wheat grown in the United States has changed drastically in the last 70 years. We now grow a genetic variant called Semi-Dwarf wheat. This type of wheat is grown so that farmers can harvest more product in less time and under tough conditions. This may be why someone with a gluten sensitivity may have symptoms in the United States, but not in Europe. Furthermore, gluten upregulates Zonulin which is a protein that regulates the tight junctions or barrier in the cells of the gut. When the tight junctions of the gut become disturbed, the permeability of the gut lining allows for foods and toxins to pass into the bloodstream causing a whole host of problems. This is called “leaky gut” and can result in chronic inflammatory disease. 

I strongly recommend anyone with an inflammatory condition to remove gluten for at least ninety days. When you remove gluten, you will also be removing many processed foods and foods sprayed with pesticides, precisely glyphosate. The great news about removing gluten is it is extremely accessible to find healthier, gluten-free options. It should be noted that many gluten-free foods are still heavily processed; therefore, you will need to read labels thoroughly. 


Conventional Dairy

Not all dairy is created equal, and replacing dairy with a vegan beverage that is ultra-processed and high in oxalates isn’t the answer either. For this reason, it is important to choose your dairy wisely. Look for dairy in which the animal is pasture raised, organic and preferably raw. If we look to the French, who have diets high in saturated fats, but low incidences of chronic inflammatory disease, we learn that dairy stimulates an enzyme in the digestive tract called alkaline phosphatase (IAP) that is responsible for detoxifying lipopolysaccharides, a pro-inflammatory microbe.  Furthermore, dairy raised responsibly has a high nutritional value as it is a complete protein with vitamin A, D, folate B12 and butyrate which stimulates intestinal IAP. Butyrate plays an important role in the digestive tract by supplying the colon cells with energy lowering inflammation and supporting immunity. 

Dairy that is acceptable when targeting Eczema and inflammation would be imported raw cheese, raw milk from a local trusted farmer, and butter or ghee for cooking. In fact, pastured ghee and butter is a much better choice for cooking as opposed to vegetable oil because saturated fats are more stable to heat and are not prone to oxidation. If you do choose to avoid dairy altogether, I suggest making your own almond milk from organic almonds or finding a brand such as MALK that does not have synthetic gums, nutrients, or stabilizers. 


Artificial Dyes and Flavors

Last summer, I got my daughter’s Eczema under control and then she started pre-school. It wasn’t long until the Eczema showed up all over the back of her legs. The teacher sent a note home one day saying that my daughter couldn’t focus, not only that she was always crying within an hour of picking her up. I finally asked the teacher if they were giving her any food at school besides what I was sending in for snacks and was told students get a skittle every day when they leave the classroom. That alone was enough to send her into a skin flare up, as well as emotional outbursts. For this reason, I don’t budge when it comes to artificial dyes for my child. Not only are artificial dyes banned in Europe, but studies also show that they are linked to hyperactivity, hypersensitivity, and tumors in children.   Luckily, there are plenty of treats available that use safe ingredients for coloring. Some of my favorites are Giggles, Unreal, Black Forest Organic, Trader Joe’s Gourmet jellybeans, TruSweets Candy Canes, King Arthurs Frosting and YumEarth Organic Lollipops. 


Vegetable Oils 

When we want to know which oils to cook with, we can once again look to the French, who use lard, tallow, ghee, butter, and olive oil. The fact is, the French, Italians and Spanish are the biggest consumers of saturated fats, but are leading in health outcomes. In the U.S. vegetable oils have replaced butter, ghee, and animal fat as the most used cooking oil in the last century, and we have never been sicker. 

The refining process of vegetable oil is a process that requires bleaching, degumming, and deodorizing to make these oils edible. Studies show that cold-pressed vegetable oils contain pesticides, PCBs, and PAHs which are all considered to be hazardous chemical contaminants.  Furthermore, vegetable oils are high in omega-6 fatty acids which promote the inflammatory response. Studies show that reducing omega-6 fatty acids and increasing omega-3’s is effective in combating inflammation. Unfortunately, most Americans have a high ratio in favor of omega-6’s, which is associated with increased inflammation, allergies and autoimmune issues. 

Ways to reduce your omega-6 intake and increase your omega-3’s: 

  • Eat more wild-caught fish, including salmon, sardines, anchovies, scallops, shrimp, and bass.  
  • Plant-based sources such as flaxseeds, chia seeds, and walnuts are good, but not as bioavailable.
  • Avoid vegetable oils by cooking with animal fats, ghee, cold pressed olive oil, butter, and coconut oil. 
  • When eating out, use a restaurant tracker to find better choices such as Seed Oil Scout or Localfats.com, which will guide you toward restaurants that cook with healthy fats.
  • Avoid fast food whenever possible. 
  • When traveling, pack healthy snacks and research healthy restaurant options. 
  • Read labels for added fats such as canola oil, soybean oil, or sunflower oil. 
  • Buy pasture raised eggs and meats.
  • Take a quality Omega-3 supplement such as Barleans, Cod Liver Oil or OrthoMega. 

Keep in mind that healing from inflammation is not a quick fix. It takes patience and a dedicated commitment to looking and feeling better. If you begin by taking steps to eliminate gluten, conventional dairy, artificial dyes, and vegetable oils, you will begin to reduce the inflammatory load on the body and skin will begin to heal. 


Tune in for Part 2 of this series on Gut Permeability and Chronic Inflammation


By Janelle Bertler, Traditional Naturopathic Practitioner 


In our healing journeys, the ghost of emotional trauma often plays a significant role. The adage, “No one gets out of childhood without traumas,” resonates profoundly as a universal truth. Trauma, however, is not solely confined to the grand, dramatic events that come to mind. While abuse, betrayal, illness, loss, and abrupt life changes are often seen as the monumental “big T” traumas, the canvas of our lives is also painted with “little t” traumas. These seemingly smaller incidents hold the power to create emotional distress, triggering a spectrum of negative emotions that disrupt our equilibrium. Regardless of their magnitude, these traumas demand attention and processing for healing to seed deep within the body!

Here at Longevity, sometimes we see people stay so focused on their physical symptoms (usually subconsciously) as an avoidance to feeling emotional pain. It’s a defense mechanism that may provide temporary respite but ultimately hinders the deeper healing process. Emotional traumas, like storms, can leave lasting imprints on our hearts and minds, even translating into tangible physical manifestations. The pain trauma brings might seem insurmountable, but just as a wound heals with time, so too can emotional scars. Healing from emotional traumas is a deeply personal journey that requires patience, self-compassion, the right mindset and rolling with the emotional flow of this physical life. The following steps unveil a path toward healing from emotional traumas, propelling us towards a state of wholeness and peace.



Awareness is the gateway toward healing. It’s the beginning of the path forward, out of the shadows of pain. Awareness creates the space needed for individuals to process their experiences, emotions, and memories. The process of validating the pain and the various emotions that accompany trauma is the foundation upon which recovery builds. Unprocessed emotions are wounds that remain hidden and fester below the surface, therefore, let the emotions flow. Give yourself permission to grieve, be angry, feel sad, etc., without attaching a narrative, judgment, or meaning. You may find it easiest to start with 15 minutes of manageable increments per day. Set a timer. When it goes off, promise your body you will show up again tomorrow! This process is a necessary part of integrating the trauma into one’s life story and finding meaning in the midst of pain. Awareness makes way for empowerment. It gives agency over the healing journey. You have control over your emotions, thoughts, and behaviors which allows for rebuilding a sense of self, regaining a sense of control, finding the strength to move forward and the resiliency to feel hope again.


Support Networks

Recognizing the need for help and seeking support is an integral part of the healing process. You don’t have to go through the healing journey alone. Reach out to friends, loved ones, support groups or therapists, who can offer guidance and understanding. Surround yourself with a support network who genuinely cares for your well-being and has your back. Not any one person can be all things, so diversify. Your support network can be immensely helpful during the healing process by providing validation, comfort, and a sense of belonging. Therapy can be useful in its ability to shine a light on your coping mechanisms, give you insights into your trauma, and provide you with tools to navigate healing. Therapists are excellent at providing understanding of how your formative years and specific traumas are still impacting your life. The beauty of support networks is that it can go both ways. When they need support, you can be there for them. 


Practice Forgiveness

Forgiveness is not about condoning harmful actions or letting others off the hook; it’s about releasing the heavy burden of resentment from your own heart. Forgiving doesn’t mean forgetting; it means freeing yourself from the chains of bitterness. Holding onto grudges, anger and resentment only perpetuates the cycle of pain. Forgiveness can begin by tapping into empathy and allowing release. It is a process that’s unique to each individual and may take time. Remember to incorporate self-forgiveness in the process as well. Research on forgiveness shows improved mental health, less anxiety/depression, lower blood pressure, a stronger immune system, improved heart health, improved self-esteem and healthier relationships. All well worth the time invested.



Reflective practice allows us to observe our own thoughts and feelings. Most times our thoughts and feelings go unobserved, creating repetitive negative patterns. Developing the ability to slow down, creates space for observation allowing for gaining understanding, identifying patterns and triggers, transforming actions, and finding forward momentum. Self-reflection can lead to profound insights and safeguard against inadvertently re-traumatizing yourself or others. As you pen down your traumatic experiences, I challenge you to rewrite your story from a place of empowerment – extract lessons, both positive and challenging, that the experience offered. How does your prior experience reverberate in your life now? Just remember to not get lost in the mind. Bring it into action. How do you want to adapt? How are you going to bounce back? How are you going to interact with those around you, creating a different pattern moving forward? What can you let go of? Consistent self-reflection nurtures accountability, fostering personal growth that ripples outward, benefiting not only you but those who share your journey. Through reflection, you build a bridge between past wounds and present healing, fostering resilience and empowerment.



Cultivating a resilient mindset is akin to tending to the garden of your thoughts, carefully nurturing the beliefs that shape your reality. Marisa Peer explains, “a belief is just a thought that plays over and over,” so begin to choose your thoughts wisely. Mindset influences how you think, feel, and behave in every given situation. Therefore, by growing a resilient mindset we harness our inner strength, cushioning ourselves from the effects of daily stressors. The mindset that fosters resilience begins with the following traits: optimism, positive self-talk, purpose, adaptability, emotional intelligence, and an ability to work through problems. All these traits can be grown! Srikumar Roa talks about situations as neither good nor bad. He recommends holding the perspective of “who knows, we will see.” I challenge you to invite a sense of curiosity, looking for the silver lining, even if all you can see right now are dark clouds. Resilience won’t make your problems go away — but resilience can give you the ability to see past them, allowing for satisfaction, peace, and enjoyment in life with a better ability to manage stress and adversity. If we apply the mind’s healing power, we can heal not only our mental and emotional afflictions but physical problems too.



The journey towards authenticity dances hand in hand with self-discovery and self-compassion. Authenticity is particularly pivotal for trauma survivors, as it involves shedding the protective facades and embracing one’s true self. Authenticity requests vulnerability and as vulnerability flourishes it begins to dismantle self-defensive behaviors which were constructed in response to trauma. An authentic person is someone who exudes genuineness, honesty, and comfort in their own skin, unburdened by the need for external acceptance. It’s a key that unlocks one’s true potential and is associated with higher self-esteem, psychological well-being, and genuine happiness. Authenticity forms the foundation for relationships, enabling individuals to be appreciated for their true selves. The journey of inviting vulnerability and becoming more authentic to you, is a journey that empowers healing, self-connection, and the ability to communicate needs with clarity. This ultimately leads to a life where one can unabashedly be themselves, embraced and valued for all their unique thoughts, beliefs, emotional needs, and desires. Embrace the journey of owning the masterpiece that is you – every facet and hue.


Set Boundaries

Boundaries are like the guardians of our emotional and psychological well-being, and they play a pivotal role in the healing journey from trauma. When individuals establish clear and healthy boundaries, they create a safe space where they can protect themselves from potential triggers and emotional distress. This safety provides a foundation for healing, allowing survivors to regain a sense of control over their lives and their personal space. Boundaries act as a buffer against re-traumatization, preventing others from crossing lines that might evoke painful memories or emotions. Moreover, they enable trauma survivors to define their needs and communicate them effectively, fostering a sense of agency and empowerment. In essence, boundaries are the scaffolding upon which the process of healing can be built, helping individuals navigate the path towards recovery with greater resilience and self-assuredness.


Lifestyle Support 

Lifestyle can either support or hinder the emotional healing process. Let’s highlight the categories to pay attention to in your daily life.

  1. Self-Care Practices: Exercise, Stretch, Yoga, Tai Chi, Meditation, Deep Breathing, and Tapping all assist in managing stress, reducing anxiety, and supports staying grounded.
  2. Nutrition: A nutrient-rich diet that nourishes the body supports the brain with the necessary fuel to function normally, stabilize mood and improve energy levels. 
  3. Sleep: Quality sleep is vital for the processing of traumas and supports emotional regulation. Create a restful sleep environment. 
  4. Physical Activity: Regular exercise has been proven to reduce anxiety, depression, and can assist in releasing pent up energy. It releases the feel-good hormone called endorphins, supporting elevated mood. 
  5. Creativity & Expression: Art, writing, and music are excellent therapeutics supports that can assist in processing of emotions. 



Healing from emotional traumas is a journey of reclaiming ourselves. It requires compassion, patience, and consistent effort. Its ultimate goal is to lighten the heart, leading to a state of wholeness and an internal sense of peace. Just as a garden requires time to bloom after a storm, so too does the soul in the process of healing. This transformation of pain into wisdom, scars into stories, and darkness into newfound serenity is a testament to human resilience. It’s important to acknowledge that healing is not a linear path; there will be setbacks and challenges along the way. Yet, each small step forward is a cause for celebration, honoring the strength within. With the right support system, self-care regimen, and a willingness to confront past pain, one can turn trauma into an opportunity for personal growth.


Homeopathic & Nutritional Supports

Longevity’s Nutrition Shop has a wide range of support for emotional healing.

  • Solace Milleu Homeopathic
  • Grief Relief Herbal
  • Relief-Tone Homeopathic
  • Relax-Tone Homeopathic
  • Calm Five Homeopathic
  • St. John’s Wort
  • Happy Saffron
  • Zen
  • Everyday Stress Relief 
  • Bach flowers
  • And a whole bunch more

Feel free to ask your practitioner which product will be supportive to you and your situation.


Further Resources

Healing What’s Hidden: Practical Steps to Overcoming Trauma by Evan & Jenny Owens

Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself by Joe Dispenza

It Didn’t Start with You by Mark Wolynn

I Am Enough by Marisa Peer

Tell Yourself a Better Lie by Marisa Peer

The Tapping Solution: A Revolutionary System for Stress Free Living by Nick Ortner

Making Sense of Men by Alison Armstrong

Understanding Women: Unlock the Mystery by Alison Armstrong

The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk, MD

Getting Past Your Past by Francine Sharpiro PhD


An Interview with Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Niccole Edwins of Explore Health and Wellness Pediatrics

Our patients are always on the hunt for a pediatrician that will respect and support them in their holistic nutrition and lifestyle efforts, and we often refer them to Niccole Edwins, Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner at Explore Health and Wellness Pediatrics.

We love that in addition to her wealth of knowledge and experience treating children, Niccole is well-versed in children’s homeopathic remedies and natural supplements and recommends them often for her patients. She strives to get to the root cause of health conditions in children.

As we head into back-to-school season, we sat down with Niccole to hear her advice for preparing kids’ immune systems for a healthy and happy school year. Enjoy this Q&A, and learn more about Explore Health and Wellness Pediatrics at https://www.goexplorehealth.com/pediatric-medicine

What are some ways to boost kids’ immune systems as they prepare to head back to school? 

I am a firm believer in good nutrition being the best medicine! Some of my favorite supplements are vitamin D3, vitamin C, zinc, probiotics, elderberry and an omega supplement. I recommended discussing what regimen would be best for you with your health care practitioner.

What are some ways to boost kids’ focus as they return to classroom learning? 

Get outside and play! Children need good sleep and for most children I recommended 10-12 hours of sleep at night. Ensure a well-balanced diet and keep  sugars and processed foods to a minimum. The cliche, but very valuable saying of “the most important meal of the day is breakfast” really to rings true.  Reducing and keeping electronic stimulation to a minimum helps greatly.

How can parents support kids’ mental and emotional health after the trying and disruptive pandemic years? 

The pandemic was a tough season for everyone! It’s been challenging for families to reestablish a new routine since then. Keeping open communication, focusing on the positive, socializing and getting back into a routine can all help promote mental and emotional health. Children thrive on consistency, so trying to maintain a “schedule” to some extent is beneficial for them. I know I seem repetitive, but nutrition, physical activity and sleep also affect mental and emotional health.  Finding something your child really enjoys doing and encouraging that for at least 30 minutes a day can reduce stress levels. I recommend for parents to closely monitor for changes in behaviors (emotional, physical, mental, etc.) and if changes are occurring, talk with your healthcare practitioner for further assistance.

What are some tips for boosting kids’ nutrition and supporting their growing brains and bodies? 

Children are very impressionable. Therefore, it’s crucial for parents to set the example by eating a well balanced diet. Fresh fruits and vegetables, protein and incorporating good fats (avocado, nut butters, oils, salmon, flax and chia seeds) can boost growth and development. Vitamin D3, probiotics, omegas and multivitamins are just a few I routinely discuss with families.

Do you have any tips for parents of picky eaters? 

Constant re-exposure to foods is key. Getting creative with the presentation of food from how it is served, what it is served on, how it is cooked, etc. helps. Have the child help you in the kitchen. Cooking with your child is fun and they will end up taste testing along the way. Food pickiness can stem from a power struggle, so offering choices allows the child to feel like they are in control, while you get them to eat what you’d like.  For example, you can ask “what bowl would you like to eat from, the red bowl or the blue bowl?” Try not to get frustrated or discouraged, but instead make food fun. If picky eating continues to be a struggle, I encourage you to speak with your healthcare provider to see if there may be a reason behind “picky” eater.