NATURAL MEDICINE: Warm Weather Wisdom

By on June 21, 2016

A few ways to enhance your health while the sun is shining.


JACKSON HOLE, WY – During summer in Jackson people go into activity overdrive. Who can blame them? Summer here is fleeting but so sweet, with an array of recreation and entertainment options.

Remaining energized enough to get the most  out of a Jackson Hole summer  takes a bit of planning, but eating better is the best place to start. Now I’m not suggesting a total dietary makeover, instead just three tips to get you moving in a direction that will have you feeling and looking better fast.

Dig into local

As farmers markets sprout up, it’s a great time to take advantage of the organic locally grown fruits and vegetables available to us in the valley. Last Wednesday was the first Peoples Market at Snow King, 4 to 7 p.m.. The Jackson Farmers market starts July 8, 8 a.m. to noon on the Town Square.

The organic food found at the markets has more vitamins and minerals and far lower levels of pesticide and toxic weed-killing substances like glyphosate (Monsanto’s Roundup), a proven carcinogen. The use of Roundup in food production has skyrocketed in the last five years and higher residual levels are being measured in people of all ages. Science has gained a greater understanding of the relationship between your gut microbiome and your health. The organisms in your microbiome are very negatively affected by Roundup.

Minimize the toxins

Not only does fast food deliver very high amounts of calories, a recent study from George Washington University found that regular fast food customers are receiving a very toxic extra: phthalates. Phthalates are chemicals used as plasticizers (increasing flexibility in plastics); they get into the food through processing.

These foods have been on conveyer belts, handled by people wearing plastic gloves and stored in plastic, all of which passes along phthalates. They have been linked to a variety of diseases including diabetes, allergic diseases, children’s behavioral conditions and fertility, to name a few.

There’s no arguing with the convenience of fast food, but if you need to grab something quick, I recommend that you go to one of the supermarkets and pick up a whole chicken and some greens from the salad bar, or another prepared food. I always advise my patients to have a back up meal in the freezer, maybe some shrimp and broccoli. Just defrost and steam. You’ll feel and look better if you go this route instead of the drive-through.

Start the day right

I’ve never liked to eat in the morning, but I recently started having a smoothie every mroning and now I’m a smoothie convert. The surge of energy I feel kick starts my day. Remember Popeye after he ate the spinach? It’s like that. The following recipe is healthful and delicious. One of my patients said to me last week, “This smoothie is not like  Gatorade, marketed as healthy but not really healthy.” He’s right—Gatorade is loaded with chemicals and artificial sweeteners.

This, on the other hand, is a health food smoothie, not a milkshake in disguise. See how you feel after enjoying it for a week.

Green smoothie for two

2 stalks of organic celery

1 cup of organic frozen mango (more for children to increase sweetness, less if you are watching your sugar)

1/3 carton organic spinach or kale

7 ice cubes

1 tsp. chia seeds

1 tsp. flax seeds

2 tbsp. almond butter

I cup coconut milk (SoDelicious brand in the green carton)

1/2 cup hemp milk (vanilla unsweetened)

1 cup water (more or less for desired consistency)

The old saying is true – You are what you eat. And you will profit from the investment you make when you give your body cleaner fuel to burn this summer. Start with these three tips and let me know how you’re doing. PJH

Dr. Monique Lai has been practicing naturopathic medicine for 20 years. She is an alternative health expert with a family practice in Jackson where she works with patients to restore their health.

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About Dr. Monique Lai

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