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THE THREE COMMANDMENTS OF WATER

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I’m always completely amazed when someone tells me that they “hate” water. I just can never wrap my head around this statement, because water is actually my favorite drink! Not only is it my beverage of choice, but I love it for all of the reasons that people give me for hating it, ironically. It has no taste. It has no odor. It has no color. For some, qualities like these equal something that’s boring. For me, qualities like these equal something that’s guaranteed to be consistent and refreshing. I never have to worry about getting tired of or adjusted to a certain “taste” or “scent” since it has none. It’s a winner to me! Plus, when you factor in all of the health benefits behind it…whew!! I’m completely sold! So now, let’s talk about my favorite drink…

Commandment 1: Thou Shall Drink Water
Next to oxygen, water is the most important factor for survival of man and animals. A person can do without food for five weeks or more, but without water he/she can survive for only a few days. Water is your body's MAIN chemical component, and makes up about 70% of your body weight! So, if you do the math, you’d realize that just about every system in your body depends on water…not soda, not energy drinks, nor any other liquid! For instance, it protects your organs and tissues, it prevents constipation, it dissolves minerals and nutrients so they’re easier to access by your cells, it regulates your body temperature, it lubricates your joints, it flushes out toxins, and it carries oxygen to your cells, just to name a few.

Commandment 2: Thou Shall Drink Water Daily  
Every day, every moment actually, we are losing water! People typically only think about losing water with urination, but you also lose water through your breath (respiration), your sweat (perspiration), through your bowel movements, etc. This is something that should be taken very seriously, because in order for our bodies to function properly, we are responsible for replenishing our own water supply by consuming the appropriate amount daily.

Commandment 3: Thou Shall Drink The Correct Amount of Water Daily
I know in school, we were all taught about consuming our 8 glasses of water a day. This is a great start, but it’s not the end all in figuring out how much water to consume daily. This is because the answer varies from person to person, depending on weight, activity level, environment, etc. This “8 glasses a day” is much too cookie-cutter for me, and needs to be a lot more customized. For instance, obviously the person working out for an hour a day, 6 days a week will need more water than the person who works a 9-5 desk job with little to no exercise. The person who lives in an environment causing increased perspiration (i.e. hot or tropical climate zones) will need more water than the person who lives in a more standard temperature zone. Lastly, the person who weighs 210 lbs will need more than the person who weighs 175 lbs. Luckily for you, there is a simple and quick way to determine roughly the minimum number of ounces you should be consuming per day. The equation is to take your current weight and divide it in half. The answer you get is the magic number! So, an individual weighing 188 lbs should be consuming a minimum of about 94 ounces of water per day. I say “minimum” because of course this number increases as your activity level increases, if you live in an environment causing increased perspiration, etc. 

Wondering just how to get in this much water each day? Well, I have many tricks up my sleeve for doing this! Stay tuned for part II of this blog to get tips on just how to get in half your body weight in ounces each day that really work! I want you to start reaping the health benefits of adequate water hydration, because once you see what water can do for your wellness, you too may start calling it your favorite drink!

 

Katherine Igah-Phillips, MD, MHA

Returning to Nature, LLC.

www.returning2nature.com

FB: www.facebook.com/returning2nature

IG: @returning2nature

ENHANCING YOUR FIGHT AGAINST SEASONAL ALLERGIES (Pt 2)

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As you learned in part one of this blog, a crucial part of winning the battle against pollen is boosting your Immune System. As promised, here are five easy and quick ways to fortify your Immune System naturally!

Five Easy Ways to Fortify the Immune System

Diet

Begin to incorporate more nutrient-dense, whole foods. Avoid a diet filled with excess sugar, artificial sweeteners, processed foods, & GMOs (genetically modified organisms). In fact, sugar has a direct NEGATIVE impact on the immune system by suppressing it. Finally, try to incorporate at least one super food with each meal (i.e. kale, avocado, any berries, garlic, tumeric seasoning, etc.).

Water

Begin to consume at least half your body weight in ounces of water each day. Water hydration will be your secret weapon! Be very intentional about getting in the right amount each day. You can also take it a step farther by consuming mainly spring or alkaline water. Feel free to infuse your water, as well, for flavoring with berries, lemons, key limes, grapefruit, mint leaves, etc.

Exercise

No time to get to the gym? Personal trainer not in the budget? No problem! You can do workouts in as little as 30-40 minutes in the comfort and convenience of your own home. Exercise doesn’t have to look a certain way, you just simply need to engage in an activity that elevates your heart rate and causes some sort of muscle resistance. This will help you release toxins, enhance circulation, tackle some free radicals, and boost your over-all immune system…just to name a few!

Sleep

Yes, there is a definite correlation between the quality of your immune system and how much good old natural sleep you are getting each day. It is an old wives' tale that if you don't sleep well, you'll get sick...but year after year, study after study, this concept has been shown to carry truth behind it. In fact, sleep deprivation directly suppresses the immune system! Furthermore, inadequate sleep not only plays a role in whether you get sick or not, but it also has a direct impact over how well you fight infections and illness-related symptoms when you DO get sick. This is why when you have a cold, the flu, a fever, etc. getting plenty of rest is always at the top of your doctor's orders. When you sleep, you in turn get a better response from your body to fight off the infection and win the battle (i.e. when your body produces a fever, that's one of its "battle weapons" to kill off the infection...hence why fevers tend to rise at night time...the time of day when you should be getting the most sleep).

Supplements

Supplements are a great way to get in all of the nutrients missed in diet, missed in our produce from over-farming and excess pesticide use, and/or lost during our food preparation process. You want to make sure you are taking high quality, Immune System enhancing supplements daily (i.e. a potent multivitamin, probiotics, mushroom complex, garlic, vitamin D, vitamin C, etc.).

It’s also a good idea to just get in the habit of knowing about the pollen trends in your area, and developing habits to help you minimize your exposure. For instance: 

  • - Monitor the pollen count.
  • - Keep windows and doors shut at home and in your car during allergy season.
  • - Stay inside midday and during the afternoon (this is when pollen counts are typically highest).
  • - Take a shower and change your clothes after you’ve been working or playing outdoors.
  • - Get in the habit of changing out of your “outside clothes” before sitting or laying on your bed.
  • - Wear a face mask when mowing the lawn or doing other chores outdoors.

                                   

Katherine Igah-Phillips, MD, MHA

Returning to Nature, LLC.

www.returning2nature.com

FB: www.facebook.com/returning2nature

IG: @returning2nature

MY STORY

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Hello! My name is Dr. Katherine Igah-Phillips, but to many I am known as simply “Dr. K.”! I am an Integrative Medicine Practitioner and Holistic Wellness Coach. I’d love to share my journey with you on just how and why I got here, and what has led me to become an expert on the balancing of mental, spiritual, and physical wellness...

MY BEGINNINGS

I’m actually from Ohio (Buckeye Nation), city of Dayton to be exact (City of Aviation). I was raised by Nigerian parents (both Igbo, from southeast Nigeria), and I am the oldest of their six children. From a very young age, as many Nigerian parents are known to do, they shaped my character with their individual passions for education, success and living a purpose-driven life. This led me to know what I wanted to do with my life by the time I was in Junior High.  I wanted to help people medically…make sick people feel better. I wanted to be a doctor. I did what we called at the time “candy striping”, spending summer vacations volunteering in local hospitals and clinics to confirm that this was really what I truly wanted to do for the rest of my life…

MY JOURNEY

After high school, I began down the path to becoming a doctor the only way I knew how to at the time…medical school. I started my college career off by obtaining a Bachelor of Arts in Biology, Pre-Medicine/Chemistry, and Psychology. I later completed a Master’s Degree in Healthcare Administration. I achieved my goal of entering medical school, and began the well-known, four-year rigorous curriculum…

MY AWAKENING

About mid-way through the medical school curriculum, I became confronted by the excessive emphasis on the use of pharmaceutical drugs to manage disease. They each always came with a laundry list of side effects, not to mention that they were only masking symptoms rather than addressing the underlying cause of the patient’s issue. Discussion of other resolution factors such as diet, lifestyle, vitamins/supplements, water hydration, etc. was practically non-existent. This was highly contradictory to how I grew up, using various Nigerian herbs and creams to resolve issues, being taught early on about organic eating and limiting sugar intake from my mother, being instructed to take my multivitamin daily, etc. This didn’t sit well with me at all, and I knew I had to learn more. I had to get to the bottom of this. I went on to complete the curriculum and obtain my M.D., mainly so I would have more autonomy to learn and practice the “unconventional” things I knew I wanted take on. Immediately upon graduation, with my excitement and curiosity running wild, I began exploring the world of natural medicine. I went through 3 years of mind-altering post-graduate training in Integrative and Holistic Medicine with an Integrative Family Medicine Physician and a Naturopathic Doctor, within their respective Atlanta-based practices…

MY REACTION

As a result of this extensive training, I went on to launch Returning to Nature in the Spring of 2013. Returning to Nature was initially established as a movement designed to create awareness around the world of integrative medicine and holistic wellness. I took on the role of being a public speaker and educator as I began receiving invitations to present wellness lectures, webinars, make special guest appearances at local health fairs and community health functions, and to be a featured guest on wellness radio and talk shows…all under the umbrella of Returning to Nature.

In the Summer of 2013, I decided to initiate a wellness project of my very own. I organized my first Holistic Health Expo, where I showcased only holistic and alternative healing options in health fair format. Shortly thereafter, I went on to introduce Returning to Nature’s results-oriented Holistic Wellness Coaching Service to appease the demand of those in need of my one-on-one guidance to achieving mental, physical and spiritual well-being…

MY FUTURE

In-between wellness events, I now maintain daily connection with my Returning to Nature following via regular health posts on Returning to Nature’s social media pages, emailed newsletters and the website’s blog posts. With a rapidly growing audience, I will continue chasing my dream of changing the way we view healthcare, and empowering people to live disease-free lives that they truly love!

 

Katherine Igah-Phillips, MD, MHA

Returning to Nature, LLC.

www.returning2nature.com

FB: www.facebook.com/returning2nature

IG: @returning2nature

DEAR SEASONAL ALLERGIES, YOU'RE NOT WELCOME HERE! (Pt 1)

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Today is the perfect day to talk about seasonal allergies, because it’s officially that time of year now! Let’s face it, they are very inconveniencing, uncomfortable, painful at times, and no one likes them. Wouldn’t it be great if you could always be one step ahead, preventing your attacks rather than responding to them?

How Do I know if I Have Seasonal Allergies?

If you sneeze and cough, or your nose and eyes itch and are runny during certain times of the year, you may have seasonal allergies. Grass, pollen and mold are the most common triggers of seasonal allergies.

Your Immune System

Although we are highlighting seasonal allergies, I like to think of all allergies as a breech in the immune system. Let’s consider that this intricate system has fallen victim to a hacker. Since we are specifying seasonal allergies, the hacker of the day today will be known to many as Pollen. Pollen has become an enemy to many, especially those living in areas known for having exceptionally high pollen counts during the spring and sometimes summer months. Pollen in and of itself is not a bad thing, and in fact is very necessary for the reproduction of many plants. However, when our immune system is compromised, the hacker can now infiltrate this much more sensitive environment and wreak havoc. So, let’s consider boosting your immune system and making is so strong that nothing can bother or infiltrate it.

Stay tuned for part II of this blog, where I will provide you with five easy and quick ways to fortify your Immune System! You definitely don’t want to miss these tips to enhance your fight against the horrible effects of seasonal allergies...

 

Katherine Igah-Phillips, MD, MHA

Returning to Nature, LLC.

www.returning2nature.com

FB: www.facebook.com/returning2nature

IG: @returning2nature

INTEGRATIVE MEDICINE AND HOLISTIC WELLNESS

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Sometimes when asked what realm of medicine the work I do falls within, and I reply with the term "Integrative Medicine" or "Holistic Medicine", a strange look of confusion sweeps over the person's face. Many people get it, love it and want only to deal with this route medically…yet there are still some who this is fairly new to. Wherever you may be on the spectrum, hopefully reading this blog will help!

THE HISTORY

Holistic Medicine, dating as far back as Hippocrates, refers to the consideration of the WHOLE or complete person (physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually) during management and prevention of disease. I treat my own clients holistically because I firmly believe in the notion that our over-all wellbeing relies not only on what’s going on with us physically in terms of illness, but also on the close inter-relation of this with those other realms. They’re all equally important and should be managed or BALANCED together. In order to treat clients this way, during consultations, I gather information on the client’s WHOLE life situation.

THE DIFFERENCE FROM CONVENTIONAL MEDICINE

Just like Conventional Medicine, Holistic Medicine also treats symptoms and diseases. However, Holistic Medicine takes things up a notch by also looking for the UNDERLYING CAUSE of these symptoms. Sound confusing? Well, think of it this way…when I am treating a symptom, I am always looking for the story behind the story. For instance, if pain is the symptom, rather than just giving my patient something to take to get rid of it (giving them temporary relief), I’d get to the bottom of what his/her body is trying to communicate to us with the pain signals in the first place. This way, I can address the root cause of the pain (giving them PERMANENT relief).                                

THE USE OF CONVENTIONAL MEDICINE

I never want to paint the picture that I am “anti” conventional medicine. I have received a wealth of education and training in it, and feel that it definitely has its place. I also feel that natural therapies have their place, as well. The key, and the benefit to being trained in both sides, is knowing the balanced dance to do between the two worlds to achieve optimal healing and well-being for my patients. Now, I will say that I do use natural healing techniques majority of the time for disease management and prevention. Conventional Medicine usually prevails in circumstances dealing with trauma, emergencies, surgical procedures, severe infectious disease, etc. Holistic Medicine is a route of healing that incorporates MANY treatment approaches. Nutrition, exercise, supplements, homeopathy, prayer, acupuncture and meditation just to name a few, may be used alone or even with conventional medicine as part of a holistic approach.                               

HOLISTIC CONSULTATIONS

Well, I’m sure you’ve already done the math. If I have to dive into all of these different realms of your life, and implement multiple modes of treatment approaches, you can imagine that the usual 10-20 minute consultation times associated with Conventional Medicine just wouldn’t cut it. I spend on average about an hour with each patient, almost two for new patients (initial consultations). Great listening and communication skills are crucial during the consultation in order to gather and organize the patient's story. I also encourage patient participation in the doctor-patient relationship, because we are a team. I am there as more of a coach or accountability partner, empowering the patient to take charge of his/her health with my assistance.                           

THE TERM “INTEGRATIVE”

As I said above, holistic medicine can incorporate some conventional medicine. Typically, any healthcare practitioner can practice holistically, from nurses to chiropractors to naturopaths. My belief is that when you have someone who was originally educated and trained in conventional medicine (as I was in medical school), and then this individual decides to incorporate or INTEGRATE many holistic therapies in their protocols (as I do now with my patients), this person is now termed an Integrative Medical Doctor or Integrative Practitioner. There’s a heavier emphasis on those holistic therapies with a strong tradition of documented effects, careful research and ongoing study. Interested in what Integrative Medicine can do for you? You're more than welcome to come to my Integrative Medicine practice (Mind Body Spirit Wellness Center) located in the Brookhaven area of Atlanta, GA. Check out the website (mbswellness.org), call to book time to speak with me, and let’s get your wellness journey started together!                                       

 

Katherine Igah-Phillips, MD, MHA

Returning to Nature, LLC.

www.returningtonature.com

FB: www.facebook.com/returning2nature

IG: @returning2nature