Out With the Cold, In With a New You

By Carly Peterson, PA-C

Winter’s cold grip has loosened. The sun is shining warm and bright. You’re ready to step out in less clothes with confidence, right? If you’re one of the more than 78.6 million Americans who are struggling with obesity/being overweight, you’re probably shouting, “WRONG!” What if I told you that you could lose excess weight and feel your best with 3 simple lifestyle changes? Diet, exercise, and good supplements are the key to vitality, both inside and out.

                                                                                                                 Carly Peterson, PA-C

                                                                                                                 Carly Peterson, PA-C

Obesity is classified by a person’s body mass index, or BMI. This is a calculation of weight compared to height. I find this a pretty good indicator for the average person. This is not, however, a good tool for athletes or those who have higher muscle mass. In order to calculate your BMI, multiply your weight x 704.5 and divide by your height in inches. Then divide by your height in inches again. A BMI of 19-24 is good. 25-29.5 is overweight, 30-34 is mildly obese, 35-39.5 is moderately obese, and over 40 is considered morbidly obese.

Besides looking good in a bikini, why does this really matter? Over 80% of type II diabetes, 70% of all heart disease, and 42% of all colon and breast cancers are related to obesity. The decisions that YOU make each day can lead you down a path of health and wellness or to a life of chronic disease.  So what can you do? First, you must be conscientious about the food you put into your body. What we eat directly communicates with our genes. A body that is fed with GMO’s, antibiotic- and hormone-laden meat, high-inflammatory wheat, and gluten will not age as gracefully as a body fed with clean, organic, free-range food.

Here at the NHIC, we recognize the role that inflammation has on the body as well as on the quality and longevity of life and we strive to reduce this harmful by-product. Inflammation is a normal body function that has spun out of control due to the processed foods and chemicals to which we are exposed. When it comes to diet, I have three recommendations. Let me preface these recommendations with a guarantee that you will not only feel the best but you will also look the best if you choose to follow these. I recommend that you eliminate gluten products (wheat/barley/rye), dairy products, and refined/processed sugars from your diets. This sounds like a tall order, I know. However it is these three diet components that will impact your health, and your looks, the greatest. 

In addition to removing these offending agents from your diet, it is important to be sure that you’re eating enough protein. Protein is the basic building block for muscle. Protein also helps to keep you feeling full longer. A typical adult weighing 150 pounds requires 88 grams of protein per day, translating to approximately 30 grams per meal. Even more protein (up to 115 grams) is required for someone who weight trains. UltraMeal Advanced Protein by Metagenics is a medical-grade food and protein supplement that makes getting extra (healthy) protein into your diet easier. One scoop of this powder into water or a milk alternative is only 80 calories and supplies 15 grams of protein with a comprehensive spectrum of essential vitamins and minerals to support protein utilization. Another great choice for on-the-go protein is Metagenics Ultra Energy Bars which also provide 15 grams of protein plus 9 grams of fiber per bar! A diet low in carbohydrates and high in protein help support an ideal body composition, or the amount of relative fat to muscle in your body.         

Exercise is also a key component to optimal health and wellness. 20-30 minutes of dedicated time to exercise daily is vital for proper body. I recommend a visit to the Natural Health Improvement Center to have a bioelectrical impedance analysis, or BIA. A BIA is an easy and painless tool that we use to calculate your current ratio of fat mass to muscle mass. The BIA will also tell you your basal metabolic rate, which is how many calories your body burns a day without any physical activity. This is important to identify how many calories you should be consuming daily to reach your desired weight loss/fat loss goal. The BIA is performed in our office and is done in minutes. 

Lastly, high-quality supplements protect you from the wrath of unavoidable inflammation. We recommend every person take a high-quality multivitamin, purified fish oils, and calcium/magnesium daily. I also highly recommend a daily probiotic to stave off infection and illness to keep you on track with your workouts and weight loss goals!
Losing weight and feeling great takes the right knowledge and support and this is exactly what the NHIC provides for our patients. Contact us today to get started on the path toward a happy and healthy future! 

Carly Peterson, PA-C is accepting new patients as a holistic primary care practitioner. She offers services such as yearly physicals, well-child checkups, weight loss, hormone replacement, food allergies, thyroid and adrenal imbalance.

More Zzzs Please!

Living in a state of anxiety is a common occurrence in today's fast-paced world. Uncertainty seems to pervade every aspect of our lives. Fears of losing our jobs (or not finding one), frayed personal relationships, tainted foods and medicines, terrorists, pirates, and a thousand other worries are heaped onto a life already moving at a hectic pace. And all of this is more present in our lives with television and the internet. This constant level of anxiety takes a toll, on both a physical and emotional level. For some, the fears become so overwhelming and out of control that they succumb to panic attacks and/or chronic insomnia. There are many herbal and natural remedies that can support relaxation and help us regain balance, peace of mind and restful sleep, alleviating or reducing the need for psychotropic drugs.


1.    Get regular exercise
2.   Develop a sleeping ritual, aiming for improved relaxation, low lighting and low mental stimulation, with as much resolution of emotional dilemmas as possible before bedtime
3.   Reduce overall stress from sleep, work and family to improve sleep quality
4.   Improved sleep hygiene with the following:
-Minimize light, noise, temperature changes in bedroom
-Use the bedroom only for sleep and sex; avoid TV, computer, reading, or radio in the bedroom
-Avoid eating big meals and sweets before bed to avoid blood sugar drops and indigestion
-Limit stimulants, including caffeine, nicotine, alcohol during the day, especially close to bedtime
-Avoid vigorous exercise during the 2 hours prior to sleep
-To avoid worrying about falling asleep on time, cover the alarm clock to avoid anxiety
-Surround yourself with positive thoughts, people and activities
-Consider the Grand Rapids Center for Mindfulness to help you control stress and anxiety
-Consider Yoga Nidra, a form of gradient relaxation to improve relaxation and sleep

NATURAL INTERVENTIONS available at the Natural Health Improvement Center:

  • Kavinace (GABA precursor): 1-2 at bedtime and up to a total of 6 caps per day, as needed.
  • Natural Z’s (combination herbal): 1-2 at bedtime and up to a total of 6 caps per day, as needed.
  • Nusera, chewable: 1 chewed, up to 6 daily, for acute stress or sleep, in 15 minutes reduces cortisol 40%.
  • Tran-Q Chinese herbal blend: 1-2 at bedtime. More can be taken up to 6 caps per day, as needed.
  • TranCor (GABA support): 1-2 at bedtime. More can be taken up to 6 caps per day, as needed.
  • Formula 303 homeopathic of valerian and passion flower: 1-2 at bedtime and up to a total of 6 tabs per day, as needed. These can be swallowed or placed under the tongue to work a bit faster.
  •  Valerian Root (Douglas Labs): 200 mg, 1-3 or Valerian Complex (Standard Process) – valerian 140 mg, plus passion flower and jujube - we special order this item due to higher pricing, 1-4 tabs, near bedtime. 
  •  Melatonin: 3 mg, 1-4 tablets ½ hour before bed. With more than 9 mg watch for grogginess next morning. 

Have questions? Just call us and ask to be transferred to the Supplement Department!

A Message to Our Patients...

Are You Really Getting Better Value from Cheaper, Over-The-Counter Supplements?

All supplements are not created equal. In fact, even when you purchase the "same" supplement from Amazon that was recommended to you here in the office, you are taking a risk. There are a few important reasons we only use certain supplement companies here at the Natural Health Improvement Center. Here is why we are so picky about what we provide to our patients!

1.    CHEAPER BRANDS OF THE “SAME THING”: A cheaper brand of a doctor-recommended supplement does not always give you the same ingredients or effectiveness. Often, bargain brand supplements have unnecessary additives and can contain allergy-causing ingredients, preservatives and food coloring. (Click here to read a Washington Post article addressing the recent supplement scandal involving GNC, Target, Walmart, and Walgreens.)

2.    “I CAN GET THE “SAME THING” ONLINE”: There are often hidden consequences to buying the same products we recommend cheaper online. Maybe they have been sitting in a warehouse, shipped in hot trucks, outdated and re-labeled, or are about to expire. Some of the suppliers we trust have done private laboratory studies on bargain supplements in an effort to see what the public is actually getting. What they find is that these discounted supplements have lost their integrity and have most likely been tampered with or mishandled. Our practitioners have spent countless hours researching the companies that formulate our supplements and have even toured their facilities. You can feel confident that products purchased from your provider are effective and of the highest quality available.

•    Your physician is in the unique position to help monitor your program and progress, enabling you to discuss and revise when needed. 
•    Only supplements dispensed by your physician may be eligible for tax deductions. 
•    Your healthcare provider can assure the proper handling and storage of temperature sensitive products. 
•    Your healthcare provider stands behind products purchased. Usually, a third party will not.


Do you have questions about supplements? Your answers are just a phone call away.

Delicious Paleo Donut Recipe

If you are trying to cut out gluten, dairy and processed sugars from your diet, and totally miss your morning donut, I am happy to announce this delicious donut recipe to you! The texture and flavor is absolute perfection for any donut lover!  These donuts freeze and thaw well for mass production in your spare time allowing convenient and healthy breakfast options.

Are you new to coconut flour?  It works a bit different than regular flour in that a smaller quantity is needed when you are attempting to substitute coconut flour for regular flour in your favorite recipes. People are raving about coconut flour especially with all the Paleo love these days.  Coconut flour is rich in protein, fiber and fat which makes it very filling.  In addition, coconut flour is a source of lauric acid (a good saturated fat) which is linked to immune system and thyroid support.  

6 eggs
4 Tablespoons coconut oil, slightly melted
4 Tablespoons almond milk
6 Tablespoons of pure maple syrup or agave
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder (use aluminum-free brand)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
3 ripe bananas, diced
1/8 cup blueberries
1/8 cup chopped pecans or other nuts
(Instead if fruit/nuts, can do dark chocolate chips or chopped dark chocolate, approximately 1/2 cup)

Beat eggs in a large bowl.  Add all other ingredients (except diced bananas and dark chocolate chips) and mix well. There will be some lumps but that is okay…they will melt as the donuts bake.
Next, gently fold the diced bananas and dark chocolate chips into the batter.
Grease a donut pan generously with coconut oil and pour batter into the donut pan.
Bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for approximately 10-12 minutes.  Check for doneness by poking with a toothpick…they are fully cooked when the toothpick comes out clean.
Let set in donut pan for a few minutes and then transfer to cooling rack.

Makes 8 donuts
Nutrition breakdown per donut:
Calories: 210
Carbs: 10 grams
Fat: 14 grams
Protein: 12 grams
Sodium: 141 mg
Sugars: 8 grams

Sources for this article include:
www.nourishedkitchen.com        Recipe Inspired By: www.bitesizewellness.com


Regenerative Medicine includes Prolotherapy and Platelet Rich Plasma therapy, or PRP.

These are methods used to repair injured and weak structures.  Prolotherapy was started by Dr. Hackett, a surgeon, in the early 1950’s, who figured out that pain is often due to ligament and tendon WEAKNESS and sometimes loss or damage to cartilage, in and around joints.

The “prolo” in prolotherapy comes from the term “proliferation”, because the treatment jumpstarts natural healing, causing the body to “proliferate”, or lay down new, healthy cells.  This is done by injecting a solution of several ingredients into the painful area. PRP is a more advanced form of prolotherapy and uses concentrated platelets from the patient’s own blood, causing a mass influx of growth factors, making it stronger than regular prolotherapyThis is used by many professional athletes who want improved and faster healing.

Problems treated with Prolotherapy and PRP include low back pain, neck pain, headaches, plantar fasciitis, tennis elbow, golfer’s elbow, shoulder pain, rotator cuff problems, Dequervain’s syndrome, arthritis and meniscus cartilage injury of the knees.

Prolotherapy or PRP are a perfect choice when you have continued pain after proper rest and healing time, joint instability, popping or clicking, pain improved with a supporting wrap or brace or MRI findings that cannot explain the pain.

In one study, 88.5% of those receiving prolotherapy showed improvement.  New studies using ultrasound show that the tissue IS HEALING, but the most important proof is in the volumes of success stories by satisfied and pain-free individuals.

I have 15 years experience with prolotherapy and PRP in the treatment of chronic pain and appointments are readily available at my Grandville office.