Tag: nutrition

“Gut Health: Where Your Healthy Body Starts”  

A healthy body starts in the gut. This statement may seem simple, but it holds a lot of truth. The gut, also known as the digestive system, plays a crucial role in maintaining overall health and well-being. Your gut could just be the key to improving your health, body, and life.  

What is Gut Health?  

Gut health refers to the overall health and well-being of the digestive system, which includes the stomach and intestines. A healthy gut is essential for proper digestion, nutrient absorption, and elimination of waste. It also plays a crucial role in the immune system, mental health, and overall health and well-being.  

The gut is responsible for breaking down food, absorbing nutrients, and eliminating waste. When the gut is not functioning properly, it can lead to a variety of health issues such as bloating, constipation, diarrhea, and even chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. 

How Does Gut Health Affect Your Body?  

Gut health plays a crucial role in the overall health and well-being of the body. Here are a few ways gut health can affect the body: 

  1. Digestion and nutrient absorption: The gut is responsible for breaking down food, absorbing nutrients, and eliminating waste. A healthy gut ensures that the body is getting the nutrients it needs to function properly.
  1. Immune system: The gut is home to a large portion of the immune system. A healthy gut microbiome helps to protect the body from harmful pathogens and infections.  
  1. Mental health: The gut and brain are connected through the gut-brain axis. A healthy gut can promote positive mental health and reduce the risk of conditions such as anxiety and depression.
  1. Chronic disease prevention: A healthy gut can help to reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and certain types of cancer.
  1. Weight management: A healthy gut can help to regulate appetite and metabolism, which can aid in weight management.
  1. Allergies and intolerances: A healthy gut can help to reduce the risk of developing food allergies and intolerances.
  1. Physical fitness: A healthy gut can help to improve physical fitness by providing the body with the nutrients it needs to perform at its best.

Overall, maintaining a healthy gut is essential for overall health and well-being. An unhealthy gut can lead to a wide range of issues, from minor discomfort to serious health problems. It is important to take care of your gut by eating a balanced diet, consuming probiotics, staying hydrated, reducing stress, exercising regularly, and avoiding foods and chemicals that can disrupt the gut microbiome. 

Signs You Have an Unhealthy Gut 

An unhealthy gut can affect someone in many ways, and it is often a problem that people do not recognize. There are several signs that may indicate an unhealthy gut: 

  1. Digestive issues: Constipation, diarrhea, bloating, and gas are all common symptoms of an unhealthy gut. 
  1. Food sensitivities: If you experience symptoms such as headaches, skin rashes, or fatigue after eating certain foods, it may be a sign of an unhealthy gut. 
  1. Nutrient deficiencies: A healthy gut is essential for nutrient absorption, if you have an unhealthy gut, you may be at risk of developing nutrient deficiencies. 
  1. Skin problems: Skin issues such as eczema, acne, and rosacea can be linked to an unhealthy gut. 
  1. Fatigue: Chronic fatigue can be a sign of an unhealthy gut. 
  1. Mood disorders: An unhealthy gut can disrupt the gut-brain axis and lead to conditions such as anxiety, depression, and irritability. 
  1. Autoimmune conditions: An unhealthy gut can lead to the development of autoimmune conditions. 
  1. Weight fluctuations: An unhealthy gut can affect metabolism and appetite leading to weight gain or weight loss. 

It is important to note that some of these symptoms can be caused by other conditions, and it is important to consult with a healthcare professional if you are experiencing any of these symptoms. They can help to determine the cause and develop an appropriate treatment plan. 

It is also important to remember that everyone’s gut is different, and some people may have no noticeable symptoms even though they have an unhealthy gut. Regular check-ups with a healthcare professional are recommended to ensure good gut health. 

How to Boost Your Gut Health  

To maintain a healthy gut, it is important to eat a balanced diet that includes a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein. These foods are high in fiber, which helps to promote regular bowel movements and keep the gut clean. In addition, it is essential to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water. 

Probiotics, found in fermented foods such as yogurt, kefir, and sauerkraut, can also help to promote a healthy gut. These beneficial bacteria help to balance the gut microbiome, which is the collection of microorganisms that live in the gut. 

Another important aspect of maintaining a healthy gut is reducing stress. Stress can disrupt the balance of the gut microbiome and lead to inflammation, which can contribute to a variety of health issues. 

Exercise is also important for a healthy gut. Physical activity helps to stimulate the muscles in the digestive tract, which can help to promote regular bowel movements. 

Remember- everyone’s gut is different and may require different strategies to promote optimal health. Consult with a healthcare professional if you have any concerns about your gut health. 

Boosting Your Gut Health Through Bone Broth 

Bone broth is proven to be a simple and nutrient packed way for people to introduce health-wise choices into their diet. Homemade bone broth is a good way to boost your gut health because it is rich in collagen, which helps to heal and seal the gut lining, and contains minerals and amino acids that support gut health. 

Bone broth is great for boosting your gut health!


  • 2-3 lbs of beef, chicken or fish bones 
  • 2 carrots, chopped 
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped 
  • 1 onion, chopped 
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced 
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar 
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns 
  • 2 bay leaves 
  • Salt to taste 
  • Water 


  1. Place the bones in a large pot or slow cooker. 
  1. Add the chopped vegetables, garlic, apple cider vinegar, peppercorns, bay leaves and salt. 
  1. Fill the pot with water, making sure that the ingredients are fully submerged. 
  1. Bring the water to a boil, then reduce the heat and let it simmer for at least 24 hours for beef bones, 12 hours for chicken bones and 4-6 hours for fish bones. 
  1. Skim off any impurities that rise to the surface. 
  1. Once done, strain the broth and discard the bones and vegetables. 
  1. Let it cool and transfer to containers and store in the refrigerator or freezer. 

You can use this broth in soups, stews, to make a savory sauce, or drink it plain as a gut-healing tonic. Bone broth is also a great source of nutrition for people with gut issues because it is easy to digest, and the minerals and amino acids are in a form that is easy for the body to absorb. 

You can also add other ingredients like ginger, turmeric, or cumin to add more flavor and health benefits to the broth. 

Nutritional Services at The Oxford Center 

Nicole Cunningham, the FNTP and RWP at The Oxford Center, is ready to help guide clients to improve their gut health.

The Oxford Center offers highly customizable and personalized nutritional services to help you on your way to wellness. Nicole Cunningham, our Functional Nutrition Therapy Practitioner (FNTP) and Restorative Wellness Practitioner (RWP), offers both group and individual nutrition classes to help clients understand food and your body. General Intestine (GI) testing is available, and Nicole can work with you to discuss the results and what is going on in your own gut. Using the results of your test, Nicole will help you to develop a plan to bring your gut back into balance and improve your health. Improving your life can be as simple as starting your journey with Nicole today.  

Your healthy body could start in your gut. Maintaining a healthy gut requires a balanced diet, staying hydrated, consuming probiotics, reducing stress, and regular exercise. By taking care of your gut, you can improve your overall health and well-being. For more information on our nutritional services and GI testing, call us at 248-486-3636 or visit our Nutritional Services Webpage https://theoxfordcenter.com/therapies/naturopathic-services/

foods affect your heath

Nutrition for Better Behavior in Children and Teens

Food choices influence behavior, mood, and academic performance. Summer is a great time to establish healthy eating habits which can lead to a happier vacation season and more productive school year.

It is important for children to know what to eat, what not to eat, and why some foods that seem healthy may not be healthy. While consumption of sugary foods has long been associated with hyperactivity, we now know that food selection also contributes to a child’s ability to focus attention, inhibit impulsive behaviors, analyze information, regulate emotional responses, and solve problems.

Food is one of the most important gifts we give our bodies. Choosing well is empowering and makes the body a healing machine. When parents facilitate healthy eating, they equip children with the knowledge and skills needed to create a foundation of optimal health.

Eliminating Foods that Cause Bad Behavior and Adversely Affect Mood

Studies suggest that certain ingredients, particularly those found in processed foods, are triggering behavioral problems in children. With 90% of the average American’s food budget going towards processed foods and the astounding spike in behavioral and mood disorders, changing the diet is the logical first step to addressing problem behaviors.

Artificial Colors

Over the past 50 years, chemical dyes in foods increased 500%. Three dyes (Red 40, Yellow 5 and Yellow 6) make up 90% of the market. These dyes are found in cereal, toothpaste, applesauce, cough syrup, candy, ice cream, drinks, and more. Food color consumption can lead to meltdowns, aggression, and mood swings. Studies dating to the seventies show that removing dyes from a child’s diet has a profound effect. Read labels and remove all foods and drinks that contain artificial colors and flavors.

Artificial Sweeteners

Aspartame has been linked to an array of emotional and behavioral disorders. High levels of aspartame can alter serotonin levels, which can lead to behavioral problems, anxiety, and other emotional disorders.


MSG (monosodium glutamate) is an excitotoxin, a type of neurotoxin that over-stimulates brain cells. It has profound effects on the mood and behavior. MSG is found in most fast foods as well as processed meats, frozen meals, soup mixes, salad dressings, and many other processed foods. MSG may appear on ingredient labels as hydrolyzed protein, autolyzed yeast, or sodium caseinate.


Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, rye and oats. Gluten tends to be poorly digested in the gut, causing an inflammatory response that influences brain function. Gluten breaks down into peptides that can pass through imperfections in damaged intestinal tracts (leaky guts) and affect the brain. The shape of gliadinomorphin (the peptide resulting from the breakdown of gluten) fits into receptors in the brain that trigger abnormal moods and behaviors. These receptors are referred to as opiate receptors because they are the same receptors that interact with opioids like morphine.  

Eating for Better Behavior and Brain Balance

There is no one diet that is best for everyone, but a real-food, nutrient-dense paleo diet is an excellent place to start to ensure kids get the right nutrition. Children and teens need to eat plenty of vegetables, clean protein, healthy fat, and some fruit for optimal brain health.


A breakfast that includes protein, fat, and vegetables is the ideal way to start the day for most children. An excellent option is a scramble or omelet made with eggs from pasture-raised chickens and lots of vegetables (i.e., onions, artichokes, and spinach) and half an avocado. Children who eat a high-protein breakfast are less likely to be overweight, achieve better test scores, and perform better athletically. Conversely, a high-carbohydrate breakfast (pancakes, cereals, French Toast) makes the child feel mentally foggy and can lead to undesirable behavior soon after as sugar levels soar, then crash.

Lunch and Dinner

The bounty of the growing season offers plenty of opportunities for discovering new foods and new ways of eating familiar items. Take children shopping at the Farmers’ Market. Encourage them to pick a new fruit or vegetable to try. Grow vegetables or herbs in your garden or on your windowsill. Incorporate the fresh vegetables you buy into salads and stir-fries, or simply rinse and eat.

When you plan meals, aim to make 75% of the plate vegetables. If necessary, sneak veggies into foods. Chopped spinach or kale can be mixed into meatballs or meatloaf. Soups prepared with homemade bone broth make excellent lunches and dinners.

Healthy Snack Ideas

We can make fruit and vegetables more desirable to children with a little preparation.

  • Cut celery, carrots, cucumbers, radishes, peppers (and any other vegetable) into sticks or slices and serve with a creamy dip. It is easy to prepare one at home by mixing 1/2 cup mayo (choose one made with avocado oil) + 1/4 cup full-fat coconut milk (it won’t taste like coconut) + salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, and herbs of choice.
  • Apples slices are extra-yummy with a bit of almond butter or sunflower seed butter. And the fat and protein are good for the brain and body.
  • Puree berries with a bit of 100% maple syrup and pour into popsicle molds. Freeze and serve healthy frozen treats. Full-fat coconut milk may be added for a creamy treat.
  • Cut melon into wedges or cubes.
  • Freeze grapes or berries for a change of texture.

After changing diet, improvements (often dramatic) in physical and psychological health result. Start where you are, and eliminate an unhealthy food or ingredient each week. At the same time, add vegetables to every meal, incorporate healthy snacks, and continue to add new foods. Enjoy the journey!

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