Corona virus, COVID-19, Kelli Cuda, Masters in Science, Family Nurse Practitioner, Leaves of Life Practitioners

Bolstering Immunity: Nourishing Spirit

I used to be an avid runner. When I was in college, I’d run everywhere. I guess that’s the beauty of an open college campus with sidewalks that never end.  I’m not really sure why I stopped running, other than learning to appreciate the comradery of group fitness, however with everything happening in the world lately, group anything, just isn’t an option. Over the last few weeks there has been this heaviness in my chest, and while I’ve debated, “Is this COVID-19 paying me a personal visit?” what I’ve realized is that this pandemic has a much bigger burden than just physical illness. So, in all fairness to my mental health, I decided to pause the research and lace up my running shoes.

Despite my favorite playlist blaring, the world was quiet. I saw folks fishing at the pond by themselves, others walked their dogs, a few flew kites with their family, while neighbors talked amongst themselves from their front lawns. I began to appreciate that despite the distance that has been wearing on all of us, we stand together.

There IS something beautiful about a shared struggle.

Even though the heaviness was still there thinking about all of my friends and colleagues on the front lines, everything else slowed down. I could appreciate the collective efforts being made to win this battle.  So, while most have been inundated daily, with emails and news updates on our current global pandemic and as we, at Leaves of Life, have worked together to sort through the rapid developments and new information daily, today I felt the need to step away from the details of COVID-19, and focus on the effect that this has had on our mental health and well-being.

For most of us, life today looks much different than it did just a few weeks ago. There is an uncertainty that has left us all wondering what the next few weeks and months will hold. We’ve been asked to make changes that have never been asked of us before. We are a social species and this physical separateness seems very unnatural. For many, this change means homeschooling children and trying to balance multiple work schedules from home. (I for one have never been so appreciative of our teachers!) For others, that means working around the clock to serve in some capacity in this crisis, or perhaps leaving a job, without knowing when the next paycheck will come. No matter how this has affected our day to day, collectively we are all carrying the burden of these shifts in our economy, our healthcare, and certainly in our stress levels.

What I do know, is that despite what we are faced with, we are growing every day. We’re mobilizing resources in ways most of us have never imagined. We’re witnessing the most innovative movements in medical history. We’re being called to stand up or stay home, BOTH of which have a significant impact. There CAN be clarity in chaos.  In all of this, it’s equality important to support one another in optimism, resiliency, and nourish our physical and mental health.

Follow along, as we offer ideas on how to keep calm and carry on, in these uncertain times, and remember, some of the best things in life are not canceled.

  1. Friends and family time: Stop looking at the calendar…soccer is still canceled! Put your phone down and embrace the quiet.
    • Play a board game
    • Write a hand-written letter to someone
    • Plan a “movie-marathon” of oldies but goodies
    • Plan a scavenger hunt for you family on your evening walk
    • Create your own “talk show” or YouTube channel with your family
    • Make a meal together or try out one of these healthy desert recipes
    • Read a new book together
    • Have a “camp-out” in your living room
    • Do an impossible puzzle together
    • Build a camp fire on a nice night
    • Go for a family bike ride or hike
    • Build a scrapbook together
    • Plan and plant a garden together
  1. Togetherness: Even though we are all practicing physically distancing, we are still united in cause and can interact socially. So, put your nice shirt on and grab a glass of wine when you are camera ready.
    • Get your zoom on with a virtual gathering (Zoom Cloud Meetings)
    • Share your afternoon funnies or inspirational quotes on social media
    • Kids can use Flip-grid (school) https://info.flipgrid.com or kids’ messenger to connect with one another
    • Meet your friends at an empty parking lot and chat from your cars
  1. Community:
    • Organize a neighborhood event from your front yards; (for ex; every day there is a themed craft to display in your window)
    • Write a letter of gratitude to Governor Mike DeWine, Dr. Amy Acton, Lt. Governor Husted or other first responders.
    • Buy a gift card or even just a greeting card to thank a delivery team, janitor, waste management crew, grocery employee, etc.
    • Share some of your favorite recipes with neighbors
    • Chalk some inspirational driveway quotes
    • Utilize deliveries or pickup and support local businesses
  1. Optimism:
    • Identify acts of heroism and heroes of optimism
    • Have a positive start to your day
    • Set short term goals
    • Embrace creative outlets
    • Start a gratitude journal. My favorite; https://www.amazon.com/Five-Minute-Journal-Happier-Minutes/dp/0991846206
    • Add value and positivity to someone else’s life
    • Move your large muscles
    • Reframe your negative experience into a more positive one
  1. Cultivating Joy: We’re most joyful, when we’re helping others.
    • Volunteer where you can
    • Drop off groceries to an elderly neighbor
    • Tell someone you love them
    • Give someone a hug
    • Commit a daily act of kindness
  1. Personal Growth
    • Exercise
    • Gardening
    • Cooking and baking
    • Listening to music
    • Reading
    • Dancing
    • Learning a new skill or language
  1. Mindfulness and Meditation

I know these are challenging times and our days ahead will not always be taken with ease. I myself am not immune to this worry and at times have found myself tangled in the fog of this uncertain beast. We have to be forgiving. You will ponder, “How many days CAN I wear these sweats?” “Why is common core even a thing?” “Is it that hard to change the toilet paper roll?” To which I respond, “three days, just carry the one, and be lucky you even have it.” You will worry about bills, the health of a loved one, our essential workers, and on and on. But in those times, remember, we are in this together. If we do it right, getting back to normal will look different.  We’ll rise up and do better. For now, hold your loved ones tight, embrace the quiet, share your gifts any chance you get, appreciate those who are working tirelessly in this fight, and maybe…lace up those running shoes.

In good health,

Kelli

Education and Newsletters, Kelli Cuda, Masters in Science, Family Nurse Practitioner, Uncategorized

Everyone Should Detox!

What does it mean to detox?

We define detox as the body’s physiological process of reducing internal toxicity.

Every day the liver, kidneys, colon and skin are working to eliminate toxins, with the liver being the main driver of detox, via 2 phases of detox pathways. In phase I, the liver uses the cytochrome P450 enzyme system to convert toxic substances into intermediaries that are then fully processed for elimination in phase II. Phase III is the final, crucial step where toxins leave the body via stool, urine or sweating.

There are many critical nutrients needed to run phase I and II liver detoxification pathways. These include B-vitamins, antioxidants and amino acids (which come from protein). A diet high in organic fruits and vegetables as well as clean sources of protein and fiber will go a long way in supporting detoxification. Your healthcare practitioner can also guide you in providing your body with additional, tailored detoxification support.

Although our bodies are continuously working to combat toxins, if our total toxic burden is too great and/or we are lacking the proper support, chronic illness lurks just around the corner.

 Did you know?

  • The average adult carries over 700 toxins in their body
  • The Toxic Control Act, responsible for regulating industrial chemicals, was last updated in 1976!
  • Proper sleep hygiene allows our brain to clear out harmful waste products, possibly helping to reduce risk for developing Alzheimer’s
  • The average newborn baby has 287 known toxins in his or her umbilical cord blood

Common symptoms and conditions indicating a need to detoxify:

  • Digestive issues
  • Ongoing fatigue
  • Allergies
  • Obesity
  • Type II diabetes
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Skin issues
  • Hormonal imbalance
  • Difficulty losing weight
  • Bad breath
  • Insomnia
  • Brain fog
  • Joint pain
  • Difficulty managing stress
  • Anxiety/depression
  • Cold sores
  • Cancer
  • Fatigue
  • Infertility
  • Behavioral and mood disorders
  • Allergies
  • Neurological symptoms (tremor, headache, brain fog, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s)

Testing to optimize detoxification capacity

Three of the main factors affecting our total toxic burden are:

  • The amount and types of toxins we’re exposed to in our diet and environment
  • Our genetic ability to produce detoxification enzymes for processing and eliminating toxins
  • Whether our diet provides sufficient nutrients necessary for supporting detoxification pathways

For some patients, it can be helpful to understand what types of toxins are present, what critical detoxification nutrients may be insufficiently present and whether there is genetic compromise in the ability to detoxify.  Your provider can work with you to determine what testing would be best in your specific circumstance.

Actionable Steps:

  • Choose organic whenever possible – refer to ewg.org to find the dirty dozen (a list of the 12 most heavily contaminated fruits/veggies that should be avoided)
  • Remove inflammatory foods such as trans fats, refined carbs, sugar and processed foods
  • Drink plenty of clean, filtered water to enable to kidneys to remove toxins
  • Work up a sweat regularly (exercise, hot baths, sauna, etc)
  • Consume plenty of fiber to ensure regular bowel movements to carry toxins out
  • Get rid of plastics as much as possible
  • Work on cleaning up your personal care and other products -the environmental working group has a healthy living app that can help
  • Minimize EMF exposure
  • Work to lower stress levels
  • Eliminate toxic relationships as much as possible
  • Get regular deep sleep – shoot for around 8 hours per night
  • Work with a functional medicine provider if you need more guidance

Beyond detox support, a functional medicine provider:

  • Sees the body as a whole
  • Looks for the root cause
  • Takes a thorough history from birth to present day
  • Focuses on body systems and how they are connected
  • Lays the foundation for health by addressing lifestyle factors
  •  Does targeted testing as necessary
  • Creates an individualized care plan with the client as a partner
  • Is not limited by time constraints imposed by insurance companies

Interested in meeting with one of our providers?  We suggest reading the bios on our webpage to see who would be the best fit for you.

 

 

Education and Newsletters, Kelli Cuda, Masters in Science, Family Nurse Practitioner, Patty Shipley, RN, Naturopath, Uncategorized

Thyroid Health Lecture

On Thursday, May 30, I co-presented with Patty Shipley, our Naturopath, on the common causes of chronic fatigue.  Patty’s talk covered some of the unusual layers that patients and their doctors may be unaware of, and I took a deep dive on thyroid imbalance since that is one of the most common layers to chronic fatigue in our practice.

Our goal in lecturing was to help patients who have already addressed the more easily identified layers (such as healthy diet, exercise, sleep) to move forward with some more advanced information. Feedback on our talk ranged from “most was way over my head” to “wonderful lecture with lots of great, new info” and “please allow more time on these complex topics!”. Clearly, in future lectures, we should cover the basics before moving into the more advanced information and stick to one main topic.  We appreciate those who attended and their willingness to share input!

For those of you who wanted access to the information presented, here are links to my presentation and handouts. Patty’s presentation on Common Causes of Chronic Fatigue and her handouts can be found here.

Let us know if you have questions or additional feedback!  We’re busily planning upcoming events with all your feedback taken into consideration.

Click Here for the Thyroid Lecture Powerpoint Presentation

Handout from the lecture:

Tips for a Healthy Thyroid

Education and Newsletters, Kelli Cuda, Masters in Science, Family Nurse Practitioner, Patty Shipley, RN, Naturopath, Uncategorized

Common Causes of Chronic Fatigue

On Thursday, May 30, I co-presented with Kelli Cuda, our Functional Medicine Nurse Practitioner, on the common causes of chronic fatigue.  My talk covered some of the unusual layers that patients and their doctors may be unaware of, and Kelli took a deep dive on thyroid imbalance since that is one of the most common layers to chronic fatigue in our practice.

Our goal in lecturing was to help patients who have already addressed the more easily identified layers (such as healthy diet, exercise, sleep) to move forward with some more advanced information. Feedback on our talk ranged from “most was way over my head” to “wonderful lecture with lots of great, new info” and “please allow more time on these complex topics!”. Clearly, in future lectures, we should cover the basics before moving into the more advanced information and stick to one main topic.  We appreciate those who attended and their willingness to share input!

For those of you who wanted access to the information presented, here are links to my presentation and handouts. Kelli’s presentation on Thyroid Imbalance and her handouts can be found here.

Let us know if you have questions or additional feedback!  We’re busily planning upcoming events with all your feedback taken into consideration.


Click here for the Powerpoint presentation

Handouts from the lecture:

Tips for Improving Energy

What Every Patient Should Know about Lab Testing

 

 

Education and Newsletters, Kelli Cuda, Masters in Science, Family Nurse Practitioner, Uncategorized

Thyroid Health Uncovered

What is the Thyroid Gland?

The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped endocrine gland that sits just below your Adam’s apple. It is a master gland that secretes hormones and is responsible for regulation of metabolism, growth and development, and influences nearly every physiologic process in the human body. When thyroid levels are out of balance, so is our health and well-being.

How Does the Thyroid Gland Work?

In order to create balance, the thyroid communicates with two other glands in the brain, the hypothalamus and the pituitary gland. The hypothalamic-pituitary-thyroid axis (HPT axis for short) aka thyroid homeostasis, is an entire neuroendocrine system responsible for the regulation of metabolism. One might imagine the hypothalamus as the person who regulates the thermostat. It releases Thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH) and tells the pituitary gland where the thyroid should be set. The pituitary gland (the thermostat), then releases Thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) to the thyroid gland, which acts as the furnace, producing thyroid hormones, Triiodothyronine (T3) and Thyroxine (T4). Thyroid hormones are like heat. When there is enough heat, the thermostat turns off, the room cools (thyroid hormone levels drop) and the process starts again as a negative feedback loop.

The thyroid gland itself uses iodine to produce the two main hormones, T4 and T3. The thyroid produces 80% T4 (inactive) and 20% T3(active). The body must convert the inactive hormones into an active, unbound, usable form.  Certain conditions, factors, and nutrients must be present, not only for the thyroid to produce these hormones but for this conversion to take place.

What Are Symptoms of a Malfunctioning Thyroid?

A wide array of symptoms can stem from either an under or over-functioning thyroid gland. Nearly every system in the body can be impacted so symptoms should not be ignored.

 

How to Treat a Thyroid Disorder

Often times when a thyroid condition is diagnosed, little is done to determine the underlying insult to this essential “master gland” of our body. Rather, treatment often stops at replacement hormones without determining where the imbalance has occurred. Simply replacing hormones, does not address the immune system dysregulation, which is often the root cause. Some considerations in a thorough work-up include;

  1. A FULL thyroid panel. Many times, only TSH, T3, and T4 are tested.  A full panel would include the following markers: Free T3, Free T4, Total T4, TSH, Anti-thyroglobulin Ab, Anti-TPO Ab, Thyroglobulin, Thyroxine-Binding Globulin (TBG) and Reverse T3
  2. Thyroid lab ranges vary. “Normal” can be a wide range with optimal functioning in a narrower window.
  3. Assess for specific nutrients that facilitate thyroid health
  4. Assess for potential factors (lifestyle, toxins, medications, etc.) that inhibit thyroid
  5. Heal the gut! Over 70% of the immune system originates in the gut. Gut bacteria also assist in hormone conversion
  6. Determine the most appropriate replacement hormone based on the patient’s specific needs

Want to optimize your thyroid and overall health? Kelli is currently accepting new patients. Call us to schedule! (614) 888-HERB (4372).

 

About Leaves of Life, Kelli Cuda, Masters in Science, Family Nurse Practitioner, Uncategorized

Meet Kelli Cuda, Masters in Science, Family Nurse Practitioner

Hi, I’m Kelli Cuda, a Family Nurse Practitioner that is beyond thrilled to begin my work at Leaves of Life, one of the most well-established healing clinics in the Columbus area. My journey all started as a student nurse at The Ohio State University Medical Center.  I quickly realized that I was on the right path when I looked forward to sitting at my patient’s bedside all day and learning more about their story. I received my BSN at OSU and worked ten years in critical care. Ten years and two kids later, I returned to graduate school to fulfill my longtime goal of becoming a nurse practitioner. In 2014, I had the pleasure of working alongside an amazing medical team at a large family practice. During this time, I cared for patients of all ages and ailments. I was pleased to have the opportunity to initiate real change using an integrative, patient-centered approach.

As much as I have gained from the immeasurable experience in healthcare, both academically and at the patient’s bedside, it is my own personal health journey that defined my path in functional medicine. During my last year of graduate school, I became ill. Suffering from a wide array of symptoms and seeing six specialists within a year, I was eventually diagnosed with Lyme disease. This diagnosis however was disputed between different disciplines and I was once again, left without a clear path. This led me to search for answers in an effort to regain my health. I attended a conference through Institute of Functional Medicine at the Cleveland Clinic. I left feeling inspired and hopeful. This was the start of my journey in this field of medicine and I haven’t stopped learning since. I am currently completing my post-master’s certificate in functional medicine.

Today I hold close not only the valuable professional and life experiences I have gained over time, but my internal desire to become part of the exciting and evolutionary change in healthcare. It is my desire to sculpt the paradigm of healthcare through education, prevention, and wellness. My love for this chosen path is driven by the new-found energy and excitement patients experience when they are given the tools to heal.

I have a loving husband of almost twelve years and three beautiful kiddos. My side job is their personal uber driver and lover of all their sports and recreation. Our community is everything. I find peace in my faith and always…on the lake. My personal hobbies include working out, traveling, and spending quality time with friends and family.  I still love to choreograph a good dance routine, sleep in whenever I can, and belt a tune like Beyoncé (my kids think it’s hysterical). I believe balance is key and laughter IS the best medicine.

How Can I Help You?

At Leaves of Life, I’ll help you better understand your health and how to move it in the right direction. I strive to improve whole body wellness by identifying the root cause of inflammation or imbalance. Every patient is unique and biochemically diverse and therefore a comprehensive history is essential. We review symptoms, conduct a thorough medical/surgical/family history, review lab work and other diagnostics, discuss lifestyle (including nutrition, stress, sleep hygiene, toxic burden, etc.), and physical exam. I will work alongside your primary care physician and communicate identified imbalances based on my extensive work-up and make suggestions accordingly. I believe in collaboration and value the importance of integrating traditional medicine with functional medicine. It is an extension of evidenced-based practice that allows us to treat more than just the symptoms by treating our patients just as uniquely as they were created.

If you’d like to take charge and work toward your best health yet, I’d love to partner with you and your primary care physician on your journey!

Continue reading “Meet Kelli Cuda, Masters in Science, Family Nurse Practitioner”

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