Evolve’s Top Picks For Dining Out

My patient’s know that I am an advocate for becoming friendly with your kitchen while embracing the art and joy of cooking your own healthful culinary creations. However, for many of us, this is not always possible and enjoying night’s out with family and friends is an important part of any holistic lifestyle. So here are what I believe are some great restaurant and café choices in the Austin area that can help you stay on track with your new lifestyle and that accommodate those of us with food allergies and preferences.



Check back periodically as we explore more restaurants and decide who makes the cut. Also, feel free to email me here and share restaurants that you think deserve a place on this list.

Could a Parasite Infection Be Making You Sick?

Let’s face it, parasites are gross and the thought of having one makes most people really unhappy. The truth is, however, that parasites are quite common in humans and can affect you at any time. Most people don’t even realize they have a parasite or may go symptomless for many years. Awareness is the key to understanding if a parasite could explain your current symptoms.

What is a Parasite?

A parasite is an organism that lives and feeds off of another organism. In humans, parasites can take up residence anywhere from the eye to the anus and anywhere in between. It is important to note that not all parasites live in the intestinal tract and not all symptoms related to parasites are digestive in nature. Some common parasites in humans include:


Pinworms are tiny, white worms that commonly affect children before the age of 12. Pinworm infestation is caused by ingestion of fecal matter usually from one child to another. They make their home in the colon and rectum while feeding on the bacteria in this area. Pinworms cause anal itching after the female pinworm lay her eggs in this area. This causes scratching, disturbed sleep and abdominal pain. As if that isn’t bad enough, this cycle can repeat over and over if the child scratches and puts their fingers back in their mouth, on a toy or on another child.


This cunning parasite is obtained mainly through drinking contaminated water or eating raw or undercooked pork. Once in the intestines they latch onto the intestinal wall with suckers and hooks and feed on the digested nutrients of the gut. They begin to grow and can get as long as 20 feet. If the eggs are ingested, they can hatch in the stomach and travel from the small intestine to other parts of the body through the blood stream, including the muscles, eyes and brain.


This is another parasite that likes to hide out in raw or undercooked pork. Properly cooking pork products is crucial to killing these suckers. The larvae migrate to the small intestines and grow into adults. The larvae can also make their way to the muscle fibers through the blood stream.  Symptoms in early trichinosis include fever, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain. Although most cases can be mild, fatal heart complications and breathing problems can ensue with more severe infection.



Hookworms are one of the parasites that don’t enter the human body through the digestive tract. Rather, they can take up residence by entering the hair follicles or sweat glands usually from walking or sitting on contaminated soil. From there, they travel through the skin, into the blood stream and can make their home in the lungs causing a cough and shortness of breath. They can sometimes make their way to the small intestines if they are able to get to the throat from the lungs. Hookworms can cause anemia and nutrient deficiencies by sucking blood from the intestinal wall.

Are you sufficiently disgusted yet? It is also important to mention that parasites are very easy to pass along and contamination can be found in, not only food and drinking water, but pools, lakes, on toys, furniture, cars and on and on. This is why thorough hand washing with soap and water after using the restroom, after being outside and when dealing with small children is of utmost importance. But even the most conscientious of us may still come in accidental contact with a parasite, so keeping an eye out for signs and symptoms can be a great way to minimize prolonged exposure.

Many of the signs and symptoms of parasitic infection are digestive in nature, including gas, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, abdominal pain and vomiting. Other symptoms that may not be as revealing including inability to gain weight, constant hunger despite eating often, insomnia, chronic headaches, muscle and joint pain, unexplained rashes, severe depression and/or anxiety, persistent fatigue and malaise. If you have been having progressively failing health, visiting doctor after doctor and not able to get an explaination for your symptoms, consider parasitic infection as a potential cause.

It is also important to note that because parasites are opportunistic, they are more likely to thrive in a sick and fragile body. So caring for yourself everyday by making appropriate lifestyle decisions with regard to food, drink, sleep, stress-response, and behavior can be a powerful preventative tool.

Diagnosis of parasitic infections is routinely made by integrative and functional medicine practitioners who utilize specialized and comprehensive stool analysis. These tests will look for bacteria, yeast, parasites and their eggs. Additionally, if a pathogen is found, the lab can test antimicrobial and natural agents that are best suited to kill the pathogen. Further, with this testing, even if the parasite is dead, they can still be detected. This is one of the major disadvantages to traditional or conventional stool analysis.

Treatment of parasites can include a combination of herbal therapeutics like berberine, wormwood, black walnut, garlic, caprylic acid and bearberry. Other useful therapies include coffee enemas to purge intestinal parasites, ozone therapies, rife frequency generators and near-infrared sauna therapy. Nutritional balancing is a wonderful long-term solution to rebuild and heal the body, to not only create a less suitable environment for parasites to thrive, but also to prevent reinfection.


Scientific American, Worms “N’ Us: A Look at 8 Parasitic Worms That Live in Humans, http://www.scientificamerican.com/slideshow/worms-human-parasites/, A division of Nature America, Inc. 2015

The Center for Development, Parasites and How To Eliminate Them Naturally, http://drlwilson.com/Articles/PARASITES.HTM, April, 2015

Reversing Systemic Lupus: Yes, It is Possible

07.16.15 EIC Blog Post Header

Does this sound familiar? You have recently been diagnosed with Systemic Lupus Erythematous (SLE) and are now taking a bunch of pills, most of which you can’t pronounce. On your follow-up visits you report that you still aren’t feeling like yourself. You complain of more or new pain, painful rashes, feelings of depression and anxiety, stomach issues, and severe debilitating fatigue. You leave your doctor’s appointment with more pills and a little less hope. This continues for years until one day you look in the mirror and don’t recognize the person staring back at you.

If your life with lupus is defined by having multiple doctors, taking lots of prescription medication and never really feeling well, then reading this article is important for your health! In my article Environmental Influences and Autoimmune Disease, I discuss what autoimmune diseases like lupus are and how our environment can impact them. So please the article for a nice overview. In this offering, I’d like to focus on some easy, natural and holistic ways that you can take your life back, begin to reverse your lupus and feel better.

1. Change what you put into your body 

This is by far the easiest thing you can begin today at your next meal to help decrease the roaring fire of inflammation that fuels your lupus. Cutting out gluten (yes, that means wheat, breads, pastas, pizza and pie), grains (even gluten-free grains like corn, rice and quinoa), night shade vegetables (these include tomatoes, peppers, potatoes and eggplant), sugar and anything processed can neutralize lupus flares. Significantly increasing your water intake, while ditching soda, caffeine and alcohol is also a really wonderful step in the right direction. Also consider having your integrative medicine physician test you for food allergies, so that you are avoiding those foods that may instigate lupus flares.

2. Use nature’s anti-inflammatories

Vitamin D, turmeric and omega-3 fatty acids are three very potent and powerful anti-inflammatory nutrients that will do Kung-Fu all over the inflammation that perpetuates and exacerbates lupus.

3. Heal your gut

It is becoming widely accepted that intestinal permeability (AKA Leaky Gut Syndrome) is a huge underlying reason for autoimmune disease. The single cell layer of your gut lining is meant to be tightly closed (or impermeable) to only allow passage of necessary nutrients. When this lining is compromised (due to stress, medications, infection, poor diet, excessive alcohol intake etc.), it becomes loose (or permeable) and can allow unrestricted passage across the gut lining, inevitably leading to increased inflammation and potentially autoimmunity.

It is actually quite simple to heal Leaky Gut Syndrome with a ‘4-R program’ as follows:

a. Remove- remove food allergens (that means, change your diet), infections and other pathogens that might have taken refuge in your body.

b. Replace- replace low stomach acid and digestive enzymes, both of which become depleted as we age with medications, poor dieting and disease.

c. Reinoculate- reinoculate the gut flora with probiotics and prebiotics. That means give your gut some of the good bacteria that it needs to help keep the gut environment happy and healthy.

d. Repair- repair the leaky gut lining with nutrients like L-glutamine, aloe vera, omega-3 fatty acids, N-acetyl cysteine (NAC) and deglycyrrhizinated licorice (DGL).

4. Chill Out

Stress is akin to taking a canister of lighter fluid and pouring it on the fire of inflammation in your autoimmune body. Weather it is the stress of your disease, physical stress like over-exercising or emotional stress like a toxic relationship or annoying bosses, it needs to be managed. Learn to relax. Teach yourself to relax. Taking up meditation, regular deep breathing, tai chi or qui gong are all wonderful ways to create meaningful responses to stressors.

These steps are a great place to start on your healing journey with lupus. Other important steps to keep the reversal process going include regular and gentle detoxification, improving your antioxidant status, correcting nutrient deficiencies, maximizing your sleep and finding true happiness. This is best done under the care of your integrative medicine physician, but nothings stopping you from making better food choices right now!

Got Milk Causing Cancer? Which Milk May be Dangerous …

This article was originally published by Health Realization, Inc.

If you’re like most American families, you enjoy milk, cheese, ice cream and other dairy products on a regular basis. You probably perceive them to be healthy staples, full of calcium, protein and other nutrients to support your family’s health.

You should know, however, that U.S. dairy products may not be as pure as they seem. Instead, they commonly contain a genetically modified ingredient — Monsanto’s genetically engineered bovine growth hormone (rBGH or rBST) — that has been linked to so many health hazards in humans and animals it’s banned in most other industrialized nations, including Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and the European Union.

Cancer Risks and More: What Does the Research Say About rBGH?

Many U.S. dairy farmers use Monsanto’s rBGH because it boosts milk production by about 10 percent. But this increase in production does not come without a price.

Dairy products from rBGH-treated cows may not be as pure and healthy as you think it is ...

Dairy products from rBGH-treated cows may not be as pure and healthy as you think it is …

As GMO expert Jeffrey Smith, international bestselling author of “Seeds of Deception” and “Genetic Roulette”, explains in the video above, milk from cows treated with rBGH has increased levels of insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1), with levels up to 10 times as high as those in milk from untreated cows.

This hormone has been linked to increased risks of breast, prostate, colon, lung, and other cancers. According to the Institute for Responsible Technology (IRT), founded by Jeffrey Smith:

“Studies suggest that pre-menopausal women below 50 years old with high levels of IGF-1 are seven times more likely to develop breast cancer. Men are four times more likely to develop prostate cancer. IGF-1 is implicated in lung and colon cancer.”

The hormone has also been linked to an increased rate of fraternal twin births in humans.

Milk from cows injected with rBGH is also less nutritious and has more antibiotics and pus in it than milk from untreated cows. The pus comes from infected udders, as cows given rBGH are more likely to experience a painful udder infection called mastitis. These infections are in turn treated with antibiotics, leading to increased rates of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in the milk, the people who drink it and the surrounding environments.

rBGH is NOT on Dairy Labels for a Reason

Milk and other dairy products that contain rBGH does not have to be labeled as such, which means you have no way of knowing whether or not it’s in your milk. Some manufacturers, noting the increased health risks and the growing consumer opposition to rBGH, have begun adding statements such as “No artificial growth hormones” to their labels to let you know it’s rBGH free.

Monsanto fought back against this labeling, going so far as to sue a dairy in 2003 that labeled their milk cartons with “Our Farmers’ Pledge: No Artificial Growth Hormones.” The suit was settled when the dairy agreed to add a statement to their packages that said, “according to the FDA no significant difference has been shown between milk derived from [rBGH]-treated and non- treated cows.”

This is not true, according to IRT, as the FDA and Monsanto both knew of increased rates of IGF-1, pus and antibiotic residues in milk from treated cows. However, the statement became a requirement for all labels that dared say they were rBGH-free nonetheless.

Further, the misleading statement was written by none other than the FDA’s deputy commissioner of policy, Michael Taylor who, according to IRT, was “previously Monsanto’s outside attorney who, after running policy at the FDA, became vice president of Monsanto.”

There were other unscrupulous dealings that went on behind the scenes as well. For instance, back in 1997 when Fox news wanted to air a news series on the link between rBGH and cancer, Monsanto attorneys threatened “dire consequences” if the show aired.

As Jeffrey Smith wrote in “Seeds of Deception”, one of the world’s best-selling books on GMO:

The Fox news series included an excerpt from Canadian national television in which a government official described how a Monsanto representative offered her committee a $1 to 2 million bribe if they recommended rbGH approval in Canada without further data or studies of the drug. A Monsanto spokesman said the officials misunderstood their company’s offer of “research” funds.

And according to IRT, “The reporters who had created the series later testified that they were offered hush money to leave the station and never speak about the story again. They declined.” The series never aired.

How to Find rBGH-Free Dairy

Americans are increasingly looking for pure, rBGH-free sources of dairy. In surveys:

  • 80 percent of consumers have said they believe dairy products from cows not treated with rBGH should be allowed to be labeled as such
  • 76 percent said they were very concerned or somewhat concerned with dairy cows given synthetic growth hormones
  • 55 percent said they would buy milk labeled without synthetic bovine growth hormone if available

Already, 50 of the top 100 dairies have decided not to use rBGH in their milk, and companies like Wal-Mart, Kroger, Starbucks, Yoplait and Dannon have also pledged to go rBGH-free. Many major food manufacturers have not followed suit, however, so it’s still a buyer beware market. If you want to find rBGH-free dairy, the following resources will help:

It’s important that you use your power as a shopper to voice your opinions about potentially dangerous genetically modified ingredients like rBGH. If you find the use of this cancer-causing hormone to be unacceptable, please support the brands that are rBGH-free in the guides above, and boycott those that are still buying milk from rBGH-treated cows. For instance, like ice cream? Dreyer’s, Edy’s, Nestle, Haagen-Dazs, Klondike, Good Humor, and Breyer’s are STILL using dairy from rBGH-treated cows. Why not write these companies a letter and let them know you’re switching to a different brand until they make the switch to rBGH-free dairy. A Simple Way to Get All the Nutrients Found in Fresh, Raw rBGH-Free Milk If rBGH-free dairy is not available in your area, or you are looking for an rBGH-free dairy-based protein source, consider Whey Cool™, which is produced to maintain the full range of the fragile immune boosting and regenerative components naturally present in fresh raw milk. Whey Cool™ is produced using proprietary filtration and drying that involves minimal processing. This unique production method ensures that the whey is not subjected to temperatures that would destroy the original components. The milk harvested for this product comes from cows that graze on pesticide and chemical-free natural grass pastures. The milking cows are never fed grain or subjected to any growth hormone treatment, chemicals, antibiotics, genetically modified organisms, hyperimmunization or injected pathogens. You can also ask your health care practitioner about Paleomeal™, which contains Whey Cool™ along with B vitamins, extra fiber and Creatine MagnaPower® for energy. Both Whey Cool™ and Paleomeal™, available only through your health care practitioner, surpass many of the health benefits of dairy – without the concern of growth hormones.

Raising Awareness In Cute Packages

It is with much joy and a big, cheesy smile on my face that I present this awesome video from my cute, sweet, brilliant and athletic stepdaughter, Laila, as she discusses what Lupus is and how you can get involved in the 2015 “Walk to End Lupus Now,” in Austin, Texas. Alexander (my husband, COO of Evolve Integrative Care and Laila’s father) and I asked Laila to join our Lupus team this year and help to spread awareness to the younger folks, and that is precisely what she is doing. Please check out this video and give her a bunch of likes!