How I Avoided a Root Canal

Your mouth, gums and teeth can affect your whole body in more ways than you can imagine. My exploration into this topic for my own purposes brought me to Dentistry for Health in New York City.


My dental history is long and painful. As a child my growth was stunted which left me proportionate but petite; I never quite made the five-foot club. This is all well and good, however my jaw became quickly overcrowded as my teeth came in. This lead to two oral surgeries with permanent teeth removed (I only have twenty-four now), years of braces and jaw expanders, and failed periodontal visits and surgeries.


I had recently gone to yet another new dentist that my insurance would cover and was told the pain I was having in my back molar wouldnt go away without a root canal. I was quickly referred to an endodontist and that was that. Oh, and yet again I was told my gums were receded too far for my age. Whispers from the hall confirmed the confusion on why this was so. This situation was a very common occurrence for me and the reason for my anxiety in facing my dental problems.


After leaving my new dentist’s office to call the endodontist for my root canal I stopped and asked myself why I had never tried a holistic approach to dental care when I treat every other aspect of my heath holistically. I immediately went online to research holistic dentists on the East Coast. After a thorough search I ended up in the office of Dr. Reid L. Winick at Dentistry for Health in NYC. He sat with me and took the time to ask me what I thought was going on with my mouth. No one had ever asked me that. We then discussed for over an hour the details of my life that could be affecting my teeth: clenching at night, bacteria overgrowth, nutrition, family history and so much more. Now mind you, I was still in pain thinking I needed a root canal when Dr. Winick took one look and said, “Your tooth is fine, however you’re biting down harder on one side, creating inflammation and trauma”. He ground down the teeth in that area to create an immediate fix to my pain. Within twenty-four hours my pain was completely gone. No root canal needed.


I still had to treat and resolve the root issue of why my gums were receding so rapidly. This led me to Nicole Bott, one of the hygienists at the Dentistry for Health. She took another hour to hear my story and test my bacteria down to the exact strains so that she could target it using laser, ozone, etc. I then met with the periodontist, Dr. Jonathan Richter. He took the time to hear my whole story and connect all the dots. Finally I was in front of a doctor who didnt make me feel like I was incurable and was completely optimistic about my recovery. I was positive that I had found the right path and was in good hands. Everything Dr. Richter said made sense to me and I felt empowered being able to understand my own situation.


Gum disease is more prevalent than you might think. It unfortunately goes undetected by many people until it has progressed to a more serious problem. Gum disease is linked to heart disease, diabetes, stroke and systemic inflammation, which is at the root of many diseases. The beauty of holistic care is that there is so much we can do on our own to support our oral health. Bacteria can be present from the inside out. This is why digestive health is so crucial to controlling which bacteria is present in the body and maintaining the balance of your micro biome. In addition, exercise, low sugar diets, and emotional health all play a part in preventing and treating gum disease.


If youre not in the New York area and are looking for a qualified holistic dentist, make sure you do your research. “Holistic” can be thrown around a lot but there are some key things you should look for and ask:


1.     What procedures are used for heavy metal removal and detoxification


2.     Length of experience in the field as well as knowledge of current technologies


3.     What the appointments entail (you want there to be a thorough exam time along with a lengthy consult)


4.     Knowledge of bacteria testing and treatment (ozone and laser are great for treating specific bacteria present in the gums)


Most of all trust your gut on this - you will know when you feel cared for.









3 Simple Rules to Live by for Optimal Health

Has the desire to eat healthy and live a healthy life become its own disease?

By definition a Disease is a pathological condition that affects part or all of an organism. This organism is you. Remove the “Pathos” or suffering and strive to be gentle with yourself as you begin this journey. By simplifying we will take care of our WHOLE selves by maintaining a healthy focus on over all wellbeing that sets you up for success.


Do you constantly feel stressed striving to make the right choices?

Trying to do the “right” thing all of the time can actually create more stress in your life. The effects can often be self-defeating and detrimental to reaching the goals you have created for yourself. A healthy lifestyle isn’t just how many calories you put in your mouth or how many times a week you workout.  You could be hitting all of your “goals” but still be stuck in a rut, running in place so to speak, struggling to reach the other side. We tend to overlook the holistic aspect of wellness way too often.


There are 3 main steps to optimal wellness from a holistic perspective that I like to work with. As the word Holistic implies, we must look to treat the whole person not just the individual parts. Removing one piece of the steps below can off set the others having a less than optimal effect.  Becoming your own barometer will be important as well as empowering.  Maintaining balance is going to be your new and exciting goal.



1.    Reduce systemic inflammation:

Our modern diet and lifestyle have changed over many years from one that supported a healthy more alkaline environment to one that creates a highly acidic and often unhealthy place instead. Though there is a time and place for acidic foods in our diet, the balance has shifted to favor acidity due to cravings and lack of knowledge as opposed to alkalinity.  An acidic environment is one that can exaggerate inflammation. Once inflammation is systemic it is no longer our bodies natural healing response but the root to a lot of potential disease. We can restore a calm healing environment for our bodies by shifting to increase our intake of alkaline foods, exercise and lifestyle.

80% alkaline 20% acid is a good goal to strive for.

a.     ADD: Land and sea vegetables, yoga, Pilates, live cultured foods, whole grains, lean meat and omega-3 fatty acids, meditation and sleep

b.     REMOVE: Alcohol, medications, coffee, fried /processed foods, high intensity exercise, sugar, eggs, dairy, white flour, stress



2.    Start on the road to healing with Probiotic foods:

Once returning the body a balanced state you have now created a wonderful space to transform your health. The body when given the chance and the proper tools craves balance and will heal on its own. Most all of us are in need of restoring balance to the body’s micro biome or intestinal flora. An imbalance of  “bad bacteria” to “good bacteria” can wreak havoc on not only the gut, but our whole body.  This process of becoming more balanced encourages a steady flow of live cultured foods and Probiotics. These amazing foods have been removed from our traditional diets and made it more difficult than necessary to maintain balance in modern time. Introducing these healthy foods back into the body in a number of easy and simple ways will have an overwhelmingly positive impact on your health.

a.     Cultured foods support and heal: Immune system, hormone balancing, disease prevention, auto immune, energy restoration

b.     Eat the right cultured foods, all raw and fermented; Kim chi, kefir, sauerkraut, fermented coconut water, kvass, etc.

c.      Avoid wild fermentation. This process can take your body in the wrong direction of bacterial growth; kombucha, beer, wine, etc.




3.    Maintain a healthy mind/body:

Easier said than done! Of all the rules, this one is perhaps the most important to embrace and commit to fully. Without this rule firmly in place you will constantly be fighting against your own progress and success. We are amazing creatures with the mind/body intelligence to subconsciously support and protect ourselves on our journey to wellness. Our bodies shape, development, personalities, etc. are all formed for our protection. This has gotten us to where we are today, alive and well but not without a few blocks as well.  Ultimate wellness can be described as "...a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity." - The World Health Organization.

a.     Start by bringing awareness to your emotional patterns and what you may be holding.   Where in your body to you feel these emotions live? Are you releasing or are you holding? We tend to store emotions to address them later however it never seems like a good time to want to revisit them. In turn we are creating patters and acidic/toxic emotional storage internally.

b.     Are there relationships in your life that are not supportive or even abusive? Change the things in life you have control over and accept the ones you don’t. Don’t be afraid of making be changes, the effects can be powerful and transformative. The universe will always reward your courage.


These rules are a lifelong process so don’t stress about mastering them. The whole point to these rules is to remove the stress completely and permanently. This may be one of the biggest contradictions in our striving to maintain a balanced life. I am guilty of this just like everyone else. The next time you read about a new dietary theory or a friend tells you about a great new workout, I encourage you to stop, take a deep breath and reflect on whether that makes sense for you within this new life healing perspective.






Fake it Till You Make It

As spring nears its end you may be feeling the push to enter summer feeling your best. It is a natural flow to slowly wake up in the spring as the desire to move and eat healthy gets easier and easier. This can be difficult after any time of hibernation especially over a long cold winter. It can be even harder to take those first steps. This has been my struggle after spending 12 lovely winters in the southwest where you never seem to slow down. After just completing my 3rd winter back in the North East, I am still looking for that balance of sustaining my activity level through the cold winter.


I’m famous for using the phrase “fake it till you make it”. Doing even one thing a day can make the difference in taking you from being stagnant to craving movement. Our bodies go through a process of turning itself back on after any time of rest.  You may experience fatigue or excessive hunger when starting out which can be discouraging.  Relax~ This all goes away fairly quickly with consistency, That being said we often make the mistake of starting with lofty fitness and bikini body goals and go too hard too fast which can quickly turn you off to the process.


My best advice is to start with simple goals for the first month:

·      Frequency and consistency is the key to getting safely and successfully to the other side.

·      I like to start with 15 min -1/2 hour of movement whether it be running, dancing, yoga, strength training or a good day of gardening 4-5 times a week. You may feel like doing more and that’s fine, but remember more than ever now, slow and steady will get you back in the shape you desire.

·      Once you are easily getting through the goals you have set for yourself on a consistent basis you can lengthen the sessions and step them up with more intensity.

·      This is where you want to add weight-bearing exercise. When you work to create lean muscle mass your body has to work harder to maintain that muscle and as a result your metabolism goes up to support the process.

·      Your body now will have a conditioned frame that won’t be shocked or injured going further.


One of the most important muscles to not neglect in this process is your heart. More specifically pay attention to your resting heart rate. This is how you will be able to tell what kind of endurance you are ready for. Ideally you want to be able to have a good, hard workout and once cooled off have your resting heart rate go down to a safe zone.

·      For men this is going to be in the high 50’s or low 60’s and for women right in the 60’s. The lower the better and reflects how “in shape” you are.

·      The easiest way to get the resting heart rate down is by doing interval training. Whether you’re running, biking, or any other cardio activity you always want to push the heart rate up then let it drop by slowing down. Bring it up again a little higher than before then drop back down and so on.


The heart, just like any other muscle needs exercise to maintain its health and strength.


I took my own advice this spring and I’m so glad I did. For the first month of getting back in shape I went through the motions of movement and as long as I did my 15min to a half hour I was happy. After a month of movement I started craving more and more, not wanting to go a day without a full workout. In addition my, metabolism balanced to where I’m not nearly as hungry as I was during “the winter hibernation” and times of lesser activity. When I do have surges of hunger or larger appetites, now I’m craving salads, whole proteins and drinking lots of water.

My energy is through the roof and I’m finally looking forward to that new bikini. 

Not Enough Calcium? Or Too Much Sugar…

As a woman in my mid-thirties I have a growing awareness around bone health and preventing osteoporosis. I believe a lot of the diseases that we accept as genetic disposition, are actually learned behaviors and less about the disease itself lying in wait within our genes, waiting for the right moment to reveal itself.  In working with a client recently suffering from kidney stones I gained a much better understanding about calcium excretion and bone health. As with most things in the human body, it comes down to simple common sense.


Since most kidney stones are made of calcium I wanted to look into why the body would secrete an excess amount of calcium for some people. Almost all of the calcium found in the body lives in our bones, so naturally we think to take calcium supplements to keep it replenished. Contrary to popular belief however, this is treating a symptom of a root cause. Instead of trying to add in calcium, which the standard American diet has plenty of I wanted to figure out why the bones are losing calcium in the first place, ultimately creating bigger symptoms like kidney stones.


From childhood we grow up knowing sugar will rot your teeth. If we think about that process and what healthy teeth vs teeth laced with cavities look like, the same is happening on the inside of our bodies, but we just can’t see it. We consume more sugar currently than we ever have and in forms so far from the source that they are void of any mineral content or bio-identical form. This has caused a similar reaction in our bones much like one would see in our teeth. Literally our bones are leaching calcium leaving holes and weak points in our body when we have an over consumption of sugar. In addition as the calcium leaves the bones it then travels to the bladder or kidney in excess amounts where it combines with oxalate to create stones.


As if that wasn’t enough, an even higher potential for risk lies in our overtaxed Adrenal glands. Sugar is one of the highest and steady causes of suppressed adrenals, which are our stress hormone regulators. When overwhelmed the adrenal glands excrete cortisol a stress hormone that in excess can be very harmful with one of the top effects being osteoporosis. If you have ever been prescribed a corticosteroid by doctor, there is great precaution taken in monitoring osteoporosis.


The solution is simple…. start with awareness of processed sugar in your diet. These sugars live in the sneakiest places like bread, condiments, juices, etc. Where ever possible eliminate or replace with a more natural based sugar like honey, stevia or lakanto. In time you will become less drawn to the processed sugars and though you may not see it you can know that you are actively working to give your bones a long healthy life.




Feeding the Beast

If you went to jail only to get out and do the same thing that got you thrown in in the first place would you consider making a change in your life?


What happens when we eat sugar is not far from incarceration. Our gut is composed of a balance of “good” bacteria and “bad” bacteria. Our bad bacteria for the majority of us is very dominant and in abundance over the good for reasons such as; antibiotic use, stress, trauma, birth control, etc. As a result we are driven to do very bad things to our body unknowingly. The first and foremost being feeding the beast we call candida albican.


Bacteria good and bad live and thrive on eating sugars, whether its fructose, lactose or another sugar, bacteria will grow with a little warmth and a little sugar food. This is wonderful when it comes to making live cultured foods however what is happening in our gut when we eat sugar? We feed the candida albicans once again and allow them to take over our bodies in unprecedented ways. We are taken hostage as the candida bacteria keeps us from absorbing vitamins and minerals, causes inflammation throughout the whole body starting with the gut, spirals hormones out of balance, goes systemic as it permeated the gut lining and causes all kinds of symptoms such as; rashes, dizziness, weight gain/loss, joint pain, acne, arthritis, auto-immune diseases and the list goes on and on.


Are you telling me I should never eat sugar again?

Not at all in fact once you can get a handle on the balancing of digestive bacteria then you can live comfortable and inflammation free with small amounts of sugar in your diet without causing extreme damage.


Great! How do I balance my bacteria?

Balancing starts with healing. Since most of us are currently in a state of inflammation and overgrowth I suggest creating an environment where the body can rest as we add in the medicine of live cultured foods. If you picture turning the hose on your gut to cool it down this is exactly what alkaline foods will help to do. In combination with a sugar free diet alkaline foods such as vegetables, seaweeds, cultured foods, etc. in abundance will create that healing space to add in our good cultures and give them a chance to work their magic as they repair and heal the lining and balance in our gut.


Steps to a happy balanced gut


1.     Remove sugars including; fruit, white sugar, honey, breads, pastas, etc.


Is there anything sweet I can have?

Yes! Liquid Stevia (make sure it is natural stevia and not a hybrid ie: truvia)


2.     Add in a ton of alkaline foods to your diet: This is going to be veggies galore, make sure to have a 75% ratio of vegetable to 25% other at every meal

3.     Drink plenty of water

4.     Heal with live cultured foods: UNPASTURIZED cultured (not pickled) kimchi, sauerkraut, plain kefir, kefir water, coconut water kefir, etc


Fermented foods were once a part of all of our ancestors lives however our modern diets have done a good job of removing the “living” foods from our diet. It is up to us to keep them there, this is a life long medicinal tool for you to integrate, its never too early or late to start.


Permanent Resolution

Every year I take stock of the past year’s accomplishments, as many of you do. Upon further reflection, I often find that what seemed to be a failure or an unrealized goal, was actually, in hindsight, a moment of huge growth. As I look back at 2013 I am surprised to see the mountains I have moved in my own life. In retrospect, it is amazing how “quick” change did take place. When our focus is on the path to permanent growth, sometimes we get our desired results faster than we anticipate.


We live in a world that prioritizes “instant gratification,” a world where losing weight is promoted with promises of being “quick and easy”--in some cases, accomplished in as little as four hours.  We are conditioned to believe that pain can be treated with a pill and that more serious, internal issues are to be resolved with invasive surgeries.  What we are not told, in most cases, is that these “quick-fix” approaches can cause more problems than they resolve…and so the cycle continues.


Conversely, many of us teach our children that “hard work pays off,” and that knowledge is to be found in the journey, not the destination. So why is it that when it comes to our bodies we don’t take our own advice?


Previously, I would give excellent advice to all of my loved ones and clients, yet, too often, fall short of my own personal goals. Something in me needed to change. Through years of struggle and introspection, I came to realize that the thing that was lacking was love…for myself.  I was never self-destructive or especially hateful of my body, or myself mind you, but there was an emotional deficiency in me that I needed to address before I could move on to my physical goals.  This is a key component of a holistic approach to health; mind and body are not mutually exclusive elements, but rather complimentary components of healthful practices. Once I established love of myself as step one of my holistic regimen, I started to heal in unprecedented ways and to achieve new, higher personal fitness thresholds. I began to love and to appreciate the journey, to feel alive in every moment of a gradual process of personal transformation, to cherish incremental improvement (no matter how small the steps). It excited me to imagine where I could be in five years’ time, and another five years from then. I became focused on small goals with consistence, grace and love, all the time knowing that I was building something more meaningful and sustainable than any “quick fix” could ever accomplish.


Here are 3 tips I use for permanent resolution:


1.   Write down your goal/goals (keep it simple). create a goal chart of what you want to accomplish and how you are going to accomplish them over a daily, monthly, 6 month and annual plan then LET THEM GO. Check in with your goals however don’t obsess or focus too much on the end product to where you end up getting in your own way.

2.   Take 15min to an hour a day for yourself, create what I call a “sit spot” and do just that. Try not to think too hard just observe nature or a quite space while ultimately connecting inward with yourself. Find quality time with you!

3.   Focus on the positive! Do not get discouraged looking at the end product instead write down all achievements no matter how small. Stay in the moment as much as possible focusing on the inward changes as much as outward.