A Healthy Body Archive

Interview with Dr. John Dobbs of PharmiCare

Part of your treatment for mold illness may include the use of cholestyramine and/or BEG spray. Cholestyramine is used to eliminate the mold toxins from your body while BEG spray is used to eliminate multiple antibiotic-resistant coagulase-negative staph if you have a positive nasal culture. Dr. John Dobbs at PharmiCare has provided some helpful information and tips for using these medications appropriately while limiting their side effects to help you successfully treat your mold illness. PharmiCare provides pure cholestyramine without the additives and fillers found in the commonly available form which may help reduce your chance of gastrointestinal side effects. While these medications are only available by prescription from your doctor, you can obtain these medications including the pure form of cholestyramine even if you don’t live in the local area as PharmiCare will ship them to you. You can visit their website or call them at 239-690-7700.

1. Can you tell us a little about your pharmacy and the products and services you provide including shipping medications to those outside of the local area?

PharmiCare is an independent pharmacy that offers concierge services. That means we cater to your health needs, each and every day you need us, always at no extra cost to you. We are a full service pharmacy – meaning we fill prescriptions just like any other pharmacy and we take almost all insurance plans as well. In addition to prescriptions, we offer compounding, home medical equipment, delivery or shipping, after hours emergency services, and lines of non-gmo (non-genetically modified) vitamins and supplements.

PharmiCare can ship your medications if you are outside of the Fort Myers area. We usually ship via UPS and can send via ground or expedited based on urgency. We do not charge any additional fees for shipping. We simply add our shipment cost to your bill. For payment, we can keep a credit card on file or you can call each time with credit card info. If you live in the Fort Myers area we will deliver your medications at no cost to you.

2. What exactly are compounded prescriptions?

Compounding is the creation of a customized pharmaceutical preparation – a drug – by a licensed pharmacist to meet the unique needs of an individual patient when commercially available drugs are not effective or available.

In medicine, some patients do not respond to traditional treatment options, and some need medication strengths that are not available or require different dosage forms. Pharmaceutical compounding meets these needs. Compounding is the only situation where physicians and pharmacists can customize an individual product for the specific needs of the patient. Some examples of compounding include flavoring suspensions; making suppositories; making creams, gels or lotions; preparing sugar free, dye free, additive free medications; altering doses to meet patients specific requirements.

3. How long does it usually take to get a compounded prescription filled?

It depends on the ingredients actually. Compounding should use the pure powder or liquid form of a drug and these pure forms need to be ordered from special wholesalers. This ordering process can take a day or two. After the pharmacy has the products, most orders can be ready within 24-48 hours.

4. What are the benefits of using the pure cholestyramine your pharmacy provides rather than the commonly available form?

Pure cholestyramine contains no additives, sugars, dyes, binders, fillers, etc…nothing but pure cholestyramine. The benefits should include less side effects. Some people have allergic reactions or unwanted side effects from the fillers and additives in the commercially available cholestyramine. Also, you are taking cholestyramine to rid your body of any impurities so why take a product that is full of impurities?

5. Why can’t cholestyramine be put in a capsule to make it easier to take?

Well the pure form could be placed into capsule form, however 1 dose of 4 grams would require many capsules. In addition, this process would require a lot of time to place into capsules, therefore causing the cholestyramine capsules to be expensive and cost prohibitive for a lot of patients.

6. Can you discuss the common side effects of cholestyramine and BEG spray?

A common side effect of cholestyramine is constipation. Other side effects are commonly related to the GI tract and include some bloating and gas. More side effects include weight loss and a skin rash. In addition, the pure form of cholestyramine is more challenging to ingest simply because it contains no sugars or binders to help it stay dissolved in liquid. The best advice we have seen is dissolving each dose in a strong juice such as cranberry juice or mixing a dose in applesauce or a fruit smoothie. Although you are not supposed to eat solid foods while taking your dose of cholestyramine, SMALL amounts of apple sauce or a fruit/veggie smoothie can help patients take the doses. In addition, a 4 gram dose of pure cholestyramine is only approximately 1 and 1/2 teaspoons, which is a much less amount of powder simply because all of the additives are not there. One dose of the commercially available cholestyramine equals 9 grams, and contains 4 grams of cholestyramine and 5 grams of the following additives: citric acid, fructose, mono ammonium glycyrrhizinate, pectin, propylene glycol alginate, sorbitol, sucrose, xanthan gum, artificial orange flavor, D&C yellow No. 10 aluminum lake, FD&C yellow No. 6 aluminum lake.

Common side effects of BEG include a burning or stinging of the nasal cavity and severe nasal discharge. It helps to keep BEG under refrigeration (although it is not required) in order to help reduce any burning – many patients states this helps. You can experience a lot of nasal discharge simply because the toxic biofilm is breaking down and the only way it can leave is out your nose or down the back of your throat.

6. Can you offer any helpful tips for avoiding the digestive issues that some people experience while taking cholestyramine?

Well, hopefully using the pure form will reduce some of the GI side effects because some of the additives can cause the bloating and constipation. If you experience a lot of constipation it is a good idea to add fiber to your diet. Taking a natural fiber capsule or powder is a good idea if you can not get all of your fiber from your diet. Look for a blend of soluble fibers such as psyllium, pectin, and guar gum. Other alternatives include an approach such as using chamomile for example, which acts as a natural laxative.

7. Are there any potential drug interactions that patients using cholestyramine and/or BEG spray should be aware of?

Cholestyramine can delay or reduce the absorption of many drugs. Therefore it is recommended that patients take any other medications at least 1 hour before or 4 hours after taking cholestyramine. In addition, taking cholestyramine for long periods of time may prevent the absorption of fat soluble vitamins such as vitamins A, D, E and K. It may be advisable to take supplementation with water-miscible forms of fat-soluble vitamins.

BEG: Since it is a nasal spray, most of its site of action is on the nasal mucosa and the nasal spray has little systemic (body wide) effects. Try not to use any other nasal sprays immediately after using BEG. You should wait 1 to 2 hours.

8. Do medications administered by nasal spray still work if I have a cold or a stuffy nose?

Yes they do. It is important not to blow your nose for at least 30 minutes after spraying BEG or any nasal spray and tip your head back after spraying to avoid the BEG from dripping out of your nose (if it is stuffed from a cold or allergies).

Good Snacks and Snack Ideas

Because healthy eating is such a vital part of good health, it is important that we not only plan and prepare nutritious meals but also that we provide good snacks. For many people, snacking can be their biggest challenge when it comes to making good food choices. So often, we eat well throughout the day only to fall prey to late night munchies that derail us. By buying and preparing good snack options, you will be better prepared to keep your healthy eating habits on track.

The Big, Bad Grocery Store

Okay, let’s face it. Manufacturers spend a lot of time, money, and research to try to get us to buy their products. This means that every time you go into the grocery store you are bombarded with pretty packages and advertising meant to make you buy products regardless of their nutritional value or the cost to your health. It is possible to buy nutritious, high-quality products at the grocery store. You just need to know where to look. Most of the items you want are going to be found on the perimeter of the store. This includes the produce section where many stores now carry organic fruit and vegetable options or even have a whole organic section available. Try to buy local produce in season for the best quality and taste. Stop by the meat section to see their selection of organic meats as well. In the refrigerated section, look for coconut milk to add to nutritious smoothies or organic cage-free eggs. The frozen section may have organic berries to add to your smoothie or frozen vegetables that you can enjoy year round even when local produce is out of season. You can find some nutritious foods in the center aisles if you know what to look for. Beans can be added to soups or to certain meat dishes. None of those baked beans in a can please! Dried beans are not difficult to cook and have no added preservatives or sugar. If you must buy canned beans, look for plain beans with only water and perhaps salt added. Also be sure to buy cans that have a non-BPA lining such as Eden Organic. The truth is that if you don’t buy unhealthy foods you won’t eat unhealthy foods. It is important that you educate yourself regarding good nutrition rather than relying on manufacturers and advertisers to tell you what is good for you. Ultimately, they are more interested in their bottom line than in your good health.

Good Snacks and Snack Ideas

So you might be wondering, what are some good snacks or snack ideas? I’m glad you asked! There are many good snack foods available.

  • One that I really enjoy is some organic homemade popcorn. Use a little organic coconut or other oil of your choice in the bottom of the pan and then lightly salt the popped kernels for a crunchy and salty snack food choice. You can also season your popped kernels with other spices if you are on a low-salt diet.
  • Some fresh fruit can also make a wonderful snack. Try an organic apple smeared with a little almond butter for a quick pick-me-up.
  • Some cut-up vegetables dipped in homemade hummus can also make a quick and easy healthy snack choice.
  • A handful of raw organic nuts also make good snacks for those times when you want something crunchy to snack on.
  • For an on-the-go snack, grab a Larabar, some Navitas superfood power snack, a piece of fresh fruit or some dried organic fruit or berries, or some sunflower or pumpkin seeds.
  • Hard-boiled eggs are an inexpensive high-protein snack. Pair them up with some fresh organic fruit or veggies.
  • If you eat dairy, try some organic cheese on gluten-free crackers or maybe some plain organic yogurt with fresh or frozen organic berries.
  • Some gluten-free Crunchmaster crackers with a little of your favorite nut butter are also delicious.
  • Make a cacoa/hemp smoothie to share with a friend for a wonderful chocolatey snack loaded with antioxidants, protein, and fiber.

There are plenty of other options as well, but it is best to prepare for healthy snacking ahead of time. This can be done by cutting up a variety of fresh vegetables and keeping them handy in the fridge, having a wide assortment of fresh or frozen fruits and berries available, or choosing to only buy nutritious snack foods to have in the house. For healthy recipes for snack ideas as well as other occasions, visit Navitas Naturals. They have plenty of smoothie recipes to try as well as recipes for gluten-free and dairy-free eating. You can find everything from appetizer and meal ideas to desserts and snacks.

Healthy Foods

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” – Hippocrates

Good nutrition and healthy foods are vitally important in helping you to regain your health as well as maintain it. Unfortunately, far too many of us have never been taught what good nutrition entails in relation to a long and healthy life.

What are Healthy Foods?

Let me start by saying that because everyone is an individual you need to pay attention to your own body when making proper food choices. What works for one person, may not work the same for someone else. However, there are general principles that can be beneficial for us all. Please consult with your doctor and do your own research to find the best food choices for your individual situation. Generally, healthy foods consist of foods in their most natural, raw, and organic form. This means no artificial preservatives, coloring, pesticides, genetically modified ingredients, artificial sweeteners, high-fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oils, or additives of any kind have been added to or used on your foods.

Many people with mold illness experience gut or bowel problems that can make it difficult to adequately digest and absorb nutrients from their food. One way to overcome this issue is to ingest high-quality, nutrient-dense smoothies like this one:

Cacao/Hemp Smoothie

Combine all ingredients in blender. Add a little organic cane sugar or stevia if it is not sweet enough. Add less cacao if you like less chocolate flavor. Use a frozen banana if you want it to be colder. It makes about 16 ounces and can be used as a meal  replacement or shared with someone for an energizing snack. It is chock-full of protein, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Enjoy one every day for better health.

Genetically Modified Foods

Genetically modified foods have been genetically engineered by changing their DNA. Although there is still much controversy about this topic, there have been no long-term studies on the safety of these foods for our health or the impact these crops have on our environment. Common genetically modified crops include corn, soybean, canola, and cottonseed oil. These ingredients are present in one form or another in many packaged and processed foods. Although there are currently no animal products sold for food that are genetically engineered, many animals are fed these genetically engineered crops such as soybeans and corn. One way to avoid genetically modified foods is to eat organic. Organic products are not permitted to use any genetic modification. They also provide the benefit of avoiding pesticides and other chemicals commonly found on most produce as well as hormones and other growth enhancers given to animals. It is best to avoid genetically modified foods if at all possible and to choose organic products.

Reverse Osmosis

Some people with mold illness develop a lack of regulation of ADH which means that they are constantly losing water because their kidneys are not being told to hold onto it and thus they become dehydrated. Adequate water consumption is another key component of good health and is important for proper body function. The use of a reverse osmosis or RO filter for your water can remove many potentially harmful  impurities before they enter your body. Depending on your needs, you can either get a whole-house system which purifies all the water in your home or a simple unit that you can install under your kitchen sink for cooking and drinking purposes. The filter system usually consists of a sediment filter, a charcoal filter, and then the RO membrane. Some systems also include a final polishing filter as well. You must properly maintain your system for optimal water quality including changing the filters at regular intervals as recommended by the manufacturer.

Superfoods

Superfoods are nutrient-rich foods that provide a lot of health benefits. Many different foods fall into this category. A few of them include:

  • Acai (pronounced ah-sah-EE) berries are high in antioxidants.
  • Cacao (or cocoa) is produced from the beans of the cacao tree. It is a rich source of antioxidants and has cardiovascular health benefits if consumed in its raw form. Heating it and alkalizing it degrades the flavonoids and thus reduces the health benefits, so it is best to find raw cacao for maximum benefits.
  • Chia seeds are a good source of omega-3 fatty acids as well as other vitamins and minerals.
  • Flax seeds are high in fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, and many vitamins and minerals.
  • Hemp seeds are an excellent source of complete protein which includes all of the essential amino acids that your body cannot produce on its own. They are also a good source of essential fatty acids, fiber, and other important nutrients.
  • Other berries including maqui berries, goji berries, mulberries, goldenberries, and blueberries are all excellent sources of antioxidants as well as other important vitamins and minerals.
  • Pomegranates are high fiber if you consume the seeds and also contain antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.
  • Wheatgrass is a good source of protein, fiber, chlorophyll, vitamins, and minerals. Wheatgrass is a gluten-free product if properly prepared with no wheat seeds allowed to form before harvesting. Look for products that specifically say they are gluten-free.

Healthy Oils

If you want to improve your health, it is important to avoid hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils. These are commonly found in packaged foods and processed foods and are also used in many restaurants. There are some oils, however, that can be beneficial to your health if used in moderation. The healthiest oil you can use is extra-virgin cold-pressed olive oil. It is full of antioxidants and is beneficial for your cardiovascular health. Buy a brand that comes in a dark glass bottle and store it in a cool dark place so as to preserve its flavor and quality. Avoid other types of olive oil such as light or pure olive oil that are processed with chemicals and refined. Olive oil is best used drizzled on salad or other dishes but can be used for low-heat cooking. Organic unrefined coconut oil can be used for a wide range of applications from cooking and baking to hair and skin care. It may increase your good cholesterol while lowering bad cholesterol. It is important to look for organic unrefined coconut oil. It has a light coconut scent and flavor. Be sure to avoid all refined and hydrogenated coconut oil products. For high-quality coconut oil as well as organic pastured poultry, grass-fed meats, and nontoxic skin and household products, check out:

If you order by clicking on these links and have never ordered from Tropical Traditions in the past, you will receive a free book on Virgin Coconut Oil, and I will receive a discount coupon for referring you. Check out their other all-natural products as well as their high-quality coconut oil. If you choose to use other oils such as canola, be sure to buy only organic varieties to avoid exposure to pesticides and genetically modified organisms.

Sweeteners

If you’re like me, avoiding too many sweets can be a challenge. However, limiting or even eliminating your sugar intake can be very beneficial in maintaining good health. It is best for you to entirely eliminate high fructose corn syrup and artificial sweeteners including aspartame and Splenda from your diet. This includes all diet sodas. High fructose corn syrup is added to a variety of packaged and processed foods, so it is important to read the label carefully. Go ahead and try a little local raw honey, organic maple syrup, or organic cane sugar if necessary. A wonderful alternative to sugar is stevia. You can use it either alone or in combination with sugar. This allows you to still enjoy a sweet taste while at the same time cutting back on the amount of sugar needed. Stevia is made from a plant and although much sweeter than sugar will not raise your blood sugar levels.

Organic Foods

Throughout this website, you may notice that many times organic products are recommended. You may be wondering why organic products are preferred over traditional ones. Organic foods must follow strict standards to be labeled as such and are made without the use of synthetic pesticides or chemical fertilizers. They are also not processed using irradiation or chemical food additives. No genetically modified organisms can be used in organic foods. Does this make all foods that say organic on them healthy? No, not necessarily. It is still important for you to read labels and understand all the ingredients that are being put in your food. If you are not financially able to purchase all organic products, then it is important for you to make the best choices possible. Check out the Dirty Dozen list of the most contaminated produce and the Clean 15 list which gives you the least contaminated produce items available. If possible, buy only organic varieties of the products on the Dirty Dozen list. Choosing organic grass-fed meats is another important step to avoid the hormones and antibiotics that are routinely added to most meats.

Choosing healthy foods may mean making some adjustments to your current diet and even learning how to cook with new ingredients and finding new recipes. However, it is important for you to educate yourself if you want to achieve the best health possible.

 

The No-Amylose Diet

If you have an elevated MMP9 level, it may be recommended that you follow a no-amylose diet to help bring this level down as part of your treatment program.  Many of us are familiar with the low-carbohydrate diets that are so popular today including Atkins and South Beach. While it might seem on the surface to be similar, the amylose-free diet is slightly different from this mainstream approach. Fresh fruit is actually encouraged, and the only fruit that is restricted is bananas. The goal of this diet is to avoid foods that contain amylose and glucose which in turn cause a rapid rise in blood sugar when ingested.  The diet is really fairly easy to follow and does not require you to count calories or measure portion sizes. You might even be surprised at the foods that are on the list of allowed foods for you to enjoy. While lima beans and butternut squash are full of starch, amylose isn’t one of them, and you are free to enjoy these starchy vegetables as often as you like.  For more detailed information on the diet including using it for weight loss, please see Lose the Weight You Hate by Dr. Shoemaker.

No-Amylose Diet Forbidden Foods

  • Roots and tubers including white and sweet potatoes, beets, peanuts, carrots, and other vegetables that grow underground. The exception here is onions and garlic.
  • Bananas (the only forbidden fruit).
  • Wheat and wheat-based products including bread, pasta, cakes, and cookies.
  • Rice.
  • Oats.
  • Barley.
  • Rye.
  • Foods with added sugar, sucrose, corn syrup, or maltodextrin.

Allowed Foods

Allowed foods include basically anything that is not on the list of forbidden foods including:

  • Corn.
  • Onions.
  • Garlic.
  • All vegetables that grow above the ground including lettuce, tomatoes, beans of all types, peas, cucumbers, and celery.
  • All fruits except bananas.
  • Meat, fish, and poultry.
  • Condiments (avoid low-fat varieties as they usually contain added sugar).
  • Spices.
  • Eggs.
  • Dairy (avoid sugar-laden products).
  • Nuts.
  • Sunflower, pumpkin, and squash seeds.

This diet is based on the 00-2-3 rule and is an easy way for you to remember what should or should not be included in your diet each day. You should have 0 sugars (glucose or sucrose, including corn syrup), 0 amylose, 2 servings of protein that total at least 6 to 8 ounces, and 3 servings each of vegetables that grow above the ground and fruit (except bananas) per day. This diet allows for sufficient quantities of food so that you won’t be hungry and can actually enjoy good-tasting, high-quality meals. It just involves adjusting some of our habits and thought patterns when it comes to food. For instance, you can still eat a hamburger, just not the bun. Why not try some melted cheese and a hearty slice of tomato on top instead? Soups can be a nutritious and filling meal or snack but not when they are loaded with pasta, potatoes, or rice. Why not try some delicious black bean soup or maybe a homemade cream-based tomato soup without the added sugar so often found in canned varieties?

The other benefit of this diet is that it is also a gluten-free diet. The avoidance of wheat, oats, rye, and barley is the same for both diets. If you have also been advised to be on a gluten-free diet, no adjustments need to be made in order for you to eat gluten-free. Just follow the 0 amylose rule and you will automatically be avoiding gluten-containing products. One key difference to note is that this diet does not allow rice while gluten-free products often use rice as a substitute for wheat. This makes the no-amylose diet slightly more restrictive than a no-gluten diet.  For information on how to eat gluten-free, please visit this page.

 

How to Eat Gluten-Free

If it has been recommended that you go on no-gluten diet, you may be wondering how to eat gluten-free.  Does this mean no more bread or pasta?  Does it mean no more eating out?  We will cover the basics of gluten-free living to help you understand how to successfully go gluten-free without losing your sanity or breaking your budget.

What is Gluten?

So you may be wondering, what exactly is gluten and why does it matter?  Gluten is a protein found in certain grains including wheat, rye, and barley.  For those with mold illness, you may make antibodies to a part of the gluten called gliadin.  These antibodies in turn cause further inflammation in your body.  A simple blood test can determine whether or not you are making these antibodies.  This condition can be controlled by use of a gluten-free diet while you are undergoing treatment for your mold illness.  It is recommended that you eliminate all gluten from your diet for a period of 3 to 6 months if you are positive for these antibodies.

How to Eat Gluten-Free in the Real World

Living Gluten-Free For Dummies
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If it is necessary for you to eat gluten-free, there are some changes you are going to have to make in your diet.  The first rule is to always read the label.  Truth be told, most processed foods have gluten in some form, so reading labels becomes crucial when avoiding gluten-containing products.  Everything from bread, pasta, cakes, cookies, salad dressing, sauces, and cereal to beer, bread crumbs, and malt may contain gluten.  There are a wide variety of choices available these days of certified gluten-free alternatives for many of your favorite items.

Some foods are naturally gluten-free and should be the staple of a nutritious gluten-free diet.  Foods such as fresh meat, poultry, or fish with no breading or other additives; fresh fruits and vegetables with no sauces; dairy products; eggs; beans; seeds; nuts; quinoa; rice; and corn are all naturally gluten-free if consumed in their most natural form with no additives, sauces, or breading.  Avoid processed foods including processed meats and be very careful with items that come in a box, can, or other package, especially those with a long list of ingredients.  When it comes to gluten-free living, simpler is better.  Oats themselves are gluten-free but are usually cross-contaminated by other grains and should probably be avoided on a gluten-free diet unless you get certified gluten-free oats.  Some restaurants do offer gluten-free options, but be sure to ask and make it clear that you are eating gluten-free.  Home-cooked meals allow you the opportunity to know exactly what ingredients are in your meal and give you the chance to substitute with gluten-free alternatives if necessary.  It is possible to still enjoy your favorite dishes with a few alterations.  With a little forethought and planning, you can avoid eating out by packing your lunch or suitable snacks.  You can purchase gluten-free bread and pasta that is just as good as their full-gluten counterparts.  If you don’t like a certain brand, try another or try switching to a different grain.  For instance, if you find that you don’t enjoy rice pasta, look for one made of corn or quinoa instead.  The quality and selection of gluten-free foods has made incredible strides over the last few years, and with a little trial and error, you are bound to find a suitable alternative.  You can buy gluten-free bread made of corn, rice, or millet just to name a few.  Once again, try different grains or brands to find the one that best suits your taste.  You may also find that you are happy simply eating a grain-free diet that focuses on just fresh meat, fruits, and vegetables without the need to find gluten-free substitutes.

Gluten-Free Tips and Tricks

  • For thickening gravy or other sauces, try cornstarch or arrowroot powder.
  • If you are in need of easy snack items while on the go, try a piece of fruit, some raw nuts or seeds, or a Larabar.
  • To make your own homemade bread crumbs, simply purchase some pre-ground rice crumbs such as Orgran all purpose rice crumbs and add some Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, and other spices as desired.
  • Buckwheat is gluten-free and makes a good alternative to oatmeal for a cooked breakfast cereal.
  • Visit your local health food store for a variety of gluten-free products as well as helpful and friendly staff that can assist you in choosing gluten-free items.
  • Some gluten-free alternatives can be found in your local Walmart Supercenter or grocery store.

Some of my favorite gluten-free items include Betty Crocker All Purpose Gluten Free Rice Flour Blend and Betty Crocker gluten-free dessert mixes, Orgran All Purpose Rice Crumbs, Pocono Cream of Buckwheat Hot Cereal, Ancient Harvest Quinoa Pasta, gluten-free Rice Krispies or Rice Chex, Crunchmaster crackers, and Larabars.

Hopefully you now have a good idea of how to eat gluten-free and what things to look for when choosing gluten-free products.