Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Daily Supplements

I'm always looking for the best daily supplement routine.  While, I  believe in getting as much as you can from food, I also know I don't hit the marks on most days.  So after a consultation with Nicole  Holovach, a functional nutritionist, and some extra reading and research, I have come up with a good daily plan for me and my loved ones.

My daily vitamin-  I still take Garden of Life  prenatals (once I'm done with that,  I will either switch to their womens one a day or the Thorne listed below)  I love this brand in general and recommend them to everyone.   I like the prenatal because it has folic acid in the form of folate (the naturally occuing form) and vitamin k in the form of MK-7 (more on this later).   I also really like Thorne Basic Nutrients.  If your multivitamin doesn't tell you what form most of the nutrients are in, you should be concerned.  And if it does, look those  up.  (You may not need anything else if you take a good quality multi vitamin)

A probiotic-  I take Nutriwest Total Probiotic .  It has 70 billion cfus!  This helps keep my gut in check and my immune system on point (a total must with three germ infested kids)

Vitamin K2/D3- I use the liquid form from Thorne . It's 2 drops a day and provides vitamin D3 and vitamin k2 in the form of MK-4.  I also like Live Wise Naturals , this is k2 MK-7.  I think it is well known that vitamin D3 helps your body to absorb calcium and is therefore good for your  bones.  This is true.  Vitamin D3 helps your body to absorb calcium from what we eat into your bloodstream. This is an extremely important step, but the less talked about vitamin k2, has an even more important job.  It directs the calcium into your bones and away from your soft tissue.  Your soft tissue includes your arteries and your heart, and calcification of your arteries causes heart disease.  The lack of vitamin k2 in the American diet is due to our food soursces.  K2 can be found in butter, eggs, cheese, and meat....but these need to come from pasture raised animals.  Vitamin K2 and the Calcium Paradox is a great book for more information on this topic.  I also like this website to learn a little about the difference between MK-4 and MK-7...at this point I think they are both important and I would find a way to get both.  

Cod Liver Oil- I use standard process because I know they have very high standards for the way they obstain and process the Cod Liver Oil.  It maintains its natural profile vitamin A, vitamin D, DHA, EPA omega-3 fatty acids.   There are so many benefits to vitamin A; vision, healthy skin, your immune system, your bones and teeth, fetal development and  fertility all depend on it.  (No Amazon link because it's listed for way too much money but I do carry this in my office) 

I know there are 1000's of supplements out there.  I do believe it's one place not to try and save money.  If you are going to pay for them and take the time to take them everyday, you want to be sure your body can use them and that they are in the best form, this studies shows why they are not all created equal.  If you have any questions or want to go through what you're currently taking, I'm happy to help!  Check me out at www.carriedurkeeacupuncture.com or email me at carriedurkeeacu@gmail.com.  

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Elderberry syrup and gummies

I posted this picture of Thatcher helping me make his little sister elderberry gummies and a lot of you wanted the recipe so here it is!

First, why elderberries?
Elderberries are full of vitamin A, B, and C, which all help to support the immune system.  They also contain bioflavinoids and anthocyanins making them a fantastic antiviral and great way to prevent colds, flu, and other yucky germs from taking over.  They can also help speed the recovery if you happen to catch a cold or even a mild case of the flu. 

When we first started using elderberry syrup at home we used store bought syrup. It is sold in most pharmacies and bottled like cough syrup.  With 5 of us using it though, it was getting pretty expensive.  So, I started making it!

2/3 cup of dried elderberries
3 cups of water
Can add a tsp of cinnamon, cloves, and ginger (I leave theses out because my kids don't like the taste)
1cup of honey
6 Tbsp pasture raised gelatin (you can read why gelatin is great here)

Additional add ins such as probiotics (I used two nurtiwest total probiotics) and Vitamin D (I used 45 drops)

Add the elderberries and water to a pot and bring to a boil.

Reduce heat and simmer for about 45 minutes (until liquid is reduced by 1/2)
Let cool.
Stir in honey.
Here you have Elderberry Syrup!!

Now for the gummy part...
(My wife and I take the syrup, but I find it faster and less messy to give the kids these gummies)

Put about 2/3s the syrup back on the stovetop and heat for just a few minutes

Add the 6 tbsp gelatin to the cooled leftover liquid and mix well.  I also add my probiotics and vitamin d at this point.

Stir the heated syrup into the cooled gelatin mixture

Pour into your molds (I love these molds) and refrigerate for a few hours.

Pop them out and voila...immune building greatness.

Here is the dosage I use....

Kids get 1/2-1 tsp daily
Adults get 1/2-1 tbsp daily

I use this about 4-5 days a week when everyone is healthy and if anyone out the house is getting sick or was exposed we triple the  dose but spread it out through the day.

I have some molds that hold a 1 tsp each and some that hold a 1/2 tbsp.  I figured this out by simply measuring.

Monday, October 3, 2016

National Children's Health Day

                        Photo Credit Lizzy Metcalfe Photography

In honor of National Children's Health Day,  (bet you didn't know there was a day for that!) I'm  going to let you into my natural medicine cabinet.  All families acquire a medicine cabinet, mine just happens to be filled with homeopathic remedies, Chinese herbs, and essential oils. The first step to keeping our kids healthy is prevention.  You can head over to my previous blog post to learn what we do for our family.  But what happens when they do get sick?  While I'm not a fan of your normal medications, I'm also not a fan of my kids suffering.  So,  I do my best to make them comfortable by alleviating symptoms and helping their bodies to recover as quickly as possible.  So what do we use?

        Homeopathy is an alternative medicine system that was developed over 200 years ago in Germany.  There are 2 main theories,  the first being  “like cures like”.  This means that an illness can be cured or treated by a natural substance that would cause similar symptoms in a healthy person.  So, if you are treating a fever, your homeopathic choices would include products that would cause a fever in a healthy child, such as  Aconitum Napellus (a purple flowering plant native to western and Central Europe)  or Belladona.  (A poisonous nightshade).  The second important theory is “law of minimal dosing”. Homeopathic remedies are dosed so small because the lower the dose, the more beneficial it is.  Homeopathic remedies come in small pellets that are placed under the tongue, ointments, drops, and creams.

For the kids I keep a few Hylands products around- we have Arnica, Tiny Cold, and their Teething Tabs.  Here are a few others and their uses….

Aconitum Napellus 30X: sudden colds or fever

Arnica Montana 30X: bruising, muscle soreness

Belladonna 30X: fever, redness or throbbing pain

Chamomilla 30X: teething, irritability

Ferrum Phos 30X: fever, redness or fatigue

Hepar Sulphuris Calcareum 30X: cough, colds or skin eruptions

Chinese Herbs
As an acupuncturist, I  obviously turn to herbs when my family is getting sick or something is going around and I'm trying to keep everyone from getting it.   Chinese herbs can come in a variety of forms, liquid tinctures bring the easiest for children.   There are 3 companies I trust when buying herbs for my kids, Gentle Warriors by Kan herbs, Golden Flower, and Blue Poppy.  Here are a few I think are worth having around.

Gentle Warriors.

Windbreaker- earaches, sinnitus, cold, flu, sore throat
Chest Relief- phlegmy cough
Tummy Tamer- indigestion, colic, poor digestion

Golden Flower..

Clear and Release- common colds, fever caused by virus
Jade Defense- preventative
Ear Formula- ear infections

Blue Poppy..

CQ Junior- sore throat, cold, fever (in early stages)
Lung Qi Jr – cough, wheezing
Quiet Nights- colic, gas, indigestion
TenderTteeth- teething

These are just a few formulas that I have found useful. There are many many more for almost any symptom you can imagine.   Remember herbs are potent and it is important to consult an acupuncturist for dosing and proper use.

Essential Oils

I have come to love essential oils since becoming an acupuncturist and a mom.  I use them to make my own cleaning product, purely for the scent, and to keep my kids healthy.   It is not advised to use essential oils on kids under 2 and then there are still a lot that are unsafe until they are older.  However, there are a few oils I feel comfortable using on my family.

Lavender for calming and healthy sleep habits.

Chamomile for teething, belly aches, and calming

Tea Tree - major anti bacterial, infections, colds,

Mandarin- belly pain, constipation, hyperactivity, insomnia.

Proper application and dilution is extremely important when using essential oils.  Please consult an
aromatherapist or other professional about how to safely use them in your home.

I'm happy to answer any question or help you figure out what's best for your family.  You can contact me at (410)925-2126

Head over to Lizzy Metcalfe Photography to see more beautiful babies photographed my amazing friend Lizzy Deutsch❤️

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Vegan Grasshopper Bars

St. Patrick's day is a day for everything green, but if you're anything like me consuming green food dye does not sound appetizing at all!  So I set out to celebrate with naturally colored foods.   I started the day by simmering and blending some spinach to use in our pancakes and eggs.  My son was not thrilled about this. So I thought maybe some green dessert with chocolate would do the trick.  I found this great vegan recipe on www.raisarecipe.com.  

  1. 1  avocado
  2. 1/4 c. honey
  3. 6 T. coconut oil, melted
  4. 1 1/2 c. shredded unsweetened coconut
  5. 3/8 t. peppermint extract 
  6. dash of salt
  1. 1/4 c. coconut oil 
  2. 2 T. honey
  3. 1/4 c. cocoa powder
  4. 1/4 t. vanilla extract
  5. dash of salt
  1. Line a 9×9 inch baking dish with foil. Place all ingredients in high powered blender (such as a  Vitamix) or a food processor. Blend until smooth. (You can puree it if you want, but I like mine to have little flecks of coconut still.) Smooth mixture into prepared dish and stick in the freezer.
  1. In small saucepan, melt coconut oil and honey over low heat. Remove from heat and stir in remaining ingredients. Pour over chilled bottom layer and return to the freezer for about 15 minutes, or until the chocolate layer is hardened. Remove from foil and cut into bars. Store covered in the freezer.

It looked perfect.  Not only does it fit the color criteria, but also our diet restrictions and it's great for the season.  Avocado and peppermint are both great for harmonizing the liver meridian which is part of the wood/spring element.  With spring on the rise, the liver meridian can get a bit cranky causing muscle aches or spams, irritability, judgemental and negative emotions, and a lack of hope or defensiveness.   

Friday, January 22, 2016

Acupuncture for babies and kids

As a parent, we will try just about anything to keep our kids healthy...why not acupuncture?  
Acupuncture is gaining popularity in the pediatric world because it offers safe and effective treatment to many childhood illnesses.  Asthma, allergies, ear infections, coughs, colds, tummy troubles, adhd, and anxiety are just a few things acupuncture can help with.   As with all acupuncture, I strive to treat the root cause while effectively eliminating symptoms and restoring your child's natural healing abilities. 

What if my child is scared of needles? 

Acupuncture generally uses very fine needles to stimulate acupuncture points but, there are many non-needle techniques such as massage, acupressure, and a painless micro current.  My number one goal is to build trust with your child so they will NEVER be forced into trying any method that they are uncomfortable with.  

What is a treatment like? 

Your child's complete health history will be taken into consideration including, but not limited to, physical health, diet, sleep, environment, toxic load, and emotional well being.  I will treat your child with whatever methods we agree upon and guide your homecare such a dietary changes and Chinese pediatric massage.  

If you have further questions as to how acupuncture can help your child please contact Carrie at (410)925-2126 or carriedurkeeacu@gmail.com

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Acupuncture and Fertility

I first became interested in fertility when I was in college.  Pregnancy and childbirth were fascinating to me.  When I started acupuncture school I quickly realized I could help couples make their dreams of becoming parents a reality.  I read books, took extra classes, and got as much information as I could.  But nothing prepared me to walk beside women on this journey more than my own journey with fertility. When my wife and I decided we wanted to have a baby we thought it would be easy.  It was anything but.  We worked with the Fertility Center of Maryland and tried clomid, injectables, and finally moved to  IVF, which resulted in our amazing son.  2 years later we did a frozen embryo transfer and have beautiful boy/girl twins.  I have a very deep passion and love for this work.  I know what it is  like from the depths of my being and am so privileged to help couples become families.  

Have you been trying to conceive with out success?  Whether you have just started trying or working with a fertility specialist, acupuncture can help!  It can be a great addition to trying naturally,  Clomid, injectables, IUI, IVF, donor programs, or frozen embryo transfers.  

How does acupuncture help improve your fertility?

Improved blood and nutrient flow to the ovaries which can help increase egg quality
Improved blood and nutrient flow to the uterus which can help thicken the uterine lining and increase receptivity for implantation
Balancing the hormones responsible for fertility, such as LH, FSH, E2, and Progesterone 
Regulate the menstrual cycle and ovulation 
Lower stress hormones 
Can help with male factor infertility by increasing count, mobility, and morphology of sperm
Support a healthy pregnancy and reduce the chance of miscarriage

When should I start?

Some people respond to acupuncture very quickly and will become pregnant in the first month or two but it important to remember acupuncture is not an overnight fix.  Follicle growth starts 90 days before ovulation, therefore for best results acupuncture should be started about 3 months before you hope to become pregnant.    Don’t worry If you are closer to your iui or ivf date, acupuncture can still be beneficial. 

How many treatments will I need?

It is recommended to come in for acupuncture treatments once a week when you first start.   Depending on your specific circumstances we might space treatments out after the first few weeks.  Treatments should be continued until pregnancy is achieved and possibly through the first trimester.

Will Acupuncture cure my infertility?
Acupuncture is not a cure.  It will help to get the body to an optimum health therefore increasing the chances of conception.  Our bodies are made to reproduce.  If we can get the body in balance we can give it the best chance possible.

Friday, January 15, 2016


Gelatin is an amazing super food that almost everyone can benefit from incorporating into their diet.  It deeply nourishes the blood and kidney energy.  The kidney energy is part of the water element and is associated with the winter.  Winter is an important time to support the kidney energy.  When our kidney energy is low we may feel fatigued, cold, or suffer from low back pain.  

The kidneys are responsible for very much of our fertility and hormone health, making gelatin good for women dealing with any hormone issues including struggling to get pregnant, a difficult pregnancy, post partum depression, or menopause.

As a blood tonic, gelatin can help to stop bleeding that is caused by a deficiency such as menstrual or uterine bleeding or hemorrhage and amenorrhea.   It can also be used for anyone showing signs of blood defiency; insomnia, fatigue, dry skin, poor memory, anxiety, depression, or menstrual irregularities.  

From the nutritional angle, gelatin is high in protein and help digestion by binding to water and passing through the system.  It can repair holes in the gut lining that lead to leaky gut syndrome and food sensitivities.  It can reduce systemic inflammation.  It's is great for the joints, helping to repair or stop degeneration of collegen.   Strengthens the hair, nails, and teeth.  It can be used to support skin elasticity, reduce wrinkles, help prevent stretch marks during pregnancy (I can 100% attest to this last one!) 

They make a water soluble gelatin that can be mixed into just about anything (green bottle) 

Homemade Jello 
1/2 cup hot water
1/2 cup cold water
3 cups of fresh pressed juice (if I use organic bottled juice I do 2 cups and 1 extra cup of water)
2 Tbsp gelatin 

1. Mix gelatin and cold water until thick and dissolved
2.  Add hot water (almost boiling) stir, will be thinner now
3. Add juice and mix well
4. Cover a refrigerate for at least 4 hours

Coconut yogurt
12oz full fat coconut milk
1/2 tsp of good probiotic
1 tsp gelatin 

1. Mix ingredients in a glass jar
2. Cover and put under the light in the oven overnight
3. Shake well and put in the fridge for 4-6 hours to thicken 

Other options are homemade marshmallows and  gummies.