The sixth annual M-o-o-ving Thru’ The Mud With Landon mud run for kids, hosted by Circle N Dairy, will be held June 3, 2017 to raise funds for the nonprofit Hope for Hypothalamic Hamartomas (HH), a form of brain lesion, to provide information and support to HH patients, caregivers, and healthcare providers, and promotes research for early detection, improved treatments, and finding the cure. Gates open at 9 a.m. and the main event is from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on a working dairy farm with obstacles designed for children 4 to 15 years old. The kids will be challenged by a course of 10 farm-themed mud pits, including a tunnel Mud Run For Kids Raises Funds for HH Research crawl, rope swing, pig pen, great calf escape and tractor tire dive. There will also be hayrides, face painting, calf petting and other fun activities. Participants are encouraged to bring a towel and change of clothes. No pets are allowed. Continue Reading
by Abraham Jacobs
Our bodies are very intricate and delicate machines capable of adapting to daily stresses and an ever-changing environment. However, this adaptation comes at a price, which is how we feel on a day-to-day basis. Hormones are the body’s chemical messengers, and they communicate with every system in our body to change and regulate its functions. When hormone imbalances occur due to environmental factors, certain inherited diseases or lifestyle, it can alter our endocrine function and patients are led down the wrong pathway to be put on antidepressants, anxiolytics and other unnecessary medications that only compound the issues.
By Charles Lewis
Living Yoga Dallas is a place where people can go to find events, studios and instructors in their area or a particular style of yoga. They also bring the masters and big names in yoga, meditation and ayurveda to the metroplex, so people don’t have to travel. Owner Kirsten Joy Burch says, “Living Yoga Dallas provides a method for me to support the benefits of yoga, meditation and ayurveda, giving DFW the tools to live a healthier and more balanced lifestyle.” Continue Reading
Marie DeNoon didn’t grow up on a farm, but notes, “All of my ancestors, both European and Mexican, worked the land.” She attended college and took up a farm apprenticeship in Arkansas, saying, “Farming was so fun I couldn’t stop. Once you taste the magic of the good life, you can’t really go back.”
Although her wish is to farm full-time she realizes the need for seasons, rest and pursuing other interests. Most of all, she enjoys working outside, growing flowers, talking with the plants and the community of farmers. “I like learning new things every day. A working farm is the best school!” notes DeNoon.
“In my opinion, using conventional methods adds to the problems, rather than the solutions of our food system. I don’t want to be that kind of farmer, and even some organic methods are questionable,” says DeNoon. “Every year, the farm uses less and less outsourced products. We switch or upgrade our methods every year after assessing all the season’s teachings.”
DeNoon grows microgreens, fruit, herbs, veggies and cut flowers. “The farm maintains wholesale accounts with restaurant and the local grocery, but we are mostly market farmers,” she says. “The farm is informed by biodynamic methods. We follow the cosmic calendar, make our own compost and rely on ducks for insect control. We use a spader and sometimes a walk-behind tiller to work the soil, and we make our own nutritional sprays to combat disease and insects.”
As a woman farmer, DeNoon explains, “Its harder to find tools and clothes to fit my body. There are a few old-timers who think my farming is “cute”, but they are mostly conventional farmers with hundreds of acres, farm subsidies and tractors that drive themselves. It’s a funny world.”
Michelle Neu, owner of Circle N Family Dairy, in Gainesville, grew up in Lindsay, Texas, on the outskirts of town. She states, “I didn’t grow up on a farm but we did have a few animals and I always loved the outdoors and being around nature. I married into the farm life; Tommy and I married in 1980 and that is what he had grown up doing. I loved the idea of raising our family here on the dairy and am thankful that I was able to be a stay at home Mom for our three sons.”
Their morning starts at 2:30 a.m. with milking the cows and eating breakfast. “We then sleep a few hours until around 8 a.m., when our day starts again; there are no set hours when you live on a dairy!” explains Neu.
“We put a lot of time into producing good-quality feed for our cows, and I love seeing a new calf take that first step and just being out in the country away from the fast-paced life so many have to deal with every day,” she says. “It’s peaceful here in the country and you can’t take that away from us!”
She adds, “We have always sold milk to major dairy companies, but in 2010, people were coming to the dairy asking if they could by raw milk from us. They were wanting to know where their food was coming from, wanting to know the source of their food and wanting to get away from processed foods. We decided to check into it and get a raw milk permit which would allow sales here at the dairy directly to the consumer.”
Neu notes, “Our cows are always out on pasture and fed a forage-based diet to ensure the optimum health for our herd. Taking care of them is our utmost important goal. It takes a lot of energy and stamina to work on the dairy, and staying healthy and in shape is definitely a plus.”
Erin Tran, a full-time farmer and owner of Tierra Verde Farm, in Sanger, grew up in the suburbs, and says, “We moved to the farm about two years ago from San Jose, Califormia. After college, I worked as a mediator and contributed to conflict resolution efforts in Burma. I stopped working in war zones when my son was born and did freelance website design and nonprofit consulting work.”
She says, “I love the animals! It’s hard work and it can be frustrating and exhausting, but there’s nothing quite like helping a ewe birth her lambs, giving a kid a bottle or watching ducklings follow their mother around the pond. I also love that farming stretches me, intellectually and physically. Every day I learn something new about the land or the plants and animals that depend on me. Every night, I fall asleep with tired muscles.”
About four months before moving to Texas the couple decided that they wanted the farm to be sustainable. “We’ve made minor adjustments as we’ve learned more about farming and our North Texas environment. For example, we had originally intended to source all of our dairy products from our sheep, but we quickly learned that it would be easier and more productive to raise a few dairy goats. We’ve also changed the way we farm from row crops to raised beds to account for the difficulties of farming in our black clay soil,” explains Tran.
I think being a woman can be helpful when I’m working with the animals,” she notes. “I have an awareness of the animals that comes from being a mother, I think. I can tell when the moms need a break or some extra feed because their little ones are taking a lot out of them. I’m hyper-aware of the moms during lambing and kidding season. It can be hard when things are going badly and I’m flooded with empathy for them, but I know I have to stay calm and work through it with them.”
Courtney Swearingen, a former anthropology student at the University of North Texas, says, “Through some lifestyle changes and classes I was taking in school, I became more interested in where my food came from and wanted to go straight to the source. I found out about the internship at Cardo’s Farm Project and immediately applied. From that very first day on the farm, I never looked back—I knew I had found want I was meant to do.” Although it is a part-time venture now, her goal is to be able to farm full-time.
“I grow all sorts of veggies. I don’t use any chemicals or pesticides and I do everything, minus tilling, by hand,” says Swearingen. She sells her products to the Denton Community Market and several restaurants in Denton; Barley & Board, Chestnut Tree and Hannah’s. She says, “I like to be outside and play in the dirt while doing something that I know is beneficial to the community and to the environment.”
“Farming as a woman has a sense of empowerment and respectability,” says Swearingen, who is also a yoga instructor. “I love how this work utilizes my body and is constantly challenging me, both mentally and physically. I’m constantly growing alongside my crops.
by Karen Asbury
Usually at about the age of 40, women’s hormones begin to change, and they may begin to have periods where they do not ovulate. If there is no ovulation, there is no production of progesterone. This can lead to estrogen dominance, which can cause irregular and/or heavy periods, uterine fibroids, water retention, fibrocystic breasts, increased forgetfulness, foggy thinking, tearfulness, weight gain, elevated blood pressure and other symptoms. This marks the beginning of menopause.
Progesterone has many functions in the body. It increases burning of fats for energy, it is anti-inflammatory, it protects the integrity and function of cell membranes, it protects against blood clots, it reduces cholesterol and inhibits coronary vasospasm. Most importantly, it offsets the growth effect of estrogen.
There is a difference between synthetic hormones and bioidentical hormones, which are the same as the body makes, but come from a plant source and cannot be patented by drug companies. The progestins are synthetic and some studies have linked them to an increased risk of cancer. Bioidentical hormones such as progesterone and estrogen may be obtained from a compounding pharmacy. Some women choose not to have hormone replacement therapy following menopause, and some are fortunate to have very few menopausal symptoms, if any. Hormones have been shown to be beneficial for the heart, bones and brain. There are studies documenting that women do better on hormone therapy even if only for the first five years, versus those that have no hormone therapy.
When the ovaries are no longer functioning, the adrenals must take over the production of hormones unless there is hormone replacement. The adrenals may be weak due to stress, poor diet, genetic methylation defects, hormone imbalances, emotional issues and multiple other factors. Strong adrenals are a very important part of maintaining health after menopause, and saliva testing is a good way to assess adrenal function and hormone levels.
Many women choose herbal products to deal with perimenopause and menopause symptoms that include hot flashes/night sweats, irritability, depression, anxiety, insomnia, libido, fatigue, vaginal dryness and more. The top five evidence-based herbs for symptom relief are black cohosh, maca, kava, St. John’s wort (especially with black co-hosh) and sidbhiric rhubarb. Pine bark, red clover, valerian, grapeseed extract and soy have also been shown to have benefit. Adaptogens such as ashwaganda or rhodiola are helpful during the time of hormone fluctuations and the need for the body to adapt.
Compounded bioidentical hormones not only have very little risk of cancer compared to the synthetic hormones, but they are effective in helping with osteoporosis, cardiac health and preventing dementia, as well as amelio-rating menopausal symptoms. The benefits go far beyond that; there is even evidence to show that estrogen helps osteoarthritis and joints. Studies have shown that after menopause, women on hormone replacement therapy maintain a higher level of health than those that don’t use any hormones.
If changes are noticed, don’t just chalk it up to age; have hormone levels and adrenal function evaluated. It is important to check estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, cortisol and thyroid. There are multiple options, so the choice is ours about hormones or not. Always look at the risks and benefits of any therapy then decide. The goal is healthy aging.
Karen Asbury, M.D., is an integrative physician practicing in Richardson. For more information or to book an appointment, call 972-479-9139 or visit KarenAsburyMD.com.
by Charles Lewis
Dr. Zhanping Lu, owner of New Star Chiropractic, Acupuncture & Wellness Center, in Plano, offers a world of natural healing modalities to help his patients reduce pain, inflammation and allergy symptoms, balance hormones, improve weight and avoid spinal surgery.
“I grew up in China and completed my medical education and training at the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences at Shandong University Medical College,” says Lu. “In 1991, after years of practice in China, I was invited to be a visiting professor at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine and participate in research programs funded by the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation.
In the U.S., Lu focused his study on microcirculation, and then decided to bring Traditional Chinese Medicine to the Western culture, so he enrolled at Parker College of Chiropractic, in Dallas, and become a doctor of chiropractic. A short time later, he became a board-certified acupuncturist and Nambudripad’s Allergy Elimination Techniques (NAET) practitioner and instructor, and began his practice in Dallas. Lu shares, “My passion is to help people get back to the healthy life track. My joyfulness is to see miracles for patients and enable them walk freely, without the walker, wheelchair or cane, which many initially use when coming to my clinic.”
Lu says “As a chiropractor, I believe the spine is very important to our health because the spine works as a bridge between the brain and the body. Any trauma or stress causes vertebra misalignment [subluxation] and can interfere with the communication between the body and brain and interrupt our normal function. This can ultimately cause us to have pain or internal organ dysfunction. Chiropractic adjustment can remove subluxation and restore the normal function of the spine, allowing the whole body to function normally.”
About another modality Lu employs to help his patients that suffer with allergies, he says, “NAET is very exciting and gets great results. It non-invasive and painless, and can be used safely on anyone from infants to the elderly. During the treatment, we employ standard medical, computerized and kinesiological Muscle Response Testing. After that, mild stimulation is applied to the central nervous system while in the presence of each allergen, which reprograms the brain so it no longer interprets the presence of the allergen as a threat.” “I have studied both Western medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine, including modern medical technology, acupuncture and medicinal herbs, and specialize in neurology,” says Lu. “In my practice, I take the best from each and combine them to best suit the unique needs of each patient.”
Lu’s wife and partner, Jing Su, a physics Ph.D., runs the business and is a frequent lecturer at their public workshops and both are volunteer speakers for the Foundation of Wellness Professionals. Following in the family tradition, their daughter and son-in-law are both anesthesiologists.
“There are many common ailments and life-threatening conditions that can be healed and treated with completely natural techniques,” says Lu. “It has been my life purpose to be able to help people seeking these natural healing modalities. When you feel healthy, you feel great. When you feel great, you are happy, kind, joyous and loving. That is my goal is for my patients.”
New Star Chiropractic, Acupuncture & Wellness Center is located at 425 Maplelawn Dr., Ste. 101, in Plano. To schedule a consultation, call 972-519-8488, or visit DFWAcupuncture.net.
by Laura Precourt
According to the American Association of Clinical Endo- crinologists, more than 27 million Americans suffer from thyroid dysfunction. Of the detected cases of hypothyroidism, more than half are due to an autoimmune condition called Hashimoto’s disease, a condition in which the immune system attacks and destroys the tissue of the thyroid gland. Most doctors don’t test for a diagnosis of Hashimoto’s, mainly because there is no drug to satisfy the condition, so they instead support the thyroid with medications such as Synthroid or Levo-thyroxine.
Although these medications may give temporary thyroid symptom relief and bring the low thyroid blood test back to normal, patients suffering with Hashimoto’s often have a constant changing of their medications and still continue to suffer with debilitating symptoms such as fatigue, brain fog, depression, inability to lose weight, heart palpitations, constipation and more.
The question that’s not being asked is about the cause of the hypothyroidism in the first place. When someone has Hashimoto’s, it is important to realize that it is not really a thyroid problem, but an immune system problem affecting the thyroid; so long-term use of these medications and neglect of the autoimmune problem over time can create a primary hypothyroid condition, as well.
According to the book Why Do I Still Have Thyroid Symptoms When My Lab Tests Are Normal?, by Dr. Datis Kharrazian, the immune system problem is caused by an unhealthy lifestyle, which must be taken into account. Other factors need to be looked at such as diet, hormone imbalances, too much stress affecting the adrenal glands, insulin resistance which affects our body’s ability to balance blood sugar, and an imbalance of healthy gut bacteria. In addition to running the appropriate test to determine if someone has Hashimoto’s, all these other factors need to be evaluated and addressed, as well.
Treating hypothyroid without evaluating any lifestyle factors is like putting a Band-Aid over the check engine soon light in a car without addressing the cause as to why the light came on in the first place. If we keep putting a Band-Aid over the light, then eventually our car will break down. The thyroid is like a spark plug for proper energy production in a cell. It controls the energy, maintains body temperature, regulates growth and influences mood because it affects brain chemistry.
Getting proper testing and education on how to address diet, nutrition, exercise, sleep quality and stress is the only way to rebuild health and dampen the unhealthy autoimmune response in order to correct the symptoms of hypothyroidism.
Dr. Laura Precourt, PScD, is owner of ReClaim Health, a concierge functional medicine practice in Plano. For more information or a personal consultation, call 972-985-9355, or visit ReClaimHealthNow.com.
by Anya Stone
Tommy and Michelle Neu, owners of Circle N Dairy, near Gainesville, along with their son Kevin and fiancé Amber, like being good stewards of the land as family dairy farmers. To ensure the healthiest cows and subsequently the highest-quality, hormone-free milk, the Neus raise their own crops and provide a free-range living format for their herd. Wheat and barley are planted in the fall, and then cut at the most nutritional stage of the plant, giving the cows the best-quality feed, with more protein and energy. A healthy diet ensures the cows will produce all the milk they can without the use of hormones.
“Our cows always have the freedom to be out on pastures, but during summer months when it’s hot and there’s little rain, there is not always enough quality grass available to keep them healthy, able to produce milk and maintain the needs of a calf growing inside them,” explains Michelle. “That’s why Circle N cows are fed silage (a high moisture forage stored in an upright airtight silo where it ferments, making it more digestible for the cows) year-round, along with a supplementation of a small amount of grain either barley or milo grown here at the dairy. This gives them energy and keeps them at a healthy weight.”
“Sustainability is a big part of who we are and how we farm,” says Michelle. “We recycle all of the water used here at the dairy with our lagoon, as well as the manure. The recycled water is used to clean the free stall barn and irrigate our pastures, while the manure is composted and spread on the fields, putting rich nutrients back into the soil.”
To control flies, the Neus opt for a natural method over chemicals. “We use gnat-sized parasitic wasps,” explains Michelle. They are nocturnal, burrowing insects that don’t bite or sting people or animals, but lay their eggs inside the fly pupae. This not only kills the fly, but also allows the wasp eggs to grow inside the deceased fly pupae to repeat the cycle.
When the dairy was started in 1967, the laws were such that the Neus could only sell milk to commercial producers that pasteurized it, used it in dairy products or packaged it for retail sale. Now. Circle N Dairy has one permit for commercial sales and another to sell milk directly from farm in its natural, raw state.
“Our children, and now grandchildren, have all grown up drinking raw milk, which is protein-rich, contains water- and fat-soluble vitamins, a broad spectrum of minerals and is more digestible, due in part to the intact lactose-digesting bacteria and naturally occurring enzymes which don’t get killed off in a pasteurizing process,” says Michelle. “Raw milk doesn’t have to be enriched or fortified, the good stuff is already in there.”
She says their milk is tested on a daily basis. “Every tank of milk produced here is tested for pathogens, antibiotics and somatic cell count. Plus, it’s tested monthly by the state inspector. We love educating people about farming, milk production and of course, the value of raw milk, too.” They offer regular farm tours and encourage people to see the process and taste the milk.
Circle N Dairy is located near Gainesville, four miles west of I-35, on U.S. 82. For more information, call Michelle Neu at 940-372-0343, or visit CircleNDairy.com.
Alternative and Integrative Medicine for Pets
by Charles Lewis
Shawn Messonnier received a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from Texas A&M in 1987, and says that over the years as a veterinarian, he saw too many pets that he couldn’t help with conventional medications. Messonnier says he wanted to find a better, safer, more economical way, so in 1991, he opened Paws & Claws Holistic Animal Hospital, which utilizes alternative and integrative medicine to help to help pets, including dogs, cats, birds, reptiles and small mammals.
He explains, “Integrative medicine involves minimal use of conventional medications unless absolutely necessary, and then typically tiny doses are used for short periods of time. We also employ Chinese and Western herbal medicine, nutritional supplementation, homeopathy, homotoxicology, autosanguis detoxification therapy, acupuncture, cold laser and dietary therapy. We are the only hospital in North Texas to employ inexpensive blood testing for early diagnosis of cancer and inflammatory diseases and in-hospital blood vaccine titer testing; a natural alternative to vaccines.”
Messonnier says, “All of our therapies are proprietary and have been developed over many years of research. All are science-based. Our supplements are manufactured in the U.S. and tested for toxicity, palatability, contamination and correct dosage and ingredients. We have developed many unique protocols for wellness and disease treatment unavailable anywhere else.”
Pet parents that want to say no to unnecessary vaccines, chemicals, and drugs and yes to natural health and wellness are their primary clients, says Messonnier. “Based upon our experience, our patients tend to live two-to-five years longer than average and our cancer patients typically live six to 12 months longer than average. Our typical client exercises, uses organic food and supplements on her family and often doesn’t vaccinate her children, but we also see many people from a wide socio-economic circle who simply want their pets to stay healthy and reduce veterinary visits for illness. Most clients would be surprised that we often help pets diagnosed with ‘incurable’ diseases for whom euthanasia is recommended. Most of these sick pets can be helped and often cured or saved with the proper integrative therapies.”
Messonnier specializes in naturopathic disease prevention and treatment. “While we treat all sizes and species of pets including birds, reptiles and small mammals that have numerous medical conditions, we are best known for our treatment of pets with skin problems and cancer,” he notes. “We are also known for our safe, holistic anesthetic approach, so that all pets, even elderly pets with medical issues, can be safely sedated/anesthetized for any procedure. Our patients wake up immediately and are sent home fully awake shortly after a procedure.”
In addition to running his local pet hospital, Messonnier is also an award-winning radio talk show host, author, and formulator of a line of natural pet products. His show Dr. Shawn, The Natural Vet, can be heard on Martha Stewart Radio, and his natural line of pet products, Dr. Shawn Naturals and books are available at PetCareNaturally.com.
Natural Awakenings readers receive 10 percent off their first visit to Paws & Claws Holistic Animal Hospital, located at 2145 W. Park, in Plano. For appointments, call 972-867- 8800 or visit PawsAndClawsAnimalHospital.com.