Olive Branch Wellness Center

Wellness tips, health news, nutrition insights, encouragement and more...

January 2018 Issue

Raynette Ilg, ND

Raynette Ilg, ND, Founder
Olive Branch Wellness Center

Dr. Ray

This Month's Vita-Mini:   Vitamin F

Yes! You read that right: There is such a thing as vitamin F. It refers to essential fatty acids, or EFAs. There are two essential fatty acids – linoleic and alpha linolenic. They’re called “essential” because our bodies cannot produce these EFAs on its own, so we must get them through our diet.

Linoleic acid is an Omega 6 fatty acid found in certain seed and vegetable oils, especially soybean, safflower and corn oils. It’s unlikely you would need to add Omega 6 fatty acids to your diet, as conventional diets currently have a greater ratio of Omega 6 to Omega 3 fatty acids than what is considered optimal for health. This is because processed and fried foods are usually heavy in vegetable oils. That’s why it’s important to include more foods with Omega 3 fats, such as flaxseed, walnuts and fish (especially tuna, salmon, herring, mackerel and sardines) or fish oils. This helps balance your EFA ratios to better support your health.

EFAs are important to maintain good cardiovascular health, healthy cholesterol levels as well as a healthy nervous system.

Lose weight Book

Food Allergies Can Secretly
Sabotage Your Health

When most people think of allergies, they think of something that makes them sneeze, gives them watery eyes, or causes an itchy rash. We all know that in the worst-case scenario, a serious allergy can make your throat close up, your airways constrict, causing asthma or anaphylactic shock that can lead to death.

Food allergies are no exception, they can cause all of the above. However, the tricky side of some food allergies is that their symptoms aren’t always obvious. When you eat a food you are allergic to, the effect can be systemic inflammation or a silent autoimmune response leaving only vague symptoms as clues. If you don’t stop eating the foods you are allergic to, this silent inflammation and/or autoimmune response can lead to serious chronic illness and permanent damage to your health.

Here are some not so obvious symptoms my patients have cured by discovering food sensitivities and allergies and eliminating the offending foods:

  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Brain Fog
  • Headaches
  • Digestive Problems (GERD, constipation, diarrhea, gas, hearburn)
  • Eczema and other skin conditions
  • mood disorders
  • Weight retention
  • Bloating
  • Thyroid problems

If you have symptoms like the above, or if you have other mysterious symptoms that no one has been able to decipher, it pays to get tested for food allergies. No matter what other health regimen you might follow – even if you exercise, have perfect nutrition and do everything else right – if you have unaddressed food allergies, you still might feel lousy or not see any health gains because of those foods.

What’s worse is that mainstream health providers rarely test for food allergies and mask your symptoms with drugs instead. This can be really insidious because the allergy is still going on and the internal damage is still happening, but you might feel superficially better because of a drug (one that usually has side-effects to boot.)

At Olive Branch Wellness Center we have a number of ways we can track down food allergies. Sometimes it’s as easy as carefully assessing your health history and your diet. If that doesn’t work, we also have lab tests that can pinpoint which foods you should avoid. If you’ve never had a good look at the foods you eat and possible food sensitivities, a great New Year’s resolution would be to come in and talk with me!

healthy recipes

Butternut Squash Bisque


  • 1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 small or 1/2 large onion chopped
  • 3-4 cups chicken or vegetable broth or water
  • 1 tsp. curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • salt to taste

  • Preparation:
    Saute chopped onion in the coconut oil until translucent. Add to soup pot with cubed squash, spices and just enough broth (or water) to cover. Simmer until squash is fork tender. Puree with immersion blender, or add to blender a small batch at a time. Blend until very smooth. Stir in coconut milk. Thin with additional broth to desired consistency. Serve with optional garnish of roasted pumpkin seeds, pepitas, cilantro or chopped scallions.