Olive Branch Wellness Center

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

November 2017 Issue

Raynette Ilg, ND

Raynette Ilg, ND, Founder
Olive Branch Wellness Center

This Month's Vita-Mini:   Vitamin D

November is a good time of year to discuss vitamin D, because we’re heading into a season with less sunlight. The body can make its own vitamin D, but only with direct skin exposure to the sun. That means during winter, those living in the northern hemisphere are at a high risk for vitamin D deficiency.

Research shows how critical vitamin D is to immune function, cancer prevention, brain, and bone health. Signs of deficiency include bone pain, weak muscles, fatigue, low immune function, and susceptibility to a host of chronic diseases. Vitamin D is so integral to health, that it is good to get your vitamin D levels checked through a simple blood test.

Vitamin D is naturally present in very few foods. These include fatty fish (tuna, salmon, and mackerel), fish liver oil, beef liver, cheese and egg yolks. Many foods are fortified with vitamin D during manufacture or packaging such as most conventional dairy products.

When choosing a supplement, look for vitamin D3. Research shows it is better assimilated by the body than Vitamin D2. Since vitamin D is fat-soluble, this means that excess vitamin D can pose negative side-effects. Ask what form and what dose of vitamin D supplements are right for you at your next check-up.

Lose weight Book

Holiday Health Secret:

Stress + Sugar = Sick!

We're heading into the holidays and my fondest wish is that all of my patients stay healthy and happy for the next two months and through the winter. However, we all know that while winter starts with holiday season, the holidays are followed by cold and flu season. This is not a coincidence. Why?

Two things will set you up for lower immunity more than anything else. These two things are stress and sugar. Both stress and sugar have been proven to reduce your resistance to both viral infection and serious illness. And what do the holidays bring most of us – besides the wonderful time with our family and loved ones and all those presents? That’s right – holidays bring stress and sugar.

If you want to stay healthy during the holidays and especially the cold winter months after they’re gone, you need to start right now to reduce stress and sugar in your life through the holidays.

What does reducing stress in November and December look like? It means scheduling a massage between Thanksgiving and Christmas to help you relax, or taking a vacation day from work to help you squeeze in decorating and shopping time. It means no staying up until 3 a.m. wrapping presents – instead, paying to have them gift wrapped. Don’t be a kitchen martyr – let relatives help cook, or cater part of your holiday meals. Hire a cleaning service before the party instead of wearing yourself out. Some of these choices cost a bit extra, but would you rather get the flu or a 3-week cold in January?

Reducing sugar looks like this: Fill up on the high protein appetizers and entrées of the season, so you only have room for a tiny bite of pie. Re-gift cookies and candy ASAP to someone else: don’t let them linger around the house. Find a few healthy low-carb stevia-sweetened smoothie recipes that suit the season – like a pumpkin smoothie or cocoa mint made with almond or coconut milk. They can take the edge of holiday sweet cravings, especially if you add a bit of protein powder. Keep taking your supplements and stick with your exercise schedule. You will need these healthy habits now more than ever to keep your immunity strong.

Be sure to watch for next month’s newsletter, where I give you the next secret to staying healthy through the holidays and winter months!

Jeana's Cucina

Thanksgiving Stuffing Meatballs 


  • 2 lbs. ground pork or turkey
  • 2 tsp. coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup onion finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup celery finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup carrots, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup chestnuts, finely chopped
  • 1/4 tsp. ground fennel seed
  • 1/4 tsp. ground sage
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic salt
  • 1/4 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • Preparation:

Preheat oven to 425 F. In a medium-sized mixing bowl combine the pork and the spices. In a large skillet over medium heat the coconut oil. Place the onions, celery, and carrots in the pan, and sauté until the onions and celery appear translucent. Add the chestnuts, and continue to cook for another 2 minutes. Set the onion, celery, carrot, and chestnut mixture aside to cool until you can touch it comfortably. Then, combine the mixture with the meat and form the pork into meatballs. Place the meatballs in an oven-safe dish or on a baking sheet and bake approximately 25-30 minutes.