Jamila Owens-Todd, N.D.

Keeping Up with Naturopathic Doctor, Jamila Owens-Todd, N.D.

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Are You Ready To Heal?

Illness serves a purpose. Let me first start off by saying, you do not have to be sick.  A sickness is a reflection of where you are in your present physical state and does not have to hang around longer than it is needed.  How long is it needed? Only you will know!

We are powerful beings with the even greater power to heal.  The choices we make in our healing are often shortsighted when we are sick.  That is why you seek guidance from someone else. Whether it is your Medical Doctor, Chiropractor, Acupuncturist, Massage Therapist, Naturopathic Doctor or your local neighborhood herbalist; we (as practitioners) tap in to your healing, with your permission.  You invite us in to assist with your healing path but you are responsible for leading the way. You are the key to your success. You hold the cure in your DNA. But this cure can appear to be hidden, buried even, when illness has set in. Our thought process is readily compromised when we have physical and emotional imbalances. Therefore, we must sit in peace in order to move forward in healing

In your choice to exist, you make the choice to heal. If your illness has served a purpose of reconnecting you with another being, or encouraging you in speaking your truth, commanding respect in your community or by reuniting you with healing foods, this purpose proves valid. After acknowledging the purpose of the illness, we can now release it from our being. Healing starts there.

As you are working through health challenges, here are few considerations:

  1. Why did I create this imbalance?
  2. What purpose is it serving me?
  3. How will I heal from this illness?
  4. Am I ready to heal?

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Healing Skin From Inside Out

Whenever considering the health of skin, it is important to start internally.  The Liver and the Kidneys are two major organs of detoxification and are important in flushing out the toxins that are known to build up and come out through the skin.

Although excess toxins are the most common cause of skin disorders, excess and deficient hormones can also become a cause.  When the hormone production pathway is altered, this can present as skin disturbance.

Another common skin disruption is due to a allergic response.  This occurs with conditions of allergies, asthma or food and chemical sensitivities.  This is usually seen as an outbreak on the skin that is very abrupt and acute.  The immune system becomes more of a focus with this scenario and the treatments are all surrounding decreasing that immune/allergic response in the body.

The last, and common, cause of skin concerns are emotional in nature.  The emotional concerns can occur alongside another of the more “physical” concerns.  The emotional response is very powerful and can be the leading cause in many cases.  With that, the treatment will still address the possible physical concern as well as the underlying emotional state.



Explore possible food allergies

Increase foods that are high in beta-carotene (provitamin A): yellow, orange and green foods such as dandelion greens, spinach, squash, carrots, zucchini, etc.

Increase essential fatty acids (there has been a link to dysfunctional fat metabolism and skin diseases) – using olive or sesame oil and eating fresh fatty fish (salmon, tilapia, etc.)


Burdock root (Arctium lappa) is very cleansing and purging skin toxicities

Herbal detox for the liver and kidney consisting of dandelion, stinging nettle and/or red clover


Homeopathy addresses the physical and emotional component to health

Homeopathic Silica or Sulphur can greatly help in creating balance with the skin


Finding healthy ways of decreasing stress

Exercise can help by decreasing stress, it serves as a healthy physical release of emotions and it increases sweating which purges toxins from the skin.  Consider brisk walking, yoga and/or tai chi.


Fats, Fats, Fats – fats are oils and using oils for the skin can not only cleanse but also, replenish (jojoba, grapeseed, coconut, shea butter and olive are all great oils to use)

Sweating is important in releasing toxins, either through exercise or sauna

Dry Skin Brushing and Salt/Sugar scrubs can physically pull toxins out of the skin

Using little to no chemicals will enhance the health of the skin in the longterm



 Beneficial foods: mung or adzuki beans, cucumber, chlorophyll-rich foods and alfalfa or soy sprouts

Harmful foods: spicy, fatty and greasy foods; limit the number of sweets, citrus fruits and seafood such as shrimp, crabs and oysters


  • increase sweating (this flushes toxins out faster)
  • burdock and yarrow herbs may be beneficial
  • liver and kidney cleanse/flush


 Beneficial foods: fatty fish

Harmful foods: dairy (milk products and cheese)


  • apply raw honey to the area of itching
  • using shea butter as a moisturizer (very anti-inflammatory and soothing to the skin)
  • cleansing the skin with pure castille soap



  • washing with a tea made of the herb sarsaparilla daily
  • applying garlic oil (Garlic Oil Recipe: crush 4 cloves of garlic in 4 oz of sesame oil, let this sit overnight)

RAZOR BUMPS [known as pseudofolliculitis barbae]


  • washing with witch hazel or tea tree oil (diluted in almond oil and water)
  • shea butter to the skin daily – shea butter is a natural anti-inflammatory and it helps to soften the hair and hair follicle (best applied after shaving)
  • aspirin mask:  make smooth paste of 4-5 uncoated aspirin with water and apply it on the skin and allow it to stand for 10-15 minutes. Aspirin has anti-inflammatory properties and may reduce swelling and mild infection.  Please follow with an appropriate moisturizer, such as shea butter.

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…and the oscar goes to the raging antagonist

The bad boys are ruling these days.  Television is dominated by the story of the bad guy as seen in the television shows Breaking Bad, Weeds, Boss, Ray Donovan and the list goes on.  The stories of tormented souls whose life decisions are less than stellar, are the bees knees.  We get a kick out of the historical context of the once-good-guy-gone-bad story.  To understand the jilted offers a sense of psuedo-empathy or more like a pardoned judgement.  We can freely judge these people in the comfort of our living rooms.  We judge their situations, their choices and quietly shame their actions as we revel in their tragedy.  Instead of simply enjoying this as a form of entertainment, we start to internalize and identify with the character.  Identifying with the character is the main goal of the writer, therefore great energy is placed in this task.  Empathy for the lead character.  We become so drawn to this character that we now can share similar sentiments.   We understand his reasons and will often consider this for our personal lives. This, I feel, spills over into reality.  No, not the beloved reality-television, but in actual, real-life situations…such as in social media (as real as it is).

The more opportunities that we have to express ourselves in social media, online forums or comment sections, we have the right to be that antagonist, the bad guy.  The veil of anonymity allows for us to share our pain and confusion that often presents itself in online forums.  The character on television’s outlet may have been to rob a bank, murder a priest or to throw a colleague under the bus.  The user posting on social media now has an unregulated outlet to carry out their actions in the form of words …and pictures.  This is what I call the new frontier.  The internet wild wild west.  Villains are armed with a keyboard, years of unexpressed emotions and anonymity.

The issue is, we don’t have the dramatic backdrop of your jaded pasts. The viewer that is reading your posts/comments, are not fully in the know of why you may be so angry about the movie theater’s choice to use artificial butter.  Could it be due to a severe anaphylactic reaction to FD&C yellow #5?  Or, do you prefer your chemicals to be sprayed on vegetables?  My thought process would lead me to believe that you may have been downsized from one of the chemical labs as a quality control chemist that worked specifically on FD&C yellow #5, therefore this is your form of protest.  That could be the farthest from the truth, but why not just avoid the popcorn?  Why send hateful messages to one movie theatre for their economical choice in selecting artificial butter?

There are far too many examples of this, that I am even embarrassed to replay in my head. Now, when I see hateful comments on Betty White’s (a 90-year-old woman) twitter page, I am unable to discern the level of injustice that you possibly experienced in life.  Now, all is see is the hate-filled commentary, that provides no possible solution to a possible problem.  What is displayed to the public is the angry, aversion to a posed question, that in some cases can be as simple as, “how do you feel about the string of thunderstorms in midwest.” The statements that are made on twitter pages are borderline criminal.

Yes, freedom of speech is quite important and I value it dearly.  I choose to live in the United States for a reason.  We do see more progressive protests of injustice in other nations that provide government consideration and in many cases change.  Telling the author of an article to “go f*ck himself” due to your opposing viewpoint, is just hateful.  It warrants no enhancement to the article, nor does it present an intelligent argument to be seriously considered.  It only makes you the bad guy.  The tormented soul who is searching for a place of self-expression.  You have a place and that starts with self.  If we could create opportunities for more positive rhetoric in our lives, we could create more positive changes. Hate breeds more hate.  Before I suggest holding hands in a circle singing Kumbaya, lets start with creating a more positive circle of self.  I typically will say, “hurt people, hurt people” and we all have place in that role.  I try to evaluate where I fit in that cycle each day. If you find that you are there more often than not, then change it. Choose better. Why not select the option to provide insight, enlightenment and positive feedback.  You may open more eyes that way.


Out, Damned Gluten! Out, I Say!

So, I hang in the middle with many things, more importantly; with diet.  I am the queen of “everything in moderation.”  Sustainability in health is being able to actually sustain a regular, non-regimented diet.  I believe that food is your medicine, therefore obsessing over it, ruins the medicine within.  I have tried many diets, more for research’s sake.  I have been raw, vegan, vegetarian as well as following the ayurvedic kapha (my body-type) diet, the blood-type diet, anti-inflammatory, alkaline, body-ecology, candida-cleansing, sugar/corn-free, blah, blah, blah.  I have not tried paleo, as I have no desire to consume more than one ounce of animal flesh in a month’s time, let alone in a day’s time.  I believe I was born with an aversion to beef (or any hoofed beast).  It is more the chewing of the tough animal flesh that annoys me.  I still wear leather and quite fancy a leather pocket book.  My apologies to peta and the vegan nation.

Ahem, so, as I was saying…food.  One of the reason for trying many diets was to gain insight.  To share the feelings of going without a nutrient or food group. To clearly empathize with someone when they have been invited to a cheese party during a month of avoiding all things dairy. As I review this process, the going without, is a viable solution for many.  And for “many,” the food to avoid varies.  It is true, there are those who thrive on a raw food diet, while others may come close to peril.  Do you force them to follow a strict diet plan? No, you modify and make it right for that person.  That would make your best diet, YOUR best diet. It works specifically for you.

The new concern, gluten.  The paleo-diet plan avoids gluten as well, but for this conversation, I will include it in the same category as gluten-free.  Not to split hairs or offend paleo folks, I like simple.  Gluten-free. The avoidance of all white-flour, whole wheat flour products and by-products of the wheat grain.  The by-products are the issue.  Gluten has been bastardized, homogenized and grossly manipulated.  I believe that we should avoid any food that falls into that category {insert corn and soy}.

The issue with gluten (and gliadin) is that it is overly hybridized and undergoes chemical mutagenesis.  This would be similar to a genetically modified organism (GMO).   In the process of altering any food molecule from its original form to a more amplified, hybrid, will elicit an offshoot of badness.  That badness has seeped into our lives in the form of bloating, heartburn, weight gain, diarrhea/constipation, headaches, joint aches, insomnia, anxiety and depression.  Does gluten create this symptom? No, it is the body’s inability to break down this altered, amplified, hybrid gluten molecule that slows many normal functions in the body.  In the path of slowing a normal function, there is a slowly increasing imbalance that settles in and introduces acid, inflammation, poor hormonal cycling and liver intoxication, that will assist in creating physical symptoms.

Get to the point you say?  Avoiding GMO’s/adulterated foods are always a good thing.  Knowing what that is, is an even better thing.

In my experimentation of dietary changes, I have noticed many benefits.  I have opted out of my morning tea and toast (very good, artisanal breads used to make that toast, mind you).  The new breakfast options include fruit salads or an egg on a bed of spinach or morning quinoa porridge or almond butter topped rice cakes.  I have not yet enlisted as a card-carrying member of the gluten-free (GF) club as I have yet to find a GF croissant worth writing home about.  Yet, I am more than aware of the increased energy, the flatter tummy and heightened mental focus.  A croissant is not worth robbing me of those luxuries.

JAMILA’S BASIC RULES FOR EATING (rules are made to be broken, so don’t feel bad if this is not an everyday plan)

1. greens are a must, at least 2 servings per day

2. if you are a meat eater, meet-your-meat (and make sure that meat had a real life on some grass and in the sun)

3. avoid bags and boxes (therefore no preservatives, chemicals or overly processed foods)

4. explore YOUR meal plan.  consider a meal plan and why it may be helpful, try it and observe.  if you notice changes consider adopting this plan for a longer interval of time or as your primary meal plan during a week.

As for gluten/gliadin, until there are no longer monetary incentives to cheapen the food supply in order to overstuff society with high calories and high carbohydrates, avoid them like the plague.  If avoidance is too finite a concept, then enjoy in moderation from organic sources and in its most pure form.  No snack cakes that have the capability of sitting on a shelf for years.  This, food, does not make. You want that food item to spoil and spoil quickly.

The combination of the adulterated food products + preservatives = mayhem otherwise known as an increased disease process. As of current, the studies on GMO’s are still pending and are quite controversial (please review below). If food is truly our medicine then we must ingest it with proper care and instruction.


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Are Your Eating Your Allergies?

Have you started on a holistic plan and your symptoms started to slowly return?  Consider a food allergy.  We are aware of the common food allergens such as dairy foods, red meat, corn, soy or sugar.  There is a possibility that you can be allergic to broccoli, lentils or peaches.  The IgG and IgE testing can show how your immune system is responding to food. These tests are great healing tools, yet they can become pricey when paying out-of-pocket.  There are also more basic methods of determining food sensitivities.  One great method is called the Elimination Diet and it is a plan to isolate specific food groups.

The Elimination Diet takes time, patience and discipline, but it offers great results.  The beauty of following this diet, as opposed to going straight to allergy testing, is that you heal the digestive system while finding your sensitivities. As you are eating on the basic meal plan, you are eating a very low inflammatory and low allergen diet.  This would be healing for anyone.

So, let’s get started…

INITIAL PHASE – You follow a brown rice diet for 7 days.

EAT: cooked brown rice and brown rice pasta, any bean/legume, any vegetable, any fruit and any seasoning.  Also, all nuts and seeds and nut/seed butters are safe to eat now too. Olive oil, coconut oil and vinegar.  IF NOT LISTED, DO NOT EAT.

CHALLENGE PHASE – slowly introduce highly allergic foods

After 7 days of the brown rice diet, on day 8 introduce meat for lunch and dinner, for the next 3 days.

– IF there are no symptoms, then stop eating meat on the third day and return back to the brown rice diet for 5 days.  Watch for any reactions.

-IF symptoms start on the first day of adding meat, then stop the meat immediately and return back to the brown rice diet. This would be your first known allergen food.

Return back to the 7 day brown rice diet before introducing any new food.  Always try a food for 3 days unless symptoms occur, then you would stop the food immediately.

Symptoms include: gas, bloating, abdominal pain, headache, acne, itching, congestion

The next food to add would be wheat/gluten – any product made with white or whole wheat flour.

The third food to add in would be dairy and eggs.  This includes, cow’s or goat’s milk, cheese, yogurt, ice cream, baked items using dairy and eggs.


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NON-GMO Shopping List – download file

Tips for avoiding GM crops – from truefoodnow.org


Certified organic products are not allowed to contain any

GMOs.  Therefore, when you purchase products labeled “100%

organic,” “organic,” or “made with organic ingredients,” all

ingredients in these products are not allowed to be produced

from GMOs. For example, products labeled as “made with

organic ingredients” only require 70% of the ingredients to

be organic, but 100% must be non-GMO.


Companies may voluntarily label products as “non-GMO.”

Some labels state “non-GMO” while others spell out “Made

Without Genetically Modified Ingredients.” Some products

limit their claim to only one particular “At-Risk” ingredient

such as soy lecithin, listing it as “non-GMO.”


Avoid products made with any of the crops that are GM. Most

GM ingredients are products made from the “Big Four:” corn,

soybeans, canola, and cottonseed, used in processed foods.

Some of the most common genetically engineered Big Four

ingredients in processed foods are:


■Corn flour, meal, oil, starch, gluten, and syrup

■Sweeteners such as fructose, dextrose, and glucose

■Modified food starch*


■Soy flour, lecithin, protein, isolate, and isoflavone

■Vegetable oil* and vegetable protein*

CanolaCanola oil (also called rapeseed oil)

CottonCottonseed oil

*May be derived from other sources

Additionally, GM sugar beet sugar recently entered the food

supply. Look for organic and non-GMO sweeteners, candy and

chocolate products made with 100% cane sugar, evaporated

cane juice, agave, or organic sugar, to avoid GM beet sugar.



Keep this Guide with you whenever you shop. Store it inside

your reusable shopping bag, put itinto your coupon holder or

check book, or leave it in your car.

NON-GMO Food Shopping Guide

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Drugging Geniuses

My genius won’t sit down for consecutive eight hours!

ADD/ADHD/ODD…the letters go on. I find that medicating young children is a crime.  Child abuse in fact.  Oddly, I have more parents argue with me on this point.  What is the reasonable cause of action when a child can not pay attention to an incredibly stressed teacher with the audible monotony of fluorescent lights.  Wait, don’t speak poorly of teachers, they are overworked and underpaid.  I get it and I agree. Educators should be compensated for the hard, self-sacrificing work that they do.  Those, that are self-sacrificing.  The teachers who do not provide the same quality of educational care to our youth should participate in annual training programs that maximize their potential.  Not-so-good teachers should be supported and pushed to become greater educators.  This assessment of “not-so-good” versus “good” would be based upon the administration, individual and collective growth of students as well as verbal and written assessment from the student’s themselves.  No aggravating parents will be involved in the formal process, but all comments from parents may be considered.

With that, now back to our failing educational system.  I would love to be the eternal optimist but unfortunately, I have fleeting confidence in our educational system.  It is failing us.  Teaching to state tests, overcrowding in schools and the painfully visible disparities between communities. On top of all of the socio-political rhetoric and complete inefficiency, there is the rampant suggestion of medicating students by teachers.  A child has difficulty in sitting quietly for three consistent hours while someone waxes on un-poetically about a half-prepared lesson plan.  Children are very receptive.  Is it possible that the lack of enthusiasm is so palpable that this child has now adopted your true view of education?  Again, I know that teachers are priceless, but I have encountered a new phenomenon with some teachers.  The moment a child does not fall in line, there is the possibility of them having ADD?

Teachers have also communicated their disgust with the spoiled rotten, selfish and outwardly insubordinate students who are often cheered on by unrealistic parents.  The very children who eat cocoa puffs for breakfast and carry video games in their backpacks…ahem. The teachers have a right to complain as well.  So, where is the compromise?

To medicate your child is NOT the solution.  Before I continue on, I would like to suggest some possible solutions:

1. Leave the school or school district: consider alternative schooling such as Waldorf or Montessori or Project-Based Learning or Charter schools

2. Supplement the education:  Even if you are in the perfect school, it is up to you, parent, to teach your child.  The parents are the first teachers and we never stop creating platforms of educating our children

3. Enroll in a sport or arts program…outside of the school!  Create opportunities for your child to grow outside of academia

4. Observe your child’s behavior: Before you ream out the teacher, be observant of your child.  Does your child respect you, if not, they will not respect anyone else.  If you find that there are concerns, start counseling or behavioral modification therapy.

5. Cut the sugar: Sugar addiction creates mood swings, highs and lows.  If the child starts the day out with a sugary cereal or pancakes/waffles, that is a dose of up to 10 teaspoons of sugar.  This is not the way to stabilize a child for a full day of concentration.

6. Increase the protein:  Protein provides amino acids which are important for brain health and building neurotransmitters and hormones. Provide them with a stable start by giving them grounding foods such as nuts, seed, nut/seed butters, beans (hummus on carrots) and eggs/egg whites.

7.  Reduce the electromagnetic radiation: A stimulated brain needs not to be overstimulated.  The hour before bed there should not be any television, video games nor computer activity. Balancing brain activity for a child with “extra” energy starts with yoga/tai chi, designated meditation/quiet time, board games (remember those), painting, drawing, running, dancing, walking, swimming, hiking and being in nature.  Nature, nature, nature is the grounding, balancing tool for us all.  Throw those kids out in the park, even in 100 degree temperatures.  This is why there exists ice and Thermos’.

The point.  Every child is special and every special child deserves the right care.  Many of the children who have been diagnosed with ADD/ADHD/ODD have exceptional intellect and often have higher IQ’s than expected.  This highly intelligent brain is now forced to participate in an environment that is mediocre and mildly inspiring.  This child needs more care.  The system needs changing and not the delicate chemistry of this child’s brain. To ask a single mother, working two jobs, to search for free programs or alternative schooling, is a chore to say the least.   Medicating a child should be an un-welcomed chore as well.  Determining what is acceptable, is up to each household, but exploring all options is the minimal that we can do as parents.  The minimal is the least that we can do to save our children.






ccstl.org (family services)