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Make sure you are soaking RAW Nuts and Seeds.

All you need to do is mimic nature’s germination system and give those nuts & seeds a good soak to deactivate the phytic acid, giotrogens and enzyme inhibitors.

You can make sure those natural components get properly minimized or eliminated by following these 3 simple steps:

1. Add your nuts/seeds to a glass jar or bowl and mix warm water & sea salt (make sure there’s enough water to cover the nuts completely). Soak them for the time required.

2. When done soaking, drain out the soak water and thoroughly rinse the nuts.

3. You can do one of two things: refrigerate the soaked nuts and consume within 24 hours OR dry in a dehydrator (or in oven set on the lowest temperature). Store in an airtight container.

Important note: The soak water should always be discarded and never used as water in a recipe or given to your animals.

Required Soaking Times for Nuts and Seeds

Pumpkin seeds-Pepitas

4 cups of raw, hulled pumpkin seeds
2 tablespoons sea salt
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
filtered water

Soaking Time: At least 7 hours, or overnight
Dehydrating time: 12-24 hours, until dry and crisp

Pecans or Walnuts

4 cups of nuts
2 teaspoons sea salt
filtered water

Soaking time: 7 or more hours (can do overnight)
Dehydrating time: 12-24 hours, until completely dry and crisp.

Pecans can be stored in an airtight container, but walnuts are more susceptible to become rancid so should always be stored in the refrigerator.

Peanuts (skinless), Pine nuts, or Hazelnuts (skinless)

4 cups of raw nuts
1 tablespoon sea salt
filtered water

Soaking time: at least 7 hours or overnight
Dehydrating time:12-24 hours, until completely dry and crisp

Store in an airtight container


4 cups almonds, preferably skinless- SF notes “Skinless almonds will still sprout, indicating that the process of removing their skins has not destroyed the enzymes [they] are easier to digest and more satisfactory in many recipes. However, you may also use almonds with the skins on. “
1 tablespoon sea salt
filtered water

Soaking time: At least 7 hours, or overnight
Dehydrating Time:12 -24 hours, until completely dry and crisp

* You can also use almond slivers


4 cups of “raw” cashews
1 tablespoon sea salt
filtered water

“Some care must be taken in preparing cashews. They will become slimy and develop a disagreeable taste if allowed to soak too long or dry out too slowly, perhaps because they come to us not truly raw but having already undergone two separate heatings. You may dry them in a 200 to 250 degree oven-the enzymes have already been destroyed during processing. “

Soaking time: 6 hours, no longer
Dehydrate at 200 degrees F: 12-24 hours
Store in an airtight container

Macadamia nuts

4 cups of raw macadamia nuts
1 tablespoon sea salt
filtered water

Soaking time: At least 7 hours or overnight
Dehydrating time: 12-24 hours, until dry and crisp.


Did you know that raw nuts and seeds have defense mechanisms made up of enzyme inhibitors, toxic substances (tannic acid & goitrogens) and phytic acid?

Yep, these natural components are there for their protection. Nature doesn’t want the seed to germinate prematurely or predators to consume them to the point where they become extinct. Those natural components can be removed naturally only when there is enough moisture to sustain a new plant after the nut or seed germinates.


The biggest defense mechanism in nuts & seeds is the phytic acid. Every nut and seed has different levels of phytic acid with almonds, brazil nuts and sesame seeds having the highest percentage.  When something that contains phytic acid is eaten, the acid binds itself to minerals like iron, magnesium, zinc, calcium, manganese and chromium in the gut, which prevents the digestive system’s ability to break the nut or seed or grain down properly (that’s why, often, when you eat nuts or seeds… you see undigested bits in your stool the very next day).

If you struggle with anemia, low zinc levels, osteoporosis and other illness related to low mineral absorption… you should not be eating un-soaked nuts, especially walnuts, almonds & peanuts.

Even though phytic acid is the big, bad guy in nuts and seeds… goitrogens & enzyme inhibitors should not be overlooked either.

Goitrogens is are known to suppress the function of the thyroid gland by interfering with iodine uptake, which can cause a goiter (enlargement of the thyroid), slow down the thyroid, hypothyroidism and other autoimmune thread disorders. Soaking helps reduces goitrogens and actually increases the necessary minerals needed for a healthy thyroid.

Enzyme inhibitors neutralizes vital enzymes that your body naturally produces and can lead to many illnesses that results of an unhealthy, enzyme-depleted gut. Signs that your body is lacking enzymes are bloating, constipation, diarrhea, heartburn, irritable bowels and gas. A lack of just one enzyme in the body can lead to many problems and you will only live as long as your body has enzymes… which is why it is important to neutralize the enzyme inhibitors to keep them from decreasing your body of its natural enzymes. Soaking increases the natural enzymes within the nuts & seeds, helps provide greater absorption of the its’ nutrients and increases digestibility.

Basically, when you eat raw nuts or seeds or grains that have not be properly prepared… those “healthy” morsels are actually robbing you of vital minerals, vitamins and enzymes needed to sustain a healthy body.

Top 5 Heart Healthy Fats

1. Butter

It is a very common fat that everybody has (or should have from now on) in their fridge. As opposed to industrial trans fat, which increases the the risk of heart disease, the trans-rumenic acid called conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) is thought to decrease the risk for cardiovescular disease. CLA along with other natural trans fats as well as vitamin K2 are abundantly found in grass-fed meat and dairy products, which is why butter is a great source to maintain cardiovescular health and to prevent heart attacks.

2. Coconut Oil

Coconut oil currently has gained in popularity for all kinds of health remedies and benefits. The hype is justified and it definitely belongs in the kitchen and on this list! First of all, coconut oil is one of the best oils to cook with as it is with more than 90% almost entirely saturated. Its chemical structure stands out to other fats and oils in our diet, which has a significant effect on the body and the heart. Coconut oil is composed of a special type of saturated fat called medium chain triglyceride (MCT). This structure makes the oil special because the vast majority of fats and oils we consume are composed of long-chain fatty acids (LCFA). In fact, both the saturated and unsaturated fat found in meat, eggs, milk, and plants consist of LCFA.

That means that most of the western world gets way too much of these fats and not enough of the MCFA’s that are found in coconut oil.

Why does that matter? Because of its shorter chemical composition, MCFA’s are absorbed with ease without requiring pancreatic enzymes to break them down. This means less work for the pancreas and the fatty acids can go directly to the liver from where they go into the mitochondrias and are immediately utilized for energy. The best part is that coconut oil makes our heart happy by protecting it from heart disease as well as lowering the risk of atherosclerosis.

3. Duck Fat

Just like butter, duck fat is packed with the favorable CLA’s and natural trans fat that were found, in animal studies, to prevent fatty streaks and plaque formation in the arteries of rodents by changing macrophage lipid metabolism.

Another statistic, however, shows that the same effect seems to apply for humans as well. According to the World Health Organization’s Multinational Monitoring of Trends and Determinants, in the United States, of every 100,000 middle-aged men, 315 die of heart attacks each year. However, in the Gascony region, where duck liver is a steady part of the diet, this rate is only 80 per 100,000. A great statistic for the consumption of duck fat and the relation to a healthier heart!

4. Leaf Lard

This fat is a highly popular fat in the kitchen of every celebrity cook. For good reason! Lard is a very stable fat which makes it an excellent choice for frying. Morover, it has a higher smoking point than other fats therefore it is excellent for cooking in general. It is gained from the visceral fat deposit that surrounds the kidney and loin and because of its little pork flavor, leaf lard is considered the highest grade of lard.

Nutritionally speaking, lard is composed of more than twice the monosaturated fat and nearly one-fourth the saturated fat than butter. In addition to that, it is also low in omega-6 fatty acids, known to promote inflammation, which is good news for a healthy heart.

5. Ghee

Ghee, a great fat for cooking, taste, and cardiovescular health. It is made from butter, however, the milk solids and impurities are removed, which makes it consumer friendly for everybody, including people who are lactose or casein intolerant.

Just like coconut oil, it is composed of medium chain fatty acids (MCFA), which are directly absorbed to the liver and burned as energy. Besides of being a fabulous energy source, it contributes to a healthy heart as it protects the arteries from hardening. A study from 2010 found that people in India, where ghee is originated from and thus has the highest population of consumers, had fewer cases of heart disease than our western world.

Golden Milk: Ancient Remedy

By: Clarissa A. Kussin, N.D., FMHC

Turmeric may not be the first thing you think about putting in tea, but with the right mixture of spices, it is a delicious soothing remedy. This tuber is a well-known remedy for its benefits including digestion, immune function, the liver and even possible protection from some types of cancer.

What is Golden Milk?

Turmeric Tea or Golden Milk is a great way to get the benefits of Turmeric daily. It’s great to drink this before bed because it aids relaxation and helps boost the immune system while sleeping.

The University of Maryland Medical Center reports that it is safe to cook with Turmeric while pregnant and nursing but that turmeric supplements should not be taken without a doctor’s advice. Since this tea contains Turmeric, consult with a doctor or midwife before consuming this if you are pregnant, nursing or have a medical condition.

Turmeric Tea/ Golden Milk Recipe


2 cups of milk of choice (almond, pecan, coconut and dairy all work in this recipe)

1 teaspoon Turmeric or Turmeric Spice Mix

1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon

1 teaspoon raw honey or maple syrup or to taste (optional)

Pinch of black pepper (increases absorption)

  • Tiny piece of fresh, peeled ginger root or 1/4 tsp ginger powder
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)


First, blend all ingredients in a high speed blender until smooth.

Then, Pour into a small sauce pan and heat for 3-5 minutes over medium heat until hot but not boiling.

How to Make a Dry Turmeric Tea Mix:

If you’d rather not mix up the spices each time, you can easily make a mixture of the spices and just add to warmed milk when ready.

Mix up:

1/2 cup turmeric powder

1/4 cup cinnamon powder

1 ½ teaspoons ground black pepper

1-2 Tablespoons ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon of cayenne (optional)

Then, just add 2 teaspoons of this mix to 2 cups of milk of choice for a faster recipe.


Or, Make Turmeric Paste

Golden Paste:
1/2 cup organic turmeric powder
1/2 cup clean water (no fluoride)
1 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
5 Tablespoons virgin coconut oil

In a stainless steel pot cook together: Water, turmeric and black pepper until it forms a thick paste, stir and cook for 7 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat and add virgin coconut oil, using a whisk to fully mix in the coconut oil. Finally, transfer to a glass jar with a lid and store in the refrigerator.

Golden Milk:
1 tsp. Golden Paste
2 cups Almond Milk or Coconut Milk
1/8 teaspoon Vanilla (Optional)
Molasses to taste.
Pinch cinnamon (Optional)
In a stainless steel pot-gently heat, but do not boil, milk with 1 teaspoon paste. Use whisk
Add molasses and vanilla and cinnamon to taste.


This may stain blenders and counter tops. The color isn’t harmful and will eventually fade. Recipe can be halved or doubled if needed.


This bright yellow spice contains Curcumin (up to 3% by weight), which has been well studied for its benefits. It is believed to halt an enzyme that may be responsible for turning environmental toxins into carcinogens in the body. Turmeric is a folk remedy for helping protect the body from the affects of smoking or chewing tobacco.

Curcumin may also improve digestion of fats and sugars and help alleviate inflammation in the digestive system. It is an age-old skin remedy and is even used in the mouth to help alleviate gum problems.

Of course, Turmeric can be added to foods and is a great base for many spice blends, but those who want to consume it as a remedy often turn to turmeric tea.

Allergy Clinic Details

New Allergy Clinic
By: Susan Denny, MD

Here in North Carolina, allergy season is just around the corner.  For those of us with pollen, grass or tree allergies, symptoms typically begin in February and can last until November.  Many of us, however, may have indoor allergies to dust, mold or pet dander and suffer from stuffy nose, sneezing, itchy/watery eyes, wheezing or headaches year-round. 
We are now offering a simple allergy treatment for both indoor and outdoor allergies.  Sublingual immunotherapy, or allergy drops, is a safe, convenient way to treat the cause of your allergies and help you build long-term tolerance to the things that once made you miserable. 

  • The patient tailored drops work similar to allergy shots, but are delivered through a liquid drop under the tongue at home or wherever you are.
  • This method makes it easier to stay with your treatment and requires fewer office visits than with other methods.
  • Although most allergy sufferers can benefit from allergy drops, they’re especially ideal for those who can’t tolerate or don’t respond to allergy shots, as well as those who are unable to commit to allergy shot therapy.
  • Allergy drop therapy typically lasts 3 to 5 years, similar to allergy shots, however, the total cost of treatment is typically less expensive than the weekly copays required for allergy shots. 

Please allow 45 minutes for your initial visit which will include consultation with your physician or physician assistant, physical exam and discussion of allergy testing.  Skin prick testing will be performed at this visit and results and interpretation will be discussed.  Prescription will be provided for allergy drops and we will review how to administer these at home. 
Please allow 15 minutes for your follow up allergy visits.  This will include review of your allergy symptoms and immunotherapy plan of treatment as well as new 3 month prescription for allergy drops.  Follow up visits are recommended every 3 months for the first year and then every 6 to 12 months for the subsequent 2 to 4 years, depending on your response to treatment.
We recommend follow up skin prick testing for environmental allergies every 12 months to assess progress of immunotherapy and adjust your prescription allergy drops as needed.
If you are interested in more information, please call us at 919-999-0831.

HORMONES! A Balancing Act

Blair Cuneo
By Blair Cuneo, PA-C

Sister Act: The Story of E&P

We are all trying to seek balance and the systems in our body are no different, particularly our hormonal system. The differences between the many hormones in our bodies and the roles they play are meant to balance each other. This ying and yang is beautiful and important! Sure, there may be an appropriate time for one hormone to be in abundance, but not all the time. The consequences of imbalance are felt in our bodies, brains and by our loved ones sometimes! And unfortunately, when we do reach out for help, there can be misunderstanding, misdiagnosis and totally missing the mark on root cause.

Today we focus on the dance between estrogen and progesterone in our menstrual cycles and what happens when balance is lost. There is a natural shift over time, but the way we live, what we eat, the products we use in our home, and imbalance in our microbiome and detox health can speed up and intensify the process.

Mood changes, sleep disruption, menstrual cycle changes, nothing’s off limits. Today we hope to empower you with the knowledge of understanding the typical hormone timeline, recognizing signs your body may be sending to warn you and what tools to implement to find your balance again.

Your providers at CTW like to think of Estrogen and Progesterone as sisters with different personalities. Estrogen is exciting, loud, provocative, and loves with all her heart (while protecting yours)!  Progesterone is calm, steady, grounding, healing and gives you an inner glow.

Specific to your menstrual cycles, the first half of your cycle is ruled by Estrogen. She’s out there as a mover and a shaker, stimulating the ovaries to create and release an egg, encouraging the lining of your uterus to grow lush and large. After all of that hard work she *should* take a break and pass the baton to Progesterone.

Progesterone maintains that lining to welcome a potential very special guest… a fertilized egg. Hoping to turn this quick visit to a longer engagement, she’s sending out calming, grounding vibes and remaining present. But alas if this is not the way, with either no visitor or the wrong kind of visitor, she steps aside, the lining gives way, leaves the body in menstruation and the process starts again with big sis, E.

This is the healthy pattern in our child-bearing years, but as dysfunction becomes more common in our society, this may not be the “normal” pattern. We intentionally labeled Estrogen as the big sister, because she is the more dominant force between the two. If Estrogen is having too much of a good time, she is loud, lingering and can get kind of annoying.  Progesterone is quiet and waiting off to the side, not able to provide her needed support and countermeasures.

Estrogen is produced not only by our ovaries, but also our adrenals and stored fat. Additionally it can enter our body in the form of fake estrogens, chemicals called xenoestrogens. These chemicals are estrogen wannabes and do as E does. They can be found lurking in our water, our food, even our personal care and household products. Gross.

When we want the party to be over, our body tries to reduce estrogen by breaking it down in our liver and sending it away via the toilet in a healthy bowel movement. Good bacteria in our gut are also trying to breakdown and escort out this fiery one, but only if good bacteria is in adequate amounts. Otherwise, non-beneficial bacteria act as estrogen promoters, sending out little enzyme agents to keep the party going.

Now let’s talk about the two times the female body will experience internal decline of progesterone beyond our monthly cycle. One, is very dramatic and the other, slow and steady.

During pregnancy, progesterone is sticking around and plays the lead role in maintaining a beautiful, lush environment for a thriving pregnancy. After pregnancy, progesterone dramatically decreases and that’s a big shift after 9 months! Mentally, we can experience this as postpartum mood changes like anxiety or depression.

A more subtle change over time is related to our bodies natural decline in progesterone production, which begins around age 35. From 35-50 years of age, Progesterone decreases 75%, while estrogen is only decreasing about 35%. And chances are, estrogen was already in abundance before this began.

So what might YOU be feeling if the sisters aren’t taking turns?

Again, we think of Estrogen as exciting, aka stimulating and things are more intense:

Breast tenderness
Pain with periods
Heavier and/or longer bleeding days
Irregular cycles
Mood swings
Brain fog
Sleep disturbances

What can YOU do to reduce estrogen?

At least one soft daily bowel movement is necessary! We are what we don’t poop!
You can help this lovely process and support healthy microbiome by eating prebiotic foods, rich in fiber and probiotic foods, rich in bacteria.

Eat Clean food! Limit processed foods, avoid artificial flavors and colors. Eat organic when you can, especially if it’s on the “Dirty Dozen” list, distributed annually by the Environmental Working Group.

Drink Clean water! Use a water filtration system, either countertop or whole home to reduce toxins.

Plastics….reduce your use! Plastic has softeners that are major Estrogen wannabes. Ditch those plastic water bottles, plastic food storage containers and microwaved plastic meals.

Check your makeup, personal hygiene products, cooking and cleaning supplies products for hidden xenoestrogens: parabens, phthalates, BPA, nonstick coatings.

Essential oils: rosemary

What can YOU do to increase progesterone?

Eat vitamin B rich foods! Salmon, leafy greens, organ meats, eggs, oysters, mussels…

Wild Yams are also progesterone enhancing foods, but not sweet potatoes.

Essential oils: thyme

Above just scratches the surface on two of the players involved in hormonal balance. While there are many things you can initiate on your own, there are also options for evaluation and support that a well-trained health care provider can offer. These tools and supports help you understand the needs of your unique system and implement successful, sustaining strategies to maintain your balance for many years to come!

We are honored to be your partners in health! Let us know if you would like to schedule an appointment to discuss your “Sister Act” personally by calling 919.999.0831. 

Functional Medicine

Functional medicine is a science-based health care approach to assess, prevent and treat complex chronic disease.

Answers to frequently asked questions provided by Carolina Total WellnessLearn More

Allergy Testing & Drops

After a brief allergy test, you can begin sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT), or allergy drops under the tongue. No more allergy shots!

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About Your Visit

Learn how to prepare for your visit and what to expect at your initial consultation and at your follow-up visits with our office.

What to expect at your appointment with Carolina Total WellnessLearn More

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