Nutrition to Reduce Back Pain

August 25, 2019

Nutrition to Reduce Back Pain

In today’s Dishing Up Nutrition, we are interviewing Nutritional Weight & Wellness dietitian Melanie who has struggled with chronic back pain since early 2000 due to an injury. Many people might not realize that us dietitians have also experienced various health challenges and have found our way into nutrition because of the help we gained from eating the Weight & Wellness Way. That is exactly what Melanie is going to share today.

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Transcript

LEAH: Well, welcome to Dishing Up Nutrition brought to you by Nutritional Weight and Wellness. I am Leah Kleinschrodt. I am a registered and licensed dietitian. And I am co-hosting Dishing Up Nutrition this morning alongside with Melanie Beasley, who is also a registered and licensed dietitian. So this morning we are going to talk about how nutrition can help reduce back pain, and in reality any kind of pain. This could be knee pain. This could be shoulder pain. This could be ankle or foot pain because pain is rooted in inflammation, and we're going to talk a lot about how inflammation causes pain and what nutritionally we can do to reduce that inflammation, and in turn reduce back pain. Now, in the past we have had special guests on the show when discussing back pain. Madeline, who teaches our classes for us, has talked to in the past about her back pain. Joann, who's also one of our registered dietitians, has shared her struggles with back pain. But today we're going to do something just a little bit different, and I'm going to be interviewing Melanie, who had struggled with back pain since the early two thousands or so. So welcome Melanie. And can you maybe just start us off by sharing with how, when, where your journey with back pain started?

MELANIE: So good morning listeners. Well, I joined the navy in 1989; a young dietitian. I thought it would be a great for me to serve my country, travel a little bit and also pay off my education. It was actually one of the best decisions I have ever made. I enjoyed serving in the navy. I loved working with the veterans and as a Naval Dietitian, I was really able to help those wonderful people that serve to protect us. I loved working in the hospitals in the military, going out and teaching. I taught the fleet and I taught for the air force. I went on ships and taught nutrition. So it was great; learned I get motion sick even when a ship is in port.

LEAH: Hey, the important things you learn.

MELANIE: It is. I went through Hurricane Hugo in 1989 and it was all hands on deck, so we were all called in to be in the hospital. Unfortunately, I was injured during Hurricane Hugo trying to hold up a big piece of plywood when we had windows that were cracking and spidering and we were afraid they were going the glass was going to shatter. So we were holding up plywood and trying to affix it to protect the hospital. And I did… it slipped; it fell. And subsequently, I had a knee and a back injury that I nursed for quite a while. Because of the extreme unbearable pain, finally the disc ruptured in 2005. And that was the worst pain I think I've been in my life. So I ended up having back surgery in 2005. The neurosurgeon said it was the worst ruptured disc he had ever seen so I have that claim to fame if you want that. This surgery definitely did help to some extent, but honestly, afterwards I was left in chronic pain and I had to baby my back. I was not able to do a lot of the activities I had done prior. So since then, I've been doing everything I can in my power just to remain functional in life in spite of this chronic back pain.

LEAH: Oh my goodness. Well that is quite the story. So you have a very long history… you had pain and chronic pain before you actually had surgery for a really long time until at some point you decided, okay, surgery is kind of my option here. And that was in 2005, so 14 years ago. And ever since then still struggled with pain even though came out of surgery, they fixed a couple of things and it still is something that you had to manage day to day after that.

MELANIE: Yes, the neurosurgeon kind of told me, “You just need fusion because you are, you're basically bone-on-bone in your back.” So I didn't have a fusion so I baby that now.

LEAH: Yeah. So listeners this morning as we discuss Melanie's chronic back from her injury when she was serving our country as a Naval Dietitian, it's important to realize, and this is what we want to convey this morning in this show, is that many of us dietitians, nutritionists, our nutrition educators, our support staff, the people who work at the front desk who do the shipping, like all of us who work at Nutritional Weight and Wellness have also experienced a variety of health challenges and have eventually found our way to real food balanced nutrition more often than not because what we have tried in the past or some of the more conventional methods failed us or it just didn't work to the extent that we needed it to. So however people end up finding that real food message, whether it's through a podcast, through a class, through a friend or a family member, they have found that real food nutrition and found that the power of food is something that they have control over and that it's something that can really help provide that relief. So this is exactly what we want to share and again, convey with Melanie's story today.

MELANIE: Absolutely. I think when people hear the word dietitian or nutritionist, Leah, they automatically think dietitians and nutritionists have always been healthy eaters, and have never experienced health problems themselves. Those thoughts are so wrong. So really in sharing my story of back injury and chronic pain, the purpose is to give someone hope out there. I mean, if you can go through something difficult and turn it around to provide hope to a listener or a client that you can have relief, then it makes it all worthwhile, really. Helping people find relief: that brings meaning to my own journey. And it's a passion of mine. I can relate to what it's like to want to get your life back.

LEAH: Absolutely. So, yes. Melanie, I know we really want to dive a little bit more into that healing journey with you and your journey of health. And yeah, kind of just speaking to that piece of it gives you hope. You know, we had actually a meeting a couple of weeks ago with our nutrition educators and dietitians and we were asked to share why we are so passionate about nutrition or what brought us to the nutrition field in the first place. And I found it very uplifting to hear everybody's stories. Everybody's why; everybody's journey. And knowing, again, that it was very refreshing. It was very uplifting. It was very empowering to hear everyone's story and to know that power of real food nutrition.

MELANIE: We really have an amazing crew at Nutritional Weight & Wellness. When you hear their stories, you're so interested.

LEAH: Absolutely. And again, this is, we want to convey this to the listeners, like you said, Melanie, that there is hope. Real food has the power to reduce that inflammation, to reduce that pain. And for a lot of people, pain is a huge motivator to make some changes.

MELANIE: You know, I always say that joy is great. Peace is wonderful, but when you are in pain relief is everything.

LEAH: Hmm. I love that. And Melanie too, just in sharing your story here and knowing what you have been through, with your back pain, and we'll reference back to some of your struggles with breast cancer too, that you have seen the lowest of the lows and you've experienced that. And I think now coming out on the other side of that, that we know this is what makes you such a compassionate and relatable provider as a dietitian. And our clients definitely sense that in the counseling room and in the classroom. And so everybody around you really picks up on that.

MELANIE: That is so sweet. You're my favorite person today.

LEAH: Oh, well thank you. Yeah, so why don't you again, like, let's continue on just sharing a little bit of your journey before we have to go to break.

MELANIE: That would be great. Well, two weeks after back surgery I was diagnosed with breast cancer and then I underwent a series of surgeries and went through that dreadful disease. That's, I shared information about how I was estrogen positive and how estrogen dominance really can affect us. And that is on our Dishing Up Nutrition on July 27th, 2019. I talked about how having high levels of estrogen can lead to weight gain and also to breast cancer. And if you want to learn more about how excess estrogen can lead to breast cancer, you can listen to that podcast, Weight Loss Problem-High Estrogen on our website, weightandwellness.com or through our Dishing Up Nutrition app on iTunes, Google play or Spotify.

LEAH: Yes. And I will throw in there Stitcher also because that is where I listen to the podcasts through. But, yes it is time for our first break for the morning. So you are listening to Dishing Up Nutrition brought to you by Nutritional Weight and Wellness. And today we are discussing how nutrition can help reduce back pain. So I am interviewing one of our very own dietitians who injured her back while on active duty as a Naval dietitian. And so Melanie is sharing what she has learned regarding how and what she needs to eat to keep her back pain in remission. So stay tuned for the rest of her story. You won't want to miss it. 

BREAK

MELANIE: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. As you listen to the show and to our philosophy about healing at Nutritional Weight & Wellness, you will understand that all of us, all of us believe that food comes first. And when you are in the process of reducing inflammation, it is key. Once you have that in place and keep it in place, then some of you may need to introduce key supplements to your healing program. Hands down the first supplement to consider is omega-three fish oil, often called EPA/DHA. The EPA component has been found to have very strong anti-inflammatory benefits. I have learned that I need to take at least four softgels per day, but six and nine actually have been helpful at times in my life, and it can be even better. Of course, I recommend our Nutrikey brand because it's pure, it's tested and it's relatively inexpensive.

LEAH: And all very important key things when you're looking for supplements, right?

MELANIE: Yeah.

LEAH: Yeah. And I think Melanie, that's very good to know that, you know, at a minimum dose you take four softgels per day, which is about 4,000 milligrams of that fish oil. But you can go up even higher: 6,000, 8,000, 9,000 milligrams of fish oil. And when we have clients come into the office for the first time, how many are they taking typically?

MELANIE: One.

LEAH: Yeah, one. Maybe two on a good day kind of thing. So that's good to know. You do need those higher doses therapeutically to reduce that inflammation and in turn reduce that pain.

MELANIE: Absolutely.

LEAH: Yeah.

MELANIE: You just can't eat enough salmon.

LEAH: Yes, absolutely.

MELANIE: It’s like 14 pieces a day.

LEAH: Yes, absolutely. Especially here in landlocked Minnesota. So yes. So welcome back everyone. And we were just before we went to break, Melanie was diving a bit more into her story about chronic back pain. And was sharing too that two weeks after her back surgery she was diagnosed with breast cancer, which stemmed from chronically high estrogen levels also. So Melanie, 2005 was kind of a rough time for you. You know, tough stuff with the back surgery and the breast cancer. So thinking our dietitian brains, that begs the question of how were you eating around that time or before that time?

MELANIE: I hate to admit it, but I was not a healthy eater at that time. I drank a ton of diet soda because you know, sugar-free. I ate low-fat. I ate high-carb processed foods, but I was thinking I was eating healthy. Some of the things that I would do is I would air pop popcorn and spray buttery flavored Pam on it. It just makes me cringe to this day. There's nothing like a little accelerant to make your popcorn tastes good.

LEAH: Right.

MELANIE: I was eating Rice-a-Roni. I was not eating a lot of meat because of the propaganda around meat, which we know is false. I was eating low-fat, sugar-free candy. I was eating sugar-free puddings that had come on the market. The list really goes on and on. It wasn't pretty, but it was what we knew to do at the time.

LEAH: And a lot of those types of things, you know, drinking the diet soda, going low-fat, doing sugar-free, you know, all of that was usually the goal of just reducing how many calories that you are eating. And the idea was that the fewer calories you ate, you should lose or maintain weight. But we know that that's not the whole story, that we actually have to consider the quality of the calories and the foods that we're eating, not just the quantity.

MELANIE: Not one of those things I just mentioned comes from a farmer's field or is nutrient dense.

LEAH: Exactly.

MELANIE: So starving my body, but on the outside looked thin and healthy.

LEAH: Yup. So that was then, and this is now. So my guess is, even just looking across the studio at you like that, there's been changes since then, that there was something that clicked or something that spurred a change for you. So why don't you tell us what that was or was there any one single book or podcast or class or friend or something like that that got you on the real food in balance eating way?

MELANIE: Well, I think when you’re coming from a place of pain, agony, inflammation, exhaustion, cancer, you start doing some research when you're a practitioner, when you’re a healthcare practitioner. And the reason for making the change was I discovered that I was eating a very inflammatory diet, and it was the first time I ever even heard the word inflammatory diet, which was making my pain, my back pain, it was making it worse. I thought I was eating well. I was eating a lot of vegetables, but I was eating a lot of whole grains and dairy products and cheese and kefir and yogurt. And a lot of these were very ladened with sugar. My blood sugars were all over the place and I experienced regular episodes of hypoglycemia. And that was kind of a clue that obviously I was doing something wrong.

LEAH: Yeah. So let's, let's pause right there then Melanie and let's just elaborate on that concept of sugar and the blood sugar concept related to inflammation. So you mentioned high blood sugar and you mentioned low blood sugar. And both sides of the spectrum: blood sugars that run too high and blood sugars run too low are very, very stressful for our bodies. And especially that high blood sugar creates a lot of inflammation in the body. So the Standard American Diet, which is appropriately referred to as SAD, is actually inflammatory for everyone. So in general, people experience that inflammation, and again, that's pain. Inflammation equals pain and it's in their body, or maybe it's in their brain. Like I think about my clients who come in with headaches and migraines a lot. That is inflammation. So we find, we find this shocking, but here’s a couple of statistics that we've pulled about that Standard American Diet and what the standard Americans eat: On average, they eat about 29 pounds of French fries every year, about 23 pounds of pizza, and about 24 pounds of ice cream. And that's every single year. They also eat about 150 pounds of sugar. So for the average woman, she's eating her weight in sugar.

MELANIE: Wow.

LEAH: And on average… we knock on soda a lot in our classes and counseling and on the show; about 53 gallons of soda every single year. And when I teach classes, I kind of break it down to my students and say, well that is about a gallon of soda every single week. So that's a lot of sugar, a lot of that high fructose corn syrup typically going into your body. And I know, I don't remember the last time that I touched any kind of soda, whether diet or regular. So I want to know who's making up for my 53 gallons of soda every single year.

MELANIE: I may know someone.

LEAH: Yeah, right. So yes, when you consume all that sugar, those high blood sugars, that acts like sandpaper or almost like little shards of glass going through your bloodstream, going through your system. And that creates little cuts, little nicks, little damage along the way. And that's what creates that inflammation. Our body is trying to heal that bit of damage, but over time that inflammation becomes chronic and it never actually goes away. And these things affect your joints, they affect your muscles, they affect your arteries, your brain, your metabolism, which is where the weight piece of things comes in. And typically the first place or one of the big places that inflammation settles in is the parts in our bodies where we're weak.

MELANIE: Yes. Like my knee and my back.

LEAH: Yes, exactly for you because you've had injuries in those areas, this is where the inflammation sets in for you. And I know, and for me similarly, it is my knees as well because I have had one surgery on each of my knees. So my knees are my barometer on how my inflammation is, and if I have any inflammation, if I eat something that's higher in sugar or something that contains dairy, we mentioned dairy. This is where my inflammation and my pain settles in is right there in my knees and I can tell definitely whether it's later that day, the next day, the day after that, it just, you're, you're stiff; you're sore; you're in more pain. So again, if you've ever had, thinking to our listeners here, if you've ever had an injury or some kind of trauma to some part of your body, this is probably a weak spot for you and where that pain is going to set up. So this is why many of us, so Melanie and myself included, once we realized that we made that transition away from the sugar, the processed foods, and for some of us we have other sensitivities. It might be dairy. It might be gluten or grains. And we made that transition to real food and eating in balance to balance out our blood sugars and to take that inflammation down. So Melanie, question for you then. You shared in our quarterly meetings before that you are a very careful eater. You have to be. Was it difficult for you or was it easy to make the switch from the processed food diet to a real food diet and carrying on with that, are you more of a baby steps person or someone that you're able to overhaul everything all at once?

MELANIE: I really am someone who overhauls. Pain is a strong motivator. If you find relief, you don't ever want to go back to that place of agony. And that's for me. And even just the smallest little tweak, I mean this week I was sharing with you before we were in studio, I made a chicken tortilla soup. It called for corn. I have a mild allergy to corn and it just amped up my pain. So I was thinking, “Okay, what do I do for a living?” Knock it out. But transitioning to real food for me, I was so desperate. I was willing to do it. So a lot of my clients, I'll say, “Please just give me two weeks. Give me two weeks.” So you know what it feels like to have relief. Once you have that relief, then we can revisit: what are you struggling with? But you have to know what relief feels like by eating real food to convince you that it's really worth your time.

LEAH: Yes. So again, it's giving them that little piece of hope and then building on the motivation from there. Yes. So it's actually time for our second break. So you are listening to Dishing Up Nutrition. We are delighted to announce that in recent months Medica insurance has accepted nutrition counseling as a service to qualify for insurance coverage. So if you listeners out there have Medica or Blue Cross Blue Shield or any other health insurance, you can call our offices at (651) 699-3438 and ask for Shirley. She is our insurance specialist.

MELANIE: She’s fabulous.

LEAH: She is absolutely wonderful. She will be more than happy to see if your policy will assist your efforts in getting you in for nutrition counseling. So we will be right back.

BREAK

MELANIE: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. I thought I would continue my conversation about the key supplement I found to be the most helpful with my back. To avoid getting back spasms, I've discovered I need to take additional Magnesium Glycinate in addition to the omega-threes. Over these many years, I've come to realize that back spasms just seem to come with the territory. I have a back injury. I do the best that I can. Sometimes I get a little sassy and have a back spasm. I forget that I have to baby it. I need to take at least six to nine so I take quite a few supplements. Six to nine magnesium glycinate tablets every day. I typically will take two tablets with each meal throughout the day because that's a lot. But I do take three at bedtime for sleep. And my clients who are on pain medication find that Mixed Magnesium can also be really effective if they have that darn constipation from pain meds. Constipation is a common side effect from some of these meds and that just adds to your discomfort. So you can call our office today at (651) 699-3438 to set up an appointment if you have questions, you have needs for nutrition consultation. But in addition to that, there's some great news. The week of September 16th, we are offering our Nutrition 4 Weight Loss program at all of our seven locations. I love to teach this class in-house. We're also offering you a $50 early bird discount for the in-house 12-week Nutrition for Weight Loss program when you sign up by September 9. Fall seems to be coming quickly to us. We've got back to school for our kids. So renew your commitment to your health and your wellness. As always, you can call our office: (651) 699-3438 and you can get some more information. You can also go to our website at weightandwellness.com.

LEAH: Yes, so and that's a great series. Again, coming up in September, that series is starting at most of our locations again. And they will talk about magnesium, about the constipation and what you can do for that. But also there's so many of our clients that take these classes who have pain. Maybe it's not the primary reason that they come in to these classes, but they end up by the end of that 12 weeks, they often report, “I have way less knee pain. I have way less hip pain, back pain”; whatever that pain may be.

MELANIE: Isn't that the best part of our job?

LEAH: Absolutely. It's a great side effect, right?

MELANIE: To help people find relief. Oh, it's huge. And sometimes just with the food piece, I'll ask the client, what if you did this and you got 15 or 20% relief? Would you be happy with that? I mean, and they’re, if you're in chronic pain, 15% is big. I experienced tremendously more relief than that. And I think many of our clients do too.

LEAH: Yeah. Again, pain is a huge motivator and just getting even a little bit of relief... And Melanie, before we went to break, you were saying how you kind of coach and motivate clients to say, “Hey, let's give this anti-inflammatory eating plan two weeks. Give me two weeks of your life.” And for a lot of people, this is pennies compared to the years that they have spent in pain. “Give me two weeks and let's see how you feel.”

MELANIE: Yes. I mean, when you come down to it, if you have, you've had a career, you've had a family, you've raised children, and maybe you've taken care of elderly parents. This is just food. And if this makes a difference, how easy is that?

LEAH: Absolutely. So Melanie then going back to your story, having made that switch to real food and knowing kind of what your big triggers are, or what are the bad guys for you, what have you noticed with your back pain?

MELANIE: I have, I would say I have 90% relief.

LEAH: Wow.

MELANIE: I mean, it's, I require, you know, quite a bit of… I don't bend certain ways. I take care of my back. I'm, I'm physical. I do, I have a wonderful trainer, Aaron, who helps me. But one of the absolute biggest pieces that I notice is what I eat and what I put in my mouth. And it is it is too expensive for me to go back to that place of pain. And my feet are made of clay. I mean, I go off the rails, and I want to have an ice cream going like everybody else. Knowing I have to be amazingly perfect in how I eat to do that once or twice a year because it's just too expensive. So it's off the table for me. I am not interested. I love having my life back. There's not a day I don't wake up and think, “I'm grateful that I am not in pain.” And when my back spasms, you know, once in a while, a couple times a year rears its ugly head; I get right back on it. And I do what I know that brings the relief. And that's nutrition.

LEAH: Yes, absolutely. And you did mention before that, you know, if you choose to either indulge in maybe a little bit of sugar or something accidentally kind of slips in, like you said, the corn in the chicken tortilla soup for you, you notice and you notice big time. And it might not even be later that day or the day after, but two days later that pain starts to rear its ugly head again. And you're like, “Oh no, I don't know that that was worth it.”

MELANIE: And that's the connection that clients need help making is that it can be two days later that you're, that you have pain.

LEAH: Yes. That's what makes it tricky for sure. So Melanie, why don't you, can you just give us an idea really quick of what you eat on a typical day in terms of meals and snacks?

MELANIE: I am not someone who stands in my kitchen for long periods of time. I have a, I call it a back budget. There's so much standing, there's so much sitting, that I can do. There's so much shopping, and I respect the back. So I will make and prep ahead of time. I make a huge hash that's full of vegetables. It's full of a protein, whether it's leftover steak or pulled pork or chicken or sausage, that I can easily scoop and nuke. And that'll last me the week. I'll make an egg bake, take a big square of that; easily heat it up; or smoothies. I'm in a smoothie phase right now where I add two cups of cruciferous vegetables every day. Snacks are a half a smoothie. A lot of times, half of that smoothies a snack for me. Or if I'm busy, sometimes just some beef sticks, a handful of almonds and vegetables. I always am including those vegetables. Lunch might be two…it's always two cups of vegetables and some sort of a protein. I love a lot of the recipes on our website and in our cookbook. I use those all the time. I freeze portions. I use my Crock-Pot year-round because I don't have to stand at the stove. I sometimes set my Crock-Pot when I go to bed at night and wake up in the morning, throw it in the fridge and then I'll parcel it out later. So that's kind of the way I eat. But it's always vegetables. It’s always protein. And it's always healthy fat.

LEAH: Yes, sounds very anti-inflammatory to me.

MELANIE: It is. I'm kind of… one of my, one of my big ones right now is I have a nitrate free prosciutto, wrap it around asparagus and grill it; dip it in some avocado mayo. And it’s company-good. Good cold too.

LEAH: Yes. That's amazing. Yes. And I know for those of you listening, we on our website, weightandwellness.com, we are often posting blog articles and they've done a couple of segments before of what a nutritionist eats in a day. And Melanie, I know you have been featured in that a couple of times actually. So if anybody actually wants pictures or a little bit better idea of what Melanie eats every day as an anti-inflammatory approach for her pain, you can check out a couple of those blog posts and maybe get some ideas from some of the other nutritionists as well.

MELANIE: Yeah, a lot of those other nutritionists have some great ideas that I pull from.

LEAH: And one of the things that I loved what you said as well: So thinking about, you know, a lot of us are overwhelmed with busy schedules, with work, with family things, like the drive through. The fast food drive through starts to sound very inviting sometimes. I love that you said you will get your Crock-Pot out even during the summer months here in Minnesota, and use that as one of your tools to cook up a batch of something so that you don't have to spend hours standing or hours food prepping. So is there anything else that you can think of right off the top of your head that you do as a busy mom and dietitian that so that you're actually still able to prepare and have that real food on hand?

MELANIE: Yes, I budget out my time. So one day I might shop, the next day I might prep; chop; and then the next day I might throw everything in the Crock-Pot. So I'm spacing it out. I talk about food all day. That's what we do, right, Leah? So I'm always thinking, you know, what do I have? What do I have stocked in the freezer? But I always have my freezer stocked and prepped with food I’ve prepped. Always squirrel away a good couple portions so that if I'm in pain or I have a busy life, I can look in that freezer and say, “What have I got that I can pull from?” And that's what we teach.

LEAH: Yes.

MELANIE: It's always in process, but every bite you take matters. So I'm not going to do the drive through.

LEAH: Yes, absolutely. Every bite matters. So let's leave with that statement for right now. We're going to our third break. You are listening to Dishing Up Nutrition. And if you have chronic back pain or chronic pain in general, I want to share this with you. It is well known that long-term use of over-the-counter drugs such as Advil-type prog products like Ibuprofen or Tylenol -type products called acetaminophen can slowly affect the stomach lining or even lead to liver damage. Now these over-the-counter medications were originally intended for short-term use, but we know a lot of our clients use these types of products for months and even years. So I recommend doing something that will support the healing of that intestinal lining in the stomach, such as drinking a cup of homemade bone broth or making the decision to eliminate sugar and flour from your diet. And at Nutritional Weight and Wellness we know and understand how hard it can be when you're in chronic pain. We can help you support your body with an anti-inflammatory plan, but also with key supplements. So we want you to know that there is safe and effective help available for you. Research has found that even omega-three fish oil reduces cortisol levels from stress. And we know that pain is very stressful. So give our office a call at (651) 699-3438 and see what nutrition can achieve.

BREAK

MELANIE: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. Right now, during the entire month of August, we're offering six different 90-minute classes for only $10 for each class. $10. You can find the list of classes on our website: weightandwellness.com or call (651) 699-3438 and we'll help you get signed up. We also are offering our online Nutrition 4 Weight Loss program for anyone who likes to take online classes in their jammies; or for those of you who are just too far away from our in-house Nutrition 4 Weight Loss program classes here in the Twin Cities metro area. So this 12-week series also includes two individual meetings with a dietitian or nutritionist, either by phone or in person. It's a steal of a deal. I'm actually one of the presenters for this online series and I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoy doing it.

LEAH: Yes, I've watched a couple of those classes, Mel; you do a wonderful job there. And again, you still feel that compassion and that presence even through the computer screen when you're teaching.

MELANIE: Well, thank you.

LEAH: Yeah, going back to those $10 classes, are you, are you teaching any coming up?

MELANIE: Yes, yes. I’m teaching quite a few. Nope, not this week.

LEAH: Not this week. Oh, okay. I'll plug my class then that I will be teaching at the St. Paul Office, The Magic of Minerals class, this Thursday at seven o'clock. So this is the last week that we're offering those $10 classes and there are a couple of spots open here and there. So if you are available, call our offices and jump on that great deal cause it's only available for one more week. So Mel, we were talking right before break, you were sharing some tips and tricks that you use to get real food on the table fast and that still supports, and that still supports your back pain and doesn't keep you on your feet too long. So we know that real food is crucial for you, but are there any supplements that you find are really helpful for your situation? I think you've mentioned magnesium and omega-threes, and maybe you can elaborate on those a little bit more or anything else that you have found useful for your back pain?

MELANIE: Yes, I'm very careful with making sure that the supplements I take are quality. I have learned so much through research, through this company, that quality really matters. I mean, you're going to pay more, but for me it matters. I tell my clients you either pay for quality supplements, quality food now or you pay for medications and doctor visits later.

LEAH: Absolutely.

MELANIE: So I'd rather put my money in my relief rather than down the road have a bunch of appointments with the doctor. So quality is very important to me. Like I mentioned, I do the Magnesium Glycinate. It's a vessel and a muscle relaxer. It's very helpful. It helps me not to have spasms. When I'm in spasm I can take quite a bit more and get some relief. Omega-3s are anti-inflammatory. I've used Osteovantiv before because that can be very helpful. What I've recently found, which I am just loving that is working for me, Designs for Health has a wonderful collagen product. So collagen is really hot right now. The Designs for Health is different than what the ones you may just find in a big warehouse. The reason I like it is it has three things in it: it has fortigel, which helps with joints and lubrication. It has foritbone, which helps with bone remodeling. And it helps with verisol for hair, skin and nails. Who doesn't love that?

LEAH: Right.

MELANIE: So that is the collagen of choice that I use. And I think we don't really understand “What is collagen? What is it for?” I mean, isn't a protein powder enough? So I do both. As you age, your joints experience the normal wear and tear, which can result in discomfort and stiffness. And in my case, even subsequent muscle spasms, as the muscles try to be really helpful to stabilize that back. The cartilage or natural cushioning in your joints also declines as you age. Bone broth offers multiple benefits for your joints and your bones, and the collagen provides cushioning between the bones to help them glide more effortlessly. It supplies the building blocks to maintain strong bones and healthy bone mineral density. It contributes to one-third of the amino acids used in building highly structured collagenous fibers and cartilage. We need that for relief. And it's readily absorbed. So we want something that's not going to taste awful and hard to absorb. Bone broth I also use. It's important: has important compounds, supports collagen, supports elastin. Some of these compounds are really important that you get from bone broth such as chondroitin sulfate, glucosamine, hyaluronic acid, and it just tastes like a yummy broth. So I use bone broth quite a bit and make that at home. But the collagen has been key. Some of those others: I’ve used Kaprex when I've been in a spasm. Kaprex can be very, very helpful. It takes a little while. It's not a drug, but as it titrates up in your system and as you build up, it can provide a lot of relief. I have many clients that swear by it.

LEAH: Yes. And I know we've done shows actually specifically around some of those anti-inflammatory, joint supporting supplements like the Osteovantiv and the Kaprex. Greg Peterson has come on the show before and talked specifically about those. So if anybody wants to learn just a little bit more about how those work and dosing and things like that, they can go back and look for that show. I think it was about two summers ago that they did that show; Lea Wetzel and Greg, and I think Cassie were on the show.

MELANIE: Really helpful. You know another one when I'm in full spasm that I've recently discovered is fabulous is CBD. I'm very particular about what I take orally. It has to be certified. It has to be. And I will take CBD orally and I'll also put it topically on my back and then we carry a really good one that I, that I use.

LEAH: Yes, absolutely. Yes. And that's again, another hot topic that's out there in the nutrition and kind of the health field right now is CBD for a variety of things. But pain is another big one. One other one that we talked about a couple of days as we were ago as we prepared for the show was Key Osteo Plus, because I think for you, Melanie, you've shared in past shows that you have had bone thinning, and so this is another source potentially of pain for a lot of people is bones that are just not as strong as we need them to be. So can you talk to us a little bit more about the Key Osteo Plus?

MELANIE: Oh, I'm a huge, huge fan of Key Osteo Plus. I've had back pain, which was different than spasm, and it was osteoporosis in my back. From going through the health journey, been on acid-reducing meds. So taking the Key Osteo Plus: it's not only my multivitamin, but it supports bone remodeling. I have significantly eliminated that osteoporosis pain that ran up and down my back. Just in, I would say eight months of being on the supplement. So I'm a big believer. I don't miss it. If I'm on my way to work and I've forgotten my am packet, I will turn around and go back and take it.

LEAH: It’s that important for you. It’s part of that anti-inflammatory plan for you and supporting bones. Because it sounds like for you, your back pain comes from a lot of different things. It can be nerve relate. It could be muscle related, but it is also bone related for you, so you have to address it in lots of different ways.

MELANIE: And the whole, the whole picture honestly, Leah, is it sounds like, “Oh my goodness. Melanie takes a lot of supplements.” You bet I do. I take the supplements that have been the most impactful to help me recover, remain cancer free, not have pain and that in combination with the real food, I would not go back to how I was in 2005, 2007 for anything. I'm a believer. It works for me. I hope to be a picture of hope for my clients, as you do as well.

LEAH: Absolutely. And when we sit down with our clients one-on-one, we also, we tailor supplement plans and nutrition plans specifically for them and their pain.

MELANIE: Yes.

LEAH: So our goal at Nutritional Weight & Wellness is to help each and every person experience better health through real food. It's a simple yet powerful message that eating real food is life changing. So thank you all so much for listening and have an awesome day.

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