Flu Season? No Problem. By Dr. Dena Mendes

We are deep in cold and flu season and many people are calling me with upper respiratory infections and pneumonia. This is simply the immune system’s way of attacking a virus. It’s called an inflammatory response that then produces flu symptoms such as a runny nose, sore throat, and body aches. The body uses what’s called Endo-cannabinoids to engage its immune response and unfortunately we are sometimes unable to fully control the inflammatory process and must go through the entire painful process(flu/cold) as we discharge and eliminate the inflammation/mucus.  

“People tend to underestimate the effects of flu (and doctors underestimate the dangers of vaccines), but it puts several hundreds of thousands of people in the hospital every year. The flu can kill up to 50,000 people every year, and there are certain groups—people with underlying medical conditions, the elderly, pregnant woman, and the very young—who are at risk for severe illness from flu,” said Dr. Michael Jhung, a flu expert at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).



If we focus on building our immunity naturally rather than trying to rid ourselves of the flu as soon as humanly possible by rushing into the arms of an anti-biotic, we would experience fewer sick days the next season or maybe none at all.  My preventative suggestion is to use the Neti pot and take Oscillococcinum for a few days when encountering infected people or kids. Stay clear of sugar during this season and I suggest no dairy or inflammatory/mucus forming foods! Take a daily dose of oregano oil and/or garlic. No raw foods or juices, as they cause dampness during the colder seasons.


Dr. Mark Sircus, Ac., OMD, DM (P), Director International Medical Veritas Association offers some brilliant solutions for cold and flu alike using infrared BioMats. “There is nothing like having a BioMat under your body the entire time you have a bad cold or flu. Nothing will take away the pain and provide as much comfort as radiating the entire body with infrared light that turns to heat inside the body.” I personally use an infrared sauna. 


I suggest to my clients that they take this health awaking opportunity as just that, don’t rush to grab for the anti-biotic (anti-life), take the time you deserve to build and strengthen, rest and pamper and hack up all the toxins we’ve been accumulating that need to “express” or discharge form the body or lungs so we can move forward in a healthier stronger way like we deserve! 

Dr. Dena is licensed and certified as a Health Coach, Holistic yoga instructor, Holistic Chef and Pranic healer. She received her degree in broadcast journalism and public health from Arizona State University, has attended prestigious alternative health programs at Harvard and Northwestern Universities and holds a Doctor of Naturopathy degree.

To learn more about U contact Dena at or call 847.909.3362

Farmer’s Market Tips & Seasonal Nutrition: By Elyse Wagner

As a nutritionist, summer is one of my favorite times of the year! I love the variety of seasonal vegetables and fruits available at your local farmer’s market! There, you’ll find wonderful ingredients to create and enjoy delicious and nutritious meals for you and your family. It’s a great time of year to experiment with new ingredients. There are so many different ways to eat, but one of the easiest is to eat in season. Let’s break down why eating in season is best. Read more

Healthy Eaters? - See If You Really Eat Healthy by Dr. Dena Mendes

Daily food ingredients that most people eatIt never ceases to amaze me when I talk to clients or prospective clients who profess they are in perfect health, yet they are somehow perplexed at how their bodies are misbehaving. Although they seem to believe that they are eating healthy, these people display all manner of physical manifestations. The evidence points to a person who does not eat healthy. In their defense, there is such an overwhelming amount of nutritional information noise out there. Sadly much of it is misinformation and it becomes very confusing and misleading. Some of our dieting decisions can actually lead to more harm than good when it comes to our personal health. My favorite part of my job is showing up to the scene of the crime, a kitchen. It is there I find out that they are, in fact, not eating as healthy as they think. Here are three types of people who think they are on the right track. When, in fact, they might just be a bit off track:

THE VEGETARIAN. – Of course a plant based diet is optimal for our overall health. However there are some people who suffer from deficiencies when they do not consume enough animal protein. If you happen to be a vegetarian who “secretly fantasizes” about eating meat, listen to your body! Small portions of grass fed organic, high quality meat could actually be healthier for you after all. Many teens proudly announce: “I’m a vegetarian.” However, they are typically on the more inflamed or even chubby side. This tells me they were filling their diets with wheat and gluten meat substitutes such as bread, pasta and or dairy. Be aware of the inflammatory issues that arise from this way of eating.

THE FAT ‘FRAIDY CAT’. – It’s certainly true that consuming large amounts of saturated fat can have distinct health ramifications and make us fat. However, there are actually fats that are good for you and essential to our health. Another problem with “low fat” foods are that they are typically loaded with sugar, salt and other chemicals that store themselves in our adipose (fat). Thus they make us hold on to fat and never let it go! Good healthy fats actually help us to speed the metabolism and lose weight. Good fats also help our skin hair and nails flourish as good oils act as anti-wrinkle and anti-inflammatory substances. So go ahead, load up on coconut, avocado, olive, sesame and grape seed oils!

JUNK FOOD JUNKIE. – Most of us lead busy lifestyles so we grab a bar on the go or packaged “organic” or “gluten free” foods that are quick and easy. However, we thus may be consuming mostly dead energy all day and never incorporating real live enzymes. GMO (genetically modified organism) foods are also a huge problem. Buyer beware – nothing, nothing can ever replace the imperative whole home aide cooked foods that our bodies require to stay alive. You must always keep in mind — there is no simpler equation than “what we put in we get out”!Soda Can


THE CALORIE OBSESSOR – I love these people! They typically eat all manner of crap as long as it is low in calories. Honestly, calories are the last thing I am looking at. I want to know what is in the product I am consuming first and foremost, so I read the ingredients. It is truly not about the quantity of food, it’s all about the quality!!

THE DIET OBSESSOR – My advice is to enjoy eating and make foods that taste good. Try your best to eat organic, grass fed foods that are dairy, gluten and refined sugar-free. But by all means when you are out at a restaurant with friends simply do the best you can and enjoy your meal with no guilt. Then rein in the next day eating a bit cleaner as you will soon see how much better you feel on your own home cooked meals when you have control over the ingredients.

THE GLUTEN FREE GLUTTON - buyer beware!, these people consume everything and anything as long as it says gluten free. But there are chemicals in so many of the gluten free products that are even more unhealthy, even dangerous than simply consuming a good quality sprouted whole grain so make sure you once again choose quality over quantity!

can with a diet label

THE SELF DECEIVER - these are people who want to act as though they have no idea that genetically modified food even exist. These people look at me like I have three heads when I point out the obvious fact that there is MSG (monosodium glutamate) *in their Hidden Valley Ranch dressing or in the bouillon cube they are using to make their “healthy” soup. These are the same people who act shocked when I tell them that their sugar free Yoplait yogurt is loaded with chemicals that could kill a small horse. Their chewing gum is such a shock that I must actually pull up the ingredients on the internet to show them just how bad it is to chomp all day on such a small seemingly harmless piece of gum. How do you think the flavor lasts so long? Those chemicals pack a powerful punch! My motto is that all people are as unique as their finger print and require different foods to sustain their unique body types based on the environment in which they live. For the best results go with what your ancestors ate and what makes you feel great! Go ahead and gain that new sense of yourself, don’t give your power away. You came into this world with all the inner knowing and guidance you will ever need, so simply follow your intuitive prowess. My guru used to say, “eat it today if you feel good tomorrow keep eating that way, if you don’t then stop or enjoy the pain”.



Dena is licensed and certified as a Health Coach, Holistic yoga instructor, Holistic Chef and Pranic healer. Dr. Mendes received her degree in broadcast journalism and public health from Arizona State University, has attended prestigious alternative health programs at Harvard and Northwestern Universities and holds a Doctor of Naturopathy degree.


To learn more about U contact Dena at or call 847.909.3362



Seasons Say It All!


Back in the very old days our great grandparents ate from what was available in their environment. Today we are lucky we get food from all over the world and our brilliant scientists have figured out a way to make food available to us in the winter that is befitting for the summer.

Are we really that lucky?

Mother Nature naturally and brilliantly offers us bountiful foods that are befitting for the season. Why? Because they are the foods that promote our perfect health for that particular season and that correlate to a specific organ which in turn connects us with a different emotion.

Take fall, for example, which is “lung season” that is connected to the emotion of grief and sadness. This means old stuck reflections of sadness might come up on you during this season.

This is the time to eat white foods such as onions, leaks, cauliflower, almonds, daikon radish, potatoes, turnip, parsnip, rutabaga, apple, pear, rice, oats, sesame seeds, garlic, and white peppercorns.

Note that white flour and white sugar are not part of these Lung-strengthening foods! In fact, they can further deplete the immune system.

After lung season we move into kidney season as we dive deeper into the winter months.  Though winter is my least favorite season, I recognize all seasons have their purpose. Winter is the season to pull inward and hibernate to ground and root. Kidneys relate to the emotions of fear and anxiety.  For slender people this is the worst season, we cannot seem to stay warm. People with more adipose are stronger due to insulation.  Food can help us to stay warm and heal through this season.

Root vegetable stew is one of my favorites that incorporate many of the rooting grounding qualities that are essential during the kidney season of winter.  Don’t be afraid to use those interesting roots that you may never have tried, such as rutabaga, turnip, burdock, daikon, parsnip, carrots and squash. To find recipes incorporating these yummy roots download my free cookbook available at

Stay warm, rest, cut back on sugar, alcohol, gluten, dairy and cold raw foods. Consume much more warming nourishing foods such as stews and soups along with warming herbs such as ginger, cumin, coriander and turmeric.

Health and Light

Dr. Dena Mendes

Dena is a licensed and certified Health Coach, holistic yoga instructor, holistic chef and pranic healer.  Dr. Dena received her degree in broadcast journalism and public health from Arizona State University, has attended prestigious alternative health programs at Harvard and Northwestern Universities and holds a Doctor of Naturopathy degree.  She lives in the North Shore of Chicago with her two children.