Martha Rozman had a persistent cough for two years. After visiting multiple medical doctors and being treated with inhalers and antihistamines to no effect, she decided to try something different.

“A friend of mine recommended Dr. Billiot,” Rozman said.

Dr. Melodie Billiot runs Alternative Health Improvement Center in Marietta.

“Nutritional choices are key to our health. All day long I deal with people struggling to find and maintain their health. I tell them if you don’t take time to be healthy, you’re going to have to take time to be sick,” she said.

Two days after Rozman saw Billiot, her cough stopped.

“Dr. Billiot checked me and told me my body was stressed in the area of the bronchials. Also my adrenal glands and pancreas were stressed. She recommended some supplements in exact amounts, advised against eating sugar or highly refined carbohy- drates and it worked,” she said.

“I lost 10 pounds in the last year from getting healthier and not eating sugar.”

In addition to avoiding sugar, Billiot recommends avoiding hydrogenated oils and ensuring patients eat quality food.

“What the body needs to sustain health is a lot different than what it needs to just stay alive. Organs, tissues and cells are made from the food you eat. The quality of the food you eat is the quality of the body you will have,” she said.

“Sugar is a stressor in the body,” she explained. “Heart disease and high cholesterol could be reduced by not eating large amounts of sugar and corn syrup. We’re so inundated with sugar. It’s in ketchup, condiments and soda – we don’t even realize we’re eating it.

“Many studies have found hydrogenated oils damage the liver. Patients should avoid shortenings, fried foods and prepared foods like chips, cookies,” she said.

People should instead eat whole foods, all the different colors of vegetables and fruits, lean meats and whole grains to start to improve nutrition.

“The body thrives on real foods. Shop around the outside aisles of the grocery store – that’s where the actual food is. Avoid processed foods – most of the nutrients are gone,” she said.

Vegetables generally have the most nutrients. Billiot said chard, greens, cucumbers, beets, broccoli, cauliflower and kale are particularly rich in them.

“Look at what you eat. Are you getting three to five servings of fruits and vegetables a day? When you eat healthy, you have a different state of mind, and you feel better because you’re not jumped up on chemicals and sugar,” she said.

Billiot also recommends eating a significant amount of protein with each meal.

“If you don’t get enough protein, your tissues will break down,” she said. “A lot of vegetarians don’t get enough fat or protein. I counsel them on what foods they need to combine to get the protein they need,” she said.

With many patients busy with work and family, Billiot not only has to counsel them on the right foods to eat, but how to work it into their schedules. Some tips she has are:

  • Cut down on fast food, which is full of fillers, additives and preservatives. If you must eat fast food, choose a salad with grilled chicken instead of a burger and fries.
  • Plan the week’s menu in advance to ensure you’re incorporating all the foods you should be eating.
  • Grill chicken breasts and chop vegetables on the weekend so they’re on hand to use during the week.
  • Boil eggs in the evening for a quick and easy breakfast.
  • Make a larger quantity dinner so you have leftovers for lunch or later in the week.

While eating whole foods is a great first step to improved health, Billiot also recommends taking supplements.

“The level of nutrients in our food has been greatly reduced since the 1940s. Because of the techniques, fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides used commonly in farming, the soil has been depleted of nutrients. It takes a high level of supplementation to make up for that deficit,” she explained.

High quality whole food supplements that patients can obtain from their doctor of chiropractic can help. Billiot says most patients benefit from fish oil, multivitamin and mineral supplements and some may need trace minerals and enzymes as well. However, some supplements are made from chemicals instead of whole foods or are of inferior quality.

“Make sure your supplements are from your chiropractor or a brand that’s safe and effective for your body,” she warned. “Fish oil, for example, should have been screened for mercury.”

Because chiropractic considers the whole person, not just a disease or condition, Billiot says counseling patients on good nutrition is a logical next step for many doctors.

“Not every chiropractor is knowledgeable about nutrition. Those who choose to be teach patients to be healthy, that the body can heal itself and the power to heal is inherent. Edu- cating yourself to help patients formulate supplement programs can benefit their healing and adds value and service to their treatment program,” she said.

For doctors who are considering adding nutritional counseling to their practice, Billiot says becoming educated on nutrition is not difficult, with a wide variety of seminars available to doctors throughout the country.

“Our profession is poised to really help people become aware of how eating better and supplements can positively impact their health. Millions of dollars are spent on supplementation and eating healthily. Our patients are out there on the Internet looking for information. Chiropractors can help them make the right choices,” she said.

“The more doctors who offer nutrition counseling, the better. It helps our patients, our profession and the world.”