Green Stones

No, I don't mean gemstones.  These are stones that come out of your bowels.  

This article has TMI, so you have been warned!!

Liver Stones

The Amazing Liver and Gallbladder Flush, created by Andreas Moritz, notable holistic health intuitive and Ayurveda practitioner, is said to remove waxy, fatty "stones" that are built up in the bile ducts in the liver.  These are not gallstones in a calcified state, and according to Andreas Moritz, they cannot be detected on ultra sounds because they are made of cholesterol.  These cholesterol stones are typically formed in the liver, and can also be formed from the bile in the gallbladder.  They are pea or raisin size, typically, and are bright green from the bile.  

When the stones build up in the bile ducts in the liver, its slows down the production of liver bile.  In order for the pancreas to excrete digestive enzymes, in order for the colon to maintain it's peristaltic movement, in order for hydrochloric acid to be produced in the stomach, and adequate amount of liver bile is needed.  If the bile is slow, due to stones slowing down the movement in the ducts, you can only imagine the kind of health complications that can take place!  I had no idea about most of this until recently, and I find it fascinating!

Here's a video from Andreas Moritz discussing the lesser known liver stones:

The Cleanse

So why would someone want to do this cleanse?  To clean the liver, of course!!  Our liver has over 500 functions, it is truly one of the most amazing organs that is housed in our body.  The liver can pick up where another organ is lacking, and can even make up for it when another organ is removed, AMAZING!!  Our organs just don't care of themselves, it's up to us to take care of them!  It's a lovely symbiotic relationship, if we take care of our body, our body takes care of us.  Does your car run if you never put gas in it or give it a tune up?  Of course not, so how is our intricate human body any different?

There are many versions of this cleanse, and you can find it online or in the book easily.  I did one that takes about 24 hours total.  You don't go that whole time without eating, but you can and it would probably help.

Preparation

Choose a time when you won't need to do anything for a day or two.  This could be started on a Friday or Saturday afternoon if the weekend is available to you.

Eat light!  Breakfast porridge like buckwheat or oatmeal, steamed potatoes and veggies, with NO FAT OR OIL.  This means no chips, no packaged or fried food, no dairy, no nuts, no coconut.  Smoothies would be good, or soups.  Rice or other gluten free grains are fine too.  I would personally avoid eating anything heavy at all.  Porridge for breakfast, a smoothie for a snack and soup for lunch would be perfect (when I do it again I'll definitely do this!)

The day you are starting the cleanse, STOP EATING AT 2PM

Gather the following ingredients: (these will NOT all be mixed together)

  1. 1/2 cup extra virgin cold pressed organic olive oil
  2. 1 large organic grapefruit (or 2 small)
  3. 4 TB Epsom salt
  4. 3 cups water or 3 cups apple juice (unfiltered and organic)

Do It!

Day of the cleanse, STOP EATING AT 2PM

Do not eat or drink after 2PM (water is fine)

In the afternoon, prepare your SALT FLUSH by mixing 3 cups of water with 4 TB Epsom salt.  You can mix with apple juice if you prefer (I highly recommend this, it's not good at all!)

Put in a jar in the fridge if you want it to be cold every time you drink it.

6PM

Drink 3/4 cup of the SALT FLUSH.  You can drink a small amount of water after to rinse your mouth.  I took a suck of a lemon wedge, yes that was more pleasant than the salt drink!

At this time, prepare the CITRUS AND OIL DRINK.  Measure 1/2 cup olive oil in to a jar.  Squeeze juice from a grapefruit to get at least 1/2 cup of juice, up to 3/4 cup.  You must fresh squeeze your own juice, DO NOT use store bought grapefruit juice.  I chopped up the grapefruit and used my hand citrus squeezer, this helped keep the pulp and seeds out.  Close the lid and shake until the mixture becomes watery, leave it out on the counter until you will drink it-don't drink it yet!

8PM

Drink another 3/4 cup of the SALT FLUSH

9:50PM

Do anything you need and finish up for the night.  After you have the CITRUS AND OIL drink at 10pm, you will get straight in to bed and do nothing else!

10PM

Drink the CITRUS AND OIL mixture.  According to Andreas Moritz, you can take 4 Ornithine capsules (an amino acid) with the first few sips of the drink, up to 8 capsules if you have insomnia.  I skipped this part so I can't say anything about it.  I highly suggest reading the book if you have questions or need more info!

Drink standing up and take no more than 5 min to get the entire contents of the jar down.  IMMEDIATELY after drinking, head straight to bed and lie down!  Lie flat on your back with your head on the pillow.  Try to not move for 20 min.  Just go to sleep and make it easy :)

THE NEXT MORNING

Here's where I got kind of confused.  The directions say you will wake up and have a bowel movement where you'll pass green stones.  They are waxy, lumpy and made of fat, so they will float on top of the toilet.  Well, around 7am I had my first movement of the day and there were NO stones in it.  I was so bummed!!  I wanted to see evidence that this was working, haha.

Here are the rest of the directions, and then I'll continue to share my experience:

If you wake up and pass stones in your bowel movement, you can consider it a success!  Eat NO FAT for several hours, and try to eat light and clean the rest of the day in order to continue the cleansing process.

If you do not pass stones, or you want to take it to the next level, continue as follows:

  • Upon waking, after a bathroom trip (that yields no stones), take 3/4 cup of the SALT FLUSH mixture (at this point you have 2 servings left).  DO NOT take it if the time is before 6AM.  You may want to take the drink and go back to bed
  • 2 HOURS LATER, take the last of the mixture (another 3/4 cup) of the SALT FLUSH.  You may go back to bed.  IF YOU HAVE DIARRHEA BY NOW, do not take the last drink
  • 2 HOURS LATER, after the last drink, you may start eating.  Start with a little bit of fresh fruit juice, 30 min later have fruit, and an hour later you may drink regular food.  Be mindful to eat light for the next 2-3 days.

**Drink water whenever you are thirsty, except right after drinking the SALT FLUSH or 20 min before drinking it.  Don't drink water 2o min before the CITRUS AND OIL mixture and not before 2AM**

My Experience

I ate pretty light, had a chia seed porridge for breakfast, a vegan protein bar after my fitness class, and then a Mexican quinoa dish I had made for lunch.  I stopped eating just before 2PM.

I got HANGRY!!  Oh my goodness, I was so grumpy, cranky and moody.  So do this when you are not around anyone, or you are around someone who really loves you :)

I drank the SALT FLUSH and it is hella nasty.  It has this weird effect on your tongue.  Even when I pinched my nose, I could still feel it in my mouth.  I HIGHLY suggest mixing the Epsom salt with unfiltered, organic apple juice.  Next time I will definitely do this!

The CITRUS AND OIL mixture isn't bad!!  It's kind of refreshing and actually really filling.  After not eating for 8 hours, my belly was happy to be full of something.  I laid in bed and it got pretty rumbly in my tummy, and I went to sleep.

I didn't sleep exceptionally well, but I think that's also because my husband got home late (after I was in bed) and it just messed up my schedule.  If you normally sleep fine, I think you'll be good.  I woke up thirsty a lot and drank water, regardless of what time it was.

The next morning I woke up around 7am, and felt really hungry.  And grumpy.  I had a normal bowel movement and NO stones came out.  I was kind of upset and disappointed.  I decided to drink the SALT FLUSH one more time.  I did that around 7:30am and got back in to bed.  By 9am I was soooo hungry and ready to EAT!!  I waited until 9:30am and had some millet porridge.  I did not even eat fruit, I went straight for the food. 

So I was thinking that it totally failed, and then around 10:30am, things got ugly.  Yep, diarrhea, and several trips about 20 min apart to the bathroom for about 2 hours straight.  With the first movement, only 2 stones were floating on top of the toilet.  Then with the next few more and more came out.  One was as big as my thumbnail!!  I haven't had a movement for about 2 hours so I think I'm in the clear.  Make sure that you do not have ANYWHERE to go or ANYTHING to do the morning after this cleanse!  I didn't even go to the farmers market because I was scared that I wouldn't be able to get to a bathroom in time.  An intense few hours, but I think it's over now!

I'm looking forward to doing this cleanse about once a month for 3 or 4 months, to see if overall it has an effect on my health.  The book says you can do it every 2 weeks.  That's a little much for me, I do have a life, so I think once a month is perfect.  I'll plan to eat a little lighter and cleaner next time, and see it as a monthly detox ritual.

So, what do you think, will you give it a try??  Why not, green poop is fun!!

 

  BOTTOMS UP!!   THIS IS THE GRAPEFRUIT/OLIVE OIL BLEND, AND IT'S NOT BAD!

 

BOTTOMS UP!!  

THIS IS THE GRAPEFRUIT/OLIVE OIL BLEND, AND IT'S NOT BAD!



This is a summarization of how to do the liver and gallbladder cleanse from "The Amazing Gallbladder Flush" by Andreas Moritz.  

This website, adrienne-johnson.com, does not make any medical claim or give any medical advice.  The purpose of this website is to promote understanding and knowledge of various health topics.  It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.  Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care professional.  Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.




Adrenal Fatigue Series ... Part 1

There are books, articles, blog posts, videos, and entire health summits created around the health of the endocrine system, and in particular, the adrenal glands.

What the heck are adrenal glands, and why are they so important?  

The adrenals are a small bean shaped gland that sit on top of the kidneys.  They have many, many functions, and one of their main known attributes are to help the body deal with stress, both internal and external stress.

I'm not going to get all scientific and specific here, because, well, that's not my thing.  I'm not a doctor, I'm an educator.  My goal is to shed light on info that you may have never thought of before, so that you can in turn do your own research and take your health in to your own hands.

The adrenals secrete many precursor hormones that are vital to the body's function.  We have hormones coursing through the blood in our veins every single day.  When most people hear hormones, they think sex hormones like testosterone, estrogen and progesterone.  Truth be told, there are so many other hormones that are just as crucial that most of us don't even know about.

When the adrenals become compromised, it's because they are secreting too much or too little cortisol.  First, they will secrete too much.  Then, there's not much left to go around so they won't be able to make it fast enough.  There are various stages and signs of adrenal fatigue, which means that the adrenals have been compromised and are not balanced.  You can feel a variety of ways depending on which stage you are in.  And symptoms of adrenal fatigue can be synonymous with symptoms of other endocrine system disorders, especially issues dealing with the thyroid, pineal or pituitary gland.  Or the pancreas, ovaries, testes, basically the entire endocrine system.  

When one piece of the endocrine system is out of balance, it affects the entire inner ecology of the endocrine glands and their functions.  

Briefly, what can you look for if you think you have adrenal fatigue? There are 4 stages, and most people live in stage 1 or stage 2 of adrenal fatigue without even realizing it.  Babies can even be born with adrenal fatigue (if the mother is deficient, she will rob cortisol from the baby).  We're not as perfect at birth as we think we are!  Usually the breaking point is where you go from tired but wired (exhausted but you can't sleep or rest, irregular sleep patterns, energy comes and goes at random times in the day) to burn out where you just crash in the mid afternoon to the end of the day.  But then sometimes you have a hard time falling asleep, even though you are exhausted.

Symptoms of adrenal fatigue CAN include:

  • Overall feeling of tiredness
  • Irregular sleep patterns
  • Hard time waking up, hard time falling asleep, waking up in the middle of the night and not being able to fall back asleep
  • Afternoon burnout around 2pm
  • Immune system is not functioning well
  • Insatiable cravings for salty or sweet foods
  • Feeling more alert in the evening
  • Feeling like you've "hit the wall", that you have no juice left to do anything
  • Difficulty finding the right words to say
  • Mental fuzziness, foggy thinking
  • Lack of sex drive, severe PMS

How can I find out if I have adrenal fatigue?

The only accurate way is to have a saliva test done by a functional medicine doctor, a naturopath practictioner, a chiropractor, or your primary care doctor (if you are lucky and they are open minded!)  A blood test in NOT accurate!  Your saliva is measured 4x a day to see the pattern in cortisol production, or lack of.  Ideally, there is a spike in cortisol in the morning (which is why we can wake up in a fasted state, and why we don't hibernate), then it peaks around noon and tapers off, dropping down low in the evening and being replaced by melatonin so that we can sleep.

A saliva test costs around $100 and some insurance companies will cover it, if not completely, at least a portion of it.  I feel like $100 is well worth spending to find out if my body is functioning properly!

Next in the series, I will go in to the stages of adrenal fatigue with more detail.  Then we'll discover natural ways to help the body cope, and overcome, adrenal fatigue, including helpful dietary changes, lifestyle changes, herbs and mindfulness activities!

Is there something specific that you want to know about adrenal fatigue?  Please let me know so that I can address your questions and help you out as best as I can!

Quinoa Crepes with Veggies and Cashew Creme Fraiche

Finally, a recipe!!  I don't consider myself a great home cook, but every once in a while, I make something that's pretty good!  And I'm definitely not a food photographer.  So you get what you get :)  This recipe is actually really easy, super tasty, and comes out kind of fancy, imo.  It's vegan, gluten free, and is not short on flavor!  You won't even miss the meat, or think that it's even needed at all.  I promise!

Quinoa Crepes

You'll need a high speed blender, like a Blendtec or Vitamix, for this recipe.  If you don't have one, go get one, now!  It's worth the investment.  I've had mine for almost 5 years and I use it up to 5x a day!  It has paid for itself a million times over.  Completely worth it!

Put in the blender

  • 1/2 cup quinoa (that has been soaked and rinsed)
  • 1/2 cup millet (that has been rinsed)
  • 1.5 cups water
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • spices and flavors of your choice ... I added 2 tsps of Flavor God Everything seasoning

Blend on high until a thick, pancake like dough has been formed.  Cook in a pan on medium high with a little bit of coconut or olive oil in the pan.  Do not flip until the entire pancake/crepe has been bubbling.  It may seem like it's overcooked, but it's not.  It won't flip unless it's fully cooked.  This makes a ton of pancakes/crepes.  They are not flexible, so eating with a fork is a must!

Veggies

What can I say, this was really easy and you can use any combination of veggies you want!

  • Chop up onions and add to the pan with a little olive oil
  • Then add any roots/starchy veggies that need longer to cook
  • Add veggies that cook in a shorter amount of time, then add greens last so that they just lightly saute
  • With this recipe I used onions, kabocha squash (my FAVORITE!), bell pepper, purple cabbage, swiss chard, himalayan salt and pepper

Cashew Creme Fraiche

This recipe comes from the book Raw and Simple by Judita Wignall.  She's a raw foodist, creates the most beautiful recipes, and is also a fellow grad of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition.  Her recipes are easy, fresh, and super tasty!  I make this stuff ALL THE TIME! It's super versatile, you can use it anywhere you'd use sour cream or creme fraiche!

  • Soak 1 cup of cashews for at least 4 hours
  • Drain and rinse until the water is clear
  • Add cashews to the blender
  • Add 1 cup water and 1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice (I actually added more lemon juice, so it turned out to be about 1/3 cup)
  • This is my addition, 1/2 tsp himalayan salt
  • Blend until smooth and creamy, keeps for up to one week in the fridge

I suggest making the creme fraiche first, then the crepes, then the veggies.  Top the crepes with veggies, fresh avocado, garden tomatoes, creme fraiche.  You have yourself a tasty meal that is super healthy and will be enjoyed by vegans and meat eaters alike!

 


On Letting Go

Many of you know I can be rather long winded, and I promise I'm not going to be here!

Short and sweet is my goal for this post :)

Last week was our 12 year anniversary, 12 years of REALLY GOOD days and REALLY BAD days, mostly pretty happy in between days.  Adventures, 9 moves, college, tons of job changes and a few surprises in between.  And 12 years of no kids.  No baby, no pregnancy, nothing.  We had to get really real with ourselves and our relationship.  What do we really want?  Where do we want it to go?  What do we want to accomplish?  Do we want to be parents?  

Of course we want to be parents, and it hasn't happened yet.  So you know what, I'm throwing up my hands.  I'm just DONE.  I'm done with the mind games, with the emotional ups and downs, with the temperature taking the the "timed" intimacy that feels like a chore, done with peeing on a stick to see when that magical day is when you get to do that chore, and you feel like a science experiment more than anything.  I'm done hoping, wanting and wishing.  I'm done wondering, speculating, praying, holding on, never giving up ... I'm just DONE DONE DONE.

You might be wondering why we won't adopt or do IVF.  Well, to that I first say, it's none of your business ;)  But truthfully, adoption is just not on our radar right now.  And I, I should say we, refuse to do in to debt for IVF. It's not going to happen, unless $15,000 randomly falls out of the sky on or our porch.  Then I might change my mind, haha.  I also don't think IVF is necessary in our case, and neither of us want to deal with all the drugs and medication that go with it, along with the emotional crap that it brings up.  I also have reasons for not wanting to adopt right now that are kind of controversial, so I'll keep those to myself :)

I am so grateful to be married to a man who supports me no matter what.  He knows I have goals and dreams, and I know he does to.  And we have dreams TOGETHER as well.  So we are choosing to LIFE FREELY without this burden of infertility anymore.  Cause at the end of the day, it totally sucks.  Yep, infertility blows.  I try to stay positive and upbeat, but that's the truth, there it is.  And I'm done focusing on something that totally sucks.  I'm ready for awesomeness instead!

What does this mean for us?  Are we giving up and not going to have kids?  No way!  We may not have them until we're 45.  We might go on a world pilgrimage and adopt 20 along the way.  I have no idea what's going to happen.  But I do know, that for my peace of mind, for the sanity of my relationship, and for my ultimate happiness, letting go is the best thing I can do right now!

Up next for us, a trip to Fiji!! (yeah right, maybe give us a few years on that one!)

A Health and Fitness Coach Without a Weight Loss Story????

Hello, I'm Adrienne, and I'm a health and fitness coach.  My journey includes many avenues of struggle and overcome, and losing weight is actually NOT one of them.  

So how can I claim to be a health and fitness coach then??  Can I actually even help you lose weight?  Well, as a matter of fact, I can.  As you shift your lifestyle habits, change to a clean diet, and start moving your body, you will come in to balance.  And weight will come off.  

Ok, but what can I actually HELP you with??  Watch this quick video below to find out.  I think you will be surprised :)  

Turning in My Key ... Why I'm No Longer a Classroom Teacher

A little girl, a tiny thing not even 3 years old, with a pipsqueak voice and a determined look on her face, arranges all her stuffed animals in to chairs and puts books on their laps.  Then she sets up more chairs and brings her family members in.  She commands them to sit down, puts a book in their lap, and points at them one at a time to read from their book.  "Okay, now it's your turn!" as she authoritatively squeaks her agenda at them.  This was just the beginning.  

I have wanted to be a teacher my entire life.  And I became one.  And now I am leaving the field of being a classroom teacher to pursue my passions and dreams.  Yes, what I have always wanted to do, what I went to college for and got my degree in, what I spent grueling hours studying and testing for to get my credential, is not part of my life anymore as I know it.  But I'm still that little girl with a determined look on my face.  I'm going for it now, to really make my dreams a reality, and to create my own life the way that I only see it now in my visions and daydreams.

The "teacher" role has occupied the majority of my adult life.  At 17 I took Careers with Children and spent the first 2 hours of my high school day in a preschool classroom.  I loved it, it was easy, fun, the kids were cute, and I felt natural and comfortable with the other teachers and even talking to the parents.  At 19 I started my first job working at a preschool, The Little Mud Puddles.  This school holds a special place in my heart.  It was where I really fell in love with teaching and working with young children.  From there college and a degree in Elementary Education happened.  A precursor class to student teaching in 4th grade had me loving those kids so much and I thought I wanted to work with older students.  Then I student taught in first grade and found my home.  My student teaching mentor was the best thing that ever happened to me in my entire education.  Some days I felt victorious and successful.  Other days I bawled my eyes out because it was just so damn hard.  But I loved it, and I pushed through and came out on the other side ready.  I had my first job teaching elementary school at that same school in rural Idaho, teaching first grade.  I was given the classroom that had had teacher turnover every year.  Each year, the teacher who occupied that room had left the school, leaving it open for the new fresh meat to come in.  Not me!  I was determined to be there forever.  Then halfway through the school year my husband got a job offer in LA.  He moved, I finished out the school year, and then moved to Southern California to join him.  I'm wondering if that classroom is still experiencing that same phenomenon today.

Moving to Southern California brought its own unique challenges.  I ended up teaching kindergarten at a preschool that had one "upper level" class.  The parents and kids made that place enjoyable and fun.  Everything else about it was less than desirable.  Poor management, a broken philosophy, and little to no consideration or appreciation for the staff.  I didn't feel like a professional teacher anymore.  But I loved the kids, and their parents were stellar, and really made it worth waking up and setting my foot in the door every morning.  Another wake up call in the form of my husband being let go from his job due to cut backs had me leaving my job again.  This time I did not wait it out until the end of the school year.  I wanted out of there as quick as possible, so I left.

I manifested my most recent teaching experience long before I even knew it existed.  I told my husband that I wanted to work somewhere part time where I felt like a true professional, had all the teaching breaks off, and it needed to be a school with a sound philosophy that aligned perfectly with my teaching style.  And I found it, probably a year after I had declared that to him and the universe.

I spent 5 years at my little preschool as a Young 5's teacher.  I was moving down the age ladder!  First grade, kinder, then Young 5's.  That was the youngest I'd go, you couldn't get me back in a preschool program unless the pay was a million dollars.  Haha, and we all know how well teachers get paid!!  My first few years, I really loved it.  I had a co-teacher who I clicked with immediately and we made an awesome team, Team A in fact (surprise, her name starts with A as well).  I started noticing some patterns that disgruntled me and I felt frustrated and a little helpless.  I was wondering why these kids were coming in harder and harder to teach.  They were becoming more stubborn, more brash, more independent, less willing to try new things, they were bored.  What was going on!?!?  My last 2 years were really, really difficult, for reasons I will leave unspoken.  Families were hard to communicate with.  I didn't like that I had to sugar coat everything.  Can't I just tell them "Your kid just isn't interested in what we're doing!" or "They really seem to be angry all the time and they're taking it out on their peers".  Why couldn't I just be honest with them?  Why were parents so defense and unwilling to see who their children really were??

In my "real" life, I started immersing myself in holistic health and wellness.  I attended the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and became a health coach.  I was enthralled, overtaken, obsessed, intrigued, consumed, by health and wellness.  My passion for teaching began to dwindle.  I had my own success in transitioning from the Standard American Diet (S.A.D.) to a whole foods, gluten/dairy/soy/refined sugar free diet.  It took some time, but I never thought it was hard.  And the amazing health benefits I was experiencing, including getting off medication I took for 18 years, was enough motivation to keep me going!!

At this same time, I really started to put the pieces together.  I began to really become disgusted with the lunches I was seeing my students eat.  Processed meat full of nitrates, fillers and MSG.  Processed dairy with food dye, aspartame or sucralose (both artificial sweeteners), and stored in plastic tubes with a 3 year expiration, empty calories in the form of refined carbohydrates like crackers and cookies, inflammatory foods like wheat ... it was all too much!!  I am not a scientific person.  I have studied enough anecdotal evidence to know that when parents change the food their children eat, their children change.  They become calmer, more even in their temperament, they can focus more, they are happier, they don't have mood swings and tantrums.  I even experienced this as I changed my own diet.  I used to be a hormonal roller coaster with crazy mood swings.  I found that all of that dwindled and completely went away when I ate a whole foods diet.  I felt more balanced and stable.  If it can happen to adults, why can't it happen to kids??

The food like stuff that is marketed to children is toxic and poisonous.  Our bodies are not supposed to eat cakes with a pound of refined sugar, a pound of butter from corn fed cows, and a pound of food dye that contains chemicals that are known to be neurotoxins.  This is not normal, it's not natural, and I'm determined to do something out it!!  

I believe that all my years as a teacher has led me to this point, to this bigger purpose on a grand scale.  It is now my goal, focus and intention to get in to as many homes as possible to teach children and their families about healthy foods, to empower them to know that their bodies are incredible, living, breathing, thinking pieces of nature that need to be fed extremely nutritious food and need to be taken care of holistically.  I am now taking all that I have learned as a teacher, and all that I have learned as a holistic health coach, and combining my efforts to be a children's health and wellness educator and advocate.  Our children are our future.  This planet is going to face massive change in the next 50 to 100 years.  One of those changes HAS TO BE THE WAY WE EAT!  Food like stuff created in a lab IS NOT FOOD!  Fresh vegetables and fruit, nuts, seeds, legumes, grass fed and pasture raised meat and eggs, fermented dairy like raw cheese and kefir, and healthy fats NEED to become the NEW Standard American Diet.  And I am ready to get out there and educate children and families, and empower them to make healthful choices that will fill their lives with wellness and vitality, so that they can be empowered to take charge of their own health.  70% of illness is attributed to poor lifestyle choices.  Don't our children deserve better than this?

Yes, they do!  And I'm going to get out there and make it happen :) 

The {NOT} So Sweet Side of Fruit

The NOT so sweet side of FRUIT!!

In the "weight loss" craze that has swept the nation in the last 3 decades, the talk has been along the lines of "eat fruits and veggies unlimited". However, it's important to realize that fruit has SUGAR, fructose to be exact.  In in the last 100 years (plus or minus), fruit has been hybridized to be sweeter.  An apple 200 years ago had less than 10g of sugar.  Now the average apple has at least 20g of sugar.  It has been "made" to be sweeter and sweeter to appeal to our sugar addicted culture.  One time I was at Costco, and they had "cotton candy" grapes.  Sounds like a sugar bomb to me!  Yes, fruit has vitamins and minerals, enzymes and fier, and is great at cleansing the digestive tract. The fact is, an overconsumption of fruit can keep the weight on, keep the mood swings going, and make you frustrated wondering what is going on because you feel like you're eating healthy!

Keep these factors in mind when consuming fruit:

**Always combine fruit with a healthy fat or protein (green apple and almond butter or nuts, berries and full fat coconut milk or full fat organic yogurt, green apple and organic cheese/raw cheese, add protein powder to a fruit smoothie with only 1 fruit and one veggie, etc)

**Do not eat fruit for dessert! Fruit digests quickly, and will sit on top of the food that takes a long time to digest (meat can take 8 hours) and the fruit will rot in the gut. Eat fruit in between meals instead. And have herbal tea for dessert ;)

**Aim for LOW SUGAR fruits, like green apples, berries, cantaloupe, papaya, peaches, nectarines, apricots, grapefruit, lemon, lime

**Limit fruit consumption to 1-2 servings a day. I almost always have a green apple and almond butter every day, and I try to have berries too, either in unsweetened coconut yogurt, or I add them to my Shakeology (blueberries are yummy in a chocolate shake!)

**Keep fruit smoothies limited to ONE fruit. Green apple, spinach and lemon make a great smoothie. Or berries, coconut milk or water and a scoop of protein powder. Keep it simple. Combining too many fruits at once creates a sugar bomb!!!!

**Try to stay away from dried fruit, it has ridiculously high amounts of sugar. If you are going to use it in a recipe, like to make a fruit puree or your own jam (yes, you can soak dried fruit in water, add chia seeds, and blend it to make jam!!) always make sure you soak it first, drain the soaking water, and add fresh water

Fill up on veggies first, seeds, nuts, healthy fats, sustainable protein choices, and THEN have a little bit of fruit :)

What DO you eat??

I am so used to people wondering why I have so many dietary "restrictions" that I have stopped defending myself and instead I try to teach them WHY!!

How do I eat.  Okay, it's a long list.  First of all, I eat whole foods as close to the source as possible.  I eat very few processed foods, nothing with preservatives, food dye, food additives, msg, artificial or refined sugar, or carraggeenan.  I am gluten/dairy/soy/corn/egg/peanut free.  I also limit beans and legumes.  Yes, that's a lot.  I think that's the whole list, sometimes its hard to remember because I just know how I need to eat!!

Now for the WHY:

Gluten and dairy, beans and legumes too, are mucus forming.  Excess mucus in the body can create problems for the sinuses, bronchial tubes and lungs, and intestines.  When I eat mucus free, I breathe easily.  I truly believe that one of the reasons why I had asthma and so many throat and upper respiratory infections as a kid was because I was eating mucus forming foods.  Ditch the mucus, no more issues!!  I tell friends, family and clients all the time, if you can't go 100% free of these foods, at least stay away from them when you are sick.  Nothing makes me cringe more than seeing a little kid with a runny nose drinking a bottle of milk.  They don't need the excess mucus when they're nose is running for 2 weeks straight :(

What about the other things??  Well, corn is very inflammatory and really doesn't contain a lot of nutrients.  I try to eat foods that have the most bang for every bite.  I went without corn for a week and then ate it.  I didn't feel good, so that was an indication that it just doesn't sit well with me.  Peanuts I stay away from because they are actually a legume, and they can be filled with mold.  They sit in storage warehouses for a long time before they are processed in to peanut butter, or chopped up and added to a variety of packaged foods, and mold forms on them easily during this sitting time.  They are also mucus forming since they are a legume.  Hmm, what else ... soy I just don't want to mess with.  Knowing that I work so hard to get my hormones balanced, and all the contradictory things I have heard about soy, I feel it is better for me to stay away.  It is extremely high in phytoestrogen, and most people already have so much estrogen in their body from using plastic, using body products with parabens, and eating too many foods that have rancid oil (fried foods) which are extremely high in omega 6.  Too much omega 6 raises estrogen levels due to the increase of an enzyme called aromatase.  So I just stay away from soy, and parabens, and plastic too, as much as I can.  As far as eggs, I have done an elimination diet and discovered that I react to eggs.  I feel mucus in my throat and weird in my gut when I eat them.  Most people who have had, or do have, auto immune issues (asthma is actually an auto immune issue) will react to eggs, or the protein in eggs to be exact.  Every once in a while I will bake with them, and not notice much if there are only 2 eggs in the recipe.  But I can't eat them whole, that doesn't do well with me.

Okay, so why would I want to eat this way??  Well, for starters, I really want to drive home the idea that just because something is "food" doesn't meant that it is good for the body!!!!!!!!  The human body is not designed to eat and thrive on CRAP (carbonated drinks, refined sugar, artificial ingredients, processed food).  We are designed to eat fresh, whole ingredients.  Vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds, whole gluten free grains (like quinoa, oats, amaranth, millet, etc), and pasture raised meats (if this agrees with you).  There are more vegetables and fruits than we can ever imagine.  What you see at the grocery store is probably only 5% of what you could potentially grow in a home garden or see at the farmers market.  We need to start thinking outside of the box and become aware that just because it's sold in a store, doesn't meant that it is good for us!!  I am 100% medication free, and have been for over 3 YEARS because of the way I eat.  If I had remained on the Standard American Diet (SAD), there is NO WAY I would feel as good as I do now, and I would probably still be getting strep throat and bronchitis all the time (which I haven't had for at least 8+ years). 

This does not have to be done all at once!!  I started small and worked my way up.  It has taken me 7 years of progress to eat the way I do now.  And I am still changing all the time.  But I have my standards that I will not compromise.  I will not eat anything that is GMO and I stay away from conventional as much as possible.  I do not eat any meat unless it is grass fed and pasture raised.  I only eat wild caught fish, and even then I'm careful to make sure that it is sustainably caught.  It's tough, and it's worth every second that I can invest in making better choices.  I refuse to be a victim of the salt, sugar and fat trap that the food industry has created in this nation.  I refuse to be overweight, have high blood pressure, or have diabetes just because I don't "like" how healthy food tastes.  I'm going to say this, you are not doing yourself any favor by giving in to unhealthy food cravings.  Yes, we all have them.  I have them too.  You have to be stronger than your taste buds!!  Know that it is only harming you and contributing to ill health if you continue to eat processed, sugary, fattening foods just because you "have to have them".  You don't, you can live without them.  I used to think there was no way I could live without naan (Indian flat bread).  Well, of course I miss it, but I'm fine without it and I know how my body will react and to me, that's not worth it.  It's important to have an emotion and a feeling behind making healthy choices.  If you say you're going to do it just because you think you should, that won't stick.  You need a WHY so strong and immovable that it guides your decisions every day so purposefully that you don't even have to think about it.

I'm not trying to make anyone feel bad or guilty.  I just want you to know that you control what goes in your mouth.  No one else can make you eat what you do, and if you truly feel that you have a food addiction or an unhealthy relationship with food (intense emotional eating, anorexia, bulimia) then I am asking that you seek out a professional who can help you.  Know that it is not your fault, and you are strong enough to overcome anything!

Anyone can eat healthy.  I am proof of this.  I grew up eating Oreos, Hamburger Helper, peanut butter full of sugar and trans fat, fast food, soda (I used to be addicted to Diet Coke, now I can't stand the thought of it!!), pizza and milkshakes just like everyone else.  But then I woke up and realized that I wasn't giving myself nutrients.  The body cannot function properly without nutrients.  You have been given an amazing gift.  If you have a mouth and can chew, you can eat healthy. 

Give it a try, and you will surprise yourself!!  Go to the farmers market, order in bulk from Azure Standard, try a new vegetable a week by investing in a local CSA delivery box (community supported agriculture).  Your taste buds will start to change.  You won't want the crap anymore.  And you will start feeling better.  Isn't that worth it??  Who doesn't want to feel better?!?!  You don't have to be a victim of your circumstances.  You have the power to change how you eat and how you take care of yourself.  You CAN thrive!! Just give it a try :)

Why I stopped drinking kombucha

Kombucha is a huge craze right now!  If you don't live in an urban/semi-urban area with a bunch of yoga hippies and people concerned about their gut bacteria (like me, haha!), you may not know what kombucha is.  Let me enlighten you.  It's a fermented beverage made from tea, sugar, and a culture of yeast and bacteria, called a mushroom, or SCOBY (acronym for symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast).  Fresh pressed fruit juice can be added to it as well to enhance the flavor.  The reigning brand of store bought kombucha is GT's Kombucha (you can make your own, but really, ain't nobody got time for that!).  They are everywhere.  About 5 years ago I went to a health food store with my cousin, and she bought a kombucha.  I had never heard of it before (gasp, and I was even living near LA at that time!) so I tried it, and I really liked it!  It's sour and tastes fermented, almost like a light alcoholic cider.  I got a little kick from it, from the caffeine, probiotics and small alcohol content I'm sure.  It has very small amounts of caffeine, maybe up to 20 mg in a bottle.  But it's hard to say, since a true kombucha just keeps brewing and fermenting once it's bottled (if it's unpasteurized).  It's also impossible to contain the alcohol content of it unless it goes through pasteurization. 

A few years ago, GT's Kombucha pulled it's product and had to re-label it, since it was found to contain more than 0.5% alcohol per bottle.  In the US, if an item has more than this amount, it's considered an alcoholic beverage.  So, they came out with a "light" version that contains less than 0.5% alcohol, basically it's just watered down, and their "original" was labeled for 21 and over, and yes, you have to show your ID to buy it.  Crazy!  Well, I went on drinking it, and would sometimes get the "light" version, sometimes the "alcoholic" version because I could honestly not tell the difference.  I do not drink alcohol or caffeine, so once in a while, I liked the little jolt that the kombucha gave me.  Plus, it's a fabulous alternative to soda, and tastes really good when it's super cold on a hot day! (sounds kinda like a beer, huh?)

At $3-5 a pop, kombucha IS NOT CHEAP!!  Why would I pay this ridiculous amount for a beverage that's gone in 5 min or less??  Who knows, to look cool while I'm drinking one, for the flavor because I like it, or just for fun.  Kind of like a Starbucks, no one really wants to pay that much, but they do because it fulfills some emotional hole or need.  Yeah, so I really had no reason, and it really is like flushing money down the toilet!  I tried to tell myself that I wasn't drinking it very much (maybe 4-6x a month), that I was getting the benefits, like the probiotics, the B12 vitamins, the gut balancing bacteria ... but at that price, it's honestly just not worth it.  I truly believe that kombucha is mildly addictive as well.  Even though I have the restraint to not consume it anymore, just writing about it right now makes me want one!  That, my friends, is addiction. 

So, what do I do instead of kombucha? Fermented food!  Fermented herbs!  Probiotics that work!  Shakeology!  I'll explain each one briefly:

  • Fermented food (cultured vegetables) contain probiotics, beneficial bacteria and vitamins, minerals and enzymes that become potent during the fermentation process.  If you are beginner, Bubbies is a good gateway kraut.  My favs include Farmhouse Culture and Oregon Brineworks.
  • Fermented herbs, also called Living Herbs.  This fabulous tonic comes from Kefiplant, a company in Canada, that finds the highest quality herbs and ferments them for at least 3 months in their patented process.  The result exponentially releases the healing quality of the herb, as well as provides beneficial bacteria, vitamins, minerals, and enzymes.  I LOVE these and go through a bottle about every 2 weeks
  • Probiotics, Garden of Life 100 Billion.  This stuff does the trick.  If you need to fight off candida, balance the gut, improve digestion, get regular, it works!!
  • Shakeology is a synergistic blend of whole foods, herbs, plant protein, antioxidants, phytonutrients, adaptogens, pre & probiotics and digestive enzymes to deliver maximum nutrition, nutrient absorption, and dense nutrient goodness for very little calories.  Made from the best raw super foods on the planet, each ingredient has been hand selected from growers around the world who produce the highest quality items, from chia seeds, sacha inchi, goji berries, acai berries, ashwagandha, to acerola cherry and spirulina ... the amount of goodness in each serving is almost too much to handle!!  I have experienced so many benefits from Shakeology that I could (and will) do a whole blog article on it.  It is not a "protein shake" or "meal replacement".  It's a nutrient dense, alchemical, alkalizing blend of the most amazing ingredients on the planet for optimal health and vitality.  Yes, it is that amazing!

What finally did me in to totally stop consuming kombucha was when I got one the other day where I had to be carded to buy it.  I didn't think anything of it, and I thought it was silly!  Then I really read the label on the bottle.  I wish I had a picture of it.  It said that it contains AT LEAST 0.5% alcohol.  Hmmm.  Then I realized that the kombucha will keep fermenting once bottled, and the alcohol content can't really be regulated or definitively declared.  Ok, then this was the kicker.  I saw a little blip on the label that said "This item is considered a beer" WHAT?!?!?!  As someone whose faith promotes not drinking alcohol, and as someone who practices my faith and religion, I was a little jaded by this little blip on the label.  I was drinking a beer.  And wow, did this one affect me!!  I only drank half of it and I was definitely buzzin for about half an hour.  The next day, I had the rest of the bottle and felt the same.  That is not the effect of 0.5% alcohol!!  So, I threw it out, said my good-byes to kombucha, and I'm done with it!

I can get high quality probiotics from other sources, I already do, so that is what I will continue to do.  I remember asking my instructor at the Nordblom American Institute of Footzonology what she thought of kombucha.  She said that it could have a slight health benefit, but really it's only for entertainment.  Well, there you go.  I don't need to spend $3 on entertainment that lasts 5 min!  Good-bye kombucha, I will be just fine without you ;)

3 Lesson I Learned in 2014

Happy New Year!!  I love the newness, the time to reflect, stretch, grow, and think about what the new year has in store and what I can make happen!!  I'd love to quickly share 3 lesson I learned, all of them really in the last few weeks of the year.  Funny how life happens that way :)

Pain Brings Learning and Growth

Sometimes our most valuable lessons come at our darkest times, or right as we are coming out of them.  I had an experience where I learned that a dear friend of mine is pregnant.  I have overcome and healed so much of my agony that came from years of having a negative attitude, that I let myself wallow in, due to fertility struggles.  I thought I could rejoice and be happy for her.  I was not.  It hit me like a ton of bricks and I was flooded with all those emotions again.  Pain, sadness, despair, anger, frustration ... let's just say I had a REALLLLLY good cry.  I allowed myself to feel this way.  I didn't judge it, or try to tell myself otherwise.  This went on for a few days, and then it just clicked.  I realized that my dear friend probably needed a hug from me as much as I needed a hug from her.  I decided to get out of my head, get over myself, and then just like that, it was gone!  Not only was I able to feel better about it, I was able to TRULY feel happy for her.  The pain I felt was purging an old part of me and bringing on the new, and I grew leaps and bounds because of it.

Miracles Happen

This year, I truly had a Christmas miracle.  For the first time in my entire life of wanting to have a baby with my husband (10+ years), I got pregnant.  An egg was fertilized and started to grow in my womb for 2 weeks.  Then, when my cycle came, it naturally terminated and I had a miscarriage.  I was astounded, in awe when this happened, and the last thing I felt was sadness!  I was overjoyed, overcome with love and gratitude, excitement, and just pure happiness!!  This might seem strange, but to me it was a chance to celebrate.  I celebrated the fact that I am fertile, and that my body can make a baby!!  Something I have been waiting for, longing for, pining for, for 10 years, actually happened.  An immediate changed of state occurred at that moment.  I wanted to shout to the hills "I am fertile!!"  Up until this moment, I had never thought of myself as fertile.  Now, I not only know that I am fully fertile (well actually that WE are fertile), I have faith that this will occur again when my body is healed and ready to grow a healthy baby to full term.  I see this as a test run.  Indeed, I truly experience a miracle this year at Christmas.

moving forward with faith and trust will move mountains

Letting go and having 100% faith is so liberating.  Trusting that everything will work out in your favor, leaving the details up to God and the universe, is so empowering, yet extremely scary at the same time.  Being scared, feeling the fear, is normal.  One way to break through it is to realize that fear is just excitement in disguise!  I have experienced many amazing moments where I have had all the trust and faith in the world, and then I have let go.  When that happens, I get an email from a potential new client.  Or a phone call comes from someone else that is looking for my help.  Or a Facebook message pops up.  Or an experience or opportunity opens up that I never thought possible.  This happened to me quite a few times in the last few weeks of 2014.  I made a decision to let something really big go, and things started lining up in a way I never could have imagined.  I know that the more faith and trust I have, and the more I just allow and let things happen, everything will take the course that it is meant to.  In this way, I let God lead my life, which allows me to do what He truly has in store for me.  Before I know it, I will be moving mountains!

So, how was 2014 for you?  What did you learn last year?  What is worth leaving behind?  What are you 100% committed to making happen for you in 2015?  It's going to be an amazing year, I can feel it.  Let's make it as awesome as it can be, and more!! 

Cheers, to even more learning, growth, faith, trust, love, and miracles, in 2015!!!!

My health journey has taken a TWIST!

It's no joke that I'm obsessed with health and wellness!  I had no idea that it was my calling in life until about 7 years ago.  During this time, my husband and I were given the diagnosis of "unexplained" infertility.  Frustrating, maddening and depressing words that no couple who wants to have a children and a family wants to here.  From that point on, I turned as far away from Western medicine as I possibly could.  I started dabbling in everything that has to do with holistic health.  I immersed myself in learning about the body in a new way, as a whole entity that cannot be "fixed" by popping pills, and that it needs to be treated in a whole way, leaving nothing out.

About 3 months ago, I decided it was finally time to do something about my, our, fertility, and see if we could really get to the root of why we haven't bee able to get pregnant up until now.  I have this deep fire and determination to actually get to the bottom, the source, the individual DNA strand if we have to.  I am not ok with an "unexplained" diagnosis.  I don't believe in that!  So to start the journey, I begrudgingly set foot in to the office of a reproductive endocrinologist.  I was so nervous, and uncomfortable, and felt completely out of place.  She was nice, very nice, and very understanding to our situation and my need to do things as natural as possible.  She explained a lot of things that made sense, and other things made me want to roll my eyes, but I nodded, smiled, and was polite.  Overall, she's doing what she knows is best and is trying to help in that way.  We had some tests done, and everything look fine, normal, within range.  Barely any red flags except for low vitamin D on my end.  Nothing was even tested in my husband's blood, just other, um, fluids that help to make a baby.  "You're perfect IVF candidates"  is really all I heard.  Because a pregnancy had never occurred, our recommendation was to do IVF.  Spend $15,000-20,000 of our precious dollars that are needed for so many other things on a "maybe" that we would have a baby.  And if we didn't, the IVF would give us our final diagnosis, or reason, why conception wasn't taking place.  Ugh, that was NOT what I wanted to hear.  I needed something more, and was ready to get deeper.

We continued with zoning, acupuncture and healthy diet as best as we know how.  Then I found a functional medicine practitioner, and decided to take a leap and go see her.  Functional Medicine is tricky to define, and if you've never heard of it, this might help (from functionalmedicine.org)

  • Patient-centered care. The focus of functional medicine is on patient-centered care, promoting health as a positive vitality, beyond just the absence of disease. By listening to the patient and learning his or her story, the practitioner brings the patient into the discovery process and tailors treatments that address the individual’s unique needs.
  • An integrative, science-based healthcare approach. Functional medicine practitioners look “upstream” to consider the complex web of interactions in the patient’s history, physiology, and lifestyle that can lead to illness. The unique genetic makeup of each patient is considered, along with both internal (mind, body, and spirit) and external (physical and social environment) factors that affect total functioning.
  • Integrating best medical practices. Functional medicine integrates traditional Western medical practices with what is sometimes considered “alternative” or “integrative” medicine, creating a focus on prevention through nutrition, diet, and exercise; use of the latest laboratory testing and other diagnostic techniques; and prescribed combinations of drugs and/or botanical medicines, supplements, therapeutic diets, detoxification programs, or stress-management techniques.

 

At my first appointment, I did an overall health history interview and was given a list of tests to take.  Tons of blood work to be done at the lab, saliva test, and even a stool test.  I will skip the details on that!  For the saliva test, I spit in to little cups that have a lid 4x a day and sent then in for analysis.  I had to send in my stool for analysis too.  So fun!  I also had to complete genetic testing through 23 and Me.  I spit in another cup (my DNA is all out there now, so I'm expecting to meet a clone of myself one day in the near future) and got results that told me I was 2.4% Neanderthal, 20% French and German decent, 13% Eastern European decent, etc.  Then I took the raw data, which is actually my DNA genome sequencing, and input it in to this algorithm that my dr sent me to.  What came out were a bunch of letters and numbers that I didn't understand, and I was hopeful that she could help interpret them!

About 1.5 months later, we met to go over my test results.  I was feeling anxious and excited.  Answers were coming, I knew it!!  My husband went with me as he was being tested as well.  We are both in this together, no reason to go about it alone.  We love and support each other no matter what, in any situation.  He is a steady rock of love and support in my crazy world! 

So now I know what you're waiting for, and we did get answers!  I'm not going to say this is THE reason as to why we haven't been able to conceive, yet I have so much faith and trust in this process that I really feel with all my heart that we are on the right path and are getting closer every day.  I am determined to get pregnant without expensive and invasive surgeries and procedures.  I am not saying that conventional medical treatments for fertility are bad or don't have their place.  Thousands of couples who have had no hope and no where to turn have been blessed with babies through IUI and IVF.  There is a place for it, there is a reason for it.  And it's not for me. 

Well, to keep this short (haha, do I know how to do that??) and to not air out ALL my dirty laundry, I will be concise with our findings.  Basically my husband and I BOTH have quite a few nutrient deficiencies, which in and of themselves, are enough to cause fertility issues.  Think along the lines of magnesium, B vitamins, vitamin D, folate and iron.  All necessary to create life, and some completely lacking in either him or me.  And our conventional doctor didn't think to look in to any of this.  Hmmm.  And on my end, I have some problems detoxing excess hormones.  So my body is making enough, but then the old hormones that aren't needed any more are just hanging around, causing issues, and my liver is having a hard time getting rid of them.  Also, my cholesterol is SO LOW that I could not possibly support a life growing inside of me.  I eat avocados, use coconut and olive oil all the time, and eat plenty of nuts and seeds.  But I am lacking other good fats, animal fats.  So yes, this former vegan is now ... going Paleo.  Crazy, I know!!  I have completely shifted my thinking.  Food is medicine, its nourishing and provides what my body needs.  So if my body needs fat, it shall have fat!

Ok, last finding, here's the kicker.  I, a clean eating, exercising, water drinking, essential oil using, former vegan health nut, have stage 3 adrenal fatigue.  WHAT?!?!?!  Yes, yes I do.  I don't see it as a diagnosis though.  This is how I see it, my adrenals need love, and love is what they're gonna get.  My acupuncturist was astounded.  She said I do not fit the mold of someone with adrenal fatigue.  She told me my skin looks good and I appear to have a lot of energy.  Well, it comes and goes, and to be honest, some days I crash HARD.  Some days I am struggling for the right word to stay, and I have lots of other signs of adrenal fatigue.  At the end of the day, I'm not just "tired", I feel like zombie.  I tell my husband every night "I've hit the wall" because it feels like my mind is mush and my body is barely able to move.  More often than not, I don't have the energy to do what's necessary to make a baby.  Yep, that's adrenal fatigue. 

The super encouraging thing is that I can easily take care of this, and will be in top health in 3-6 months.  I am so excited at this prospect.  I used to be extremely anti-supplement, thinking that all my nutrients needed to come from food.  Well, when I learned that my body is not absorbing some nutrients, and most likely not assimilating those nutrients and not converting them to what they need to be (folate not being converted to methyfolate, for example), then supplements are actually crucial and needed to bypass the conversion process that's not happening, so that they can go exactly where they need to go.  It's not like I'll be taking them forever, a few months tops.  I can do that.  Years ago I wouldn't have been able to say that.  The old me would have been vehemently against any supplement at all, even the mention of it.  My pendulum is swinging and I'm realizing that there is not just ONE WAY to get healthy.  There are so many different ways, and they are all here for a reason.  It's impossible for just one person or one healing treatment to know how to heal and fix everything.  I truly believe that my path is exactly where it needs to be.  I foot zone myself once a week, go to acupuncture once a week, and now I'll be taking supplements too, including bovine adrenal desiccant.  My past self would have been horrified that I would even consider this.  Now my feelings are BRING IT ON!!  I have been led down the path that I need to personally be on for health and wellness.  My path is not the next person's path.  There is an endless amount of combinations that could probably help me.  Feng Shui?  Crystal therapy?  Reiki?  I don't know.  IVF might even help, but it's not on my path.

I encourage you to find your path.  Pray, ask your heart, meditate, do whatever you need to do to get in touch with your inner guide so that you can be led on the path you are supposed to be on.  I know I have been divinely led by God to be where I am now.  My faith has exponentially increased lately by this experiece.  I hope the same for you, in whatever you are going through, that you can find your path and your faith.

To love, light and healing

Savory Chickpea Pancakes

I love pancakes (and waffles too).  They are so delicious and are really the one food I miss the most since going gluten free and adapting a whole foods plant based diet.  I would take waffles over pizza any day!!  I make pancakes, but not that often, even though I have a killer gluten free recipe that uses home ground buckwheat and millet flour.  I do this in my Blendtec, couldn't live without it!

Anyhow, I was stoked when I found this recipe for chickpea pancakes that is gluten free, grain free, and vegan ... Woohoo!!    I had some dried chickpeas on hand, and I threw them in the blender to grind up in to flour.  If you do this, it's very LOUD, so I suggest covering your ears or putting in earplugs.  It's much louder than when I grind other flours. This recipe is so versatile, you can have it for breakfast, lunch or dinner.  I adapted the recipe a little bit to my liking and to what I had on hand.    I'm always doing that, it's extremely rare when I follow a recipe to the T.  My husband says it's because I don't like being told what to do!  I say it's because I like to put my own spin on things, so I guess it's kind of the ego taking over so that I can say "It's Mine", lol!

The original recipe from Oh She Glows (FANTASTIC recipe blog, btw) has the pancake topped with avocado, tomatoes, hummus and cashew sauce.  That's too heavy for me, so I opted to top mine with sauteed veggies.  Really any combination will be delicious, and whatever you have on hand always works out best.  Zucchini, cauliflower, any greens like kale, chard or dandelion, bell pepper, cabbage, fennel, onions, garlic, mushrooms, whatever you've got!  I also added zucchini to the recipe of the pancake batter instead of green onions, since that was what I had on hand.  Instead of garlic powder, I used Costco's organic no salt seasoning and added Himalayan salt.  I also doubled the recipe and it turned out perfectly.  This is seriously my new favorite recipe, it's soooo good!

(Original Recipe: courtesy of ohsheglows.com)

Jumbo Chickpea Pancake

Vegan, gluten-free, grain-free, nut-free, oil-free, soy-free, sugar-free

This dense and filling savoury chickpea pancake is packed with protein and fibre. Feel free to change up the mix-ins and toppings based on what you have in your fridge. To prevent it from sticking to the skillet, be sure to spray the skillet liberally with olive oil before pouring on the batter. Also, I suggest chopping the veggies finely so they cook faster.

Yield
1 large or 2 smaller

Prep Time
10 Minutes

Cook time
10 Minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 green onion, finely chopped (about 1/4 cup)
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped red pepper
  • 1/2 cup chickpea flour (also known as garbanzo flour or besan)
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • pinch red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons water
  • For serving: salsa, avocado, hummus, cashew cream (optional)

Directions:

  1. Prepare the vegetables and set aside. Preheat a 10-inch skillet over medium heat.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the chickpea flour, garlic powder, salt, pepper, baking powder, and optional red pepper flakes.
  3. Add the water and whisk well until no clumps remain. I like to whisk it for a good 15 seconds to create lots of air bubbles in the batter.
  4. Stir in the chopped vegetables.
  5. When the skillet is pre-heated (a drop of water should sizzle on the pan), spray it liberally with olive oil or other non stick cooking spray.
  6. Pour on all of the batter (if making 1 large pancake) and quickly spread it out all over the pan. Cook for about 5-6 minutes on one side (timing will depend on how hot your pan is), until you can easily slide a pancake flipper/spatula under the pancake and it's firm enough not to break when flipping. Flip pancake carefully and cook for another 5 minutes, until lightly golden. Be sure to cook for enough time as this pancake takes much longer to cook compared to regular pancakes.
  7. Serve on a large plate and top with your desired toppings. Leftovers can be wrapped up and placed in the fridge. Reheat on a skillet until warmed throughout.


Read more: http://ohsheglows.com/2013/09/15/jumbo-chickpea-pancake-a-high-protein-filling-vegan-breakfast-or-lunch/#ixzz2xTa8uGJs

 

My Recipe:  Savory Chickpea Pancakes

Ingredients for pancakes:

  • 1/4 c zucchini, finely chopped with hand chopper
  • 1/4 c finely chopped red pepper
  • 1/8 c finely chopped onion (or green onion)
  • 1/2 cup chickpea flour (also known as garbanzo flour or besan)
  • 1 tsp organic no salt seasoning or Herbamare
  • 1/4 tsp Himalayan salt (omit if using Herbamare)
  • Dash of freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • pinch red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons water

Ingredients for toppings (the possibilities are endless!):

  • zucchini
  • bell pepper
  • mushrooms
  • onion/green onion
  • fennel
  • cauliflower
  • brussel sprouts
  • tomato
  • kale, chard, dandelion greens
  • olives
  • sun-dried tomatoes
  • avocado

Prepare the pancakes as indicated in above recipe.  They can be made any size, large or small, and flip beautifully every time.  At the same time, add all chopped veggies to a saute pan with coconut oil, olive oil or ghee.  Cook until crisp tender, or until greens have wilted and onions have turned clear.

Top pancakes with veggies and avocado and enjoy!

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Coconut Curry Veggie Dish

Coconut is so delicious!  I have been experimenting with whole, young coconuts (Thai coconuts) lately and whipped up this quick and tasty dinner.  It was really easy, I promise!  I don't like spending a ton of time cooking, even though I do love being in the kitchen.  And making everything from scratch can be tedious and messy.  But this recipe wasn't, so I will be repeating it in the near future for sure!  One pan dinner with very little clean up, yes please!!

I opted to use a fresh, young coconut to make coconut milk instead of using canned coconut milk.  Once you know how to open the coconut, it's actually pretty easy and quick.  It's cheaper or the same price as canned coconut milk, but it's not processed, and it tastes sooo much better!

To prepare, you need a young coconut and a knife with a blunt edge.  If you're not sure how to open it, check out this video tutorial here.  If you have a Whole Foods nearby, they sell their young coconuts with the husk cut off and a hole already exposed.  So easy!

Coconut Curry Veggies

Ingredients (organic whenever possible):

  • fresh ginger
  • fresh turmeric
  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • onion
  • sweet squash like acorn, delicata, kabocha or butternut (I used white acorn squash)
  • romanesco or cauliflower
  • 2 small or 1 large zucchini
  • 1 bell pepper (any color)
  • 2 carrots
  • coconut oil
  • 1 young coconut
  • curry seasoning

First, make coconut milk

Open the young coconut by puncturing a hole and draining the water into a jar, bowl, etc.  Scrape out the flesh with a small silicone spatula.  Add all the water and all the flesh/meat to a blender, and blend until smooth and frothy.  There's your coconut milk!  It should yield anywhere from 12-16 oz, which is about how much a can of coconut milk is.  You will use it all in this recipe.

Next, to make the dish

Prepare the squash first because this is the most time intensive.  Peel off skin and cut in half or sections, removing the seeds by scraping them out with a spoon.  Cut in to bite size pieces and set aside.  If your squash is really big, use only half or part of it.  I used an entire white acorn squash.  

Chop up onion, garlic, ginger and turmeric finely.  I used 1/2 thumb size of peeled ginger and turmeric each.  Add about 2 TB of coconut oil to a saute pan and add onion, garlic, ginger and turmeric to the pan.  Keep on medium low.  Once they start to sauté, add a little bit of the coconut milk that you just made to the pan and continue sautéing.  Add curry seasoning to taste.  I probably used at least a TB of curry.

Now add the squash to the pan with more coconut milk and bring to a low simmer.  Cover with a lid and let it cook while you cut up the rest of the veggies.

Chop up romanesco or cauliflower (I used romanesco, I'm obsessed with it lately!), carrot, zucchini, bell pepper, and any other veggies that you think would be good.  Peas are also traditionally used in Indian food dishes, so you could add those as well.  

Add all veggies to the pan, stir and add the rest of the coconut milk.  Add more curry powder is desired.  Stir and keep veggies on a low simmer until they are done to your liking, 15-20 minutes.  I like the squash to be cooked soft, but the bell pepper and romanesco to be crisp tender.  You might like it different, so cook it how you want it!  

Let it cool for few minutes off the heat (the squash gets hot!!) before you dish out and enjoy!  This makes enough for leftovers for the next day (if you're only feeding 2).

 

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Chocolate Beet Cake

I love chocolate!  I have heard it touted as a supreme superfood full of beneficial antioxidants, and I have also heard that it can be a neurotoxin and can actually be damaging to the brain.  Well, whichever one it is doesn't really matter to me, I love it!!  I try to eat it in raw form with very little to no sugar, and never with concentrated or refined sugar, ever.

Here is a delicious chocolate beet cake recipe that everyone will love.  Seriously, every single person who has tried this when I have made it absolutely loves it!  It's great for birthdays, potlucks and other special occasions.  I made it on Valentine's Day and froze half of it, otherwise I would have had cake for breakfast, lunch, dinner and then I would have felt sick and gross!

The original recipe comes from Green Smoothie Girl where she uses wheat and eggs.  I have adapted it to be vegan, and there is a gluten free option as well.  Oat groats can be used for people who tolerate oats just fine.  Oats alone are gluten free, but most grow in conjunction with wheat and therefore may contain gluten by cross contamination.  The gluten free option uses buckwheat groats and millet.  In either recipe you will be making your own flour, which is so much easier than it sounds!!

Chocolate Beet Cake

1 cup buckwheat flour (ground from raw buckwheat groats)
1 cup millet flour (ground from raw millet )

(** can use 2 cups of oat groat flour, ground from raw oat groats, but this is not a guarantee that it will be gluten free, I've made it both ways and its good both ways!!**)

3 chia seed eggs: 3 TB whole chia seeds soaked in 9 TB water
1.5 c coconut crystals (coconut sugar)
3/4 c melted coconut oil
4 small to medium size beets, peeled and steamed (last time I made it I used 2 large beets and it turned out great!)
1/4 c raw cacao powder
1 tsp vanilla (I use Sunfood vanilla powder)
1.5 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp himalayan salt

Preheat oven to 350. To make the flour, measure 1 cup of buckwheat groats, add to a high speed blender like Blendtec or VItamix, and blend until a dry flour powder is formed.  Do the same with 1 cup of millet.  Or, if you are using oat groats, put 2 cups of raw oat groats in the blender and blend until it turns in to flour.  Peel and steam the beets, then puree them in the blender, adding the chia "eggs", oil, sugar, vanilla. Blend, then add all other ingredients and blend to completely mix.  You may need to add a little bit more water to the mixture to get it to blend evenly. 

Bake in a 9x13 pan greased with coconut oil (I use sunflower lecithin for this and it works great too) for 30 min.
 

This is what the batter looks like before baking, a beautiful red velvet color!  It will turn brown and look like delicious chocolatey goodness after baking :)

This is what the batter looks like before baking, a beautiful red velvet color!  It will turn brown and look like delicious chocolatey goodness after baking :)

For frosting, I use Stacy Stowers' raw chocolate sauce recipe, it is so rich and tasty on top of this cake, especially warm out of the oven!  This chocolate sauce is also the key to the most delicious chocolate dipped strawberries, and although it's still a treat, it's so much healthier!

Simple Chocolate Sauce Recipe: 
(courtesy of stacystowers.com)

1 cup raw cacao powder 
1/2 cup raw honey
1/3 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup water
pinch of salt
blend, drizzle, dip or spread, and enjoy!

The Concept of Bio-Individuality ... part 2

Food Combining

No matter how you choose to eat, food combining comes in to play.  It is actually very simple and doesn't take much getting used to.  Our body can only produce a certain amount of digestive enzymes at a time.  Having a meal with starches, protein and carbohydrates is not an ideal combination.  When optimal digestion cannot occur, nutrients will not be absorbed and our body won't get the nutrition that it needs.  The old starch, vegetable, protein at dinner needs to go out the window.  It is just not ideal for our digestive systems, and it will leave you lethargic and nutrient deficient.

So, how do I food combine?  I have to admit I do not follow this 100%.  My main issue is fruit.  Fruit should be eaten ALONE or with nuts or seeds.  That's it as far as it goes regarding fruit.  So for breakfast if I have chia seeds soaked in home made sesame milk with chopped up apples and goji berries, that is proper food combining.  If I have home made oatmeal (made with raw oat groats) with bananas and raisins on top, that is not proper food combining because oats are a starch and not a seed or nut.  My problem with fruit is that it is such a perfect dessert.  So if I do eat it after a meal, and not alone, I try to have it an hour or so after dinner.  Not sure if that's "proper" or not, but oh well!

Here is pretty much the only other rule for food combining.  80% veggies, 20% starch OR 20% protein at lunch and dinner (even breakfast if you want).  So, 80% of your plate is vegetables.  Greens, broccoli, cabbage, brussell sprouts, bell pepper, cucumber, zucchini, anything green!  Then the other 20% of the plate can be starch OR protein.  Protein can be any form you want it to be, but try to avoid soy because it is acidic and extremely hard on the hormones and endocrine system.  This can even be more vegetables since they contain protein.  Starch is anything like roots, squash (butternut, spaghetti squash, kabocha, etc) or grain like seeds like millet, buckwheat or quinoa.  So, 80% veggies, 20% starch OR protein.  Aim to do this for lunch and dinner.  And that's basically food combining!

Some meal ideas can be veggie salad with protein of choice for lunch, veggie soup with homemade bread, roasted cruciferous veggies (cauliflower, romenesco, brussell sprouts) with mashed up root veggies.  It's very possible to do!  If 80% veggies freaks you out, try for at least 50-60%.

Include Raw Fermented Foods

Again, no matter how you choose to eat, fermented foods should have a place in your diet.  They contain pre and pro biotics and nourish the delicate inner ecosystem of the intestinal flora.  80% of our immunity comes from the flora in our gut, and the gut produces more serotonin then the brain, so keeping it balanced is absolutely necessary for good health.  There is more and more information coming out about the importance of a balanced digestive tract.  It makes just makes sense!!  Fermented foods are a part of every culture on the planet except for modern, western culture.  It is something we have removed from our diet in the last 100-150 years, and its time to put it back!

Fermented vegetables can be found at any health food store, Whole Foods, and even COSTCO!  Yes, Costco (at least in the SF Bay Area) is now carrying Farmhouse Culture raw fermented sauerkraut.  Yay!!  Make sure they are in the refrigerated section and do NOT contain vinegar.  This is not part of the fermentation process.  Ingredients should read very simple, veggie, salt, water, that's it!  Go for organic, as always.  You don't want to eat fermented pesticides!!  

Some people get very experimental and like to ferment their own veggies.  It can be done, takes about 2-8 weeks depending on your desired outcome, and doesn't take much prep time.  I say if you want to be adventurous, read up on it, watch tutorial videos, and make sure that your end product is not spoiled or moldy.

A few brands that are great are Farmhouse Culture, Pickled Planet, Wild Brine and Bubbies.  Bubbies is not organic, but they are an awesome "gateway" kraut if you need to be eased in to the taste and idea of eating raw sauerkraut.

Some tasty, easy recipes with sauerkraut:

  • Mash up an avocado, add chopped sauerkraut and eat! Or use this to top salads
  • Soak 1 cup of cashews in water for 4-8 hours.  Drain and rinse.  Add cashews, at least 1/2 c sauerkraut and 1-2 cloves are garlic to blender.  Blend until creamy.  May need to add water.  Makes a delicious sour cream substitute!
  • Make a morning veggie saute with onions, cabbage, kale, sun dried tomatoes, shredded carrot and top with sauerkraut
  • Steam potatoes and beets, top with cold pressed sesame oil, dill, raw garlic, and sauerkraut

The possibilities are really endless!  I'm waiting for a jalapeno cilantro sauerkraut to be made by Farmhouse Culture so that I can top veggie tacos with it, yum!  I have already sent them an email expressing how much they need to make this new combination :-)

 

Eat a Variety of Foods and Enjoy

Have fun with the way you choose to eat!  Whether it's Paleo, vegan, vegetarian, raw, gluten free, soy free, grain free, whatever, just have fun with it!!  Remember to eat mostly on the alkaline scale, combine meals properly, and take in plenty of fermented veggies.  Now matter how you choose to eat, being mindful of these principles will lead you to a more balanced way of eating for optimum digestion and nutrient assimilation.  And enjoy your meals!  Be thankful for them, eat them slowly and with intention, and make them tasty and delicious <3

 

The Concept of Bio-Individuality ... part 1

Although we are all humans and have the same bodies inside and out, no two people are carbon copies of each other.  Even twins.  This is common knowledge, every single person has their own uniqueness, down the their fingerprints and DNA.  We all need food, water, loving relationships, a comfortable place to live, and clothes on our back.  But we do not need the same clothes, we do not need the same relationships, nor do we all need identical places to live.  This concept translates to food as well.  There is no one size fits all, everyone should eat this, perfect way to eat that transcends humanity.  It's just not possible.  

It's called Bio-Individuality.

Good for me, bad for you

If you live in the middle of Canada, eating a raw food diet consisting of a lot of tropical fruits and vegetables grown in Mexico does not make a whole lot of sense.  If you live in Costa Rica, and eat a diet heavy in starches like potatoes, corn, legumes and grains, that doesn't make sense either.  We should strive to eat foods that grow around us, or that would when the temperature and conditions allow.  We may be drawn to foods of our ancestral heritage too, even if geographically we don't live in that area anymore.  I LOVE beets, potatoes and dill ... very Eastern European.  Even though I don't live there, it speaks to my soul when I eat that type of food.  We are affected by our ancestry, climate and geographical region where we live, even the air quality around us can effect what food is good for us, and what food will actually be detrimental to our health.

Those who have weak kidneys may want to stay away from spinach and citrus.  Those who have weak joints may want to stay clear from nightshades, while someone else might say they feel amazing every time they eat a tomato or an eggplant.  This is Bio-Individuality.  Eat what suits you, listen to your body and pay attention to the signs that it gives you, and forget what everyone else is doing ... to an extent.

There are some basic concepts that we can all live by, no matter if we eat raw, high carb, high protein, choose follow the newest fad diet, etc.

Bio-Individuality Concept:  Acid vs Alkaline

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Our body wants to be in an alkalized state.  Foods that are acidic cause the precious mineral reserve in our bones to leech out and replace nutrients that we are not receiving through food. An acidic diet weakens the body.  High acid food is anything processed, wheat, sugar, dairy, corn, rice, soda, coffee, alcohol, and anything with food dye and preservatives.  If it's in a box, bag, or can, its acidic.  On the flip side, high alkaline foods allow the body to be at an optimal state.  Alkaline foods include vegetables/greens and fruit, most roots, herbs, almonds (the only alkaline nut), seeds, grain like seeds (buckwheat, quinoa, millet, amaranth), sea vegetables and alkaline water.  Most herbal teas are alkaline as well.  Some foods are in the middle like legumes and nuts.  They might be slightly more tipped to acid or slightly more tipped to alkaline.

Aim to eat 80% alkaline foods.  One really easy way to do this is eat more vegetables!!  I highly recommend Donna Gates "The Body Ecology" for more information on eating on the alkaline scale.  The benefits of alkalizing the body is vitality, health, and wellness.  Less sickness, more energy, less pain, better moving lymph system and a healthier cardiovascular and nervous system.

 

Want to learn more about how to eat true to YOU??  Stay tuned for part 2 next week :)

 

 

4 Tips for a Vibrant New You in 2014!

4 Tips for a Vibrant New You in 2014!

Yes, I'm doing one of those cliche New Year's blog posts. 

Announcements for the new year are all over Facebook and countless blogs and articles.  New year, new you!  Goals, resolutions, things to leave behind, new habits to consider, out with the old and in with the new.  And I'm joining the bandwagon and doing one of them.  How unoriginal of me!  You know why though, it's because we secretly love these things!  We love to read these obvious, commonplace articles and feel good about ourselves,  saying "I love that idea!  I can do that!"  Because sometimes, we have the idea or the notion, and when we can find it validated somewhere, it gives us the motivation to get up and DO SOMETHING!  So here you go ... I will try to be as original as possible ;)

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Exciting Happenings!

I am bursting at the seams with excitement about all the amazing things that are quickly coming up in my life!  I have so much gratitude and joy, it's ridiculous.

Alright, alright, I'm sure you want to know so I'll get right to it. 

Starting tomorrow, I am going to be a student at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition!! 

For one year, I'm going to learn the ins and outs of nutrition and health from the TOP names in the wellness community (David Wolfe, Dr. Mark Hyman, Kimberly Snyder, Deepak Chopra, and soooo many more!!) and I'm going to be fully coached in the business, networking and marketing arena so that I have all the tools necessary to be a successful, entrepreneurial health coach.  I'm going to be a wellness warrior, and the possibilities are ENDLESS!  I am beyond excited ... can you tell ;)

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BlogTalkRadio Show #3

I am so excited about our 3rd installment of BlogTalkRadio!!  In my opinion, this was our BEST show yet, thanks to our amazing guest on the show, Amber Bodily.  She is my mentor and footzonology teacher, and a fantastic friend.  I learned footzonology with Dana and Burnette (radio show co-hosts) and Amber was our teacher and coach.  She has a mind full of knowledge that and was a wonderful addition to our radio show!

I hope you can listen in, the 4th installment will be coming before Thanksgiving :)

Radio Show #3 - Healthy School Lunches 

Apparently this is turning in to a food blog ...

My intention for starting this blog was motivation and education.  I wanted to share articles, links, and post information on topics that brings awareness and knowledge about holistic health to all.  I figured I would share a recipe here or there, but more than anything I wanted to educate about the what's and why's (why not eat this, what are excitotoxins and why to avoid them, what can exposure to the sun do for our health, why are essential oils so good to use, etc)

And while those topics are constantly brewing in my mind, and are most likely coming in the future, it seems to keep turning back to food every time I decide to do a blog post! 

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