Keeping things alive here: new “quarantine workout” invented to #feedyourgutbrain 💜. 1) Walk the trails if available. 2) If you see someone else to share the path with, pull up your scarf and step aside. 3) Climb UP to the side of the trail (good balance and close toe shoes are a must) and do squats until the person (s) pass safety. 4) Return to mellow meditative walking. 5) See someone? Repeat above. Stay sharp, fit and SANE, Beautiful People 😘
This was part of the question one of my recent clients asked me.
I answered it to the best of my ability and knowing that I had a legal waiver on file signed by this client:-). Because I am NOT a doctor and don’t even play one on youtube;-). The very concise summary of my response to this particular client, given my scope of practice, was: 1) Zinc is HUGELY important to immune system health and 2) whether on not ONE needs to supplement really depends one ONE’s individual zinc status.
Personally, I tend to be low in zinc (bunch of genetic variants at play), so I do supplement daily, regardless of how much zinc I get in my diet. How do I actually know this? Well, I don’t like to guess. So I test.
Sadly, your (well meaning but way overworked) doctor may roll her eyes at your humble request for that “zinc serum test…” Luckily, my friend and business partner, Dr. Alan Hopkins, is running a special on his “Immune Panel” right now. Go ahead and check it out to decide if you want it. One of the reasons I partner with Dr. Alan’s company is because he can guarantee confidentially. You purchase the lab test (frequently, at a fraction of what your insurance would bill you), you decide on the lab to draw your blood and then you choose to disclose those test to your doctor (or whoever else you might be working with) or not. The results are encrypted and emailed to you directly – you are in total control of who gets to see them after you, if anyone. This could be a great tool to negotiate for a prescription or more help from your doctor if you would like to. Or it could be a tool to give you information you need at your own fingertips. The choice is yours. As it should be. So check it out to make your own choice.
On a related, but even more immediately empowering note, you might want to check one of my recent instagram posts.Warning: there is a rant in it (I am tired of people “hogging” hand sanitizers without regard for others, especially immunocompromised and elderly) . The main gist of the post, however, is to give you a tool out of your pantry to boost your immunity easily. So enjoy.
P.S. I did finally find some hand sanitizers at my local co-op. Not enough to buy up for the entire class for one of my kids’, sadly, so I simply chose to buy just one for each member of my immediate family (so, a total of four), leaving PLENTY for others on the shelf.
“I want a burger for lunch today, Mama!” exclaims your child who had been running a fever and mostly just drinking a lot of liquids for the past few days 😞. As a Mama, your inclination might be to rejoice that your child finally has an appetite and go get that burger 🍔.
And, yet, your own Mama’s gut and brain know better, however. So you sigh and say:”No Sweetie, you really don’t want a burger right now. You have been too sick to eat for the past few days and your gut needs a more gentle restart 😘” I mean, it’s almost like coming off a liquid #kionfast , right? So you make something wonderful (quick and easy) to nourish your kiddo instead❤️. #vitalproteins to #feedyourgutbrain 👍
What is the most nutrient dense thing you can eat/ feed your family?
Well, the liver, of course (from a happy pastured or free ranged animal, please ❤️). And when it’s finally in the pot cooking itself into a delicious pâté, you can finally breathe a sign of relief. Because, after you clean up your space , your cat 🐱 is finally done trying to jump on the kitchen counter to lick it clean😅.
Because , even if you already gave him the appropriate amount of chopped raw liver, he does not always know to stop. All he can feel is that it is deeply nourishing and that he can’t count on getting it again soon. Smart #primal animal but liver is so dense, less can be more, and a little goes a long way to #feedyourgutbrain ❤️.
I am excited for the fresh, first of the season, crop of local Oregon strawberries. I think they make a fantastic combination with freshly made kefir (I make mine from goat milk), a touch of cardamon and local honey!
Yes, that is all there is in my smoothie. I tend to keep them at three ingredients or less and this one is four already (because cardamon – yum!)
And one more thing I usually do with my smoothies: I try my best to not “over-blend” them in order to keep the antioxidants and other nutrients as intact as possible.
Especially kefir – full of B vitamins, vitamin K and precious probiotics – those bugs don’t love to blended at high speed for a long time. So, for this particular smoothie, I only put a spoon of kefir to blend with strawberries, honey and cardamom first. Then, after blending, I gently poured the rest of the kefir in and just gave a shake in my hand. It was mixed perfectly and delicious.
Try it and I hope you enjoy!
“Ladies and gentlemen, we have zero visibility. A human cannot land this plane under these conditions. So we are going to let the plane land itself as it knows how to do it better than a human. Please use the restrooms and fasten your seat belts once back into your seats. In 10 minutes, the captain is handing the flight controls over to the automatic flight system. We are going to remain in this mode for the last 40 minutes of our flight. The captain is asking you to turn off your electronic devices. He asks that you honor his request to prevent any possible interference with the automatic flight control system.”
This is what I heard flying back to Portland with my family two weeks ago. It sounded kind of disturbing but there was not anything to do, really (getting off the plane was no longer an option:-)). All passengers sat quietly, some exchanging nervous glances.
In the end, we had a peaceful and smooth landing. The plane descending on autopilot among the dense fob was eerily quiet.
The last 40 minutes of that flight were a very interesting introspective time for me. Somehow, I expected my brain to go into the “I just want to land safely. This is my wake up call to be doing things differently from now on. I am going to do XYZ (insert your own version of this). Please, Dear Universe, just help this plane land safely. I promise I will not let you down.”
Instead, I found myself quite peaceful. No, I was not really crazy about spending the last 40 minutes of the plane in the “autopilot” mode, including landing. And, of course, I wanted everyone to land safely.
I felt peaceful about the things I have been able to accomplish. I felt like I had been a pretty decent human being overall, both on a personal and professional level. I felt no big regrets and no need to “do things differently.” Of course, there are lots of things I still want to get done while on this planet but there was no desperation and no need for “a fresh new start.”
And that is when I realized that I did not need a New Year resolution. I mean, I did sign up for a new course of study in Bioindivideal Nutrition and Therapeutic Diets later that day (more on that later) but that action was not predicated on our successful landing, it was just something I had planned on doing once home from our trip and back to a reliable WI-fi connection.
Last Sunday morning my daughter and I went to the Powell’s book store (luckily, just a few blocks from our house). We had a wonderful time reading books and chatting over cappuccinos. I thought that we were really fortunate to be able to do this. Fortunate, on so many different levels. I want to do more of that in the next year. In general, more of simple things that bring me joy. I also realize that the more I focus on simple small things that bring me joy, the more energy I have for doing bigger things that might mean a lot to others. I do not think this has be a “resolution” per se, just something to do more of. What do you think?
What are some simple things that can bring you more joy in 2019?
A couple of days ago, I was having lunch with a friend of mine. Who happens to be an amazing colon hydrotheapist here in town. We were chatting about life and business over some delicious food (we are lucky to have some incredible, true farm-to-table, restaurants around here). It sounded like my friend’s business was undergoing some changes and she commented on being grateful to be able to fully address them right now. Because, apparently, business is fairy slow at the moment. Still consistent (because she really is amazing at what she does) but slow, by comparison to other times. Like, compared to after January 1st, when everyone you know will jump on the “cleanse bandwagon” again. Replete with those c-c-c-cold (and oh, so unpalatably sweet tasting to me) green juices/ smoothies. In the middle of January, naturally (when it might be snowing outside and nothing growing in nature for what is going into that smoothie/ juice).
Well, o.k., maybe not everyone you know. I mean, if you know me, you will likely see me putting a generous heap of fresh cilantro on top of my nitrate and sugar-free bacon as I do often. Or, perhaps, I am baking my bacon on top of a generous heap of cabbage as I do often as well. But, no, other than lemon or lime for my warm morning water in the morning, I am not juicing in January (in fact, my beloved Omega Juicer is cleaned and lovingly put away to rest until Spring).
I am also likely not waiting until January for a colonic. I get colonics seasonally yet completely uncoordinated with any cleanse (which I do not do at all, but more on that some other time:-)). Colonics are simply a “maintenance” item for me. I like living my life as if I were on a cleanse without actually being on one. I don’t like sugar (be in straight up sugar, kombucha or so called “healthy” fiber devoid green juice all by itself) and my brain loves good fat. While I happily poop a few times each day (yes, I did just say that), I like colonics for clearing out “the junk you cannot see,” especially after being exposed to toxins when traveling, etc. Incidentally, did you know: anywhere under one daily bowel movement defines constipation? Some food for thought, isn’t it:-)?
My colon hydrotherapist friend has another cool friend who happens to be a shaman. Yes, apparently, I have cool friends who, in turn, have cool friends:-). So she shared some recent words of wisdom from her shaman friend with me. That’s when I learned that November is really supposed to be about the energy of “giving.” Not necessarily in the “Thanksgiving way” as the energy of giving is more of a global source, not restricted to any country celebrating any particular holiday. This made a lot of sense to me as I have been feeling an urge to give a lot lately. In various ways in various places that resonate with me and my energy.
I am in the middle of scheduling free “Simple Steps to Better Digestion” lectures at the Portland Chinese Garden again (stay tuned for specific dates in April 2019). I am also talking to a social services agency to donate my time talking about nutrition and lifestyle practices to support brain health for the seniors. I love donating to food drives (bone broth is my favorite food item to donate at this time of the year). I love spending more time with my kids and volunteering at their schools. I love being able to do all of the things that fill my heart this time of the year. I do not think I need a cleanse, come January 1st. I will have plenty of energy to keep on doing more good things.
What about you?
I hope you get to focus on giving what feels good and being with those who fill your heart. Stay safe and kind to yourself this holiday season. Do not forget to take care of yourself and your body so that you continue to be available to help and be with those who need you. They may not have the time to wait for you going through that cleanse, after all… And it might be more enjoyable (and easier, in my opinion) to simply honor yourself every day of the year, not just for a short period of time after the 1st of the year. Doesn’t that sound liberating? I hope so.
You have my permission to be awesome to yourself. Starting today.
I like living my life as if I were on a cleanse without actually being on one…
Yes it is real and it is becoming more common these days. What it is? It is an autoimmune condition where the antibodies released in response to gluten consumption start attacking your brain (the cerebellum part, to be specific). There is no “cure” other than a complete gluten elimination. If gluten consumption continues in a gluten ataxia sufferer, the damage to the brain can become irreversible.
And you know what else is really interesting about gluten ataxia? People who suffer from it experience no gut symptoms. “Only” the neurological ones. Yes, you read this correctly. And it is as bad as it sounds.
So should you worry about gluten ataxia? Well, no, because worry would not get you very far.
Should you stop eating gluten? Yes, you should. Wait, WHAT? You mean, without even testing??? Well, good luck with testing as an accurate test is very hard to obtain in this case. And how would you feel waiting for a test to confirm that gluten may be “eating” your brain… Would you wait to find out? I chose not to.
Which brings me to resurrecting an article I wrote nearly two and a half years ago. Because when you still believe in something you said a while ago, that is a good thing.
Without further adieu, here is an article from my old blog on which it appeared in June of 2016.
When can I eat gluten AGAIN?
This is a question my clients ask quite often. And and the answer is…”let me tell you a story. But, before I can tell you THAT story, I need to tell you THIS story..” I am kidding. While Dav Pilkey says exactly that in his “Captain Underpants” comic novels (which our whole family reads and laughs hysterically with:-)), I do not say this to my clients. But I will say it on this blog post. Because there is a point to it, so hang in with me…
The first story begins almost 6 years ago…Enter 2010. It is me, just 6 years younger. But I look quite a bit older than I do now.. Because I…just…don’t feel good. I keep “blaming” feeling lousy on various things simply because I really do not understand what is going on. I am overweight, pre-diabetic and very prone to panic attacks. Which is not good because my children are 6 and nearly 3 then.
This is the first time in my life I get diagnosed with an oddly painful and high fever inducing ear infection. For which I have to go on two rounds of antibiotics. In addition, I also have this weird looking, vividly cracking, skin around my eyes which I “blame” on eye moisturizers/ creams. So I keep changing those. To no avail. The skin around my eyes does not look good, no matter what I do.
I suddenly realize that the rash on my hands is getting really uncomfortable also (it itches and, if I scratch it without thinking about it, the skin starts bleeding easily). I am realizing the best way to keep the skin on my hands from getting infected is to apply heavy duty moisturizers and wear cotton gloves during the day…. In the middle of the summer. Which I am spending with my kids at the Oregon coast.
And one day we go to our favorite bakery for lunch only to discover that, in this tourism-driven small coastal town, the bakery is closed Monday through Wednesday. And it is Monday. So we have to have Plan B for lunch. No bread as we never ate “supermarket/ store bread” anyway, only sticking to hand made locally made breads. We were being “healthy” like that, you know…
I decide to go wheat-free through the end of that week. I am figuring I can get back to eating some wheat on Sunday: it will be my son’s birthday and we are ordering delicious custom made cupcakes from our beloved local bakery to celebrate.
By that Sunday, I feel amazing. My brain is so sharp and clear, it is almost surreal. No panic attacks, I just feel calm and happy. Yet, instead of realizing what might be happening, I reach out for one of those cupcakes (I mean, WHAT, am I going to “miss out” on my kid’s 3d birthday???). The cupcake tastes delicious. I feel great! For the first 30 minutes. And, then, all of a sudden, I feel like my whole world is rapidly crashing down. I feel down. I mean, really down. Downright depressed. And I am having an awful migraine. And a panic attack. By the end of the day, the skin on my hands is back to itching and “oozing.” Not fun.
So, that was the fist story.
And the 2nd story is actually beginning now. Fast forward to 2016, shall we?
Let’s recap what had transpired for those past six years. After realizing gluten was making me sick, I got off it completely. For a few years, I never looked back. Because once you feel awesome, why would you, right? Right??? Well, maybe…
Let’s see what “awesome” meant for me. Nearly 40 lbs gone (I did not just “quit” gluten, I went Primal and so out went all grains), weird mood swings and panic attacks gone. No more migraines or PMS symptoms. Skin looking flawless and radiant. My dentist also being a bit puzzled as to why and how my advanced periodontal decease just kind of “went up and left.” I tried to talk to him about my diet change to explain but he just shrugged his shoulders…
And, then, I felt...invincible. Like nothing could hurt me anymore. I mean, I was so strong and flying high. “I must have healed my gut, “I thought. And then: “Wait, I can have gluten again!”
The last time I had A LOT of gluten was when our family went on vacation to Spain. “European gluten really could not hurt me,” I justified it to myself.. The sun was shining brightly, and the food looked delicious: WHO can resist amazing looking local tapas? I wound up with a horrific respiratory tract infection by the end of the trip.
And you know what finally stopped my self-experimentation (or, shall we call it, “self-destruction”), with gluten? Enrolling in the Full Body Systems coursework and getting to study IGG sensitivity as part of the “Immune Intensive” coursework. THAT was when I finally got it. I understood what was “going on in there,” as my mentor, Andrea Nakayama, would like to say.
You see, IGG Sensitivity is a really fascinating thing. It is NOT what your allergist (if you have one) is usually interested in. Allergists look at IGE antibodies (those cause anaphylactic reactions, i.e., true allergies). But, when you are sensitive to a particular food and consume it or a regular basis, you do not react to it strongly. Instead, you are kind of living “in a fog.” Nothing is black or white, things are just kind of “grey” all the time. And, sometimes, they are so “grey,” you don’t really even notice how bright that blue sky over your head is. This is how it was for me. Which, when chasing after two little kids and being exhausted often, did not really strike me as such an oddity. I mean, as Moms, we are often “just tired,” right??? Or, we must “just be getting old,” right?? Right? Wrong!
Your body is no longer accustomed to the regular “chronic” poison so it “speaks up loud and clear” when it encounters it. If your body had a voice, it would be screaming: “Are you NUTS? Don’t you know this is POISON for us???”
This is akin to a “snake venom” analogy I have heard before. Apparently, professional snake hunters purposefully inject themselves with small dosages of snake venom prior to the hunting season. They do not die from it, they are just “slightly sick” all the time. The result is that if they were to get bitten by a real snake, they do not die from the massive dose of venom. Their body is “used to it.” But If they do not inject themselves with the venom prior to that accidental real life exposure, they are very likely to die from it.
So, WHEN can I have gluten again? For me, this translates as: “when am I willing to feel like crap on a regular basis again, to the point of no longer remembering what if feels like to feel good?” When am I ready again to stop living my best and love what I do? When am I ready to not be fully present with my kids again? When am I ready to start catching everyone’s colds again?
You see, without gluten, I do not get sick. Ever. Yes, I know this sounds weird but it is true for me. Gluten is my only kryptonyte. Does it mean I am celiac? Nope, not at all! Did I ever test to find out? Nope, I didn’t need to. Besides, the only time you do not get a false negative on the celiac spectrum is when your intestinal villi are destroyed completely. Translation: until your small intestine is destroyed completely by gluten, you cannot get a “celiac” diagnosis. Even while gluten may be slowly killing off your thyroid, your heart or your brain, all along. Do NOT work you way up to that, my friends. SO not worth it!
Incidentally, a similar thing happens with most “gluten sensitivity” tests. Unless you ask your doctor to order a test through Cyrex Labs (currently, the only accurate gluten sensitivity testing lab), your “gluten sensitivity test result” is worthless, at best. And, at worst, it is damaging to your health to be told you “do not have a gluten problem” when you feel otherwise. NOT getting to the full gut destruction (a.k.a., complete small intestinal villus atrophy) is worth a lot. Because, when you stop in time, magic happens. Your body will perform that magic for you when you listen to it. That is when, just like in my case, you finally understand why reacting to gluten again is a “good” thing.
You can stop worrying about “having gluten again.” Because it is not worth it. EVER.
And this brings us to the end of the original post. Why gluten ataxia is starting to get more attention, it is still not fully embraced by many professionals, in spite of medical research on it documented back in 1998.
A smart and impressively successful business woman was sitting in my office telling me she needed to lose weight but did not know how to because she “has already tried everything.” She was already eating healthy and exercising plenty. She was not plagued by any disease (and had tested herself for hundreds of them).
Yet, she would periodically do a curious thing. She would make cookies (gluten-free, because she knew gluten was not healthy for her) and then eat the whole sheet of the cookies she had just made. In one sitting. Predictably, she would feel overstuffed and ill immediately afterwards.
She did not understand why she was doing that and wanted to know. “I feel like I am padding myself to protect myself” she kept saying. This woman had been to countless nutrition and mental health professionals, mainstream and alternative kind. I could not tell if the theory of “needing to pad herself” was from her own thinking or something some professional had convinced her of. In a way, it did not really matter because I had a very different hunch: I thought (and still do) that the actual reason for eating a whole sheet of freshly baked cookies was self loathing and self punishment. The fact that, in spite of how incredibly intelligent and successful this woman was (she was also very good looking, even with no make up and in the sweatpants/ shirt she came to see me in), deep inside, she did not believe she deserved anything she had worked so hard to achieve. She had a terrifically rough childhood. Part of her grown-up business success was due to her plea to never feel poor or hungry again. She had plenty of funds to take care of herself now and, yet, deep inside, she did not believe she was worthy of any of it. Hence, the need to eat the whole sheet of cookies to fully justify hating herself shortly after… My heart ached for her and it still does. Because she was one of the most inspiring women I had met with the least amount of self-esteem.
This “self-loathing junk food consumption” thing is nothing new. At all. And, while in the case of that particular individual, a healthier cookie is not the solution necessarily, it is one that could be used as a benign “crutch” if you will. Because you can make cookies with love towards yourself and actually enjoy eating them until you are satisfied without guilt. Enter my grain free collagen cookie. These delicious morsels are stock full of protein and healthy fat. And here is what else is “shocking” about them: your body (even if you do not trust it) will actually stop you before you have eaten too many. You will simply feel too full and satiated before you are physically uncomfortable. Healthy fat and protein have that effect on digestion and metabolism.
Just to prove my point, the last time I made them, I tried to eat the whole tray and I could not. Not even half, and not even close. It was not possible. These “cookies” are too much like a balanced starvation-free meal than a sugar cookie devoid of nutrition. Check them out. Make them. Have them with your morning coffee or make them into an afternoon snack. See how many you can eat in one sitting. Hint: not many. Extra bonus: these keep extremely well in or out of the fridge.
- Almond flour – 2 cups
- Vital Proteins Vanilla Collagen Creamer – 1/2 cup
- Salt (Himalayan or Celtic is best) 1/2 teaspoon
- Baking soda – 1/2 teaspoon
- Grass fed butter melted, ghee or coconut oil – 2 tablespoons
- Maple syrup (dark, with minerals intact, please) -1/4 cup
Mix in the dry ingredients and wet ones separately, then combine (a simple whisk and then hands work just fine) to knead into moist dough. Shape and bake at 350 F for ~ 10 minutes (do not let them brown as you do not want to oxidize the nut flour).
Enjoy warm or cold. If you do manage to eat too many at once, your body will remind you not to do so again. Word.
Your body (even if you do not trust it) will actually stop you before you have eaten too many of these. You will feel too full and satiated before you are physically overfull. Healthy fat and protein have that effect on digestion and metabolism.
Thanks for joining me! And welcome “back” to my blog. It has taken me some time to get back to blogging… I used to feel like I had so many things to say and I still do. I also used to feel like it was my mission to keep saying them regardless of whether or not people were ready to listen. I no longer feel that way.
Time and perspective have shown me that I can no longer afford to sacrifice personal well being in order to help others heal the way I used to. Just as importantly, I have also learnt that “healing” can be both a subjective and a dirty word so I no longer use it. Neither on my blog nor in my private coaching practice. Which brings me to an important distinction between the two. This blog is for sharing my personal experiences with you which includes diet and lifestyle information. Without doing what I do for myself on a daily basis, I simply would not be here today. While this statement is 100% accurate, it refers to me only. I know what works for me and why.
As an individual, I get to make a myriad of decisions each and every day. We all do. Frequently, what is at the end of my fork is the most important one to me. You might or might not believe that what is at the end of your fork actually matters, never mind manifesting itself in how you feel and perform on a daily basis. That is cool with me. Unless you are a private coaching client of mine. Then, you have to believe that what you eat, who and what your surround yourself with, matters. That belief becomes your superpower not to be taken away.
Here, on my blog, you are free to believe whatever you please and stay for however long you please as a friendly guest. If you cannot be friendly, I kindly ask you to go somewhere else for this is my sanctuary. With love and light. Always.
Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind. — Anonymous