Alternative Therapies Are Not Anti-Science

My mom recently sent me this article by Simcha Fisher, a well-known and articulate Catholic woman who blogs over at National Catholic Register. While I don’t usually go all “Catholic” on here, it is a nutrition blog after all, I thought this would be a good avenue to address her article and some of the fallacies that were in it. So, here goes.

First and foremost, it sounds by the voice of the article that you (Simcha) have never had an adverse diagnosis for a child (in the case of my parents) or a sibling (in my case) where the doctors tell you that they have no idea what is going on and how to treat them. There is nothing more terrifying than watching a family member waste away, unsure of what to do and being told by the Western medical community that they’ve exhausted their options and having three doctors who are in disagreement with each other over treatment options but all of them damaging to your loved one. This was my reality. I found myself questioning my degree, a Bachelors of Science in Arts and Letters with a concentration in human anatomy and physiology. I found myself questioning the very essence of our nature. Our bodies were created perfect… so why are we so diseased? Surely, this can’t all be the result of Original Sin. And, most importantly, I questioned the western medical and scientific community.

Thankfully, my mother is a woman who has her wits about her and is a stubborn Irish/German/Native American Catholic woman. She didn’t waste any time looking into every single alternative form of healing – within the guidelines of the Catholic Church. Long story short, countless hours of research spent reading medical studies published in various medical journals resulted in our turning to a naturopath who was able to help my sister and my mom delved into the research world of the nature of nutrient absorption and we were able to start getting food in her body that she didn’t instantly reject – no thanks to the conventional doctors, who had put her on two same-class antibiotics and a steroid. The adverse side effects of that combination are still haunting her to this day and it is only through diligent attention that she is able to hold the effects at bay. She suffered from extensive mitochondrial damage in addition to cartilage damage. And we followed the doctors because they are the professional and went to school for this. Never mind that multiple studies, including the drugs’ own websites, state clearly that this is never to be done (we found this out later when we were researching what was now wrong with her). Western medicine failed us. They left us stranded and in the dark.

I was told that my biomarkers were such that I was headed down the same health road at a high-speed rate. At the time, I was planning my wedding. The last thing I wanted to hear was that something was wrong with me and that I had a risk of dying as well. No. Thank. You. I had a new life that I wanted to live and I wanted to be around for as long as possible to live it. So I started looking at alternative therapies as well. Both she and I found our respite with diet and proper nutrition. 

Fast forward a few years and this past spring that same sister gave us all a run for our money… again.

I found myself in an ER room with her, her vitals unstable, slipping in and out of mental clarity, the doctor telling us by no means to let her fall asleep and then a last minute transfer to a Neuro-ICU. It was quickly followed by an emergency brain surgery that couldn’t be postponed 10 minutes until my parents arrived. Once again, I was terrified. I begged our neurosurgeon to let my parents be caught up to speed so they could approve the surgery. I was told that she didn’t have the 10 minutes needed to do that, that the pressure on her brain was too great. I found myself bargaining with God. I was terrified and desperate. She’s my best friend and wasn’t allowed to leave me – I can’t imagine my journey on this Earth without her. I approved the surgery (the easiest and hardest decision I’ve ever made in my life) and our very talented neurosurgeon and team of Western medicine-saved professionals saved my sister’s life. I will be eternally grateful to that gifted surgeon and his team – they were our guardian angels.

Most people who are like me have similar stories – it doesn’t matter what your religion, or lack there-of, is. It takes a lot for one to leave what one has grown up with and go against the beaten path. It’s not something that’s done casually or without calculating the risks. Usually we are forced to look elsewhere because somehow western science has failed us on a very basic level. My story is no different.

There are many things that western medicine excels at. Our capability for surgery is beyond anyone’s wildest dreams. The fact that you can perform surgery on a little part of the brain no wider than a straw from McDonald’s, leave a hole in the head… wait. There was no hole. It was a tiny crack in the skull, and a teeny tiny scar, is just phenomenal. Science is so cool that way. But, like all human-made things, it has its limits. And that is where other healing traditions come into view. The world is such a beautiful and vast place and the contributions of different cultures are many. To throw the baby out with the bathwater, so to speak, and only look at one tradition is myopic and not very Catholic.

So, Simcha, your overarching generalization that those of us in the alternative health community are all crazies is unfounded. We eat food that our ancestors ate precisely for that reason. They ate it and their overall health was better. I’m not talking about disease from lack of sanitation. I’m talking about degenerative diseases. Looking around at our modern society, it is more than abundantly clear that many of us suffer from some sort of degenerative disease that was virtually unheard of 100 years ago. Diabetes, heart disease, infertility, thyroid disease, asthma, allergies – all of these diseases have had an uptick in society over the past century. And all we get from western medicine is a band-aid. A “Go home and take this drug. Here are the side effects but never mind those. Oh, and you’ll have this disease for the rest of your life so you’ll just have to learn to live with it.”

From a Catholic world view, I know that we were meant to live for so much more, but we’ve lost ourselves. We’re not meant to live a sick and unproductive life. We’re not meant to be miserable in this world. It’s not in the Divine plan. The question that an astute person should ask themselves, not out of fear, but out of an innate drive to heal themselves is “What are we doing wrong?” Obviously something because health care needs are on the rise and, according to various government offices, there appears to be no end in sight.

My own personal healing journey, combined with my background in science, has led me to nutritional therapy. A wonderful program that looks at each human as a bio-individual with individual nutritional needs and an approach that we’re not “one size fits all”. I love it. It’s in keeping with Catholic teaching that we’re all created in His image and we’re all unique – there is no one else quite like us.

Nutrition is approached with a foundational platform, what you put in your mouth affects your overall health. So, if you put those chemicals that you can’t pronounce into your mouth, rather than the nutrient-dense and properly prepared whole foods that our ancestors ate for a millennium, what do you become? Our bodies are not engineered to eat man-made chemicals. We are engineered to eat simple foods that give us sustaining energy to get through our day. When we sway from that path, we become less-effective machines, wasting energy, gathering toxins and running inefficiently. This isn’t “woo-woo” quack science. This is basic science. If you give an organism what it needs, the body is going to do its part in maintaining a well-run system. Sure, every once in a while you need a tune-up (think a detox). But we know this from a spiritual sense as well. Lent is our spiritual tune-up. A nutritional detox is a physical tune-up. It makes logical sense when we see ourselves in light of being embodied spirits – both aspects of self must be well cared for.

Those of us in the alternative healing community are following the scientific method. St. Albertus Magnus, the founder of the scientific method, believed that the Bible contained the fullness of Revelation but that man could discover HOW things worked through observation, question and record. What modern science is doing now is ignoring the observation and question part. And society is just going with what is being told us – this includes the doctors, who are trained practitioners and are not scientists or researchers.  So, when a healthy teenage girl with NO history health complications suddenly dies after receiving a Gardasil vaccine what are we to do? Believe that there is no causal effect?  Or observe, question and record?

Those of us in the nutrition and alternative medical community are looking at the cause and effect aspect of medicine. If something can “treat” an ailment but there are worse “effects” than the original in question, how can we hope to help that individual find complete healing? The short answer is: We can’t. And we continue to become a society that is more and more addicted to pharmaceuticals to fix ailments that weren’t there to begin with. From a Catholic social teaching and ethical standpoint, it’s not just and it’s not sustainable.

So, yes. I am going to pursue treatment via nutritional means. This has become something I’m so passionate about, I even want to help others with their needs and finding healing through food.  As such, I am pursuing a degree in holistic nutrition, adding to the base of knowledge that I originally received at a 4 year university. We live in a world where things don’t need to be cured or managed by a pill. And with the exorbitant costs of health care, this isn’t practical for many. Food is practical. We all need to eat.  And what we eat becomes the foundation for our general health and longevity.

“Breaded” Fried Zucchini

I’ve been jonesing for this stuff for the past few months and somehow managed to fight the urge to buy zucchini out of season. Not sure how I managed it, but I did. Now that my garden is going crazy, here’s a nice little zucchini recipe for y’all.

I served mine up with some clean BBQ sauce that’s made locally here in Portland. They’re delicious just by themselves but this sauce. It’s an addiction. 

One little note before I give you the recipe: use Bob’s Red Mill Almond Meal. Usually, if you’re baking, I’m an advocate for not-Bob’s but this time around, you need the larger “grain” to mimic Panko breadcrumbs. Just trust me on this one. 🙂

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Breaded Fried Zucchini

  • 3 medium zucchini, sliced into ¼-3/8" medallions
  • ¾ cup Bob’s Red Mill Almond Meal
  • 2 large, organic and pasture-raised eggs, beaten
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  1. In a medium skillet, heat the coconut oil over medium heat. Test out a bit of egg to see if the skillet is done – you want it to start spattering immediately. 
  2. You’ll need a bowl and a plate – one for the egg and one for the almond meal. Beat the egg in the bowl until it’s well blended.
  3. On the plate, combine the almond meal, salt and pepper and sift with a fork until incorporated.
  4. Dip the zucchini in egg, then in the almond meal and once again in the egg and place in the frying pan. Repeat until the pan is full with a single layer of zucchini.
  5. Cook until the egg is done and golden brown. Remove from pan and put aside. Repeat until all zucchini has been cooked.

Fruit Vinegar

Some of you may recall grandparents talking about sipping vinegar “back in their day” and how it was good for their constitution, gout, the sugar or insert-any-other-old-timey-ailment-word-here. And really, they weren’t all that off. Although their Windex-styled fix-it-all solution is hilarious, they really were on to something.

Natural raw vinegars, ya know, the ones with the mother in them, are quite good for you and are a great source of good bacteria that aid in the health of your gut and overall body. (If your gut is horrid, the rest of you is going to feel horrid because you’re not getting the necessary nutrients to pass through the blood-gut barrier or you’re getting mal-digested nutrients passing through. Bottom line – it’s horrid.)

Anyway, fruit vinegar is easy to make and isn’t super vinegary. In fact it makes a great mocktail. In the heat of the summer, I’ll grab a tumbler, throw a few ice cubes in it, some gassy mineral water (San Pellegrino is my fave) and a bit of the vinegar. The result? A light and refreshing drink that’s outta this world.

You’re going to look at it and wonder how you ever bought your own vinegars. Trust me. I do it to myself. In the mirror. True story. I frequent vinegar shops all the time and have been known to drop $100 on a few bottles of fruit vinegars. Yea. I did that. A lot. Whoops.

A few key things:

  • Your fruit shouldn’t be moldy or rotten.
  • They should be fresh, not frozen (I made that mistake once).
  • Scraps work, too! And they’re economical. Which I like. Bruised fruit is also okay. Use peels, rinds, cores, etc.
  • Use organic. If you can’t afford organic, ask your organic grocer if they have “seconds” in the back. Sometimes they’ll sell you those for a discounted price.
  • Also, if you can’t use organic, stay away from using peels.
  • It’s a lot of sugar, but you need to feed the bacteria something. By the time it’s all processed and fermented, the sugar count will be much less, making it usable if you have a special diet. 
  • Keep fruit submerged with a glass plate, rock, plastic lid (like a yogurt lid, BPA-free).
  • A bowl or wide-mouth jar works best because it encourages oxygen.
  • Save the mother!!! If it develops a mother, save it for a starter for the next batch (and omit the apple cider vinegar).
  • The ratio is 1 part fruit to 2 parts water.

Fruit Vinegar

  • 4 cups fruit scraps or fresh fruit
  • 1 qt filtered water
  • ¼ cup organic sugar
  • 1 tbsp organic raw apple cider vinegar (such as Bragg’s)
  1. Put scraps in the jar or bowl.
  2. In a separate container, dissolve water in the sugar and pour over fruit. (There should be about 1 part scraps to 2 parts water, just eyeball it and add more fruit if necessary.)
  3. Use a rock, plate or a plastic lid to keep fruit submerged. If it won’t stay under, stir daily to prevent mold growth. 
  4. Cover the jar or bowl with a cheesecloth or a coffee filter and secure with a rubber band. (Make sure fruit flies can’t get in, they LOVE this stuff!) 
  5. Let it sit on the counter for a week and then strain out all the fruit using a fine mesh colander and a coffee filter. 
  6. Return the liquid to the container and cover it again with the cloth or filter and let it sit another 3-4 weeks. 
  7. If white yeast develops, called Kahm yeast, try to scrape it off – it’s not bad for you. So don’t worry. Otherwise, you can strain it out in the end. If mold develops, also known as the fuzzy stuff, pitch it.
  8. Bottle in narrow-neck bottles, cover and store indefinitely (as in it doesn’t go bad) at room temperature.

Quick Dinners: Kale and Garlic Saute

Sometimes I’m just too lazy to cook. I’m up early in the morning, work a long day, do a bit of cleaning, catch up with the never-ending task of laundry/folding/dusting/wiping walls/ironing, tend to my little garden… and by the time I know it, it’s late in the day and I’m tired. And cooking? Heck. No.

Sound familiar? I have a feeling I’m not the only one who’s like this. Sometimes life just gets in the way of making a healthy meal. In my old days, when I was the pasta queen (seriously – I had one shelf in my cupboard dedicated to pasta), I would open a box of Barilla and a jar of Classico. 20 minutes and a bit of fresh shaved parmesan later, voila! Dinner was served. Now that I know that food was what was killing me, it’s no longer an option. Eggs are a good go-to. But… I sometimes tire from having eggs too much in my diet – I eat a few (ahem. 3.) a day for breakfast.

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Now, this recipe is by no means a beautiful thing. Nor is it mind-blowing. It’s simply my “what I eat when I don’t want to cook but I don’t have leftovers to eat” meal. And after a bit of prodding from my boyfriend to put this up on the blog, here it is. He said it’s creative, I told him it’s out of necessity – end of the pay period meals are always interesting in my house. (Dave Ramsey, you should be proud!)

Anyway, enough of that. Here’s what I do when I’d rather not be cooking or whatever.

Kale and Garlic Saute

  • 1 bunch kale, rinsed, spine removed, and chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 3 heads garlic, minced
  • ½ lb mild Italian pork sausage (cooked) or 1 cup minced ham
  • 1 cup soaked, sprouted, and cooked organic brown rice (If you have a hard time with sprouted rice, use 1 cup cauliflower “rice”)
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika
  • ¾ tsp sea salt
  • 1 ½ tsp Trader Joe’s 21 Seasoning Salute
  • 2 tbsp lard or grass-fed butter
  1. In a medium-sized skillet over medium heat, melt the lard or butter.
  2. Add kale and garlic and cook until kale is wilted.
  3. Add cooked sausage or ham and rice and stir to incorporate.
  4. Mix in spices and cook until warmed through.

    For dinner: Serve with steamed veggies and some sauerkraut.
    For breakfast: Serve with eggs and some sauerkraut.

Dilly Beans with Scapes

I freaken love all things dill. When I was a baby, I would beg my mom and her friends for their kosher dill pickles when we were out at Rose’s (a New York deli here in Portland – back in the 80s, they were in their heyday and their food was FANTASTIC). After a few kosher dill pickle spears, my lips would be white from all the vinegar. I didn’t care. I wanted more. And my mom and her friends wanted to laugh even harder. It was a win for everyone.

Fast forward 30 years, and I still love my dilled foods. I bought a bunch of green beans two weeks ago and realized that with my neck, any and all cooking wasn’t happening. So, before they had an opportunity to rot on me, I shoved them in a jar with some scapes I had also bought with the dream of sauteing them in butter… Yea. Not happening, either.

Two weeks later, I cracked open the jar and my goodness! Childhood memories of eating dill pickles until my lips turned white came flooding back. They are so. so. so. good. Even the roommate who sometimes thinks my food is a bit hippie (admit it. I know you think this – and I know you’re reading this post), wanted more.

Okay. Enough of me typing. You want to hurry up and make these. And then wait two weeks. It might be the longest two weeks of your life but you’ll have to deal.

The end result is fantastic.

Times 10.

Note: The grape leaves sound random but they help maintain the crispness of the vegetable. Other options are a bay leaf (or two).

Dilly Beans with Scapes

  • 1 lb fresh, organic green beans, with ends snipped
  • 4 organic scapes (garlic spears)
  • a handful of fresh dill – about 1 ½" in diameter if you hold the bunch together
  • 20 black peppercorns
  • ½ tsp red chili flakes
  • 2 grape leaves (organic and non-sprayed)
  • 33 grams sea salt (no iodine or caking agent) to every quart of  filtered water
  1. Leave water out for at least 30 minutes to evaporate trace minerals. In the meantime, weigh out the salt and rinse green beans and scapes. Trim both so will fit in the jar.
  2. Add the salt to the water, stir to dissolve and set aside.
  3. In your jar, layer the red pepper flakes, peppercorns, and dill on the bottom.
  4. Place the green beans and scape spears on top of the spices, stick straight up. Stuff the grape leafs on the side.
  5. Pour the saltwater solution atop of everything and work out any bubbles. The veggies or grape leaves cannot be above the water line.
  6. Place a dunker (either a clean rock or a glass weight) atop to keep the veggies below the brine line.
  7. Seal tightly with a lid and allow to ferment for 3 to 10 days. The beans will get tangier as they age. If mold forms, dump it.
  8. Transfer to cold storage and enjoy on warm summer days! (I’m willing to bet these would taste really good in a Bloody Mary!)

 

Lacto-Fermented Ginger Carrots

I know I’ve been focused on fermenting lately but the bacteria that natural ferments provide are such an important part of the diet.

Here’s why: In a healthy gut, up to 5 pounds (yes – you read that right, 5 pounds) of healthy bacteria should be living symbiotically with our body. That’s crazy! Fermented foods aid in that symbiosis by providing the gut with new waves of bacteria as old ones die off.

Vitamin K2, a vitamin that is totally and completely underrated but rocks my socks, is found in ferments. Dr. Weston Price identified it during his research days as “The X Factor” (not to be confused with the television show). He posited that there was some factor in these indigenous foods that was allowing for good calcium absorption and assimilation that resulted in healthy teeth, bones and tissues. Science, unfortunately, had not caught up with him and only recently have they discovered what he was talking about. Natural foods FTW! (I’ve talked a little bit about this in my butter post.)

So these carrots. They are my favorite. So much so that sometimes I eat too many of them. If that’s even possible! ha! They’re gingery and tangy and full of delightful goodness. On a warm summer day, pulling one of these bad boys out of the fridge is just so refreshing. They’re also super super easy. And super quick to put on. And super cheap. All three are a super win in my book. (I’ll stop with the “super” superlatives, don’t worry! – hehe. See what I did there?)

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Chocolate “Ice Cream”

My roommate’s siblings were visiting this past weekend and one of them was off of refined sugar and gluten for a nice little elimination diet. As soon as she told me, I thought, “Welcome to the club!” It was fun spoiling them (they’re a lot younger than I am) and I decided to treat them to an “ice cream” that she could also partake in. It’s nothing fancy schmancy but it gets the job done for a last minute sweet treat. 

Enjoy! 

Chocolate “Ice Cream”

  • 1 14-fl oz can coconut fat (or full-fat coconut milk, chilled)
  • 2 ½ cups coconut milk, unsweetend
  • 1/3 cup organic, raw honey
  • 1 tsp gluten-free, organic vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder (I use Trader Joe’s)
  1. Mix all ingredients in a medium mixing bowl until well blended.
  2. Put in ice cream maker and churn until frozen, place in the freezer for ½ an hour or until more firmly set. 

Seasonal Allergies Got You Down?

I used to have the worst seasonal allergies. As in, I was home sick and missing school/work. At the time, I was singing in a schola (Latin/Gregorian chant/polyphony choir) where you have to sing with absolutely no vibrato and when your throat is clogged… Yea. That isn’t happening. Every year, without fail, you could count on me getting seriously ill with a sinus infection that would settle into bronchitis. Every. Single. Year.

I took all the drugs – the allergy shots, the nasal sprays, the herbs and nutritional supplements, the over-the-counter pills and various prescriptions. Nothing worked. Sure, they would put off that inevitable infection for a few weeks. But nothing was ever truly fixed. I had to settle for the fate of traveling with a box of kleenex, my tea with honey and lemon, and Sudafed for those “just in case Niagara starts flowing from my nose” moments.

Thankfully, those days are long, long gone! Sure, on heavy pollen days, I get the occasional sneeze and sniffle. But really, who doesn’t? When your black car is re-painted neon green/yellow for the day, anyone is going to be sneezing a bit.

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I’ve often wondered about our ancestors – did they suffer from seasonal allergies the same way we do today? For some, it’s just a nuisance and they can live with it. But for others, it can be a seriously debilitating ordeal and potentially life-threatening.

Things started to change the first year I went gluten-free and went on my anti-inflammation diet to help curb my “pre-Crohns’” diagnosis. I had started the diet in January and by the time nature decided to spew its sex cells into the air, my symptoms were dramatically reduced. As in, forgetting to take Zyrtec for a few weeks wasn’t harming me at all. On the really bad days, tea with honey and lemon and maybe a teaspoon of elderberry syrup was all I really needed.

I started reading up on the real cause of seasonal allergies and the answer was surprising (it went completely against everything I had learned in my science/pre-nursing degree at the state university I paid thousands of dollars to attend for four years… but I’m not bitter).

Anyway, seasonal allergies are caused by leaky gut. I know I’ve written some on that lately in my acne post.

Basically, leaky gut is the culprit for a lot of the problems with health – ranging from acne to mental issues to seasonal allergies and more.

According to Dr. Mercola, leaky gut is…

a condition that occurs due to the development of gaps between the cells (enterocytes) that make up the membrane lining your intestinal wall.  These tiny gaps allow substances such as undigested food, bacteria and metabolic wastes that should be confined to your digestive tract to escape into your bloodstream – hence the term leaky gut syndrome. Once the integrity of your intestinal lining is compromised, and there is a flow of toxic substances “leaking out” into your bloodstream, your body experiences significant increases in inflammation.

Here are a few easy tips to beat the runny nose and itchy eyes. Because. Let’s face it. No one likes dry eyes.

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Beating Seasonal Allergies

  1. Go on an anti-inflammation protocol. Work with a doctor or healthcare professional on this one as new diets should be introduced with professional help. However, avoiding foods that cause inflammation – grains (especially gluten-containing grains), processed sugar (pretty much everything except raw local honey), dairy, coffee/caffeine/soda, alcohol, non-organic foods/processed foods (to rid your body of chemicals), chocolate, nightshades (tomatoes, potatoes, okra, peppers), pork, processed meats, peanuts, and shellfish/warm water fish.

    An anti-inflammation diet will help to calm the inflammatory levels in the body and get things back under control. Working with a doctor (naturopaths are good for this one), they’ll help you carefully reintroduce foods back into your diet.

  2. Increase nutrient-dense foods. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Bone broth. Bone broth is high in healing minerals, vitamins and is more powerful than a store-bought multivitamin. It’s also cheaper than said multivitamin. I’m always down for the cheap side of things.

    Eating foods that are local, organic and seasonal – seasonal foods have the nutrients you need for that particular time of the year. In the spring, fresh shoots (asparagus, etc), sprouts, early spring onions (if you’re okay with FODMAPS), early spring carrots – check out a farmer’s market to see what people are picking right now and ask the farmer when they were picked. If they’ve been in a holding fridge for months on end, look elsewhere.

  3. Restore your gut flora. Bacteria is so important for your overall health however, in our sanitize everything culture, we have thrown the proverbial baby out with the bathwater. We like our pasteurized, sprayed, and refrigerated foods.

    Years ago, prior to the advent of the Frigidaire, people would preserve foods for long periods of time via fermenting them. The natural bacteria (these are the good buggies that live in your gut) would go to town and pre-digest the food for you, thus making it more gentle on your digestive system and increasing your ability to absorb nutrients. Traditionally, we’re supposed to have anywhere from 3 to 5 pounds of good gut flora in our digestive tract. Unfortunately, because of our “SANITIZE ALL THE THINGS!!!!” mentality, many people living in the Western/“Civilized” world are seriously lacking in that.
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    Fermented foods are also naturally high in the B vitamins, folic acid, and enzymes. The fermenting process also unleashes vitamins into a more readily absorbable state, allowing the body, even one with a damaged gut lining, to be able to more easily absorb them. Latin American sauerkraut or traditional sauerkraut are both quick and easy ways to get those bacteria. A little bit with meals will be sufficient. Kombucha will also provide necessary bacteria back into your gut – but only 8 oz is needed per day! Other ferments such as beet kvass are also good – and the beets will give necessary support to your liver.

  4. Increase your healthy fats. Tallow (beef fat), schmaltz (chicken fat), ghee and omega-3s from cold water seafood are all great sources. Make sure that you are choosing sources that have been pasture-raised and are organic. More information on fat can be found on my post here. Also, if you’re eating organic pasture-raised meat, such as chicken thighs, keep the fat on it when cooking.
  5. Drink lots of filtered water. You will be, in effect, flushing lots of toxins out of your body with these protocols so increase your water. About half of your body weight in ounces is a daily maintenance for water intake and is a good rule of thumb for starting out. You may find that you have to urinate more regularly. Don’t let this deter you. You need to get these toxins out of your system. 

It’ll take a while for healing to begin, depending on how much damage your system has sustained. However, if you start your healing process now, by the time next spring rolls around, you should notice a lessened immune reaction.

Feel free to email me if you have any follow-up questions and cheers to your health!

I normally don’t fall. But when I do, I do so with gusto.

So yea. About a week ago, I was walking down my stairs and saw something out of the corner of my eye. I stopped to look and it was a spider. As I was too lazy to go get a tissue to kill it, the thought, “You’ll live to kill another bug, spider” crossed my mind.

Unfortunately, in a feat only found in LooneyToons, I turned my upper body to go back down the stairs, keeping my lower body in the same position and down I went, as if I had stepped on a banana peel. Down 7 steps to the very bottom. I had the foresight to wrench my neck forward to protect the coveted “lizard brain” from sheer and utter destruction but in doing so, managed to sprain my neck. (And throw out my pelvis and screw up my thoracis muscles, but who’s counting?) My dad always told me to not half-ass things. I guess falling would be one of them.

Anyway, I’m out of commission for the next few weeks as far as cooking goes and my mama is being oh so nice as to supply me with bone broth reserves. I’ll be posting some more of my “health information” tagged posts and working on correctly tagging posts but any new food recipes, short of the many different ways to sip broth through a straw and 101 ways to cook an egg, are going to be few and far between.

Now to figure out how to legally change my name to “Grace” – because apparently I’m lacking in it. Oh, and next time I kill the spider. From here on out, I take no prisoners.

Battling Acne

I’d like to say I’ve had perfect skin since I was 13. At 32 years old, I’ve spent more years with acne than without. It’s embarrassing when children and adults alike pointed out that I had spots on my face like I had never owned a mirror. I used to work in an assisted living facility when I was in college. Women would point out my acne all the time. I chalked it up to them being old and possibly senile in order to hide my hurt. Doctors had talked about putting me on birth control pills or Accutane to get rid of it – but being a bit on the crunchy side of things, I was more than happy with blemishes rather than chemicals being pumped into my body. Or at least, that’s what I told myself. Instead, invested lots of my money in concealer and heavy foundations that left my skin clamoring for oxygen. I sometimes found myself looking at other people’s complexion and wondering what it would be like to wake up in the morning and not see the latest reincarnation of Mt. Vesuvius on my face.

I’ve tried everything other than the oral or injectable drugs. I’ve done the topical RetinA treatments – they left my face red, extremely dry, blotchy, and with deep cysts. I’ve tried over-the-counter oil-free or oil-reducing or whatever other marketing gimmick they put on the label. No dice. And ProActiv? Try NoActiv.

Ultimately, since I went on GAPS and started working hard to rid my body of toxic build-up, my need for moisturizers and face tonics has reduced greatly. Now-a-days, I rarely wear foundation, only putting on a bit of blush for a pop of color and much-needed mascara (Beautycounter is my favorite) because I have blonde eyelashes. Vanity wins again. My skin is even toned and I very rarely get any flare-ups…. if at all. Anything that does surface gets a dab of tea tree essential oil at night and it’s usually gone or mostly gone by morning.

Adult acne is ultimately the result of many factors. Gut dysbiosis (an imbalance of gut microbes), liver congestion, underlying viral or bacterial infections, consuming foods that we are sensitive to, heavy metals and mineral imbalances, and increased intestinal permeability all play a contributing roll.

Here’s some things you can do to help reduce your acne:

  • Figuring out your food sensitivities and ridding it from your diet:  This has to be your first step. You can go about doing an elimination diet (The Restart Program is a great place to start) – chances are, there are other areas of your body that a sensitivity is harming and you’ll feel a lot better pretty quickly. Your skin, however, will take some time to heal (it can be months) so don’t use that as your marker.
  • Healing your gut: Now that you’ve figured out what the heck was making you sick, it’s time to do some healing. Bone broth and ferments are integral healing foods. Working with a practitioner on this one is important. There are many, many layers to healing that are more easily managed by someone else. We tend to be partial when it’s our own body. Many men and women notice a dramatic decrease in acne when they follow a paleo-type diet.
  • Cutting out carbs and increasing fats: Reducing processed foods and increasing good fats is a wonderful place to start. So is incresing your organic vegetable low-starch vegetable intake. (Again, The Restart Program dives into this in detail) Healthy fats like avocados, coconut oil, animal fats (from pasture-raised animals), cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil, pasture-raised egg yolks, ghee (clarified butter), raw flax seeds, olives, evening primrose oil, avocados, cod liver oil (Nordic Naturals is a good brand). I encourage my clients to avoid all oils that read hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated. Those two are literally killing us. Other good oils to avoid are any of the “vegetable” oils.
  • Fat as a face wash: What the what? Just like oil-pulling with coconut oil, fat pulls toxins out of your skin. I use sweet almond oil on my face. To remove eye make-up, I’ll gently massage coconut oil around the eye area and promptly follow it up with a dollop of sweet almond oil and wipe it off with a warm wet wash cloth. Beautycounter also has wonderful face washes and moisturizers. I especially like their Cleansing Balm.
  • Moisturizer: I use argan oil for a moisturizer and a rosewater hydrosol. I spray the mist on my face, let it dry and then apply the argan oil.
  • Make-up: Impurities in your make-up can also cause flare-ups. And a lot of popular brands contain toxins and heavy metals. I started carrying Beautycounter in my practice because they work so hard to avoid these toxic ingredients and they avoid chemicals that affect women’s hormones.

Getting rid of adult acne is not impossible. Cyclical hormonal acne is also not impossible. By allowing your body to heal and balance out the hormones, hormonal acne can and will be a thing of the past. If you have more questions or would like a free 30-minute consult, please feel free to contact me!

 

 

 

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