Tuesday, December 31, 2013

On the brink.....

Seems fitting to post for the first time in over two years doesn't it? Alot has happened and changed in my life since my last post back in 2011 and some things were not for the better such as my health. We have had job changes, moved into a new house, worked more than I care to remember and most of all, neglected all the things I know to be the most important; my health. When I last blogged two years ago I was in the thick of visiting my naturopath every two weeks and taking natural supplements to control my immune system and bring down my inflammation. I was feeling better than I had in a long time and felt like I was finally gaining control over my body again. I decided to pick up a part time job to help me establish an identity outside of my home that would be solely for the purpose of an outlet. Needless to say, jobs changed and my fun part time job became a weekly 40+ hour necessity to help ends meet. One thing that came out of it was I finally pursued my desire to be a Makeup Artist and learn everything I ever wanted to know about the world of makeup. I, being a 32 yo woman at the time who only wore mascara, had a lot to learn but it kept me motivated since it was all new. However, on the flip side I was working so much that I completely neglected my health and began a slow decline that has ultimately landed me back at square one. My appopintments to see my naturopath started taking a backseat and became farther and fewer between. My eating habits became about what was quick and convenient and not necessarily healthy. Gluten, Soy, Dairy and Eggs became staples in my diet again and at first I didn't think anything of it because the side effects weren't prevalant.

Fast forward almost a year later to Summer of 2012 and I found myself taking a haitus from work due to debilitating anxiety attacks that I had worked so hard to get under control. The kind that make you want to never leave your home. The reality of where I was physically started to set in and I realized just how far I had backslid into negative health again. I was lethargic all day experiencing the mid day slumps where I felt completely wiped out from that 2-5 pm window. I was suffering from the aches and pains all over my body and relief was minimal if any. I hadn't taken my supplements in months and was eating whatever I craved and cravings were at an all time with sugar. I had managed to undo everything I worked so hard to accomplish with my health. I knew better and inspite of knowing how to live and eat I chose what was easy and the path of least resistance. The hardest part was that I slowly started gaining weight and no matter what I did the number of the scale just kept creeping up. I knew my insulin resistance was spinning out of control and my body was holding onto everything it shouldn't be resulting in a vicious fight that I was clearly losing.

All that to say this, even though I hate to be where I am, I now know even more why I have to live and eat a certain way. I am that person that things have to be real and relevant for and sometimes that comes with a hard lesson. The good thing is that it is all fixable and I have complete control of doing just that.

Two books I have been reading that have further solidifed the drastic changes I have make in 2014 are Wheat Belly by William Davis, MD and The 21 Day Sugar Detox by Diane Sanfilippo, BS, NC. Chances are if you are gluten sensitive or suffer from Celiac Disease, you have probably heard of Wheat Belly. It is a great book that breaks down wheat and the reasons why we shouldn't eat it. It has in depth explanations as to what exaclty gluten is and how it is created and what it does to the human body. There is a lot of information but it is good information that helps put the whole gluten thing in perspective. The 21 Day Sugar Detox is a book that was referred by Danielle Walker who is a best selling author of the cookbook Against All Grain. Against All Grain is a great cookbook that simplifies the conversion of various cooking substitutes for everyday recipe ingredients like flour and such. Back to the 21 Day Sugar Detox, I looked into this book as I knew with the coming new year that I needed to do something drastic to start it off on the right foot. A detox would be the perfect thing but I wanted a detox that would yield life changing results, not just cleanse my organs. I ordered the 21DSD book and the next day ordered the cookbook. Amazon had the best pricing out of any retailers I could find and it wasn't available in my local Half Price Books due to being fairly new. The 21DSD book does a great job of giving specific instructions on how to partake in the detox, what foods to eat and includes recipes and specific foods to eat. Diane even does a great job of including the various most common allergens for people with each recipe whether its nightshade vegetables, eggs, fodmaps, nuts or seafood. The recipes are all gluten free, grain free and dairy free and follow the Paleo lifestyle. As with any detox, she clearly explains that the first few days to week will be the hardest and it will vary depending on how much your body needs to correct through the detox. I am excited to start this with my husband and have it be the kickoff into 2014 for clean eating and getting back on track. I will be posting regularly and sharing my experiences with the detox and how it is going for us. If you want to join in, there is a group starting on January 6 via Diane's blog www.balancedbites.com. This is a great opportunity to establish accountability and support all at the same time and who knows, you might make a friend or two. :)

I look forward to a successful 2014 in reclaiming my health and happiness!!

Happy New Year and New You!

Much love,


Monday, August 15, 2011

Our Food Shall Be Our Medicine, Our Medicine Shall Be Our Food

Wow, I can't believe it has been over a month since I last sat down and updated how I am feeling. It is amazing to me that summer is nearing an end and soon we will be bundling up to brave the cold. I was brutally reminded in July just how much food dictates our well being and existence. My sister came in town to celebrate her 40th birthday with all of her family. This is my sister that lives in North Carolina and is Vegan slowly weaning herself off Gluten as well. She suffers from Fibromyalgia and Sjogrens and battles daily to feel "normal".

One might think she would be the perfect partner in crime when having to eat a certain way and avoid specific foods. Well, that would be far fetched, she is actually the one who holds your hand gently and leads you down the path of lollipops, Iowa Chocolate Cake, Cherry Cobbler, cheese saturated nachos, tasty "adult" beverages, just to name a few. So while she was here I indulged in some of my favorites, well ok, a lot of my favorites that have been off limits since I started this natural approach in April. I assumed I would feel run down and lethargic and might have the normal upset stomach followed by numerous bathroom visits but boy did I underestimate that by a long shot. And I guess I can't blame my sister although I would like too. It isn't her job to keep me on track but man, it would be nice if she would throw my a bone once in a while. :) Just kidding Bubbles.

I digress. Anyways, I am still reeling from the effects of an indulgent splurge performed nearly a month ago. My energy was effected but not to the degree I assumed it would be. Where I am feeling it most is the pain in my body. My hands have started to ache again, I constantly have a dull ache in my head and my neck and back are tight. My tailbone has started to hurt to an extreme again to where it is evident every time I sit down and my feet ache all the time. I had for the most part gotten rid of most of my symptoms after doing the elimination/detox for 21 days. Don't get me wrong, I still had aches here and there but nothing like I what it was before April. I guess splurging one meal every once in awhile isn't as noticeable for me like splurging for a week on almost every meal is. I have had the occasional slip up and maybe had the upset stomach or felt sluggish the next day but never have I had all the symptoms return and last this long.

With that being said, I am going to undergo another 21 day elimination/detox without the Clearvite SF and remove all red meat and get back to the basics of veggies and clean proteins. I have also up'd my supplement dosage to aide in helping my body recover per Dr. Pickel's instruction.

All that to learn a hard lesson, Our Food Shall Be Our Medicine and Our Medicine Shall Be Our Food. Hippocrates must have known a little something about something because I couldn't have said it better myself. If you think what you eat doesn't greatly effect every fiber of your being, THINK AGAIN!

The ailments we suffer from are happening for a reason and I believe that those reasons can many times be solved with simply changing the way you eat and the things you allow in your body. You can choose to try on a new band-aid for every little ailment you suffer from or you can become proactive in figuring out why you are the way you are and what you can do to change it. It starts with you, so what are you waiting for?

Friday, August 5, 2011

Milk. It does a body good, or does it?

Here is an interesting article on Milk I found. I am a firm believer that milk is something that should not be drank by humans as we are the only species that continues to drink milk after being weaned from our mother and we drink the milk of an animal which isn't even our own species. I have switched to Almond or Rice milk and have made my family do the switch too. My kids protested initially but guess who won that battle? That's right, she who does the grocery shopping. :) It is an acquired test but a beneficial one and for those who suffer from different ailments, removing dairy alone can sometimes make a huge difference in how you feel. Read on and you may find this article interesting and a reason for some of the issues you may be experiencing today.


Despite having a low Glycemic Index and Load, milk (even fermented milk such as yogurt) has been shown to elicit a very high insulin response. This has been shown repeatedly in intervention studies (*1-6).

You may ask, "What's wrong with causing this high insulin response?". Constantly increasing insulin levels may make the insulin receptors less sensitive (Type 2 Diabetes). This can lead to insulin resistance. This is the primary defect causing The Metabolic Syndrome, and can also be a driving force in Obesity. In addition, a chronic state of high insulin levels have also been associated certain cancers, acne and juvenile myopia, among other diseases.

As you will read below, studies show that the negative affects of dairy outweigh the positive. How much damage has dairy done to your body over the years? We can provide you with a comprehensive analysis of your blood tests that will show how much internal damage has been done, and provide recommendations on reversing and repairing the damage.

Various studies have associated dairy consumption with Type 1 Diabetes (*7-14), especially when the initial exposure begins in the first months of life. In addition, studies have repeatedly shown a strong correlation between cow's milk consumption and Multiple Sclerosis (*15-19) as well as Rheumatoid Arthritis (*20).

What may be astonishing to some, case studies have shown that elimination of milk and dairy products from the diets of patients with RA improved symptoms, and the disease was markedly exacerbated on re-challenge. As if this weren't enough, cow's milk is also appears to have adverse effects in other auto-immune diseases, such as Crohn's disease (*21), Sjögren's syndrome (*22), IgA nephropathy (*23-25), and even Celiac Disease (*26).

While milk does contain proteins, fats, lactose, vitamins and minerals, it also contains various growth-stimulating steroid and peptide hormones.

Cow's milk, as well as human milk (and presumably milk from all mammals) contains insulin (*27-31). Bovine insulin - BI (which differs from human insulin) survives pasteurization.

We know this because immunity to this hormone is common in children who consume cow's milk or who have been exposed to infant formulas containing cow's milk (*32-35). Moreover, there is evidence that BI survives the human digestive processes and crosses the gut barrier intact. This is especially troubling for infants because they have higher intestinal permeability than older children and adults. Chronically high insulin levels have been associated with insulin resistance and Metabolic Syndrome.

IGF-1 (Insulin Growth Factor-1)
Cow's milk contains active IGF-1 (*36). While pasteurization and fermentation appear to reduce its content, cow's milk consumption, compared to various foods, is associated with higher plasma IGF-1 concentrations in both children (*37-40) and adults (*41-45). In addition, to containing active IGF-1, milks effect on insulin levels could lead to higher plasma IGF-1 (*58). IGF-1 is a hormone similar in molecular structure to insulin. It plays an important role in childhood growth and continues to have anabolic effects (increased body size) in adults. Several studies have shown that increased levels of IGF lead to an increased risk of cancer (*55).

Betacellulin (BTC) is quite new in the realm of investigating issue with dairy. It belongs to the Epidermal Growth Factor (EGF) family of hormones, and it is found not only in cow's milk and whey, but also in cheese (*46), so it survives pasteurization and processing. Although no direct evidence exists yet, bovine milk contains peptidase inhibitors which prevent human gut enzymes from degrading EGF2 (and most likely BTC). A low ph, such as may be found in the gut, does not impair or prevent BTC from binding its receptor and there are EGF receptors in the gut, through which BTC may enter circulation (*47). BTC has a significant growth stimulatory effect on pancreatic cancer cells (*56).

Steroid Hormones
Most milk for human consumption is obtained from cows in the latter half of pregnancy. This is when estrogen metabolites are greatly elevated (*48-50). The next question is "do the estrogens survive pasteurization?". US researchers have measured estrogen metabolites in various milks and found that buttermilk contains the highest total amount of estrogen metabolites, followed by skim milk, 2% milk and whole milk (*48). This confirms the estrogens do in fact survive pasteurization and therefore are consumed when one drinks milk. Consuming milk and dairy products can account for 70–80% of the total estrogens consumed in the human diet (*48-49). Estrone sulphate has high oral bioactivity and is the most prevalent form of estrogen in cow's milk (*48-49). You should also know that estrone sulphate comprises 45% of the conjugated estrogens in Premarin and Prempro, the most frequently prescribed hormone replacement therapy for menopausal women (*49).

The evidence is accumulating concerning the adverse health effects associated with dairy consumption. Although evidence doesn't always show how dairy consumption can cause the adverse effects, dairy avoidance is highly recommended.

Milk has a very high calcium/magnesium ratio and may contribute to some micronutrient imbalances.

The role of calcium in preventing and treating osteoporosis is unclear — some populations with extremely low calcium intake also have extremely low rates of bone fracture, and others with high rates of calcium intake through milk and milk products have higher rates of bone fracture. Other factors, such as protein, salt and vitamin D intake, exercise and exposure to sunlight, can all influence bone mineralization, making calcium intake one factor among many in the development of osteoporosis (*82, 83-85, 89).

Calcium intake in the U.S. is one of the highest in the world, yet the US has one of the highest rates of osteoporosis in the world. Bone mineral content is dependent upon calcium intake and calcium excretion. Most people focus upon the calcium intake side of the calcium balance equation, however few consider that calcium excretion is just as important.

Bone health is very dependent on dietary acid/base balance. Simply put, generally speaking a high protein diet is ‘acidic' and a high fruit/vegetable diet would be considered "alkaline". When you consume food that's highly "acidic", the acid must be buffered by the alkaline stores in the body. Calcium salts in the bones represent the largest alkaline stores in the body. These calcium stores are depleted and eliminated in the urine when the diet produces a high acid load. Because the average American diet is loaded with acid producing grains, cheeses, salted processed foods, and fatty meats, it produces a net acid load and promotes bone de-mineralization. Don't get us wrong, you need protein! But you must consume plenty of green vegetables and fruits so your body doesn't use excess calcium from the bones to neutralize a highly acidic diet. In addition, consider your status of Vitamin D, Vitamin K and Magnesium levels. You may be missing something! Get tested to determine your status.

Elimination Diet & Detox

I have people ask me how to go about doing an elimination diet and detox. There are many options out there if you simply Google Elimination Diet or Detox but here are the steps I followed from my doctor to complete a 21 day elimination diet and detox. I was using a powder as well that I would drink everyday call Clearvite-SF that helped my liver process and eliminate toxins more efficiently. I am not sure if this is something that can be purchased without being under the supervision of a doctor or specialist or if there is an alternative in the event that it can't I will ask my doctor if it is something he sells to people who aren't patients but suffer from auto immune disorders and want to complete a detox before changing their eating habits. You can always Google Clearvite-SF and see if you find a retailer that sells it or check eBay. As always, you should always consult your physician before starting any dietary changes. I will put the servings I followed for the Clearvite-SF while doing my detox in here so that you can see how much I was taking and how often. If you do not use Clearvite-SF you can simply follow that instructions for eating to help determine if you have any food sensitivity or allergies during the reintroduction phase.

Days 1-4: Preparation Phase 1

One serving daily of Clearvite-SF just before Breakfast

A serving size for me was 1 scoop with 8 oz. of Almond or Rice Milk

Days 5-7: Preparation Phase 2

Two Servings daily of Clearvite-SF one before Breakfast, One before Dinner

Dietary Plan to follow during days 1-7:

Foods to Avoid:

*Any food that you are allergic to.
*Dairy (milk,cheeses,yogurt,butter), eggs, margarine, and shortening
*Foods prepared with Gluten containing cereals like wheat, oats, rye, barley, normally found in breads, pasta, etc.
*Tomotoes and tomato sauces, corn, peanuts
*Alcohol, Caffeine (coffee, black tea, sodas)
*Soy or products made from soy, such as soymilk or tofu
*Peanuts or peanut butter
*Beef, Pork, cold cuts, bacon, hotdogs, canned meat, sausage, shellfish, meat analogues made from Soy

Foods To Eat:

*Drink plenty of water (8-10 glasses daily or more), Vegetable juices
*Consume grain foods made from rice, millet, quinoa, buckwheat or tapioca
*Fresh fruits, vegetables, beans (navy, white, red kidney, etc.), peas (fresh, split, snap)
*Consume mainly fish (not shellfish), and moderate amounts of chicken, turkey, and lamb. *Please note, only buy unseasoned plain meat and check your seasoning or marinades for Gluten as this is commonly added to seasonings and marinades*
*Use mainly Olive Oil, Canola and Flax seed oil in moderation

Days 8-14: Detoxification Phase

Three servings daily of Clearvite-SF, one before Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner


*Avoid all foods in the "Foods to Avoid" section listed above
*Use all foods in the "Foods to Eat" section listed above EXCEPT ELIMINATE ALL ANIMAL PRODUCTS FROM THE DIET (including Fish, Chicken, Turkey and Lamb)

Days 15-17: Completion Phase 1

Two Servings Daily of Clearvite SF, One before Breakfast and One before Dinner


*Avoid all of the foods in the "Foods to Avoid" section listed above
*Use all of the foods in the "Foods to Eat" section listed above adding back into your diet ALL OF THE ANIMAL PRODUCTS (Fish, Chicken, Turkey and Lamb)

Days 18-21: Completion Phase 2

One Serving Daily of Clearvite SF just before Breakfast


*Avoid all of the foods in the "Foods to Avoid" section listed above
*Use all of the foods in the "Foods to Eat" section listed above adding back into your diet ALL OF THE ANIMAL PRODUCTS (Fish, Chicken, Turkey and Lamb)

ONCE YOU HAVE COMPLETED THE 21 DAY ELIMINATION AND DETOX, YOU WILL START REINTRODUCING ONE FOOD AT A TIME EVERY 3 DAYS. If you have an adverse reaction to a food, your body will flare up and let you know within 3 days of eating that particular food so it is important that you only introduce one food at a time every 3 days so that you can be certain any negative reactions are coming from that particular food.

As always, it is preferred that when choosing fruits and vegetables, organic is the best option. If you don't want the added cost, choose non-organic fruits and vegetables that have a thick skin or peel but try and stick to organic for ones that don't. If possible, always try to buy organic, free range meat with no hormones.

Use Almond or Rice milk as a substitute for Cows Milk and there is Egg Replacement you can purchase at Whole Foods or Health Food stores to substitute with when a recipe calls for Eggs.

I hope this helps you get started to detoxing your system and helping your immune system correct the inflammation it's been battling. Remember, this is a lifestyle change and once you complete this elimination detox, it is important to eat clean and avoid Soy, Dairy, Gluten, Corn, Chicken Eggs, or any other known allergies you have to keep your immune system from flaring up again. And keep in mind that this 21 day process can be done anytime you have gotten way off course and feel you need to give your body a break and start over. I wouldn't recommend using Clearvite-SF or any other supplement you may use without direct supervision of a doctor but the eating is a great way to redirect your immune system and give it a break while you start over again.


Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Looking Good

So it's been awhile since I last posted which I did intentionally so I could give myself some time to report on any changes I have noticed. I completed the 21 day detox and began reintroducing foods back into my diet. I chose to start with the 4 supplements I will be taking including an emulsified Vitamin D liquid, an emulsified Omega CO-3 liquid, a Glutathione/Superoxide cream and Methyl-SP supplement. I introduce one new thing every 3 days as your body will have a reaction to something within 3 days of eating it. Once I finished introducing the supplements I began introducing foods such as tomatoes and corn first. These two items were forbidden during the detox phase as they can often times be a food that people with immune conditions can be sensitive too and they can trigger immune reactions in someone with a weakened system. I was glad to have no adverse reactions after eating these items as it means I can now return to eating chips and salsa and corn tortillas.

One thing I have noticed when checking labels to find food that is Gluten Free, Soy Free and Dairy Free is that a lot of items that are Gluten and Dairy free often times contain Soy. Companies seem to be using Soybean Oil a lot more these days for cooking since Corn is being used for Ethanol in gas more and more. That has proven to be frustrating as it limits me from a lot more foods than expected. Even things that I would never suspect Soy to be in has Soybean Oil commonly listed as an ingredient. Some labels will say that it may be cooked in Corn, Vegetable, Canola or Soybean oil but it is to risky for me to chance that it may not have been Soybean Oil that particular time.

Needless to say, Whole Foods and Hy-Vee have become my 2 most commonly used grocery stores. I bought some Salmon the other day from Whole Foods and I have not had any desire to eat Salmon for quite a while now. I used to eat it at least once a week but haven't eaten it in many, many months. Needless to say, I bought some and grilled it with some of the Tuscan Herb Olive Oil from the Tasteful Olive and added some Montreal Salmon seasoning and a slice of lemon on top and it was wonderful!! I don't know if it is just better quality coming from Whole Foods but I don't plan to buy Salmon from the local grocery store again. I know I will pay more but it is a compromise I'm willing to make. I am still restricted from any type of fruit due to the sugar in it until we get my blood sugar under control which is the next phase.

So, now that I have completed my 21 day detox and started my induction diet I have to tell you how I am feeling. I noticeably have more energy which has proven to be a catch 22 for me lately. I often times find myself doing more than I should because I feel good and than at night I am wiped out and lethargic and it sticks with me for the next 2 to 3 days. This would be the exact reason why I am not allowed to work out or do any strenuous activities until given the go ahead. Nonetheless, it feels great to not be dead tired all day and I don't even have those mid day slumps that demand me to take a catnap like I used too. I might still get tired, but I still function well and don't have to lay down and sleep for a half hour to feel normal again.

I also have had my Psoriasis clear up that has been lingering for over a year now!! I have a spot on my back that has been there for many years that is finally going away and is almost completely gone. You don't even know how exciting this is for me and is physical evidence that my immune system is responding and making progress in the right direction. I have also had many people comment on my skin glowing and looking healthy and rich, especially in my face and I have noticed that I'm not getting pimples hardly at all like I used to before. I wouldn't get major breakouts but it seemed like I always had a pimple at any given time and now I rarely have any and if I do they are very small and not very noticeable. Can't complain about that one can I? And last but not least, I have managed to lose 5 lbs. and fit into jeans that I haven't worn since before I had my 6th child almost 4 years ago. I did a happy dance the day I put them on and was able to actually button them without laying down and sucking in every inch that I could. I know I have lost several inches but I didn't measure myself before but many people have noticed and commented that I look like I have lost weight. So, to have accomplished all that and never have to step a foot in the gym or see a dermatologist or plastic surgeon is pretty awesome in my book and makes the money I am spending well worth it!!

I am excited to see how much further I will go and how much better I will feel as I continue down this path. I'm only 6 weeks in and already see and feel a major difference. I wonder what the results will be in 6 more weeks!! Can't wait to tell you all about it.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Day by Day

So I have to tell you that I am noticing a difference in my energy levels. I still have my mid day slump sometimes but not like I was on a daily basis and I am sleeping much better. Come 10:30 at night I am ready for bed and that's saying a lot for this night owl. I am waking up in the morning feeling refreshed and ready to face the day and not groggy and struggling to get started as much.

One down side is that I have had a lot of pain and discomfort in my hands, wrists, shoulders, neck, back, tailbone and feet. My doctor said that is a sign of my immune system being triggered as a result of the detox and we will keep an eye on it. I have never had the discomfort and stiffness to this degree before in my hands and I have never had my wrists hurt this way. On Sunday I had stabbing pain in my right arm that radiated down and my chest started hurting and had it been in my left arm I would have thought I was having a heart attack that's how intense it got. It happened a few times on Sunday and again on Monday but hasn't happened since then. Hopefully it won't ever happen again. I'm back to my feet aching every morning when I first get out of bed which I dealt with last year when I was taking Spin classes at the gym daily but it subsided when I cut back.

My biggest concern with these symptoms is that my sister who has Fibromyalgia said that she experienced these exact same symptoms when she was first diagnosed. I can only hope that is not what I am dealing with but rather just my body getting acclimated to my diet change and adjusting while I purge myself of gluten, casein, and soy.

I have been drinking my shake and really look forward to it daily as it gives me my chocolate fix and is tasty. I am eating only veggies, beans, rice, lentils and quineoa right now and can't have meat for the next 7 days. It will be interesting to see if I notice a difference in how I feel from eliminating meat all together and then reintroducing it. I have been doing good with staying on track food wise and am getting better at detecting labels for gluten and learning which foods to buy. It is definitely hard to find gluten free products that are also soy free, egg free or dairy free. In my experience many of the products that are gluten free contain soy. As I find foods that I can eat that fall into the category of Gluten free, Soy free, Dairy free, Egg free I will post them on here to hopefully help others spend less time in the aisles reading labels.

I am seeing a pain management specialist on Monday and will follow up and let you all know how that goes. Hopefully they will have some answers for me and not just prescription medicine. Til then enjoy your weekend and Happy Mothers Day to all you moms out there!!