The effects of Chronic Pain on your Attitude

Today I found some relief from a chronic itchy skin rash condition that I have had for 9 months reminding me how much that low level of pain affects your general outlook on life.

After much consideration, I ended up deciding it was time to employ western medicine – for what it is intended to be and good at dealing with – an emergency. I will give the doctor credit, and that’s saying a lot for me these days, he knew enough to look at me and say -“I can only treat your symptoms but you are still going to have an underlying issue that needs to be addressed.”  Hallelujah!

As I walked out I looked at my husband and said, “I really need to partner with that Doctor because it’s that underlying issue that functional medicine/nutrition should be addressing”, essentially finding that root cause.

For me, right now, I needed relief of symptoms while I am still exploring root cause. That relief reminded me just how much extra energy it takes to go through life living with any amount of continuous underlying pain.

As my fog clears slightly (at least for a few days), I realize I haven’t wanted to write a blog post, or post to instagram, or do anything that might require a little extra effort. What this teaches me, is that as we try to find the root cause for the chronic symptoms, we may need to find different ways to relieve symptoms as quick as possible, in a way that doesn’t cause long term harm to healing. As with anything, it’s all about balance.

Why do I feel unmotivated as I struggle with the chronic pain?

One study compared the brain scans of a healthy brain and a person with chronic pain. The healthy brain had areas that were active and de-active, it was essentially at equilibrium. In the chronic pain brain, researchers found that a part of the brain responsible for emotions fails to deactivate and eventually wears out neurons and alters connections. This ultimately may be responsible for why chronic pain sufferers have trouble sleeping, are often depressed, anxious and even have difficulty making simple decisions.

Institutes for Health analysis from 2015 shows that 25.3 million adults had pain every day for the preceding 3 months, and that nearly 40 million adults experience severe levels of pain. The authors postulate that pain is one of the leading reasons Americans turn to complementary health approaches.

Western medicine is great at treating the pain associated with chronic illness using remedies like opioids, steroids, NSAIDS or even heartburn medicine. However, these remedies may actually be contributing to a longer term condition that ultimately leads to more pain. The focus ultimately should be on finding the underlying cause of that symptom.

Fortunately, the Holistic Health Community offers some complementary and alternative treatments for pain control without drugs that have long-term side effects:

chiropractic care
message therapy

and, of course, nutritional therapy …

Turmeric Tea to Reduce Inflammation

Today I was reminded of Turmeric’s powerful anti-inflammatory benefits.

My husband had to go to urgent care this morning for a swollen hip, which turned out to be a muscle/ligament issue likely from his week of hunting.  Once we got this news, then it was just a matter of managing the inflammation to reduce the pain.  The event reminded me that I hadn’t made any of my ginger/turmeric root tea lately, and this is exactly what we needed to help reduce his inflammation.  Luckily, my temporary quarters, while we are between homes, has a small kitchenette and I could throw this together!

There have been tons of peer reviewed journal articles (over 700) on the benefits of curcumin, which is one of the ingredients in turmeric that provides the anti-inflammatory properties to the root.  In fact, one study found that aspirin and ibuprofen are the least effective in reducing inflammation, while curcumin is one of the most effective anti-inflammatory compounds.

How does it work? Turmeric contains around six anti-inflammatory compounds, one of those compounds stops the COX-2 enzyme from producing pain, swelling, and inflammation.  Other studies have shown it also can decrease your risk of cancer, can help regulate blood sugar, and can help digestive disorders.

Ginger has more digestive relief properties than turmeric but also contributes to reducing pain and the anti-inflammation, so why not throw them together for a tea!  I like to use both ginger and turmeric in their whole root form rather than powder to get the maximum benefits.

Turmeric, Ginger, and Black Pepper Tea
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ tbsp roughly chopped ginger root
  • 1 tbsp roughly chopped turmeric root
  • ¼ tsp freshly grated black pepper
  • 1tsp coconut oil (optional)

Peel your turmeric and ginger roots using a peeler.  Cut the peeled roots up into chunks and place in a saucepan with water.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, place a lid on the saucepan, and simmer for 20 minutes.  Strain the tea, removing the chunks of root.   Add black pepper (which aids in turmeric absorption).  When making the tea, dilute this mixture at 1:1 ratio with water, for instance ½ cup tea mixture to ½ cup hot water (or dilute more if this is still too strong for you).  Add coconut oil to make your tea a little richer.  This is also great as an iced tea, just pour over ice!

Spinach and Bacon Muffins

imageIt’s been awhile since I posted a recipe…now that my final exam is over with and I am a certified NTP, I can get back to focusing on posting some fun things!

Here’s a recipe that I modify depending on what I’ve got in the fridge.   It’s great for fast breakfast meals during the week, or for traveling, which is usually what I use them for.  You can freeze them and take them out when you are looking for a quick meal or in my case, they are thrown in the suitcase.   By the time I get to my destination they are usually defrosted but still cold and then can be put in the handy fridge in the hotel room.  I do usually microwave them in the morning, even though microwaving isn’t the best method for cooking food.  Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do….

Spinach and Bacon Muffins


  • 1 package organic chopped frozen spinach
  • 1 package pastured pork bacon, chopped – nitrate free
  • 1 cup chopped mushrooms (I used baby bella’s for this one)
  • 1/2 cup diced green onion
  • 8 pastured chicken eggs
  • salt and pepper to taste


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Defrost the spinach and then “squeeze” out the water.  I use a colander and press my hands down on the defrosted spinach so that the water is removed.  Once you have removed most of the water, place the spinach in a medium mixing bowl.

In a pan sauté the chopped bacon and then set aside.  Remove some of the bacon grease, but leave enough in the pan to sauté the mushrooms and onions.  Sauté on muntil both the mushrooms and onions are soft, about 5 minutes.

Add the cooked mushrooms, onion, and bacon to the bowl with the spinach.  Crack the eggs straight into the bowl and mix together.  (You could whisk the eggs in a separate bowl and then mix them with the spinach, but this just seems like an extra step to me..). Add salt and pepper to the mixture.

Fill the silicone liners up to the rim with the mixture.  Bake at 375 degrees for 35 to 45 minutes until brown on the top.  Let them cool before you freeze them.

Heal your Body and Mind by taking a Walk in the Forest

IMG_9264Could a 15 minute walk in nature help you fight the common cold or even cancer? What about reducing your stress so that your anxiety and depression decrease? Could it also help reduce your blood pressure?

I just got back yesterday from an incredible 3-day holistic wellness conference called Paleo f(x) and several speakers talked about the benefits of “Forest Bathing”.

Forest Bathing – what is this? Sounds cool – I can definitely get behind any research that shows getting out in nature is beneficial!

But alas, I am behind the times as usual because even The Washington Post is talking about it in a recently published article called “‘Forest Bathing’ is latest fitness trend to hit U.S. – ‘Where yoga was 30 years ago’.

The term Forest Bathing came from a Japanese minister in the early 1980’s when the practice of Shinrin-yoku began. Shinrin-yoku literally translates to “forest bathing” or “taking in the forest atmosphere” and is now a common practice that is part of preventative health care and healing protocols in Japan.

Research has shown that a forest bathing trip can boost your immune system by increasing the number of Natural Killer (NK) cells in your body. These natural killer cells can kill tumor cells by releasing anti-cancer proteins, further suggesting that forest bathing trips may also have a preventative effect on cancer generation and development. The organic compounds given off by trees in the forest (called phytoncides) support the development of more NK cells in our body. One interesting note, walking through a park in the middle of the city did not show the same effect on the immune system.

Studies have also shown that parasympathetic indicators were increased in 80% of the individuals in the study – or in other words – people switched out of stress mode. Blood pressure has also been shown to significantly decrease after forest bathing. According to research, depression can also be reduced when walking in nature, mainly because the mind is not engaged in negative self-referential overthinking.

What this research suggests, in my mind, is that we are programmed to have nature as part of our lives and it is one of the fundamental foundations of optimal health. While just walking in the forest may not rebalance you completely, it could be a positive step forward….

For Best Results:

  1. Pack a lunch (nutrient dense, real food, of course)
  2. Drive to a forest outside of your town
  3. Leave your cell phone in the car
  4. Take a a leisurely walk for about 1.5 miles
  5. Listen, Smell and Watch the beauty that is all around
  6. Enjoy the benefits for potentially up to 7 days


Li Q. Effect of forest bathing trips on human immune function. Environmental Health and Preventive Medicine. 2010;15(1):9-17. doi:10.1007/s12199-008-0068-3.

Kobayashi H, Song C, Ikei H, Kagawa T, Miyazaki Y. Analysis of Individual Variations in Autonomic Responses to Urban and Forest Environments. Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine : eCAM. 2015;2015:671094. doi:10.1155/2015/671094.

Bratman, Gregory, Nature experience reduces rumination and subgenus prefrontal cortex activation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA:vol. 112 no. 28, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1510459112

Are Everyday Household Products making you Sick?

pesticides-toxic-fruitOrganic food is becoming a household word, even Costco has recently announced that they are jumping on the organic band wagon.  Somehow, (or through lots of research) we have finally made the connection that pesticides – chemicals that are used to kill insects, plants, and other animals – might have some detrimental health effects on us humans.

What other chemicals are in our environment that could also be contributing to our overall lack of optimal health – body/face products, household cleaners, food additives or over-the-counter drugs, like aspirin?

I am always on the search for a great facial cleanser and have been begging my sister to make one (hint, hint). Until that happens, I am always looking at labels and making sure that I can understand all of the ingredients.  Why is it so important for me to find one that doesn’t have any man-made chemicals…three words

Toxicity Produces Disease.

A recent 2015, study looked at our every day exposure to household chemicals.(1) The Authors of this study believe that “lifestyle factors are responsible for a considerable portion of cancer incidence worldwide.” The World Health Organization and the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) suggest that between 7% and 19% of cancers are attributable to toxic environmental exposures. However, the authors believe this is a low estimate because we can’t measure what happens when multiple chemicals interact in the body.

“Our analysis suggests that the cumulative effects of individual (non-carcinogenic) chemicals acting on different pathways, and a variety of related systems, organs, tissues and cells could plausibly conspire to produce carcinogenic synergies.”(1)

Whether or not these man-made chemicals directly or indirectly contribute to cancer, they DO have a profound effect on the bodies natural detoxification mechanisms.  These chemicals are not food and therefore, are classified as a toxin by the body.

Here’s a few signs and symptoms that your body could be overwhelmed by man-made chemicals or toxins:

  • Acne/skin problems
  • Trouble loosing weight
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Headaches
  • PMS
  • Irritable bowel symptoms
  • – and my favorite – an overall feeling of yuck that can’t be pinned down to one thing.

Detoxification is “the way the body heals and repairs itself, and always has – an internal cleansing process that takes place continuously…naturally.”(2)

Let’s look at what happens in the body if just a couple of the systems that are involved in detoxification are overwhelmed by too many toxins.

Blood supplies every organ and cell in your body and is central to the immune system function, specifically allowing white blood cells to get to areas of infection. If large amounts of toxins are in your blood, not only could your heart be affected, but it could possibly affect whether your immune system can fight off things like the common cold.

Liver’s main job is cleansing and purifying the blood. It neutralizes toxins through two pathways and then sends it out through the kidneys or intestines as waste. If one of these pathways is overwhelmed with a large amount of toxin, or the right nutrients are not available to process the toxin, then the toxin gets recirculated back into the body through the blood. Some of these toxins get stored in our fat cells (especially heavy metals, petroleum products, and other similar chemicals).

A great example of an indirect effect of an overwhelmed detox system is seen when the hormone estrogen can’t be removed from the body.  Estrogen rises and falls with a woman’s menstrual cycle, once it’s not needed anymore it gets processed as waste. However, if the liver detox pathway is sluggish, excess estrogen gets recirculated back in the body. It usually ends up getting stored in the breast tissue, causing breast tenderness around women’s menstrual cycle.

Here’s some tips to reduce your toxins and help your body detoxify:

Drink water – at least 1/2 of your body weight in ounces every day – this will help flush toxins out of your body.

Remove as many man-made chemicals as you can. Look around your house at your cosmetics, cleaners, and medications, are there safer products you could be using?

A great resource is the Environmental Working Group’s website

Stop using pesticides – there are many other natural options to getting rid of household nuisance insects.  Here’s some ideas.

Buy as many organic foods as you can – this will decrease your direct exposure to pesticides, and will also help keep those pesticides from harming our farm workers, building them up in the soil, and getting in our water.

In 2010, Scientific American reported on the agreement by EPA to finally ban aldicarb, which is used to kill pests on cotton, citrus and potatoes. EPA finally admitted, 25 years after a watermelon poisoning event, that it was not safe especially to babies and children.(3)

How many other pesticides are being used right now that have harmful effects, but not being acknowledged?

Remove processed foods from your diet – chemicals used to preserve food or make the food taste better can be toxic. A great example – artificial sweeteners – many have now been tied to an increased risk of cancer.

Go for a walk – movement helps the lymphatic system keep things circulating so that toxins can eventually get moved out of the body.


1 – Carcinogenesis, 2015, Vol. 36, Supplement 1, S254–S296. “Carcinogenic potential of low-dose exposures to chemical mixtures in the environment: the challenge ahead.”

2 – Definition provided by the Nutritional Therapy Association

3 – “Toxic Pesticide Banned after decades of Use.” Scientific American, Aug. 18, 2010.


What’s the one thing you eat or drink that you wouldn’t want to give up? Here’s why that’s exactly the thing that you should give up.

We have all heard of an “adrenaline high” and some of us are even self-proclaimed adrenaline junkies.  Why are we addicted to adrenaline and what does that have to do with what we eat or drink?

Adrenaline is a hormone that is sent out when your body needs to get ready to “fight or flight”. When your body is getting ready to run, either away from or toward the perceived problem a whole bunch of reactions occur preparing your body for the event. One of those reactions is to send out hormones that trigger the pleasure centers in the brain, so that you don’t perceive pain in that moment of fighting or running. That doesn’t mean you’ll have pain after the event is over with…

When you eat or drink something that your body perceives as the enemy, the exact same reaction occurs as if it were a tiger. The body gets ready to fight that enemy, it might just all be happening internally. One of the things that occurs is that your blood pressure goes up, which you can measure by checking to see if your pulse is racing. Sugar, Cocaine or Tiger, your body reacts the same way, and your pleasure, non-pain centers, are triggered. The problem is that our bodies were not made to go into “fight or flight” mode constantly, this was supposed to be an emergency situation. So when you trigger this continually your organs start to get tired, they wear down and stop functioning appropriately. Signs of disease start showing up.

Dr. Arthur Coca noticed that pulse increases when something is ingested that a person is sensitive to – “allergic” is what he describes in his book “The Pulse Test”.

Following on Dr. Coca’s theory, here’s one easy thing you can do at home to see if you are reacting to

Close up of a stopwatch

Close up of a stopwatch

something you are eating or drinking – the pulse test. Take your pulse for a minute – no cheating by counting for 15 seconds and then extrapolating for the remaining of the time – actually count your pulse for 60 seconds. Then place something in your mouth and take your pulse again for one minute while keeping that food item in your mouth. Your nervous system will react letting your body know that an enemy is coming and raise your pulse. If it goes up by at least 6 beats, this could mean your body considers it an enemy. It’s not full proof, but it could be a tool.

In my quest to heal my gut over the last few months I started drinking Kombucha. For those of you that don’t know what that is – it is a fermented tea. Kombucha is produced by fermenting tea using a “symbiotic ‘colony’ imageof bacteria and yeast” (SCOBY).  It contains some incredibly awesome probiotics, which help maintain the good gut flora we all need. I can write a whole blog post on what the gut flora is responsible for, but for the purposes of this discussion, just know you NEED good gut flora.

Kombucha is awesome for most individuals, except those individuals that have a yeast intolerance/sensitivity. The information seems to be mixed on whether Kombucha is good or bad for those individuals that suffer with Candida overgrowth in their gut.  Candida is a form of yeast that can become overgrown in your gut causing several health issues. All I know is that I am prone to Candida and healing from this is one of the reasons I have been trying to help my gut.

I ignored all of the signs. I knew my blood pressure rose when I drank it and when I actually Coca pulse tested the Kombucha, it tested positive. But here’s where you have to admit that there’s a problem. I continued drinking it because – I Love It! It was likely triggering those pleasure spots in my brain just like an addiction. So for the past month I drank it every day. I have had two migraines, hives on my leg, acne on my face, my hair is falling out, my adrenals are weak causing lower back pain, and my gut is a mess again. Exactly the opposite of what I was trying to accomplish. I finally admitted it last week and stopped drinking it.

There truly is something to be said for admitting that this “thing” is a problem, because at this stage you now have a choice of what to do.

That choice is hard – this week in Austin I happened to be eating at a great grass-fed beef burger joint that had Kombucha on tap – it was the hardest thing not to order it!

But in my mind I was able to choose long term health and not short term pleasure.

Is there something you are eating or drinking that you should evaluate – and maybe get rid of out of your diet?

3 things you can do if you get Cranky or Hangry between meals?

Do you find yourself being irritable between meals?  Is a mid-morning or mid-afternoon coffee or soda break a must? Do you find yourself yawning and tired after a meal? Do you have chronic or irresistible sugar cravings?

Functional imbalances in your body could be responsible for these symptoms, including your sugar cravings – like pain, these symptoms could be a signal to you that something is wrong. Most sugar cravings are caused by our body’s natural ability to try to balance out our blood sugar levels. Blood sugar dysregulation could ultimately lead to a diagnosis of Diabetes, a disease in which your blood sugar levels are consistently above normal.

It likely that you or someone you know, has received a Diabetes diagnosis. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), 29.1 Million people, or about 1 out of every 11 people, have diabetes and American Diabetes Association reports that every 17 seconds someone new is diagnosed with Diabetes. Diabetes causes more deaths a year than breast cancer and AIDS combined. The CDC predicts that 1 in 3 Americans will have Diabetes by 2050.

Our bodies need sugar to use as energy.  However, never in the history of humans have we had the amount of sugar in our diets that we have currently available. Our bodies are simply not adapted to dealing with high sugar levels. in fact, we have 7 hormones that RAISE our blood sugar levels but only 1 hormone that is responsible for lowering it. Our bodies were created to quickly raise blood sugar levels (and our energy) to handle acute stress – or as I like to say – to be able to run from the saber-toothed tiger. Before industrialization, the major sources of sugar in our diets were from honey and seasonal fruits. (And my guess is, if we had to fight bees for honey, we didn’t try that often.) The cheap, processed sugar available today is creating a problem that our bodies were never designed to deal with, ultimately throwing our bodies out balance and causing more cravings.

What happens to your brain on sugar



To get through the bees though, we needed some kind of incentive. There is some research that sugar actually triggers the same areas of the brain that drugs do, making it potentially as addictive as cocaine. In 2013, the New York Times reported that the research at the Big Food Companies was focused on developing tastier and more addictive products. Almost, 40% of children’s diets now come from added sugars and unhealthy fat.

Your body categorizes your food into three macronutrients: Protein, Carbohydrate, and Fat. These ultimately are broken down into components that are used for fuel in your body. Your body wants to use glucose (sugar) and fats the most for fuel.  macro A healthy body is actually able to burn both glucose and fat in its’ day to day activity. However, due to blood sugar dysregulation most of us are only burning glucose.

Energy (ATP) production is done in the Cells. Remember that cells make up the tissues in your body and the tissues ultimately make up your organs. Glucose is stored mainly in the cells of the liver and muscle tissue. Extra glucose is ultimately changed into fat and stored in the cells of the adipose tissue of the body. The blood is responsible for making glucose available to the cells that need it for energy. As you’ll see later in the discussion, both too much and too little glucose in the blood is a problem, so the body has a vary narrow range that it wants to keep the blood sugar level at. (see the normal blood sugar graph below.)

normalThe main organs in blood sugar regulation, the pancreas and liver, are constantly receiving signals from the brain about the blood sugar level and release balletthe hormones glucagon and insulin as needed to increase or decrease the blood sugar level. (see picture)  Remember, that hormones are just messengers. Insulin, in particular, is just responsible for telling the cells to take in glucose.


blood sugar rollercoaster, modified from NTA training materials

So when we eat a high sugar carbohydrate meal at breakfast (insert your favorite breakfast cereal here) then it spikes our sugar levels outside of the normal levels. And immediately, our body goes into panic mode, the pancreas releases insulin to tell the cells to store the extra glucose. But alas, too much insulin was released, we store too much, and then we crash at around mid-morning. Our body realizes this is a huge problem, and you get a coffee craving (insert sugary caffeinated coffee because your body just gave you a sign that blood sugar/energy was low). Here’s where the other 7 hormones come into play. All of a sudden your body is panicked because it might have to run from the tiger and you don’t have enough energy. So now your adrenal glands have to fire shooting out the stress hormones – in particular – cortisol and adrenaline. And the blood sugar roller coaster goes on….

Your adrenal glands are not one of the main players in blood sugar regulation – sabre_toothed_tigerthey should only get involved in an EMERGENCY situation. But instead because of the high sugar content in our food they now are involved every day.  The adrenal’s eventually get worn out having to work to regulate blood sugar more than they should.  Adrenal’s are responsible for a whole bunch of other hormone production and release, including those involved in the reproductive system.  So hormone imbalance now becomes a secondary symptom of blood sugar dysregulation.

hypoglycemiaWhen we continue this blood sugar roller coaster eventually our system starts to breakdown, we might be able to maintain our blood sugar in the top range but the bottom range keeps bottoming out. We generally hear things like “I have low blood sugar” when this starts happening.

hypoglycemia sns




The next stage, if the rollercoaster is continued, could be Metabolic Syndrome. metsynmetsynsnsThis could be characterized as a pre-diabetic stage. Your cells now become resistant to listening to insulin and they stop storing glucose. The cell receptor sites that insulin usually binds to get worn down and stop functioning. So now you have extra extra glucose in your blood and your brain tells your pancreas to send out more insulin to store more glucose, so your pancreas gets worn out as well. The pancreas is also involved in your digestive system, so now you have secondary issues related to digestion.  Your cells now aren’t taking in glucose so they are not making ATP’s (or energy), making you feel tired most of the time.

The next stage – Diabetes. Just to clarify I am talking about Type 2 Diabetes in the scenario.
diabetesdiabetessnsType 1 Diabetes, or juvenile onset diabetes, is an auto-immune disease where the beta cells of the pancreas stop producing insulin. There is usually a genetic component to this condition and it is diagnosed earlier.

In Type 2 Diabetes your pancreas also stops producing insulin, but only because it is simply worn out and you can never turn it back on again. So now there is no mechanism to tell your cells to absorb glucose for energy.

According to the CDC 90 to 95% of the cases of diagnosed diabetes in adults fall into the Type 2 Diabetes category. The symptoms develop gradually over a number of years and may not even be diagnosed until serious health complications occur. While heredity likely plays some role here, as well as, acute damage to the liver and pancreas, the majority of Type 2 Diabetes is likely caused by diet and lifestyle.

Why is too much glucose in the blood a problem? Well, that extra glucose starts reacting with proteins and sticks them together creating AGE’s (Advanced Glycation End products). These ‘sticky proteins’ start impacting cell structure and communication between the cells in the body. They continue to link together and cause inflammation and premature aging. Now those cells start causing problems with arteries, organ tissue, and joints. What happens when the cells in the muscles of the heart start to harden together?

Or consider, when glycation of the neuron cell membranes happens.  Research is now supporting that Alzheimer’s Disease may be a result of the same metabolic imbalances seen in Diabetes, but it is manifesting differently in the brain. This could be do to those AGE’s now affecting the neuron cell membranes.  Alzheimer’s Disease is now routinely being characterized as Type 3 Diabetes.

What we consider the normal forgetfulness of older age might very well be early warning that the brain is struggling to fuel itself. 

Type 3 Diabetes: Metabolic Causes of Alzheimer’s Disease – Weston A Price Foundation


  1. Get back to eating a more ancestral diet, reducing the amount of processed carbohydrates and sugar in your diet, eating more nutrient dense whole foods, including more vegetables as your carbohydrate source.
  2. Include Healthy Fats in your diet, trying to eat more of a 30% Fat, 40% Carbohydrate, 30% Protein ratio at every meal. Fat slows the absorption of sugar into the body.
  3. Exercise at least 30 minutes, 5 days a week.  The CDC recommends moderate-intensity physical activity like walking.

If you need more help getting on the right track, send me a note and we can schedule a consultation to see if I can help you put together an individual sugar balancing program that might jump start your journey back to a healthy blood sugar balance.

My journey to becoming a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner

This past year, after dealing with multiple chronic symptoms, I decided it was time to take my health in my own hands.

So, here’s what I did:

1st – I went to a DOM (Doctor of Oriental Medicine) – the Western medicine Dr.’s were absolutely no help in addressing chronic pain and illness, they just said “you’re stressed”. My DOM – Dr. Maddoux – looked at my symptoms from a functional perspective and after a round of blood and saliva tests we charted a course toward healing. I have incrementally been getting better. It has taken longer than expected, but I have to remind myself, this is 40+ years of putting bad things in my body, so it’s going to take a little time to heal.

2nd – I took 2 months off of work based on my doctor’s recommendations that I reduce some of my stressors. One of the main reasons for this recommendation was to heal my adrenal glands that were massively fatigued.  (Here’s more information on adrenal fatigue.)

3rd – I signed up for a 9-month program with the Nutritional Therapy Association to see if I could learn more about diet and nutrition, ultimately being able to heal myself and my family.

I am well on my way to becoming a certified Nutritional Therapy Practitioner (NTP), as I just passed my mid-term and practical – Yeah!



3 months to go to Certification!

A little more on the NTP adventure….

I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I signed up for the program. It matched with my philosophy of using a real food based program to heal, so I figured I would give it a shot (see “work with me” page for more information.).Real-Education2It is a comprehensive program with a ton of work – more than I expected – online videos, book reports, essay’s, community project proposals, quizzes from textbooks, conference calls, hands on workshops, audio recordings, and written and practical mid-terms and finals. While it has been a lot of work (mostly because I had to learn how to be a student again), there is some flexibility around when the work gets completed. They also do a great job of providing the material in different ways to appeal to different learning types.

The biggest surprise for me was the hands-on evaluation tool.

NTP’s are trained to use the bodies innate ability to heal itself.

How you ask?  By using pressure points on the body that correspond to organs we can find functional deficiencies in the body.  Then we can use the Lingual Neuro Testing biofeedback tool to determine the key nutritional supplements that reduce the sensitivity on that point, thereby providing nutritional support to that specific body function.  We essentially use your central nervous system to tell us what nutrients your body needs to rebalance.

Coming from a science background, I was skeptical. In fact, I volunteered to be demonstrated on by the teacher in class – ’cause I didn’t believe this woo-woo part. And much to my surprise, it works. The body is so much more complex than we give it credit for and truly wants to heal itself.

Using touch provides NTP’s with the ability to connect at a much deeper level with their clients.

I have been surprised at how much I enjoy this deep connection. This brings me a sense of peace that I think I was lacking in my world prior to this program. Humans are social by nature, and yet we have lost that sense of community that we had when we lived as tribes and had to fight off saber-toothed tigers together. This sense of togetherness and community is so powerful for our connection to each other and the world.  For me, I am just grateful that I now have the tools to be able to have a deeper connection with another person and facilitate healing and balance in them.

I want to thank my first guinea pigs – I mean clients – for volunteering to help me learn through this first year. You folks are facilitating me being able to help many many people in the future, as well as yourselves. I am deeply grateful – THANK YOU!

The struggle of getting rid of sugar…

The struggle is real, man!

I never in a million years thought you could have an addiction to sugar, but when I was told that sugar is 90% of the reason I have gained weight over the years not only did I think, NO not me, I don’t eat that much candy or sweets, but I actually realized that it’s not so much about having a sweet tooth.

Bowl of white sugar

Bowl of white sugar

Sugar is in nearly everything I eat. If it doesn’t look like sugar to me, it does to my body.  I could go through a list of things that sugar resides in, but I’ll spare you the novel. I think my worst offender’s were flour loaded carbs. Bread. Pasta. Tortillas. Pancakes. These things are cheap and while raising my daughters in their teenage years I relied on these things because they are easy to make. Little did I know I had been feeding into my addiction. Sugar.


Thanks to my sister I have changed the way I see these four items. They are not the enemy. But, they are not my friends. It’s sort of like meeting up with an acquaintance. We meet, but only on certain terms. They must be good acquaintances to me. I will eat bread sparingly, usually organic and loaded with the good nuts. I rarely eat tortillas now.  Pancakes… My sister gave me a gluten free pancake mix for Christmas. Its awesome when I make blueberry pancakes. And pasta… This girl has gone gluten free. Honestly, just a little goes a long way.

If I could sum up my feelings towards my challenges with changing my eating habits and removing bad toxins I would say, it’s a nightmare. It hasn’t been easy and I’ve struggled with wanting to just dive into a loaded cheeseburger with everything on it and eat to my hearts content. Or indulge in a huge bowl of ice cream. They sound so good, but I know it will wreak havoc on my insides.

That’s the hardest by far, saying no to so many things that are so easy to get.


For those out their working on changing your eating habits, whether eliminating the sugar or trying to be healthier in your choices, cut yourself a break. You cannot do it overnight or expect results in a week. Take your time and do at your own pace.  If you have a bad day and go all out, it’s okay. We all have the same goal in life… To be happy. I am still learning and I hope that one day it will just click and I can put to bed that darn sugar addiction. Baby steps.

Meatballs over Cauliflower Mash – by Kerry

My sister Kerry has been trying to get healthier by eating real foods and reducing the amount of sugar and refined carbohydrates in her diet – here’s one of the recipes she created on her journey to health.  It looks so awesome I think I am making it tonight!



  • 1 lb. Grass fed Angus ground beef
  • 1 package frozen or fresh cauliflower florets
  • 4-5 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 can fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (divided)
  • 2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 2 tsp Himalayan pink salt (divided)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/3 cup almond milk


Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  In a bowl mix meat, egg, garlic, Italian seasoning and 1 tsp of salt. Make into 2-inch balls and set aside. In large Dutch oven pan heat with 1 tbsp EVOO. Cook meatballs on medium high turning a couple minutes. Once meatballs are brown add can of tomatoes, onion powder and garlic powder. Stir seasonings together around meatballs. Add the additional tablespoon of EVOO to sauce. Place Dutch oven pan in oven uncovered and cook for 20 minutes turning the meatballs once during cook time.


While meatballs are cooking, steam cauliflower in pot or as directed in package if frozen. Place in blender or food processor. Add almond milk and 1 tsp salt. Blend until desired consistency. I left in some chunks as it gave a little crunch to it.


Once done plate as you wish, and with however many meatballs you want. I’m a sucker for placing sauce on the mashed cauliflower and placing it on top of the meatballs. The flavor was unreal! Enjoy!