Are you ever overwhelmed by the subject of health?

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Over the last few years I have methodically been changing over household cleaners, laundry products, and skincare products to those with less impact on my toxicity load. This leads me to asking the question, are you ever overwhelmed by the subject of health?

I recently had a conversation with a client about the health of her teenage daughter who has been recently diagnosed with digestive disorders. She shared that her daughter has been obsessed with researching all things that affect health and how our bodies react to them.

She shared her recent rant about the toxicity of laundry soup and did her Mom know just how bad it is for them. Of course her Mom did, but had tried making her own soap before but because they have hard water didn’t feel like it cleaned as well as commercial soaps did, so she reverted back to what was easy, not necessarily better.

Sound familiar?

Part of this same conversation was a disclosure of what her doctor told her about her daughter’s research fever and distress over everything health related. It was explained that persons who have health challenges tend to create more anxiety over their situation and can and often do go overboard and that she should limit her exposure to the internet and any source where she could read more.

Basically, stop reading and researching.

I have to tell you, this has sat heavy on me for days now. For one, we shouldn’t ever squelch someone’s desire to learn. I think that we should encourage and at the same time, make a priority list of things to work on changing.

I do agree that for some overwhelm sets in which creates anxiety and then more stress and nothing gets accomplished.

When you can create an actionable plan to tackle what you want and/or need to learn, break it down into bite sized pieces and check off items from your list, you’ll accomplish more than trying to do it all at the same time, which almost always leads to frustration and overload.

I did give suggestions for buying a commercial product that’s environmentally friendly and free from toxins for her laundry until she can research better options for her homemade laundry product to combat her hard water challenges.

This is just one area of change that most don’t initially think of and probably in the grand scheme of things might not be ranked right up there with must do things at the beginning.

What I mean by this is when you are first on the journey to better health, generally speaking, most of us would not initially think about laundry soap, household cleaners, air fresheners, etc. as our first line of defense.

Most of us would think of changing our diets and/or fitness regimes, correct? For others that have been on this journey for a bit and feel like this is the next best step, there is much to learn and tackle. Baby steps is always best.

Squelch overwhelm in its tracks. Pick one thing you’ll tackle first and master and treasure that sweet victory, check it off your list. Then pick something else and repeat the above process. Treasure the victory and keep moving forward.

The best suggestion I heard recently, keep a calendar with your wish list of health-related goals. Right a little goal each month, or there might be a couple of them. Make a note about how it went and what you accomplished.

If by chance you didn’t get something done that month, just move it to the next month and over a period of time you can reflect back on all that you’ve been able to accomplish and celebrate how far you’ve journeyed.

What has been your experience with tackling new health goals? Share below so we can all be on the journey together.

To your health,

Kellie

Holistic Wellness Mentor

 

Is your waistline expanding? How bacteria in your gut is linked!

Woman weight loss photo

I very much believe in the mind body spirit connection for the simple reason that everything we do is as a whole. We don’t disconnect the head from the body, although sometimes that would be nice and we don’t disconnect the spirit from the body and the mind.

 

When we are flowing into our passions and purpose, we find ourselves more at peace and thus less stressed.

 

With less stress comes weight loss in general. Why? Simple, we aren’t producing an overabundance of stress hormones called cortisol, which has shown to increase belly fat and we aren’t stuffing our faces mindlessly.

 

My own story with this scenario is that I personally didn’t realize how stressed I really was. Looking back, my dear friends and family will give me the sideways eye look when I say “I didn’t think I was that stressed.” As a result I put on a few extra pounds.

 

Since my focus has changed, I’ve lowered my stress and I’ve been more mindful of what goes into my mouth, my weight has just dropped off over the last few months, along with feeding my gut flora all the stuff it loves.

 

It’s really not rocket science. Our gut health plays into this perfectly. There are some very interesting studies taking place that are proving more and more that our “2nd brain” definitely has some play into excess weight. Did you also know that 70-80% of your immune system comes from the health of your gut?

 

The latest World Health Organization figures show there were more than 1.4 billion adults aged 20 or older who were overweight in 2008.

 

Of these, 200 million men and nearly 300 million women were obese.

 

Since these latest numbers are from 2008, we know these have risen, unfortunately.

 

Of the studies being done, researchers think that changing the type of bacteria found in the gut may be more effective at helping people to shed weight than cutting calories alone.

 

More and more research does show that your gut bacteria impacts your weight. There are other studies that show that lean people tend to have higher amounts of various healthy bacteria compared to obese people.

 

There was one particular study from 2011 found that daily intake of a specific form of lactic acid bacteria could help prevent obesity and reduce low-level inflammation.

 

Babies that are breastfed tend to have lower risk of obesity because of the bacteria mix flourishing in their guts that are found in breast milk. Probiotics also appear beneficial in helping women lose weight after childbirth when taken from the first trimester through breastfeeding.

 

There are other studies that have shown obese people losing fat by just drinking a probiotic-rich fermented milk beverage for 12 weeks. Probiotics have also been found to benefit metabolic syndrome, which often times goes hand in hand with obesity.

 

The reason this makes sense is that both are caused by a diet high in sugars, which leads to insulin resistance, fuels the growth of unhealthy bacteria and packs on excess weight.

 

Our modern diets have left our gut flora very overloaded with bad bacteria and not enough good. We need to “reseed” our gut with a good high-quality probiotic supplement or my favorite way is to eat and drink non-pasteurized traditionally fermented foods like:

 

  • Fermented veggies/fruits
  • Fermented milk products like kefir
  • Natto, which is fermented soy
  • Kombucha, fermented tea

 

Of the many reasons these foods are so beneficial, one of them is the fact that they contain lactic acid bacteria, which of course has health benefits over and beyond any weight-loss benefits, including a wide array of other healthy bacteria.

 

There are many different types and I recommend eating different varieties so as to inject many different bacteria types. This is a huge step in the right direction. You still need pay attention to the rest of your diet, especially if it’s poor. Processed foods as an example will compromise your gut bacteria as it will destroy healthy microflora and feed bad bacteria and yeast.

 

Other things that affect our microflora are:

 

  • Antibiotics
  • Chlorinated water
  • Antibacterial soap/wipes
  • Pollution
  • Ag chemicals

 

Let’s also not forget the meats that you eat. If you’re buying commercial meat, they are loaded with antibiotics, which affect you. My strong recommendation is to reach out to local organic farmers who product grass-fed beef and pastured chickens. They will not be using antibiotics and they are eating a healthy diet.

 

There are many local CSA (community supported agriculture) groups available. Linking to them will help you find produce and meat that are free from chemicals and antibiotics.

 

The Weston Price Foundation has chapters all over the world and there are many connections to buying good, clean, healthy food.

 

When you tend to the health of your gut, your overall health will improve. There is a whole “ecosystem” that has taken up residency inside your gut. The type and kind are important. What you put in determines the overall health of these organisms. They can either prevent or encourage the development of many diseases, including heart disease and diabetes and many help dictate the ease with which you’re able to shed unwanted pounds.

 

This really needs to be an ongoing process since most of us are exposed daily to factors that will destroy beneficial bacteria in the gut.

 

Cultured/fermented foods like raw milk, yogurt, kefir, some cheeses and veggies are excellent sources of natural, healthy bacterial.

 

These foods/drinks need to become a part of your regular diet. If you don’t start here, then please take a high-quality probiotic supplement, especially if you are straying away from a healthy diet and find yourself consuming too much sugar and eating too many grains that haven’t been prepared properly.

 

If you have to take antibiotics due to an illness, make sure to put in good probiotics into your system right away. The benefit of the antibiotics doesn’t know the good from the bad bacteria, it just seeks and destroys all bacteria. You have to inoculate your gut constantly.

 

I am “The Gut Lady” not by accident.

 

Do you have stubborn weight that seems to be your best friend and not go away no matter what you do?

 

What’s your gut say about you?

Ferments

 

When I ask you the question, what’s your gut say about you? What’s the first thing that comes to mind? Perhaps it’s something like, it’s always bloated, or I have gas a lot, or I seem to catch all the bugs going around.

Does any of this sound familiar? Have you heard that anywhere from 70-80% of your immune system comes from the health of your gut? This is why in some circles it’s referred to as your second brain.

There is so much going on inside our gut, it’s like a little city all of its own. It’s actually quite amazing. I read an interesting take on our immune system from my friend Wardeh that I thought I’d share because it helps put this into an easy to understand perspective.

A layer of bacteria protects the gut wall, also known as the digestive tract. In a healthy adult, that bacteria weighs between 2 and 4 ½ pounds. This is the heart of the immune system and here’s why.

Think of the digestive tract like a pasture. The gut wall itself is the soil. The beneficial bacteria that reside there are the various grasses, herbs and legumes covering the soil. These plants, a highly organized system, act as protection against invasion and erosion. There are some opportunistic plants in the pasture too, as well as various passerby floating in the wind, but the healthy plants keep everything at bay and tightly regulated by out-competing it all.

However, if the beneficial plants in this pasture are damaged, the soil will be exposed to anything else that comes along and takes root, such as a virus, fungus, pathogen, or toxin. Over time, further erosion and stripping occurs. Eventually, the enemy invaders may take over completely. They will continue damaging the soil, sucking up nutrients and spreading disease.

Remember, this analogy is about the gut and the microbial population. But don’t think for a second that what happens there is isolated. No, our overall health is intimately tied to this balance of organisms. When the good buys are in charge, they facilitate efficient absorption of nutrients from food. They neutralize potential toxins and anti-nutrients. They produce antibiotic, anti-tumor, anti-viral, and anti-fungal substances. And certainly not last or least, the acids they give off make the gut all an uncomfortably acidic place for pathogens.

There is so much evidence that suggests that compromised gut health leads to development of food allergies, sensitivities and intolerances. There are many others, including myself that believe that good gut health can improve these conditions, as well as reverse or significantly improve diseases such as depression, autism, dyslexia and other mental diseases.

This circles back to my belief in eating or consuming fermented foods and beverages daily as a way to supply our bodies with beneficial organisms to keep the health of our gut running smoothly. When our gut works optimally, it has the ability to nourish the rest of our body, which also includes the immune system.

The end result in this…..your immune system relies on the health of your gut. How healthy is yours?

I mentioned fermented foods and beverages as some of the sources for helping your gut stay healthy or if already compromised, help heal it or greatly improve it.

My love for fermented foods came about as an experiment really. The more I’ve dabbled in and taught classes of how to, the more I truly love the magnificent abilities that these foods have.

Not only is it a way to be super-efficient with our resources, saves time and money, but it has the ability to give so much more! Not only the pure pleasure of eating or drinking them, but the art and craft of preparing them.

Have you tried any fermented foods or consumed any fermented drinks? If so, what was your experience? Share below. I can’t wait to read your comments.

Here’s to abundant health,

Kellie

Heal thyself….how important is this to you?

Yoga and fitness

Have you ever asked yourself what it would feel like to be pain free, have an abundance of energy, be at optimal weight and not have all the stress that comes with not feeling well?

I have and that’s why it’s been on my heart to share the information that I know regarding our amazing body’s ability to heal itself.

When you allow the body to be free of all the “junk” that we are told is good for us by the “food” industry and the “big ag” industry and supply our bodies with good wholesome nutrients, it’s really amazing how the body knows what to do.

It’s not my accident, it’s purely by design. I’ve often thought about an architect and their abilities. They envision what something will look like in their mind and then design the outcome. I believe our bodies were created in much the same way.

Everything is “designed” to work seamlessly together and it doesn’t let us down unless we let it down. Do you understand what I mean by that?

For example: when I eat foods that I don’t normally eat, like commercial potato chips and overly processed foods that are either greasy or sugar laden, I know it. Why? Because my body wasn’t designed to be fed these things and it’s objecting to the fuel source.

Another way to think about this is to think about your car. It has an engine that obviously makes it run, whether it’s fueled by fuels or electricity, it still needs fed. So if you a put in the wrong kind of fuel, it’s not going to perform as you’d like it to.

Yet another way to think about this is the fuel filter in your car. The purpose is to filter out all the dirt and debris that would otherwise stop your engine from functioning. This is kind of like the purpose of your liver. It’s the filter for our bodies.

So, do you see how if we continually feed ourselves bad fuel, that our liver gets overworked, clogged and overtime our bodies can’t do the functions that they were designed to do?

In other words, it rebels against us. Often times it shows up in the form of diabetes, heart disease, cancer, depression, auto-immune diseases, arthritis, etc., etc., etc. Do you get the idea?

So, what are you feeding your body? Is it the proper fuel needed for optimal efficiency or are you feeding it cheap fuel that’s just breaking it down over time?

I know it’s not easy to always eat the right things. I’m not perfect either. I love sweets and pizza and my wine and beer. The key really is moderation AND making better choices.

An example, when I make sweets, I use better choices for sweeteners and really reduce the amount of sweet needed to pull it off and still be satisfying. As for pizza, well, yes I sometimes enjoy my favorite pizza place and I buy organic wine and the beer, it’s just nice on a hot summer night after you’ve worked hard all day.

The idea is to not punish yourself. I would love for you to get to the 80-20 place. What do I mean by this? 80% of the time you’re putting in great fuel, no processed foods, sugars and pops, etc. and foods that actually help your body heal, like bone broth, fermented and cultured foods and consuming sourdough breads instead of white and most wheat, as examples.

The other 20% of the time, leaves you open to the human factor, which is we’re all accustomed to eating fast food, buying packaged foods and when you eat out, the food quality isn’t always top notch.

Do you think that if you had a plan to get you to 80% you’d follow it? What if you were recently diagnosed with a serious illness or disease? Do you think you’d be able to ditch all the “crap” you’ve been putting in and seek out the help you need to allow your body to start healing itself?

If this interests you, I’d love to hear from you, as I have solutions and my kitchen is brimming with healing foods. Use the contact me box on this page and I’ll get back with you soon. Please feel free to share this as well. We’re here together.

I’m in this for you and your health and I have soooo much to share! From my kitchen to yours!

Kellie

MSG (Monosodium Glutamate) 101: Consumer beware!

MSG

 

Is this a friend or a foe? If you guessed foe, you’re absolutely right. I went on a search a while back to see just what the big deal is regarding MSG and boy was I surprised at just how far the food industry and big Ag is willing to go.

I’m really not sure why I’m surprised, but nonetheless, I am. I often wonder what they eat in their homes. Is it something completely different than we do?

Kind of like the government health insurance. They don’t have the same plan as is offered to us, so do they grow and consume different food too?

I mean, they can’t completely ignore all the studies that have been done, can they? It makes me think of an ostrich, sticking its head in the sand. If I can’t hear or see you, it mustn’t be true!

Monosodium Glutamate: what exactly is it? It’s actually a form of concentrated salt that’s added to food to enhance the flavor. This salt version of glutamic acid is actually an amino acid that out bodies produce on its own. However, the MSG we find in stores and restaurants are obtained from the fermentation of carbohydrates such as wheat, corn, beets, sugar cane or molasses.  Because it’s considered a fermentation of “natural” products (it’s still processed), the FDA allow MSG to have the labeling of a “natural flavoring”.

You might be asking, what’s the big deal? Good question. The food industry uses MSG to boost the flavor of really low quality and cheaper ingredients. In other words, cheap food doesn’t taste good, so we’ll lace it with MSG.

There are so many studies that confirm that MSG is addictive. What this means, you crave it, without knowing you are. The body reacts to the surge in the production of insulin from the pancreas. What insulin does is consume sugar. With elevated sugar levels, comes the drop after, leaving you hungry.

What do we do, we eat more of the food that’s causing this reaction in the first place, starting the vicious cycle all over again and again and again.

Over time, long term effects of MSG and its consumption are known to cause many symptoms and illnesses. MSG is classified as an exotoxin, which means that it causes cell death, which seems to affect the brain the most.  There are some serious health concerns like with this comes many such things as brain tumors, brain cell death, seizures, migraines and headaches, strokes, hypoglycemia, as well as hives, itching, skin rashes, nausea, vomiting, asthma, depression, and heart irregularities. This very toxin as also been thought to be associated with diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

Hmmmm….and the FDA says that this toxin is okay so long as the food industry includes it on the label. So as we get educated and look for “MSG”, the manufacturer’s made the choice to hide MSG under a whole list of “other” names, so we have a hard time telling what’s in our food.

  • Monosodium Glutamate
  • Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein
  • Hydrolyzed Protein
  • Plant Protein Extract
  • Sodium Casein ate
  • Calcium Casein ate
  • Yeast Extract
  • Textured Protein (Including TVP)
  • Autolyzed Yeast
  • Hydrolyzed Oat Flour
  • Corn Oil
  • Malt Extract or Flavoring
  • Broth – Stock flavoring
  • Bouillon
  • Natural beef or chicken flavoring
  • Seasonings
  • Spices
  • Maltodextrin
  • Whey Protein and Concentrate
  • Soy Protein Isolate
  • Soy Protein Concentrate

There are other possible items that can have MSG in it. Hopefully this helps you understand a little about why this “additive toxin” is not your friend.

Have you experienced or suspect any of effects of MSG poisoning in your life? Leave your comments below.

To your health,

Kellie