Oh the joys of catching a cold. I am currently raw-nosed, weepy eyed and foggy headed. I’m hoping it skips my girls but I heard some coughing from one a night ago and the other was sneezing this morning. They’ve been off school for 9 days over the holiday and return in 2 more, please don’t get sick little ones!
I’m definitely of the approach that we need to live in our environments and not sterilize them. That being said, my go-to solution for all things cleaning and disinfecting is vinegar and water. See the recipe below, further explanation can be found here. When there is an illness in the house, I equip my kids with vinegar wipes and have them ‘wash’ all their Polly Pockets, Barbies, Legos and markers, crayons and paints while I spray down the house. Teamwork!
What are your go-to natural cleaning and healing products? I’d love to learn more!
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Who you ask?
Dr. Jack Kruse, neurosurgeon extraordinaire. A man reborn from a scalpel-happy, money-making machine to one obsessed with self-experiment and saving your life, minus the knife.
To be honest, his keynote speech was a bit on the warm and fuzzy side for me, and not that exciting. Others seemed captivated, however, and I understand why. Dr. Jack told a little-known tale of how his life changed, dramatically, over a thousand bottles of wine and the idea of saving a starfish. He is a CHANGED man, a super smart, sciency, doctor guy who is hard-focused on saving lives through nutritional and hormonal protocol.
I wasn’t sold. But I was enticed enough to commit to sitting in on his solo session during day 3 of PaleoFX. During day 2 however, I caught Dr. Jack on a mastermind panel or two, which sucked me in and locked me down as a believer. Yes, folks, I have Dr. Jack fever.
I was literally listening to Jack’s TED presentation as I began this blog. A blog which I had been mulling over in my head since I sat in the front row of Jack’s solo presentation. An amazing speaker, partly because of his confidence but also because of the completely amazing shit he has to share with the world. I’m not sure where to go or start from with a post on Jack so I’ll just list a few awesome tidbits and you can obsess over him all you want if you’re intrigued enough to dig a little more.
Tip of the iceberg:
- Cold Thermogenesis – Jack believes ‘cold‘ cures, recovers, fixes, aids and promotes healing in the body. Wash your face in cold water. Submerge and let it soak. Now open your eyes. Fast forward and you turn your hot tub to a cold tub and soak all winter. It’ll make you younger, stronger, smarter and live forever… or so it seems. Get in touch with your cold side!
- Self Experimentation – Without sharing with others, including his wife or children, he takes on some pretty brutal experimentations. For example, injecting himself with MRSA, going under the knife without anesthesia, refusing pain meds, only to cover his body in … you guessed it … ICE … and find relief. He knows if you live it, you mean it. And he means it.
- Life Changing – The stories he has to share, of clients who are thriving when they would typically have died. Clients who would be living in a wheel chair are now walking and, in fact, feeling better than they did pre-injury. He wants to change lives and he does. Dr. Jack is a bit radical and I like it. His recovery protocols are unlike any hospital is prepared for.
- Eye For Fashion – From an oversized overcoat during his is keynote and leather blazer on day 2 all the way to his blinged-out T on day 3 and full-black for TED, you gotta love how Jack Kruse isn’t afraid of anything. He’s got a flair for the fashion and although I may not agree with it, I respect and enjoy his daring metro half. He’s a fucking rock star.
“The Standard American Diet, the diet our government, the USDA tells us to eat. That’s the stuff that gets you fat. I eat that diet for 2 months and gain 25 pounds. Exactly opposite of the Paleolithic Diet.”
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As many of you know, and evident in my Twitter feed over the past 3 days, I’ve been camped out in Austin, Texas this week attending the PaleoFX Ancestral Momentum – Theory to Practice Symposium. (I KNOW!) It’s been an exciting experience to be part of such a strong group of like-minded individuals focused on health and wellness despite the pressures of modern culture. Keeping that in mind, I will be posting several blogs over the next few weeks that pertain to the information that touched me most during this 3 day event.
First up: Food and Fitness in Children
This is a very personal topic for me, and I’m sure every other parent reading, as I have 2 young girls growing up in a very sick world. If you would do anything to protect your children, then diet (noun, not verb) should be your #1 concern. Fight for their health by feeding them well. (Feed yourself the same.)
There was a most exciting panel on Thursday that included Angelo Coppola as moderator, Chris Kresser, Marissa Pelligrino, Stacy Toth, Dave Asprey, Sarah Pope and Michelle Tam. There were a few prepared questions for the panel to answer, followed by a Q & A session with the audience. I hope to link you to the online video of this session soon, as PaleoFX is recording all events.
Now to touch on some items that stood out to me and which I feel an obligation to share and explore with my fellow warrior-parents.
1. Fitness: Get that kid moving early. In fact, their first movements could come within the first 20 minutes of life. Plopped lovingly and naturally upon their mothers belly, they will lick their own afterbirth from the hand, then crawl their way towards the nipple, fueled by natural instinct and the smell of amino acids. AMAZING. Jump ahead a several months, once your child is able to grip, they can hang, hold, and lift items from ground to overhead. Watch how they squat naturally (flat feet, chest up, butt down, you should try it sometime), allow them space to scoot, crawl or shimmy their way towards their most optimal food source: Mom.
Melissa Pelligrino is a trainer at Relentless Fitness in Philadelphia, PA and runs classes for children (and their family) as young as 18 months. She focuses on simple, natural movements and strengths like hanging, rolling, jumping and balance. She also stressed that the WHOLE family must be involved in any wellness program. Your children learn what they’re taught and the great majority comes from their parents. If mom and dad aren’t moving and eating well, why should they?
Speaking of fitness, but unrelated to this specific panel: I had the pleasure of participating in a MovNat workshop on Thursday morning. This is a natural movements fitness program created by Erwan Le Corre and/or every human being and animal on the planet who has come before us, depending on how you look at it. MovNat is based on real, practical movement done in the most efficient manner. It is a comprehensive conditioning program and now I can say that with real experience. Over the course of 2 hours we trained with one of Erwan’s understudies, Brian, and engaged in balance exercises, ground movements, rolling techniques and traversing (when it wasn’t raining, talk about nature!). My calves hurt today and it was a real test of coordination and balance throughout every move, which is not my forte. It was a load of fun!
Back to kids: The following day, I enjoyed Erwan’s lecture and Q & A session. The real, simple and logical information he presented had me thinking about my (almost) 13-year-old nephew. Erwan spoke (in his endearing accent) of mindfulness in movement, action, posture, thought, etc. How the level of mindfulness and thoughtfulness involved in essential and proper movement leads to mindfulness in all aspects of life. My nephew is brilliant, and yet…insufficiently alert. The MovNat concept would be an amazing addition to a child’s life. As Erwan said best, “If you teach a child, you will not have to rebuild an adult.” Powerful and true and primal. He also mentioned creating Physical Education Curriculum as a forthcoming project from MovNat – EXCITING.
Keep in mind, the playground is full of options. Don’t let your children shy away from the monkey bars, boost them up and see how long they can hang or hold themselves above a bar, you’d be surprised! In fact, I traversed the monkey bars for the first time in my life (yes folks, my life) on thursday right before I pulled myself up and over a pull-up bar (despite being unable to do an unassisted pull-up). Climbing all over, running, jumping and screeching up a storm is natural and positive. If you’re child is not given the opportunity to be active, their bodies are not in their natural state, already upsetting their internal system. Let’s not forget the delicious amount of natural (and free) Vitamin D they will be exposed to while playing outdoors. Encourage exploration, if you’re worried about them soiling their knickers, you’re doing it wrong.
2. Food: Okay, let’s dive in! This was very exciting for me. My husband and I, whether out of sheer laziness or personal preference, never ‘fed’ our infants solids. I felt an infant should ‘eat’ solids when they could eat solids. And by that I mean, when they were able to pick up real food and put it in their mouth. My pediatrician never pushed me towards anything, although he did suggest rice cereal as a first food around 6 months. I politely declined after which he said, “Good choice.” Speaking of rice cereal, let’s go there.
Sarah Pope turned my head so fast with the following statement, which I will paraphrase, that I immediately posted this information on my Facebook page, where I infrequently share things I feel everyone should hear at least once. As the panel discussed feeding infants, only after they could sit upright, displaying proper core muscle development which aids in proper digestion (MAKES TOO MUCH SENSE!), they touched on why rice cereal is a bad idea for your infant.
An aside: As I was typing that very paragraph, a friend commented on my Facebook post with a good point (thanks Josh!) “I’m pretty sure there are worse things to feed a baby than rice. Let’s set the hyperbole aside for a minute.” Of course! I would never feed an infant chips or soda, or a million other things. Especially as their 1st experience with food. I’m coming from the point of view that rice cereal is the most recommended first food by pediatricians. Therefore, my post stating it is the worst food to feed your infant is referring to this popular suggestion and to the average intelligent and informed way of feeding your infants in general (meaning: NOT JUNK). Make sense?
Back to what Sarah said: Rice cereal is the worst first food you could feed your infant because babies do not have the ability to properly digest carbohydrates until later in life. Therefor, the rice sits in their gut and rots. Eczema, autoimmune, and allergies all stem from their sick guts. Her full blog post on this topic is found here: The Right Way to Feed Babies. I could also argue that despite developing the proper enzymes for carb digestion, humans never really digest grain, evident in the grain fibers found in your stool.
When Sarah, in a very adamant tone, made the correlation between an infant’s inability to properly digest non-green carbohydrates (rice, cereal, bagels, crackers, etc) properly and gut rot, my head almost exploded. This resonates with me so heavily because of the information I’ve read on gut health and how it is directly related to most modern disease, including autoimmune diseases, mental illness, gluten sensitivity, and much more. How many of you have a child, or who has themselves, battled with skin issues, or have been diagnosed with celiac, or possibly deal with one or more of a slew of autoimmune malfunctions? In my mind, I immediately thought: We’re starting their lives out with a sick gut. It only gets sicker from there if you’re feeding/eating a standard diet, high in processed foods and grain, beginning their path towards disease. HUGE.
As Dr. Lane Sebring, of the Sebring Clinic, stated during a solo session on Friday entitled Disease Reversal with the Paleo Diet, “What can Paleo treat? EVERYTHING.” Dr. Jack Kruse also made a good point when I spoke with him privately about my family’s Rheumatoid Arthritis, “Fix the gut and then you can begin to fix everything else. You can’t replace the floor in a burning building and expect it to be safe from the fire. You got to put the fire out first.” Dr. Jack is a wild guy, full of passion, a neurosurgeon and trailblazer in the medical community by focusing on nutrition instead of the scalpel. More to come on both of these men in the very near future.
3. The good news: You can heal the gut. It takes time and is a longterm process, expect real healing after two years (or more) but it will begin to get better as soon as you stop putting processed foods and grain into your children’s (or your own) belly which includes elimination of all the fancy new gluten-free products that look just like the old poor choices. Pro and Prebiotics are a huge asset in the healing process and should be staples in your diet. Prebiotics are consumed through lots of vegetable and fruit options like onions, bananas, honey, garlic, artichokes, among others. Probiotics are found in foods like sauerkraut, yogurt (not all are created equal) and other fermented and cultured products. Choosing full fat options will provide you with a great amount of nutrients the body doesn’t otherwise obtain, as well as keep you full and satiated. It’s also not as processed, I mean, how do they get the fat out of stuff anyway?
4. Sacred Foods: I’ll make this brief as I know this is a lot for most people to take in at one time. The introduction of ancient, sacred foods to an infant or expectant mother has a dramatic effect on their health, proper growth and essential brain development. Fish eggs, liver, bone marrow broth are all rich in minerals and fat-soluble activators which allow all the good stuff to be absorbed by the body. This is different than most common foods which the body does not absorb efficiently. The sacred foods of indigenous people are viewed as the strongest possible foundation for development. A baby’s first foods would ideally include pastured egg yolks and liver.
As the Weston A Price Foundation puts it: “Generations ago, sacred foods were revered, non-optional and non-negotiable additions to the diet. Today, the burden rests on all of us to reestablish these truths in our nutritionally confused culture. Only with our effort will inclusion of sacred foods in the diet become a common practice, passed down to future generations for the health of their own families, communities, and nations.”
Other sacred foods to add to everyone’s diet (because it does provide a greater source of nutrition for grown children and adults as well) include: anchovies, sardines and whitebait, other small fish, cod liver oil, organ meats, raw pastured dairy, pastured animal fat, insects.
Do what you can, get creative in the kitchen and you’ll forget you added it to your tacos, dip, soup, etc.
5. Win/Lose: This is not a black and white issue. If you weren’t able or chose not to breastfeed, like myself (yes, I know, I’m going to hell), had a c-section, fed your infant rice, started before they could sit upright or never ate a sacred food, you haven’t lost the battle. The ship can turn but it’s important that you realize you can’t turn a ship without a captain. Practice what you preach, look at these new ideas as experiments and have fun! Your children will grow tall and strong and happy. Influence is powerful and they look at you, their parent, like a god. Go with it. Give them the most positive influence you possibly can (whether from birth, age 3, 8, 17…) and they will learn to live well. They will be fueled with experience to make good choices. You can then thank yourself.
In Short: Do I think everyone has to eat Paleo or exactly like me? Absolutely NOT. Do I feel GRAIN and processed foods need to be eliminated from the diet for an optimal chance at health? Yes. The beautiful thing about life: we have the ability to CHOOSE. I am but a vehicle of information.
More to come from PaleoFX!
This term is also a slogan of a fast food chain near my home. I cringe every day as I drive by the gigantic sign. The processed, breaded and sugary foods they promote are actually the exact opposite of ‘good mood food’. I challenge you to prove me wrong after turning your diet towards a clean menu. I’ve already told you why I’m committed to Paleo, now let me tell you why the food you choose will help you regain control of your mood.
Medical doctors are not necessarily educated on nutrition, and I’m not sure why, as the food we eat affects our bodies entirely. From weight and disease to behavior and mood, we are able to manipulate so many variables by the food choices we make, not to mention the medications we are prescribed. It’s amazing how the positive effects of natural foods follow right in line with the paleo way of eating. (Are you really surprised?)
Depression seems to be a huge trend among the folks I know and I know it’s not just me. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration say 17 million adults experienced a major depressive episode within the last 5 years. Whether it’s seasonal or a lifelong battle, it’s a weight I hate to hear anyone is carrying. Just yesterday, a woman confided she was hospitalized last year because of a severe depressive episode. BREAK MY HEART. She was morbidly obese, pre-diabetic, and riddled with arthritis. All things which clean eating can effect a positive way.
If you’ve read my ‘Committed’ blog then you know I’ve dealt with mental illness for a long time. I am currently experiencing the longest span of clear-headedness that I can remember, with the most control and awareness over my moods that I’ve ever had. It does not come easy, of course, nothing does. I work hard at this. When I become lax in clean eating, which has happened, I immediately see signs of returned illness in the ways of unexplained sadness, lethargy, ease of aggravation and a slew of other unwanted characteristics.
The best “Good Mood Food” I can suggest:
Protein: Proteins rich in amino acids and tyrosine can help boost energy and clear your foggy head, allowing you to concentrate and perform better. Tyrosine helps in the production of dopamine, a mood enhancing neurotransmitter often lacking in folks with depression. Although research is lacking on increasing your tyrosine intake to battle depression, it seems to make sense, no? Protein also fuels your body for longer periods than empty carbs or foods heavy in sugar. There is no spike, either positive or negative, in blood sugar levels when you focus on protein and plants in your diet, also allowing for a stable mood. Foods rich in tyrosine include: poultry, fish, almonds, bananas.
Carbs: Carbs are not all created equal. What I call ‘green carbs’ include fruits and vegetables. Starchy, grain-heavy carbs are where you get your belly fat, weight gain and unstable mood. Fill your body with fresh or frozen produce to allow yourself a healthy and necessary intake of carbohydrates. Choose sweet potatoes or yams over white pots for that heavier/filling feeling a lot of people miss. (The fresher you eat, the less you will miss feeling weighed down and full of stuff.) It may take some adjustments in both desire and habit, but a clean diet is worth it. TRUST ME! Once you detox from sugars and grain, your body will react positively to the increased nutrition it will begin to receive. Mood will be effected immediately. Watch out for those nasty habits, though, take a bite of that sticky bun at the next brunch or office share and your body will crave it all over again. Just say NO (as often as you can).
Vitamin B: Vitamin Bs do not stay in your body, so your daily food intake is imperative to maintaining a healthy level of B. A deficiency in B will bring on fatigue, mania and depression. HELLO! The Top 10 foods heavy in Vitamin B include seafood, beef and eggs. I keep a liquid form of Vitamin B Complex on my bedside table and a pill form on the vitamin shelf. I take then when I feel yucky, bummed or aggravated. I will try to take some in the future when I am overwhelmed by my own energy. It will be interesting to see if that could help the ‘mania’ I experience sometimes, and help to regain control in calming down. Life is an experiment.
Water: Chronic dehydration is more common than you may assume. Coffee and teas, along with many other water based options, act as a diuretic and wash out through urination, instead of being absorbed by the very thing that needs it most, your body. You MUST drink water or you’ll experience things like heartburn, reflux, joint pain or exacerbated arthritis, asthma, constipation and of course DEPRESSION. Any of this sound familiar to you? It all comes back to the production of amino acids needed to produce serotonin in the brain, which take a lot of water to move through the body. Do you drink enough water? 8 glasses minimum. Drink more. I may have to write more about this…
SO MANY simple choices affect our quality of life. Choose wisely. And when you choose poorly, make a better choice next time. No one is perfect, including myself. I don’t waste time beating myself up over poor choices, I just decide to choose to do better. This is ALL about you. You are not failing as long as you are still living. My wish is that you, the collective people of the world, choose to live as healthy, informed, and completely as possible.
It’s a good time.
I posted a lighthearted blog last night about Brussel sprouts and it got me thinking: I hear a lot of folks make statements like ‘I can’t’ or ‘I could never’ in relation to food choice and diet change. I notice others going out of their way to buy organic chips instead of Lay’s or Gluten Free cookies instead of Oreos. These actions always leave me scratching my head, so I decided to post my thoughts about two major health concerns, that are treatable and survivable, in our modern American lives: Diabetes and Gluten Sensitivity.
More than 8% of our population have been diagnosed with Diabetes, while 3 times that number are considered to be in the ‘pre-diabetes’ category, as stated by the American Diabetes Association. The ADA promotes frequent glucose checks and insulin management while ‘losing weight’. This is a major pet peeve of mine because losing weight isn’t what controls Diabetes, it’s the items you choose to eat that will control Diabetes, especially Type II. You could be a svelte looking man or woman and still have Diabetes depending on your carbohydrate consumption.
There is a commercial that airs all the time “Are you suffering from Diabetes and trying to lose weight?” That line pisses me off every time. I may be arguing semantics, but losing weight should be the last thing on the mind of someone with this potentially fatal diagnosis. The emphasis is on the wrong end of treatment. Food CHOICE and education should be their first priority. Weight loss is of no importance if you’re still eating the sugar filled carbs that your body is unable to manage in the first place. After going through the ADA website, I couldn’t find real diet advice other than ‘contact your dietician’ when, in fact, a diet lacking sugary carbs should be the #1 course of action in treatment and prevention. Where is the upfront, critical education that will save lives?
Diabetes stems from a an abundance of sugar in your diet, creating an environment where your body is unable to make enough insulin to keep your blood sugar levels at a healthy and steady point. I talked about it in my “Why No Grains?” post briefly. I’ve also learned from friends in the food world like Steve Cooksey, a Diabetes Warrior, that Diabetes leaders continue to push grains as if they were an innocent bystander of the diagnosis. Because our food pyramid includes these cash crops, Dietitians keep them in your recommended daily consumption schedule, not fully allowing your body to heal itself. Tricky. Be your own investigator when it comes to health and wellness. If a grain were just a grain, it might be another story but our grain heavy foods are also filled with sodium and sugar.
A thoughtful, controlled diet of fresh foods, natural sugars and protein can prevent Type II Diabetes. In turn, it can control your Diabetes diagnosis and its complications like high cholesterol and blood pressure. I’m sure it benefits our drug companies to keep you sick and on (multiple) drugs for these diseases, as well as the life threatening side effects of the drugs your doctor prescribes so readily, what would they do if we were healthy? It’s also an easier choice for many folks to throw a pill down with a glass of juice (see the irony?) then do the hard work and planning of permanent dietary change while surrounded by breads, pastas, donuts, crackers, pretzels and the like at every celebratory breakfast, lunch and dinner. I’m not saying it’s easy, I’m saying it’s CONTROLLABLE. Every snack, every meal, is an opportunity to choose health.
Now let’s briefly touch on the newest diagnoses to hit the American public: Celiac Disease and Gluten Intolerance. Celiac effects more than 3 million Americans, many of whom deal with the symptoms like Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) through medication and perseverance. Did you know controlling your diet and limiting it to protein and plants will allow you to live pain-free, symptom free and make you healthier all around? I bet you did, so what’s stopping you? Could it be all the “Gluten Free” options we now have in the grocery store?
Take a walk through the ‘healthy food’ aisles and find gluten-free cookies, pasts, breads, cereal, snacks, junk, crap – anything you’d normally eat, just minus the gluten. Do you see the flawed logic there? No change, no gain. There may in fact be a bit less sodium or sugar, but you’re still eating highly processed food when you could opt for food that is grown naturally without gluten, now THAT would make for a healthier body, mind and future. There is a reason our bodies are rejecting these items so why look for a substitute that is almost identical?
It makes me think of things like “fat-free” food. Imagine what that ‘food’ went through to have the fat taken out… YUCK. Did you know processed milk actually turns blue when all the good fat and nutrition is taken out of it? It is then dyed white to make it appealing to the consumer. I won’t both mentioning the irradiated hydrogenated vegetable oil that is added back, after all the good stuff is lost in this process, which is allowed by the FDA to be called Vitamin D, even though it’s not. Gross. In fact, there are so many things wrong with the average gallon of milk, it makes me angry – does your child have ear infections? Has your doctor mentioned tubes? Try cutting milk from their diet first.
When living with Celiac or Gluten Intolerance, as with all diets, moderation is key. Sure, there are recipes available for the occasional cupcake or banana bread that are gluten-free, but your body is craving a natural diet. A diet full of vegetables and protein with healthy fats. Listen to your body or your disease will take over through weakened organs or the appearance of cancers. Serious business.
I understand the desire for your favorite foods, I cave occasionally as well, but think about that: I will never give up (insert favorite food) even it if will save my life. Nonsensical. Think of it as an experiment, I’m sure our government does based on their recommendations and our current health status as a country, and make some changes. Decide to eat REAL food: food that is grown naturally without a lot of fuss or chemicals; single ingredient foods that come from the earth; food that is naturally void of sugar or gluten; and you will find health. It is your choice and no one can make that choice for you.
If the current trends in food consumption continue, 1 in 3 Americans will have Diabetes by 2050. I will be 70 years old, my children will be in their 40s. Think about that: 1 in 3 Americans will be CHOOSING sugar laden, highly processed, carbohydrate dense foods over their health. Will you be one of them?