I am often asked about the health benefits of smoothies, different from juicing where the fiber is extracted with a juicer machine. The ingredients in a smoothie are ground together and in affect predigested. This can be helpful when digestion is compromised and healing needs to take place. I see several challenges with smoothies. First, is the amount of fruits used in smoothies creating more of a dessert than a meal. The proper ratio of fat, protein and carbohydrates are still needed to make it a helpful part of a nutritious daily meal plan. My 20 year vegetarian way of life created many challenges for my digestion along with 10 years of antibiotics from age 2 until 12, vital growing years! Followed by adulthood of consistent alcohol use, I did not “seed my garden” of intestinal health. No matter the challenge, we have the power to reverse the damage done. I use a smoothie once a day because I still have challenges with digesting meat even with diligence and support. Here are the ingredients as pictured for this smoothie, precooked sweet potato (about a 1/4 of the potato), handful of greens (easy to grow yourself), rotating kale, Swiss Chard, radish greens, beet greens, dark lettuces, herbs from my garden (cilantro, parsley, lemon balm), 2 tablespoons flax seed, 2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds, 1/2 avocodo, pea protein powder, 1 teaspoon ceylon cinnamon, coconut water to desired consistency. I like my like pudding and like to eat it with a spoon. For me, it digests very well and keeps me full and satisfied for many hours. Many other variations will work and experimenting is half the fun! Contact me for more ideas and/or help in setting up a daily nutrition program that works for you. Everybody is different and are dealing with different things! Sadly, all the labeled ways of eating out there do not work for everyone. It depends on what is happening in YOUR body. I do a complete Functional Evaluation so we can be detectives to sort out the symptoms your body is already giving. Together, we find out what your body is trying to tell you. In it’s infinite wisdom, it knows how to heal given the right resources. The initial 1 1/2 hour consultation is $125.00, an investment that lasts a lifetime!
(Photos by Erin Bernier)
For the first two weeks I was falling into liver failure last June, 2016, the only thing I could eat was watermelon and cherries, both in season and delicious! This was not a conscious decision but all I could “stomach”. Here is what I read recently regarding watermelon: Melon can reduce liver and kidney disease-if someone is suffering from liver or kidney malfunction, melon can mean the difference between life and death. Wow!! Cherries: an amazing way to to revitalize the liver; they’re the ultimate liver tonic, cleanser and rejuvenator. Double WOW! We all know whole foods are powerful and these could have literally pulled me back from the brink.
The Nutritional Therapy Association just completed it’s 10th annual conference in beautiful Vancouver, Washington. I was grateful to be able to attend this amazing event. I was especially delighted to meet mentors that I’ve been following for years like Dr. Tom O’Bryan, Dr. Terry Wahls and especially Nora Gedgaudas. She was a major turning point in my life that I will always be grateful for. She is the model I use with my clients because she helped me when I was fearful and confused about my health concerns. Her patience and responsiveness are superior. I try to be that person for my clients because I know the state of mind that goes along with compromised health. Thank you to this wonderful organization that gave me high level training to help others and to the people who tirelessly reach out!
I am excited to announce my new office at 1235 Lake Plaza Drive! Healthy Determination Conversations will return soon!
By June 27th, I felt so bad, I could hardly work but I was still taking some appointments. On that Monday, at the end of the day, I crossed paths with my son and asked him “Do I look sick, I feel really sick”. He said, “well, Mom, your eyes are yellow”. All I could say was, “oh shit” because I knew this was not good. I contacted the Nutritional Therapist that was helping me and she ordered extensive blood work right away. I had this done on July 1st, just before the holiday weekend, so patiently waited, mostly slept, until the results came back. My liver enzymes were all elevated and biliruben was 12.5 (normal is under 1.5). She had never seen numbers this high in her clients and recommended I see my MD as soon as possible. I was deflated, I didn’t really have an MD since this is never my first choice of treatment. I worked with an MD two years earlier with just as weird situation with a virus in my thyroid. I called and made an appointment with her and since the appointment was not until July 19th, it gave me a lot of time to think. The faith I have in the healing ability of our bodies is extremely high, though I would only make these decisions regarding my personal self. As a Nutritional Therapist, this is out of the scope of practice for my clients. It sounds so dramatic but I thought about dying from liver failure and actually thought that was a better choice than being in a hospital. I don’t think I can recapture where my “head space” was at during these two weeks but now that I am getting well, I can honestly say it was a major growth experience for me physically, mentally and spiritually. I had dropped 10 pounds by now so knew all systems were being affected. Still, I had a burning need to give my body a chance to figure it out with only natural support. I wanted to eat but food was just repulsive. I used Biotics Pea Protein powder just to get some kind of protein in my body so it had something to work with. I would stand in the store and just look at food until something seemed appealing. I lived off watermelon and cherries for most of that month. Looking back, food was probably not that necessary for that period of time. My body was concentrating on healing, not digesting food. I am fortunate to understand the signs the body gives through excretions that helped me keep tabs on how things were going. But, I also knew I had to get some testing done to rule out things like tumors and hepatitis. And for this, I am grateful for our medical technology.
It is NEVER one thing. Health or disease is never created by ONE thing. Besides being on a protocol for parasites, working, volunteering and participating as a Group Leader for a nine month Nutritional Therapy Association class, my mother was planning a visit from Florida to Colorado. I was thrilled she was still willing to make this trip at 85 years and limited mobility. What a trooper! I finished with the graduating class the weekend of June 10 and my mom was set to arrive on the 14th. I made arrangements to have a electric wheelchair so we could get out and do some activities easily but I think subconsciously, I was still concerned about the transition from sea level to 9500 feet elevation with spiral staircase separating mom’s sleeping quarters from the main living area. But I felt I had everything in place to have a great visit. My son and I picked up my mom at the airport and headed to a restaurant for lunch. We met a couple of my friends there that I wanted her to meet. It turned out to be a delightful visit and from there, mom and I headed to my home in the mountains. After arriving and getting her settled in, I began to have waves of nausea. At first, I blamed it on what I had eaten at the restaurant. By the third day, though, I knew it wasn’t this especially since most of us all ordered the same meal at the lunch. I downplayed my discomfort because I did not want to spoil this amazing time with my mom. She, of course, knew something wasn’t right. Waves of nausea gave way to pain in the upper right quadrant of my abdomen (classic liver/gallbladder symptoms) to complete loss of appetite. Luckily, mom took naps so it wasn’t so obvious how much discomfort I was in and I would nap, too. We managed to have a wonderful visit and mom returned to Florida the following Wednesday. The next day, my husband left for a very overdue trip to see his brother in Massachusetts. He was gone for 12 days. This gave me the opportunity to fall into bed and I did, for the majority of time he was away. I was no longer nausea’s but still had waves of pain and could not eat anything. This is when I began strategizing about how I wanted to handle this situation.
When someone has a reputation of living a healthy lifestyle, it is almost unacceptable that anything should go wrong. For myself, as the challenges built, people would say “I wouldn’t have thought this would happen to you”! My response is that if I wasn’t taking care of myself or have the awareness of what works for my body, I may not have come through this very rough summer with all my body parts intact. More on that later. I wanted to emphasize the things I do habitually to help support my health. These all became even more important when I was in the middle of being very sick.
Exercise is of course, important but the wrong kind can be very catabolic (breaking down) for the adrenals especially in combination with other stressors in life. My long term (20 years) distant running gave way to Super Slow and yoga as I realized the damage I was doing to my metabolism. I incorporated massage and chiropractic care as a means of preventative maintenance. Meditation also became very important with my high strung traits. I had to learn to balance rest with the inhuman drive with projects in my life. Not knowing when to rest is not an admirable trait even though our society glorifies people who go, go, go. Other beneficial habits that came over the years where rebounding for the immune system, Earthing, dry brushing, spending time in nature. high quality sleep, shutting off all electronics, screens of any kind at least two hours before bed. All these efforts help support health. We are dealing with enough toxins and stress just by living on this earth, that conscious planning to counteract these effects have to be incorporated.
So even though my lifestyle is probably on the upper end of very conscious living, stuff still goes wrong. So the key is resilience. So maybe health should be measured by resilience.
As part of my research into why I would be susceptible to parasites and needing constant liver support, I started some testing that is not done in the MD world. One of those tests is a Hair Mineral Analysis test ($75.00). When done correctly, it can give you an idea of minerals out of balance and heavy metals in the body. I had this done in April. I suspected that copper would be an issue because I could never pass the Zinc Challenge test. This is an easy test where you taste a liquid zinc to see if it leaves an awful taste in your mouth. When we can taste zinc, it is an indicator that you have enough zinc in your body. This mineral is vitally important for digestion among other things. No matter how much I supplemented, I could never taste zinc over the past four years. I knew this was an indicator of what I was looking for. Zinc and copper should be balanced in the body but one can drive the other too low. It was no surprise, then to see my copper level off the chart in this test explaining why I wasn’t able to taste it and more importantly, a missing nutrient in my digestive tract. Now the question was why this imbalance? Copper pipes, cookware, environment sources were not evident in my situation. My research showed that it can be passed on to each generation with toxic load increasing based on the mother’s exposure. I knew my parents and grandparents lived in Pittsburgh, the steel capital of the world in their youth. I remember stories about the factories causing the windows of their homes to be so covered in soot that they could not see out of them. This actually was a possibility but what about my seven siblings? I stored this information away as a piece of the puzzle as I continued my search.
Most people believe that parasites are only an issue if you go to a third world country or drink contaminated water. Parasites are so common that most people are walking around with some level of infection. There are many different kinds and some species are predictable to certain situations but with our lower quality food supply, imbalances in our bodies compromising our digestive and immune systems, parasites are more challenging to more people. Like myself, lots of people do not experience symptoms they would associate with this kind of infection but it can present itself in other ways like sensitivity to foods, skin irritations or low energy. When it arose for me, I began a well designed protocol from Biotics Research Corporation. I have been using their products for myself and my clients for 4 years because I am impressed by their manufacturing of the products and the purity with no dairy, wheat, soy or gluten which is important with so many people sensitive to these ingredients. The protocol runs for 8 weeks before a retest. In the meantime, I began to see a practitioner for myself because sometimes we are too close to the situation to help ourselves. I was ready for another perspective. After finishing the protocol, I let this practitioner know that I was still experiencing tiny white spots on the stool. She encouraged me to continue a protocol with another well know manufacturers supplements “Designs for Health”. The last words she said to me at the end of this phone consultation was “how’s your liver?”. My response was “GREAT” and I believed that since I had been carefully supporting my digestion for many years. Those words came back to haunt me on June 27, 2016.
Directly from Diagnostechs web site:
Non-Invasive. Convenient. Precise.
Founded in 1987, Diagnos-Techs™ is a pioneer and leader in saliva-based testing. Our commitment to assisting healthcare professionals in restoring patients’ health and wellness is unsurpassed with over 1.2 million specimens tested per year. Saliva testing is a powerful tool for evaluating stress, hormone-related disease and health conditions, especially over time. Diagnos-Techs™ continually improves and refines its laboratory testing standards, using cutting-edge technology and methods. Many healthcare providers and their patients have chosen Diagnos-Techs™ as their partner in wellness.
This is the testing I’ve used on myself over the past 4 years while I was recovering my digestive health. The tests I has done for digestive health and adrenal status costs between $210 and $285 and is usually not covered by insurance. It gave me useful information for improvements I was making through great food and supplementation. I ran it again in February of this year to see how everything was going. Unexpectedly, the parasite blastocystis hominis showed up. I was not having an symptoms from this. The medical world doesn’t consider this even to be a harmful organism but the more natural healing world considers it an imbalance that stresses the body. Parasites are treated with antibiotics but can also be treated with herbs to kill off the organism. The difference is antibiotics are given for 10 days (heavy artillery) where herbs take up to 10 weeks (more gentle on the body). I chose the 10 week protocol with my attitude of Healthy Determination.