Diet Before Diagnosis – Is There a Connection?

“I’m not blonde, and I’m not skinny. Therefore, I’m not attractive.”

That’s a line straight from my journal in 1999.

I have healed from many things in my past, but I don’t think I ever grieved for the young girl who thought that people would only like her if she was skinny.

According to my January 1999 journal entry, I was on a mission to weight 130 pounds. Thanks to Zoloft, I had gained a good 30 pounds or so from end of sophomore to beginning of senior year, and by the first semester of my senior year I spent a lot of time isolating, reading historical romances, and pining away for a college soccer player I cared about who played me like a fresh fiddle.

This diet gave me new life. A new identity. A new way to really love the skin I was in  – because it would come in a much smaller body. According to my journal, I was drinking two special protein drinks a day and going off of carbs, sugar, and caffeine. I was supposedly “retraining my body” to digest and store food, and there was an 85% chance I would NEVER gain my weight back. Continue reading “Diet Before Diagnosis – Is There a Connection?”

Food Sensitivity Test Results (and a coupon code)!

In case you didn’t know by now, I’m kind of a gut nerd.  Learning about the different ways my body responds to various foods has made such an impact on my overall health and well-being. That’s why I was so excited to finally take a food sensitivity test with EveryWell. They test for reactions to 96 different food items.

The kit comes with all the instructions you need for a finger prick test. (Embarrassing side note – I had to get the husband to prick my finger because I was too nervous to do it on my own.) Then I squeezed blood onto a little card with circles to drop the blood samples, and mailed it into the bag they provided. 

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I received test results in less than a week and I was THRILLED that I had zero high or moderate reacting foods!

Why is this a good thing?

Because when you have leaky gut, food particles escape the lining of the gut wall and foods that you frequently consume become seen as invaders, initiating an immune response. This causes low grade inflammation that can result in lots of yucky stuff like headaches, joint pain, bloating, fatigue, extra weight, skin problems, etc.
Sooooo this was further validation for me that the gut healing I have done the last 5 years is WORKING.

I had a handful of mild reacting foods, like soybeans (duh, soy is really not great for anyone’s gut), oats, chicken, and garlic – oh my!

What I found most fascinating is that I feel much better when I eat beef or pork, and both of those were my lowest reacting meats. I suspected that about garlic, as too much garlic at a meal causes a little bloating for me. Oats was new info, but definitely good to know! The rest of the mild reacting foods are things I don’t have much of so it is a good sign to proceed with caution.

Fun surprises – cabbage, spinach, coconut, avocado, apples, cauliflower, and tomatoes gave me the smallest reactions, which is fabulous – because I love all those and eat them often. I always suspected an issue with tomatoes but now I’m thinking it’s the garlic that is usually consumed with tomatoes that affects me!img_1841

Alllll to say – if you want to check and see how your body is responding to certain food without going on a crazy confusing elimination diet – this is a great way to do it!
My 20% off code is here and I’ll even offer you a complimentary consultation to go over your results and develop a plan that works for YOUR lifestyle!

If you don’t care to know your food sensitivities, they have many other health tests available at extremely affordable prices!

Immune Boosting Tips for 2019

It’s that time of year – some like to call it Cold and Flu Season, but some of us in the nutrition world call it Sugar and Lack of Sun Season. Recently I wrote all about sugar cravings, but what I failed to mention is that sugar suppresses the immune system.  As days get shorter and colder, we get less sunlight… meaning less vitamin D which our immune systems need as well.

So what to do to strengthen our bodies this time of year?

Here are 5 ways to boost your immune system for fall and winter (to see more tips in more detail, check out last year’s immune boosting tips here). Continue reading “Immune Boosting Tips for 2019”

Rhett’s Story – How Treating the Root of Illness Changed Everything

Almost 3 years ago, my third child was born. It was my best pregnancy and easiest labor and delivery. The recovery was a walk in the park. I thought for sure that adding on a third kid would be no problem.

I was wrong. At 8 weeks old, Rhett was admitted to Children’s Hospital due to RSV. His little body fought to breathe. He was congested and had to be suctioned out frequently in order to get oxygen and when that didn’t work, he needed an oxygen mask. It was terrifying.

 

He developed an ear infection, so he received antibiotics.

He developed thrush and a yeast infection from the antibiotics.

He got better, then developed another ear infection.

More antibiotics.

Then breathing treatments. Albuterol.

More yeast.

More antibiotics.

Reflux and spit-up and projectile vomiting.

Ears.

Antibiotics.

Breathing treatments.

Ibuprofen. Tylenol.

ANTIBIOTICS.

Do you get the picture? Do you see the cycle? We were on a cycle of insanity. After the 8th round of antibiotics, he got ear tubes and that seemed to lessen the frequency of the ear infections… but it didn’t heal him. Continue reading “Rhett’s Story – How Treating the Root of Illness Changed Everything”

The Biggest Issues in Children’s Health Today – an Interview with Dr. Alina Olteanu

img_8840I recently sat down to interview Dr. Alina Olteanu, integrative pediatrician and owner of Whole Child Pediatrics of North Texas. Dr. Olteanu played a major role in helping my youngest heal from chronic ear infections and restrictive airway disease (which I share about here).

I was thrilled to pick her brain about children’s health in the 21st century, and let me tell you – she is a wealth of knowledge! You can find the full audio recording in Google drive format here, or a YouTube link here.

Below is a transcription of the interview. All that is missing from the recording are a few comments I made here and there, but I encourage you to listen to the audio or YouTube link to hear the emotion and passion in both of our voices as we discuss these fascinating topics. She definitely speaks my language on all things gut health and brain health. I hope you enjoy what she has to say and please share with a friend!

What brought you to integrative medicine? Continue reading “The Biggest Issues in Children’s Health Today – an Interview with Dr. Alina Olteanu”

What’s the Deal with Sugar Cravings?

I feel like I have ultimate credibility when it comes to sugar cravings. I battled them for most of my life. There are many factors at play there: gut dysbiosis, adrenal fatigue, low dopamine, and nutrient deficiencies, but one of the biggest hurdles is that I had a HORRIBLE relationship with food.

I was a chronic dieter. There were good foods, there were bad foods, and somewhere in that system of thinking I associated good food and bad food with Good Erin and Bad Erin. My food issues became intertwined with my value as a human.

While one of the best things I have ever done is address my gut health and nutrient deficiencies, I also have received so much healing from normalizing sugar.

If I want something sweet, I have it. When I allow myself the freedom to have whatever I want, nothing off limits, the appeal of the forbidden goes down. In fact, I’m better able to take a few bites of something and tell if it’s worth eating. Sometimes it is, and sometimes it isn’t.

img_8341 Continue reading “What’s the Deal with Sugar Cravings?”

Delicious Dessert Nachos

My newest discovery in foodie land is the amazing Japanese sweet potato. Maybe it appeals to me because it’s purple on the outside (my favorite color), maybe it’s just because it’s unique, but either way – it is an extremely versatile friend in my kitchen. This guy has the ability to go sweet OR savory – no easy feat.

Because I’ve always loved a good sweet treat, I decided to go in the sweet direction. It makes it fun for kids, too! My 2 year old had to fight me for the last few bites of these “nachos.”

As usual, I used my air fryer for this recipe, but it’s doable in the oven too – might just take a little more time to get nice and crispy.

You can use peanut butter, almond butter, cashew butter, sunflower butter, whatever your favorite is. Trader Joe’s has a fabulous mixed nut butter that would be good on this too! The chia seeds give it some crunch, and the coconut/honey combo complete the flavor explosion. If you really want to get crazy, sprinkle some cocoa powder on top! Oh, the options!

img_7391 Continue reading “Delicious Dessert Nachos”

Back to School Reset Program

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I teamed up with fellow holistic health coach Melissa McGaughey to offer a Back to School Reset for the whole family!

The online 2 week program starts August 26. It will feature meal planning tips, family-friendly recipes, grocery store survival, pantry hacks, and ways to improve your entire family’s brain health and immune system through whole food nutrition!

The two of us have seen big changes in our children’s health and behavior through nutrition. We can’t wait to share how to make family meal time simple, yummy, and nutritious!

Early bird pricing is $34.95 through August 21. Sign up here or contact me for more info.

Brainpower Bombs

Okay, I really don’t know what to call this creation. I was in the mood for something sweet, kind of like a Perfect bar, but those are pretty pricey. I figured I could come up with my own version.

They’re tasty, filled with fat and fiber, and my kids wouldn’t stop eating them. What’s not to love? Also, it’s a dump and blend recipe… which I’m always a fan of.

(Side note – I wish I could plate my food with decorative flowers and greenery and sprinkles of coconut and cacao… but photography isn’t my gift. Plus these things don’t sit long without being eaten.)

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Continue reading “Brainpower Bombs”

Simple Salad Dressing Tips

If you and I toured the grocery store together for a little education on label reading and what to avoid and what to include, one of our first stops would be the salad dressing aisles.

Why? Well, most salad dressings are LOADED with ingredients that will do much more damage to your health and well-being than good. ESPECIALLY those lovely labels that trick you with words like “light” and “reduced fat.”

Now, knowing that most veggies contain fat soluble vitamins, which means we NEED fat to absorb them, why in the world would we throw on a dressing that is reduced fat?

>>Pause here. If you are following ANY kind of eating plan that promotes light or reduced fat dressing, it’s time for a new plan!<<

Don’t get me started. One of reasons I hated salads for years is because they never filled me up for more than an hour (there are other reasons I go into here, but I won’t go there now).

When I load my salad up with the RIGHT kind of fat, I feel fuller longer. It’s better for my mental health and way tastier. Most bottled dressings contain canola oil, soybean oil, and/or a bunch of random artificial chemicals and sugar. For example, even the Newman’s Own Olive Oil Blend, which seems to be a pretty safe option, contains soybean and/or canola oil added to it!

My favorite brands for dressings with yummy brain fats are Primal Kitchen and Tessamae’s. I’ve heard Bragg vinaigrette is awesome, but I haven’t tried it yet.

It is much cheaper and nourishing to my body and brain to make my own dressing. I put the ingredients in a small mason jar, shake them up, and store it in the fridge. I don’t like soggy lettuce and a lot of dressing, so I may use less than some.

Keep your oil and vinegar to a 3:1 ratio, and get creative with spices! Here is my favorite combination.

Favorite Salad Dressing

  • 3 tablespoons olive or avocado oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar (or apple cider, red wine, etc)
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2-1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • Dash of salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, dried parsley, lemon juice, lime juice, get creative!

Combine in a mason jar and shake. Serve immediately or store in fridge for up to a week.