How to Be Happier This Holiday Season

Pamela Gail Johnson founded the Society of Happy People in 1998, created the first three globally celebrated happiness holidays, and is the author of Practical Happiness: Four Principles to Improve Your Life. She was an award-winning salesperson for American Express and Staples, and now helps leaders and teams create happier workplace cultures.

Download and listen to this episode here or find wherever you get podcasts.

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Immune Health and Neurotransmitter Function: What You Need to Know

Fun fact: a hijacked immune system means hijacked neurotransmitters, especially in the case of tryptophan.

The primary pathway for tryptophan metabolism in the body is the kynurenine pathway, needed for supporting inflammation and immune function in case of virus or infection. In fact, tryptophan is so crucial for fighting inflammation that a recent study on mice found that mice who consumed diets low of tryptophan have altered gut bacteria and increased inflammation.

Tryptophan is needed for so many functions in the body. We need tryptophan to make serotonin, which definitely has an impact on mental well-being. We need it for sleep support, as serotonin flips the switch to melatonin at night, and we even need tryptophan to regulate GI function.

Tryptophan plays an important role for those who suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) as well, so if the immune system is under attack, or the body is dealing with any other threat, tryptophan may not be available to support mood health. This is often referred to as the “tryptophan steal.” Some studies even suggest supplementing with tryptophan may be just as effective as taking an antidepressant to ward of seasonal depression. This make sense, because SSRIs (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors) work on the synapses of the brain to keep serotonin available for longer. If the body isn’t getting tryptophan to make serotonin, there isn’t much available to “inhibit reuptake.”

You can support tryptophan by focusing on getting more tryptophan rich food into your diet or by taking a tryptophan supplement, but I advise you to check with a professional before adding in a supplement like tryptophan.

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Tryptophan-rich foods I love and how I incorporate them:

Bananas – Not only do they contain tryptophan, they are a great source of B6, needed for the metabolism of tryptophan. I love having bananas on hand to eat with peanut butter, throw in a smoothie, or add to oatmeal or chia pudding. Which leads to…

Oats – I love making overnight oats, using a cup of liquid, 1/4 cup oats, nuts and seeds, protein powder, all mixed in a jar and put in the fridge overnight or for a few hours. I also love making power balls with a mixture of oats, peanut butter, honey, and other add-ins like coconut and chocolate chips. My boys help me roll the mixture into balls and set in fridge. Usually it gets eaten immediately!

Chocolate – The darker the chocolate, the higher the amount of antioxidants and tryptophan. I love a square in the evening, or mid-afternoon if I’m having a craving for something comforting. I love dipping a square in organic peanut butter (with one ingredient: peanuts).

Dairy – This is when quality goes a long way. For those who can tolerate dairy, looking for full fat, grass-fed and organic dairy will give the most nutrient value. Because dairy is such a staple in the American diet, I don’t need to specify how to incorporate it. But be sure you tolerate it well and the quality is top notch, or you won’t be getting the full benefits.

Tuna – Quality is extremely important in all seafood, due to water contamination. Look for wild-caught, sustainable versons, especially when you’re looking for shelf stable tuna to mix as tuna salad.

Various nuts and seeds – Pumpkin seeds are great sources to throw on a salad, while I love adding chia and flax seeds to my kids’ oatmeal or yogurt. Cashews and pistachios have more tryptophan than peanuts, but organic peanut butter is such a great quick source and can be added to anything to up the flavor (I’ve even drizzled it onto my stir fry dishes).

Chicken/Turkey – Always look for pasture-raised, antibiotic-free sources. For turkey, this is particularly challenging, so I usually stick to chicken.

Because we are in the middle of cold/flu season, our bodies are constantly fighting viruses and our immune systems are more vigilant than ever. Those with more adipose tissue will carry a higher viral load, so it is extremely important to load up on tryptophan-rich foods as much as possible.

If you’re curious to know more about tryptophan and how to supplement with it, message me. I’d love to support you as you support your neurotransmitters this season!

Innovations in Psychiatry for ADHD, Depression, PTSD, and Anxiety

Recent estimates show that one in five Americans takes a psychiatric medication for depression or anxiety. Studies also show that two-thirds of people don’t respond to or have negative effects from current psychiatric treatment options. Another recent study highlighted the fact that SSRIs only work in 15% of people with depression, when you take away the placebo effect. I have written much on the topic of the “chemical imbalance” theory of depression, and where it falls short in application.

All this information can make the task of seeking help for your mental health extremely daunting and discouraging – especially when you are in crisis. This podcast interview with Dr. Brent Turnipseed is devoted to breaking down the innovations in holistic psychiatry.

Dr. Brent Turnipseed is the Co-Founder of Austin-based Roots Behavioral Health. Dr. Brent Turnipseed, Roots’ Medical Director, is a board-certified psychiatrist with a deep interest in innovative approaches to providing behavioral healthcare. Brent is on the Scientific Advisory Board for Ninnion Therapeutics and previously practiced psychiatry in clinical and law enforcement settings in Texas.

Download and listen to this episode here, or find wherever you get podcasts.

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Mental Roadblocks on Your Health Journey and How to Move Past Them

This is an empowering episode, no matter where you are in your health journey! Daniel Mangena is a fun, engaging guest and we had a great time discussing health, mindfulness, abundance and more!

Dan is an International Speaker, Best-Selling Author, Broadcaster and Coach. He is best known for his highly successful Micro2Millions program, being the author of Stepping Beyond Intention and his Do it With Dan and Beyond Success podcasts. He is completely self-made and has spent decades perfecting his world-class coaching methodology.

Download and listen to this episode here or find wherever you get podcasts.

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What Do I Do With All That Candy?

It’s the day after Halloween, and my dining room table is completely covered with candy. Some of my old favorites are featured: Reese’s pumpkins, peanut M&Ms, Milky Way, and Heath. In our house, my kids get to pick their favorite pieces, no more than ten (I’m flexible because the size varies), and the rest gets donated. Mom and Dad get to save a few as well, because ’tis the season, right?

I know there’s an intuitive eating movement to let kids have all the access and listen to their bodies for stopping cues, and I respect that… but it doesn’t line up with what we know about brain health. Big Food Patriarchy wants your kids (their consumers/users) hooked on candy for a lifetime, so of course they develop their products to hit the bliss point of food, without ever feeling the physiological satiation or urge to stop.

I’m all about teaching my kids to listen to their bodies, but we also have to understand the neurotransmitter hijack that occurs with these engineered food products and the long term impact on developing brains.

It’s not about willpower, discipline, or being able to eat intuitively. It’s about understanding that our brains are wired for survival. And anything that gets our serotonin and dopamine hitting harder and faster pumps up our norepinephrine to make us feel good in the moment – until we don’t anymore, and we need another stronger hit.

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Getting Relief from Seasonal Allergies

The design of the human body is amazing, and the immune system never ceases to blow me away. Its primary job is to scan the environment and tolerate. It is constantly scanning, for our protection. It then decides what it wants to tolerate, and what necessitates an attack back. It’s a beautifully protective design.

Mold, pollen, trees, grasses – these are not new things to the human body. We have always lived in community with our natural world. So what is the deal with seasonal allergies? Why are so many people struggling, and getting worse and worse from year to year?

It goes back to what your immune system is tolerating.

We are exposed to a myriad of foreign substances every day. Yes, we have the natural world. Yes, we have viruses and pathogens the body is protecting against. But now we have outdoor air pollution, synthetic fragrances in everything indoors, pharmaceuticals, medications and supplements with fillers our body has to figure out what to do with, pesticides on our food, food that isn’t really food, and all manner of chemical/toxin exposures from beauty products and antibacterial soaps and sanitizers that disrupts the microbial balance. Whew!

We are overexposed to foreign man-made substances and underexposed to the natural world. We don’t get nature time, play in the dirt, or live in close proximity to a variety of animals. We have a decline in vaginal births and breastfeeding, which decreases microbial diversity as a result.

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Most of your immune cells live in the gut. So any damage to the gut impacts the way the immune system is able to function optimally, but a failure to function optimally… creates more damage to the gut. It’s extremely cyclical.

It’s no wonder you go from living and tolerating all manner of foods, substances, allergens… then one day in your 30s or 40s you realize you have an abundance of skin issues, digestive problems, food reactions, and allergies gone wild! The allergy medicine that you used to be able to use with no problems seems not to work as well, and you experience brain fog and confusion when you take it.

It is all connected.

The good news is we can restore immune health. We can restore nutrients, and we can support our body’s desire to be in balance.

But we have to be able to look beyond the presenting symptoms and question what is driving them.

Taking an allergy pill will not remove the reason your immune system is creating a histamine response. Blocking histamine receptors doesn’t block your body’s need to protect you through the release of histamines. So it only works for so long, and as always, your body creates a compensatory response, at the expense of increasing risk of cognitive decline and glioma (well-documented side effects of long-term use of antihistamines).

So what do I recommend?

I love using quercetin for supporting the body at the root. Quercetin is a flavanoid naturally found in apples, blueberries, and kale. It helps the immune system respond to outside threats, and can act as a natural antihistamine by stabilizing the release of histamines. But the benefits go beyond symptom relief. It may even have anti-inflammatory effects, as well as help promote healing to the intestinal lining by creating a tighter junction and reducing likelihood of enhanced intestinal permeability. It’s a two-for-one value! To get started, I really like this brand, one to two capsules a day. Give it two weeks to take effect. When it is combined with bromelain, like the version I recommend, absorption is enhanced. QBC Plex by Solaray is another great option.

For kids, I really love Snifflex by Creekside Naturals. It’s inexpensive and works. Other options are D Hist for adults or D Hist Jr by Ortho Molecular Products, but those are typically more expensive, and if you have more than one child with allergies, it really adds up!

Boswellia is derived from frankincense, and it can reduce allergy and even asthma symptoms (clinically studied to reduce symptoms in 70% of those studied). There is much research available on Boswellia as an anti-inflammatory alternative to NSAIDs, which do quite a bit of damage to the gut by increasing enhanced intestinal permeability and breaking down the mucosal intestinal barrier (which we need for protection). Taking 300 mg, 3 times a day is a beneficial dose for reducing asthma-like symptoms.

Two other options to try are Stinging Nettle, 500 mg, 2 times a day, or Butterbur, 100 mg, 2 times a day (which can also help alleviate migraines as well).

As always, this information is used for educational purposes. Talk to your practitioner before you start any new supplements, especially if you are on other medications. Please do your own research. Instead of asking “Dr. Google,” I like to do a search such as “Butterbur Pubmed” to see what kind of published research is available. We live in an incredible era with published research available to all, so don’t buy the medieval dialogue to “leave the research to the experts.” That language is best left in the Middle Ages, and has no place in the modern, educated society.

I did not reverse chronic disease dynamics in my family by simply listening to the experts and nodding my head. I played an active role in my healing journey and that of my children, and I was thankful for the experts who partnered with me along the way and encouraged me to research on my own as well. If a practitioner is unwilling to work with you or laughs at your research (yes, this has happened to me), then it’s time to find someone new.

The last thing I will mention for seasonal relief is homeopathy. To be fair, I don’t have as much training in homeopathy as I do in nutrients and supplements using nutrients from food. But homeopathy has been my family secret for five years now, and it never fails in symptom relief. The two that I’ve used successfully are Boiron Histaminum Hydrochloricum 30c pellets and Rhinallergy Tablets. Pellets are great, because you can just drop a few of them in your mouth and let dissolve under your tongue. The tablets are a little trickier to drop into your mouth without touching the outside, which can take away some of the benefits. Homeopathy is great, because it’s heavily diluted and safe for a wide array of ages, and I never have side effects other than relief. Because of the increase of antibiotic resistance, homeopathy is gaining more favor from many traditional practicing physicians, though more study needs to be done and it still may be viewed as “quackery pseudoscience” for some practitioners.

Please remember that chronic stress increases the release of stress hormones and will put your body in a vulnerable position to fight back against invaders. When stressed, everything will look like an attacker and your body will respond accordingly. Your body’s job is to protect you, and it is always on your side, even if it doesn’t look like it.

Finally, if reading this has made you realize that it is time to take your health in your own hands, I would love to help you walk through that empowering journey. Contact me and let’s see what we can learn together!

How to Let Go of Trapped Emotions Using Emotion Code

When I recorded this episode, I hadn’t yet experienced emotion code for myself. It was still a new concept, still sounded slightly “woo woo,” and I needed more information. Even though my nurse practitioner recommended it to me during my well woman exam when I mentioned having past trauma, I brushed it aside. I can be skeptical when I want to be.

Coincidentally, a week before my interview, a friend of mine (who I very much trust when it comes to health) went to a local Emotion Code practitioner and had an incredible experience. So after this interview I decided to try it out for myself and scheduled a session with a local emotion code practitioner, Doni Rivers.

I was blown away by what was uncovered during my emotion code session. Within minutes, Doni had targeted two of my most impactful traumas in my life, and identified emotions I experienced during those traumas. I consider myself extremely in touch with my body at this point, after years of creating a partnership for healing. As soon as she named one in particular, I felt the energy of the stored emotions welling up in my body. I immediately started crying, shaking, overcome with what had long been abandoned in my body. That experience was unbelievable, but even more incredible was what happened in the following hours and days.

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Five Things You Do Every Day That Impact Your Hormones

It may be common to feel exhausted, moody, depressed, with low energy – but it doesn’t have to be normal. There are things you can do every day to create a balanced body and mind. This episode is a practical breakdown of things you can do every single day to impact your health on a whole body level.

Amanda Hinman is a Certified Functional Medicine Health Coach and Integrative Nutrition Health Coach who specializes in helping successful women over 40 who are struggling with hormone imbalance and exhaustion to heal naturally and gain 3 hours of energy every day so they can maximize their impact on their career and family. Amanda founded the Hinman Holistic Health Institute and together she and her team have helped 100s of women reclaim their health from the terrors of Hashimoto’s, hypothyroidism, insulin resistance, anxiety, PCOS, pituitary tumors and more.

Download this episode here or find wherever you get podcasts.

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How to Heal Your Brain from Emotional Pain

Your brain is designed to protect you and help you survive, but often it has a hard time regulating – especially when there is an overload of stored negative emotions. This episode is such a powerful breakdown of how to correct that process and find healing!

Rachelle McCloud, LCSW is a Mental Health Therapist and Emotional Wellness coach. Through years of successfully helping clients move their anxiety, depression, and trauma disorders into remission, she has developed a program that empowers people to skillfully get rid of symptoms and heal. She is also the facilitator of the Facebook group Releasing the Baggage of Anxiety, Depression, and Traumatic Stress, where she delivers free training on leading interventions that work well for getting rid of symptoms, not just coping or managing them. Her mission is to empower people to do their own healing work effectively, safely, and skillfully.

Download an listen to this episode here, or find wherever you get podcasts.

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The Nano Antioxidant that Levels Up Your Health: Personal Product Review

It’s rare that I do a two-part episode. It’s even more rare that I get to do a product review and interview in the same episode. But after interviewing Christopher Burres in Episode 147, I knew I had to do a part two.

My VitalC is a company that turns the longevity-promoting nano antioxidant ESS60 into a product for at home support. I sampled the product for two months, and I was suprised by my results. Sleep improvement, clear skin, and menstrual cycle improvements were all some of the benefits we discuss in this episode. Download and listen here or find wherever you get podcasts.

Christopher Burres is the owner of SES Research, the first company to deliver carbon nano materials, and MyVitalC, the world’s first nano antioxidant. When Chris realized a Nobel Prize-Winning chemical tested by NASA had been proven to almost double the lifespan of mammals, he decided to make ESS60 into a household item. He’s now on a mission to help people live longer, healthier and pain-free lives one dose at a time.

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