Ask the Expert: What is MTHFR and How Does It Affect Me?

Though I have addressed the topic of MTHFR on this blog before, I wanted to dive deeper into it and learn from someone who could explain how it relates to our mental health and overall wellness.

img_1492Dr. Tracey Stroup is a Naturopathic Doctor, Certified Natural Health Professional, certified Digestive Health Specialist, Master Herbalist who also has completed courses in Iridology.

An estimated 40% of the population has this MTHFR gene mutation, which prevents us from being able to effectively use B vitamins or convert folic acid, repair on a cellular level, and use antioxidants to properly detoxify.

Common health conditions like migraines, chronic fatigue, infertility, autoimmune issues, mental health or other neurological problems – even heart disease – all can be greatly impacted by MTHFR.

In this podcast episode, Tracey discusses dietary and lifestyle changes plus supplement recommendations that can help us biohack our genes. As I’ve mentioned before, your genes load the gun, but the environment pulls the trigger!

Click to download to listen to this episode here or on iTunes here.

Kanye, Bipolar Disorder, Religiosity, and My Thoughts

While my entire Facebook feed is filled with articles and comments about Kanye West’s new album and recent conversion, I have stayed silent. Why?

Because number one, I don’t really know anything about Kanye to begin with (other than the time he hijacked Taylor Swift’s speech on the VMAs and the famous rant about George Bush not caring about black people). He has kids with weird names and a wife with an awesome body. That’s about all I know. Superficial? Maybe. I can’t tell you the name of any of his songs. They’re not on my running playlist.

Number two, what he does or says doesn’t have any affect on me personally. If he wants to sing songs about being rich and famous or songs about Jesus – cool. I typically don’t speak up about issues in pop culture unless I feel they have some kind of heart-twisting impact on me and my life… or if they have some kind of mental health connection.

So when I heard he suffers from bipolar disorder, that’s when the light bulb turned on. How did I miss this? Talk about a plot twist! It led me to take an interest in all the Kanye news of the last year or so. While many out there are debating whether his conversion is real or a publicity stunt, my first thought upon learning this is – is this all a manic episode?

Continue reading “Kanye, Bipolar Disorder, Religiosity, and My Thoughts”

How to Raise Emotionally Resilient, Confident Children In Today’s Stressful Environment

Parents and teachers and anyone who works with children – you’ll want to tune in to this episode! While it seems as if children are experiencing more mental challenges than ever before, there IS a way to get to the root of those challenges.

dr sandy gluckman circle headshotSpecial guest Dr Sandy Gluckman has made it her mission to get to the root of child behavior. She is not in favor of ‘managing’ the symptoms children have.  Instead she removes the symptoms by finding and healing the underlying root causes. She is a learning, behavior and mood specialist, author, educator and international speaker who has consulted with and trained thousands of parents and teachers in different parts of the world. She presents a fundamental and highly effective shift in understanding how to treat and heal learning, behavior and mood challenges, preferably without medication.

She is the author of Parents Take Charge: Healing Learning, Behavior and Mood Challenges Without Medication and Who’s in the Driver’s Seat: Using Spirit to Lead Successfully. She also authored a chapter in Mission Possible and has published extensively in parenting, education and business journals. She is a frequent speaker at healthcare, parenting, education and business conferences.

In our conversation, she discusses neurotransmitters and their role in emotional resilience, the science of interpersonal neurobiology, and what parents and teachers can do to raise confident children. Her solutions are surprising yet encouraging.

For more information on Dr. Gluckman and the services and resources she offers, click here.

Find the link to the episode here or on iTunes. Don’t forget to subscribe to the Sparking Wholeness podcast to stay up to date on all the latest episodes!

Is Your Poop Telling You Something?

Yes, I’m going there. We’re talking about poop. Specifically – we’re talking about gut bacteria and its impact on overall health and well being.

This week’s special guest on the podcast, Dr Chris Jones, is a chiropractor, Doctor of Natural Medicine, and gut expert. He is the owner and director of Wellness Movement, an online health consultation business.

img_0702His mission is to help those with autoimmunity and chronic GI problems regain their health so that they can FINALLY FEEL BETTER.

One of the reasons I was excited to speak to Chris is because he has so many amazing stories of transformation through his testing and healing protocols. As a self-proclaimed gut health nerd, I wanted to hear more about what he thought of the gut/brain connection, the microbiome and autoimmunity, and of course – how nutrition and stress factors in.

Listen to the episode here. For more information about Dr Jones and what he does, head over to www.doctorchrisjones.com

Favorite Slow Cooker Potato Soup

Brrrr – it’s cold outside in Dallas, so you know what that means for me??? Time to post a soup recipe!

I wish I knew where this recipe came from, to give credit where credit is due. But I don’t – I’ll just say my family requests this every time the weather cools down a bit, and this recipe has always been a hit in my coaching groups.

It’s gluten free, dairy free, and SUPER filling. You can sub the white potatoes for sweet potatoes – or even Japanese sweet potatoes!

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When I worked away from home full time, I prepped all ingredients the night before, stored them in the fridge, then dumped them in the crock pot the next morning, set on the lowest setting.

These days I throw it all together and cook on high for 4 hours.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 pound Italian sausage (or breakfast sausage or grass fed beef)
  • 10 slices bacon
  • 3 large potatoes, peeled and chopped into cubes
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 32 ounce carton broth (beef has the most flavor)
  • 1 teaspoon salt or more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 cups chopped kale
  • 1 can unsweetened coconut milk, refrigerated to separate cream

Directions:

  1. Cook sausage in pan.
  2. Cook bacon in pan or bake on 375 for about 35 minutes until desired crispness.
  3. While those cook, chop potatoes and onions.
  4. Place everything in slow cooker except bacon, kale and coconut milk.
  5. About 30 minutes to 1 hour before serving, add kale.
  6. A few minutes before serving, add just the separated coconut cream to the slow cooker.
  7. Chop bacon in small pieces and serve on top of soup. **Some people throw the bacon in at the beginning with everything else, but I think it has more flavor as a garnish.

“You Can Make a Difference in How You Feel” – Interview with Dr. James Gordon

Recently, I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. James Gordon, Harvard trained psychiatrist, Director for the Center for Mind Body Medicine, and author of the new book, The Transformation: Discovering Wholeness and Healing After Trauma.

Our conversation blew my mind on many levels. Not only is Dr. Gordon an expert on dealing with trauma, he gives practical steps for addressing trauma that anyone can do!

What follows is a short transcript of the interview highlights, but the full recording can be heard on my show page here. Continue reading ““You Can Make a Difference in How You Feel” – Interview with Dr. James Gordon”

Living with the Stigma of Bipolar Disorder – Podcast Premiere

Exactly 20 years ago, I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

But I didn’t go public about it until last year.

Why? The stigma. The jokes. The complete misunderstanding and misinformation about what bipolar disorder really is. 

Here’s what it is: 

  • It’s like depression with some really fun occasional breaks in between that help you get stuff done… but it can completely wear you out and shut you down. 
  • It’s like the Queen song “Don’t Stop Me Now,” mixed with Gary Jules’ “Mad World.”
  • It’s like Texas weather, dropping 50 degrees in a day, for a cold front that is unexpected, with a duration that is uncertain. 

But most of all – it IS manageable and it doesn’t have to hinder quality of life or functioning.

SWitunesLike I said, I hid it for a long time. I’m learning to manage it through a variety of tools – gut health, nutrition, movement, sleep, talk therapy.

On the first episode of my new podcast Sparking Wholeness, I share my entire journey in a way I never have before.

If you haven’t struggled with mental health issues, that’s amazing and I’m so happy for you. But chances are, someone close to you needs hope. Someone close to you needs a step toward healing. And that’s what this show is intended to do – it’s just another way to spark a little fire towards wholeness. 

Click here to download and listen to this episode, or click here for my show page – and to be able to subscribe to my podcast feed (please subscribe). It will be available on iTunes soon.

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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. 

Continue reading “Food Sensitivity Test Results (and a coupon code)!”

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”