Yes, You Are Swimsuit Ready!

A few days ago, as I was getting ready for the day, my youngest child, who’s five, squeezed my belly and asked me why my skin is different than his. He compared by attempting to squeeze skin from his belly, which obviously didn’t happen.

So I told him how my skin is more stretchy and elastic, and it has been stretched out quite a few times from getting bigger and smaller, and back again, because our bodies protect us and keep us safe by always changing. And how amazing is that???

I love warm weather and being in the sun, by the pool, or at the beach. I don’t love bathing suit season. Never have. But every year, I’m reminded of what my body went through in the last year to keep me safe. Whether that’s mood instability, weight gain or weight loss, autoimmune flares, gut issues, skin problems… our bodies do what they can to create balance in a continuously imbalanced world. 

So when that same five year old catches me in action like this (while I am trying to prepare my skin for an upcoming beach vacation) and tells me, “lift your arms up” for the picture…. I let him.

This pose represents one more year that has passed with me in a vessel that has worked so hard for me for a very long time. One more year that I’m still swimming, maybe doggy-paddling my way through life… but keeping my head above water.

My body is amazing. So is yours. Don’t let your current disappointment in your symptoms keep you from being present for the sunshine.

Artificial Sweeteners and Cancer: What’s the Connection?

Breaking news: A HUGE study, published in March 2022, showed that people who consumed high amounts of aspartame were associated with a 22% higher risk of developing breast cancer and 15% higher risk of developing obesity-related cancers. Other sweeteners that were included in the study were sucralose (Splenda) and acesulfame potassium, though 58% of the participants consumed aspartame.

The cohort study was initiated in France in 2009, and looked at the diet of 102,685 people. It’s important to note that almost all of the participants consumed less than the government-recommended allowable daily intake… so it’s not like they were consuming it all day long, all the time. Even a small amount seemed to make a difference in health outcomes.

Artificial sweeteners can be found in:

  • Gum
  • Diet drinks
  • Light yogurt
  • Pedialyte
  • Microwave popcorn
  • Whole wheat bread and English muffins
  • “Carb balance” tortillas
  • Some protein powders and health bars (including Pure Protein and Quest)
  • Sugar free candy
  • Sugar free coffee syrups
  • Energy drinks
  • Sugar free ice cream and other desserts

Aspartame has long been linked to tumors in mice, but other artificial sweeteners (including Splenda/sucralose) are also linked to depression, anxiety, ADHD, cognitive decline, insulin resistance, weight gain, cardiovascular disease, and microbial imbalances (which affect everything else).

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Dissecting Today’s Most Popular Diets

We know that diets fail 95% of the time, but think of it this way – if dieting was a medication, the FDA would never approve it.

Dieting never got to the root of my health issues. In fact, it only made things worse. My guest Heather Creekmore of Compared to Who says the same thing. Both of us have made pretty amazing health transformations – and we did it without dieting.

With spiritual, mental, emotional, and yes, physical health at the forefront of our conversation, in this podcast episode we discuss the popular dieting trends this summer.

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

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It’s Not Either/Or; It’s Both/And

I started my website four years ago because I wanted to share my story of surviving mental illness, and I wanted to give hope for healing for those that are continuing to struggle with errors. I wanted to share how it isn’t just chemicals in the brain, how it isn’t just in your head, and how there are very real physical deficiencies and imbalances at play, just as much – if not more than – imbalances at the brain level.

I have never been anti-medication, and I have never recommended anyone go off their medication without consulting their health practitioner. But I have always wanted to be realistic about the risks that come with taking medication. While medication may have served its purpose for me in the short term, there were plenty of unpleasant side effects I experienced when I took the wrong medication, or medication at too high of a dose, or because the medication I was given didn’t fit the disorder that I was experiencing. I never hallucinated or heard voices or saw strange things… until I started taking an antipsychotic.

With that being said, there are plenty of people in the world that do benefit from medication and will need to be on that medication long-term. For other people, there may be different solutions that improve their quality of life more than medication does. There is no one-size-fits-all to mental health.

I started my podcast because I wanted to seek out experts in the field who are doing things differently, who are looking for new solutions to an age-old problem that isn’t being solved with medication and talk therapy alone.

Because of what we know of the gut-brain connection, the HPATG axis, the vagus nerve, and even mitochondrial function, we know that there is so much going on under the surface when it comes to mental and physical health. We know that our body works as a network, one huge spiderweb, and nothing occurs on its own.

We are living in a time when everything is being polarized and divided into either/or categories. If you look at alternatives to medication or vaccines, you must be anti-med or anti-vaccine. If you take medication, you must be anti-natural health. If you are promoting any kind of nutritional support, you must be promoting dieting. These things aren’t true. It isn’t either/or. We can live in a both/and world.

Continue reading “It’s Not Either/Or; It’s Both/And”

Why Glutathione May Be the Missing Puzzle Piece in Your Health

I’ve never devoted an entire episode to ONE powerful antioxidant, but thanks to my guest, Dr. Nayan Patel, this discussion about glutathione is fascinating.

Dr. Patel is an internationally recognized expert, consultant, lecturer on glutathione, and has been a respected pharmacist for twenty-five years. Dr. Patel received his PharmD degree from the USC School of Pharmacy, where he now serves as an adjunct faculty member. He has traveled the world educating practitioners and pharmacists on advanced biochemistry and anti-aging science. His book, “The Glutathione Revolution” is available now.

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

Continue reading “Why Glutathione May Be the Missing Puzzle Piece in Your Health”

Identifying Root Causes of Bipolar Disorder

I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder (what they then called “manic depressive illness”) in 1999. While the diagnosis matched the symptoms I was experiencing, the treatment I received never seemed to make things better… and they never treated the root of why I was struggling.

While I have shared about my personal experience with bipolar disorder, PTSD, and depression and I have interviewed many different experts who share ways to treat the root of chronic disease, I have never devoted the majority of an episode to bipolar disorder and its root causes.

Ellen Vora, MD received her B.A. from Yale University and attended Columbia University medical school. She’s a board-certified psychiatrist, medical acupuncturist, and yoga teacher. Dr. Vora takes a functional medicine approach to mental health—considering the whole person and addressing imbalance at the root, rather than reflexively prescribing medication. Dr. Vora’s book, The Anatomy of Anxiety, comes out in March 2022.

Recording this episode was personal for me. It helped me put together the puzzle pieces of my health even further. Download here or listen wherever you get podcasts.

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Five Things I Do For My Mental Health Every Day

While I was officially given a mental illness diagnosis over 22 years ago, I struggled long before that.

That means I’ve spent most of my life battling my brain.

These five things help me manage my symptoms and keep me checking in with myself. When I’m feeling off, I check in and ask myself how I’m doing in each category.

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Mental Health Solutions: Where Are We Now?

We are in the middle of a serious mental health epidemic (I feel like a broken record when I repeat that statement). More and more people are suffering from anxiety, depression, and other mental illnesses that ever before. We have medication and talk therapy, but how many people are actually receiving relief from their symptoms and actually getting better?

This recent podcast episode with Dr. Josh Friedman tackles why we are stalled in our current mental health care treatments, and he proposes ways to get unstuck.

Dr. Josh Friedman earned his doctorate in Psychology from New York University and did post-doctoral training in Psychoanalysis from the Training and Research Institute for Self Psychology (TRISP) in New York City. After working in the field for a few years, he realized that something was missing from traditional mental health treatment. Curiosity and a chance meeting led him to discover the world of Nutritional Psychology, which teaches that many psychological issues are caused or made worse by underlying biochemical/nutritional deficiencies. Dr. Josh started Alternative Mental Health Solution to help people find and fix the ROOT cause of their mental health struggles.

Download this episode here or find wherever you get podcasts.

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The Hidden Drivers of Mental Dysfunction

Shawn Bean is the founder of Matrix Health and Wellness, and is considered by his colleagues to be one of the most innovative clinicians in practice today. Shawn has the unique ability to uncover hidden patterns with complex client cases, unravelling the core findings of functional medicine test results and patient histories, and to employ unique, and bio-individualized therapeutic approaches to optimize well being and minimize adverse reactions.

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

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Super Spinach and Artichoke Dip – and Other Healthy Game Day Appetizer Ideas

It seems that every game day side item is loaded with cheese, cheese, and more cheese…in the form of cream cheese, sour cream, shredded, melted (called “queso” if you live in Texas), and maybe yogurt if someone is getting creative. I love dairy just as much as the next person, but it doesn’t always make me feel my best, and I’m pretty picky about when I choose to consume it. So I wanted to offer a few of my favorite non-cheese game day side options.

  1. Spinach and Artichoke Dip

All right, this recipe is not my own creation. I like to give credit where credit is due. The original recipe is here. It’s delicious, and doesn’t taste dairy free at all!

Continue reading “Super Spinach and Artichoke Dip – and Other Healthy Game Day Appetizer Ideas”