Success in Curing Gluten Intolerance

It’s been a long road.15A51E7D-F2D4-49F4-B277-5F2B7DCFBAC8[1]

I’ve wanted to write this up for a couple of weeks now, but I’ve been too nervous. I keep waiting for the old gluten symptoms to spring up, but so far…nothing. It’s been three weeks that I’ve added spelt back into my diet and so far I haven’t had any issues. Spelt is the last thing I gave up way back at the beginning of this blog’s existence actually, and now it’s the first thing I’ve put back in my diet after years of actively trying to heal my gut. My personal symptoms include bloating, headaches, fatigue, general malaise, and acne. I realize these sound like odd things to string all together, but the fact is that when I used to eat wheat, those issues plagued my life, then when I’d stop they’d stop, then when I’d eat wheat either as an experiment or by accident, sure enough, those symptoms would immediately be back. So far though, these last three weeks have been symptom-free despite eating spelt once about every other day. It isn’t much but I was so nervous to do it that it took about a month of thinking about it before actually eating a bite of spelt. (By the way, spelt is a variety of wheat with a lower than average gluten content which is why it is more tolerable than regular wheat flour.) My protocol started two years ago which I detailed here, but I also ended up adding adaptogens to my daily life which balance all the bodily systems, digestive herbs every day, and I’ve used Renew Life’s IntestiNew powder for a few months to really rebuild the intestinal lining. I also did a candida cleanse about a year ago b/c it’s important to your digestive health to make sure you don’t have an overabundance of candida in your system which many many people do because of antibiotic use and sugar-filled diets. If you are working to overcome food intolerances, here are some things to consider:

  1. Stop eating the trigger foods (of course)
  2. Take probiotics~ the highest potency ones you can find, and take different brands each time you need a new bottle. Talk with your doctor or naturopath about the dosing because most likely they will recommend higher dosages than on the bottle. This is especially true if you’ve been on antibiotics (ever) and never taken probiotics before.
  3. Heal intestinal lining by taking glutamine and herbs targeted towards such, and also by eating foods that are not overly taxing on the digestive system. These can vary by people, but you know what sits in your gut or causes you to bloat and have digestive distress and what feels good to your body when you eat it. By taking digestive enzymes before you eat and incorporating digestive herbs into your diet, you are also aiding the healing process.
  4. Give it time. Depending on how long it’s been an issue in your life, it could mean 3 months to 2 years of work. Trust your body, your intuition, and your medical professionals, but especially your body. Food intolerances can arise at any time in a person’s life but they don’t have to last for the rest of that person’s life. You can beat it, you can heal, and you can have optimal health.

Herbarium signCuring food intolerance is not something to undertake alone. I’ve worked with my physician, naturopath, and a GI specialist, plus I am an certified herbalist who’s worked in the natural foods and products industry so I know about what supplements are out there. Please work with health professionals of your own before trying to heal yourself, but hopefully this post will encourage others to heal and not just live with food intolerances indefinitely.

Posted in alternative medicine, food, Food allergies, food allergy blogs, food sensitivities, gluten free, Gluten free eating, gluten free food, gluten free foods, gluten free lifestyle, gluten free symptoms, gluten intolerance, gluten intolerance diagnosis, gluten intolerance symptoms, gluten intolerant, health, Herbs, supplements | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Natural Products that Help You Manage Stress and Boost Weight Loss

Recently I got some samples in the #NewHopeBloggerbox that included all kinds of foods, drink mixes, and supplements, and I noticed that quite a few things were helpful in keeping appetites at bay and improving satiety, as well as managing stress. Normally weight loss is not something I write about because it is such a complex and personal journey, but for those looking for just some natural ways that might help push those numbers to a more favorable weight for you, meaning your optimal weight, not anyone else’s idea of an optimal weight, then you might enjoy trying some of these products.

This one from Spice Pharm is delicious:280F9A5A-A3EE-4CF2-9387-2AEACC88EBEE[1]The Turmeric Chai Elixir has coconut in it so that when you add the hot water to the powder, that’s all you need to do. No milk required. It already has all the creaminess right there in it, plus adapotgenic herbs too, and it tastes incredible. The weight-loss part comes from using this drink in-between meals to increase your feelings of satiety (and it really does, without many calories either) or using it as a dessert. The chocolate one was best for the dessert style option but the chai elixir is so darn tasty that it suits that sweet tooth craving too. Adaptogens in general help support optimal weight by being over-all balancing to all body systems. Herbs act to balance, because when our bodies are out of balance then they are not optimal~ not in performance, not in detoxing, not in craving control, and not in energy levels nor stress levels nor sleep abilities. Adaptogens are the class of herbs that target all of that, and more.

Speaking of detox:

WP_20170901_12_23_22_Pro_(2)[1]This is a detoxifying drink for between meals that can also curb cravings, increase circulation and energy, and also make your body more alkaline. We really can’t get too many greens in our body, and Kyo-Green’s powder mix focused on energy is a great afternoon pick-me-up. Add to water the juice of half a lemon, 1/2 t. or less of cayenne powder, and 1 – 2 t. of the greens, and mix it all up. I use a big water bottle so I can continue to shake it up while I drink it since settling occurs. Of course you can also use these greens in just water, juice, or a smoothie.

Another way to get extra greens into your body which not only have so many nutrients and antioxidants, but also act to make your body more alkaline, is to add Kale to your smoothies, juice, or just plain water.  WP_20170905_07_54_37_Pro_(2)[1]I usually add fresh kale to my morning protein smoothie, but this vegetable powder from The Synergy Company is an excellent alternative when I am out of the fresh stuff or it just isn’t in season. The taste in one heaping teaspoon is just as potent as a couple of handful of leaves so it’s obviously very concentrated and packed with all the good stuff.

Another way to manage overzealous appetites is to manage stress and anxiety. It’s no secret that people often eat to soothe themselves instead of eating when truly hungry, plus there is a link between the stress hormone cortisol and holding on to extra weight. If your anxiety is causing you issues, there is help:


There are actually quite a few herbal tinctures and supplements to help with anxiety, but this one from Herb Pharm is unique for its use of lavender essential oil which you really taste when you drop it into your mouth. If you are used to taking tinctures that taste like roots, bark, and alcohol, you are in for a surprise with this anxiety remedy, which also boasts great calming herbs like passionflower, kava and others, without being too calming. Sometimes herbal anxiety remedies can actually make me tired, but this one does the anti-anxiety work without the yawns.

Of course when it is bedtime and we actually do want those yawns to kick in is often exactly when stress and anxiety like to wake us right back up. Some natural alternatives out there help you fall asleep, but if you have a problem staying asleep all night, then Tranquil Sleep by Natural Factors is for you:

CFD9E622-39EE-4335-810A-F604CD97FFF2[1]This has a combination of ingredients to help you fall asleep, stay asleep, and wake up refreshed which is far different than unnatural sleeping pills which often leave people feeling groggy. No one wants waking up to be any harder than it has to be! Sleeping well is so essential to our health and well-being that taking good care of it is just as important as the healthy choices we make in our awake hours.

Best of luck in all your health endeavors, and always check with your personal health experts when trying something new.


Posted in alternative medicine, essential oils, food, health, Herbs, modern life, organic, supplements | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Herbs in the Most Unexpected Places

Herbs are known for their rebellious nature, growing in the sidewalk cracks and the depleted soil abandoned alleyways of the world, but that’s not where I’m going with this post. I’m actually going to a far more suburban place….Trader’s Joe’s in fact. Look at what I found at my local (Redmond, WA) Trader Joe’s:

CB6CCC84-20DF-410E-BACD-2901B2C07225[1]AND, notice that they are organic too. Are these herbs becoming mainstream? Or is Trader Joe’s branching out into herbal waters? I mean the cacao powder makes sense, people do cook with it. But Maca is little more esoteric, unless people are using it in some way that has alluded me. If so, do tell! I put cacao powder into my chai-style digestive and antioxidant blend that I add daily to smoothies and coffee. It is full of antioxidants and tastes darkly, deeply, right with the chai spices. As for the Maca, I haven’t ever used it before but I couldn’t pass it up when it was right there in the aisle next to my favorite corn chips and chia seeds. Maca is an adaptogen that is known to support energy and  hormone levels, and can be used in place of (or along with) other adaptogens like Ashwagandha. I’m going to mix it into my current adaptogen powder blend which includes Ashwagandha, Eleuthero, and Rhodiola. I add that mix to my morning protein smoothie too, then I add other powdered herbs to my teas and coffees that I drink the rest of the day. Powdered herbs are a really great way to just add extra nutrition to any food or drink that you are going to put into your body anyway, so why not? What do you do with herbal powders?

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Essential Oil Body Oil

This video is my first attempt at video editing so it is terribly choppy, but I’m figuring out how to do all this modern techy stuff along the way and it is a process to say the least. Basically, to make a body oil that nourishes your skin while at the same time perfuming you subtly and also benefitting your mood, your chakras, and your mental abilities, just take a lesson from the ancient Egyptians and add essential oils to a base oil and lather yourself up. It’s seriously that easy. Using the most neutral smelling base oils helps, so sunflower oil, jojoba oil, grapeseed, or sweet almond oil are fantastic choices. Add approximately 5 drops of essential oil per teaspoon of base oil. There are 6 teaspoons per ounce, so that makes 30 drops of essential oil/s per ounce of base oil.  Be flexible with that proportion though and follow your nose. Some essential oils are stronger than others and require a lot less. Also keep in mind that citrus essential oils can increase photosensitivity so beware of that if you are spending time in the sun. Some people are irritated by cinnamon and/or clove essential oil so trying that in a very small dose is advised. If you are pregnant I advise working with a professional before making your own products, and definitely avoid basil, cedarwood, clary sage, cypress, juniper, pennyroyal, and rose. I like to put body oil all over myself in the morning before I get dressed and at night after I shower. You can also put the oil on before you take a bath and the water will help transport the essential oils through your skin and also through the air in the steam. Once body oils are part of your daily ritual you’ll love exploring with different essential oils and benefitting from all the amazing effects.


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Body Sprays and Room Sprays

We all know by now to avoid that word ‘fragrance’ on labels, right? If you need a quick reminder of why, it’s because that word can be a multitude of different chemicals that do not legally need to be detailed out on labels. Those chemicals include known endocrine disruptors and carcinogens. When we think about the widespread use of ‘fragrance’ in a multitude of industries~ personal care products, candles, cleaning products, etc, and the exposure which occurs over a lifetime, then it gets pretty clear that avoiding fragrance as much as one can is the best choice for optimal health, both for individuals and for the environment. I’m going to be showing easy ways to use essential oils for scenting and the first is a body spray which can just as well be used as a room spray. The benefits of essential oils are endless. I hope you enjoy exploring them as much as I do.

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Summer Solstice and the Secret Language of Herbs

Just as flowers have meanings beyond their use and beauty, herbs too have a language all their own. These meanings are often derived from their traditional healing applications or their reputed magical powers, but others are a mystery as to why their meaning is what it is in the language of the botanical world. Since herbs have always been such an important part of Summer Solstice, I thought I’d share a bit of the herbal ‘secret language’ that at one time everyone knew as well as they knew a red roses means romantic love. Of course their are differences around the world, but here’s a snippet of European herbal lore:

Happy Solstice everyone!

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Digestive System Herbs and Other Helpers

If you have been diagnosed with a digestive disorder such as IBS or multiple food intolerances, or even if you just have occasional digestive issues, you might feel overwhelmed by the sudden need to rethink every little thing you eat. Especially with food intolerances when you are given a list of foods that you have to avoid for an indefinite period and almost always it’s the foods you eat the most often that are the foods included on the list. Even with digestive issues such as colitis, constipation, or IBS, there are often foods that are best avoided, and although there are prescriptions and over-the-counter drugs to help with immediate issues, there are not a lot of medicines to help build your system back up. That’s where the herbs and natural supplements come in. They are slower acting, but that is because they are building your system up to be healthier, stronger, and more capable of doing the work intended for it. Food intolerances are often blamed on modern farming practices and while that may play a role (looking at you, Monsanto), if that were the whole picture, then we would all have the same food intolerances. So although avoiding trigger foods is the first step in healing, the next step needs to be supporting the digestive system from top to bottom in order to produce faster healing and longer-lasting results.

If you only take one supplement for your digestive system, take a probiotic, and take the highest potency one you can find. You can consult your doctor/naturopath/pharmacist on your dosing b/c in general the bottle will low-ball what you should take. If in doubt, always start with the absolute minimum, then build up slowly. You should switch brands often to get the most variety in your gut ecosystem, although if you find one that works especially well for you, keep returning back to it every other time. If you see a Gastro-enterologist, you can ask him/her for their recommendation for a probiotic and they might have a prescription strength one that is right for you.

L-Glutamine is an amino acid that is critical to repairing the intestines, especially when it comes to issues of ‘leaky gut’. There are plenty of powders out there designed for intestinal healing, and the one ingredient they all have in common is glutamine. You can also buy L-glutamine separately and put it into smoothies or whatever sounds good to you. A couple of reputable brands’ L-glutamine products are: Enteromend by Thorne Research,  IntestiNew by Renew Life, and G.I. Integrity by Pure Encapsulations.

Kombucha is everywhere right now and in a variety of flavors, so hopefully you can find one that suits your tastes because Kombucha is excellent for your digestive system. When I started researching Kombucha I kept running into the story that former President Reagan drank it while battling stomach cancer. Now these stories never say that he won solely because of the probiotic drink, but they do point out that he won that battle and died of something else entirely, many years later.

As for herbs, I am going to share a very thorough article by one of my very own herbal masters who was the head of the herbal studies program that I went through to get my herbalist certificate, and I also was his intern for a few months while pregnant with my firstborn. The article is in Mother Earth Living and is called 30 Digestive Herbs. Don’t be surprised when you see turmeric there.

One last thing, candida very well might be an issue if you have food intolerances or other chronic digestive disorders. Candida gets out of whack when we take antibiotics, and often we have no idea until it is so systemic it results in a yeast infection or jock itch. Your doctor/naturopath can test you for candida, or if you already know it is out of balance in your body, there are candida cleanses you can find at your local health food store or online.


Posted in alternative medicine, cleansing, food, Food allergies, food allergy blogs, food sensitivities, gluten free, gluten intolerant, health, Herbs, supplements | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments