Healthy Body

Healthy Body

An Interview with the ‘Posture Guru of Silicon Valley’

January 8, 2019
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She begins her day with a warm bath. Then, she brushes her teeth while strengthening her gluteus medius muscles (one leg, upper teeth; the other leg, lower teeth), followed by flossing, accomplished while balancing a bean bag on her head. Next, three rounds of sun salutations, followed by foam rolling to mobilize her thoracic spine and L5-S1 juncture. Finally, she takes a big glass of warm lemon water to her Gokhale chair (a chair with soft rubbery nubs on the back that helps to stretch the spine and a seat that gently slopes forward to encourage pelvic tilt while sitting) and makes calls to her team members in India and Germany.

Her name is Esther Gokhale. Her job is to improve the world’s posture.

Years of research in Brazil, India, and Portugal, along with her studies at the Aplomb® Institute in Paris led her to develop the Gokhale Method, a unique, systematic approach to help people find their bodies’ way back to pain-free living. She has taught at some of the world's most powerful corporations (Google, Facebook, IDEO), presented at conferences like TEDx, Weston Price Foundation Conference, and PrimalCon, has consulted trainers of the San Francisco 49ers along with several Stanford sports teams, and has an impressive client list that includes the likes of YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki and Matt Drudge of the Drudge Report. In May 2013, The New York Times gave her the appropriate title of “The Posture Guru of Silicon Valley”.

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I came across Esther as most people do — in pain and after exhausting all resources. Five years ago, I pulled out my back and found that I had a herniated disc. Since then, I’ve sought the help of an orthopedic surgeon, a physical therapist, three chiropractors, and three acupuncturists. Some helped, others didn’t. Whatever I did, inevitably, the pain would come back.

The most recent back-pull occurred the day after Thanksgiving. I was helping my husband move a couch and there it went. A small pang at first, and eventually it grew until every move I made twinged with pain. First, I bawled. Then, I took my usual action. I found a chiropractor and an acupuncturist, and started wearing my "Back Buddy" (a belted bean bag you heat in the microwave) around the house like a little old lady. But somewhere in the process, I realized that by doing so, I was practicing the definition of crazy — doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

And then it hit me: Why is it that I am so quick to take my health into my own hands when it comes to nutrition and wellness, but when it comes to my back and muscles I constantly consult outside help?

Is it possible that there’s something I could proactively be doing to make all this pain go away?

According to Esther, the answer is yes. Esther is not here to massage your muscles, crack your bones, or stick needles into you (though she is certified as an acupuncturist). She doesn’t want you to have to depend on her or anybody on a regular basis to resolve your pain. Her goal is to empower you to take those changes into her own hands. How?

Posture.

Yes, the solution to back pain (and shoulder pain and leg pain) is posture. We, as a modern society, are not doing it right. We’re not sitting right, we’re not standing right, we’re not laying right, and we’re not walking right.

Who is? Ubong tribesmen in Borneo, fishermen in Portugal, brickmakers, carpenters, and mothers in West Africa. Countries that have not been affected by modern conveniences. She has spent years traveling and studying these people who practice perfect posture and who don’t have back pain — even though many of them perform what we would consider to be back-breaking work.

I reached out to Esther on a whim, after attending one of her free live video chat seminars. I had half-heartedly signed up, assuming it would be a sales-pushy presentation (If you sign up today, I'll knock 50% off my e-course!), but hoping to learn something from it. Instead, I found Esther, along with about 20 other attendees live in a group chat. There she was, answering individual peoples' questions about their aches and pains, doing everything she could to assist them on the spot.

This is a daily habit of hers. Helping people for free. Who is this woman? I took a long shot to see if she would be interested in being featured on Healthy Stacey. Not only did she say yes. Esther graciously gave me an hour of her time talking about everything from how to affect our children's posture to the unusual symptoms that result from bad posture (PMS, IBS, hemmheroids – no way!). She even answered a few questions that you, my readers, submitted to me prior to this interview (scroll to the end for those answers). If you really want to understand Esther’s methods, I highly recommend her book, “8 Steps to a Pain-Free Back.” But for a brief peek into Esther’s world, please join me in my interview with “The Posture Guru of Silicon Valley.”

———–

Me: Your book involves some pretty detailed descriptions of how we all can change our posture for the better. As somebody who was in a lot of pain, I impatiently wanted answers right away. For my readers who have not read your book, what is the best metaphor or visual you have for explaining to people how to position themselves on a daily basis?

Esther: Picture a ready position instead of parked position. Or picture the image of a Greek statue or a baby standing. It’s much more athletic and poised.

Me: If you could choose one thing that the majority of people are doing wrong when it comes to their posture, what would it be?

Esther: Swaying their backs because we’ve been encouraged to do that. Tucking their pelvis in is another.

Note: Esther explains her book that we’ve been misdirected when it comes to posture. Most physicians advise that an “S” curve is ideal posture. But Esther’s research shows that a “J” curve is best. It's what you'll see in the people of the aformentioned cultures, as well as in Leonardo Da Vinci drawings and Greek statues.This misinformation has led physians to encourage tucking of the pelvis and to create the bottom of the “S.”

Me: As a new mom, I’ve been following a more natural movement philosophy for my daughter, inspired by the teachings of RIE (don’t sit your kid up; wait until they sit up on their own; don’t help your kid walk; let them walk themselves, etc). What do you suggest we do with our babies and toddlers to help them develop correct posture from day one?

Esther: I think the notion of not supporting your child is not a possibility. You’re holding them and interacting with the material world whether you like it or not. In modern Western society, everybody is…

What’s more important is healthy support rather than unhealthy support. (There are) baby apparatuses that should not exist — the bouncing chairs, the walkers, etc. They put inappropriate pressure on the pelvis and tuck them in.

(Of course), there’s a balance to be struck. They have to go in a car and you want them to be safe. (That said), all the car seats are miserably designed. The emphasis needs to be on (marketers) understanding basic principles. Not just proliferating material stuff for commercial interest.​

Monisha White (Esther's daughter, an intelligent, well-informed woman who works for The Gokhale Method happened to be in the room and stepped in when she heard this question): I went to the ancestral health symposium, and the natural movement philosophy you mentioned is very (in line with) the Gokhale Method. We need to inspire babies to move naturally. Esther always says, you don’t want them to wear shoes. Let their feet learn to develop naturally on their own.  

Same thing with baby bouncers. If they put them in a bouncer, they don’t learn to use their stabilizers. People and parents will play a role. (It’s okay to) give a hand and help them build on their progression…You are going to be supporting them. The floors, the walls, they are all supports.

Me: What are common problems that people suffer from that they would not know are related to bad posture?

Esther: A lot of pelvic floor issues, urinary incontinence, prolapse, bad 'plumbing,' hemorrhoids, doing kegels to hold things up. Digestive issues – IBS, chronic constipation. PMS from having a tucked pelvis, insufficient volume, unnatural blood supply, and insufficient nerve supply for all the pubic organs. Depression. A 2017 study showed a link between depression and posture. Breathing challenges from not having adequate chest architecture.

Me: How do you feel about alternative treatments such as chiropractors? Cupping? Acupuncture? Physical therapy?

Esther: There’s lot of value in a lot of alternative and conventional methods. (But) I think they show up as being very middling in effectiveness for back pain. Let me show you something…

Esther proceeded to take me to a crowdsourcing website called healthoutcome.org. Here, different treatments are rated by people in their effectiveness.

If you look at how effective most treatments are, middling is what I would say. More people say treatment worsened than improved for back exercises. This correlates with studies. Gohkale Method is 4.4 out of 5. What the other approaches are missing is teaching them how to use their bodies. If people do the same things that caused the problems in the first place, why would it work that well? It doesn’t. People are trained with a mindset and a set of tools. They’re not trained to expand beyond. What we represent is a paradigm shift in many ways.

Reader Questions:

Reader: Walking while using a laptop, it’s a thing. That is how the author of Gone Girl spends her day: slow walk on treadmill with raised desk, writing. I did a version, but I got back pain from the slight leaning forward using the laptop. I guess I would ask (what she thinks) about these new ways to introduce activity to these typically sedentary tasks?

Esther: It’s important to take what’s good and not throw out the baby with the bathwater. What’s important to keep is mechanics. Movement is very important. Right now I’m doing Samba. (She literally was Samba dancing while we video chatted :)). That’s very possible with certain tasks. When you’re on the phone, you could be walking around. I think it’s important to take breaks regularly. We’ve designed posture pauses. Waking the body up and challenging it. I think it’s nice to have a variety.

There’s research showing that standing all day causes increased risk of hospitalization due to varicose veins, and fine motor skills and creative thought does not happen as well.  I think it’s important to have variety and physical breaks.

I don’t agree with statements like the “Best position is the rest position.” Or "Sitting is evil." It’s thinking that everything is so bad that we have to keep running away from it. It’s all good if it’s done skillfully and in moderation. You don’t need much, but a good chair is nice. It’s important to sit some. It gives rest. It’s the best position for thinking. Lying down is an underrepresented, healthy position that should be threaded throughout day. You need a variety.

Reader: Do the posture bras really work?? Or what can she recommend?

Esther: In general, support can be helpful if they are used as reminders. It’s fine to use them. It’s limited in how helpful it can be if you’re going to be a passive participant. It can have some downside. The best is if you use it as a reminder and as a safety net. (I don’t have any experience with posture bras), but I'm currently writing a blog post about a back belt. I bought a bunch of them and tested them out.

Keep an eye out for that on Esther's blog.

Reader: How do you maintain healthy standing posture and prevent a sore back when your baby is half the size of you? 

Esther: You learn to carry them on your back. African style with a piece of cloth. It’s some investment, but that is the most important thing I learned in child rearing. I used a cloth.

Reader: I sometimes think my wallet is what causing my back pains… literally my physical wallet and the hump of it I sit on daily… is there truth to this ??

Esther: (There) can be. It’s pressing on the point of departure from the sciatic nerve from the pelvis. If you don’t have that much musculature there, you could be pressing directly where the sciatic nerve exits the pelvis. That can cause sciatic pain because it’s introducing asymmetry. Having a large amount of stuff in your pockets can throw a wrench in what’s a finely tuned structure.

———-

Alrighty! That's all she wrote. What did you think? Did you learn anything new? For me, it's an entirely new way of looking at myself and the world around me. It's the first time that I've expanded my definition of "healthy" beyond food and exercise. I plan to write more on this topic — How should we sit? Stand? Lie? How can we work it into our daily routines? Comment below if you're interested in learning more, or if you have questions you'd like answered.

Much Love,

HealthyStaceySignature

 

 

 

Healthy Body

Healthy Stacey is having a baby + Spicy & Sweet Brittle Recipe

May 4, 2017
SpicyBrittleCrunchRecipe_Paleo_HealthyStacey

A lot has happened since my last post in December (embarrassing, I know). I’ve been writing up a storm for a few publications including The List, Mashed, and more, I’m really coming into my own as a personal chef, and oh yeah, I’M HAVING A BABY!

HealthyStaceyHavingaBaby

Yup. It’s official. All my efforts in fertility food have paid off. Well, that mixed with a few months of frustration, a few weeks of letting go and having fun (read: more wine, less paranoia), and finally, a big old positive on the pee stick. Baby Hutson is arriving in September and my husband and I could not be more excited.

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In the meantime, however, months have gone by of me learning tons of new recipes, techniques, and information that I’ve been dying to share with you. Just haven’t made the time to do it. 

Because I couldn’t settle on one topic to talk about, I thought I’d give you a sampling of my new-found knowledge (i.e. a brain dump) so that we can get this train moving again. You ready? Here goes.

The Book I’m Reading:

DeepNutritionBookCateShanahan

Deep Nutrition: Why your genes need traditional food, 2nd Edition. I read the first years ago and it opened my mind up to the world of Epigenetics (meaning, what you eat and how you live can alter your DNA — and your future children’s DNA — for the better). Dr. Shanahan has now updated the book with more information on vegetable oils, brain health, body symmetry, and diet, and I cannot get enough. This book is really hard to summarize in a nice, neat paragraph. So maybe it’s better served having its own post. But if I can convince you to do one thing differently this month to better your health, it would be to read this book. No, I’m not getting paid to say that. I just really want more people to know more about it because it’s THAT good.

The Foods I’m Eating:

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At the moment, I love all things cold, crunchy, and/or sweet. That includes (but is not limited to): Cado ice cream (yes, it’s avocado ice cream), frozen grapes, jicama, my homemade spicy brittle crunch (recipe below), and plantain bread with almond butter and cinnamon. I’ve also been really diligent about drinking bone broth as much as I can for all of the benefits it brings to me and Baby H. I’ve increased my carb intake, not only because it’s important for hormone balance, but because my body is begging for it. I’ve done that in the form of sweet potatoes, plantain bread and chips, sprouted quinoa, and the occasional piece of sourdough bread with a heaping spoonful of almond butter. Besides that, it’s really just me eating more of what I already know and love. Loads of veggies, lots of meat and fish (grass-fed, free-range, and wild-caught as much as I can), hormone-balancing meatballs (read: LIVER!), and tons of nuts and seeds (more cashews and almonds than one human should consume in a day). Which segways perfectly into my next update…

The Project I’m Working On:

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Pregnancy has caused me some serious insomnia over the last two months. At first, I was frustrated. And then, I decided to use it to my advantage. So, I did what I always do to relax me. I wrote. And what came out of my writing was the beginnings of a cookbook. A paleo-ish pregnancy cookbook to be exact. Full of information about the benefits of a full-fat, meat-on-the-bone, organ meat-full, and gluten-free diet during pregnancy (with room for mess-ups and why-nots). I have no intention of taking this to a “real publisher." Instead, I am writing it because I love cooking, I love writing, and I wanted one place to put all my “craving recipes.” I’ll keep you updated on how that goes. Who knows. Maybe I'll print them out and make them available to you fine people. But no pressure, either way, cool? Cool.

The Cookware I'm Using…And Why:

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I’ve made the switch to cast iron pans. It wasn’t easy. I’ve had them sitting in my cupboards for years, only pulling them out every once in a while, for special occasions. But after reading about the dangers of the chemical coating that could be coming off in my food while using a non-stick pan, I decided to lug the heavy stuff out for good. Non-stick pans are great, right? No stick, no mess, no scrubbing with a brush to clean up caked-on ground beef. Problem is, the non-stick pans apparently can’t stand the heat. When heated to high temperatures, they can emit polymer fumes that have been shown to kill pet birds (what??) and cause people to develop flu-like symptoms. Cast iron, on the other hand, is a much better alternative. Not only is it free-from chemicals or toxic fumes, it actually serves as a good source of…wait for it…iron. Genius, right? Who’d a thunk. Oh. As far as lifting them goes – my advice is don’t. Just leave them where they are and clean them off with a paper towel, then wipe them down with a little oil to keep them well-seasoned. Wouldn’t want you breaking an arm while scraping off turmeric scrambled eggs.

Alright folks. That's all she wrote for now. But don't worry, I'll be back. And it won't take nearly as long next time, K? Promise. 

Much Love,

HealthyStaceySignature

 

Spicy & Sweet Brittle Recipe (AKA My #1 Pregnancy Craving)

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This recipe, first written by a food blogger, Amanda Skrip, was shared with me by health & wellness chef, Alia Dalal, as we were cooking it for a client of ours. I took one bite and knew I had to have it for myself. Since then, I’ve made some additional tweaks, and the result is this masterpiece. It has been, hands down, my biggest craving. Pregnant or not, the ingredients (nori for protein, minerals, and more vitamin C than an orange; molasses for strong bones and healthy blood; pumpkin seeds for immune support, omega-3, and hormone balance) are highly nutritious. But somehow, put them all together, and they are to-die-for. I’m talking, dream-about-it-all-day-till-I-get-home-and-stuff-my-face-with-it delicious. You catch my drift?  

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup sesame seeds
  • 3/4 cup sunflower seeds, sprouted
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds, sprouted
  • 2 sheets nori (the seaweed paper your sushi is wrapped in)
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 2 tablespoon coconut oil
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Tip: If you love ginger, grate a ginger root over your sticky mixture (or half your mixture if you don't want it ALL gingery) for an extra spicy – and anti-inflammatory – kick.

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Mix all of your seeds in one bowl together.
  3. Put your two sheets of nori on top of each other. Now, using scissors cut them into small, thin 2-inch strips, and add them to the seed mixture (Tip: If you have herb-cutting scissors, they make this job SO much easier).
  4. Mix together maple syrup, molasses, cayenne, cinnamon, and sea salt in a bowl.
  5. Pour sticky, spicy mixture over seeds and stir to coat them.
  6. Now, pour mixture onto parchment-covered baking sheet, and use a spatula to spread it into an even layer.
  7. Put pan in oven for 18 minutes at first. Check to see if it’s burning at all. If not, leave in for another 3-5 minutes. At this point, the mixture needs to dry to form together so DON’T MESS WITH IT TOO MUCH.
  8. Let it cool for 30 minutes until it’s hardened.
  9. Break apart into big chunks and take a bit of the most delicious bark you’ve ever tasted.

PaleoSeedBrittle_HealthyStacey

Healthy Body

How I Cured A Cold In 5 Days With 5 Food Medicines and No Drugs

August 25, 2016

AppleCiderVinegarforColds

I have something really embarrassing to tell you.

I, Healthy Stacey, got sick.  

I’m talking runny nose, a throat so swollen it hurt to swallow, dead tired but couldn’t sleep because I stayed up all night long hacking up a lung sick.

I know, I know. But you’re so “Healthy.” How did you get sick? (I’m imagining this in the voice of Adam Sandler, followed by “Hoobidy doobidy.”)

Well, I’ve narrowed it down to either the potentially germ-infested blanket I took from the flight attendant on my way to Mexico or the fact that I got stuck in a torrential downpour on my way to the yoga class that I couldn’t miss, and instead stayed sopping wet through every Chaturanga Dandasana.  

That’s neither here nor there. The point is, I got sick, and then I got better WITHOUT taking any drugs.

I’ve never been a big fan of Tylenol Cold & Flu, Robitussin Cough Syrup or any of the other hard-hitting OTC drugs out there. They make me super drowsy and I hate to think what other side effects they’re having on my body. Oh. And as far as I know (correct me if I’m wrong), cough and cold remedies do not shorten or cure illnesses; they just ease the symptoms along the way. But in doing so, they take a lot more processing from my liver than, say, a spoonful of raw honey would.  

So if I can reduce my symptoms in other more natural ways that don’t make me drowsy, don’t tax my liver AND actually make my immune system stronger for the future, then I’m all for it.

If you take them, I get it. No judgment. Promise. I just decided that me being sick would be a perfect opportunity to do a little self-experimenting for you guys.  

The Experiment: Kick this sucker without meds – just immune-boosting food and supplements, and see how long it takes.   

I dug a box of Tylenol Cold & Flu out of the medicince cabinet and put it on the counter. Partly as an "in case of emergency – pull this lever," but also as an extra boost of motivation. Challenge: accepted.

Here’s how it went down.

Day 1.
Throat is feeling swollen. I can feel something coming on. But it’s not full-blown quite yet. At this point I didn’t know what it was, but I knew that the first thing I needed to drink was bone broth.

Food Medicine # 1: Bone Broth

Bone Broth for colds

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Bone broth is a magical elixir. Simmering the bones of healthy animals releases nutrients and healing compounds that you could NOT get just from eating the meat.

Moreover, whatever foods you add to the broth will be better digested and absorbed into your system. So for my special Get Better Bone Broth, I added a few key nutrients also known to help immunity.

Garlic for its immune-boosting, anti-viral and anti-inflammatory effects. Ginger and cayenne because they are warming to your system and help relieve congestion.

Get Better Bone Broth Recipe:

  • 1 cup of homemade bone broth – see recipe here.
  • 1/2 teaspoon coconut oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 clove of garlic, chopped
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

Directions:

  1. Heat up bone broth and coconut oil (I do 1:30 in the microwave, in a mug)
  2. Mix in your sea salt, garlic and cayenne pepper.
  3. Drink up and repeat every day until you feel better (2 times a day if you’re up for it!)

When your throat is hurting, you can’t get enough liquids in your system. Not only does it feel good on the throat, it helps loosen congestion. So on this first day, I was always drinking something – whether it be broth, water or my homemade Kick In the Pants Tea made with my good friend ACV.

Food Medicine #2: Apple Cider Vinegar

Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple Cider Vinegar. It may be acidic, but it actually helps to alkalize our overly acidic bodies. A body that is more alkaline will be better at fighting off colds.

I started taking this concoction years ago when I first found out about the benefits of ACV and it’s never steered me wrong. You’ll see that I’ve used a lot of the ingredients I used in my Get Better Bone Broth for the same reasons (with the addition of lemon for its anti-viral benefits and raw honey for its antioxidant, antimicrobial, throat-soothing benefits, and because it makes EVERYTHING taste better). But this tonic is a little more accessible for those of you who aren’t quite ready to hop on the bone broth bandwagon.

Kick In The Pants Tea

Apple Cider Vinegar Tea

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1 teaspoon Apple Cider Vinegar (I like the Bragg’s brand)
  • 1 clove of garlic, chopped
  • ½ freshly squeezed lemon
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ½-1 teaspoon raw honey

Directions:

  1. Boil water in tea kettle
  2. Add all other ingredients into your mug
  3. Pour hot water on top and stir

Day 2.
I get a horrible night’s sleep and my throat feels more swollen the next day. I double up on the bone broth (which feels like heaven on my throat; with just one sip I feel the swelling going down and the sinus pressure easing up).

I supplement my broth drinking with Breathe Easy Tea from Traditional Medicinals. (Another favorite for swollen glands and sore throats is Throat Coat, I just didn’t have any on hand).

That night, I decided I needed something to ensure that I would sleep through the night. Enter saffron.

Food Medicine # 2: Saffron

Saffron to make tea with

You know that spice that comes with your spice kit that kind of looks like red spider legs? That’s saffron. It’s apparently the most expensive spice in the world. That's why they only give you a little bit in each jar. But the thing is, you don’t need much to get it to work. This stuff is powerful.

Yes, I already had some from a spice kit that was gifted to me so, for me, there was no cost. But I looked it up on The Spice House Chicago website, and saw that you can get it by the gram for $12.08. And a gram is plenty for this purpose.

Saffron spice is produced from the saffron crocus flower (Crocus sativus) and it is actually the insides of the flower that catches the pollen. Among its MANY other benefits (used for asthma, cough, loosening of phlegm, gas, depression, Alzheimer’s, dry skin, PMS symptoms, fertility, and more) it has also been shown to have mild sedative properties. Meaning, when you drink this stuff, and put your head on that fluffy pillow, it hits you. Or at least it did for me. I felt instantly relaxed and lulled to sleep.

After a lot of searching around the internet, I came across about nine different people all claiming that they had “the best” way to make saffron tea. So I threw up my hands and just decided to do my own thing.

Using full fat coconut milk (real milk would be even better because it has tryptophan in it, but I didn’t have that), cinnamon for its anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant qualities, raw honey for its antioxidant, antimicrobial and throat-soothing benefits and cardamom (I’m sure it has benefits too, but I just thought it would taste good with it), I created “the best” Saffron Sleepy Tea.

Saffron Sleepy Tea

Saffron tea for insomnia

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup of water
  • 1 cup of full-fat coconut milk or whole milk (ideally grass-fed)
  • 7-10 strands of saffron
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon cardamom
  • ½ teaspoon raw honey

Directions:

  1. Boil ½ cup of water in a pot on the stove
  2. Add saffron and cover pot for 10 minutes
  3. Now add milk, cinnamon and cardamom and turn heat up to medium
  4. Stir until warm
  5. Add in honey
  6. Pour into a mug and sip, repeat and go to sleep.

Day 3.
The snot tap has turned on. The swollen throat has finally released itself and the nose is running like crazy. I have a love-hate relationship with this part. I know that the release of all the fluid means that it’s all coming out and I’m on my way to getting better. But it’s still a disgusting snotty drip.

Quick Defense from Gaia Herbs

My good friend (and supplement superstar), Monica, recommends to me a product called Quick Defense from Gaia Herbs. She says it works like a charm if you take it at the onset of symptoms. A little too late for that, but I figure, it couldn’t hurt and it offered a lot of immune-boosting benefits.

Food Medicine #3: Green Drink

Green Vibrance Powder Mix

Like magic, my Green Vibrance just happened to arrive in the mail that day. I had ordered it a week or so ago as an addition to my Fertility Diet. Again, this came highly recommended to me from my supplement superstar up there. Monica recommends it to everybody she knows because of its high quality ingredients and the marked difference she feels in her energy levels when she takes it in the morning. One of her friends who suffered from a lower immunity started taking it per Monica’s recommendation and found a huge difference. In fact, it’s only when she stops drinking it that she gets sick again.

Hmmm. Fertility food AND immune booster. What is this stuff?

Well, in a really small nutshell, it’s a greens powder. But the makers of this particular product have gone to town with the types (and high concentrations) of nutrients they've packed into each scoop. Organic kale sprouts, organic broccoli sprouts, organic spirulina, chlorella, organic beet juice, organic parsley, organic spinach, organic carrot, green bean, zucchini and Rockweed sea vegetable are just the beginning. It also offers a host of other supplements to support digestion, bone strength, circulation, liver and immunity. It’s kind of like taking a multi-vitamin, a green smoothie and NZT all in one. Just kidding about the NZT (5 Gold Stars to anybody who can name this movie reference in the comments).

What I love about this, is that it takes out a lot of the thought that goes into smoothie making. I personally like to add a lot of extra boosts to my smoothies beyond the greens and the fruits. But not everybody has the money or the patience for that. Especially when sick.

Sicko Smoothie:

Green Smoothie For Colds

Ingredients:

  • 1 scoop of Green Vibrance
  • 1 inch of turmeric root
  • Dash of pepper
  • 1 inch of ginger root
  • 1 teaspoon bee pollen
  • 2 scoops of Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides
  • Frozen pineapple
  • Almond Milk/Coconut Water (I mix the two together)
  • Optional: Superfood toppings becasue it makes it fun to drink (I used my favorite Superfood Crumble from Elemental Superfoods)

Directions:

  1. Put almond milk/coconut water in a high speed blender
  2. Add in Collagen Peptides and Green Vibrance
  3. Add in remaining ingredients
  4. Pulverize until smooth
  5. Add toppings
  6. Drink up, breathe in, breath out, feel better!

Day 4.
Feeling better today. Nose is still running, but the glands in the throat feel back to normal and I can see the end of the rainbow. Last night, I did some extreme self-care. Meaning, I put all my energy into myself – and put everything else on hold.

Food Medicine #4: Homemade Soup (with a side of Self-Care)

Self-care. It's a real thing. Seriously. When you take care of yourself first, everything else falls into place.

I don't do it very often. It usually takes extreme cases like me being sick for it to happen. So I went to town. I canceled plans with friends. I slowly and gently cleaned up things that I no longer needed and replaced batteries to a clock that stopped ticking years ago. I put my favorite men on Spotify (Sinatra and Mayer) and watched girly, cheesy movies without shame. I nestled into my rattiest but softest sweat pants. And, finally, I made myself this very special soup just for me.

Dreamy Creamy Carrot Soup

Paleo Carrot Broth Soup

Ingredients:

  • 2 carrots
  • 1 teaspoon ghee
  • 1 inch of turmeric root
  • 1 inch of ginger root
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1/3 can of full fat coconut milk
  • 1 cup of homemade bone broth
  • Sea Salt
  • Pepper
  • Optional toppings: Crispy chicken and chopped scallions

Directions:

  1. Peel and chop carrots
  2. Saute in ghee for 5 minutes-ish, until softened and a little browned
  3. Heat bone broth up on stove, bringing to a simmer over medium heat
  4. Stir in remaining ingredients
  5. Pour in high speed blender and pulverize until smooth
  6. Add toppings of your choice (I happened to have leftover chicken that I sautéed in more ghee until it was crispy, plus a dash of chopped scallions to add a bite)

Day 5.
I feel SO much better. I literally woke up, inhaled through my nose, and clapped my hands because I could smell again! My friends, I swear, I felt better than I did before the cold even began.

I still start my day with Gaia Quick Defense and a cup of bone broth for good measure. Then make another Green Vibrance smoothie for breakfast. I stare at the Tylenol Cold & Flu that has been sitting on the counter just in case of an emergency, and stuffed it back in the back of the cabinet where it belonged. Then did a little happy dance because DAMN, I’m good.

Alrighy folks, what do you do when you get sick? Do you feel the same way I do about OTC medicine? Or are you all about it and want to prove me wrong? Bring it on. Comment below.

Much Love,

HealthyStaceySignature

p.s. The links I provied are affiliate links. But because my Amazon Affiliate account lay inactive for too long, they've kicked me out. They may work in the future, so I still feel like I should let y'all know. Hot mess. I know.

p.s.s. Pin this baby! You know you'll need it come Cold & Flu season!

Natural Cold Cures

Healthy Body

(Almost) Everything You Need to Know about Autoimmune Conditions and the Paleo Diet

August 10, 2016

Red Cabbage Head

I am fascinated with autoimmune conditions.

Weird thing to be fascinated with, I know. But believe it or not, it is probably the most common subject people ask me about when they find out I’m Paleo.

Why? Because when drugs aren’t working, autoimmune sufferers are turning to the Paleo diet – and completely turning their health around.  

I have hesitated, however, to talk about these conditions here because they ARE CONFUSING. From a research standpoint, autoimmune diseases are still in their infancy. There are about a million different types, and a million different specialists for each condition. Okay, 80. But that’s a lot. And let’s not forget. I AM NOT A DOCTOR. I really have no business telling anybody how to treat their autoimmune disease.

That said. I’ve gotten quite a few requests from readers to talk about the subject. So I thought where I could be of service is to help summarize what it is, why it is, and how the Paleo diet has become the alternative treatment for those who suffer from them.

My tactic here: Take all the complicated research and facts and dumb them down until a 5th grader could understand them.

The question is, are YOU smarter than a 5th grader? Ahem. Sorry, couldn’t help myself.

Okay. Here we go…

Bone Broth

What is an autoimmune condition?
An autoimmune condition is when your body’s immune system is confused. It starts attacking its own cells because it recognizes them as foreign invaders.

Symptoms can turn up as joint pain, skin rashes, horrible stomach aches, low energy, and much, much more. These are all a result of the damage done to the cells, tissues and or organs in the body.

What separates one disease from another is the proteins that the immune system attacks.

What are the different autoimmune conditions?
There are reported to be 80 different autoimmune conditions (1). I’m not going to list them all here. But I will go with the 10 most “popular” ones, along with the part of the body that is being attacked.

  • Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis –> Thyroid gland
  • Rheumatoid arthritis –> Tissues in joints
  • Psoriasis –> Proteins that make up skin
  • Multiple Sclerosis (MS) –> Nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord
  • Celiac Disease –> Small intestine
  • Ulcerative Colitis –> Colon and rectum
  • Lupus –> Tissue all over the body
  • Sjögren's syndrome –> Moisture-producing glands, i.e. eyes and mouth
  • Type 1 Diabetes –> Insulin-producing cells in the pancreas
  • Ankylosing Spondylitis –> The spine and large joints

How many people are affected by them?
Approximately 50 million Americans, 20% of the population, or 1 in 5 people (2).

How do you get them – nature or nurture? 
The jury is still out. The traditional medical community leans more towards nature (i.e. genetics), while they also recognize that bacteria, drugs, chemical irritants and environmental irritants could all be factors.

As you might have guessed, non-traditional medicine leans much heavier on the nurture side. With the huge rise in these conditions over the last 50 years, they think environment has a LOT to do with it. Namely the western diet, chronic stress, environmental toxins, sleep deprivation and Vitamin D deficiency.

What do I think?
Remember. I am not a doctor. I am not a scientist. And I am not a medical professional. But I am a believer in the influence of our diet on our health. At the very least, from my own personal experience, and at the most, from the thousands of autoimmune sufferers who have made changes to their diet, and noticed vast improvements.  

Like this guy.

This girl.

And then, there's the Dr. Terry Wahls story. Wow.

Romanesco

So, Stacey. How can food help?
There is a special division of the Paleo diet that has come to be called the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP). Its purpose is to heal the immune system and the gut through eating specifically nutritious foods, and eliminating foods that cause (or tend to cause) a negative immune response.

I’m not going to lie. This diet is NOT easy to follow. Especially for people who are completely new to the Paleo diet. But when you read the stories like those above, and talk to people who have FINALLY seen relief after years of drugs and traditional medicine, it’s hard to ignore.  

There are a few variations on the diet, but here is the gist.

Eliminate the foods that trigger a negative immune response, such as:

The usual suspects (from the standard Paleo diet):

  • Gluten
  • Grains
  • Legumes
  • Dairy
  • Industrial Seed Oils (i.e. Canola Oil, Vegetable Oil, Peanut Oil, Sunflower Oil, etc., etc.)
  • Sugar
  • Alcohol

Nightshade vegetables (found to be inflammatory to joints, skin and gut):

  • Peppers
  • Potatoes
  • Eggplant
  • Tomatoes

OTC Anti-Inflammatories:

  • Ibuprofen
  • Aspirin
  • Naproxen (i.e. Aleve, Midol)

And two foods shown to be irritants to people with Autoimmune conditions:

  • Eggs (paticularly the whites)
  • Nuts & Seeds

Increase highly nutritious foods that are GOOD for the Immune System:

  • Dark, leafy greens
  • Organic vegetables
  • Grass-fed meat
  • Wild-caught fish
  • Bone Broth
  • Organ meat
  • Good fats (ghee, coconut oil, avocado oil, rendered animal fats)

Eat more foods that are good for your gut:

  • Naturally fermented sauerkraut
  • Naturally fermented pickles
  • Naturally fermented kimchi
  • Naturally fermented kombucha tea

Brew Dr Kombucha

Who are the AIP experts?
As I said, I am not a medical professional, nor am I an expert on AIP. Just a fan (of the diet; not the condition, obviously).

But there are some great people out there – medical experts, autoimmune success stories and many, a combination of both. I encourage you to check them out if you or a friend or family member suffers from an Autoimmune Condition. These are the three AIP experts that I have come to follow through the years:

Dr. Terry Wahls: The traditional medicine doctor that suffered with Multiple Sclerosis, found Functional Medicine and created her own version of the Paleo diet, The Wahls Protocol, that was the key to not only silencing her MS, but transforming her whole body (she went from wheelchair to active bike commuter!).
Learn more here: terrywahls.com

Dr. Sarah Ballantyne, PhD: AKA, the Paleo Mom. She healed herself of IBS, psoriasis and lichen planus (all autoimmune conditions) by following a Paleo diet. A trained scientist, she believes that the rationale for why the Paleo diet heals lies in the scientific evidence more than the evolutionary evidence.
Learn more here: thepaleomom.com

Lauren Geertsen, NTP: A self-proclaimed 21st century hippie and one of my favorite bloggers, Lauren suffered from a severe form of ulcerative colitis from the time she was 14. When she was faced with the threat of the surgical removal of her colon, she completely and totally dedicated herself to the Autoimmune Paleo Protocol. Not only did she relieve herself of all symptoms, she no longer needs medication, and eliminated the need for surgery.
Learn more here: empoweredsustenance.com

SOURCES:

  1. http://www.news-medical.net/health/Types-of-Autoimmune-Disease.aspx

Pssst! Pin this from here…

AIP Diet Pin