Got Milk Causing Cancer? Which Milk May be Dangerous …

This article was originally published by Health Realization, Inc.

If you’re like most American families, you enjoy milk, cheese, ice cream and other dairy products on a regular basis. You probably perceive them to be healthy staples, full of calcium, protein and other nutrients to support your family’s health.

You should know, however, that U.S. dairy products may not be as pure as they seem. Instead, they commonly contain a genetically modified ingredient — Monsanto’s genetically engineered bovine growth hormone (rBGH or rBST) — that has been linked to so many health hazards in humans and animals it’s banned in most other industrialized nations, including Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and the European Union.

Cancer Risks and More: What Does the Research Say About rBGH?

Many U.S. dairy farmers use Monsanto’s rBGH because it boosts milk production by about 10 percent. But this increase in production does not come without a price.

Dairy products from rBGH-treated cows may not be as pure and healthy as you think it is ...

Dairy products from rBGH-treated cows may not be as pure and healthy as you think it is …

As GMO expert Jeffrey Smith, international bestselling author of “Seeds of Deception” and “Genetic Roulette”, explains in the video above, milk from cows treated with rBGH has increased levels of insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1), with levels up to 10 times as high as those in milk from untreated cows.

This hormone has been linked to increased risks of breast, prostate, colon, lung, and other cancers. According to the Institute for Responsible Technology (IRT), founded by Jeffrey Smith:

“Studies suggest that pre-menopausal women below 50 years old with high levels of IGF-1 are seven times more likely to develop breast cancer. Men are four times more likely to develop prostate cancer. IGF-1 is implicated in lung and colon cancer.”

The hormone has also been linked to an increased rate of fraternal twin births in humans.

Milk from cows injected with rBGH is also less nutritious and has more antibiotics and pus in it than milk from untreated cows. The pus comes from infected udders, as cows given rBGH are more likely to experience a painful udder infection called mastitis. These infections are in turn treated with antibiotics, leading to increased rates of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in the milk, the people who drink it and the surrounding environments.

rBGH is NOT on Dairy Labels for a Reason

Milk and other dairy products that contain rBGH does not have to be labeled as such, which means you have no way of knowing whether or not it’s in your milk. Some manufacturers, noting the increased health risks and the growing consumer opposition to rBGH, have begun adding statements such as “No artificial growth hormones” to their labels to let you know it’s rBGH free.

Monsanto fought back against this labeling, going so far as to sue a dairy in 2003 that labeled their milk cartons with “Our Farmers’ Pledge: No Artificial Growth Hormones.” The suit was settled when the dairy agreed to add a statement to their packages that said, “according to the FDA no significant difference has been shown between milk derived from [rBGH]-treated and non- treated cows.”

This is not true, according to IRT, as the FDA and Monsanto both knew of increased rates of IGF-1, pus and antibiotic residues in milk from treated cows. However, the statement became a requirement for all labels that dared say they were rBGH-free nonetheless.

Further, the misleading statement was written by none other than the FDA’s deputy commissioner of policy, Michael Taylor who, according to IRT, was “previously Monsanto’s outside attorney who, after running policy at the FDA, became vice president of Monsanto.”

There were other unscrupulous dealings that went on behind the scenes as well. For instance, back in 1997 when Fox news wanted to air a news series on the link between rBGH and cancer, Monsanto attorneys threatened “dire consequences” if the show aired.

As Jeffrey Smith wrote in “Seeds of Deception”, one of the world’s best-selling books on GMO:

The Fox news series included an excerpt from Canadian national television in which a government official described how a Monsanto representative offered her committee a $1 to 2 million bribe if they recommended rbGH approval in Canada without further data or studies of the drug. A Monsanto spokesman said the officials misunderstood their company’s offer of “research” funds.

And according to IRT, “The reporters who had created the series later testified that they were offered hush money to leave the station and never speak about the story again. They declined.” The series never aired.

How to Find rBGH-Free Dairy

Americans are increasingly looking for pure, rBGH-free sources of dairy. In surveys:

  • 80 percent of consumers have said they believe dairy products from cows not treated with rBGH should be allowed to be labeled as such
  • 76 percent said they were very concerned or somewhat concerned with dairy cows given synthetic growth hormones
  • 55 percent said they would buy milk labeled without synthetic bovine growth hormone if available

Already, 50 of the top 100 dairies have decided not to use rBGH in their milk, and companies like Wal-Mart, Kroger, Starbucks, Yoplait and Dannon have also pledged to go rBGH-free. Many major food manufacturers have not followed suit, however, so it’s still a buyer beware market. If you want to find rBGH-free dairy, the following resources will help:

  • The rBGH-free Dairy Guide (National) from Food & Water Watch. You can also find listings of rBGH-free dairy by state here.
  • The Institute for Responsible Technology’s Non-GMO Shopping Guide (see page 6 for dairy products).

It’s important that you use your power as a shopper to voice your opinions about potentially dangerous genetically modified ingredients like rBGH. If you find the use of this cancer-causing hormone to be unacceptable, please support the brands that are rBGH-free in the guides above, and boycott those that are still buying milk from rBGH-treated cows. For instance, like ice cream? Dreyer’s, Edy’s, Nestle, Haagen-Dazs, Klondike, Good Humor, and Breyer’s are STILL using dairy from rBGH-treated cows. Why not write these companies a letter and let them know you’re switching to a different brand until they make the switch to rBGH-free dairy. A Simple Way to Get All the Nutrients Found in Fresh, Raw rBGH-Free Milk If rBGH-free dairy is not available in your area, or you are looking for an rBGH-free dairy-based protein source, consider Whey Cool™, which is produced to maintain the full range of the fragile immune boosting and regenerative components naturally present in fresh raw milk. Whey Cool™ is produced using proprietary filtration and drying that involves minimal processing. This unique production method ensures that the whey is not subjected to temperatures that would destroy the original components. The milk harvested for this product comes from cows that graze on pesticide and chemical-free natural grass pastures. The milking cows are never fed grain or subjected to any growth hormone treatment, chemicals, antibiotics, genetically modified organisms, hyperimmunization or injected pathogens. You can also ask your health care practitioner about Paleomeal™, which contains Whey Cool™ along with B vitamins, extra fiber and Creatine MagnaPower® for energy. Both Whey Cool™ and Paleomeal™, available only through your health care practitioner, surpass many of the health benefits of dairy – without the concern of growth hormones.


Sources

Institute for Responsible Technology

Organic Consumers Association

Surveys of Consumer Attitudes (PSR) PDF

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Raising Awareness In Cute Packages

It is with much joy and a big, cheesy smile on my face that I present this awesome video from my cute, sweet, brilliant and athletic stepdaughter, Laila, as she discusses what Lupus is and how you can get involved in the 2015 “Walk to End Lupus Now,” in Austin, Texas. Alexander (my husband, COO of Evolve Integrative Care and Laila’s father) and I asked Laila to join our Lupus team this year and help to spread awareness to the younger folks, and that is precisely what she is doing. Please check out this video and give her a bunch of likes!

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Losing Weight with Nutritional Balancing

Losing Weight with Nutritional BalancingUndoubtedly the most controversial, confusing and extreme topic of discussion to date is weight loss.  There is always a new diet plan, exercise routine, supplement or piece of equipment that promises to help you shed the pounds quickly and effectively.  Is there such a thing?  Does this stuff really work?  Well, sometimes they do.  If you starve yourself long enough, over-exercise to exhaustion or take enough of the latest pill, you are bound to lose a few pounds.  But inevitable the weight will find a way to creep back on (plus a few). You’ll get sick or you’ll feel so deprived that you would rather pull your face off than continue the diet one more day.  Enough already!  You already have the capacity to lose fat safely, effectively, automatically and… forever.  So stop torturing yourself and read this article.

My small, but much appreciated audience has heard me preach nutritional balancing before, but for those of you that have no idea what I’m talking about… here is a brief overview.  Nutritional balancing science is a holistic and individualized methodology that focuses on healing biochemical imbalances of the body at the cellular level.  It utilizes hair mineral analysis testing, dietary changes, supplementation, detoxification and lifestyle alterations to rebuild you into the well-oiled machine that you desire.  Nutritional balancing relies heavily on an appropriate diet (absolutely essential) and supplementation program to revitalize, reenergize and rebalance your own individual biochemistry.  When followed properly and completely, a nutritional balancing program works to restore healthy body weight and fat loss.  Both directly and indirectly, nutritional balancing leads to effortless fat loss by reestablishing a healthy gut, restoring appropriate thyroid and adrenal gland activity, reducing insulin production, decreasing blood glucose levels, restoring mineral balance, reducing silent inflammation, decreasing high cortisol levels, minimizing water retention and creating balanced emotional health.

I know what you are thinking- how long does it take?  You want me to say, “In two weeks, you will have the body of your dreams!”  Well, I won’t tell you that because I’d be lying.  The length of time that it will take for you to achieve your weight loss goals are going to vary immensely from person to person.  Some will lose weight quickly (weeks to months), while others will lose weight more slowly (one to two to three years).  It will depend on many factors including how long you’ve been sick or overweight, your genetics, the function of your thyroid and adrenal glands, how out of whack your minerals are, your gut health, how toxic your system is, your emotional balance and past traumas and on and on and on.  The point is, you are unique and if you embark on this journey the right way, without all of the gimmicks and get thin quick schemes, your body and health will dictate how fast or slow the process will take.  This is not for the faint of heart or mind.  You’ll need to commit to the lifestyle and know that eventually you will lose the weight safely and permanently.

 

Slow Oxidation and Weight Loss

Slow oxidation is essentially a slow metabolism driven by the activity of the thyroid and adrenal glands.  Slow oxidizers metabolize or oxidize fats, carbohydrates and protein at a slower rate than normal.  A hair mineral analysis (HMA) in a slow oxidizer will reveal sluggish activity of the thyroid and adrenal glands with significant nutrient depletion of those glands (which, by the way, may not show up in your blood work).  These glands are usually overwrought with toxic heavy metals, halogens and xenobiotics.  Is it any wonder why you aren’t losing weight?  The combination of slowed glandular activity, improper and slow metabolism of nutrients and impaired ability to convert stored fat into fatty acids by the adrenal gland make slow oxidizers a perfect victim for weight gain.  These individuals can be further plagued by impaired digestion and absorption of nutrients most often related to leaky gut syndrome (a syndrome that describes damage to the gut lining owing to multiple causes including diet, medications, stress, infectious agents, ultimately allowing substances that would normally not be allowed in the gut to pass or ‘leak’ through causing chronic inflammation or autoimmunity).  Leaky gut syndrome will lead to chronic inflammation that the body will consistently try to correct by increasing water retention and thus, weight gain.  Copper toxicity (extremely common in slow oxidizers), latent infections (like Candida overgrowth) and food allergies, can further complicate the story, again leading to water retention as the body attempts to flush away these systemic toxins.  Finally, slow oxidizers often have chronic low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) which can lead to very profound sweet cravings.  If given into, sugars and starchy carbs will pack on the pounds and may lead to diabetes.

Slow oxidizers do quite well with a diet high in green leafy, root and cruciferous vegetables, moderate amounts of high-quality proteins (including beef, poultry, sardines and raw dairy) and low fats. I say low fats in jest as I realize fats are an essential part of any diet and extremely important, however, slow oxidizers tend not to tolerate/digest fat well until they have shifted into a mixed or fast oxidation pattern and have healthy guts.  Appropriate nutritional supplementation designed to speed the metabolism while healing the glands and gut are essential to healthy weight loss as well, and are addressed with a nutritional balancing program.  Finally, no weight loss regimen is complete without detoxification of harmful toxins and chemicals that encourage weight gain, confuse the organs and keep you biochemically imbalanced (also remember that toxins are released from fat cells into the circulation as weight loss occurs making it doubly important to detoxify as you heal).

 

Fast Oxidation and Weight Loss

After having my first HMA and learning that I was a fast oxidizer, I was excited but mistakenly so.  I thought, “Cool, I’m a fast oxidizer, so I’ll lose fat quickly because my metabolism is fast.”  Wrong!! It is not an ideal situation to be in a state of fight-or-flight all of the time, not only from an emotional standpoint, but also from a physical standpoint.  Fast oxidizers, as you have guessed, have adrenal and thyroid glands that are in overdrive.  We process fats, carbs and proteins at a faster than normal rate- which is just as detrimental as the opposite.  Fast oxidizers tend to gain weight in the upper body, particularly the abdomen.  Typically, a fast oxidizer will have thin arms and legs and a large trunk with a round belly (also known as an ‘apple’ shape and/or a Cushing body type).  If you listen to my husband who says, “Just do abdominal exercises and you’ll be fine,” you are going to be in a world of trouble.  Fast oxidizers tend to carry this shape because of the over activity of the adrenal glands, constantly pumping out cortisol (effectively, a form of Cushing’s syndrome), in an effort to deal with the perceived saber-tooth tiger following them on the highway, at work and while trying to sleep.  Couple this with the excessive exercise that many fast oxidizers do to combat stress and the resistance to ever slowing down, we don’t stand a chance to lose weight.  Fast oxidizers tend to retain water secondary to the high cortisol levels, kidney damage (related to excess cortisone and sodium imbalance), high tissue sodium levels, food intolerances (like slow oxidizers) and overeating sugar and carbohydrates.  Fast oxidizers can also suffer from hypoglycemia and sugar cravings as well, but for different reasons.  Because they metabolize the carbohydrates to quickly, blood sugar fluctuations can be drastic.  This can lead to binge eating, cravings, weight gain and, yes, diabetes.

It is important to note two special situations that can occur with fast oxidizers:  fast oxidation with a low sodium to potassium (Na/K) ratio and temporary fast oxidation.  A truly fast oxidizer will have a Na/K ratio that is high. When this ratio is low (or inverted) then the individual can have characteristics of both a slow and fast oxidizer.  Their resistance to weight loss may be even more pronounced because of this situation.  Likewise, temporary fast oxidation or slow oxidation under stress will create a similar scenario.  Although these individuals display fast oxidation on HMA, they are really slow oxidizers having an acute stress response that is stimulating the glands and nervous system (this stress could be physical like toxic build-up or emotional like relationship or work worries).  These folks, too, can have characteristics of slow and fast oxidizers.  Additionally, they may both resolve to slow oxidation quickly.

Fast oxidizers seem to be able to lose weight with a diet high in good-quality fats, very low in carbohydrates and sugar with a low to moderate amount of protein (similar to a ketogenic type of diet).  They tend to do better with high fat for several reasons; 1) fat slows the metabolic rate, 2) fat provides extra calories that many fast oxidizers require, and 3) fat is digested slowly and provides a consistent supply of energy that helps to stabilize blood sugar. Carbohydrates, in fast oxidizers, should come primarily in the form of cooked vegetables.  By eliminating simple sugars, processed grains and starchy carbs, fast oxidizers may lose weight rapidly as they forfeit excess water retention, fluctuations in blood sugars and deficiencies in zinc and other important minerals.  Lastly, just as important are appropriate nutritional supplementation, detoxification and lifestyle alterations (things like proper sleep and stress management).

 

Other Considerations

As I’m sure you are aware, weight loss or gain is not solely reliant on metabolism.  Likewise, calories in versus calories out are an antiquated concept and no longer an acceptable or valid approach to weight loss.  We have to consider all of the other variables and processes that occur in your body in order for a weight loss regimen to be effective and successful.  Fortunately, as mentioned earlier, nutritional balancing addresses all of the other variables.  First, let’s talk about genetics.  There is nothing neither I, nor any other practitioner can do about your genetics.  As far as I know, no one is doing gene transplants at the moment.  So, your genetics are your genetics and we have to work with what we’ve been given.  The good news is, thanks to the fields of epigenetics and nutrigenomics, we are learning a great deal about how to modify gene activity with environmental factors and lifestyle choices like food, supplements and eliminating toxins.  Nutritional balancing is an excellent way to ensure that you are attaining the proper substrates to optimize activity at the DNA level.

Nutritional balancing, as the name implies, is phenomenal at recalibrating micronutrient levels in the cells.  This is an often-overlooked concept particularly with regard to mineral balance.  There is no shortage of vitamin stores and many people do take various vitamin combinations.  But minerals, sadly, are a different story.  First, just because we are talking about vitamins and minerals does not mean that we are talking about completely benign substances.  There is such a thing as too much of a good thing, and if taken haphazardly vitamins and minerals can do more harm than good.  Second, many people are unaware of just how important minerals really are.  These micronutrients are essential to life. They make our cells do important tasks and they can also aid in obtaining a healthy weight.  For example, chromium is critical in balancing blood sugar because it acts like insulin and drives blood sugar into the cells.  It also can influence how hungry you become and thus can affect weight loss or gain.  Similarly, zinc is responsible for almost everything in the body (okay, slight exaggeration, but you get the point).  Zinc is involved in over 300 chemical reactions in the body. It promotes hormone balance in men and women, assists with protein production, modulates the immune system, and acts like a neurotransmitter which helps to balance mood.  Zinc deficiency is often seen on HMA and requirements go up in fast oxidizers, those who eat excessive carbohydrates and vegetarians.  Zinc deficiency has been correlated with weight gain because of its involvement with insulin regulation, hormone balance, metabolism, digestion and mood (amongst other activities).  These are only two examples of the importance of mineral balance and their relationship to weight management.  Other important minerals involved in weight gain or loss include magnesium, iron, sodium, potassium, calcium and selenium.

Nutritional balancing also inherently minimizes food allergies.  By removing foods that are known to be highly allergenic, some people may see almost immediate weight loss results, as water retention decreases and inflammation declines.  Some typical highly allergenic foods that nutritional balancing will eliminate are nightshade vegetables, grains, breads, gluten, wheat, pasteurized and homogenized dairy, fish and shellfish (with the exception of sardines), legumes, processed foods, fast foods, sugar and large quantities of nuts and seeds (some are good in those who can tolerate them).

We now know that inflammation is a major culprit in many of today’s chronic diseases.  These include heart disease, cancer, autoimmune diseases, dementia, diabetes, anxiety, depression and yes- obesity too! Nutritional balancing effortlessly decreases inflammation and minimizes the risk of developing and/or reverses chronic disease while helping you lose weight.  Silent inflammation develops over time as the immune system can’t keep up with the level of foreign substances that the body is being exposed to including allergic foods, chemical exposures, toxins- both physical (i.e. fluoride, BPA) and emotional (i.e. lack of sleep and trauma), pharmaceutical medications and chronic infections.  When inflammation runs rampant in the body, the body will attempt to dilute the foreign invaders by retaining excess water.  Once the foreign substances are eliminated, water is expelled (the ever so popular, water weight) and the body has an opportunity to heal and the actual healthful fat loss can begins.

Finally, nutritional balancing addresses the mental and emotional causes of weight gain.  This is an extremely important and often ignored cause of obesity. Depression, anxiety, boredom and severe life trauma are all causes of overeating.  Traditional pharmaceutical medications used to treat mental disorders including antidepressants, antipsychotics, bipolar medications and anxiolytics often have the lovely side effect of weight gain.  Imbalances in neurotransmitters, like serotonin and dopamine, are known to impact cravings and addictions to food, drugs and alcohol, as well as alter sleep, mood and ability to cope with stress.  All of these factors will influence your ability to lose weight and keep it off.  Additionally, mineral deficiencies (like zinc deficiency) are common in individuals who have suffered severe trauma.  This can affect appetite, digestion, mood and cellular function- all of which impact weight.  Nutritional balancing addresses mood disorders and emotional traumas with lifestyle modifications, nutrient balancing and detoxification so that automatic weight loss can begin.  Supporting disciplines like acupuncture and reiki healing may also be recommended and are useful adjuncts to a nutritional balancing program to address mental, emotional and spiritual turmoil.

So there you have it!  What are you waiting for? You have been given the ultimate guide to becoming a leaner and meaner you.  Stop making excuses, stop sabotaging yourself and stop wasting all of your hard earned money on unnecessary and expensive stuff.  Do this the right way, and once and for all rid yourself of the excess baggage.  Please call a medical practitioner today who can implement a nutritional balancing program. This is not something you want to attempt on your own. You’ll be glad you did!

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Part II: Holistic Lifestyle- WHAT IS ACUPUNCTURE REALLY?

In Part I of this series- I talked to Shamanic Reiki Master, Izzy Swanson about the importance of Reiki as part of a holistic lifestyle.  Today, I’d like to highlight a modality that appears to have far greater acceptance in the mainstream medical community than Reiki, and that is acupuncture.  We now have an entire culture of physicians that are going back to school and adding acupuncture as part of their clinical practice.  I thought this was an important addition to holistic healing as it is profoundly beneficial for physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health.

The following is an interview recorded on Friday, January 16th at 1:30 pm.  My questions are in the un-italicized text.  Responses by Jennifer are italicized.

Acupuncturist, Jennifer StangI am very excited to be sitting down with acupuncturist, Jennifer Stang.  Jennifer started her acupuncture career in New York where she attended Tri-State College of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine.  She’s always been fascinated by the human body and gained a keen interest in holistic healthcare after undergraduate school.  Her passion is to help clients feel their best and make acupuncture, a treatment method that is over 3,000 years old, well understood and utilized by Americans in the 21st century.

Hi Jennifer.

 Hi Jamie, thanks for having me today.

Thank you for coming and speaking to me about this very important topic that I think is still elusive even though it is a bit more common than it was, say 10 or 15 years ago.  So let’s start by asking why acupuncture was of interest to you?

 I actually got treated myself with acupuncture for an irregular menstrual cycle, so it was my own personal success with acupuncture that really made me interested in going back to graduate school for it.  I was pretty surprised at how many elements, illnesses and ailments that acupuncture could help.  And I just became completely fascinated with it.

 Was that your only experience with acupuncture that caused you to take that leap?

 Well, I had my first introduction to acupuncture when I worked on a research study at a psychiatric hospital. All the participants had OCD- obsessive compulsive disorder and a number of the participants were using acupuncture in conjunction with traditional medicine- including formal therapy, cognitive therapy and medications.  We were finding that the addition of acupuncture was actually helping people more than in those that didn’t use it.  So that was my first introduction to realizing that acupuncture was a very useful and beneficial treatment.  We were also finding that it was helping with depression.

Wow, that’s wonderful.  So many people are familiar with the term acupuncture but don’t really know what it is.  Would you explain exactly what acupuncture is?

 I’ll do my best (laugh).  It is a medical treatment where we use sterile, single-use needles.  They are very, very thin, you could probably fit about 40 of these into one hypodermic needle.  A lot of people get concerned about the size of the needle and how it’s going to feel to them. 

 That’s an interesting fun fact.

 Yeah. So, we insert these needles in to very precise points on the body, which we call acupuncture points.  And these acupuncture points fall on what acupuncturists call, meridians or channels.  We believe that energy flows through these channels; some people would also say its blood flow.  So we are trying to move that energy where it might be blocked or increase blood flow to a certain area.

That was very well put.  Cool.  So I know this is a loaded question but would you name some of the conditions or diseases that acupuncture can treat? Some of the one’s that people might not be familiar with.

 So in terms of familiarity, most people are aware that acupuncture works for pain management. This could be any type of pain condition, from back pain to headaches to menstrual cramping.  So that is really the number one reason why people come in, and this includes pre- and post- operative pain.  Then secondary is women’s health issues or hormonal issues.  Most often we see females with these issue but we can also help men.  This could include fertility problems, irregular menstrual cycles, and postmenopausal symptoms. Acupuncture can also help with anxiety, depression and other emotional imbalances.  It is also useful for immune functioning, like allergy issues, autoimmune conditions and a number of other ailments. 

 So that is a very broad spectrum of illnesses and so my question is, in your opinion, would you say that patients who receive regular acupuncture for whatever ails them, would then not need traditional medical means, like pharmaceutical medication or surgical interventions, etcetera to control or calm their specific condition?

 So that is a loaded question, because that will vary from person to person.  But, that is definitely the hope or goal, and I have seen it in a lot of cases where, eventually, medications aren’t needed.  Sometimes people come in when something is really acute and we can solve the problem before it actually becomes an issue where they need medication or other western interventions.  And other times, it’s in conjunction with those therapies to make sure that the condition doesn’t get worse.

 And what is the most dramatic case of that you’ve seen, where the patient is quite ill and decides to take an acupuncture route and then no longer needed a western approach.

Well I think some of the most striking cases come with fertility problems because I do a lot of treatments for women who have what’s called, unexplained infertility.  Because of the hormones women are often put on and pressure many women feel, it can be a very stressful time.  I’ve found that when people take a break from the conventional types of treatment and come in for acupuncture for a few months, many women get pregnant naturally. It’s really amazing and encouraging.  Sometimes we do acupuncture in conjunction with conventional treatments to enhance chances of conception. I’ve also seen cases where women don’t need to be on medications or hormones when using acupuncture, even if they have a history of repeated miscarriage.  They continue with the acupuncture instead of drugs and can be very, very helpful and successful.

 What about something like cancer?  Any examples of how cancer has been turned around?

 I’ve only treated a handful of cancer patients, personally. And I have not found that acupuncture alone would be a cure for those cancer patients but I’m a really big believer that when you change dietary habits and use other holistic modalities like acupuncture, that it can be a really great avenue for people, especially if they don’t want conventional chemotherapy or radiation.   I have heard some acupuncturists say that it works wonderfully for cancer patients in terms of trying to minimize the growth of the tumor or shrinking the tumor but I have only helped people with the side effects of chemotherapy and radiation and helped them to feel better and improve their overall quality of life. 

Yeah.  I know that is a tough one.

Most people who shy away from acupuncture would say that it involves needles and needles hurt.  What do you say to that?

 Well I do understand why people would be concerned about that.  I don’t think that most people really love needles. But I would say most people, especially with traditional acupuncture, don’t feel much of a sensation at all, especially not a pain sensation.  Because everyone’s perception or nervous system is different, you may feel the insertion into a point, potentially, but after that, you shouldn’t feel too much of anything with traditional acupuncture.  Most people report having a good feeling, improved blood flow or a heaviness over their body, but not the needle itself or discomfort from the needle. And I think what is most important is that people find a practitioner that they are comfortable with so that they will relax and enjoy the experience.    

 Would you say that it is actually a comfortable procedure?

 Yes, in fact, I’ve only had one person in the years that I’ve been practicing, that I wasn’t able to treat because of her fear of needles. I had to tell her that acupuncture is probably not the best treatment method for her because she was so concerned and I never inserted a needle into her body due to her anxiety.  So physical therapy or another form of manual therapy may have been a better option for that individual.  But most people actually love the experience and love coming back, even kids!  

 And I will add my two cents, I love the experience, it’s very calming, it’s very relaxing.  Even if it weren’t doing something internal, which I know it is, just to have an hour to sit and do nothing, and be relaxed and take a break and breathe is invaluable. So it is definitely worth trying.   

Okay.  So, let’s move on.  There are many forms of acupuncture, as I have learned.  Would you discuss some of them and the benefits to each?

I will try to explain this the best I can.  So, first off, most acupuncturists try to accomplish the same thing, where we are trying to get the body to heal itself, to guide the body to do its job.  There is no magic here.  But it all starts with Traditional Chinese Acupuncture, which we know from ancient texts, is the first form of acupuncture that was developed and is over 3,000 years old. In terms of how I would describe TCM or Traditional Chinese Acupuncture, would be practitioners often use a thicker needle, so that you get a stronger stimulation, which is called de qi, and they would use about 15 to 20 points on those meridians that we talked about before, with the goal of moving qi, or what many people call blood flow today. 

 Then you have Japanese acupuncture. Practitioners use thinner needles and they don’t stimulate as many points.  So the same channels or meridians are stimulated but a difference in how many points might be used, they may use fewer points and they don’t stimulate it nearly as heavily.  Diagnostically, in Traditional Chinese acupuncture, we use what you call a tongue and pulse diagnosis.  So we look at someone’s tongue and take their pulse.  And those are the main avenues along with asking the patient specifically about their symptoms and medical history, to decide which points to use and what the diagnosis will be.  In Japanese acupuncture, abdominal palpation is predominantly used to determine which points to stimulate.  

 The other form of acupuncture that I’m really familiar with, is what you call Acupuncture Physical Medicine or what may be referred to in western medicine as trigger point dry needling.  In Acupuncture Physical Medicine we actually combine Traditional acupuncture points with trigger point therapy.  These trigger points might not be exactly on those channels but instead we are going into the muscle itself and trying to release the muscle, to try to get it to relax. This type of treatment can help with nerve impingement, pain-related conditions and even emotional conditions since our bodies and muscles are affected by our emotions. 

 What kinds of emotional conditions?

 Anger, sadness- often we tend to hold these things inside and it can lead to muscle constriction or trigger points in our bodies and then our bodies can’t process things as well as it should.  So, by releasing those areas, it often will help with a person’s symptoms.

 So when was this type of acupuncture developed?  And I’m curious as someone who comes from a physical medicine and rehabilitation medical background, and am very familiar with trigger point injections and dry needling, but was not aware that it was coupled with acupuncture, so when did this happen?

 This specifically was developed by Mark Seem, who, in the late 1980’s combined classic acupuncture with trigger points. Janet Travell is probably the most famous trigger point researcher and doctor.  She was the first to document most trigger points and how to inject them.  Mark Seem studied with Janet Travell and then combined traditional acupuncture with trigger point therapy.  When we talk about different forms of acupuncture they all go back to Traditional Chinese acupuncture, so we are talking about points on those main meridians to try to help guide the body back into balance.  So while it’s important to release structural or muscular issues that we may have, it’s also important to go deeper and release some of the energetic blockages that occur.  So by combining the two, you often get a wonderful outcome. 

I learn something new every day.

 And then lastly auricular acupuncture is usually combined with any of the other styles of acupuncture.  This is when we insert needles on the ear.  There are about 300 points in the ear itself so it’s almost like its own little microsystem of the body. So often those points are combined with Traditional Chinese acupuncture, Japanese acupuncture or even Acupuncture Physical Medicine. 

 When I think of auricular acupuncture, I think of its use with addictions, weight loss.  Is that what we are talking about?

 It is absolutely still used that way and by itself for addiction.  Practitioners will use 5 points in the ear that have been researched and we know can help with withdrawal symptoms, physiological withdrawal symptoms, not necessarily the psychological component.  So, yes, that is how it is heavily used.  But even beyond that, certain auricular points help to calm the body very quickly.  In fact, there is one point in particular that is used in almost every treatment if people are going to use auricular points.  And it helps, overall, to just calm the body and put the body into a relaxed state, which is where I believe acupuncture really shines.  I think it really helps the body, in terms of the stress response, since most of us are overly stressed and we don’t even realize it.  I think that is where the beauty and magic of acupuncture comes in, in that it allows the body to get in that relaxed state so that it can do its job.

 I would agree with that, 100 percent.  Okay, so let’s switch to herbal remedies and their usefulness.  How often they need to be used with acupuncture? Do they have to be used with acupuncture? And maybe addressing some of the concerns people may have about herbal remedies and contraindications, toxicity around herbals.  I know that is a loaded question but do the best you can.

 Yes.  Please let me know if I miss anything.  So, in terms of safety, herbal formulas, when prescribed by a licensed practitioner, are extremely safe.  The ones that are most commonly used have been around for thousands of years. It’s true that some of the herbs used in Chinese medicine, even if they are plant based herbals, can be dangerous in large quantities or if not cooked properly, but in terms of Chinese herbal therapy, proper cooking methods and doses have been documented and herbals are used in small doses and have a very specific preparation. So when you go to a licensed practitioner, there should be no danger involved with taking them.  You know, there are many different ways of taking herbal formulas, one is in capsule or tablet form and these are highly regulated now.  You can actually track each bottle and see where the herbs came from, making sure you’re getting exactly what it says you are getting.  The main manufacturing companies are highly regulated now, probably more than most things that you get over the counter. When comparing to pharmaceutical drugs, I would say herbal formulas are safer since most pharmaceuticals are only researched for a few years and then we find out 10 or 15 years later once they’ve been out on the market, whether they are dangerous or not. 

Right.  

These formulas have been used for thousands of years and most practitioners don’t tend to tamper with the original formulas.  And when they do, the modifications have also been heavily documented in terms of adding other herbs to a regimen.

 Are there certain companies we should be looking out for, if someone were to go out and try to take herbals on their own.  You hit the nail on the head when you said that people should be going to licensed herbal practitioners, but is there anything people should be on the lookout for.

 A licensed acupuncturist most likely is what you want.  This varies from state to state though.  But in Texas, all licensed acupuncturists have to have herbal training and have to take the national herbal exam. There are ways of looking that up and seeing which practitioners have taken which exams and can be helpful if you are looking for someone. A practitioner will also tell you if you ask. Most individuals cannot just buy herbal products on their own, from the most well known companies, and have to go to a licensed practitioner to receive.

 Well, that’s good to know.  The other part of the question was how herbal remedies complement acupuncture and whether they are necessary or not.

 Yes, so, you do not have to use herbal formulas with acupuncture and in many cases, we don’t. When we deal with more systemic or deep rooted imbalances, herbal formulas tend to help really wonderfully and complement acupuncture beautifully.  They can potentially help the person get better, faster.  But when we are dealing with something like a pain-related condition, a person might not ever have to take an herbal formula.  Or when we are dealing with our fertility clients who are already taking hormones, we wouldn’t give them herbal formulas because we don’t want to tamper with how the doctor is trying to enhance hormones. You can have very good success with just acupuncture alone in many cases.  In terms of safety with other medications, people get very concerned, but herbals are very safe and licensed practitioners should know the ones that might be contraindicated with certain medications.  These usually are blood thinners, primarily.  And there are very few herbs that will counter act with that.  And most of the time, and this is true with any medication, separating them out by a couple of hours, you usually will not get any sort of reaction.  Now, keep in mind that it is hard to say how any formula/medication will counteract because your body is a different medium than someone elses. 

 That is very true.

 But in general, herbals are very safe to take with other medications.

Thank you for that.  That was very informative.  So, lastly, what kinds of practices could an individual do at home that would enhance or improve their acupuncture sessions?

 I would recommend anything that would make a person relax, which will be different from person to person.  I often suggest Epsom salt baths, some sort of mild exercise practice, this could be yoga, pilates, or meditation- I think is crucial.  Breathing exercises, most of us don’t breathe properly and don’t take the time to think about our bodies and how we are responding to our environment.  And just getting proper sleep and getting other good health practitioner care from medical practitioners who talk about diet, because diet is your best form of medicine.  Even when I think about herbal therapies, I would much rather someone change their diet over taking herbal formulas long term.  I think herbal formulas should be temporary, for the most part, even though some of them are extremely safe to take long term.  If you are looking for overall, long term changes, diet is going to be the key to that.

 Well said.  And on that note….Thank you so much.  I appreciate the time you have taken to come and talk about this topic.  Again, Jennifer Stang, LAc. is an acupuncturist in the Austin, Texas area.  You can find more information about Jennifer and her practice at http://bodyevolutionacupuncture.com.

Give her a call, your health depends on it!

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Part I: Holistic Lifestyle- WHY REIKI?

As I become more knowledgeable about holistic medical care and the tremendous importance of the allied professionals necessary for the health and healing of a patient, I am crossing paths with some amazing health practitioners that are most often not recognized for their talents and abilities.  This is particularly true with regard to the conventional/ mainstream medical community and the lack of acceptance of alternative healing modalities.  Because of this, I’d like to highlight, what I believe are important holistic practices, that may not be well understood but are absolutely essential to the overall wellbeing of a patient.

The following is an interview recorded on Thursday, October 23rd, 2014 at 5:30 pm.  My questions are in the un-italicized text.  Responses by Izzy Swanson are italicized.

EIC Holistic Lifestyle Blog PostToday, I am sitting down with a phenomenal Reiki practitioner, Izzy Swanson, so that she can shed some light on what Reiki healing is and how it is used.  Izzy is a Shamanic Reiki Master who says that she has always known that she was going to help others overcome challenges.  She began this call to service at the age of 14 after discovering Wicca.  Her knowledge was expanded in 2009 after joining the Women’s Shamanic Wisdom Circle of Austin.  She received her apprenticeship in Shamanic Reiki through the Awakening Journey Apprenticeship and has further studied at the Wolf Lodge Center for Shamanism.  I am honored to know Izzy and excited about the wisdom that she will share with us.

Hi Izzy, How are you?

Good.

Thank you for being here and speaking with me today.  So let’s dive right in.

Please explain to the audience what Reiki is, as I’m sure many people are unaware?  And secondly, tell us what Reiki is NOT?

This is probably the hardest question to answer.  It’s hard to describe to someone who hasn’t had Reiki, what Reiki is. You do have to, in order to give Reiki, you have to be given Reiki.  You have to be attuned to the symbols of Reiki that are given to your soul.

 Everything is energy.  Human beings are made up of energy, plants, animals, everything in the entire planet and even farther than that, everything in the universe, everything is made up of energy.  And when someone is experiencing a physical illness or a mental situation or emotional or even spiritual, their energy is also experiencing that.  They have stagnation in their spiritual body, in their emotional body, in their mental body, as well as whatever pain they are feeling in their physical body.  So, Reiki is energetic healing.  I channel Reiki energy into someone to help their energy move and relax and release.  It is the divine energy of the universe.  It is pure love.  I know that sounds kind of hokey, but that’s what it is. 

 It’s not witchcraft.  It has nothing to do with whether or not you believe in Jesus, or whether or not you believe in Buddha or Allah.  It’s not about which god you believe in.  It’s not about how you practice your daily faith.  It’s all about healing of energy and healing yourself so that you heal others around you and it radiates and it affects the entire world.  Reiki can complement any spiritual practice.  I am a goddess believer and goddess worshiper, so my daily practices include me using Reiki.  But it doesn’t have anything to do with what you believe in.  It’s not invasive. It’s not evil, it cannot hurt you, it can only help you. There is no harm that can be done with Reiki. Have I made that more confusing or is it clear?

 No, that was awesome.  I especially like the second part because for those who may have an idea of what the word Reiki is but may be ignorant to some of the facts about it and that is exactly what we needed to hear.  What is not going on or happening.

Why did you embark on this journey personally? Why is this important work?

That’s a long answer.  In the beginning, I didn’t know that I was going to be doing this for other people, I did it for myself.  Truth be told, I am a recovering drug addict, and a survivor of physical, and sexual, and verbal and mental abuse. So I have experienced it all and I have lived through it all and I started on my path to help myself.  To clear pain.  I did not want to stay in a place of pain, I was so desperate.  And, I didn’t want to be this very angry person that I was.  And so I began to seek out a path that would help me.  That aligned with how I felt spiritually and over time, taking various little step or working through the groups that I have worked with, I have now become a completely different person.  I don’t even recognize that person from before.  And so I’m inspired to help other people change from being angry, broken people.  Because I know that it can be done, because I did it.  And because I need to help people, because I want to help people, because there are so many broken people out there.

 This work is also really important to me, the sexual abuse aspect of this is a big deal to me.  I became ordained as part of my work with Reiki- because there are some legal restrictions and things like that, but it’s bigger than that.  I have a goal to take the work that I do with Reiki out into the world and help people who have lived with sexual abuse and sexual trauma and any kind of trauma, but mostly sexual abuse. Especially women and teenagers.  That’s why this work is important to me.

First, thank you for sharing that personal perspective.  Tell me a little more.  You were seeking something but how did you end up seeking Reiki? How did that end up being where you went for help?

You know, Reiki was actually unintentional and that’s what makes it even more beautiful to me.  I never thought that I’d be practicing Reiki, I didn’t set out to practice Reiki.  Instead, I set out to do Shamanic work and to do past life work and to do soul retrieval and to learn how to drum journey and connect with Celtic and Native American ways of doing things.  Through that, someone said, one of my teachers had to leave and another teacher stepped in and said, ‘Oh, I’ll teach you Reiki, do you want to learn it’ and I said ‘I do’ and after the first attunement, it became my life and I knew that it was what I was going to do.  And so, even today, what it really comes down to, ultimately, for me is listening to my higher power.  It’s not my will, it’s not what I want to do.  I turn it over and I just ask to be a messenger of love, light, peace and truth every day.  That is my goal. I’m not always perfect in it but that is my goal.  And if I stick to that, every step I take leads me to where I am supposed to go.  And that’s how I ended up here.

 Wow.

So it does get really spiritual. I don’t want to scare anyone away from it because I’m so spiritual.  But, yeah, for me, it’s really spiritual.

 Well, that’s wonderful.  Thank you. Okay, let’s switch gears a little bit.  And let’s talk to my colleagues, my medical colleagues who laugh at you.  Who say that this is ridiculous, this isn’t proven.  First, tell me what kinds of ailments or conditions would Reiki be helpful for? And what kind of patient should consider Reiki?

Reiki can be helpful for anything.  If you can go see a doctor for it, or you can go see a massage therapist for it, or you can see an acupuncturist for it, or a chiropractor, you can go and get Reiki for it.  Everything, remember, is energy.  So, let’s say you have a broken bone and you’re healing a broken bone.  You can get Reiki to help repair the energy around that broken bone, to relax your muscles and your body, so that your body will self-heal. And it will aid in the healing process and it actually can provide pain relief.  So, anything, if you’re feeling run down, if you’ve just gotten over a cold, if you have an autoimmune disorder, especially if you have an autoimmune disorder, Reiki can help your body heal itself, by moving that energy and keeping it moving.  When you’re injured and when you’re sick, you’re energy is stuck.  It’s not moving and that’s what Reiki does.  It helps to get it moving. 

And what would you say to a practitioner who says, ‘This is hokey, prove it to me, where is the science?’

There’s actually a lot of science out there.  I can’t quote specifically articles right now but William Lee Rand has, I can’t remember the name of his website, but he has an entire website dedicated to Reiki, and a part of that website dedicated to actual studies, that are peer-reviewed and challenged and evaluated and they have got some good evidence showing that Reiki does help patients recover faster.  And they have positive results.  There is another program that I have volunteered for called VET Triip, it’s a non-profit organization to help veterans with PTSD and they have provided some research about how Reiki, along with other methods- Qi Gong, massage, EFT- all of those things, are actually helping soldiers to get through the PTSD process.  There’s a lot of research out there, that is accurate and that can be easily found. 

 I would also say to them, to at least give me a chance.  Give me one chance.  I mean come in and see me, I make no guarantees, but the one thing I will say is that you will at least leave here calm, you will at least relax.  And that is a big thing for your body.

 Awesome.  Now let’s turn to patient experience. What can a patient expect from a Reiki session?  It’s their first session, their nervous, they don’t know what to expect.  What would you tell them?

This is a good question because I’ve gotten a lot of new patients lately and I explain it to them upfront, so that they aren’t confused.  They will just come in and lay down on a massage table.  They don’t have to take off any clothes, they do need to take off their shoes, but they don’t have to take off anything, they don’t have to worry about being vulnerable in that way.  They’ll lie down, I’ll cover their eyes, I’ll dim the lights, I’ll play a little bit of music.  I will begin by touching their head and around their neck and their shoulders, but I will hover over the rest of your body.  And I will touch their feet towards the end to help ground them again.  They may feel a little bit of sensation, like pushing or pulling, or a burst of hot, or a burst of cold energy.  Some people experience more, some people feel their body moving, feel their body tingling.  It depends but usually the person will feel the warmth of my hands hovering over them. 

 And so what about a patient who can’t relax.  Because it sounds like they need to be in a relaxed position, they need to probably be breathing deeply. For patients who don’t have experience meditating or relaxing, is this a block for you doing Reiki with them or does it not matter what condition they are in and you are going to be able to give them what they need?

It doesn’t matter what condition they are in.  Even if they are blocked to accepting it, the Reiki will still go and do what it needs.  It may just have to, it can hover and wait before it works.  Even if they can’t accept it right then.  So when a person first comes to me, I ask them when they first lie down to breath in and out deeply and I remind them that there is nothing that they have to do.  You don’t need to figure anything out, you don’t need to do any work, I will take care of it for you.

That’s great.  Thank you.  So many people in our society enjoy the immediate results that are often provided, like take a pill and feel better or go through the drive thru and eat right away.  Is Reiki something that will provide immediate results and is it something that can be done once or does it need to be kept up with on a regular basis?

I would say that it depends on how stagnant your energy is.  There are some people who come to me, who haven’t had any kind of energy work at all, who haven’t done any work on themselves otherwise or any other type of modality, therapy or other spiritual practice or anything.  And their energy has not moved at all.  And I see that, especially, in people who have experienced a lot of trauma.  And, yes, those people, I recommend that they come back on a regular basis, and we work to remove the layers and layers and layers of blockages.  Some people do some work on themselves and they say ‘Maybe, I need a little help’ and they come to me and I see them once a month, or once every couple of months. 

 I, personally believe for myself, that Reiki can work immediately. It begins to move your energy immediately.  But it may take time to see results, it may take a little while before you really realize the effect that Reiki is having on your body.

 And is there ever any resistance.  Has anyone ever said, ‘this is not for me, I can’t do this.’ What is that experience like?

That’s never happened to me in the room itself.  By the time that people come to me, they have come to the point where they have made an appointment, their ready.  But I have talked with other people, when I suggest to people “Maybe you should try Reiki?” I actually had one person tell me, ‘I know what’s wrong with me, I do not want Reiki.’ Some people are very resistant to it and I just have to honor that.  I do not want to force this one anyone. 

Absolutely.  So my last question is why would you consider Reiki an important part of health and holistic wellness?

Because, I believe that there is more than one aspect to it.  It’s not just your physical body.  You have your mind, you have your emotions and you have your spirit or energy, how I’m translating it.  And you can’t heal one without healing the other.  You can keep healing your physical body, but if you are not taking care of the rest of it, you’re not really healing.  And you keep going through the same patterns and you keep getting sick and keep doing it over and over.  So you have to have it all.

 Thank you so much Izzy, this was extremely enlightening and I’m pretty sure those who read this will agree.

You may find more information about Izzy Swanson and her practice at transformationreiki.com and please do give her a call if you are ready to start energy healing.

Thank you to Izzy for participating in this interview.  I do hope it diminishes some of the myth that is associated with Reiki and offers healthcare practitioners and patients an ancillary tool that can be utilized to further the healing process as part of a holistic lifestyle.

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Maintaining Health During The Holidays

Many of us (myself included) love to use the holidays as an excuse to forget all that we have learned and accomplished during the beginning of the year to totally sabotage ourselves nutritionally. Two extra pieces of pie, a little more wine or beer, a couple of extra servings of grains and six biscuits later, you feel exhausted, irritable, have a sugar hangover and have gained enough extra cushion that your skinny jeans don’t feel so skinny. Last year around the holidays, I realized how unnecessary this delicious torture was. I was so immersed in my health journey and wanted to continue on my path and discovered an even more satisfying menu that left me bloat-free, guilt-free and food fulfilled! So, no more excuses. Let’s talk about how to have a happy holiday with your new gluten-free, sugar-free, grain-free lifestyle.

The Meat
CAM00586Many of us meat eaters enjoy a nice centerpiece on the holiday table. Turkey, leg of lamb, roast or whole chickens can easily be prepared to be nutritionally balanced and within the confines of your lifestyle. First, and most essential, is making sure that your protein is responsibly raised using sustainable practices that will avoid unnecessary additives like hormones and antibiotics. Beef should be 100% grass fed (your packaging must say 100% grass fed or the cows are not just eating grass), while poultry should be pasture-raised and use non-GMO, soy-free feed. Check out these farms for your holiday main course as they have high-quality meat and poultry that will keep you nutritionally sound and licking your lips.

Second is preparation. By using fresh and dried spices, you can create a tasty dish that avoids heavy gluten riddled sauces or excess sugar. I made this turkey last Thanksgiving and it was amazing (skip the apples if you want less sugar). Or consider this extremely simple and absolutely delicious leg of lamb recipe. These recipes are just the beginning….I got plenty more where that came from!

The Sides
Arguably the easiest way to stay on task during the holidays is with the addition of nutritious side dishes. Replace traditional cornbread stuffing with grain-free pecan stuffing or ‘cornbread’ and sausage stuffing (here’s a hint: It’s not really cornbread). Ditch the mashed potatoes and macaroni and cheese this year and substitute with one of these three mashed veggie recipes or grain-free mac n cheese (skip the cayenne pepper for nightshade-free version). And of course, let’s not forget the multitude of vegetable sides that will keep you full and happy! The following are just a few of my favorite vegetable recipes from various brilliant food visionaries:

Butternut Squash Latkes
Rainbow Chard with Pine Nuts, Parmesan and Basil
Garlic Balsamic Roasted Brussels Sprouts

The Dessert
There is absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t enjoy dessert. No reason. It’s all about being creative, bold, and smart. I continue to experiment with different dessert recipes. Sometimes I fail miserably and sometimes I am a rock star but I just keep going until the sweet craving is satisfied without ever feeling like I did something naughty. This Halloween will be the first where my two-year old will actually get to go out and collect her treats. After we get home and throw away all of the high fructose corn syrup, sugar, gluten, soy and other names I can’t pronounce, we plan on enjoying this recipe. In our home, the focus is on the spirit of the holiday not the traditional treats and eats. The remainder of the holiday season (which includes my husband’s, my daughter’s and my own birthdays!) will be filled with wonderful treats. Don’t take my word for it, try them for yourself:

Fudge Brownies with Chocolate Frosting
Strawberry Meringue Cake
Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
Vanilla Bundt Cake
Chocolate Chip Cookies
Cheesecake

(Note: For any of the dessert recipes, feel free to replace honey or maple syrup with stevia to cut sugar)

So now you are armed with your beginner’s kit for a healthy holiday. The possibilities are endless. Once you realize this and make healthful nutrition part of your daily life, you will no longer feel the urge to destroy all of your hard work and awesome lifestyle, no matter what the season. Wishing you a joyous and prosperous holiday season! Be well.

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