A Secret Cause Of Infertility That You Are Exposed To Every Day and Every Night

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Ugh.

Today I’m going to highlight some of the alarming research coming out about why women are struggling more than ever to conceive and why men have the lowest sperm counts ever in recorded history —

–dropping in half from what there were just decades ago.

And then… of course… tell you exactly what you can do to protect and enhance your fertility!  Holistically!

 

Female Fertility:

 

Flame retardants are found almost everywhere… from saturating your mattress at night to being used in the manufacturing of bedding, upholstery, clothing, car seats… even your nail polish.  These organophosphate flame retardants are around us day and night, and new research suggests that women who have high concentrations of these flame retardants in their urine have a decrease in their fertility — having difficulty getting pregnant and being less likely to carry a baby to term.

This is the first study (published in Environmental Health Perspectives in August 2017) that examines the impact of organophosphate flame retardants on fertility:

Researchers followed 211 female patients undergoing fertility treatments at a Massachusetts fertility clinic.

All patients in this study had measurable amounts of common flame retardants in their urine, but women with the highest concentration were:

  • 10% less likely to have successful fertilization
  • 31% less likely to have an embryo implant in the uterus
  • 41% less likely to have a viable pregnancy
  • and 38% less likely to have a live birth, compared to women who had lower concentrations of these flame retardants in their urine.

Everyone ingests and breathes in flame retardants daily, as they are not chemically bound to the product they are added to and they are continuously released into the air and coat anything that comes in contact with products using flame retardants…

…which means these chemicals are constantly on our body, hands and face as you pick up food to eat, touch your face with your hands, unwrap your straw to drink through.

 

What to do? 

 

Wash your hands before you eat, even if your hands are not *dirty* — they are likely containing trace amounts of flame retardants on them which you will eat right along with your meal.

Washing your hands isn’t only useful for preventing the spread of disease, it’s crucial for keeping these pervasive chemicals off our hands and out of our bodies.

It’s also important for us to identify safer flame retardants to use on furniture and in clothing and bedding… but while alternative flame retardants are being investigated, try to find mattresses (I like Savvy Rest) and organic clothing (like Blue Canoe) that don’t use flame retardants, and wash your hands often, particularly before eating.

 

Male Fertility:

 

Sperm counts have fallen by an alarming rate over the past 30 years, now more than 52% lower than they were just three decades ago.

Men are making HALF the sperm they used to — and not just in the United States, but world wide.

A study (published July 2017 in Human Reproduction) followed over 42,000 men from 6 continents and more than 50 different countries and showed that sperm counts in 2011 are less than half what they were in 1973.

We know there is a considerable toxic burden on us now with the advent of endocrine disrupting pesticides and other chemicals like parabens, which are added frequently to household and personal hygiene products.

Published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine in Jul 2017, higher urine paraben concentrations in men were directly correlated to abnormal sperm morphology, increased sperm DNA abnormalities, decreased sperm motility, decreased sperm count…. and lower testosterone levels too.

 

What to do?

 

Double check ingredients on products you bring into your home, use on your body, and give to your children and grandchildren.

 

Products with parabens in them should not be used.

Get used to reading labels, scanning them for ingredients like methylparaben, propylparaben and butylparaben — because the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not limited the use of any of these ingredients in products sold in the United States yet.

There are tons of safer, paraben free alternatives on the market now!

Even though you can’t get away from all of the chemicals being used around you as you go about your day outside of the home, you certainly can decrease your own personal exposure by sticking to all natural, paraben free body care products, soaps, make up, sunscreens and household cleaners in your own home.

Reliance on fertility treatments to become pregnant is skyrocketing, but this is only a bandaid to the issue which is the decline of fertility of human beings world wide.  As reported in the flame-retardants study on female fertility above, which was conducted in an in vitro fertility clinic, even fertility treatments are failing at alarming rates.

Using fertility treatments to get around low sperm counts is not a long term solution, because even if you can get the sperm to fertilize an egg, there is an ever lowering success rate of implantation and viable long term pregnancy leading to live birth secondary to these chemical exposures.

 

So wash hands, remove as many parabens and fire retardants from the home…

…what else can you do to support a healthy reproduction?

 

Boost libido and fertility rates with light therapy.

 

New research (presented at the 29th European College of Neuropsychopharmacology Congress on September 19, 2016) shows that the same light therapy recommendation to treat Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) can significantly improve sexual satisfaction in people with low testosterone after only 2 weeks of treatment!

Researchers studied 38 patients with a diagnosis of primary hypoactive sexual desire or sexual arousal disorder.

Patients were randomly assigned to receive either active light treatment or placebo light treatment.  Active treatment was a daily 30 minute exposure to a light box with UV filter upon waking each morning and placebo light treatment was the same exposure but with a neutral density filter to reduce the light exposure to .01% strength of the active therapy.

After only two weeks of light therapy, patients with the active light treatment had hugely significant improvements in sexual satisfaction compared to placebo — over three times higher sexual satisfaction over baseline, whereas the placebo ground had zero improvement over baseline.

In addition, the testosterone levels of the patients receiving active light therapy rose by over 50% in just two weeks (from an average testosterone level of 2.1 ng/mL to an average of 3.6 ng/mL!). In contrast, there was no change at all to testosterone levels in the placebo group.

sunshine

Why?

That lightbox is really just

mimicking mother nature.

 

Testosterone levels naturally decrease in the Northern Hemisphere from November through April, when they begin to rise again throughout the summer.   Pregnancy rates reflect that, with the highest conception in the summer months (peaking in June.)
 In fact, as I recently blogged about here, Vitamin D from sun exposure actually boosts fertility — doubling the rate of implantation of an embryo and boosting the pregnancy rate from 20% up to 31%.

 

But why mimic mother nature when you can

just go outside and join her?

 

As I recently reported to you, exposure to light outdoors actually lengthens life span and is one of the healthiest things you can do each day   In fact, did you know that avoiding the sun has been medically proven to actually be more deadly than heavy smoking?  It’s true!   And that is not even counting the health benefits if you are actually grounded outside and touching the earth, which is the other healthiest thing you can do!

 

Want to learn more about that?

 

Sign up for my Earth Rx Online Healing Class, which runs next month!

I will answer every single thing you’ve ever wanted to know about grounding to the earth outside, and how you can use it to precisely address your specific health issue.

Grounding is protective and proactive about supporting the health of every single cell in your body (I’ll show you all the medical research that tells you exactly how and why!) and the vibrancy of your entire body as a whole… including protecting your fertility!

Sign up here and save your seat today!

 

Getting outside isn’t just a treatment for treating the winter blues — it’s our natural rhythm and something our body craves to help us feel our best (and boost our fertility and reproductive drive!) no matter what the season.

xoxxo, Laura

xoxo

 

Release Stuck Emotions To Truly, Deeply Heal

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The theme of releasing stuck emotions has come up several times in the past week with my private patients, so I’m going to take that as a gentle nudge to repost this article on my blog.

It’s perfect timing, because fall is a natural time to release and shed all that no longer serves you.

As the saying goes, you only have to glance at the beautiful changing colors on the fall trees outside right now to see how very beautiful it is to let go.

But what if you are feeling stuck?  I’ve got you covered.  Read on:

 

When the energy is flowing unrestricted through your body, you are releasing the old and welcoming in the new and healing happens effortlessly.

It is natural for your body to express what energy is flowing through it and to release it.

This is what healing is all about — expressing the energy dynamic of the tissues/organ systems/emotional body and releasing it.

Giving rise to emotions, symptoms and sensations is never the problem.  Releasing it… that’s where it can get tricky.

If we could stay in the flow and allow the body to do what it does best — release and naturally re-align with healing — then no symptom or emotion would last forever.

This is harder than it sounds, though… that’s one thing I know for sure as I live in a state of constant stress and uncertainty just like everyone else.

So today let me share with you some tips on how to get into a state of allowing the energy to flow instead of holding on to it.

Here are ways to get more release, less resistance:

 

1. Releasing deep sorrow and grief:

 

 

 

Sadness needs to physically flow through the body in order to release.

You must *feel* the sorrow.  Don’t try to resist it or put it off.

Instead, get into the state of allowing the flow using this one simple trick:  water.

Water is the ultimate medium of flow on earth, and comprises the majority of our body.  In fact, water is the body’s natural choice of release for sorrow as well, in the form of tears.

Tears often help facilitate the flow of grief through the body and allows it to release more easily.

  • So the first tip is: allow the tears.  Let the water of your tears release your sorrow and lift it from your body.  Triggering tears through powerful moving music or films or books can be a welcome way to release stuck feelings of grief.
  • Can’t cry?  You can still use the power of water to help facilitate the release of your sorrow, worry or grief by using a hot water bottle full of warm water, holding it on your body where you are physically feeling the sorrow (chest, abdomen, neck, back…)
  • Or, take a long hot bath in some beautiful warm water (add some baking soda and apple cider vinegar to turn it into a detoxing experience)
  • Sit in a warm shower and envision the water carrying your sorrow down the drain for you
  • Go for a relaxing swim or soak in a jacuzzi
  • Use steam/humidifiers to help hydrate the air, clearing out the old mental fog and allowing space for the new
  • Drink water — hydrate hydrate hydrate during times of worry or sorrow more than any other time of your life.  Let your body be flushed out inside and out and with every urination or bowel movement recognize you are flushing the old energy down the drain and making way for new healing.

 

 

2. Releasing fatigue and depressed mood:

The feeling of heavy fatigue or draining depression means your body needs a break…

…NOW.

Not later.

Fatigue and depression show up to alert us that we are in a time of healing/repair and not in a time of action.  Often we need a little extra time to nurture and rest before periods of growth and forward movement.

Think about when you were young, growing.

The heavy fatigue you felt during growth spurts…. it was there to urge you to rest for a reason.  Your body was growing new muscle, new bones, new neuronal connections, new physical mass and mental maturity.

I’ve got a teenage son so I know all about how very much his body needs lots of hearty nutrient dense foods and lots and lots of sleep to get through a growth spurt, because by the time it’s is over he is always several inches taller each time he goes through another phase of growth.

You can think of times of fatigue and depression in the same way… your body is asking for a break, to go within, in order to make new strides in your life as you heal.

 

Help it by:

 

  • Low key exercise. Respect your body’s need to slow down. Now is not the time for strenuous exercise… honor caring for your body in gentle ways such as yoga, stretching, long slow walks through nature.
  • Reach out.  You don’t need to do it all alone. Ask for help. Call a friend. Lean on family to help with some of the burdens you are seeking relief from. Here are some more ideas on how to seek out help.
  • Take a nap. Just allow your body to do its thing and rest more than normal… deep growth is almost always preceded by a slump, so allow your body the down time it needs and don’t put any expectations on the process.
  • Passive body work. Your body needs to get into receiving mode and not giving mode. Your giving mode is burnt out. What I’ve noticed is that most people who struggle with depression are the givers who are giving to everybody but themselves. You DESERVE to give your body the message that there is a time to stop and receive. Get a massage, acupuncture, reiki, physical therapy, a facial, a haircut. Anything that is a passive process for you — let others actively help move that energy through your body and help you on your way to release it.
  • Deeper sleep at night… get some more ideas on this here.
  • Try these 5 additional suggestions to holistically treat depressed mood.

 

 

3. Releasing frustration and anxiety:

 

These emotions are a very active state, where you have lots of energy building up inside.

So with this energetic state you generally need to get into a more active state to restore the flow, in contrast to the more passive surrender state required by sadness, grief, depression and fatigue.

The gift of anxiety is that you have energy to create positive change and follow through on inspired action.  Frustration and anxiety states respond to active release… so give some of these a try:

 

  • Meditation — this is a very active and aware state that puts you in the perfect open-but-alert mind-frame necessary for relief.  And deep breathing allows your parasympathetic nervous system to decrease your pounding heart rate, decrease your stressed out high blood pressure, improve your mood, and more.  Focus on taking 5 slow deep breaths in and out and choose a mantra for the in breathe and the out breath. If you can do 10 breaths, do 10. Work up to 20, 30, 50 breaths of focused openness:

breathing in: I am lovable, breathing out: I am loved

breathing in: I am safe, breathing out: I am taken care of by God

breathing in: I am protected, breathing out: I am healing

  • Healing exercise — moving the body and quieting the mind is the goal of many gentle, healing practices such as yoga, tai chi, qigong. If your energy feels more intense and will not allow you to settle down enough to do those types of exercise, honor your body’s need for active processing by something a bit more intense like Pilates, karate, kick boxing, or going on a long walk or jog.
  • Give to others. Unlike depression and fatigue, the gift of anxiety is the gift of having energy to give and express… and one of the best way to off-gas this is to give to others in need.  Volunteer at a cause that is meaningful to you, start a year of gratitude (doing one act of thankfulness to loved ones or strangers each week and record it in a gratitude journal) or just go out into the world each day asking that you be shown a way you can be of service.  The point here is not to add any more stress into your life — do not do ANYTHING that doesn’t feel right.  This is not a burden, it’s a very simple way to get rid of extra energy/tension.  Consider doing just a simple thing that doesn’t require a lot of preparation or any long term commitment, but will allow you to actively process and off gas extra energy.  For example, walk along a road in your neighborhood and pick up litter for an hour after dinner.  Pick up an extra pizza on your way home from work and give the extra one to a construction crew as you pass (this was my daughter’s favorite “gratitude attack” that we did in our own Year Of Gratitude…) or head to your local SPCA and take some of the dogs on a walk each weekend. In fact…
  • Care for a pet. Caring for a pet is the PERFECT way to allow your energy to flow in a loving and active, yet low stress way. Simply walking your dog every day, spending 30 minutes petting your cat while she purrs on your chest, whistle to a pet bird and teach him your favorite TV show theme song… study after study has shown that pets improve our health simply by being in our lives. During times of anxiety and frustration, loving on a pet a little extra each day gives a heart-centered but simple way to open our heart and allow excess energy to flow.

 

I hope those illustrations can give you a sampling of ideas on how to take ANY emotion you are feeling, recognize it simply as energy that wants to flow through your body and be released, and honor the message.

Getting into the state of release, whether active or passive, is the solution.  For deeper help getting into the flow of release, now is the perfect time to support your adrenal repair with me.

heart tree stump

Fall is the perfect time to turn inwards, nurture your adrenal glands, boost your internal energy reserves, and emerge this spring feeling better than you may have felt in many many years.

It’s okay to take these upcoming months slower, to tend to our inner needs more, and to make sure we are getting lots and lots of sleep.

It’s not only okay, it’s what we are *supposed* to be doing.

It’s like Mother Nature hand carved these months out for you to repair your adrenal glands and nurture your energy reserves so you can emerge this spring feeling triumphantly energetic!

Repairing your adrenal glands is the easiest to do in the fall… right now.

It’s easier to sleep longer with the days getting shorter, easier to prepare and eat warm foods like soup, roasts, stews, etc… rich with fat, protein and salt (all absolutely crucial when repairing your adrenals) and easier to cocoon in and nurture your body, with less exertion and more repair.

That’s why I run my Adrenal Repair Online Class in November — because if you start to take care of your adrenal rhythm now, in just a few short months from now you can be fully recovered from Adrenal Fatigue!  Emerge this spring feeling better than you have felt in many many years!  Ready to eat lighter, sleep stronger, lose weight, move your body more.

If you want to work with me to optimize this recovery, I’m here for you.

Adrenal Repair 5 Day Online Class

 

In this 5 Day Adrenal Repair Class, together we will:

  • understand exactly why your cortisol gets out-of-wack and why it’s so important to nurture your adrenal glands
  • learn exactly how to support adrenal repair in a way that you can apply throughout the course and beyond
  • receive an awesome goodie bag filled with items we use together during the course
  • get daily uplifting, positive, fun emails packed with information, tips, videos, activities, self assessment quizzes and more to get you into the healing flow of easily and effortlessly repairing your adrenal glands…
  • and finish with a Q&A phone call where I will answer every single one of your health questions personally!

 

Without understanding and implementing the crucial steps that I am going to share with you in this course, there is no way you are going to have full repair after a stressful circumstance and feel your best.  So let me help you right now with tons of fun, uplifting, actionable things you can do right now to address adrenal fatigue.

 

sacral

Click here to join my

5 Day Adrenal Repair Class today!

 

Let’s get you feeling better than ever…  and enjoying this cooler weather and the beautiful fall colors that surround us.

I’ll be here for you all the way through it!

xoxo, Laura

Antidepressants Increase Risk Of Death… Luckily There Are Incredibly Powerful Alternatives That Work

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No doubt antidepressants can be life saving to those in a major depressive episode, and I am absolutely not suggesting that those on an antidepressant should discontinue use.

But I do think it’s important to highlight new information about how antidepressants are affecting the health of your entire body… not just brain function.

 

While antidepressant use can be supportive to healthy mood, they are also affecting everything from your circulatory system to your cancer risk.

And… on top of that… there are incredibly powerful holistic ways to treat depression that are medically proven to work even BETTER than antidepressants do… methods that your doctor may not be aware of or may not have shared with you.  More on that in a minute.

First let me share with you the results of a new, huge, meta analysis that shows that prescription antidepressants raise the general risk of death from all causes by 33%… which is not something we should be covering up.

 

Here’s more:

The Study:

(published in Psychotherapy & Psychosomatics on Sept 14, 2017)

  • Researchers conducted a meta-analysis looking at antidepressant use and mortality rates in 17 relevant medical studies.

 

The Results:

  • The general mortality rate from all causes of death was increased by 33% for those who used prescription antidepressants over those who did not use prescription antidepressants.

 

The Bottom Line?

  • Taking antidepressants increases the risk of death by one-third over the death risk of folks not taking an antidepressant.
  • If an antidepressant is saving your life by supporting depressed mood with suicidal thoughts, than this risk of death from all causes may be a necessary acceptable risk.
  • But if you are on an antidepressant for another reason, it may be worth re-evaluating with your prescribing physician if you need to continue, or if you might be able to decrease dose by adding on one of these medically proven ways to treat depression without a Rx!

 

An estimated 1 in 10 Americans are on a Rx antidepressant, prescribed by their physician with  no formal psychiatric diagnosis.

So it’s worth being honest about how these prescriptions are affecting other tissues and organs in the body adversely and evaluating whether the pros of antidepressant use is outweigh the cons… and also if there might be some adjunctive things we can additionally be offering patients that will help them reduce dose, if not get off the antidepressants all together.

Turns out, there are!

These holistic alternatives that are literally as effective… and even more effective… than Rx antidepressants, and they are all things that can be safely added on top of Rx antidepressant use as well.

Here are the top 5 things you can do to effectively treat depression without a prescription:

(or even with current use of a Rx to minimize the dose required for relief!)

 

 

 1.  Probiotics

 

Yet another medical study continues to verify that probiotics absolutely robustly treat depression.

The natural flora of the gut is diminished in depression, so restoring the natural vitality and variety of healthy organisms in the digestive tract is turning out to be a very powerful way to improve outcome in depression (and other mood disorders, such as anxiety.)

Researchers found that only 4 weeks — just ONE MONTH — of probiotic therapy significantly lifted depression, decreased anhedonia, reversed sleep disturbances… and that these improvements were still  sustained months later.

These results are so impressive because probiotics had zero of the adverse side effects that prescriptions antidepressants do and can safely be taken indefinitely.

The Study (presented at the 13th World Congress of Biological Psychiatry on June 19, 2017) showed:

  • Mood raised by 55%
  • Anhedonia improved by 20%
  • Sleep quality improved by 33%
  • All after only one month on the probiotic!!!
  • These results were maintained or continued to improve by the two month assessment.
  • Probiotics had none of the Rx side effects, which included: vomiting, severe headaches, increased suicide risk, sexual dysfunction… not to mention the chemical exposure and dependency on obtaining repeat prescriptions from your physician.

 

Probiotics are safe, effective… and even better… available without a prescription.

 

2. Sleep One More Hour

 

A study (presented at the American Academy of Neurology 2017 Annual Meeting on April 27, 2017) reveals that even a minor sleep disturbance (even a shortage of just one hour of sleep!) can significantly up your risk of mood disorders such as depression and anxiety.

The study showed that sleep duration was inversely associated with mental health.  Each hour of sleep made a statistically significant difference in the rates of depression, hopelessness, nervousness, restlessness and fidgeting.  Getting just one hour more of sleep significantly alleviated every single one of these symptoms.  And these rates compounded with each additional hour…. so getting two hours less sleep TRIPLED the rates of nervousness and hopelessness, and almost QUADRUPLED the rates of depression and restlessness.

Wow! If only one hour more sleep is shown to help treat depression, hopelessness and anxiety, we really need to take sleep seriously.

It’s no longer enough to just get by on fumes, stressing out your adrenals and hoping to just catch up your sleep deficit over the weekend.  Yes, we know chronic sleep issues are no way to live… increasing rates of Alzheimers and increasing severity of asthma attacks and upping ADHD symptoms and more.

But now we know, as little as a 60 minutes less sleep at night significantly affects mood and mental health too.  We need to do everything we can do to maximize how restorative every minute of our sleep is, every night.

 

My fav way to get better sleep?

Sleep grounded.

 

EEG studies of brain activity show that connecting to the soothing energy of the earth instantaneously shifts our brain wave patterns and reduces ambient stress levels.

Effortlessly getting into the relaxed but alert alpha brain wave pattern, which is seen in deep meditative states and restorative sleep states, is one of the hallmarks of grounding.

Deeper, more restorative sleep at night puts us in a zone of healing, which helps support everything… from treating mood disorders to decreasing your risk of dementia to boosting metabolism.

 

3.  Light Therapy

 

We all know that getting morning light each day significantly improves seasonal blues (or winter depression.)

But a new study shows that light therapy lifts depression — even depression that is NOT seasonally related — and actually treats depression more effectively than antidepressant drug therapy!

The Study (Published in JAMA Psychiatry on Nov 18, 2015) showed that after only 4 weeks, depression was significantly improved after only one month of using the light therapy.

And notably, the light box therapy was actually significantly MORE effective than drug therapy in treating depression.

Light therapy can also be used safely in conjunction with medical treatments (including Rx medications) so if you are on an anti-depressant, augment your treatment with light therapy and it’s possible you can work with your physician to decrease dose!

And if you are not on an antidepressant but suffer from depressed mood, whether seasonal or not, consider getting 20 – 30 minutes of light therapy every day for a few weeks before giving those antidepressants a try.

The best light therapy box is waiting for you right here.

Portable, full strength, LED, zero UV rays, clinically proven effective.

 

 

4.  Vit D Supplements

 

A study (published in the November 2011 issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings) showed that low levels of Vit D is significantly linked to increased risk of depression.

And the important thing to note about this particular medical study is that the researchers found that the link between low Vit D levels and depression was even higher in patients who had a prior history of depression. 

What does that mean?

It means if you have a history of depression, it is extremely important for you to be sure to supplement with Vitamin D, or be certain to get daily exposure to natural sunlight.

Even in those who did not have a prior history of depression, Vitamin D levels were low across the board… with 50.7% of ALL study participants having low Vit D levels.

This suggests that at least half of us, regardless of mood, are already low in Vit D.

So far there have already been two studies that both show that after treatment with high doses of Vit D (thereby achieving an elevation in serum Vit D levels) depressive symptoms declined or resolved entirely.

And especially important for those with a history of depression or a family history of depression… it’s great news that higher Vitamin D levels can actually help decrease risk of future depression.

 

 

5.  Zinc Supplements

 

On December 15, 2013, the medical journal Biological Psychiatry published the results of a huge study that found overwhelming evidence of a link between zinc and depression.

Researchers looked at  17 different studies that measured peripheral blood–zinc concentrations in over 1600 depressed patients and 800 control patients.

The research showed that mean peripheral blood–zinc concentrations were not only lower but that zinc levels correlated with how severe the depression was.   The most severe depression was associated with the greatest deficit in zinc levels.

Looking at both animal studies and pre-clinical and clinical trials, researchers found that zinc added to antidepressant therapy produced more rapid and more effective improvement in symptoms of depression than without zinc supplementation.

These 5 holistic treatment options:

 

  • probiotics

  • grounding

  • light therapy
  • vitamin D &
  • zinc supplementation

 

can all be safely and effectively combined to help treat your depression and can also safely be used in combination with Rx treatment for depression.

 

 

So please know, there are lots of all natural ways to support your mood and please forward this info on to any friends or loved ones who could use the extra support.

Not too many physicians know about these holistic ways to help treat depression and many don’t realize that these extra steps can make a world of difference to their patients who are not being adequately treated through a conventional approach alone.

With great faith in your natural healing resiliency…

xoxox, Laura

 

Are You Kidding Me? What Diet Drinks Are Really Doing To You

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File this under:

I’m not surprised.

 

But all the same, a new medical study shows us the disturbing proof that eating foods and drinking diet drinks with artificial sweeteners in them actually changes how your body is able to handle glucose… increasing your risk for Type 2 Diabetes.

Makes sense… you are basically training your body to have an abnormal response to sugar by feeding it artificial sweeteners.  What I didn’t know is how quickly your body slows down it’s insulin response and begins to abnormally uptake glucose in the gut and concentrate it in the bloodstream.

Two weeks!  Two weeks is all it took for a significant change in the absorption of glucose and an altered response from your gut making too little of glucagonlike peptide 1 (GLP-1… which helps our body limit the rise in glucose after a meal.)

 

The Study:

(presented at the European Association for the Study of Diabetes Annual Meeting on September 14, 2017… and found online here)

  • 60 healthy participants who did not already habitually consume artifical sweeteners were enrolled in this double blind, randomized, parallel group clinical study
  • Participants fasted overnight and underwent an endoscopy with intraduodenal glucose infusion and small bowel biopsy, at both the onset and conclusion of the two week study
  • Study participants took capsules three times a day before meals… the capsules either contained placebo or a combination of artificial sweeteners (such as Sucralose and acesulfame L, both commonly found in diet beverages) for 2 weeks and had their glucose absorption, insulin production and gut hormones (including GLP 1) measured, in addition to the gut biopsies.
  • The amount of artificial sweetener consumed in the double blind study was equivalent to drinking just over a liter of diet beverage a day (1.2 L) for two weeks

 

The Results:

  • After two weeks, the participants who consumed the artificial sweeteners had increased absorption of glucose — 20% more glucose absorbed than absorbed by the placebo group.
  • Participants taking the artificial sweetener also had their plasma glucose levels increase by 24% over placebo
  • GLP-1 response from the gut (which limits the rise in blood glucose after meals) decreased by 34% in the artificial sweetener group
  • This means that while the folks consuming artificial sweeteners had bodies that were taking up more glucose and dealing with a higher spike in blood levels of glucose after meals, their gut was responding in a decreased, desensitized way, releasing less insulin and allowing glucose levels to rise unchecked
  • Participants consuming artificial sweeteners took up more glucose into their bloodstream but made less insulin in response to the higher levels of glucose… basically a diabetic response.

 

The bottom line?

It only took two weeks of consuming artificial sweeteners to develop this abnormal response to glucose and increase participants diabetes risk.

Say it with me: two weeks!!!  Wow.

 

This, after this medical study published on January 2, 2013 in JAMA that revealed disturbing brain changes after consuming fructose and sucrose.

When study participants drank glucose, the brain blood flow increased in the centers of the brain that signal feeling full, satiated, satisfied and rewarded.  Basically, the body was able to signal when in felt satisfied and gave the feedback naturally to stop consuming.

But… when study participants drank fructose, there was actually no effect to these areas of the brain, which tricks your brain into thinking that you haven’t even consumed anything.

No feeling full.  No feeling quenched.  Meaning… no satisfaction and no urge to stop consuming.

 

Considering fructose is added the vast majority of the sugary drinks we drink on the market (sodas and fruit juices and sports drinks alike) it is yet another reason to put down those beverages when you are trying to lose weight.

Fructose has also been shown in previous studies to promote insulin resistance, insulin intolerance, and abnormal fatty deposits in the liver!  Yuck!

Sucrose is a 50/50 blend of glucose and fructose… so take care to avoid sucrose as well as any high-fructose corn syrups in the ingredient list.

 

When you are drinking a soda with fructose or sucrose in it and eating a snack — guess what?

Your brain is being selectively numbed to the fact that you are consuming.

So you over-consume beyond what would normally satisfy you.

You can’t even feel it!

 

It’s not your fault AT ALL — your brain literally can NOT alert you when it is full, nor give you normal, natural feeling to stop eating.

 

If you make only this ONE CHANGE, starting today, of decreasing or eliminating fructose, sucrose and artificial sweeteners from your diet, you begin to retrain your body to let you know when it is full and you retrain your body to respond appropriately to glucose…

…decreasing your chance of sliding into diabetes and metabolic syndrome.

You get yourself back in touch with your own desires and your own body’s ability to metabolize sugar.

Here is a challenge for you — try drinking only water today.  Drink water every time you are thirsty, every time you are hungry, and throughout the day even when you are not hungry or thirsty.

I’ll join you… (uh… after my morning coffee… sweetened with real sugar!)

xoxoxo, Laura

 

11 Holistic Ways To Feel Your Best This Fall

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We are in mid September now, and the fall Equinox is this Friday.

And for so many of us…

…shorter days and longer nights means a dip in our mood.

 

Fortunately, there are lots of great things to do to get prepared as the seasons change.

 

Of course there are things like pulling out your sweaters and boots and knitting a scarf or two and planting a winter garden and getting the fireplace cleaned that you might look forward to this fall.  But one thing that I get every year, and absolutely never look forward to, is a drop in my energy level and mood as the days get shorter.

So I want to share with you today my annual fall post — a collection of 11 important, personal things that I do to prepare my body now for a smooth transition to winter.  It works.  Give any or all of these a try and let’s have your best fall yet!

 

Essential Fall Health Checklist:

 

1. Stock up on Omega 3 fatty acids.

 

I’ve already blogged a bit about how Omega 3’s can:

 

 

Omega 3 fatty acids are such an important whole-body nutrient that comes even more into play during the colder months.

Winter means everything from a permanent brain fog to dry tight skin.

Fish oil supports brain function, digestion, circulation and skin… all things that we need help with in the winter.

Although I absolutely recommend fish oil every single day of the year, if you don’t take it, then plan on starting to take it in the fall and it will help prep your skin for the dry air to come, protect your brain for the dark days to come, soothe your circulation for the colder winds to come, and smooth your digestion for the heavier, thicker, richer foods to come.

 

2. Boost your serotonin naturally.

 

Less daylight can mean a palpable drop in the mood boosting neurotransmitter serotonin.  If you happen to be serotonin depleted, the winter blues are more likely to hit you harder than other people.

You can address this in two ways.

One, by taking supplements that help boost your natural serotonin levels.

A precursor to serotonin (the positive, mood enhancing neurotransmitter that most antidepressants are targeting, in the hopes to elevate brain levels) 5HTP is a nutritional supplement that makes sure your body is getting the building blocks it needs to make serotonin as efficiently as possible.

If you get a mild case of winter blues, you likely don’t need to take prescription medications for that.

Instead, you can make sure that your body is getting all it needs nutritionally in order to make its own, healthy levels of serotonin.

One way to ensure this is to take the nutritional supplement 5 HTP… because if you feed your body what it needs (most of us don’t get enough of this precursor as it is) then you have the best chance to naturally create the serotonin you’ll need to keep your spirits up as the light fades.

 

Or alternatively, if you want something to prevent the winter blues and boost serotonin without taking a supplement, Light Therapy is medially proven to not only prevent and treat the winter blues, but it actually treats all forms of depression (and even treats fibromyalgia!)

My very fav, compact, therapeutic light box is clinically proven and is waiting for you right here.

 

 

 

3. Consider Melatonin an hour before bedtime.

 

Just as serotonin can dip in the winter, adding to the winter blues… your melatonin levels can dip too, wreaking havoc on your nightly rhythm.

Even though the darkness makes you feel more tired and ready to turn in earlier, oddly enough you may find sleep elusive just when you crave it most.

This is because melatonin is actually made from serotonin… so folks who are low serotonin are generally low melatonin, and these levels dip in the winter because of the shorter days.

While 5 HTP may helps boost daytime serotonin, another approach is to take melatonin directly one hour before bedtime.  Taking melatonin in the fall when the days grow shorter will help your body re-set to its natural rhythm once winter peaks.

 

 

4. Restore your magnesium levels.

 

Many of us are magnesium deficient and we don’t even know it.

As a result our muscles are tight and we feel anxious and have trouble relaxing into sleep.

Taking a magnesium supplement is one of my favorite recommendations for anyone with difficulty relaxing do to muscle tension or soreness, such as issues with tension headaches, fibromyalgia, grinding teeth at night, TMJ, etc….

Try taking melatonin or drinking a melatonin drink supplement before bedtime to help relax your body and creates a lovely evening ritual all fall, all winter… and all year long.

Sleeping well at night is a natural and easy way to feel brighter during the day, beating those winter blues.

 

 

5. Get outside and stay grounded, even as it gets colder.

 

Make your plan now for how you can still get outside and soak in the fresh air, sunlight, and healing earth energy even as the temperature falls.

Getting outside in even the cloudy grey days for a mid-day walk is better than staying inside even under the brightest artificial lights.

Even if the sun appears not to shine, your pineal gland senses the light in the environment and needs this pick-me-up to function best this fall and winter.

Make a commitment to get morning or mid-day light (sunshine if possible!) every single day.

Slip off your shoes for a few minutes, or, if it’s too cold, just use your fingers to hold onto a tree that is grounded in the earth.

I even have grounding gloves waiting for you so you can keep your hands inside a warm glove and still be grounded while touching a tree branch, cement, a rock, the earth.

Same with socks and shoe straps that allow you to be grounded through your feet without ever exposing your toes to the cold!

The time spent grounding to the earth will refresh your body and soul.

This one simple and free habit is probably the single best thing you can start right now to smooth your fall transition.

 

 

 

6. And along with daily exposure to sunlight, supplement with Vitamin D.

 

Yes, you will get some Vit D when you go outside each day… but as most of us are deficient in Vit D during the summer…

…nearly ALL of us fall deficient in the winter.

Not only is Vit D a powerful antioxidant, it prevents cancer, stroke, heart disease, boosts weight loss… you name it… we need it.

 

 

7. Drink twice as much water as ever before.

Hopefully you’ve kept yourself well hydrated during the summer, when hot temperatures and sweating drive us to remember to drink water more than at any other time of the year.

But in the cooler temps, ones in which you are shivering, not sweating… it’s more important than ever before to hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.

Dry heated air, dry cold outside air, wind chapping our lips, and no internal drive to remind us to drink leads to mid-winter dehydration, brain fog, and a sure-fire road to BLAH.

You can get so dehydrated that you actually feel semi-nauseous all the time and a bit depressed.

Drink water and then drink some more… and start right now.

I take the time to filter out the fluoride in my water… here is a blog post I wrote explaining how and why I drink non-fluoridated water.

 

9. Make homemade (Un)Petroleum Jelly.

 

If you like the barrier protection of petroleum jelly but, like me, you don’t want petroleum by-products anywhere near your body…

…make your own!

Yesterday, my daughter and I followed this recipe and really liked how it turned out… I’ll be keeping a jar by my bedside for my fall and winter cracked heels.

 

 

 

10. Make firestarters.

 

All fall I collect my dry lint and tons of items I typically would toss in the recycling bin (like cardboard egg cartons) and turn those free items into mega-awesome FREE firestarters.

I walk you through it in my Eco Friendly Firestarter Tutorial here!

You’ll use these all winter long and be so glad you took the time in fall to prepare a stash for yourself.

 

 

11. Repair your adrenals.

 

Fall is the perfect time to turn inwards, nurture your adrenal glands, boost your internal energy reserves, and emerge this spring feeling better than you may have felt in many many years.

It’s okay to take these upcoming months slower, to tend to our inner needs more, and to make sure we are getting lots and lots of sleep.  It’s not only okay, it’s what we are *supposed* to be doing.

It’s like Mother Nature hand carved these months out for you to repair your adrenal glands and nurture your energy reserves so you can emerge this spring feeling triumphantly energetic!

Repairing your adrenal glands is the easiest to do in the fall… right now.

It’s easier to sleep longer with the days getting shorter, easier to prepare and eat warm foods like soup, roasts, stews, etc… rich with fat, protein and salt (all absolutely crucial when repairing your adrenals) and easier to cocoon in and nurture your body, with less exertion and more repair.

That’s why I run my Adrenal Repair Online Class in the fall — because if you start to take care of your adrenal rhythm now, in just a few short months from now you can be fully recovered from Adrenal Fatigue!

Emerge this spring feeling better than you have felt in many many years!

Ready to eat lighter, sleep stronger, lose weight, move your body more.

If you want to work with me to optimize this recovery,

I’m here for you.

 

Adrenal Repair 5 Day Online Class

 

In this 5 Day Adrenal Repair Class, together we will:

  • understand exactly why your cortisol gets out-of-wack and why it’s so important to nurture your adrenal glands
  • learn exactly how to support adrenal repair in a way that you can apply throughout the course and beyond
  • receive an awesome goodie bag filled with items we use together during the course, including adrenal supportive supplements, a grounding wrist band and my very favorite magnesium drink to help you sleep better, wake better, feel better and live better, all included free with the course!
  • get daily uplifting, positive, fun emails packed with information, tips, videos, activities, self assessment quizzes and more to get you into the healing flow of easily and effortlessly repairing your adrenal glands…
  • and finish with a LIVE Q&A phone call where I will answer every single one of your health questions personally, AND send you the recording so you can listen to it at your convenience and save for future reference forever!

 

Without understanding and implementing the crucial steps that I am going to share with you in this course, there is no way you are going to have full repair after a stressful circumstance and feel your best.

Just no way.

So let me help you right now with tons of fun, uplifting, actionable things you can do right now to address adrenal fatigue.

 

sacral

Click here to join my

5 Day Adrenal Repair Class today!

Class runs  Nov 13th -17th, and space is limited,

so please reserve your spot today.

 

Let’s get you feeling better than ever…  and enjoying this cooler weather and the beautiful fall colors that surround us.

I’ll be here for you all the way through it!

xoxo, Laura

 

Letting Go Helps You Heal (Here’s How)

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Well I don’t know much.

I do know that this world is a complicated, beautiful, painful place.

And I have lived quite a few decades and for roughly half of that time I’ve been a practicing physician as well, so I’ve learned quite a bit about what allows the human body to be resilient to stress and trauma and illness and disease.

And what I’ve found is that surrendering is what allows healing to happen.

 

Surrendering = healing.

 

What heals people in real life is the total opposite of what I learned about healing in medical school.

We never learned about the concept of surrender as a healing modality in our medical education.  In fact, what we learned about were ways to FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT as if health was a battle and we were automatically going to lose if we didn’t get incredibly stressed out over it.

And God forbid if we did lose the battle it’s because we didn’t fight and resist hard enough or struggle long enough.  But I’ll be damned if it doesn’t seem to actually work that way in real life at all.

What builds resiliency in the healing process is allowing yourself to be overwhelmed and surrendering to that… making decisions based on what aligns you with feeling better and better and better, not what builds despair and desperation and struggle within you.

So I began to identify a new way to think about the healing process, one that serves us better than the idea of healing being a big fight… one that feels more accurate to my own personal experiences and the experiences of the patients I’ve worked with.

 

Think of healing as surrendering… and allowing the process to unfold in partnership with it, instead of fighting it.

 

 

Surrender is one reason Grounding is such an incredibly powerful healing modality.

You allow your body to get into the zone of healing and allow the healing energy of the earth to facilitate this processes more quickly than your body could ever do it on it’s own, disconnected and struggling.

 

Typically in the beginning of a health challenge what we feel is pure resistance:

 

This can not (or should not) be happening.”

 

Interspersed with sobering moments of:

 

Yes, I can do this, I will do this, this *is* happening”

 

…and what I notice is that each time patients surrender to what is actually happening, hope immediately returns.  Because then you are in the flow of the healing process and you know anything is possible.

In fact, needing to control or fight the process is actually just a normal reaction to trauma, a PTSD coping mechanism that allows us to attempt to regain our footing.

There is nothing wrong with the impluse to try to take control in order to cope, it means that we are in the midst of change that is overwhelming us and we are responding.

But the real growth comes when we no longer need to control the process.

Letting go of the need to control is a huge triumph in the healing process and a major victory in releasing the PTSD patterns we may have created along the way.

 

From the book Oneness, by Rasha:

“The key to maximizing the pace of your progress lies in the degree to which you are able to let go and cease directing the scenarios of your drama. 

Allow life to unfold for you. 

And consider the possibility that your best interests are best served by a level of awareness that transcends your conscious mind.”

 

 

I know that personally, for me, every single time I’ve taken a step backwards in the healing process it is because I am resisting it or trying to control it.

And every single time I’ve ever taken a huge leap in the healing process, it is because I was surrendering to the transformation and ALLOWING IT TO BE something more beautiful than had ever stood in it’s place before.

The ugliest messes have a way of being the most necessary, meaningful, healing experiences possible.

 

And even when fear has us screaming:

no, no, no, no, NO!

… the entire time, our soul is singing

yes, yes, yes, yes, YES!”

 

and surrender happens.

And healing happens.

And growth happens.

 

And my ability to heal — and my ability to help patients heal — is directly proportional to my ability to surrender and to help guide surrender.

 

Surrendering and watching what shows up feels ever so infinitely better than resisting what life has planned for me.

Surrender has shown me beauty, grace, love, unconditional support, strength, survival… and more of *myself* than ever before.

Turns out, stepping fully into the process of trusting what is unfolding is what real, deep, soul healing has been about all along.

 

Think of it this way:

If you are going to go from Point A to Point B in your lifetime, and yet you are holding onto a very heavy weight at Point A — how will you reach Point B in one piece?

You won’t.  Hold onto the weight tight enough and your body will begin to suffer.

Pain will appear in your arm first.

Stress will arise in your heart and mind as you feel the strain increase.

Tension will cause sleep and digestion to suffer.

Your body will continue to hurt as it is pulled in one direction but you remain stuck.

Ultimately — will you let go of the weight before your body is torn in two or will you let the journey itself kill you?

I’ve found with health and healing that the body that stays healthiest is the one that has the least resistance to the journey.

Letting go of old energy dynamics that no longer serve you allows you to stay intact and healthy… holding on, fighting, resisting… that’s the stuff that will tear you in half and rip your body at the seams.

Life has plans for you and a journey to take you on… and honestly it seems that you are going to go on that journey you are destined for whether you are ready for it or not, or are fighting against it or not, or are allowing it or not.

 

Nothing else compares to this messy experience of being cracked fully open until there is no option left but to surrender to it fully…

… it’s beautiful sacred work and I wouldn’t change it for anything in the world.

 

So I painted it.

 

Allowing this painting to flow through me has been a wonderful healing process of surrender.

I wanted to share it with you here to support your process too.

If you are in resistance, if you are in a situation you feel you didn’t choose, don’t want, can’t survive…

Let go and surrender.

 

 

I love this adage:

Let go… or be dragged.

 

It tells us everything we need to know about how to navigate a healing crisis, or really any kind of crisis.

Letting go as Spirit pulls you ever onward, upwards… you have no choice but to expand and learn and grow and uplevel.

Life moves forward every minute of every day.

But the question is, are you going to let that forward movement kill you?

If you don’t let go it will certainly put incredible strain on your physical body.

I need the reminder just as much as anyone does so I sketched it out… an image of a woman at the very point of surrender.  Letting go of the chain that tied her down.

 

In fact, it was never a chain at all.

A lovely ribbon… a gift… and releasing it was more effortless than she thought it would ever be.

All her life she had stocked up and prepared for a fight.  Turns out it’s more simple than that.  Life pulls you along.  You don’t have to even see where you are going.  All you have to do is drop resistance to it.

Once I had it sketched out, I painted it.

Here’s how.

1.  Painted background:

 

2.  Painted figure and weight and ribbon, added shadows:

 

3.  Added details, wording:

 

See this weight?

Identify what is weighing you down, holding you back, what you are fighting, what you are resisting.

Then let go of it.

You don’t have to know where you are going or what is coming next.

You don’t have to see ahead or figure it out or control it.

 

Letting go allows your body to experience peace and wholeness as you move into what life has waiting for you.

 

 

Let go… or be dragged.

Simple as that.

Complicated as that.

Hard as that.

Beautiful as that.

Learning how to let go right along side of you…

xoxoxox, Laura

 

“Let Go” original artwork found here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Higher Coffee Intake, Lower Mortality Rate

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This morning — more than ever — I wanted to write a fun and uplifting health article for you.

 

I just want to focus on something totally positive.

Each week I strive to write something uplifting for you, so that your confidence in your own health gets stronger and stronger and stronger and you have a growing sense of faith in your body’s ability to be resilient.

The world is a scary enough place… and if you are brave enough to read the news headlines, it can be down right terrifying.

Even in medicine and health… there are way too many scare tactics in health care as a whole.  Even alternative health and holistic health information can be cloaked in fear and doom and gloom and threats… everything can have a dire consequence, it seems.

Uh… no.  Wrong approach.

Health doesn’t work like that.

You can’t sustain positive change through fear.

 

 

The entire reason I was attracted to medicine and went to medical school is that I understood from an early age that health and healing should innately empower you…

…after all, healing means you feel better and better and better!

  

You can and should enjoy a natural sense of relief as your healing unfolds.

What could be more uplifting and exciting than seeing your health shift as you recover your Well Being?

 

 

So those are the eyes that I use to review the medical literature with each week — finding medical studies that give you healing ideas that are uplifting, proven, double blind, placebo studied — and work!

Truly there are so many new medical studies that are exciting and positive and uplifting that I literally can’t keep up with it all!

I don’t know why medical information is generally shared in such a negative way.

Honestly the medical literature is filled and overflowing with awesome things we can do to protect and enhance our health!

And here’s one for today:  more coffee = longer life.

 

As I type this up for you, I am sitting here drinking my morning coffee…

…which turns into two and three cups of coffee as the morning moves on.

 

So today’s medical study really jumped out at me — higher coffee intake is linked to a significantly lower risk of death…

…in not just one but two large medical studies.  Woot!

 

The Study (published in the Annals Of Internal Medicine on July 10, 2017):

  • Researchers looked at over half a millions patients (521,330 participants) in 10 different European countries
  • Researchers ranked participants by coffee consumption:  3+ cups of coffee per day, 1 – 2 cups of coffee per day, and non-coffee drinkers.
  • Researchers followed participants for over 16 years and analyzed mortality and cause-of-death data.

 

The Results:

  • Higher coffee intake was significantly correlated with lower death rates from many causes, particularly reducing mortality from digestive and circulatory diseases.
  • Drinking 3 or more cups of coffee a day reduced mortality from ALL causes by 12% for men and 7% for women.
  • Some causes of mortality were incredibly, strikingly reduced — for example, men who drank 3 cups of coffee or more a day had an almost 60% lower risk of death from digestive diseases than men who did not drink coffee.  Women had a 40% reduction in deaths from digestive disease.
  •  Women enjoyed a huge benefit from coffee drinking in terms of cardiovascular health — reducing risk of death from heart disease and stroke significantly.
  • Happily, the benefit was the same for decaffeinated coffee as for caffeinated coffee… so if you love the taste of coffee (or want the life span benefits of drinking coffee) but don’t want the caffeine rush or risk of caffeine addiction by drinking that many cups of coffee a day — decaf provided similar benefits.

 

 

Why?

 

Researchers found that the patients who drank coffee had better serum levels of many markers of health — lower levels of liver enzymes (a marker of liver health), lower levels of blood inflammatory markers like C-reactive protein (showing reduced inflammation in the body as a whole) and improved measurements of metabolic health (such as lower levels of lipoprotein A and glycated hemoglobin.)

 

 

Another recent study confirms that this benefit holds regardless of ethnic background.

 

Researchers looked at almost 200,000 patients from different ethnicities (including African American, Native Hawaiian, Japanese American, Latino, and whites) to look at all-cause mortality and coffee consumption.

After an average follow-up of 16 years, researchers found that any coffee intake at all (1 cup or more) was associated with a 12% reduction in all-cause mortality.

Coffee intake was associated with lower death rates for all causes, including: heart disease, cancer, respiratory disease, stroke, diabetes and kidney disease.  And again in this study, the benefits were statistically significant whether the coffee was caffeinated or decaf.

 

 

What else can coffee do?

 

Read these blog posts I’ve written in the past, alerting you to the health benefits of drinking your morning cup of Joe:

 

Hoping this news uplifts you this morning if you are a coffee lover like I am!

To your innate & totally resilient health flow… 

xoxoxox, Laura