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Gluten & Sourdough: Does Sourdough Contain Gluten?

A lot people have been writing me with questions on the relationship between gluten and sourdough. Specifically, people want to know if sourdough contains gluten. In essence, what people want to know is if sourdough is digestible.

In this blog post we are going to cover this relationship between sourdough and gluten, what makes sourdough superior to “normal” bread and exactly why you can most likely enjoy sourdough bread without the symptoms of gluten intolerance.

What is Gluten?

As always, let us start out with defining a few terms.

At basic, gluten is a protein and therefore to fully understand what gluten is, we need to understand what a protein is and in order to understand what protein is, we must know what amino acids are.

Proteins are nitrogenous, complex organic compounds that consist of one or more long chains of amino acids.

Amino acids are the smallest unit of a protein.

Together, these two have an interesting, divine and magical relationship, it is as if the mysteries of the universe exist within the human metabolism. You see, proteins are made up of amino acids, which are then broken down by the metabolic system back into amino acids, which are used for cellular function. That’s right, amino acids form proteins, which are intentionally broken down into amino acids, to form tissues, hair, skin, cells, etc.

Seems unnecessary right? Why not just stay amino acids if thats their destiny? The simplified answer is that a form of alchemy takes place in which two amino acids come together and create a new whole that is greater than the sum of their parts, which is later broken down into amino acids that are even more useful.

Through the bonding of amino acids, different molecules are formed, each which the sum is greater than the source parts.

For example, when two 2 amino acids bond together, they form what’s called a dipeptide.

When three amino acids bond you get a Tripeptides.

When four amino acids bond you get a oligopeptide.

Finally, when you get a complex, long-chain of bonded amino acids, you have a protein, which is essential for all living organisms. Proteins make up the tissues, hair, skin, organs, and most of the physical structure of the body, without them, the body would be a ‘puddle’ of bacteria.

Getting back to bread, through the process of fermentation, the amino acids and proteins in grains go through a very interesting transformation.

In all grains, there are two categories of gluten proteins: glutelins and the prolamins.

In wheat specifically, the glutelin and prolamin proteins are what as known as glutenin and gliadin. And interestingly enough, it is gliadin, not gluten that causes the negative symptoms of gluten intolerance.

Glutenin and Gliadin

Together, it is glutenin and gliadin that are responsible for the desirable characteristics of bread dough, like its sticky texture that makes a soft, moist, melt-in-your-mouth bread. For bakers, it is this protein combination that makes dough easy to knead, shape and form, which is essential for a good rising bread, bubbly bread.

Through the process of fermentation, the glutenin in wheat grain is broken down into digestible amino acids. Then, through the process of kneading a fermented wheat dough, the glutenin proteins form into long chains.

Gliadin proteins are dense and with a low surface area-to-volume ratio, which allows glutenin chains to pass freely into the protein network.

Both glutenin and gliadin proteins have high concentrations of the amino acids proline and glutamine.

The exact proportions of glutenin and gliadin differs between types of wheat grain (einkorn, teff, spelt, kamut, etc.), which gives the bread different texture. In generally, ancient grains seem to have less gluten protein.

Gluten & Gliadin Digestion

Being that glutenin and gliadin are proteins, they digested in the stomach and small intestine by HCL and enzymes.

The proper digestion of gluten goes through a few phases: HCL and enzymes break the long-chains into oligopeptides, then into tripeptides, dipeptides, and then finally free amino acids. These free amino acids are what the body assimilates and utilizes for fuel.

Gliadin; on the other hand, often breakdowns much differently. In individuals with weak stomach acid and enzyme production, gliadin is broken down into oligopeptides but no further. This is also a result of the density and unique amino acid sequences in gliadin, which inhibits enzymatic activity.

Because gliadin is rich in proline, its cyclic structure makes gliadin a very difficult to breakdown protein. The enzyme transglutaminase (tTG) also plays a role in the tough structure of gliadin. It creates bonds between gliadin proteins and other amino acids, making it even more difficult to digest.

The enzyme transglutaminase also converts glutamine into glutamic acid via a process called deamination. Glutamic acid is known to cause immune reactions in some people,  where the body views the protein as a pathogen and evokes an inflammatory response.

Sourdough & Gluten Relationship

We have learned all about the troublesome proteins present in wheat grains that inspire inflammation. However, the question is, does sourdough have gluten? Does the alchemical process of fermentation solve the  it actually solve issues that gluten and gliadin can cause in the body? 

Before we answer that specifically, let’s talk about lactic acid bacteria (LAB), the bacteria responsible for sourdough fermentation. In short, LAB convert the sugars in wheat to lactic acid, which causes the acidity to increase. This ignites the hydrolysis of gluten and gliadin proteins by penetrating and loosening their protein structure. It also stimulates the production of enzymes, which are otherwise locked away in the phytic acid of the grain. T

It is known that specific strains of lactic bacteria are capable of hydrolyzing wheat proteins (including gliadin) by more than 50% within a 24-hour period of fermentation. That means a proper fermented sourdough (with a strong culture and proof time of 24-48 hours), can result in a sourdough that contains 50-100% less gluten and gliadin than non-fermented bread.

In other words, lactic bacteria and the associated enzymes secreted through the process of sourdough fermentation can effectively “pre-digest” the gluten and gliadin proteins, resulting in a bread that is incredibly delicious and highly more digestible. Not to mention, the process of fermentation dramatically increases the bio-availability of B vitamins, fatty acids and other nutrients in the bread, making it more nutritious.

Why Some People Digest Bread Better Than Others

In a healthy gut, there are simnifically greater numbers of lactic acid bacteria and other probiotic “gluten digesting” bacteria that aid in the digestion of both gluten and gliadin. All the more reason to get your gut micro-biome into optimal shape. To achieve this, you’l want to take a three step approach, which I go into great detail about in my online course Perfect Digestion.

The good news is that you can heal from gluten intolerance and all food intolerances, simply by improving the diversity and health of your gut micro0biome. While the goal is simple, the path there involves discilipine. While you may need to eliminate bread and gluten temporarily, once your gut is healed, you can enjoy bread regularly if you properly ferment it!

 

Final Considerations

If you have done significant work to heal your gut and still have trouble digesting sourdough bread, you can try bread from ancient grains such as einkorn, spelt or teff. These ancient grains are non-hybridized and were some of the first to be cultivated and therefore, are more recognizable by the immune system.

In conclusion, grains contain hard to digest proteins, sourdough does contain gluten, but through the process of lactic bacteria fermentation and having a healthy gut, you can digest bread and enjoy it! 

To learn how to make a proper sourdough (like the ones you see me make on my Instagram), be sure to grab a copy of my latest book Succulent Cuisine. I go into detail about sourdough, its benefits, (some of the data I used to write this blog comes from it), and provide a step-by-step recipe for making the perfect sourdough.

Stress & Digestion: Psychosomatic Factors in Digestive Disorders

If you’re one of my students for my online course Perfect Digestion, then the topic of psychosomatic illness is nothing new. In fact, it is a large focus in the course, considering that the number one cause of all digestive and gastrointestinal upset is stress – specifically, mental and emotional stress.

For those who are not familiar with the subject of psychosomatic illness, let’s first break a few things down…

In order to understand anything, we must first understand the words being used in a subject. Therefore, in order to really understand the stress-digestion or psychosomatic factors in digestive upset, it will be incredibly helpful to know what these words mean.

What is Psychosomatic Illness?

Psychosomatic illness refers to the phenomena whereby a physical illness or other physical condition caused or stimulated by a mental factor such as internal conflict or stress.

Refining this term even further, let us dissect word “psychosomatic”. The root pyscho stems from the word psyche, which means “spirit or mind”. That is why we often hear people who have gone “mental”, referred to as pyscho; their minds control them, they don’t control their minds.

Next, the root word somatic is derived from the Greek word, somatikos, which means “the body”.

So we find that the word psychosomatic, quite literally means, “mind-body”, and is a term used to reference the powerful connection between the mind and body – and as you will learn throughout this article, just how much influence the mind has on creating and animating the body.

What is Stress?

At basic, stress means to press. You will see the reoccurring root word ress, in many forms of stress, including press, impress, repress, depress, express, oppress and many others – all viable forms of stress. So you could say that stress, on the most anatomical level, is force, counter-force (two opposing forces, pressing together).

Most people hear the word stress and unconsciously reference it to mental or emotional stress. Mental or emotional stress would be a mental or emotional conflict (opposing ideas, thoughts, emotions etc). However, the basic meaning of stress (to press) does not pertain just to the psyche, but all of the laws of physics.

Stress or pressure, can occur where in the physical universe, and in fact, doesn’t actually have to apply to the metaphysical universe, it just seems we as individuals engage in it though unnecessary for being alive.

The Stress-Digest Connection

To understand the relationship between stress and digestion, is to understand the workings of the digestive system at the foundation. In short, the entire digestive process is ruled by the nervous system and is thereby interrupted by a stress response. Everything from the ingestion of food, propulsive peristalsis, inhibition of reflux, secretion, digestion (the breaking down of food), metabolism and elimination are controlled by a complex autonomous neurohumoral system, which is influenced by higher cortical impulses.

To put this n lamens terms, every aspect of digestion is ruled by the nervous system, specifically the enteric nervous system.

There are two basic branches of the autonomic nervous system; the sympathetic nervous system and the parasympathetic nervous system. I explain this in great detail in my online course. But essentially, when we are stressed the sympathetic nervous system is activated. The word sympathy means suffering, so when we are suffering (or in the illusion of suffering), stress hormones are secreted and digestion shuts off.

Therefore, the many variety of stressors in life can modulate the automatic impulses of digestion and cause unfavorable gastrointestinal reactions. These are referred to as psychophysiological reactions and involve accentuations, inhibition or distortion of the natural functioning of digestive organs.

An example of this phenomenon is fluctuation in bowel movements (irritable bowel syndrome) following a stressful event or thought. Stomach ulcers are another very old manifestation of psychosomatic digestive issues, where gastric acid is greatly increased by emotional stress.

While this knowledge is nothing knew and in fact traces back to ancient Greece, emerging research has confirmed that these psychosomatic reactions lead to actual morphological changes in digestive organs, which activate peptic ulcers, diarrhea, constipation, bloating and even ulcerative colitis. 1 2

What’s more is that these psychophysiological reactions are the early symptoms of more chronic digestive diseases, including irritable bowel syndrome, IBD, Crohn’s, and others, which are really nothing more than the result of a chronic, habitual mental and emotional state of stress or suffering (sympathetic).

Bacteria Respond to Your Hormones

So far we have covered how stress can cause ulcers and fluctuating bowel movements; however, the effects of stress on digestion do not stop there. The delicate lining of the gastrointestinal tract (were you absorb nutrients from food) can also be effected by stress.  Similar to how the stomach lining can become inflamed from hyperactivity caused by stress, the thin intestinal tissues can easily become irritated and inflamed, causing the phenomenon known as “leaky gut”.

Leaky gut is basically exactly that, a gut that is leaky. How it occurs is actually quite simple, but also fascinating. Basically, when we are in a chronic state of stress, the bacteria in our guts respond.

The thing to understand though is that hormones and neurotransmitters are chemical expressions of consciousness. In other words, the body uses them as a type of language to communicate throughout the body and perform tasks. The cells, organs, glands and bacteria in our bodies are capable of decoding these chemical messages.

Now, in the case that we are firing off chemicals with the message of “stress and suffering”, pathogenic bacteria (pathos means to suffer), will wake and perform the task in demand, which might not be what we necessarily want.

You see, pathogens are in the body for a reason, they are the garbage men, they take out the trash. In nature, they are the decomposers, they turn death into new life, they are critical for life. They also happen to be the bacteria that essential cause our physical decay and decompose the body. So, when we are in a state of suffering, we are (willingly or unwillingly) asking the pathogens in our bodies to decay the body. They are only doing their jobs by responding to our chronic stress and suffering so don’t be mad at them!

The thing to understand is that the bacteria in our bodies have evolved as the human body has evolved. In fact, our bodies are mostly bacteria. So, as our lifestyles, diets, environments have changed, they have too, so they are incredibly intelligent and quick to respond. And during a stress response, we are sending a cascade of stress hormones, telling the disease-causing bugs in the body to grow.

In other words, stress inverts the ration of probiotic bacteria to pathogens in the gut within moments. Yes that’s right, while you are concerned about what probiotic to take, what supplement and what food to eat to encourage your probiotic growth, they are quietly responding to your every thought. So, it sort of becomes futile to spend so much time, money and energy on probiotics, diet, etc. if we have not addressed the root causes of disease; our thoughts and emotions.

Therefore, the best thing we can do to improve our overall health, especially digestive function would be to properly manage our thoughts and considerations, which are creating the hormones in our body that either ensure health or cause disease.

Tips to Eliminate Stress

1. Cultivate MIND-LESS-NESS.

The number one way to minimize the fight-or-flight response in the body is to get rid of stress. Read that again, get rid of it. I didn’t say among stress. Manage means to handle and we don’t want to handle stress. Why handle stress? I understand handling your relationships, your work, your hobbies but why handle stress when you can just drop it?

In Taoism, the state of “no-mind” is to a high orderly state, it is to be without wild emotion and to be ruled by the mind. In TCM, the heart refers to the psyche or mind, it is the seat of emotion. When a person is in a state of no-heart, no-mind, they are in what is called Mushin. This is an enlightened state where you are not ruled by your mind or emotions, but the creator of them.

So the thing to understand here is that stress is perceived, it is not actual. As the Buddha said, “all suffering is the denial of existence”. In other words, if you take a real good look at the physical world, you’ll find most likely that you’re okay, you’re not dying, but your mind as tricked you.

Considering that chronic stress shuts down digestive function, the immune system, makes the gut leaky, and causes gut dysbiosis, it is highly important you begin to master your perception of life and instead of seeing it through the lens of your reactive, mis-emotional view point, that you can begin to see life as-is, without the sob story.

This obviously takes a lot of work, it is a discipline, so I suggest you begin. I offer coaching in this realm, so if you are interested, send me a message.

2. Never Eat When Stressed.

Plain and simple, only eat in a relaxing environment in a relaxed mental state. Actually, making an effort to improve your overall environment for serene meal time can have a major positive impact on your digestion. I suggest eating outside, amongst nature.

3. Take Digestive Enzymes.

If you;ve truly masters your mind, everything beyond tip 1 is not very important. However, while you are in process, these things might be very helpful (they were for me).

I highly suggest the use of enzymes to improve the digestive fire and ensure maximum breaking down of food and assimilation. They will also help you avoid heartburn, constipation, and bloating. The use of quality enzymes will ensure full digestion in the stomach and small intestine, which will help give your adrenals the nutrients they need to help you resist stress to begin with.

Out of all the supplements I’ve researched and worked with over the past 15 years, my favorites are by Body Ecology. You can get those here. 

4. Consume Probiotic Foods & Drinks

If you’re going to eat, you might as well eat smart. Of the many delicious, healing and traditional foods, fermented foods are some of the best. Most traditional cultures use some form of fermented food, so most body types enjoy them. By simply eating fermented foods every day, you’re not only eating a traditional food that your body will recognize, you’re also going to support the immune system, enhance digestion (they are rich in enzymes too), and heal a leaky gut.

If you’re interested in taking probiotic foods daily, I suggest learning how to make them, which is the most cost effective, sustainable and fun! You can take an online fermentation course here.

5. Heal the Adrenals 

Your nerves system rules the digestive system, so you want to ensure a strong HPA-axis and endocrine glands. Now again, keep in mind that it is kind of foolish to be chronically stressed and not getting a handle on your stress, but also trying to support the adrenals. It’s like pouring gasoline and water on a fire at the same time, not sure how well that will work out.

However, in the case that you have greatly eliminated most of your stress, then I suggest feeding those adrenals the things they need like amino acids and bio-available B vitamins (found in grass-fed red meat and fermented spirulina, and also fulvic acid. I would suggest doing this regardless, that way at least on a biological level your body is more equipped to handle stressful situations.

6. Try Adaptogen Herbs 

At the very least, if you do nothing else (which i do not recommend) you can start supplementing with adaptogen herbs. Adaptogens basically hep your endocrine glands biologically adapt to stress more efficiency. Some of the best adaptogens include Gyostemma, Holy Basil, Ashwagandha, He Shou Wu, and Reishi.

Healing Psychosomatic Illness

In my 12 years of coaching, psychosomatic factors (mental and emotional stress) is hands down thee cause of most digestive problems. Moving beyond these emotional triggers requires a great deal of work on the psyche and cannot be resolved by diet, supplements or physical therapy, considering the cause is not in the physical domain, but the metaphysical (mind and emotions).

There is not quick-fix to healing psychosomatic illness, as it requires clearing the subconscious of pain, trigger experiences, the general increasing of a personal chronic emotional state as well as their views and considerations about life. This requires a greater depth of work but can be achieved.

Simple places you can start would be to observe what people, environments and situations trigger emotional and mental stress that leads to a digestive flare up. I will give you a clue…more often than not, people are more likely to become sick or stressed in the presence of a suppressive person (a person who invalidates you, makes small barbs, and generally invalidates you), so become aware of these types of “toxic” people and remove them from your life or confront them. To learn more about “detoxifying your relationships” read this article I wrote.

Otherwise, in general, be more aware and journal about your daily interactions (and thoughts if you can). See if you can notice what you were doing just before you noticed a negative shift in your digestive function.

In the simplest of words, anything you can do to relax is going to majorly improve your digestive health. However, I have personally found that helping people relax, in a world that glorifies busy-ness, is quite the difficult task. But, if you can manage it just by me advising it, great!

Ideally, I would recommend coaching or at the least, enrolling in my online course, Perfect Digestion, to being to master your mind and emotions, and ultimately, your digestive function. I dive very deeply into the topic of psychosomatic illness in relation to digestive disease and provide a lot of exercises, knowledge and help.

Leave me a comment and let me know if you experience and notice a strong correlation between stress and digestive upset or do you find something else to be the major trigger of digestive issues?

The Reproductive Chronology of the Modern Western Woman

Once upon a time, womb-men treated their reproductive center with grace and honor for the divine abilities it possessed. Today, on the other hand, many Western women reject their reproductive abilities, seek to eliminate the menses and consequently (consciously or unconsciously), destroy their fertility health.

The frequent use of contraceptives, poor dietary habits, and a lifestyle of general unawareness all contribute to the weakening of the immune system and reproductive health of women today.

What many women fail to understand today is that their fertility health is in direct proportion to their overall health. To be fertile requires perfect hormonal homeostasis, a robust immune system, a body free of impurities, heavy metals and other toxins and a clear and conscious mind.

Perhaps many fail to see this connection because of the simple fact that not many women today value fertility health, motherhood and family. Radical feminism and libertarianism has planted the seed of “freedom from” in the minds of men and women. Both libertarian men and women seek freedom and liberty from family, from mother and fatherhood, and generally from responsibility. Not to get too far off topic, but there is actually great freedom and power in responsibility. One of the greatest freedoms comes from family, in which individuals can be self-reliant, grow a culture and provide for themselves and their community.

For the women and men who know the freedom in responsibility, who see the value in family, and understand the divinity in pregnancy, there is still much to know.

From the time a woman reaches puberty to the time she conceives her first child, every choice she has ever made will effect her health and ultimately, the health of her future child. Functional Medicine or Holistic Health views the body as a whole, ever system, organ, gland and cell of the body is intimately connected to the other, resulting in the whole. Therefore, everything a woman thinks, feels, does, eats and everything she experiences will effect the health of her body and ultimately her offspring.

As you will see in greater detail, not many women (or men for that matter), grew up with this sort of knowledge. For the most part, Western people have vague notion that they only live once, their actions do not effect anyone or themselves, and spending ones adolescent years junking and abusing their bodies will never comeback to haunt them.

However, that is not how this universe works; it is all connected through the Natural Law of Cause and Effect (aka – KARMA). What you put out, comes back to you and unfortunately, many are not going to like what they get.

In a brief moment I want to share with you a fictional, but not unrealistic story to illustrate how the lifestyle choices of the common Western woman can lead to inevitable suffering. As you will learn, much of the socially accepted “norms” are the exact causative factors in the rapid decline in fertility and reproductive health in women today.

Before you continue reading keep in mind that as the Buddha once said, “all suffering is born of ignorance”. As my mentor would say, “an ignorant person cannot make good choices, they simply lack sufficient knowledge to do so.” So while this story may be difficult for some to confront, know that the unwillingness to confront is what leads to ignorance in the first place.

To acquire knowledge, one must be willing to confront. So would you rather learn through awareness or through sufferable, yet avoidable mistakes born of ignorance?

A DESTRUCTIVE TIME-LINE OF THE WESTERN WOMAN

“At fourteen, Taylor went out for her first date. She and her date Dusty met up with shared friends. To impress her pursuer, Taylor gives into peer pressure of class-mates and lights up her first cigarette. As the proprietary blend of formaldehyde, ammonia, hydrogen cyanide, acetone, carbon monoxide and nicotine saturates her lungs (a central part of her Immune System), she forms an unconscious association to smoking with fun, oxytocin, and men, forming a part-time social habit.

By 16, her dates evolve from innocent fun and cigarettes into experiments with drugs, alcohol, sexual activity and staying up late. Taylor, like most other American women, has several sexual partners over the next two years. As a result of all this “fun”, Taylor starts experiencing frequent colds, flus and digestive upset. Passed off as a normal part of a teenager’s life, she is sent to the doctor for a routine round of antibiotics, which slow being to destroy her micro-biome.

Her immune system weakened and gut-micorbiome on the side of dysbiosis; Taylor finds that the only thing that satisfies her stomach is sugar-ladened Frappaucinnos and refined carbohydrate rich foods like pizza and other fast foods. Having given in to the chemical secretions from her overgrowth of pathogenic yeast and bacteria, her immune system is officially inverted and she contracts her very first UTI and vaginal yeast infection.

Informing her Mother, she suggests Taylor take some over-the-counter yeast medication, which further destroy the last remaining probiotic bacteria and yeast in her micro-biome. Officially without internal defense, Taylor has graduated High School and is off to College, where she will surely have sex with a dishonorable man that had no intentions courtship. However, her Mother and Father suspect something like this, so rather than having an honest and informative conversation, her parents pass off their communication responsibilities and she is sent to the doctor for some birth control.

Her new OBGYN recommends she get a copper IUD. A few months after of having got the IUD, Taylor notices increasing difficulties with her menstrual cycle; it is more painful and uncomfortable than normal. No worries, instead of educating herself on the matter, she calls her OBGYN who kindly recommends some non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication (pain pills).

Unbeknownst to Taylor, the NSAIDS are known to be associated with gastrointestinal side effects, including life-threatening bleeding or perforation of gastroduodenal ulcers. Given the fact that Taylor’s gut is already compromised, in a few months of taking them, she begins to have issues absorbing nutrients and her hair is falling out. What’s more, those pain killers are creating tissue damage that causes inflammation in other parts of her body. Meanwhile, her immune system is firing off rapidly, the NSAIDS are suppressing inflammatory responses, so she begins to show signs of autoimmunity. Needless to say, Taylor isn’t doing so well but she is uncertain why; she’s done everything the doctor has told her.

All the while, Taylor is totally unaware that her IUD is subtly prying her cervix open, breaking the last line defense between the external environment and her delicate eggs. Because her micro biome is outnumbered with pathogenic yeast and bacteria and the rest of her immune system is on overdrive, viruses effortlessly make their way into her uterus causing infection. Still consuming the pain killers, Taylor is unaware of the infection and it slowly proliferates, causing micro-ulcers that lead to fibrotic scar tissue in her womb, greatly compromising her ability to become pregnant later in life.

Completely overwhelmed by her declining health and the pressures to perform in school, Taylor’s stress threshold hits its peak. In desperate attempts to cope with her life, she attends fraternity parities to drink, “let loose” and “hook up” with some guys. Unfortunately, her immune system non-existent, Taylor contracts a case of chlamydia from her last sexual partner; a cousin of a frat member that she’ll never see again. Being an asymptomatic, she actually doesn’t realize she contracted it for months.

Six weeks later, Taylor misses a period; she’s pregnant. The question is, who is the father?

After a trip to her OBGYN, she is officially diagnosed with chlamydia. Given that she has no clue who the father is along with the fact that she has contracted an STD, she decides to get an abortion. Her trusty OBGYN suggests a DNC because it is all her college health care covers. Unfortunately, this procedure involves the scrapping of the uterus, which causes additional scarring to her already fibrotic uterus wall.

Traumatized by her experience, Taylor decides to “settle down”. She quits partying as frequently so she is less inclined to smoke and drink and she is more reserved when it comes to sex. Despite her efforts to improve, her period is getting increasingly worse. To cope with the pain, she uses over-the-counter NSAIDS (aspirin) and vaginal douches; a tip she got from her dorm mate.

Agreeing with blind faith, Taylor doesn’t realize that the vaginal douche is further stripping the micro-biome in her vagina, causing her to experience her first physical symptoms of chlamydia. As prescribed by her OBGYN, Taylor turns to a pack of antibiotics to sooth the symptoms.

Fed up and desperate for answer, Taylor is determined to do something about her chronic yeast infections, STD symptoms and debilitating menstrual cramps. Going to the only place she knows, her OBGYN schedules her for a laparoscopy to find out what’s going on. The results show that she has endometriosis and fibrosis on her uterus.

Doing as western medical doctors do, and as requested by Taylor, she is prescribed more drugs, birth control pills. Rather than confronting the causative factors (the lifestyle choices made by Taylor) and rather than advising any tips for improved wellness, Taylor freely continues her behavior.

Providing temporary relief, the birth controls silently make things worse by increasing the level of copper in her body, throwing off the delicate copper to zinc ratio necessary for optimal immune health. High copper to zinc ratios means Taylor is more susceptible to infections, tumors and to giving birth to a child birth defects.

Now that Taylor is 22 and finished with College, she finally meets a nice guy; they fall in love and get married. Edgar to live a more wholesome life, she expresses her desire to have children to husband. However, her husband and parents, in fear with the idea of providing for children/grandchildren, suggest that Taylor goes to grad school to earn more money for the family.

By the time Taylor finishes graduate school, she is 30 years old, her eggs have aged significantly due to time, and her past lifestyle choices did not help slow the aging process. However, Taylor was never informed much about fertility and reproductive health.

In attempt to get pregnant, she comes off birth control for the first time in 12 years and immediately tries to conceive without success. After several years of failed attempts, Taylor is finally confronted by her OBGYN that she is infertile – she is devastated.

5 years later, Taylor and her husband decide to go in-virto for the out-of-pocket price of $50,000. Out of savings and set back significantly, they downsize into a small apartment, unfit for a family of three. What’s worse, the IVF doesn’t even work, there is just too much scaring in Taylor’s uterus from abortions, birth control and a lifestyle of pro-flammatory behavior.

A year later Taylor goes to the dentist and discovers that she has gum disease. Her gums have been bleeding overtime she flosses. Her dentist prescribes her antibiotics before she has any work done on her mouth. He explains that the bacteria in her mouth could migrate to other areas of her body causing major issues like miscarriages, diabetes, and even cardiovascular disease.

Stunned by her first explanation of the interconnectedness of the body, she asks her dentist if her gum disease could be causing her miscarriages. His response contained the information she has been in need of since age 14. For the first time in her life, she decides it is time to take her health into her own hands.

Now knowing that if she wishes to ever have a child, she needs to be healthy, not just mask symptoms of underlying disease. To get some help, she visits a naturopathic doctor who has a history in working with women. After Taylor giving a detailed history of her health, the doctor informs her that the chlamydia, candida, gum disease, abortions, endometriosis, fibroids and general unhealthy lifestyle choices are all primary causative factors in her having miscarriages.

In attempt to eliminate her endometriosis and eliminate fibrotic tissues, the naturopath writes up a comprehensive protocol that rebuilds her micro biome, bringing the candida back into a normal range, she helps alkalize her infernal fluids and glands, strengthen her uterus, and normalize her hormones.

Unfortunately, her naturopath is a vegan and recommends Taylor eliminate all dairy, meat, and eggs in order to cleanse her body. This works wonders at first; at least until she runs into a set of hormonal imbalances from all the legumes and carbs she has been eating along with deficiencies in fat soluble vitamins and cholesterol. These factors along with her high intake soy products, her thyroid shuts down, her copper levels rise and the chronic inflammation reignites her fibrosis.

Several years later Taylor is now 40 years old, with a biological age of 55. The financial stress, along with Taylor’s declining health and inability to get pregnant has led to divorce. One day while at a health convention she meets her future second husband. They too fall in love and Taylor’s dream to have a family rekindles. However, now at age 40 with a history of destructive lifestyle habits and poor health, her changes of getting pregnant are slim. In her favor, she is healthier now than she ever has been. Three years later and she gives birth to her first child, who ends up being autistic.

Still not fully aware of how her actions have lead up to this point, Taylor is of course devastated about the condition of her baby boy. Why her? What did she do to deserve this? She followed the rules, visited the doctor regularly, went to college, got a job, and married. She lived a normal American life just like she was told to do.”

Now, keep in mind that this is a fabricated story. However, also keep in mind that you probably know someone like this. This is not an unrealistic story; I happen to know women who have experienced very similar situations. Most of these horrifying events are actually quite normal here in the West. It is normal to junk the body in fact. It is socially acceptable to stay up late, starving the body of the only time of true regeneration and regrowth. It is socially acceptable to intoxicate the liver; the most precious organ in the body, with drugs, alcohol, and junk food. There are many forms of physical abuse that are openly accepted in today’s culture and most engage without thought, covering up the effects with a drug or medication. However, you can only sweep things under the rug for so long.

The craziest part is that many are conceiving a child under similar circumstances. The rates of autism are skyrocketing. In fact, the CDC reports that as of 2012 1 in 88 babies are born with autism, compared to 1980’s autism record, which was 1 in 10,000.

Many attribute the significant increase in birth defects like autism to vaccines, and while they are definitely a primary causative factor, keep in mind that most disease have roots in chronic inflammation. Autism is really nothing more than severe inflammation of the brain. Yet, there are many factors causing the significant increase in chronic inflammation including,

  • the laundry list of environmental toxins
  • high omega-6:3 ratios from industrial grain-based diets (wheat, corn, soy, and their byproducts)
  • food sensitivities
  • gut infections
  • probiotic deficiencies (not enough kids playing outside)
  • food additives/preservatives
  • heavy metals (in the food and water, etc)
  • high carb/sugar diet (industrial food system),
  • chronic infections
  • blood sugar imbalances
  • STDs
  • dental infections
  • EMF toxicity
  • thyroid disease
  • GMOs.

In conclusion, and why I made this post, is to point out that we have a choice. Every causative factor I just pointed out and every bad choice Taylor made, is something we can agree to or not. While the odds are increasingly against us, we can still choice to disengage. Some unhealthy, pro-flammatory activities are harder to get away from than others, like exposure to EMFs and air pollution. However, most of them are simple daily choices, like what you put into your mouth, on your body and into your consciousness.

With that being said, if you have read this post, you are now aware of something or many things you were not before. And with this knowledge, you have the choice to be responsible or not. You don’t have to be responsible, you can look away, give into habit and programming and just hope for the best. However, knowledge and responsibly are power. I cannot make you responsible, but I can share knowledge. Do with it what you know is right. Whether you have a child and start a family or not is up to you, but keep in mind that our greater, extended family, Human Nature, will be effected by your decisions.

And one last thing, the story of our fictional character Taylor still only paints so much of a very large picture. There are so many factors that are determining either wellness and illness, one of the most elusive being our own psyche (mind). With that being said, the point of the story is to demonstrate that chronic disease is the result of accumulated, repetitive unconsciousness. This is not the way things have to be and in fact, are a complete inverse of how things are supposed to be in the Natural World. If you are interested in learning more about preconception health, fertility and unwinding the damage done to your body through living the American Dream, then I highly recommend the book The Brighton Baby Method, along with generally living a more honest, wholesome, and natural life.

The Worst Foods for Digestive Health

Want a healthy gut?

Then it is imperative you avoid the toxic, non-foods I am going to talk about with you in this post.

Some people treat their bodies like a Ferrari, others, like a garbage disposal. And while I do not generally advise obsessiveness with eating – as it can easily lead to some form of orthorexia – I do advise against junking and abusing the body.

A well-fed body that is given a healthy, wholesome diet with the right balance of macro and micro-nutrients, wild spring water, unrefined salts, vitamins, soluble and insoluble fiber, and free of toxicity and non-compatible compounds will naturally avoid the issues and problems of indigestion.

If you’re feeding your body foods that are not a biocompatible match for the human metabolic system, foods that are poisoned with toxins, heavy metals and adulterated macronutrients and then you are going to have problems.

It is truly that simple; however, while we’ve been told all our lives to “eat healthy”, there has always been too much subjective dietary dogma and half-truths, along with the enforcement to “eat our veggies” to allow anyone the freedom and space to actually do so. Therefore, making wise food choices has somehow become an epidemic issues, when it is otherwise the most natural, effortless and enjoyable thing we as humans were designed to do.

So, this is first and foremost know this; a bad diet can ruin a good digestive system. No amount of superfoods, fiber supplements and probiotic potions will make up for a poor diet. Therefore, we must first eliminate the cause and cut the junk. We all know what junk food is, we don’t need to justifying eating shit, it isn’t even biologically compatible in our bodies, it never was and will never be. Our bodies were made from the Earth and therefore we should be feeding it the beautiful bounty that Mother Nature has provided you with. Or we don’t and end up sick; the choice is ours.

With that being said, it probably goes without saying that real, wholesome food produced by the rich soils of Earth provides the perfect fuel in which the body functions with grace and efficiency. When disregard this fact, we end up health problems like indigestion, which includes a variety of symptoms including, pain, bloating, nausea, gas, fluctuating bowel movements and eventually if not addressed more severe issues like hormonal imbalance.

Therefore, what not to eat becomes equally important as what to eat. In my point of view, it is more important, considering the counter-effect it can have. Eating the following foods can cause so much distress and inflammation in the digestive system that it can potentially cause you to not digest even the healthy foods.

THE GUT MICROBIOME

The human micro-biome contains a few hundred trillion cells of bacteria, both good and bad. The bacteria in the body outnumber human cells 10:1. What’s more is that the micro biome outnumbers the genome 100:1. In a few words, your body is a bacterial being.

Most of these bacteria live inside the intestines—mostly the large intestine. However, they also cover your skin, hair, mouth and most of your entire body. They just so happen to have an affinity to biofilm (the gel-like mucus) that lines the intestinal wall, secreted by intestinal cells.

In addition to the white blood cells and other immune cells that make up your immunity, these bacteria and yeast, also live and reside within the mucosal lining of your digestive tract. Essentially, our immune system is made up of immune cells and bacteria, which protect the lymph, which makes up the rest of your immune system.

These things together is the gut micro-biome, a collection of bacteria, yeast, pathogens, and immune cells living together (ideally, symbiotically) in the marvelous mucosal areas of your body.

You “inner ecosystem” evolves with you and is an extension of how you live, where you live (environment) and even how you think (there is a strong correlation between your psyche and micro-biome). There is an interlaced relationship between your immune system and microbes; they are in constant two-way communication with your body. Because of this, your micro-biome is the center of you physical well-being.

Here are just a few key roles of the micro-biome:

  • Communicating with and regulating your immune system
  • Signaling to other mucosal tissue (vagina, lungs or mouth), in times of distress to achieve balance
  • Inflammatory signaling
  • Hormonal balance
  • Regulating the skin microbiome

And just like any system in the human body, the microbiome is susceptible to injury, imbalance and disease. The same things that damage other systems and organs in the body; like stress from the environment, mental and emotional stress, and of course nutritional stress (bad diet) all easily damage this precious system.

Because your micro-biome essentially is your immune system, you could say that ultimately, the root cause of all disease is chronic stress on the immune system or micro-biome. That is why in holistic health we have one objective; heal the immune system, and the whole body heals.

However, given the close relationship of your digestive system and micro-biome, some specific signs your micro-biome is damage include the common hallmarks of poor digestion, like:

  • Heartburn
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Intestinal pain or cramping
  • Frequent gas
  • Acid reflux (GERD)
  • Digestive disease (Crohn’s, IBS, IBD, Ulcerative colitis, etc.)

Due to the fact that each person manifest inflammation (a root cause of disease) in their own unique way, damage to the immune system and micro biome can be either obvious or silent. In other words, it is common for some to think their your digestive tract is healthy; meanwhile, they are experiencing less direct symptoms like frequent migraines, skin issues (eczema, psoriasis, acne), allergies, fibromyalgia, joint pain, or chronic energy and mood disorders like anxiety or depression.

Therefore, in order to ensure optimal digestive health (despite the variances in symptoms) we need to focus on the health of our immune system and microbiome. This is something that everyone can benefit from. In order to do this, consider the following.

We know now that pathogenic microbes have a different diet than healthy probiotic bacteria. Therefore, one of the best ways to take care of your inner ecosystem is to know which foods and beverages each one of them favor. Below are some of the most troublesome foods for the digestive system, essentially, these are foods that cause gut-inflammation and feed pathogens.

TOP 5 FOODS TO AVOID

1. Soda: What may otherwise be called “fizzy, sugar water”, most soda or pop contain a concerning amount of refined sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, or synthetic sweeteners that change how gut bacteria metabolize energy. Upon feeding on these sweeteners, gut pathogens trigger an inflammatory response and ultimately invert the communities of bacteria and yeast living in your digestive tract from a balance of 80% probiotics and 20% pathogens to 80% pathogens to 20% probiotics.

Drinking that soda (this goes for diet soda as well) destroys and inverts the gut micro biome, to such a degree that the gut can become leaky, and cause a variety of autoimmune conditions, skin problems and hormonal issues.

Be aware of sodas that claim to contain “natural” sweeteners too, as companies can technically call white, table sugar natural. Also, artificial, sugar-free sweeteners can also trigger an inflammatory response and negatively affect bacteria and yeast in the digestive tract.

2. Cereal Grains: I am not referring simply to breakfast cereal (though a common source for these inflammatory, adulterated grains) I am referring to industrialize, mono-cropped grains and their products. This includes non-organic, conventional whole grains, flours and their byproducts (quick-rise bread, pasta, cakes, and crackers, etc.)

The most common cereal grains are wheat, corn, barley, rye, oats and soy. All of these are the most common Genetically Modified grains, which mean their molecular structure are adulterated to contain pesticides within their genetic code. This not only means you are ingesting pesticides, but also, the genetic sequence of these foods become non-biocompatible to the human body and therefore, the immune system sees it as an invader, causing chronic immune reactions when consumed. Additionally, most of these contain gluten, are are contaminated with modified gluten, a pro-inflammatory protein that is known to destroy the gut lining and make it “leaky”. This protein, especially when hybridized many times and in many cases, modified genetically, is even more damaging to the gut.

Organic, wholesome grains alone are already tough to digest as-is, considering they contain Phytates and Lectins (plant “toxins” that protect the seed”). In order to be digestible, grains need to be properly fermented, soaked and germinated to release these digestive inhibitors. As you can imagine, given the length and time of proper fermentation, it is never the case for speedily prepared, processed and industrial grain products to be properly prepared.

3. Vegetable Oils: Polyunsaturated fats, trans fats and other “bad” fats are some of the worst foods for the gut. These are heat sensitive fats that because of heavy processing and commercialization, end up rancid very fast. Once rancid, these fats are essentially indigestible and result in pale-colored stool, a phenomenon called steatorrhea, which is indicated by undigested fat in the stool.

What’s more, the breakdown of polyunsaturated fats is one important mechanism involved in the pathogenesis of inflammation, cancer, and atherosclerosis.

This breakdown occurs during the manufacture of vegetable oils. As you can imagine, getting millions of dollars of oil in a plastic bottle for sale involves a lot of time, travel, exposure to elements (air and sunlight especially) and all these factors together aid in the degeneration of the oil. To add to the damage, people often bring these already inflammatory oils home and cook with them, further denaturing and oxidizing them.

The worst fats and oils include most vegetable oils like canola, soybean, corn, and sometimes even olive oil. Olive oil is a mono-unsaturated fat, making it a bit more shelf-stable. However, most people make the mistake of cooking with olive oil, when it should be used raw.

4. Moldy Coffee: Not all coffee is created equally. Another byproduct of the industrial food system is really bad coffee. Thanks to research done by Dave Asprey, we know now that large scale and poor quality coffee plantations breed moldy coffee. These mycotoxin ladened coffees not only cause undesirable side effects like brain fog but also contain a protein very similar to a protein found in commercial wheat gluten. This can cause the immune system to overreact to coffee with similar inflammatory responses that it does when exposed to toxic gluten.

And while we are on the subject of cross-contamination, keep in mind that the Industrial Food System is like a massive food orgy. In one factory, billions of different products are being made using a mess of ingredients including everything from milk, oats, corn, soy, peanuts to fish and more. And you can guarantee most of them are from mono-crop or factory farms. This leads to a sort of “Industrial Food Transmitted Disease”, cross-contamination, which is going to have your immune system in hyperdrive with inflammatory responses.

If you’re going to drink coffee, make sure it is mold-free coffee.

5. Alcohol (Spirits): First off, I will start by saying that it is true that not all alcoholic beverages are the same; some are much worse than others. For example, commercial beer, liquor and other spirits are commonly made mostly of GMO-corn and other GMO cereal grains. As discussed earlier, these contain modified gluten and a variety of toxins, pesticides, chemicals and other gut-irritating additives.

However, I also want to point out the roots of the word “alcohol”. I’ve been in the health and wellness industry along time, and so in my free time, I study etymology, semantics, language, and other ancient knowledge. I find that most problems can be traced back to illiteracy and not knowing the meanings of words. Also, that by finding out root meanings of words, things become a lot less dogmatic or confusing and a lot more simple.

With that being said, looking to ancient texts, Etymology (facts of the origin and development of a word,) the word “alcohol” shows up in the world of Alchemy. The word has been translated to “spirits” because in Alchemy, alcohol is and was used for extracting the essence or “spirit” from different substances. For example, in making a tincture of a medicinal mushroom, one would use alcohol to extract its essence (vitamins, nutrients, minerals and other medicinal constituents).

Interestingly enough, the consumption of alcohol has the same effect on the body. There is also more practical, scientific explanations for this. Alcohol tends to be acidic and cause spikes and irregutlatires in blood sugar and insulin. These effects can cause minerals to be extracted from the bones, adrenals and else where, to help normalize blood pH. In any of these cases, irregular blood sugar, hormonal imbalance and mineral deficiencies can weaken the glands and organs that rule digestion, such as the Liver, which is the key digestive organ in the body.

In addition to that, commercial alcoholic beverages are usually poorly fermented, similar to the way quick-rise breads are. Instead of brewing for months on end, collecting a variety of beneficial yeasts and organisms, commercial beers, wines and other products are usually quickly fermented using chemicals and then pasteurized, killing off potential beneficial microorganisms, destroying B vitamins, and potentially causing only resistant strains of yeast like Candida yeast to survive.

It is also well known that alcohol directly damages cells along the digestive tract and drives inflammation in the gut, which alter your gut microbiome, contributing to bacterial overgrowth or gut dysbiosis.

All these things together can contribute to poor organ function, overall bad health and gut inflammation.

What Can Be Done?

I know this blog was filled with a lot of undesirable information; however, in my opinion there is no such thing as “negative news” if it provides key data about issues. It might not be the most pleasant of truths but this information helps us refine the problems of our health. And as I say so many times, the cure is in the cause.

If you wish you be healthy it is a simple game; don’t engage in activities, thoughts and emotions that destroy your health. 

Ultimately, we cannot know a solution without first identifying the problem in totality. By being aware of these problems and eliminating them, we are more than half way there.

As far as what to do and eat instead, well, listen to your gut – our body’s are incredibly intelligent, if you listen, they will tell you what they need. This if a fundamental philosophy of Eastern Medicine; that our bodies will always know what to do and how to heal if we simply get out of their way.

However, for those of you still interested alternative activities and relearning wellness, I have an entire, comprehensive online course on the subject of Perfect Digestion.

You can enroll HERE.

Tonic Herbs & The Science of Great Sleep

Many neglect sleep or simply do not understand the importance of sleep. If we look to nature we find that every single animal on the planet sleeps at some point in time. Getting adequate rest is not only a great way to stay young, it is one of the single most important factors in recovery and strong immunity – without good sleep, the body inevitably deteriorates.

Your body isn’t the only thing affected by sleep, the brain and emotional body are highly affected by the quality of our sleep. There’s clear ‘research’ that confirms what most of us already know and have seen for ourselves — our moods, cognition and attitude are diminished when we lack good sleep. Have you ever paid attention to the differences in your willingness to help others, listen or pay attention when your body is hardly able to keep it’s eyes open? This is a larger gradient of sleep deprivation but a perfect example.

Sleep Cycles & When to Sleep

Long story short, quality of sleep is far more important than quantity. In order to get the more restorative sleep, we must get to bed earlier in the night – this is when the most slow-wave deep sleep is available. Also, we secrete the most growth hormone (youth hormone) during the first part of our sleep cycle.

As the saying goes,  “early to bed, early to rise makes you healthy, wealthy and wise.” Not just that, getting to bed on time will help you look and feel younger. Growth hormone is the ‘youth hormone’ it keeps everything about our bodies young and radiant.

To get adequate growth hormone its imperative to get to bed by 10 pm and sleep deeply from 12 – 2, this is when the most GH is released. Also, staying asleep until 2 – 4 will supply you with further growth hormone for repairing the brain. We need at minimum these two, two hour sleep cycles to feel become rejuvenated.

Sleep cycles go in 2.5 hour cycles, so 5 hours of sleep is minimum. However, only 5 hours might not be enough to obtain enough youth hormone, as further pulses of growth hormone are secreted in a third sleep cycle. This last stage of sleep is what we known as rapid eye movement (REM) or “dream” sleep. It is most active later in sleep cycles and usually just before we wake – hence the importance for that third cycle. REM sleep is important for the development and health of the brain. Hence the suggestion to get at least 8 hours of sleep nightly – equating to a minimum three cycles of sleep.

Cortisol & Melatonin 

IN order to sleep well, we need low cortisol and high melatonin. Cortisol is a stress hormone that is secreted during the first portion of our day. It wakes us up and puts our bodies in a state for work and action. However, cortisol suppresses melatonin, which is necessary for sleep and is one of the most potent antioxidants in the body.

Melatonin is a hormone secreted by the pineal gland, it increases with darkness and causes drowsiness. It  decreases in the morning as the sun rises and cortisol is secreted. Because melatonin is suppressed by light, being exposed to computer light, phones, televisions or simply working late into the night can lead to melatonin deficiency, insomnia and lowered immunity and aging.

Light isn’t the only thing that leads to poor melatonin production though. Since cortisol inhibits melatonin production it is imperative we control this stress hormone throughout the day.

Tips for Sleeping Deep

Many people look for shortcuts when it comes to their health; a pill, a supplement or some magic sleep technique. However, that’s not how it works. There’s not magic pill for great sleep and good health. Here are a few workable tips for great sleep:

  1. Reset your circadian rhythm. Our natural rhythm is still very much aligned with the Sun and Moon (light and dark) as mentioned earlier. If you’re not all ready, start getting up early and within the first 15 minutes of waking get outside and expose your eyes and skin to the sun light. If you’re rested well enough, some light stretching or a basic sun salutation yoga sequence can help energize you by naturally secreting cortisol. I personally go for a morning walk. A light morning routine in the sunlight can help you sleep better at night by resetting your natural sleep rhythm.
  2. Set time every night to relax. As bedtime approaches – about an hour before – start to celebrate the sleep by winding down. When we jump from our busy day right into bed our bodies are still surging with cortisol and often times many incomplete cycles of thought, communication and action. We need time before before to complete these cycles and simply let our minds finish their thinking. This might involve journaling in a quiet space, taking a hot de-stress bath, lighting candles, playing mantra or doing bedtime yoga.
  3. Take calming herbals. Some herbs are great for calming the mind and relaxing the body for sleep. You may enjoy a simple, non-caffeinated tea such as chamomile, holy basil, or skullcap. Or you could enjoy a more therapeutic, medical Chinese ‘Shen’ herb, which lift the spirit, calm the heart and relax the mind. Bupleurum & Dragon Bone is great for relaxing an overactive mind. It works to move mental energy into your heart, giving you a sense of well-being and being “at home” in your own body. Bupleurum & Dragon Bone is grounding and can also help with other compulsive anxiety behaviors like smoking, drinking, drug use and overeating.
  4. Try melatonin. In cases of jet-lag or severe sleep problems you can supplement with a high-quality, biofermented melatonin for the short-term. Keep in mind that melatonin also suppresses your  create more serotonin (which then turns into melatonin).desire for sex, so there is no permanent solution, especially when it comes to supplements. Start with the lowest amount and increase if necessary. Take it about 45 minutes before bedtime during your night time routine.
  5. Get at least 7.5 hours of sleep. It’s best to sleep in cycles (2.5 hours is one complete sleep cycle.) If you wake up in the middle of one of these cycles you will wake feeling groggy and fatigued. With three or even five complete sleep cycles you’ll experience deeper REM sleep and wake up feeling more energized.
  6. Eat light at night. Avoid eating heavy at bedtime and not too close to bedtime. Ideally, dinner would be around 3-4 hours before bed. So if you sleep by 10, eat by 6 or 7. Also, make your last meal something light and grounding like a moderate carb based meal such as cooked sweet potato, butternut squash or if you can digest it, sprouted quinoa or buckwheat. These healthy carbs contain tryptophan that help create more serotonin, which then turns into melatonin.
  7. Create a sleep schedule. The body loves routine, getting to bed and waking up around the same time helps set your biological rhythm. This way, come bedtime your body will be accustomed to feeling sleep.
  8. Cut the electronics & lights. Light pollution is a major problem in today’s modern world. Too much light from electronics and EMF interferes with melatonin production, so your best bet is to remove all electronics from the bedroom, put the phone on air plane mode and minimize light exposure after 7.

Bulletproof ‘Fat Fudge’

Here’s a recipe I’ve been making for a while that I haven’t gotten around to posting. I’ve actually kept it sort of secret and only released it in my Desserts 2.0 recipe book. In my book I share with you a Jing Herb infused raw Bulletproof fudge very similar. I figured it’s time I share a little bit of the magic in it.

The lovely people at Bulletproof reached out about me making a recipe similar to The Paleo Chef’s Phat Fudge. And as mentioned, I’ve had a recipe like this already put together. So, if you’re a Bulletproof fan or a fan of Phat Fudge or just a fan of chocolate all together then you’re going to love this decadent recipe.

Here’s what you’ll need:

Here’s how you make it:

  1. First thing you want to do is brew a really strong half cup of Bulletproof Coffee. Do this by heating a half cup of water to just below a boil. Add two ground tbsp. of the coffee and let brew for 5 minutes. I use a french press, you can use a Chemex or Aeropress.
  2. Next, powder your xylitol in a coffee grinder.
  3. Now, very simply, add all your ingredients to the hot coffee – this will melt your cacao and coconut butter so long as you chop them up pretty well. Otherwise, melt them prior.
  4. Using a hand mixer, combine the ingredients until a thick sort of paste is formed.
  5. Pour into a glass pyrex squash dish that is either lined with parchment paper or greased with coconut oil.
  6. Place in fridge for a few hours.
  7. Remove, chop into squares and enjoy as a delicious, medicinal and supercharged breakfast that won’t send your blood sugar on a ride.

For many more Bulletproof desserts like this be sure to grab a copy of my book The Gourmet Foodie!

Does L-Glutamine Really Help Repair The Gut?

You’ve likely heard of leaky gut if you’ve found yourself on this blog today. At the root of many digestive issues (physically) is a permeable gut-lining, which can show itself in a variety of ways. If you didn’t know, the digestive system is the foundation to physical health – it is a central station for the network that is our internal organs or organ-izations. Therefore, what occurs in the digestive system can easily show up in other areas of our health, such as:

Causes of Leaky Gut

The trickiest thing when it comes to tracking down causes of dis-ease is trying to answer the age-old question, which came first? When we explore the working of the digestive system, we see clear as day that the mind and body are interconnected. On one hand, we see that adrenal fatigue or CFS can be caused by leaky gut. On the other, we see that adrenal fatigue can cause leaky gut.

If we dig a bit deeper we see that bacterial overgrowth is what causes leaky gut. And bacterial overgrowth is more likely caused by a few factors:

  1. Over eating
  2. A diet of processed food refined carbs and sugar that feed pathogenic bacteria
  3. Poor digestion resulting in undigested or partially digested foods
  4. STRESS. The number one cause of all digestive problems. To keep it brief, when we are stressed out constantly we find the adrenal glands are over worked from being in a constant sympathetic state. We need healthy adrenals to produce stomach acid and poop. So if the adrenals are taxed via too much stress, then the digestive system fails and the gut suffers! We will not digest our food properly and the result will be pathogenic take over and a eventually leaky gut.

Any of these symptoms are a signal from your gastrointestinal tract – pay close attention to what it’s trying to tell you.

The good news is that the body is a self-repairing organism – with the right care, the gut can heal itself. In severe cases, the damage to the intestinal wall can be so intense that it will need much greater attention and time for healing. This is the case were very therapeutic forms of diet become useful.

The Anatomy of the Digestive Tract

In case you didn’t know, the intestinal epithelium is the largest mucosal surface in the body. Though the intestinal tract is tucked away from plain sight, it  actually serves as a barrier system – protecting the entire body from the external environment. When its functioning properly, the epithelial barrier of the intestinal tract works to discriminate between what comes in and what stays out.

There are two ways in which a substance makes its way through the digestive tract:

  1. Paracellular: This is a phrase that describes when raw substance sneakily passes between the epithelial cells, which are usually connected by what are known as tight junctions.
  2. Transcellular: This is a pathway for material that is across an epithelial cell.

A problem occurs when there is tissue damage or antigen exposure, which create food sensitivity. When there is damage or inflammation of the intestinal lining intestinal permeability occurs. If this happens, a number of triggers can cause antigens to pass through the gut, wall causing an immune response. This is the phenomenon known as autoimmunity and is also what attributes to the symptoms listed above.

If an antigen sneaks pass the gut lining – aside from triggering an inflammatory immune response – it can cause a central neuroinflammatory response. Once the central nervous system (CNS) gets the signal of systemic inflammatory, the epithelial cells of the blood-brain barrier start to diminish in integrity – causing a “leaky blood-brain barrier” and the result is neuroautoimmunity. This is how neurological disorders can be caused by a damaged gut.

To say the least, if the gut is damaged or permeated, the health of the entire body diminishes.

Tips For Repairing the Gut Lining

With anything else in life, if we are to find a solution, we must first locate the problem and then the cause of that problem. From there, the rest follows rather easily. Considerations are always senior to mechanics. That is why so many people fail at the mechanics of “living healthy” – we must first get our state of mind right.

That being said, as long as you are aware that ultimately, a healthy mind will produce a healthy body, then there is plenty we can do to help the body. And as we touched on earlier, if we help the body, it can lead to greater mental clarity and even spiritual gains.

Of the many different mechanical strategies for gut repair, diet is of course a major influence. In my course, Perfect Digestion, I out line in complete detail exactly what to eat and what not to eat in a step-by-step protocol.

Aside from diet, one of the many questions I get about digestive health is on the topic of supplements. In my course, I explain again, in detail, where supplements can be of value or not. I will say though, they are not as of equal importance compared to far greater influences such as sleep, mentality, emotional wellness, sunshine, oxygen diet and exercise.

If you are well on your way though with these other areas and looking for some supplemental support, L-glutamine is one the most important nutrients that you can could consume for supporting the repair of the intestinal lining.

L-glutamine is the actually a fuel for the small intestine, providing energy via nitrogen. There’s plenty of research to support the beneficial impact of L-glutamine on the intestinal epithelia. It has the ability to regenerate and repair the lining of the gut. L-glutamine also increases the quantity of cells in the small intestine, as well as the number and integrity of the microvilli on the gut lining. This means better nutrient absorption.

If you’re looking to try implementing Glutamine into your diet then I highly suggest the product Vitality SuperGreens. It has a patented L-glutamine that is highly absorbable. Many other forms of glutamine are questionable but this one has stood up to the test. This particular product has glutamine that is covalently bonded, meaning that it is in a form bonded to other amino acids on a oligopeptide chain making it way more absorbable. Plus, this product tastes great, has adaptogen herbs to help with stress, probiotics for greater immunity and even fermented algae for a mega dose of nutrition for the adrenals and thyroid.

More tips for healing leaky gut:

  • Follow a therapeutic diet. For a while, it will be very beneficial to take extra care of what you put into your digestive tract. An abused digestive tract needs some tender love and care. Start by removing pro-inflammatory foods from the diet like; sugar, gluten, alcohol, and any processed foods. Also, as we are each unique, keep an on out on foods that you a personal sensitivity to.  If your gut is in bad shape, you’ll have to be strict for a while, until you manage your stress, get enough rest and build back up immunity and the gut lining. For a full dietary protocol see my comprehensive course Perfect Digestion.
  • Add in real probiotic foods. Considering that we are more bacteria than human, it only makes sense that we make sure majority of those bacteria are life promoting, beneficial bacteria. If you’ve been turned onto probiotic supplements, ditch them, here’s why. Instead, get some real probiotic foods, like kefir or sauerkraut. The microflora content in these foods are far superior  to any supplement and much more cost-effective. You can learn to make your own for pennies. Probiotics protect the gut lining from becoming leaky by keeping pathogenic bacteria (that eat holes through the gut lining) from over growing. They also work with the immune system to reduce systemic inflammation.
  • Use therapeutic doses of high quality L-glutamine. So the verdict is in, high quality L-glutamine can be majorly beneficial to healing permeability and reducing inflammation of the intestinal lining. Vitality SuperGreens delivers up to 10 times more glutamine than L-glutamine so a little goes a long way. And there’s no potential serve side effects of glutamine, even in extreme cases the worst that would happen is short-term dizziness, headache, runny nose, dry mouth, stomach pain, gas, vomiting or nausea. Vitality SuperGreens provides the right amount. And if your body needs healing, it’s likely you could use the extra glutamine. One the gut is in better shape, you may not need to consume it anymore, or at least not as much.

Cultivating Perfect Digestion

The real cure to digestive problems lies in mastering our stress levels. However, it’s important to know what stress is. Stress can come on many levels – it can come from exercise, poor nutrition, little sleep, toxic overload from environment, electromagnetic like this computer screen, mental and emotional resistance and essentially anything that causes pressure on the body.  Stress is just resistance, pressure or force. It if force-counter-force.

So to fix the digestive system, we need to find the major sources of stress or pressure in our lives and either build resistance to these things (ideally) or remove the source or pressure (surrender, non-resistance). To help you achieve this, I have put together a program called Perfect Digestion that helps you remove many physical stressors from the body to give it a break from all the pressure.

The course contains a simple to follow protocol that will help your body heal with the help of nutrition, proper lifestyle habits like sleep and movement and I even get into the mental and emotional aspects to help remove major root causes. I am also currently working on a small video series for busting mental/emotional stress that will be in the course soon, taking it beyond a fully comprehensive course for healing the digestive system. If you want to learn more about it, you can do that here.

The Beauty Benefits of Beet Kvass

If you didn’t already know, food has the ability to help us age with grace — in addition to maintaining a state of mental peace, food is perhaps the most anti-aging stuff around.

Before I even get into the specific benefits of this beauty food — if you haven’t’ already — go into your medicine cabinet and throw away any toxic chemical-commercial beauty products you have — we’re about to learn about a simple food that is far more effective than most anything you’ll find in the supplement isle!

I cannot express enough to you the absolute waste of money most supplements are, especially the chemically laden, toxic stuff. Not only are these products often highly ineffective, they often attribute to toxicity in the body; a leading root cause of skin troubles.

Kindly say good-bye; no need to remorse, thank them with love for serving their purpose and let us step into a new world of true beauty together.

Beets For Beauty

If you’ve yet to experience slicing into a fresh beet then I suggest you get on it ASAP. The Fall and Winter are good times to get aquatinted with the beauty of beets. They are a grounding root vegetable that help purify the body throughout the winter and also stimulate digestion!

While beauty runs deeper than skin; down to the health of our organs and core of our soul, there are particular foods that are renowned for their anti-aging properties. Beets are one of these foods. Not only are beets delicious capable of being prepared into warm, comforting soul-food, they also aid in beautifying our skin in these three ways:

  • Fight wrinkles and skin conditions naturally with folate!
  • Prevent age-related macular degeneration with vitamin A and carotenoids!
  • Preserve brain function with nitrates that improve blood flow

Beets, Digestive Health and Skin

I could fill a short book will the marvelous nutritional benefits of beets. They are overflowing with vitamins and minerals, antioxidants, flavonoids, carotenoids and amino acids all which aid in cellular regeneration that attribute to a healthy, glowing body. However, all these wonderful compounds would be meaningless without a healthy digestive system to absorb them.

Perhaps the greatest quality to beets is that they aid digestion too! Beets cleanse the intestines, stimulate bile flow, which aids in fat digestion. They promote a healthy metabolism, stomach acid production and even strengthen peristalsis — the muscular contraction of the colon — for healthy elimination.

When these bad boys are cultured or fermented they become increasingly more potent for nourishing the digestive system, which in result, gives them a probiotic punch. If you don’t know, probiotics are super bacteria that are found are the scene of all unspeakably gorgeous skin! You can learn more about probiotics and skin health here.

Most skin issues are rooted in inflammatory problems. Acne for example, is just inflammation of the pore. Because our skin is so closely connective to the digestive system, being they both work as barrier systems for our body, when one suffers so does the other.

In simpler words, skin inflammation is likely akin to digestive or intestinal inflammation reflected outwardly. Beet juice is very anti-inflammatory for the intestines, and therefore treat inflammatory skin conditions as well.

Culturing Beets for probiotic benefits

The art of culturing or fermentation is one of pure alchemy. By leveraging the naturally occurring healthy bacteria of raw vegetables, we can increase the digestibility and bio-availability of our food ten-fold, while also improving our own gut bio-dome; the mother of our immune system.

Beet Kvass is a European staple that According to the amazing Sally Fallon who wrote my favorite nutrition book “Nourishing Traditions” Beet Kvass is one of the best digestive, blood, kidney and liver tonics there is. Given the nutrition components of beets it makes perfect sense that a cultured version of this food would  be classified so highly.

How to make Beet Kvass

You don’t need more than a daily 2 oz. shot of this potent probiotic elixir to see, feel and reap it’s rewards. You will be amazed at how simple and fast it is to make too! Try this seasonal recipe to keep a summer-like glow to your skin this fall:

  • Start with two medium, organic beets (ideally local or from a friends of your own garden!)
  • Clean and chop into quarters
  • Sterilize a large 32 oz. glass mason jar by boiling in hot water
  • Once cooled at the cleaned and quartered beets
  • Fill the jar with filtered or spring water
  • Add 1 tablespoon of Real Sea Salt, raw whey or juice from cultured vegetables
  • Add 1 packet of Veggie Starter Culture to ensure proliferation of immune boosting beneficial bacteria (sometimes with a wild ferment, molds and other immune suppressing yeast can grow, this is why I prefer using a starter)
  • Seal jar with lid and let stand at room temp for 3-7 days, “burping” the lid to release pressure once a day

Uses:

  • Take a shot of this beauty tonic daily to purify your blood, giving your skin a lush, glow.
  • Use it in salad dressings.
  • Add to raw juices for a digestive, probiotic boost.
  • You can even add a small amount to clay masks to reduce dark patches, blemishes and add a radiant tone to your complexion.

For more digestive healing recipes like this and a step-by-step nutritional and holistic protocol to healing the digestive system, be sure to check out my Perfect Digestion Course.

The Miraculous Benefits of Fermented Spirulina

Do you want an easy way to eat some of your recommended 4 to 9 servings of vegetables every day? Are you trying to protect yourself from the stress, pollutants, toxins and chemicals of our world?

Then you need to know about spirulina, perhaps the world’s healthiest food!

Daily consumption of this miracle food can help naturally detoxify your body, maintain a healthy weight, and boost your energy.

The Benefits of Spirulina

Scientific studies on animals and humans have shown that spirulina supports immune function, T-cell proliferation and antibody production. These studies have also shown that spirulina has anti-inflammatory properties, and helps deactivate the toxins in food.

Spirulina is known to contain phytonutrients with strong antioxidant properties which support cellular health by protecting the cell membranes and DNA from damage by reactive oxygen radicals.

Many of these health benefits can be obtained from eating large amounts of certain fruits and vegetables. However, spirulina has all of these properties rolled into one.

Super Spirulina Plus is an incredibly energizing, nutrient-dense powder that is perfect for:

      • Detoxifying the body
      • Age management and longevity
      • People who want to preserve good health
      • Those following a vegan or vegetarian diet
      • Athletes, children, pregnant women & the elderly

Studies have shown that spirulina can:

      • Help your body fight infection
      • Inhibit allergic reactions
      • Lower your cholesterol
      • Raise your HDL (good cholesterol) levels
      • Help you maintain a healthy weight

Why Ferment Your Spirulina

Most people don’t know this but Spirulina; in its raw form, is difficult to digest and assimilate. It requires very strong stomach acid to break down the tough cell walls. This is similar with Chlorella and is why you want a ‘cracked-wall’ Chlorella to reap the benefits.

With Spirulina on the other hand, not many companies disclose this information and is therefore best to take it upon your own hands and ferment it. The best way to do this is simply add 1 tsp to a fermented beverage like Coconut Kefir and let it ferment for 12 hours. I do this with my Coconut Kefir as part of a double ferment.

However, there are two companies that makes a fermented Spirulina. One is an Australian product and the other is called Super Spirulina Plus by Body Ecology. I recommend the Spirulina Plus to beginners because its easy to mask the flavor.

Spirulina is delicious to me, a bit nutty. But I could see how some might be turned off as it does have a slight algae taste. Getting it fermented though is the optimal way to be sure you receive all of this superfood’s amazing health benefits!

Spirulina is a protein-rich food; however, simply taking in more protein isn’t the answer — we must be digesting our protein. A growing number of people are protein deficient simply due to their inability to properly digest it.

Protein deficiency can lead to adrenal fatigue, nausea and stomach pain, muscle soreness, skin rashes, and even hair loss. As we get older, it becomes increasingly difficult to properly digest animal protein due to lack of stomach acid, which is why we need easier to digest sources.

I recommend Body Ecology’s Super Spirulina Plus for this reason alone. In my experience, continual use of this quickly resolves protein deficiencies as it is so easy to digest. It is highly concentrated, nutrient-dense superfood unlike any green’s powder, it is fermented to make it very easy to digest!

All you need is 1 teaspoon to get a full serving of of protein. The fermented protein powder is maximized for optimal bio-availability, providing you with the necessary protein you may be lacking due to improper digestion.

Another reason we would want to ferment our spirulina is that undigested protein creates an acidic environment in the body. Too much animal protein can be difficult on the kidneys if undigested. To be truly healthy, your blood must remain slightly alkaline at all times. Acidic blood can lead to almost every degenerative disease.

Plant proteins are alkaline and usually easier to digest the only issue is getting enough quality protein from plant sources can be difficult. We each have different metabolic types and a purely vegan diet may not be enough for many individuals. However, we can get around this by improving digestive and metabolic function and by also improving the digestibility of our foods by fermenting them! A fermented Spirulina helps with both.

Additionally, Super Spirulina Plus provides vital nutrients such as chlorophyll, amino acids, beta carotene, minerals, trace elements, omega-3, omega-6, and the super antioxidants zeaxanthin and lutein — making this a truly functional food.

Using Spirulina

Spirulina should be considered a food rather than a supplement. Treated as a food though, keep in mind it is very nutrient-dense and therefore should be used more similarly to the way we would use spices, herbs and oils. A little goes a long way.

Mix 1 teaspoon a day of Super Spirulina Plus with warm or cold water. Super Spirulina Plus can also be added to smoothies, salad dressing, and sprinkled over everything.

In recipes…

Guacamole
I love upgraded my guac with Brain Octane and some Super Spirulina for the a fat-burning, brain-boosting and beauty promoting side dish. I usually have guac night with my amigos once or twice a week and love to be able to sneak in healthy upgrades without compromising taste. Serve it with sliced veggies (carrots, zucchini, celery, red pepper).

To make: Mash 2-3 avocados in a Mortar and Pestle with the juice of 1 lime, 1 tbsp. cumin, 1 tsp. Super Spirulina Plus, 1 finely diced red onion, Brain Octane, and sea salt.

Smoothies
My first meal of the day after my Bulletproof Coffee is almost always a probiotic beauty smoothie. I always start my day off with liquid, then slowly work up to solid food, if at all.

To make: Combine 1 cup of spring water, 1⁄2 cup of a probiotic liquid (take my Kefir Master Class to learn how to make delicious probiotic drinks OR purchase some pre-made ones!) 1 tsp. Super Spirulina Plus, 2 scoops of Vitality SuperGreen powder, 1 head of lettuce, 1 zucchini, 1 medium avocado, 1 scoop Collagen, 1 squirt of Stevia, blend and enjoy!

Cultured Mango & Apricot Summer Salsa

This summer is a brand new experience for me. Having since started blogging almost 2 years ago now I have watched my passion grow in so many ways.

Originally, my intentions were to create a leading edge blog that delivered inspiration for deep healing. Over experimenting with hundreds of articles and post I’ve started to see a trend in what people like to see. I didn’t expect that my recipes would be some of the most popular however.

It makes sense though, cooking and food is so much more appealing than spiritual healing, which involves confronting many uncomfortable subjects at times.

Cooking heals still just in much more subtle ways. It’s a chance to get incredibly creative, learn to love yourself, consider how you nourish yourself, others and even your environmental impact.

Not to mention, I’ve grown my community of friends and other like-minded individuals to a place I didn’t know possible. Each day I am able to co-create, inspire and be inspired by amazing cooks, talented writers and overall beautiful souls.

In spirit of unearthly friendships and the Summer Solstice I’ve had the good fortune to divinely connect with the marvelous, enigmatic and enticing miss Alison Marras ( Celestial Food Alchemist Beauty) of Food By Mars — perhaps my personal all time favorite food blog to date.

She’s created a Digital Summer Solstice Party where her, myself and many other angelic souls are co-creating and inspiring each other to concoct mouth-watering, innovative recipes. Of course, they’re summer themed and so far, oh so good.

I’ve never been more inspired to make food. These are some of my best recipes to date. By best, I mean not just most tasty but creative and fun. I’m having so much fun getting these ideas rolling and sharing them with you. I’m exceptionally thrilled to bring you today’s recipe.

Cultured Mango & Apricot Summer Salsa

This recipe actually came secondary to the main dish I will be sharing with you tomorrow. I wanted to share this first that way when you go to make your main dish, you have this summery side-dish ready to go!

If you’re a consistent reader then you know I am all about that sugar-free, probiotic life. This not only fits the bill for those standards, it’s totally #FBMSummerSolstice approved. Ready to have your taste buds dancing?

Here’s what you’ll need:

Here’s how you make it:

  1. Clean and chop all your veggies and fruit. The only challenge here might be getting your mango squared away, sometimes they can be messy. If you don’t know how to properly chop a mango, watch this video!
  2. In a glass bowl, add starter cultured, EcoBloom and a small amount of water to wake up culture.
  3. When everything is chopped up to your desired size, add it to the bowl with the starter and mix together.
  4. Using a wooden spoon, add your salsa to the mason jar. Try to pack it down as best as possible. You want the natural brine or juice to be covering the salsa as best as you can. I actually just inverted the mango skin and used it to cover the top. This keeps air from spoiling the top layer of the salsa if exposed.
  5. Seal with a lid and place on counter for 1-2 days. Depending on how warm it is and how active your starter is it may fermented quicker. Mine was done in actually about 10 hours because in addition to the EcoBloom (which really wakes things up) I added a small amount of probiotic liquid.

You’ll know it’s done when the jar starts talking to you, meaning it’ll likely start to sizzle around. This is just the pressure building up. Give it a “burp” by releasing the lid slowly.

If it smells slightly soured but still good, then it’s done. You can always test taste it. It won’t be too noticeably different in taste, it should just have a bit of a tanginess to it.

Enjoy with sprouted or blue corn chips, homemade crackers, or on top of the Wild-Caught shrimp tacos I’ll be sharing tomorrow! 😉