health

How to navigate food (and life) transitions

How to navigate food (and life) transitions

“How do you get your family to accept a real food diet when all they want are chicken nuggets?” “My kid is a picky eater. He eats cereal three times a day. What do I do?” “I want to eat ‘healthy’ but I crave a sugary snack every afternoon (and evening, if I’m honest)!”

The struggle is real! You are now convinced of the basics: that eating a healthy diet means eating more real, whole foods, and less of the food-like processed stuff that comes in packages! Bravo! But how do you go from the head to the heart (or should I say to the mouth)? 

How to have a "healthy-ish" holiday season

How to have a "healthy-ish" holiday season

So, no promises today. No “three tips for a tinsel-perfect holiday.” Nope. Instead, I am offering you some ideas on how to have a healthy-ish holiday season, with reasonable, actionable strategies for getting through December and early January intact, happy and healthy…for the most part.

Peru...at present

Peru...at present

In Quechua, there is no past. There is no future either. This concept took a while to sink in for me, but once it did, it gave me a better idea of how we should live...today.

Spark Notes for "Improving your health 101"

Spark Notes for "Improving your health 101"

Jodi Ledley had debilitating migraines. Once she learned to avoid MSG (and other excitotoxins like it), she found herself on the path to healing. For years, she's eaten only at home. There, she has been able to control the quality of the food and avoid the additives that caused the neurological disruption that triggered her migraines. 

Sticky tip: Chipotle is one of the few fast/casual places Jodi found where you can enjoy a meal that is MSG- and GMO-free! (By the way, I don’t have stock in that company, so I do not benefit from your eating there! But Jodi mentioned it, so I thought I'd pass the tip along.)

Why do normal people question vaccines?

Children ask questions about everything under the sun. Reporters ask questions to get their story. Scientists ask questions to understand a matter. I am a normal person who is  kicking off this post with a couple of questions. Why is there a taboo around questioning vaccines? Why can’t normal people question them without being labeled “wackos” or “anti-vaxxers?” I suggest that all of us should feel free to question vaccines, and here’s why.

  • If we care about the food we ingest, we should care about everything we put into our bodies.
  • If we want to know the list of ingredients in the food we are eating, we should want to know what ingredients are in a vaccination.
  • If we are skeptical of conventional health care, we should question the motives of pharmaceutical companies that are lobbying for mandatory vaccinations for children and adults, nationwide.
  • If we believe in food freedom (that we should be allowed to eat what we want to eat), we should also embrace health freedom (that we have the right to accept or reject any medical procedure).

As a young mom, I remember wondering if I should follow the vaccine schedule for my children. I had no logical reason to question vaccinations at all, really, because I didn’t know much about vaccine side effects or ingredients or anything. There was just a little question in the back of my mind, a kind of check in my gut about them. I suppose I was hesitant about them because of the fact that I had always been a girl with a natural bent. I figured my body could handle itself, without too much interference. I preferred to let a fever run its course. I would avoid over-the-counter remedies for a mild cold or aches and pains. I chose completely natural childbirth for each of my babies (no pain-killing drugs, no medical interventions).

So while I wasn’t super informed about vaccinations, I wondered about the benefit/risk ratio. But I didn’t wonder for long. I went ahead and had my children all vaccinated on time because I knew that in Washington DC, in order to attend public school, they had to have all of the vaccinations, according to the CDC schedule.

I didn’t think much more about it for some time. My inclination to keep things natural, health-wise, eventually led me to become a member, and then a chapter leader for the Weston A. Price Foundation (WAPF). I liked their natural bent! They espouse Hippocrates' motto "Let food be thy medicine and let medicine be thy food."

However, when I came across something in the WAPF literature about vaccinations, I scratched my head about it, because I thought that WAPF was a nutrition group, focused on food, farming, and the healing arts. A stance on vaccinations (and an individual’s right to reject them) seemed an unnecessarily polarizing position to take. Why would WAPF go out on a limb when they could safely advocate for wholesome food and sustainable farming practices, without rocking the status quo?

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Over time, the answer started to dawn on me. WAPF is a group that’s willing to ask questions about conventional health protocol. Of course their willingness to ask about food sources, food quality, and the like would translate to other things we put into our bodies. It struck me that it is normal, and even healthy, to ask questions to safeguard my health and the health of my family. So I began to dig around and ask a few questions, myself.

  • Why are premature babies given the same dose of vaccines as full-term babies? (Shouldn’t the dosage be adjusted for weight?)
  • What ingredients are in the vaccines and are any toxic or apt to cause adverse reactions?
  • Why do babies get a hepB vaccine the day they are born (when it is a vaccine intended to prevent a disease that is sexually communicated)?
  • Is there room for a conversation about spacing out the heavy vaccination schedule that requires up to 24 doses before a child reaches 5 years of age?
  • Why is it so difficult to get a medical or religious exemption in most states?
  • Why are children denied a public education when unvaccinated, if education is a constitutional right?
  • If vaccines are safe and effective, why was the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act established in 1986, setting up a vaccine injury compensation program (that to date has doled out over 3..8 billion dollars to families of vaccine-injured children and adults)?
  • Why has the CDC not done a controlled study, comparing the health of vaccinated and unvaccinated children?
  • Why was the CDC accused of covering up study results that indicated a link between vaccinations and autism among African-American boys?
  • If vaccines do not cause autism, as the CDC claims, where are the studies that disprove the link?
  • And a related question: if vaccines don’t cause autism, why do so many parents of autistic children insist that they do?
  • What does the evidence around us suggest?
  • What links are there between vaccinations and other injuries and illnesses?
  • Why are vaccines pushed at every turn (in grocery stores, corner drug stores, etc.)? And who stands to gain from this push?

Do you have questions of your own? Great! That means you're normal. Keep digging until you find answers that satisfy your curiosity. And check out these podcast episodes to learn something beyond what the mainstream media reports:

#16 Vaccines: what’s all the fuss about? (part 1) -  w/ producer Leslie Manookian of “The Greater Good”

#17 Vaccines: what's all the fuss about? (part 2) 

#54 Vaxxed: Producer's commentary - w/ Del Bigtree of “Vaxxed,” the movie that focuses on the CDC whistleblower

#64 The vaccine industry & your rights - w/ attorney Alan Phillips

#72 Fighting for health freedom – a group of people in West Virginia are fighting for the right to vaccine exemptions

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*** Hilda Labrada Gore is the producer and host of the Wise Traditions podcast found on iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play Music, iHeart Radio, tunein, YouTube and at westonaprice.org. She lives in DC with her husband and children, their cat, Mia, and their dog, Summer.

Low on energy? Here's how to recharge!

It’s mid-afternoon and you’re grabbing your third cup of joe. Sometimes it seems like you are running on fumes. Is it insufficient sleep that is making you so fatigued? Stress from an overwhelming amount of work in the office or at home? Tension with a family member that's worrying you? Maybe it’s all of the above! How can you replenish your energy naturally? I met a scientist who contends that water has everything to do with our energy levels and our overall health and vitality, but, he is decidedly not referring simply to our hydration level, nor is he advocating the old eight-glasses-a-day guideline. Dr. Gerald Pollack, a leading scientist and researcher from the University of Washington, believes our health is linked to the water in our bodies and he believes that this water is actually present in our bodies in a fourth phase, known as EZ or exclusion zone water. In contrast with regular water, H2O, which is electrically neutral, EZ water, H3O2, holds a negative charge. It is a sort of internal battery that must continually be recharged/built up to keep us running efficiently.

According to Jerry, we need to look for ways to get more negative charges from the world around us to create positive energy in our bodies! The goal is to continually build the EZ water up and maintain ample stores for optimal health. Jerry has several specific recommendations for doing this:

  • Soak up the sun! Sit in an infrared sauna! Infrared energy is all around us. Capitalize on it! Our muscles are soothed and we feel energized from infrared energy. It penetrates our bodies and builds the EZ water which helps our bodies function properly. The negative charge is replenished by infrared light.
  • Grounding” or “earthing” allows the negative charge from the earth to transfer to our bodies. This practice involves taking your shoes off and allowing your bare feet to connect with the ground. Sit in the park with your bare feet on the grass. Walk on a beach barefoot. Get your feet dirty in your garden soil. This, too, builds our EZ water stores.
 Sand and surf is good for the soul!

Sand and surf is good for the soul!

  • Oxygenate! As its EZ water's H3O2 chemical formula indicates, it has more oxygen. Try hyperbaric oxygen therapy! It was first used by the military to treat wounds that wouldn’t heal. Jerry has conducted lab experiments that indicate that changing barometric pressure through adding pressure and oxygen builds EZ water, improving the function of every organ in thebody and promoting healing.
  • Aspirin is not just for headaches. Since aspirin effectively treats many kinds of pain relief affecting a number of the body’s organs, the hypothesis was that aspirin builds EZ water throughout the body.  Jerry said that laboratory tests have confirmed this hypothesis. Aspirin apparently helps the body maintain its negative charge. (For those wary of aspirin, Jerry reminds us that the chemical that aspirin’s roots trace back to willow bark.)
  • Drink more water. If negative charge comes from the water in our body, and if the cells in an individual’s body lack sufficient negative charge, that body must have insufficient water. This is why drinking water is important as a tool to replenish our stores. However, the water that comes out of our taps doesn’t have a lot of negative charge. You can get more negatively-charged water from spring water or through water that has been through a reverse osmosis process.
  • Eat more blueberries! Blueberries, kombucha, and artichokes are good sources of anti-oxidants. How are anti-oxidants helpful? Oxidants remove negative charge. So, anti-oxidants are good for us because they prevent the loss of that negative charge.

I’m just scratching the surface of all Jerry shared with me. If you want to learn more, listen to the interview here, on Wise Traditions podcast #67 “Negative charge creates positive energy.” The bottom line is that our bodies are negatively charged, and they require the negative charge that comes from this EZ water for good health. We must build up and maintain sufficient stores to enjoy vitality and well-being. To get that positive energy, look for ways to replenish that negative charge. It is critical for life.

***

Hilda Labrada Gore, a long-time DC resident, is an Integrative Nutrition health coach and fitness professional. She is the host and producer of the Wise Traditions podcast. Wise Traditions can be found on YouTube, Apple podcasts, Stitcher, iHeartRadio, Overcast, Google Play Music, tunein, and at westonaprice.org. Basically, you can find it wherever you get your podcasts!

Finally...New Year's resolutions that will AMP you up!

We are only about two weeks into the new year and yet a bunch of us have already broken some of our new year’s resolutions and determinations. Yup, me included. One of my resolutions this year was identical to last year: get to bed before midnight. (I am a health coach, but like everyone else, I have my stumbling blocks.) It's always been a struggle for me, as I'm a night owl by disposition and I end up suddenly inspired at 11:00 p.m. and so I get on the computer and one thing leads to another and I'm hitting the hay well after the clock strikes twelve! So, yeah, I’m pretty sure I broke this resolution on night two. I know I'm not alone. Our resolutions, and subsequent struggles to keep them, can humble and discourage us. If you’re in this boat, then, like me, you are tired of the cycle and ready to bust out of it.

That’s why I’m excited to give you some ideas of things we can to do to improve our health that are much easier to keep. Most resolutions have to do with diet and exercise--these do not! As a matter of fact, these are not just ideas or fads that are here today and gone tomorrow. These are principles to live by. I've already been slowly but surely adopting them into my lifestyle and I am the better for it. I bet you'll be able to do the same with very little striving and strain!

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There’s no denying I’m amped about these simple concepts. Ben Greenfield is the former bodybuilder who pumped me up about them! He is strong, passionate, and enthusiastic---a triathlete, and a health coach for elite athletes. I expected our conversation to focus on how to improve our diet and sculpt our bodies for their maximum potential. Instead, he surprised me by wanting to talk about “the invisible variables that affect our health.”  (To hear the entire conversation, check out “Beyond food” Episode 57 of the Wise Traditions podcast!)

Here are the four simple areas we discussed that have been transformative and encouraging to me. On each point, I share action steps for incorporating these into my life.

Air – Obvi. Air is critical to life! How can we improve the quality of the air we breathe in? We need to go where it is! Indoor air is often stale, recirculated, and sometimes toxic (from furniture off-gassing, cleaning products, etc.). We've got to take time and make time to get outside to breathe in the good stuff! Most outside air is an improvement on indoor air. If the schedule doesn't permit getting out, we need to buy some detoxing plants or a HEPA filter to improve the atmosphere indoors. Action: I get outside daily (walking from my house to the car or from my car to the office doesn't count). I have bought plants to improve my indoor air quality.

Music – Ben played the ocarina when we were together, since he was traveling and space in his luggage would not accommodate his ukulele. Why did he bother? He’d never even played the ocarina before! He recognizes the power of music. Science is confirming what humans have intuitively known for millennia: music soothes the savage breast. Something is stirred within our spirits when we experience music. It relieves stress and even brings healing! Action: I play the guitar a couple of times a week. I sing in church.

Posture – We can eat a super clean diet, but still be stressing our body by the way we carry ourselves. Just like a car’s tires need to be aligned and balanced, our body does, as well. For organs and cells to work properly, let’s avoid unnecessarily “squishing” them, as if they were a wool coat stuffed into the drawer of a nightstand. Action: I sit up straight in the pew in church or in meetings. I take regular breaks when working (anything to avoid the constant 90° sitting position)!

Sunshine – Where to begin, in my ode to the sun? At the top of the list is the natural vitamin D that it gives us! Scientists point to vitamin D deficiency as a possible cause of the many diseases plaguing us today! Sunshine helps our circadian rhythms stay in sync, which improves the quality of our sleep. It boosts the immune system and our mood! Action: When I go out daily (see action step for "Air"), I get the added benefit of soaking in 15-20 minutes of sunshine! (And I'm not letting the cold weather stop me--the little shock is good for my lymphatic system! And at least my face and hands are exposed to the sun's healing effects!)

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That’s it! Talk about an easy-peasy list, right? Consider these resolutions a way of life. I know I do. I consider them a way to AMP up my health this 2017! Hope you get AMPed too! Let me know how it goes and which of the above is your favorite!

***

Hilda Labrada Gore is a health coach and fitness professional. She is the DC chapter leader for the Weston A. Price Foundation and is the Wise Traditions podcast host. Wise Traditions can be found on YouTube, iTunes, Stitcher, iHeartRadio, Google Play Music and at westonaprice.org.

Surprises at the Wise Traditions conference (a/k/a you won't believe what happens next!)

I couldn’t resist using this clichéd click-bait subtitle because my experience at the conference was indeed just. like. that. It was one unexpected moment after another. You can watch an online health summit, the next wellness webinar or cooking tutorial on YouTube, but none of it compares to the actual experience of connecting LIVE with health experts and fellow foodies. The speakers get you thinking as you attend their presentations, and then you turn around and they join you for lunch! Between sessions, a fellow attendee points out a website that helps you find the dehydrator you were looking for. Your roommate tells you about her latest health hack. Each day you are empowered, encouraged, and energized. I hail from Washington, DC, a town better known for its political leanings than its alternative health tendencies. I was like a plant thirsty for some rain. I didn’t have to wait long before I was soaking it all in. Shortly after I arrived, I ran into speaker and gardener Celeste Longacre. (Don’t you just love her name?!) She invited me to her hotel room to demonstrate how to make beet kvaas. I drink it regularly but had never made it before. We hardly entered the room before she had started chopping up that beet like a Samurai swordsman! It was something to behold. My mind was blown. And then my heart was touched when she gave me garlic that she had grown from her very own garden. The conference was just kicking off and I’d already gotten a private kvaas demo and some swag!

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On day two, I connected with Hannah Crum, the Kombucha Mama. She told me that earlier that morning, she had gone for a walk down by the river. From a distance, she spotted some random guy who was barefoot and bare-chested (a rare sight in the month of November); he was walking along playing some flute-like instrument. Curious, she walked closer…and then it dawned on her. This was not just some random guy. It was fitness guru Ben Greenfield, a fellow speaker at the Wise Traditions conference!

We laughed, partially because it was so unexpected for her to encounter Ben like that, but also because the conference was just overflowing with these kinds of surprising moments. The Weston A. Price Foundation brings together all sorts of creative, intelligent, interesting people—each committed to finding good health through natural and alternative means. There was genuine connection and joy at every turn. And there was also as much to be gleaned from the one-on-one connections as there was from the seminars.

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Hollywood producer Del Bigtree, of the movie “Vaxxed,” screened his movie at the conference and gave a post-screening presentation. He talked about how he got involved in the project and had been moved by the importance of the subject (the CDC's manipulation of study results) and its implications for our health and the health of our children. He had hitherto not quite realized the influence of the pharmaceutical companies on the media and consequently the public's access to critical health information. He is passionate about getting the movie wider distribution, not because he is particularly “anti-vax” but because he believes the public has the right to make informed decisions when it comes to vaccinations. Though he had been traveling around the country, he had never been among a group quite like ours. We were receptive, curious, and supportive. And we also challenged him to think about the role good nutrition could play in preserving our health.

That’s another thing I love about “Wise Traditions foodies” (as I like to call the WAPF-ers). They don’t just take in information—they process it; they ask tough questions. Many have taken their health into their own hands and are naturally skeptical of any medical theory. They take everything with a grain of (sea) salt.

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So, to me, this is what the Wise Traditions conference is about: learning, growing, laughter, food, questioning, and, yes, surprises. Count me in for next year. Actually, scratch that. Count me in for the rest of my life!

*** Hilda Labrada Gore is a health coach and fitness professional. She is the DC chapter leader for the Weston A. Price Foundation and is the Wise Traditions podcast host. Wise Traditions can be found on YouTube, iTunes, Stitcher, iHeartRadio, Google Play Music and at westonaprice.org.

How to identify mercury toxicity and detox safely

Do you have brain fog? Are you so forgetful that you’re afraid you’re accidentally going to set your house on fire? Have you been diagnosed with a degenerative disease such as MS or Alzheimers? Do you have anxiety, depression, or panic attacks? What about fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, gastritis, attention deficit disorder, or obsessive compulsive disorder? These are just a few of a long list of symptoms that plague many of us today. And all of the above are symptoms of chronic mercury poisoning. Dr. Andy Cutler is convinced that many doctors are overlooking the most obvious answer as to why so many of us are so sick: mercury.

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Andy has a PhD in Chemistry from Princeton and a BS in Physics from the University of California. When he struggled with symptoms that no doctor could explain, he dug deep to find the source of his issues. He never expected to find that the problem stemmed from the amalgam fillings in his own mouth!

If you are skeptical, welcome to the club. Dr. Cutler welcomes skeptics. He himself has a healthy dose of it, which is why he doesn’t buy the American Dental Association’s reassurances that “Dental amalgam is…a mixture of metals such as silver, copper and tin, in addition to mercury, which binds these components into a hard, stable and safe substance. Dental amalgam has been studied and reviewed extensively, and has established a record of safety and effectiveness.” His own experience and those of countless others has led him to conclude otherwise.

Andy’s health crisis led him to became a pioneer of a form of chelation/detoxing for metal toxicity that is unique in its approach, science-based, pragmatic, safe and successful. He went from a confused, sick state to living a full, normal life today. Of course, he is not the only one who has improved using his protocol. Thousands have regained their lives and health, regardless of how they came to be exposed to mercury (the "trace" mercury in vaccinations has also poisoned many). Listen to our discussion on Wise Traditions episode #48 “Detox mercury safely” to hear more about Cutler's story and his unique approach to the subject.

In a nutshell, the key to his particular mercury detox protocol is taking chelators according to their half-life in the body. Thus, DMPS (Dimercapto-propane sulfonate) must be taken every 6-8 hours, DMSA (Dimercaptosuccinic acid) every 4 hours, and ALA (Alpha-lipoic acid) every 3 hours. This must be done throughout the day and night: 3 days on, 4 days off.  (ALA is actually the most important chelator as it is the only one that removes mercury from the brain.) Along with the chelators, Andy recommends what he calls “the essential 4:” Vitamin C, Vitamin E, magnesium and zinc. These must be taken to support the body as well as to counteract the oxidative damage that mercury causes as it is mobilized and removed. Most everyone will need adrenal and liver support as well. And other supporting supplements are taken depending on individual symptoms.

Please note that it is NEVER recommended to chelate if you still have amalgam "silver" fillings in your mouth. This is not safe. If you suspect you are mercury toxic, please take the test Andy recommends in this podcast episode or visit his website: noamalgam.com for more guidance. Dr. Cutler also offers consultations via phone to many people and he has Facebook and Yahoo groups where mutual support can be found.

If you're still unsure about how to approach detoxing, dig deep as Andy did. Do your own research and make sure to look beyond those who have the hype or slick websites promising cures. Look for real results and proven track records. My hope is that you recover your health completely, as you safely detox!

*** Hilda Labrada Gore is a health coach and fitness professional. She is the DC chapter leader for the Weston A. Price Foundation and  is the Wise Traditions podcast host. Wise Traditions can be found on YouTube, iTunes, Stitcher, iHeartRadio, Google Play Music and at westonaprice.org.

THE "super" raw food: lacto-ferments

Ferments are everywhere these days! Go to any farmers market  and you will see booths selling everything from pickles to kimchi. People are starting to brew their own kombucha and pickle their carrots, turnips, and beets. Why are these foods suddenly trendy, when they have been a part of traditional diets around the globe for hundreds and thousands of years? Once again, science is backing up the wisdom of the past. There has been a shift in understanding about our bodies. Where once it was thought that the gut was sterile, science now points to it being a veritable wonderland of microbes and bacteria. Our health depends on maintaining a proper balance of intestinal flora. And lacto-fermented foods are a wonderful source of enzymes and good bacteria! This knowledge has sent people rushing back to eating fermented foods, since fermentation not only preserves the food, but also improves its nutritional content and the bio-availability of its nutrients.

Take cabbage, for example. It is a source of vitamin C. When it is fermented and turned into sauerkraut, the level of vitamin C is tenfold higher. It's been found that just 2 ounces of home-fermented sauerkraut has more probiotics than a bottle of 100-count probiotic capsules!

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This is why Sally Fallon Morell, the President of the Weston A. Price Foundation, calls lacto-ferments the SUPER raw food! Across the board, fermentation enhances the very life of the food. It pre-digests the food, in a manner of speaking, and increases vitamin levels. Anti-nutrients are neutralized or partially neutralized. Minerals are released. Ferments boost the immune system, protect against disease, and aid digestion. In sum, it is a beautiful, marvelous process that works with nature to preserve not only the food, but also our health!

For all of these reasons, including lacto-fermented foods is principle #5 of the Wise Traditions diet. Listen to Sally expound on the benefits of (and the traditions behind) these foods here, in the episode Principle #5 Lacto-fermented Foods.

Highlights include:

–    how lacto-fermented foods are nearly universal in traditional diets –    the two types of fermentation –    how sauerkraut is made –    the role of salt in the fermentation process –    how fermentation may have come about –    the wisdom of traditional cultures and the scientific reasons behind fermentation –    what specific fermented foods are enjoyed in various parts of the world –    just why Sally considers ferments “super” raw foods –    the story of one woman with IBS and how fermented food helped her –    how to tell the difference between fermented foods and those simply steeped in vinegar –    how fermentation can boost levels of vitamin C, minerals, B vitamins –    how lacto-fermented drinks are also a good source of enzymes and bacteria (and serves as an alternative to soft drinks and alcoholic beverages) –    how these foods inoculate the gut, in essence, with good bacteria needed to resist disease –    how these foods are protective against cancer –    how the fermented foods shore up the “biofilm” that lines the intestinal tract –    how to eat the right balance of fermented food –    how these foods replace enzymes lost during cooking and help with the digestion of fat

You will certainly want to begin including some of these foods in your diet, once you understand how beneficial (and delicious) they are! You may even be inspired to try your own hand at preparing them--becoming an alchemist in your own kitchen! Whatever you do, here's to relishing this SUPER raw food!

*** Hilda Labrada Gore is a health coach and the host of the Wise Traditions podcast (found on iTunes, Stitcher, iHeartRadio, Google play, and at westonaprice.org). She is also the DC chapter leader for the Weston A. Price Foundation. Get to know Hilda and her approach to health by visiting her website chispainc.com.

Turn children's health around with real food

Did you know that children's taste buds can turn around in two weeks--from craving junk food to craving real food? Just two weeks! Did you know that in two months children can experience some real progress in resolving health issues? Mandy Blume has stumbled upon these health recovery secrets for children and now she is sharing them with the world! She has written a book entitled "Real food recovery" and she has launched a nonprofit by the same name--all because of the health improvements she's seen through simple dietary changes.

In a recent interview, she laid it out plain and simple. Kids need real food. And even if they don't like it at first, if you keep offering it, they will get hungry and succumb to real food's allure. Mandy has used what she calls the "Mandy protocol" with her own children and with countless foster children (in her own home and foster homes) and she can testify to its positive effects. Is she some kind of "child whisperer?" How has she been so successful at transforming kids' diets and their health? And how can we follow her example?

It started when Mandy and her husband had their first child, who was born with health concerns that conventional medicine could not address. They soon took matters into their own hands. They overhauled their lifestyle and diet and began to see improvements (not just for the child, but for their entire family, as well)! Through this experience, Mandy realized the power of real food. She studied at California Polytechnic State University, where she received her degrees, along with cooking and nutrition credentials. But her real education came as she applied all that she learned, not only on her own family, but also on the foster children her family took in. Quickly her vision expanded to reach out to children in foster homes. Her goal? To  see real food recovery occur for the greatest number of children possible!

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It's a big task for a needy generation. One in 88 children in the U.S. has autism. One in 10 children has asthma. Eight to ten percent of children in the U.S. have learning disabilities. Foster children are particularly vulnerable to physical, emotional, and mental health concerns. Can real food address these real issues? Mandy’s answer is a resounding YES! Listen to "Real food changes lives" and be inspired by her vision and her practical tips on dietary changes.

The half-hour interview highlights:

  • how Mandy used real food to flip her families’ and foster kids’ health
  • how Mandy and her husband began taking in foster kids
  • just how many children are currently in the U.S. foster care system
  • how little time it takes to change taste buds to crave real food
  • the power of perseverance
  • Mandy’s tips for helping children approach food differently
  • the health and trust issues of foster children
  • what happens when foster kids “age out” of the system
  • how their first foster child battled cancer
  • the catalyst for her nonprofit, her new book, and more

At the very least, Mandy's story will make you want to get real with your own diet, replacing “faux foods” with the real deal. And at best, she will motivate you to take steps to help the vulnerable children in your own town, who are also hungry for real food and real love.

*** Hilda Labrada Gore is a health coach and the host of the Wise Traditions podcast (found on iTunes, Stitcher, iHeartRadio and at westonaprice.org). She is also the DC chapter leader for the Weston A. Price Foundation. Get to know Hilda and her approach to health by visiting her website chispainc.com.

Does the body know how to heal itself?

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The body has amazing curative powers. How many times did you get a cut or scrape as a kid and then watch in amazement as over time the skin began to come together to heal? You might have used a bandaid to temporarily hold the skin together, but it was the body itself that did the healing work.

That innate curative power is what homeopathy taps into. Homeopathy is a medical approach and practice that is based on this reality: that the body knows how to heal itself. Oh, yes, there are times when we need immediate intervention—if there is an accident or a health emergency. But homeopathy is about prevention, when possible, by tapping into the body’s restorative ability. The goal of homeopathy is to educate the immune system and to help the body rediscover how to heal itself. Homeopathy has been known to help patients combat chronic health issues including recurring ear infections, asthma, coughs, and more. And homeoprophylaxis (HP), a practical application of homeopathy, offers natural protection against serious diseases—a kind of “green vaccine,” if you will.

I knew very little about homeopathy and HP, truth be told, until I interviewed Cilla Whatcott, the Director of Worldwide Choice. Homeopathy wasn’t originally on her radar either, but when her one year-old daughter had a health crisis, Cilla began exploring alternative options to healing. Now, Cilla has a PhD in homeopathy and she is the author of several books on the subject.

Want to learn more yourself? Listen to Wise Traditions episode #35 “The green vaccine?” You’ll hear:

  • stories of how homeopathy combats chronic issues (like asthma, coughs, recurring ear infections, etc.)
  • how parents are pushing for HP as they seek alternative therapies to preserve their children’s health
  • the definition of homeopathy
  • the FDA’s stance on homeopathy
  • the many places in the world HP is being used successfully to protect against disease
  • how HP differs from vaccines
  • studies are being conducted which indicate the efficacy of HP
  • the difference between HP and essential oils
  • how Worldwide Choice sponsors conference to familiarize medical professionals (and all of us) with the research, theory, and results of HP

Is your curiosity piqued about homeopathy and HP? Visit Cilla's website, worldwidechoice.org. Or check out her books (which can both be found on her site, as well): “There Is a Choice: Homeoprophylaxis” and “The Solution – Homeoprophylaxis.” They explore the many ways the body truly can heal itself--bandaid or no bandaid!

*** Hilda Labrada Gore is a health coach and the host of the Wise Traditions podcast (found on iTunes, Stitcher, iHeartRadio and at westonaprice.org). She is also the DC chapter leader for the Weston A. Price Foundation.

Can a former vegetarian still embrace vegetarian ethics?

Right off the bat, I need to tell you: I am not the former vegetarian mentioned in the title of this post. I am a meat eater, full-fledged, all in. My parents are from Mexico and Cuba, raised eating lechon asado (roast pig) and cabrito (goat). And this apple did not fall far from that tree. But I recently interviewed a former vegetarian, and when she began extolling vegetarian ethics and explaining that she still embraced them, I had an a-ha moment. I could embraced them, too! As she spoke of their convictions regarding justice, compassion, and sustainability, I was nodding my head. It was beautiful to realize that we cared deeply about the same issues.

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Here are a few specifics that I think both meat-eaters and vegetarians can rally around:

  • Factory farming is cruel and immoral. Pigs are raised in cages so small they can hardly turn around. They are often raised in windowless sheds, without fresh air, sunlight, or access to the outdoors. Chickens are raised in such crowded conditions that they begin nervously plucking their feathers out. (Rather than changing their deplorable living conditions, factory farmers simply clip their beaks!) Cows are subject to just as many indignities, including being forced to eat and sleep in their own excrement. All of the animals listed above are given hormones and antibiotics to promote growth and to help prevent sickness. Sentient beings should not suffer such inhumane confinement and mistreatment.
  • The deterioration of the planet is alarming. Large patches of our planet are become desert wastelands. Fertility and life are being snuffed out, replaced by exhausted land and animal extinction. Climate change is a huge problem. We must protect our natural resources and cultivate and nurture life on this earth on every level. Something has to change (and it should probably be us)!
  • No one should go hungry. Good food for all can even the playing field. Children learn better when well nourished. Behavior problems, sickness, disease and crime all decrease when there is less food insecurity. We must look for solutions so that all people, all around the globe, can obtain access to clean water and good food.

So, meat eaters, where do you stand? Can you agree with these simple, straightforward values? I certainly can. And so can Lierre Keith, the former vegetarian. Interestingly, she makes the case that one does not have to abstain from meat to address all of the above. As a matter of fact, she is convinced that a vegetarian diet jeopardizes our own health and the health of the planet.

Listen to our conversation Vegetarianism reconsidered and let me know what you conclude. Even if you disagree with Lierre's point of view, I hope you can take pleasure in the fact that, in a world that is increasingly divisive, vegetarians and meat eaters can still find some common ground.

*** Hilda Labrada Gore is a health coach and the DC chapter leader for the Weston A. Price Foundation. She is also the host of the Wise Traditions podcast, found on iTunes, Stitcher, and at westonaprice.org.

 

Nutrient density: the best way to fuel your body

I was once one of those people who needed to eat every few hours. If I didn't, I would feel suddenly weak and dizzy, as if I were an iphone whose battery precipitously dropped from 83% to 2%. Mid-workout, I would grab an energy bar to power up again. In my worst moments, I would become shaky and sweaty, like someone detoxing from alcohol. It wasn't a pretty picture. I eventually stumbled upon the term “hypoglycemia” and determined that I simply needed to eat more frequently. It never occurred to me to look closely at what exactly I was eating. What was the composition of my diet exactly and could it have been a factor in my condition? In the 1930s, Dr. Weston A. Price, a dentist and a researcher, became curious about what contributed to good health. Thankfully, he did carefully examine and compare various diets to determine the factors at play in the best diets. He looked at the nutritional content of traditional foods and compared it with the so-called modern foods of his time (those sold at shops and comprised of refined flours, sugars, etc.) He found that traditional diets had 4x the minerals and water-soluble vitamins and 10x the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, and K. The bottom line? Modern diets often were (and still are) woefully inadequate in critical nutrients.

Whether we currently have any health concerns or not, it’s clearly time to ask ourselves some important questions, starting with: what the heck are we eating?! Are we simply satisfying our hunger with whatever happens to be close to our “pie hole,” or are we looking to build our bodies in better ways? I don’t mean “build” in a muscle-building fat-burning machine way, although some may have that goal. I mean, are we giving our bodies the fuel they need to thrive? Better nutrition translates into more energy, less fatigue. There’s easier brain function/more brain power, greater ease of movement/strength to take on physical tasks. Do you want this for yourself, for your family? Who doesn't, right?!

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Sally Fallon Morell takes Dr. Price’s findings and helps us figure out how to apply them in the day-to-day. She seriously sheds light on how to get the biggest bang for your buck out of every bite. (I may be mixing metaphors here, but you get what I'm saying!) Click here to listen to episode #30 entitled “Nutrient density.” In it, Sally touches on:

- how even those who think they’re eating “healthy” may still not be getting all of the vitamins and minerals they need - the foods that offer the fat-soluble vitamins that are critical for our brain and body function (in organ meats, fish eggs, egg yolks, cheese, for example) - the symptoms of fat-soluble vitamin-deficiency (including depression and anxiety) - the dangers of a diet high in lean proteins (without sufficient fat) - the fats that are implicated in heart disease (hint: not the saturated fats) - how vitamins A, D, and K are a triumvirate: how they work together and should be in balance - why she questions the USDA’s definition of “nutrient density” (Hint: they call vegetables nutrient dense, but they count it per calorie, and many vegetables are low in calories. This means that you’d have to eat copious amounts of broccoli, for example, to get the same amount of vitamins or minerals you’d get from a spoonful of liver.) - how Dr. Price, through improved nutrition, improved the health and behavior of  some orphans - how to tweak your diet to improve not only your physical health but your mental health; how to increase optimism - the one simple thing you can do to make a noticeable difference in your health, even if you do nothing else

I'm convinced that nutrient density (principle #3) is key to wellness. (For the entire list of "characteristics of traditional diets" click here.) I've been tweaking my diet over the years to align with the Wise Traditions diet and guess what?! All symptoms of hypoglycemia have resolved. Better still, I have no serious health concerns. I have sustained energy for the physical and mental tasks I want to complete. My body and mind feel strong and good.

What about you? Are you willing to try some of the foods rich in fat-soluble vitamins? What can you add to your diet to help your body thrive? Please comment below if you take even one small step in the nutrient-dense direction. I'm eager to hear what difference it makes for you!

*** Hilda Labrada Gore is a health coach and the host of the Wise Traditions podcast (found on iTunes, Stitcher and at westonaprice.org). She is also the DC chapter leader for the Weston A. Price Foundation.

How holistic management is saving the planet

Hypothetical scenario: you arrive at my home and the living room is a wreck. (This is very plausible, by the way.) Picture it totally trashed. Sofa springs are jutting out, dirty plates are crawling with ants, toys are strewn everywhere. You hear that I have ten children (not so plausible, but go with it for a moment) and you nod understandingly, “Ah. That’s the problem. This woman has too many children. That’s why the living room is a mess.” Most people would come to that conclusion, as well. But not Allan Savory. He would not blame the children. He would blame the management of the children. In other words, the children are not actually responsible for the mess; large families do not necessarily have to live in chaos. The responsibility falls on me to train my children properly so that they don’t mess up our living environment. This is a simple illustration to explain the concept of “holistic management.”

Before heading to Zimbabwe to meet with wildlife biologist, author, and speaker Allan Savory, I picked up his tome “Holistic Management.” When I say “tome,” I’m not kidding. Let's just say that this book is the opposite of a light summer read. The point I’m trying to make is that I was struggling to grasp what holistic management really meant. I knew it had to do with saving the earth by restoring its grasslands (about 70% have been degraded), but beyond that, I couldn't quite "get it."

But I knew this much: Allan did get it and does get it. His Savory Institute has hubs all around the world committed to this concept. It goes beyond permaculture techniques (though these are good) and organic fields (also good). And it’s having fantastic results with land and communities that are revitalizing, growing, and thriving.

Allan came to this holistic approach to the land after much trial and error. Decades ago, he thought (as many scientists did at the time) that animals were causing land degradation and that reducing their numbers would resuscitate the land. So they killed thousands of elephants in Africa. We’re talking significant numbers—to the tune of 40,000 elephants. And then, to their dismay, they discovered that they were wrong. The land did not improve.

Allan had the humility and wisdom to go back to square one to determine the root of the problem. (Some scientists did not do this, by the way, and they are still culling animals!) Anyway, Allan dug deep and found that we actually need more animals (not less), since they have a critical role in revitalizing land. Animals disturb the ground with their hooves, and leave urine and manure to fertilize it, and thus help stimulate new growth. So the crux of the problem with land degradation (also known as “desertification”), again, is not the animals themselves, but, rather, how they are managed.

Allan and me in grass

I’ve seen the fruit of this holistic approach first hand this week at the Africa Centre for Holistic Management. Allan took me around the land and showed me “before” pictures (taken at fixed points) that I could easily contrast with the “after” landscape before me. The health and recovery of the land was obvious. I was eager to learn more. Over the course of several days, I peppered him with questions about this approach. asked about the response from the environmental and scientific communities, and much more. I met some of his staff members and community members in Zimbabwe who have seen holistic management successes in their villages and towns. In the process, I gained a greater understanding of holistic management for land, livestock, and even my day-to-day life.

Of course I plan on posting my conversations with Allan on the Wise Traditions podcast this summer! If you just can't wait, though, check out savory.global. Holistic management, I am convinced, is critical for the future of our planet!

*****

Hilda Labrada Gore is the DC chapter leader for the Weston A. Price Foundation (WAPF). She is also the host of the WAPF-sponsored Wise Traditions podcast (on iTunes, Stitcher, and westonaprice.org). She is traveling in Zimbabwe and Kenya as part of the WAPF international project initiative.

 

The power of a Mama Bear

"Never underestimate the power of a Mama Bear defending her cub." Joel Salatin said something to this effect when I interviewed him recently. He was talking about the strength and determination of a mother looking out for her child. I know moms like this. Two days ago, I spoke with a mom friend of mine who was calling out her teen for lying. That took guts: a willingness to confront her child, impose repercussions and then deal with the fallout. Today I was on the phone with a mom whose elementary-aged daughter was home with a tummy ache. This took patience: she had spent the morning tending to her and the afternoon (and the days ahead) will probably hold more of the same.

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When I was a kid, my own mom worked several jobs at one time to make ends meet for our family.

I love these women. They, and countless others, are true Mama Bears. They are willing to do whatever it takes to provide and protect their little ones. They are fierce, passionate, seeking out whatever is needed for their children need to grow to be strong and healthy.

Tressie Taylor is just this kind of mom. Her son, Omar, was diagnosed as on the autistic spectrum when he was around two years old. Tressie wasn't satisfied with the end goal of the recommended behavioral therapy so she went into "bear mode." She sought out options, determined to find something better for Omar. She discovered a two-pronged approach to healing for her son: a nutrient-dense Wise Traditions diet and a chelation protocol established by Dr. Andy Cutler. (Chelation escorts metals out of the body, and Dr. Cutler's protocol is the safest method out there.)

Today, Omar has lost his diagnosis. And Tressie is a Mama Bear for hundreds of children (not just her own). To hear more of her amazing story, click here.

I'm inspired by women who fight fiercely for what they believe in. Do you know any Mama Bears? How are you exercising your own Mama Bear power?

Would you trash your friend's house?

I live in a modest row house in DC, but, this weekend, I am living in the lap of luxury. I have a friend who owns a beautiful house in Virginia and she is hosting a bunch of us for the weekend. Did I say it was a house? Correction. It's actually a mansion. It is a gorgeous 8-bedroom, 5-bath, custom-built place with a glorious deck, king-sized beds, jacuzzi-jet tubs, and more. It's one...big..."WOW!" IMG_1384

And the funny thing is, my friend isn't even home just now. She is a gracious hostess who is willing to let folks use her place as something of a retreat center, even when she's out of town.

But what if the group of us who are here this weekend decided not only to use her home, but to abuse it? What if we decided that we were going to do whatever the heck we felt like with it, and began carelessly trashing it?! I'm talking about more than just leaving dishes in the sink. What if we dragged chairs across the hardwood floor, broke the garbage disposal, pushed the deck furniture over the railing, etc.?

How ungrateful! How short-sighted! How thoughtless and stupid we would be!

 

This thought crossed my mind today because it is Earth Day. The Earth is a home that is also on loan to us. It is not ours, but we have been entrusted with it. The idea is to use it, yes, but not to abuse it. We want it to last for the long haul, for our children and grandchildren, and all the greats after that!

I see this as a calling of sorts, since the book of Genesis says: "Then God said, 'Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.' Ruling is a responsibility, and it is to be carried out with justice and compassion.

What does this look like for you? In what ways are you caring for the earth (and the fish of the sea and the birds of the sky and the cattle....)?  I am still learning what this looks like for me. What do I do with the resources at my disposal? Do I toss things when they break or repair them? Do I recycle? I know that each and every choice I make can impact the earth.

Happily, I get glimpses of what good stewardship looks like when I see those who choose to garden, those who live less wastefully, and those who care for the land and the animals in ethical ways. In particular, just now, I am thinking of farmer Joel Salatin. In the podcast episode "The marvelous pigness of pigs," he talks about our God-given responsibility to care for the land and animals. His ethics inform his farming practices. How do mine shape how I live and the earth I live on? Something to ponder today and in the days to come.

 

 

 

 

It's all about kombucha

This is how I feel right now. It's all about kombucha. I am absolutely crazyabout it. It is my go-to drink. I have blogged about it from time to time and have gotten a fair number of friends hooked on it, too. It is not a drug (ha, ha) but rather a fizzy, tasty drink with health benefits (so I guess in some senses it acts like a drug)! Kombucha is a fermented drink, born from a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast (SCOBY). Its roots go back about 2000 years, but it is VERY 2016. You can buy it at a store in a glass 16-oz. container (at Whole Foods, Trader Joes, and even Safeway), or you can try brewing your own at home! Here’s my attempt. I’m just starting out. Don't judge.

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kombucha home

Last fall I had the privilege of meeting Hannah Crum, the "Kombucha Mamma," at the Wise Traditions conference in Anaheim, California. There, I got the chance to pick her brain to learn more about this alluring drink known as the "immortal health elixir!" She told me about its history, benefits, and how to get started making my own!

If you want to learn what all the hype is about, listen to this 30-minute interview, the Kombucha Craze. Or just go out and buy a bottle. Once you try it, you’ll understand why so many are raving about it. Still unsure about trying it? Check out some of its healing properties below!

K- Kicks cancer – Studies have shown that glucaric acid (found in kombucha) has cancer-fighting properties.

O – Oh, the weight you’ll lose! Kombucha speeds your metabolism and improves gut health.

M– Makes your immune system strong. It is rich in anti-oxidents which boost immune systems and help prevent colds, flus, etc.

B – Boosts your energy with enzymes and vitamins; brings balance to your gut's bacteria.

U – Unique nutrients such as acetic acid, enzymes, and polyphenols improve your body's functioning.

C– Cleanses and assists with detoxing the body, through gluconic acid and probiotics.

H – Helps the digestive system (populating your gut with needed probiotics).

A – Arthritis can be warded off and joint pain eased by the glucosamines in the drink.

So join the KOMBUCHA craze! And drink a toast to your health with this unusual but uber-beneficial all-natural fermented drink!

***

Hilda Labrada Gore, a long-time DC resident, is an Integrative Nutrition health coach and fitness professional. She is the host and producer of the Wise Traditions podcast. Wise Traditions can be found on YouTube, Apple podcasts, Stitcher, iHeartRadio, Overcast, Google Play Music, tunein, and at westonaprice.org. Basically, you can find it wherever you get your podcasts!

How "The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up" applies to Lent

By now, you've certainly heard of Marie Kondo's bestseller "The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up." It touts the Japanese art of decluttering and organizing. Kondo encourages readers to hold on to what brings joy and release what does not. This book has sold over one million copies in the U.S. Clearly, it's touched a nerve. We have too much stuff and we know it. We want to pare down and streamline our living space and our lives. We want joy. Lent is a time for de-cluttering, too, but for the soul. We need to strip away the excess activity or whatever it is that distances us from God, our joy. We sift through our busyness and make time for stillness and sacrifice. It's a time to re-focus on what matters.

To be honest with you, both my heart and  my house need some tidying up.

Regarding my heart, I want to release worries and concerns (verbalized or internalized), my own pride and sin, prayer-lessness, and more. In terms of my home, there are  knick knacks on my dresser, unworn clothes in my closet, and random personal effects that need to be let go.

In Luke 10, Jesus sent his disciples out to share the message of love and healing. He charged them: "Do not take a purse or bag or sandals; and do not greet anyone on the road." Traveling light was key to their focus and purpose (and probably peace and joy, as well). 

So, I'm in. I want to travel light, to be more focused on my faith, the people around me, and joy. I want to lessen the physical clutter around me and the spiritual/emotional clutter within me. So every day for the next 40 days, I am letting things go. They may be physical, as below.

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They may be emotional. Yesterday, I gave away a worry about a family member. The game will be sold at a thrift store. It's out of the house, for good. The worry, not so much. I just might accidentally pick it back up again. But I'm taking it day by day. At least for one day--yesterday--I let it go. When my concern came to mind, I released it to God, by faith. I laid it at His feet, for Him to take care of, instead of me. (He's better at such things, by and large.)

What are you doing to mark the period of Lent? Are you eager to streamline your life, to hold onto what brings you joy and release what does not? Join me!

 

Don't be gluten-intolerant intolerant: 3 simple concepts to clarify this condition

You've heard that there are MANY people who are gluten-sensitive or gluten-intolerant. You may be among them or you may know a few of them personally. If you don't struggle with it personally, you might find yourself occasionally feeling gluten-intolerantintolerant! What is going on? Why is this a growing health concern?

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First, a quick definition of "gluten." Gluten is the word for the naturally occurring proteins in wheat (and some other cereal grains.) Many are have issues digesting these proteins. Here are a few concepts to help clarify what's going on.

  1. It's for real. This is not some made-up phenomenon. Some who are gluten-intolerant have a full-blown disease called celiac, an auto-immune disorder. For those with celiac, ingesting even a crumb of gluten inflicts damage on their intestines, poking holes in the lining or causing inflammation and leading to a host of problems. People with celiac disease are not picky, difficult, or attention-seekers. They know that gluten can lead to vitamin and mineral deficiencies, inhibited nutrient absorption, migraines, anemia, fatigue, diarrhea, and more. Even more serious conditions can develop if celiac patients do not take care to avoid gluten completely. For celiac patients, avoiding gluten isn't "trendy," it's a serious matter related to protecting their health.
  2. It's okay to be self-diagnosed. I shake my head when people say "Most of those who claim to be gluten-sensitive or gluten-intolerant are self-diagnosed." I want to say (and loudly): "SOOOOO?" If you detect a pattern in your diet, that is to say, you eat something and it causes your stomach to hurt every. single. time, wouldn't it be smart to conclude that you should stay away from that particular food? So if you are self-diagnosed, as they say Down Under, "Good on you!" It might behoove all of us, actually, to watch our bodies for reactions--discomfort, a change in stools, headaches, etc.---after eating gluten. We may be among the two and one-half million Americans who are undiagnosed (self or otherwise!)
  3. It could be more than gluten-intolerance. If you are one of those who experiences discomfort or a reaction of some type to gluten, you need to be aware of another factor that could be at play here. I just interviewed an MIT research scientist, Stephanie Seneff, who said that glyphosate (the active ingredient in an herbicide used on wheat) wreaks havoc on our bodies. Glyphosate (the "other g" word) may be disturbing your gut, not just gluten! You can avoid glyphosate by buying organic bread (which, of course, I believe all of us should do, gluten-intolerant or no.) But beware, because glyphosate is used on an "increasingly massive scale" on many crops in the U.S. including sugar cane, corn, soy, etc. (Listen to the podcast for more on glyphosate and its effect on our bodies. Click on this link or look for Wise Traditions on Stitcher or the westonaprice.org website.)

Are you gluten-intolerant or gluten-sensitive? Post your comments below so that we can learn from you. We want to eliminate gluten-intolerance intolerance, once and for all!