wellness

The benefits of the "outside diet"

The benefits of the "outside diet"

This is not a post so much about disconnecting from devices (though that will help), but rather one about connecting with our surroundings. Think of this as a "lean in" post about nature.

When it comes to health, go with your gut!

When it comes to health, go with your gut!

These random symptoms—rashes, hives, reactions, pain—are the body’s way of waving a red flag at us. “Something’s wrong! Pay attention! HELP!”

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.

A taste of Peru: the tension between old and new

A taste of Peru: the tension between old and new

Supermarkets selling sodas and processed foods are blocks away from the open-air markets with “mamitas” selling the produce from their gardens by the roadside. Monsanto and Bayer have reached the Sacred Valley and are persuading farmers to replace their natural varied corn crops with their one variety of corn (from genetically-modified seeds). Mining is generating incomes for small towns, but simultaneously polluting their drinking and irrigation water. Villagers are fighting back, but their voices aren’t always heard. As you can see, there are multiple threats to the health of the people and the land of Peru. 

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.)

The "x" factors that impact your health

The "x" factors that impact your health

For vibrant health, we must attend to our spirit/mind/emotions—what I call the “x” factors that impact our wellbeing.  To nourish this part of us, we need to do things that fill us, lift us up, bring contentment or make us feel vibrant and alive.

A dentist who is carrying on the work of Dr. Price into the 21st century

I took a road trip with a friend recently when she confessed to me a secret fear. It’s very common but it’s not a fear of spiders or heights or flying. It’s a fear of dental visits. She has had way too much work done over the years and it has been painful both physically and financially. I understand where she’s coming from. I have seen many dentists over the years—the over-eager tooth-cleaner, the judge of flossing, the laid-back “you’re-doing-everything-right” friendly guy next door, the you-need-the-most-expensive-treatment-ever fellow.

Thankfully, my current dentist is none of the above (and, naturally, he is my favorite). He stands out because he emulates one of my heroes: Dr. Weston A. Price. Dr. Price was a dentist and researcher in the 1930s. He traveled the world to observe and document the effect of diet on oral health, and overall health and vitality. He noticed a link between what people ate and the structure of the face. His observations are recorded in his book “Nutrition and physical degeneration.” The photographs in the book are fascinating and convincing proof of his conclusions—that what we eat indeed has an impact on our overall health and dental health.

In the healthiest peoples, Dr. Price observed, there was plenty of room in the mouth for all 32 teeth. And said teeth were intact and free of caries. The face was broad, as was the jaw structure and nasal passages. There was facial radiance and physical vitality and fertility. Optimism and good humor abounded. What did such people eat? The specific diet varied—from fish, seal oil and whale blubber in Alaska to goat meat, blood, and raw milk in Kenya. What they had in common was that they all ate the traditional diet of their ancestors.

When the diet changed, and became “modernized” (with refined flour, sugars, and the like being consumed in place of traditional foods), the health of the people and their progeny became compromised. The most obvious changes occurred in the jaw and facial structure. The face became narrow, with crowded/misaligned teeth. There was gum disease and caries. Overall vitality and fertility were diminished; posture, eyesight, and hearing were less keen.

boys-in-water
boys-in-water

After his travels, Dr. Price took what he learned and applied it back home in the states. He saw health and behavioral improvements when he began advocating dietary shifts and a return to nourishing, natural food. The dentist I see today is Dr. Felix Liao—a biological, holistic dentist and the President of the Biological Dentists Association. He is convinced that Dr. Price was on the right track. For this reason, he is carrying forward the work of Dr. Price into the twenty-first century. He sees the link between solid nutrition and dental health. As such, he addresses and treats the whole patient, not just the mouth. He has seen numerous patients over the years who have benefited from his “whole body” approach.

I reached out to him initially because of a cosmetic concern—my teeth had shifted over the years and needed straightening. I expected him to propose braces or invisalign. Instead, he assessed my posture and overall health. He asked about aches and pains, my sleep patterns, and more. He documented what was going on with the whole of me. The treatment has included broadening my palate to make space for my teeth, reversing the narrowness of my jaw and airway.

Patients come to Dr. Liao’s office with all kinds of concerns—teeth grinding or clenching, back pain, shoulder issues, sleep apnea, snoring, dental problems. He can address many of them, not by simply filling cavities or giving them a mouth guard or a CPAP machine, but by addressing the root problem caused by poor nutrition.

Listen to my interview with Dr. Liao on Wise Traditions podcast #25 “Open wide.” You may discover that the root cause of some of your own health concerns has more to do with your mouth (and what goes into it) than you initially thought. You will also gain insight on what the work of Dr. Price looks like in the 21st century.

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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, tunein, and at westonaprice.org.

How to get radical with your health (and where to begin)

med body
med body

Have you seen photographs of dentists in the olden days pulling teeth? They approached their patients with tools that looked like they belonged in a car mechanic’s toolbox rather than in a dental office. As if that weren’t frightening enough, if you were the patient, you were likely to have many teeth extracted in your lifetime. Pulling teeth was a common practice to deal with infections and other health ailments, back in the 1800s.

And why? Were the dentists and doctors simply misguided? No, according to Dr. Louisa Williams, the author of “Radical Medicine.” Quite the contrary, in fact. While extraction is certainly not the answer to all of our health woes, dentists and doctors of the past had a solid understanding of the link between oral health and overall health. Benjamin Rush, for example, the doctor to George Washington and Benjamin Franklin, had studied the relationship between chronic silent infections in the body (often in the head/mouth) and mental, physical, and emotional issues. He was very well aware of the dangers of dental focal infections.

Dentists and doctors of that time were focused on the teeth because they were trying to get at the root cause of illness in the person. They understood that if someone was suffering with a problem with their knee, for example, that the issue could stem from a silent infection in the mouth. Happily, Dr. Williams is not suggesting that we need to go back to the time of numerous teeth extractions, but, rather, that there are lessons to be learned from that earlier approach to combatting infections and fighting serious health conditions. We need to rediscover the tie between our oral health and our overall health.

We have a tendency in modern medicine to adopt a reductionist approach. Hip pain? Treat the hip? Malaise? Address the stomach. Dr. Williams suggests taking a more holistic wholistic approach to wellness, which begins with examining your oral health. Hear her ideas in the interview entitled “Radical medicine” (episode #39 of the Wise Traditions podcast).

Highlights include:

  • the definition of radical medicine: how it’s about getting to the root or cause of the health condition
  • what diagnosis is and what it should be (not just be about addressing a symptom but to determine why the body is susceptible to a particular sickness)
  • how current-day holistic medicine may still not getting to the root cause of an illness
  • how dentists and doctors approached health in the 1800s
  • the understanding today of the relationship between dental and physical and mental and emotional health
  • how the development of antibiotics and root canals in the twentieth centure were game-changers in terms of our medical approach to health
  • the studies Dr. Weston A. Price conducted on the effects of an infected teeth
  • the work of Dr. Edward Rose, related to the bacteria in damaged teeth
  • how to approach root canals (when it is okay to keep teeth and when we should not)
  • the dangers of simply extracting an infected tooth
  • how xrays of the root of teeth can reveal focal infection damage
  • the red flags to watch for with your current dentist
  • the issue of mercury fillings
  • troubles that can arise from root canals, dental galvanism, porcelain crowns
  • how treating the symptoms can provide temporary relief but which can lead to greater problems down the line
  • how “opportunistic infections” (like Lyme) can arise from undetected dental issues
  • how allopathic medicine (like antibiotics or pharmaceutical drugs) can actually truncate the body’s healing process

As a member and chapter leader of the Weston A. Price Foundation, and a fan of wise traditions (both the concept and the podcast), I believe we have much to learn from those who have walked this earth before us. My conversation with Dr. Williams served to remind me of the value of the health practices of yesteryear and the need to continue learning from (and applying them) for "wholistic" health today.

*** 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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IMG_9036

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.

From bone-tired to robust

Razi Berry was extremely fatigued in her twenties. I don't mean she was just run-down or exhausted from stress or work. (We all get there sometimes.) Razi was tired at the cellular level, or what some of us call "bone-tired." In her own words, she says she was like “a wind-up doll that constantly needed winding.” She was struggling with fatigue, pain, hair loss, infertility, and more. At one point the doctors diagnosed her with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue and they suggested she go on disability. At age 25, this was akin to a "life sentence" which Razi simply could not accept. She decided, instead, to became her own “health detective” and look for solutions to restore her health. This is when she took two steps that made all the difference.

  1. She made lifestyle changes that drastically improved her health. These included eating more animal products (including organ meats), breathing more deeply, and getting sufficient sleep.
  2. She found naturopathic medicine that turned her health trajectory around. The naturopathic approach deals with the whole person (not just certain ailments or body parts). There is a focus on the healing power of nature and finding and treating the cause of sickness, not the symptoms.

Listen to her full story on #34 "Tired of being tired" and you'll hear:

  • just how sick Razi was
  • the improvements she saw with these two steps
  • the principles of naturopathic medicine
  • specific naturopathic therapies, including hot/cold showers, and wet socks
  • the myth of “side” effects
  • how the skin is a mirror of your health
  • how Razi continues to maintain her health today
  • her most important advice on how to approach your own wellness
Razi and girls
Razi and girls

Today, Razi is the publisher of "Naturopathic Doctor News & Review" and she maintains the Naturopathic health site, while also homeschooling her daughters. She obviously has energy and health to spare. Razi will inspire you to take your own steps to move from bone-tired to robust, and brimming with health! The first step for you may just be listening to this episode!

*** 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.

 

Three steps to make a dream come true

The title of this blogpost was not click bait. I am dead serious. I actually DO have three steps that can help you make a dream come true. Notice that I did not say three "EASY" steps. But they are steps nonetheless. I'm no Zig Ziegler but I have experienced some "dream-come-true" moments in my life and I would love to share how I got there with you. I took these steps. You can take them, too. And you can see your dream(s) become a reality. Ready? Then, read on!

  1. Dream. Step one, you actually need to dream. What do you want, personally, professionally? What do you envision for yourself, your family, your community, the world? Take the dream as far as you want. The Bible says "Without vision, the people perish." I know some people that are indeed the "walking dead." They look like people; they go through the motions of life, but they are like zombies, because they are dead on the inside. Part of the reason why is because they no longer dream. IMG_6220 I made this dream board the other day, to help me picture the kind of life I want to lead, the kind of impact I want to make. Write down your dreams, or illustrate them. Find a way to visualize them, however it best suits you. Something special happens when you make the intangible tangible. For example, I wrote down "Kenya 2015" in a journal a few years back. I didn't know how I would get there; I just knew that I wanted to go. I was dreaming. And then it happened! The Weston A. Price Foundation sent me there to tell people about traditional diets in August of last year. I never expected this turn of events when I scribbled "Kenya 2015" down. But it came to be.
  2. Deem. You need to regard what you want as attainable. Deem it so, or deem it possible. George Michael sang "You gotta have faith." It's about believing it can happen or that you can do it. I know of a cancer treatment clinic that will not accept patients who do not believe the treatment will work. Sound crazy? They simply recognize that belief is a part of the healing process. In the same way, belief plays a pivotal role in realizing your dream. Believe in God. Believe in yourself. Believe it can happen...yes, in your wildest dreams. I was considering becoming a podcaster when a 16 year-old friend of mine told me he was starting a podcast. I literally thought, "If he can do it, I can do it." I believed. I bought equipment and read some books. I began interviewing people. In a span of less than 6 months, I launched it and now my podcast has had over 50,000 downloads. (My 16 year-old friend never followed through on his podcast.)
  3. Do. The first two are wonderful but are not enough to achieve your dream. (Maybe this is why my young friend's podcast never launched?) This last step is a critical piece of the puzzle. You can't just dream or believe without putting in the hard work. This is why I didn't have the word "easy" in my title. You have to DO something. You need to set tangible, measurable goals and implement them to reach your dreams. I have been saying for years that I want to write a book. This is a dream in progress. On the plus side, I am meeting my goal of writing regularly. I have done so for over 6 years now. But other mid-range goals have fallen by the way side. It's time to pick them up again. Otherwise the epitaph on my tombstone may read: "She was going to write a book...one day." I do not want REFUSE to let that be the case. So I have recently found a friend who is going to hold me accountable (read: kick my butt and make sure I take tangible steps) to get at least an e-book completed this. calendar. year. Yes, I am putting it out there. You read it here first.

Some dreams I've dreamed have turned into reality; some are still in process. To achieve them, as you can see, does not require magic or charisma. It's not about manifesting something or tapping into some big dark secret only available to those "in tune with the universe."

It's about dreaming, deeming, and doing. Tell me what are you dreams? Take the first step in making them tangible and write them in the comments below!

 

When it comes to your health, it's smart to ask questions

This is a blog post full of questions. Which is funny because so far I have only made a statement. Or two. Or three. But, just wait, they're coming.... I recently interviewed Leslie Manookian, the writer and producer of the award-winning documentary "The Greater Good." Leslie was at the peak of her career as a business executive on Wall Street when she began asking herself some serious questions about the direction of her life, and about conventional medicine. You see, her health began to fail, and it led to her to start questioning her assumptions about all of the above and eventually led her to start questioning vaccines.

In today's group-think mindset, this is anathema. But I promise you, this woman is no fringe, anti-science loony. She's smart. She has an MBA from the University of Chicago, a BA from Middlebury College, and M.L.C.Hom from Lakeland College of Homeopathy. She began investigating homeopathy when conventional medicine could no longer help her. It benefited her so much that she decided to study it. In so doing, she began learning about the risks and unintended consequences of vaccines.

Greater Good Banner

Our conversation got me asking some questions of my own.

Why is the vaccine schedule so intense for infants (25 doses by 15 months of age)? 

Could this schedule have anything to do with the rise of ADD, allergies, autism and other chronic conditions?

Why do vaccines include metals (mercury, aluminum) and adjuncts that disrupt our body and brain functions?

If vaccines are as safe as they are purported to be, why do the vaccine manufacturers need blanket immunity from any prosecution or economic liability?

Didn't a CDC whistleblower confess that he (and others) scrubbed the data, to make it appear that there was not a link between vaccines and autism? If so, why the cover-up? And where is the public outcry in response?

What other options do we have to protect people from life-threatening or crippling diseases?

And, finally, why are all people who ask questions about vaccines labeled as lunatics?

It seems to me that when it comes to your health (or your children's health), it is smart to ask questions.

Listen to Leslie's story on this podcast episode, Vaccines: what's all the fuss about? and see if it doesn't prompt you to formulate questions of your own. And if you're not willing to listen to it, I challenge you to ask yourself why.

 

 

 

 

Sustainability is no joke

  April Fool's Day is a great day to talk about the word "sustainable." I see it everywhere I turn these days; it's laughable. I fully expect the gas station tomorrow to have a sign up saying "Fill up here: sustainable gas from organic oil wells!" It has been overused to the point where it's unclear what it's even referring to anymore. (This is ironic since the definition includes "allowing for continual reuse.")

But sustainability is no joke. The idea is to live in such a way that you can keep at it. To treat this earth in such a way that it can last a long time. To care for your belongings in such a way that you get the most out of them. In effect, to tread lightly so that you can keep treading.

I interviewed farmer Jesse Straight from Whiffletree Farm (in Warrenton Virginia) about his take on the term. I loved his answer!

“Sustainable farming is beneficial to all of the parties involved. It’s beneficial to the animals’ health, the land’s health, the eaters’ health. It’s beneficial to the farmer in terms of giving them a noble and sustainable way to live and to support their family and it’s beneficial to the community.”

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I don't have a farm but Jesse inspired me with his response. (To be further inspired, listen to his podcast interview: Straight talk from a farmer.)

I want to live sustainably, according to his definition, don't you? I want to live so as to benefit everyone around me (including me)! I want to be ready for continual re-use! How can I be an asset at home, at work, at church, in the neighborhood, the city, and the world? It's a big list, a tall order. The only way to be of any use, anywhere, is to find balance in my own life first. A hectic pace, a frantic lifestyle will lead to my being worn out and unable to live a life in the plus column, that much I know.

So like a runner in a marathon, I try to pace myself so that I can best meet the day's demands. I eat well and exercise often. I pray, sing, and connect frequently with friends and family. I keep my house clean (more or less) and make decent meals for us and our guests. These activities keep me afloat and are generally a part of what sustains me. But there are other areas of my life that threaten to drag me down and wear me out. I tend to work at a rather constant pace, so I have to discipline myself to turn off the computer an hour before bed. I struggle to hit the hay before the clock strikes midnight. And I know I need more time outside to get refreshed and re-energized.

My short-term sustainability goals almost certainly looks different than Jesse's (and probably yours) but our long-term goal is the same. We want to be well, balancing our work and play, rest and service, so that we can benefit the lives we touch. Instead of being labeled "good for nothing," we are all aiming to be good for something!

What does a sustainable life look like for you? And what do you need to work on, to get there?

 

The inside scoop on wellness

Starting the Wise Traditions podcast has been an adventure. I knew I wanted to help spread the message of the benefits of whole, real, nutrient-dense foods. That, after all, is the mission of the Weston A. Price Foundation, the group sponsoring the podcast. Their goal is to educate the public about healthy traditions and the science behind the foods that have helped cultures survive and thrive through millennia. DSC_0006

What I didn’t bargain for was that I would be getting an education in the process, myself. I loved sitting down with the authors, doctors, scientists, farmers, etc., who came on the show. Each individual was well spoken, entertaining, and brilliant. I was getting something out of every single conversation.

And then it dawned on me—I wasn't just educating John Q. Public, out there “somewhere,” in the distance—I was, in fact, educating myself! Below are some of the truths I’ve gleaned, after months of sitting at the feet of top health and wellness experts. I consider these truths to be the “inside scoop” on wellness.

  1. Outset. I’m just at the outset; they are waaaay down the pike! Yup, I’ve learned that I still have a lot to learn. Oh, I studied to be a health coach, and I am a chapter leader for the Weston A. Price Foundation, all right. But these people have spent decades in their field (sometimes, yes, literally in a field!) so they have a really good idea of what’s best for our bodies, in theory and in practice.
  2. Opposing views. Even the experts say we shouldn’t trust the experts. Almost every guest on the show has urged me (and the listener) to keep seeking, keep reading, keep educating myself. (It was a farmer who gave me the longest list of recommended books!) I have taken their challenge seriously. In fact, I am purposely seeking out opposing views to those shared by my guests, to discover the truth, as best I can, for myself.
  3. Overwhelmed. Our bodies are overwhelmed. Incidences of cancer, chronic diseases, mental illness, and the like, are on the rise. (I didn’t need them to tell me this. I could see that for myself, just by reading the headlines.) What I did learn from them is that our world is increasingly toxic and that there are ways to help our bodies cope.
  4. Organic is best. Processed, artificial, man-made, imitation, preservative-laden foodstuffs (that pass for food in our supermarkets) are part of the toxic soup that our bodies cannot process. These foodstuffs are cheaper, but remember this: bargain foods are no bargain for our bodies. They mess with our physical and mental capabilities.

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  5. Opt out. Opting out of the commercial, big-box, packaged food industry is a great place to start. Each guest has emphasized the importance of turning toward a more, natural, real food diet. Avoid the chains (supermarket, fast food, restaurants) that literally encumber us. While you are still free to move, take steps off the regular food grid. Look for real food whenever possible. Connect with farmers. Learn to grow or, at least, cook your own food. It's critical for your health and the health of your loved ones.

Oh, the things I’ve learned! Have you been learning, too? Comment below so we can educate each other! I look forward to more great conversations, both on and off the air.

What to do when you have far too much to do

So we are two weeks from Christmas. Is anybody else out there starting to breathe more shallowly? Two weeks is  336 hours. In black and white, that looks like plenty of time to prepare, but in reality it it is more like the blink of an eye. And when I blink, all I see are the dishes in my kitchen sink, the long list of people I have to buy gifts for (how ever does Santa do this? Oh, yeah, he has elves!), and looming deadlines for work. How could such a wonderful celebration (the MOST wonderful time of the year, if Andy Williams is to be believed) turn into a pressure-filled, hair-pulling season that makes December 25 look less like a birthday and more like a giant wave threatening to engulf you and toss you onto the beach like yesterday's Deer Park water bottle? IMG_5387

I love Christmas! I really do. But the trappings can leave us feeling...well, trapped!  In the past 24 hours, I have talked to two friends who are completely overwhelmed. One has too much going on at work---exhausting her before she even walks in the door. And the other has too much to do in her personal life---family concerns and commitments are draining her time and emotions, so that she has little left over to meet holiday demands. And, yes, demands they are, indeed. We all feel them breathing down our little necks:  the shopping to get done, the cards to send, the parties to attend, the halls to deck, and more. These, on top of our usual day-to-day obligations, can make everything seem less than merry and bright.

It's the holiday case of "too much to do, too little time." So here are four timely tips for all of us on what to do when there is far too much to do.

  1. Breathe. Seriously. Dolphins regularly come up for air (whales do, too, but they're not as cute). So, come up for air! To make this happen, you must think of it in terms of survival, as if your life depended on it. Pretend that your house (or your office) caught on fire. You would evacuate even if you had a lot of work to do. So, just pick up and leave everything, even if only for 5-15 minutes. Get outside, listen to music, or (for you young moms) even shower!
  2. Cross things off the list. Gasp. Is this sacrilege? No! Not everything on your to-do list is "do or die." What can you forgo completely? Consider what you can legitimately drop without crushing a three year-old's heart. You simply must get your niece a present. But do you have to send out snail mail greetings this year? Is it imperative for every single nutcracker to come out of storage? Or can a few wooden soldiers stand watch in the dining room, representing the rest?
  3. Scale down. If you truly can't cross something off the list, what can you do to make your "imperative Christmas activity" manageable? Can you make the dinner a potluck meal, instead of cooking it all yourself?  What if you just stopped by the party later than planned, so you can relax at home for an hour or two first? Can you see that special friend the week after Christmas? Reduce your load. Santa does the same thing as he makes his trip around the world. Look for ways to make your sleigh lighter!
  4. Live with the chaos. Do what you enjoy and let the chips (and jalapeño dip) fall where they may. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Leave the dishes in the sink and go to the party. Keep the date you made weeks ago, and just wrap the presents later, if at all (sometimes a little red bow will suffice). Dim the lights (it makes the mess harder to see). Or just decorate around it.

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Two weeks. 336 hours...I think. That's what my google search told me, but I honestly don't have time to work out the math on my own. So the next time you start to feel pressed for time, stressed, crinkled, and crunched, remember the gist of the four tips: Don't do it all. It'll be okay. All will be well. December 25th will roll around just the same. Celebrate the Reason for the season and stay sane while doing so. Do what you love and let the rest go.

 

Drum roll, please!

FullSizeRender-3 As you can tell, I am thrilled to be at the Weston A. Price Foundation (WAPF) conference in Anaheim right now!  This is the group that sent me to Kenya last summer. I love the emphasis they have! The WAPF folks are the ones who talk about:

  • eating real, whole foods like our ancestors did
  • avoiding packaged, processed foods full of artificial flavorings, colorings, and        partially-hydrogenated oils
  • enjoying natural fats (praise the lard)
  • including in your day-to-day meals fermented foods like pickles, curtido, sauerkraut, kefir, kombucha
  • sipping bone broths
  • drinking raw(some) milk

These are foods that have nourished people for millennia. They keep our bodies functioning at their optimal level, strengthening the immune system, and helping us avoid all sorts of diseases and chronic issues. The WAPF principles (learning from the wisdom of generations past) are not a diet, per se. Thank goodness, because I shudder when I think of diets. Especially when I think about how the first three letters of the word are d-i-e. Nope, the principles just point to delicious, sustaining, life-giving, health-preserving foods. It's not about deprivation, but about what you can eat. And what you CAN eat just happens to taste AMAZING. Yes, I am gushing (though, it's actually more like drooling right now!)

Check out the pics below for a glimpse of what it's been like here at the conference this week!

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Kelp facial (don't ask)

This could make showering more fun than ever!

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Our bag of "swag" had salt and roasted sesame seeds in it!

Foodies know this woman as the "Food Renegade"

Sandrine Love just wrote a children's book about Weston Price and his discoveries

The Foundation has asked me to host their weekly podcast come January! I'm so excited! It's going to be called Wise Traditions and it will feature conversations with nutrition experts, doctors, authors, and regular people like you and me who have seen improvements in their life and health since incorporating the WAPF principles.

Already at the conference, I've had the privilege of speaking with Charlotte Smith, a woman whose son had eczema. She sought out raw milk for his healing (and it worked, by the way). Now she owns her own  micro dairy in Oregon! I spoke with Dr. Cowan, a holistic physician, who advocates healthy skepticism when it comes to our health information. "Don't believe anybody. Don't believe me," he added.  And I spoke with Sandra Van Gilder, a woman who pursued a career in physical therapy because she felt like an 80 year-old when she was in her 20's due to exercise injuries and inflammation. Now she can move about and run without hindrances.

I'm so eager to tell you about our conversations, but I think it'd be better if you hear what they have to say for yourselves! So, stay tuned for details on how to access and subscribe to the podcast! This is going to be simply a fabulous opportunity to learn, in brief 30-minute segments, how to make changes that will benefit you for a lifetime!

This is Hilda Labrada Gore, signing off, on behalf of the Wise Traditions podcast. Eat well, be well!

How to find a job you LOVE (or learn to tolerate the one you have)

"I feel like a billionaire doing meaningful work and making an impact. I walk into a room and I feel like 'I've got the best job.'" My son heard these words recently in his office downtown. Can you imagine? It sounds like someone is LOVING their work! Most of us would kill (well, not actually kill because then we would end up in jail, despondent and depressed, and we'd be out of the job market altogether, so let me rephrase that) most of us would be THRILLED to love our work. How can we go from feeling apathetic or unhappy about our work, to excited and motivated? I'm talking about work on this health-related blog because every aspect of your life is related to your well-being! If your 40+ hour-a-week job is boring, uninspiring, and depressing, you will become bored, uninspired, and depressed. Here are tell-tale signs that your work is having a detrimental effect on your health:

  • you hit "snooze" an average of 5-7 times on workday mornings
  • you spend 45+ minutes playing games or scrolling social media sites in your office (or during meetings)
  • you "reward" yourself with junk food at the end of a long day
  • most of your conversations with family and friends boomerang back to your work frustrations
  • you are "too tired" to exercise, get together with friends, spend time with family

This is a short list. But if any of the above resonate with you, what next? Follow these "transportation" tips to move from a ho-hum job to a job that keeps you humming.

work-cartoons-15-ss1.Where do you want to go? You know how the GPS shows various routes to get to the same destination? If it's time to take a new route, you first need to identify where you want to end up. So make a "wish" list of where you'd like to be professionally. Don't just think about it; make it more tangible by writing it down. This is the first step in the job search journey. Stephen Covey says "Begin with the end in mind."

2. Keep moving and keep your eyes peeled.  Feeling stalled out, career-wise? Start your engine and get moving! Connect with friends in your field in other offices. Use LinkedIn or Google+. Let people know that you are interested in a change. And don't let age or stage make you feel stuck. As I was leaving one position for another, a colleague confided in me, "I'm too old. I can't move on." He was stalled out. I didn't believe his reasoning for a moment. (Plus he was around my age!) Some group, somewhere, needs your particular skill set. Keep your eyes open for that exit ramp.

3. Don't be afraid to switch tracks! My husband went from being a youth pastor at a church to an athletic director at a high school. Not an obvious segue, at first blush. My husband had to see the potential to transfer his experience in one field (no athletic pun intended) to one that seemed very different. Both positions required organization, planning, and, obviously, lots of love for and patience with teens. It's been a great fit!

Working out with B&S friends in Kenya!

4. Take the back road! Pursue your interests on the side and see what develops. Some hobbies can be parlayed into careers. I used to play the guitar just for fun. I played it at my kids' elementary school and for small groups here and there. I wasn't very good at it. But now I play in church every Sunday as the leader of a worship band. I used to exercise just for fun. Now I am a Regional Director for Body & Soul, an international fitness organization.I had NO clue I could get so far with my little hobbies. My hobbies have become my job-bies.

Until you can move on, how can you make your current job less miserable?

1. "Lean in." Not into the job, if you simply can't stand it. No, "lean in" to what you actually do enjoy about your work---it could be your co-workers, the actual work itself, or its proximity to a favorite restaurant. Whatever it is, "lean in" to that! Keep that on your mind when the negative bits start to dominate your thinking.

2. Become the "Invisible Girl" from Fantastic 4. I don't mean don't show up to work! I mean, imagine your private life as an impermeable bubble that your work life cannot puncture. This way, the toxic work environment or load cannot seep into your home life. How do you do this, in practical ways? Leave at the pre-determined time. Don't check email or answer the phone after hours. Do what you love best after five and on the weekends: take pictures, work out, watch movies, take a hike! IMG_3841Whatever you do, be present as you do it, setting the work aside in its own little separate bubble.

Are these thoughts helpful? I am currently loving my job-bies, so I am writing these tips from a happy place. Is anybody out there struggling, trying to get out of a bad situation? If so, please comment below and add your own thoughts to the discussion!

 

Guilt be gone! (Why self care is not selfish.)

Raise your hand if you have felt guilty when you've chosen to read a book (or binge on a t.v. series) instead of folding laundry. Or when you opted to meet a friend for coffee, instead of completing a certain project for work. Or when you blew off a PTA meeting to grab dinner with your spouse or good friend. Now that all our hands are raised, let me just say, it's okay. Wait, no. It's MORE than okay. It probably was just what you needed! Too often in life, when we take a break, we feel like we should be doing something else. But I like what author and theologian Henri Nouwen has to say on the subject: "Don't should on yourself!"

It is perfectly legitimate, and, yes, even often absolutely necessary to leave some things undone so that you can do something that restores you. Whatever it is that "fills your bucket" or replenishes your stores, do it! Even if it's just for one evening, or for a mid-day break, you will find that the mini-vaycay can work wonders on your state of mind and heart. It's like water to a parched soul, oxygen to an astronaut. (I guess I still have the movie "Martian" on my mind!)

This could be you!

Seriously, though, as a health coach, I see people overlook this aspect of health all. the. time. You can eat as "clean" as Gwenyth Paltrow, but you will still be unwell if you stress yourself out through over-work and under-self. When you keep going and going and going, it's as if your body is in constant fight-or-flight mode. You will literally wear your adrenal glands out and no amount of caffeine can bring you back to life. When you get to that point of exhaustion, (and let's face it, we all do from time to time), you are no good to anybody, least of all yourself. Literally. You are not being good to yourself or anyone else in your life.

Parker Palmer, author of "Let your life speak," has this to say about taking care of ourselves:

“I have become clear about at least one thing: that self-care is never a selfish act, but it is simply good stewardship of the only gift I have, the gift I was put on the earth to offer others.”

Parker is saying (and I am well aware that I am making him sound like he's my best friend, but, hey, he has made a difference in my life, and I do feel close to him, so...), yes, Parker is saying that the only way to care for those around us, is for us to be in some, decent kind of shape to do so. I don't mean physical shape. I mean emotional and spiritual shape.

Back when I worked for Naval Intelligence, a colleague of mine made a remark about my attitude, one day. I told him that I hadn't really been consistent in my devotional life in those recent weeks. His off-hand response? "Yeah, I can tell." My self-care, time for centering prayer and grounding Scripture at the start of the day, had fallen by the wayside. Apparently, it was making me stressed out and negative and impacting everyone around me, in ways I had failed to notice (but that others had.)

So, my advice? Get thee to a pumpkin patch! Get outside. Enjoy fall! Blow off the laundry and the mopping! Delegate the work project (if your boss lets you)! Find something that fills you up, replenishes, and restores. And if anyone questions what you're doing, tell them that you're doing something sustainable and replenishing for the good of others...and yourself!

Me, outside, a couple of years ago! I better get out there again!