Ginger improves digestion (helps with turmeric absorption & allium digesiton), reduces inflammation, may protect respiratory system, fights infections! DOES A LOT!
Coconut Milk is full of antioxidants C, E, & electrolytes potassium, magnesium, phosphorus & antiseptic properties & is an anti-inflammatory & has ZINC & is a strong gut health supporter. MIRACLE FOOD!
Black Pepper is high in antioxidants is anti-inflammatory, boosts nutrient absorption & gut health. BRING IT ON!
Cayenne – I go light on cayenne, a personal preference and intolerance to night shades, but it can aid digestion among many other benefits for folks.
Lemon VITAMIN C and then some. For immunity boosting Vitamin C (time release) is recommended. I drink the juice of half a lemon every morning in warm water to detox my liver a bit as well.
Nutrition from food and supplements, is my ever-changing research project. Nutrition for Mental Health Certification, a CEU course that I took with PESI had the MOST VALUABLE TRUTH, and that is: n=1, the sample size for specific nutrition is one. EVERY individual requires unique health care. What’s right for me is not always right for you.
The legal disclaimer: I am a Duke Integrative Medicine Health Coach and nutritional chef, not a doctor. I do have a voracious appetite for health knowledge. BUT you must work with your trusted health functional medicine professionals to know what’s best for you. IMPORTANT! f you take ANY PRESCRIPTION medications, supplements (and even foods) may interfere with your Rx’s effectiveness or duplicate their purpose. Some prescriptions deplete nutrients that you might need to replace. On a diuretic? You’re losing magnesium. Acid blocker? You can’t absorb vitamin B-12. And the list goes on.
Do we need supplements? Yes. When I walked into the new Wegman’s here in Raleigh a few years ago, the produce department greeted me, like a continent covered with intense color. I actually cried because with all of this abundance, I thought, How can there be this much food and people still be undernourished in North Carolina, the U.S.A., the world? This food is not really enough—no matter how much and how perfect is—to keep our bodies and our brains healthy.
According to Author, Revolution Health Radio podcaster, and co-founder of the California Center for functional Medicine, Chris Kresser, the vitamin and mineral levels in our foods have declined 20 to 40% over the last 50 years. Our supermarket foods look beautiful but are lacking in nutrients because the soil’s microbiome has been destroyed by industrial agriculture’s mono-cropping, chemical pesticides and fertilizers, plant modifications to create beautiful, sometimes flavorless, fruits and vegetables that ship well and tolerate retarded ripening, and time-delay from soil to plate. I mistakenly thought that it was because there were not enough nutrients in the soil and that’s what fertilizers, organic ones, could replace. BUT the problem is that the microbial ecosystem of industrial farmed soil isn’t healthy. The microorganisms (bacteria, fungi, viruses, bugs, worms, etc.) make the nutrients bioavailable for the plants, just like our gut microbiome make nutrients available for us. Regenerative faming honors the soil. So grow your own, buy local, organic, and as fresh as possible for the highest nutrient content and the best flavor.
Oh and there’s a whole universe of nutrient synergy to dig into — like you need copper to utilize iron and magnesium for biosynthesis of D. You can see where this can lead.
Here’s a summary of nutrients and testing information as shared by Dr. Hyman‘s The Doctor’s Farmacy Podcast 602 interview with Chris Kresser.
BRAIN! ALL B vitamins are critical but B12 and Folate may only be absorbed sublingually for over 50% of the population. The MTHFR gene variant prohibits B12 and folate absorption except if taken sublingually. Bs are so important. If I become scattered or moody, it’s usually a B vitamin issue.
B-9 FOLATE & B-12 BRAIN Homocysteine or methylmalonic acid is a better test for B-12 ( and B-9 Folate) as serum B-12 doesn’t decrease until stage three and four of efficiency. Excess is possible but unlikely as it is a water-soluble vitamin, which means you pee it away.
IMPORTANT: For absorption, take B12 methylcobalamin and folate methylcobalamin sublingually (under the tongue) B-12 and Folate/B-9 (NOT Folic Acid, which is synthetic.) B infusions? Maybe not. Dr. Gundry summarizes B-12, folate, and iron in his September 13, 2022 podcast. BE SURE TO LISTEN TO THIS!
C 1000 mg TIME RELEASED or take 250 4 times a day. Immunity, iron/nutrient absorption, tissue repair, collagen formation, wound healing, bone & cartilage support. TOO much will give you diarrhea! Especially important for immunity and nutrient absorption!
CALCIUM BRAIN! Tricky to test because if our intake drops our body just pulls it from our bones so the levels seem normal. A chronometer is used which means patients record what they eat over three days which should be 1000-1200 milligrams a day. Tricky spinach seems high in calcium at 30 mg/cup but the oxalate in spinach can prevent any calcium absorption in the body. Brassicaceae (cruciferous vegetables) are a good source, i.e. arugula contains 32 mg per cup of available calcium. Some other sources include dairy and soy products, chia seeds, basil seeds, white beans, sweet potatoes, sunflower and sesame seeds. Get your calcium from food. It’s not recommended to take calcium supplements because of the cardiovascular risk and kidney stones.
COPPER BRAIN! Normal range is 62-140 mcg/dL. Excess copper is associated with neurodegenerative conditions. Test to be sure your level is not too high.
COQ10 Heart Health
D-3 The sufficiency level for D-3 is 30 ng/ml but but it’s safe up to 100 ng/ml. Shoot for 50 ng/ml.
I take 5000 IU per day, EVERY DAY. It is a major brain hormone.TAKE IT IN THE MORNING with K-2 and magnesium. D can interfere with sleep if taken later. Sunlight! Mushrooms, set in the sun have more D. In fact, get outside in the sunlight (no sunglasses) sometime between sunrise and 10 a.m. every day, even if it’s cloudy and your sleep will improve.
IRON Excess iron “rusts” your organs including your brain. Listen to the Dr. Gundry podcast linked above. Watch for iron content in your foods. I love dark green leafy brassicas and my iron level can be high, so I donate blood as often as I can.
K-2 There is no accurate test for vitamin K-2. Take it with your D-3.
LUTEIN 20 mg Eye health I take Bilberry and eat wild blueberries too.
MAGNESIUM THE MAGIC MINERAL you must have. A blood test reveals only a small percentage of the total magnesium in your cells and tissue. Some signs of low magnesium are mental apathy, depression, muscle cramps, constipation, anxiety, numbness, heart issues. Overdose signs are diarrhea, low blood pressure, fatigue, muscle weakness. Overdosing can be fatal but magnesium is definitely depleted from our food sources and it is so important for every function. Bioptimizers is one brand I take. Magnesium citrate and glycerinate are well absorbed—NOT OXIDE used in paint and is cheap.
OMEGA-3 BRAIN from a FISH SOURCE NOT FLAX OR WALNUTS 2000 mg ratio — DHA 66% (brain) EPA 34% (heart) Brain power, heart health. Balance overload of Omega 6 in our diets.
SELENIUM BRAIN Toxic if you overdose. Brazil nuts are loaded with it BUT my nails started ridging which is a sign of overdose so if you eat well it might be easy to get the 55 daily recommendation.
What not to eat? Sugar, fructose when it’s not packaged in a fruit or vegetable. Sugar is a real inflammatory ingredient and inflammation is terrible for the brain. Honey, maple syrup in moderation. And a splurge now and then because, well, I’m a bit fond of my family favorite baked goods. I do have to say that when I go off my healthy (mostly healthy) eating plan and splurge on biscuits, Christmas cookies, and other heavy carb/sugar things, I start to feel foggy and tired. That’s enough to motivate me to return to my luscious rainbow cuisine.
Skip alcohol and caffeine. Well, try to anyhow. I love Athletic Brew non-alcoholic brew as good as any alcoholic one, and Surely Wines, non-alcoholic wines.
What to eat? Organic, regenerative, fresh, real food as local as possible and in season.
SMASH Wild only Salmon, Mackerel, Anchovies, Sardines, Herring. Most omegas are in the skin.
Farm-raised okay for MAGIC-HEALTH-GIVING Oysters, Mussels, Scallops
Free range grass-grazed and finished beef, bison, lamb
Wild game (But consider their diet – are they eating Round-Up?)
Nuts – Macadamia, pecans, walnuts, pistachios, pignoli Almonds and cashews cause issues for some folks.
Seeds – Pumpkin, sesame, hemp, chia, basil, flax
Nightshades see my upcoming blog…about these and oxalates
Artichokes LOVE LOVE LOVE
Fennel Celery Carrots
Alliums GOBS and GOBS of onions, leeks, shallots, garlic, chives
Fruits – mostly berries BUT also lots of pomegranates
Squashes Winter & Summer
Mushrooms LOADS shitakes, oyster, lion’s mane, maitake, reishi, cordeceps, morel, chanterelles, and any others you have fun discovering
Good FATS High heat: Ancient Organics ghee, avocado oil, sesame oil Low heat: grass fed Irish or French butter, EVOO—lots and lots of EVOO from Italy is the most nutrient dense
Pasta – from Italy
Cheese from France (Roquefort), Italy (Parmesean), Greece (Feta), and/or from sheep, goats, buffalo (Buf mozzarella is yummy.) I do use organic Mexican 3-cheese blend as well as a vegan version.
Eggs Free range, organic, local
CoCojune Yogurt – Coconut! I love this. I strain it to make it a thick Greek style yogurt and use it anytime I want a dairy replacement for yogurt or sour cream.
Years ago I read that the French always finish up their shower with tingling cold water. Of course, because it was THE FRENCH, I started doing it. I did notice a few perks (perkier) body parts, but it was a fad, that I let go down the drain. NOW, I’m back with a vengeance.
Wim Hof’s story is worth reading. It’s interesting because he’s such a free spirit who follows the universe’s pull. His passion for breath and cold works has healed a lot of people. The effects are scientifically proven. wimhofmethod.com ENJOY the WINTER! Try this—
12 cups of cabbage, 3 tablespoons salt, and time = delicious!
12 cups chopped cabbage
Mix with 3 T sea salt
Place in a sterilized crock. Press the cabbage firmly and top with a plate and a weight.
Cover. Check after 24 hours. Add brine of 1 t sea salt in 1 C water if needed.
NO metal utensils please. After 5 to 12 days you have delicious kraut!
Pack it into jars. Be sure the brine covers the kraut.
Draw a beautiful label. Add rafia and delight your friends.
Refrigerate. Keeps for months. Mine never lasts past 3 months. It will continue to ferment.
YUMMY sauerkraut is so easy to make. Besides just scooping it out and eating it, I add it to my salads, as a garnish for soups, and as an extra in my wraps. All you need is cabbage, sea salt, a crock or a glass jar, something to weight the cabbage under the brine and a cloth to cover it. I like about 1 part red cabbage to 3 parts green because it is just so brilliantly pink when it’s done. My KRAUT GURU’s book WILD FERMENTATION (Sandor Ellix Katz) is the best bedtime read. Next up, I’m trying – MISO and Summer Half Sour Pickles.
The other book that keeps me up nights digesting it (LOL) is THE GOOD GUT by Justin & Erica Sonnenburg, PhDs.
BUILD YOUR IMMUNITY GUT BUGS! Ancient, created thousands of years ago in Korea, kimchi is the perfect gut flora food. Fun to make, it’s really delicious, even if it does smell a bit farty as it cures.
Market List: Napa Cabbage, Daikon, Bok Choy, Carrots, (Pea pods, snow peas, peas, seaweeds, – choose your own added vegetables.) Ginger, Garlic, Onions (green/yellow/white), Leeks, and/or shallots, red hot peppers (fresh dried or in a sauce just be sure no preservatives). Preservative free Fish Sauce (Naum Plum) if you like. Have FUN!
Be sure all utensils are are clean. CLEAN means washed, rinsed, then rinsed again with boiling water. PREPARE VEGES: NAPA CABBAGE chopped 12 cups BOK CHOY chopped 3 cups CARROTS 1 cup sliced DAIKON RADISH cubed 4 cups SEA SALT 8 tablespoons FILTERED WATER 8 cups Place the vegetables in a large clean ceramic or glass container (never metal or plastic). Dissolve the sea salt in the water to make the brine and pour over the vegetables. Add a plate weighted with a jar of water to keep the vegetables submerged. Cover with a clean cloth Let cure at least 8 hours, up to 12 hours. Drain the brine and reserve.
YOU CAN USE ALL FRESH or MIX FRESH & DRY HERBS IN THIS BLEND AND FREEZE. Allow 3 times the dry amount for fresh and of course you’ll have to grind your dry herbs, mince your fresh ones & blend. Storage info follows.
To mix, you can use a suribachi (I love this Japanese grinding bowl bowl with a rough unglazed center that I learned about from Alice Waters.); mortar and pestle; or an electric spice grinder. (I have a Cuisinart SG10 which holds all of this mix.) You can also use ANY BOWL and a wooden spoon.
When mixing spices grind the largest ones first…ie. peppercorns and bay leaves. When these are relatively small, add the all the remaining herbs & blend to your preference, coarse to very fine. Try to have consistent particle sizes of all the herbs so you have true blend of flavors for your recipe.
Store AIRTIGHT in a dark/tinted GLASS container for up to 6 months. Beyond that your flavors and nutrients will dim. You can freeze your blend (IN FREEZER PROOF AIR TIGHT GLASS NOT METAL OR PLASTIC) and maybe get 12 months. (PLASTIC is toxic next to any food! It is NOT airtight. I love Ball straight-sided freezer safe jars! Here’s Dr. Weil’s view about SILICONE which might be an option…https://www.drweil.com/diet-nutrition/cooking-cookware/cooking-with-silicone/
I have also mixed my blend with olive oil, plopped teaspoonfuls on a parchment lined tray, frozen and popped out into my BALL jars and returned to freezer. Pre-measured with an extra boost of EVOO. 12 months maximum storage but I use within 6 months.
This is just a teeny bit about the health gifts.
As a nutritional chef, I have learned that this blend is loaded with LIFE — phytonutrients, vitamins, minerals, etc. Remember more is not necessarily better. Taste your foods as you cook to see what is your spice preference.
Fennel – Carminative (antiflatulent), galactagogue (increases breast milk supply), expectorant/antitussive (relieves chronic cough), anti-colic, stomachic (aids digestion), anti-inflammatory (supports overall wellness). I LOVE FENNEL!
Savory – Anti-oxidant (see oregano blog https://chamberslife.com/?s=oregano for information about antioxidants), anti-septic, anti-fungal, expectorant, stomachic, aphrodisiac, thirst quencher.
Bay Leaf – Anti-carcinogen, antioxidant, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, diuretic, calmative, antiflatulent, sedative, sodium replacement for taste. DO NOT EAT WHOLE BAY LEAVES AS THEY MAY CAUSE CHOKING/GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS!
Lavender Flowers – Antibacterial, digestive, cholagogue (promotes bile flow), carminative, nervine (Lavender is amazing, helping with sleep, depression, fatigue, anxiety, etc.), insect repellent. Suggested lavender varieties include Provence, Melissa, Royal Velvet, Buena Vista and English.
Tarragon – Digestive, antiflatulent, cholagogue, nervine, appetite stimulant, metabolism booster. *Tarragon has very distinctive flavor can overpower other herbs, so you may want to start with less to see if your taste buds agree. If your tongue feels a little numb when you eat Tarragon, I am told that’s part of it’s magic.
Black Peppercorns – Digestive, enhances bioavailability, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, improves cognition, expectorant, antitussive. EAT ON EVERYTHING!
And last but not least — I love this podcast because Dr. Gundry has a plethora of health professionals as guests whether he agrees with their views or not. So if you are a sponge for health info this is your go to… …https://drgundry.com/the-dr-gundry-podcast/
12 oz. Impossible Meat™ ground beef or your choice of “meat” or mushrooms or more beans
1 package McCormick™ Original Chili Mix *
1 can pinto beans (Goya™ organic)
1 14 ounce can tomato sauce
1/2 c diced tomatoes (peeled and seeded)
2 T avocado oil
1/2 C chopped yellow onion
2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1 t ground turmeric
1 T dry onions
1 T chili powder +/- heat as you prefer
1 T mushroom powder (reishi or a blend)
1/2 t asafoetida powder (helps legume digestion, oniony flavor, member of the celery family)
1 t fresh minced oregano
1 t dry oregano leaves (+ immunity)
1 t ground cumin
1/4 t fresh black pepper (+ nutrient absorption)
1 T psyllium husks
3-5 astragalus root strips (+ immunity)
1/2 – 1 cup of water
Heat the oil in a pot large enough to hold all the ingredients. Brown the Impossible with 1/4 t sea salt, trying to keep some chunks. Add onion & garlic. Turn heat to low until alliums are clear. Add remaining herbs & spices and stir well. Add 1/2 C water, beans, tomato sauce, psyllium & tomatoes. Add more water for the thickness you prefer. Simmer gently for 10 minutes. Remove astragalus & discard. Serve with green onions, cheese or faux cheese and crackers. I like a glass of milk with my chili. Have soy, oat, almond or grass fed diary according to what makes your body happy.
You can make your own chili mix if you like. I know, McCormick’s is a non-organic item which is usually NOT my go to. BUT comfort memory of this McCormick blend won in this recipe.
NETI. DAILY. I imagine the ocean through my sinuses as I let the water trickle through. Use a ceramic neti pot. Use sterile water! (Boil water for 3 minutes and let cool to room temperature.) Sea Salt, a pinch is plenty for about 1/4 cup of water.
OIL. DAILY. Your favorite healthy oil will work but coconut helps soothe, protect and smells great.(Here’s that beach connection for me again.) Or you can get unscented. Sesame (untoasted) is also a great oil. Dab your little finger into the oil and oil your nostrils. Not only does this help with dryness so common when we turn on the heat but it also deters microbes. Oil everything on your body while you’re at it for super health!
Astragalus Root – just throw a few pieces into everything you cook! It’s a great immunity booster!
EAT. Alliums! Onions, garlic, leeks, ramps, scallions, shallots. Think about making a “fire cider.” RAW apple cider vinegar (Braggs or any unpasteurized organic, unfiltered, unheated 5% acidity type), 1 part each onions, ginger, horseradish, 1/2 part garlic & a dash of cayenne, cover with vinegar in a glass jar. Cover with clean parchment paper and then a lid (not metal) and let age for about 4 weeks. I like to use on my salads. There are a lot of recipes online so find one that gets your cells smiling.
AND EAT. Eat seasonal vegetables and fruits & good fats. This depends on where you live. Here in North Carolina that means cruciferous everything, sweet potatoes, winter squashes and pumpkins, pears, apples, pecans. Good fats (think little fatty fish like sardines and anchovies) avocado and coconut oil for heat cooking and olive oil (not heated).
SLUMBER. Last but MOST – get lots of sleep. There’s a lot more darkness this time of year which is a natural hint to cozy in. The latest in sleep research – at least 7.75 hours a night and be consistent with your bedtime and awakening. You might be able to have a bit less sleep if you are consistent.
Don’t forget all that other great stuff you do — meditating, exercising, loving time with your family & friends, time outdoors.
Welcome to a bit of Deepak Chopra’s weekly guide to make your life more peaceful and joyful. Chopra’s Seven Spiritual Laws of Success shares how striving isn’t necessary, that effortless joy attracts your deepest desires.
Here’s how I came to love Deepak’s wisdom.
In 1998, I lived in Singapore. Deepak was coming to speak. My life was in absolute turmoil and chaos. I had left a career, daughters and life back in Baltimore to follow my darling husband to Asia-Pacific where the only identity I would be taking was my role as his wife. Because he would now be president of a certain power tool company there, I would be the president’s wife. It was exciting and frightening.
It became even more frightening when I discovered that he and my former employee, an art director for my marketing firm, were lovers. As I dumped our life photo collection onto our Queen Astrid Park bed, a little silver chest with a piece of her hair and a love note bounced out.
So after confronting my darling husband, I went from a size 12 to a size 4 and my scalp started crawling on itself. As my Singapore psychiatrist wrote my Prozac script, he said, “It’s called paresthesias or formication.”
“Fornication, with an n,” I said, “not an m.”
However, he was correct. So was I.
Because at that moment, I really understood how a plea of “temporary insanity” could make sense, I also knew God decided, on purpose, to place me half way around the world from my former employee/friend. It was, obviously, time for me to reconnect with my soul.
Stripped of most of my professional and personal identity just by moving to Singapore, the best voice I had in my head was not my ego’s. I needed a higher more powerful source.
Chopra showed up in Singapore, having followed his own cosmic message. As I listened to his soothing voice sharing that we are never alone but single drops of water that form the ocean together, my heart settled. I went up to him after his talk and just looked into his eyes for two seconds and thanked him.
I thought to myself, “God, wouldn’t it be amazing and perfect to study with Deepak at The Chopra Center.”
In 2014, I began my yoga/meditation/Ayurveda training at The Chopra Center. There I studied with amazing life leaders, Deepak Chopra, Martha Beck, Andrew Weil, Suhas Kshirsagar, Claire Diab, to name just a few. In 2016, as I was performing my final test, Surya Namaskar (sun salutations) with the corresponding Sanskrit mantras, I remembered that wish I had made in Singapore almost two decades before.
It seemed effortless, but every moment of my life had to be orchestrated (by God) to make my Chopra Center experience possible. All I did was show up.
First you have to encourage your mind to love the discipline it takes to be open to miracles. I am thankful for miracles. I believe by quieting my mind and letting God do what God does best, I attract miracles.
Mostly because, God made you a miracle, a part of me.
On Tuesdays, try practicing the Law of Karma.
My actions are aligned with cosmic law.
Witness your choices today.
Consider the consequences of your choices.
Listen to your body.
The Sanskrit mantra is: Om Kriyam Namah and it is associated with the first Chakra called Muladhara, which is red & is located at the base of your spine.