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FAT FRIDAY – Why FAT is GOOD for You!

It is FAT FRIDAY!  Every Friday I will cover the topic of FATS.  I feel that FAT has earned the right to have a full day of attention – every single week.

Just the other day, I received a text from a client about this very topic.  She was having a hard time wrapping her beautiful mind around the fact that FAT can be GOOD for you.  I gave her some resources to check out the data for herself!  I celebrate this questioning.   Too many people don’t question what they are told.  That has gotten us into trouble and into this very predicament of not knowing what to believe when we are told by the “Experts” what is healthy for us.   

The truth is, Fat has been the most falsely demonized nutrient of all.   Not even the worst political campaign could do to an opponent what our food industry and government have done to fat.  Truly, fat has gotten an undeserved BAD RAP! 

There is no doubt that if you were to take a poll of everyone you know…most would confess to being on a low-fat diet!  Scratch that, actually!  Most would confess to being on a low-fat LIFESTYLE. 

The low-fat craze came into vogue in the early 1990’s.  However, fat had been misunderstood and slandered long before that!  The real demonization began in the 1950’s, from a researcher named Ancel Keys.  He created the Lipid Hypothesis, which stated that there was a direct relationship between the amount of saturated fat and cholesterol in the diet and in the incidence of coronary heart disease.  However, when other researches reviewed Ancel Keys’ work, they found significant flaws in it.   

This is when corruption enters into the equation.  The food industry dipped into their deep pockets to promote Ancel Keys and his hypothesis.  Their actions were driven by their motive to increase the sale of their processed vegetable oils.  Sadly, the food industry did a better job promoting the hypothesis than the other researchers did revealing the flaws. 

I think it is really interesting to note that the first documented heart attack in America didn’t occur until 1921.* The Food Giants (main food manufactures) entered into the market around the early 1900’s.  Prior to 1921, heart disease was pretty much NON-EXISTENT.   If you think about your grandparents/great grandparents, all that they had to live on was mostly natural food that could be raised or grown on a farm.  They didn’t have packaged/processed foods – or the foods of “convenience” as some people may call it.  All they had was pure natural sources of food and FAT.  They had lard, eggs, butter, raw full-fat dairy, BACON, beef tallow and other natural animal sources of fat.  They didn’t have bottled canola oil or vegetable oil!  Yet, they also didn’t have HEART ATTACKS…at least until 1921, when processed vegetable oils were readily available and on the market!  However, food manufacturers couldn’t make a profit on NATURAL products such as these….no, these products were too pure for profits!

When you really start to think about it; doesn’t it make sense that NATURE would provide the best sources of food for our bodies?  Processing vegetables to make oils is very unnatural!  The processing alone should make one question whether it is truly something we should be consuming.

Some really great sources to research on this matter are “The Oiling of America,” By Sally Fallon, “Put Your Heart in Your Mouth,” by Dr. Natasha Campbell, “Know Your Fats,” by M. G. Enig and “Nourishing Traditions,” by Sally Fallon.  Also, check out the Weston A Price website, www.westonaprice.org, for further articles explaining why FAT is GOOD for you.   

I could spend days on this topic, and over time, I am most certain that I will! However, I am going to start this first FAT FRIDAY out by just telling you how IMPORTANT FAT ACTUALLY IS TO YOUR BODY.

The roles of fat are numerous to your body.  One of the most important roles is that it functions as a slow burning source of energy.  It also makes you FEEL FULL & SATISFIED. 

When I lived the low-fat SAD lifestyle, I NEVER felt full.  I always wondered if something was wrong with me because I would hear people say that they felt full, but I never experienced that sensation.  As I started to learn about how important healthy fat is to our body, I slowly incorporated more into my diet and I felt like I had discovered the greatest secret to life!  Fat actually will make you feel full and you won’t need to eat AS MUCH in order to be satisfied!   It is truly a remarkable feeling to experience…and if you can get beyond the brainwashing that we have all had for the past 60 years on the evils of fat, you most certainly will experience it for yourself.

I have a friend who recently moved here from New Zealand and she claims that she put on 15 lbs. almost within a month due to the fact that the SAD (Standard American Diet) never filled her up!  She noted that in New Zealand there aren’t many low-fat options, mostly everything was full fat.   The interesting thing was that she didn’t seem to need to eat as much in New Zealand in order to feel full.  Yes, there is so much truth to the fact that FAT makes you FEEL FULL. 

To wrap up this FAT FRIDAY, I am going to summarize the very important roles and fats.  Then, I am going to give you a list of fat choices to choose from in hot and cold uses.  The credit for this PERFECT list was goes to BALANCED BITES  (www.balancedbites.com) and the wonderful Diane Sanfilippino.  Check out her site!   Keep this list handy as you start to learn about FATS.  Over time I will prove to you why these FAT CHOICES are THE BEST FOR YOU.  Rest assured that I don’t have any corrupt motives or any processed vegetable oils to sell you!  :)

THE IMPORTANT ROLES OF FAT:

  • Provide a source of slow burning energy

 

  • Are building blocks for cell membranes and hormones
    • EVERY cell in our body is made of lipid bi-layers that make up the cell walls (EVERY CELL IN OUR BODY!)

 

  • Are required for the absorption of the fat-soluble vitamins A,D,E, K
    • Without fat your body can’t absorb these vitamins –even if you are supplementing with them

 

  • Are required for the adequate use of proteins
    • If you don’t have enough fat you can’t use your proteins

 

  • Serve as a protective lining for the organs of the body

 

  • Play a role in slowing the absorption of food and proper energy regulation
    • When you consume sugars with fats, it slows the uptake of the carbs so that you get a more steady supply so you don’t over spike your blood sugar and spike your insulin

 

  • Make food taste good
    • When you take the fat out you have to put something else in to make people want to consume it – people put sugar in it!  We are getting way too much sugar!  Never before in the history of mankind have we had an EMERGENCY NEED to LOWER BLOOD SUGAR.  High blood sugar = inflammation and heart disease!

The Perfect LIST:  (Right Click on it to SAVE IT and PRINT IT = READABLE!)

 FATS 3

Stay posted…there is more to come……

Blessings & health,

Jen

*Source of Information:  Sally Fallon – “The Oiling of America”

Digestion & FOOD ALLERGIES…Why so many people have them!

Did you know that FOOD ALLERGIES are MOSTLY THE RESULT OF BAD DIGESTION?  In today’s world, it is very easy to think of several people you may know with food allergies – maybe even yourself.  If you have ever wondered why this happens, let me explain it to you!

I can’t help but think how strange it is that food allergies seemed to come out of no-where.  I am in my mid-thirties and I can’t remember a single kid in any of my classes growing up with a food allergy or sensitivity.  Now it seems like EVERYONE has some type of allergy…peanuts, eggs, food dye, gluten, soy, dairy, corn and the list goes on and on! 

It is almost impossible to have someone over for dinner without asking ahead of time if they have anything they are allergic to.  Have you ever thought that it was strange how SO MANY CHILDREN suffer terrible allergies to food?   Doesn’t it seem even stranger how SO MANY PEOPLE IN THEIR ADULT YEARS ARE DEVELOPING FOOD ALLERGIES?  A lot of this is due to digestion or lack thereof….

Allergies word cloud

Yesterday, we journeyed all the way down the digestion tract to the beginning of the small intestine.  Today that is where we will start! Buckle up as we continue on the journey of digestion.

When we think of digestion, we only tend to really think about our stomachs because that is where we tend to experience symptoms the most.  You may be surprised to know that MOST OF OUR DIGESTION ACTUALLY OCCURS IN THE SMALL INTESTINE!  This is where a majority of the nutrients of our food get absorbed for use by our body.

Once the food in your stomach becomes acidic enough, the gatekeeper to your small intestine is triggered open.  If your stomach acid is low, like 90% of Americans out there, your gatekeeper to the small intestines will protest and keep closed for much longer than it should.  It does this to protect your small intestines.  The lining of your small intestines is fairly delicate.  It relies on the somewhat digested food arriving from the stomach to be acidic enough to trigger some hormones to be released to signal the pancreas to release bicarbonate to NEUTRALIZE the acidic food now in the small intestines. 

Once the food enters the small intestines, if it is not acidic enough from the acid in the stomach, the pancreas doesn’t get triggered to release bicarbonate – and the somewhat acidic food now BURNS the lining of your small intestines.  Just as you can get acid reflux in your esophagus, you can get burns in your small intestines.  However, there are no nerves in the lining of the small intestine, so you don’t usually FEEL these burns.  But these burns can be devastating to your intestines.  They can create problematic ULCERS and HOLES in the lining of your small intestines

When food enters your small intestine from the stomach, our amazing pancreas also is supposed to release ENZYMES to help digest most of the food that has arrived.  However, the pancreas only releases these enzymes if the food in your intestines has been neutralized enough with bicarbonate!  If it hasn’t be neutralized, the enzymes never make their way to your small intestines and your food doesn’t get digested!  This is when FOOD ALLERGIES can come into play!

Imagine….our delicate small intestines, filled with mildly acidic food that hasn’t been neutralized, now with ulcers and holes in it.  On top of that, large particles of undigested food sits there and starts to LEAK THROUGH THESE HOLES INTO OUR BLOOD STREAM!  This was never meant to happen!  This is known as LEAKY GUT.

Once the Immune System detects foreign particles in your blood, it immediately starts to launch an ATTACK.  A war is started and your Immune System remembers the substances that leaked through to your bloodstream and threatened your body.  Once you eat this food again, your body will immediately recognize what it remembered to be the ENEMY and it will launch another attack against it.  That is when you  will start to experience symptoms and allergic type responses. 

The intestinal wall may develop holes fast or it can develop holes slowly over time with continual assault on the lining.  That is why there are so many people DEVELOPING these FOOD ALLERGIES and SENSITIVITIES in their adult years.  It isn’t just children that we are seeing with these allergies.   (Did you know that if you suffer SEASONAL or ENVIRONMENTAL ALLERGIES that this is a sign that you also have FOOD ALLERGIES?  This is an entirely whole topic on its own!  A brief reason on why these are linked is due to your Immune System.  When your Immune System is tied up fighting food allergies, it isn’t available to fight environmental /seasonal allergies.  In holistic health, environmental allergies are almost always a sign of food allergies.)

Food can only be classified as a true allergy if it is PROTEIN based.  Gluten is the protein found in grains, casein is the protein found in dairy, eggs are obvious protein, as are seafood, nuts and soy….and so on and so forth.  However, you can have a FOOD SENSITIVITY to non-protein based foods such as a fruit or vegetable.  These are not allergies because they are not protein based, but your body still launches an attack on it non-the-less.  These non-protein food particles also leaked into your bloodstream through your LEAKY GUT and your Immune System “came to your rescue.”

Sadly, once a true FOOD ALLERGY develops (to a protein) it cannot be reversed.  That food will have to be avoided for the rest of that person’s life.  The good news is that FOOD SENSITIVITIES often times can be reversed.  This reversal process is one that takes time and the food needs to be avoided for several months in most cases. The intestinal tract needs to heal and the assault that has been going on needs to stop in order for this to happen. 

One food that is particularly healing to the intestinal lining is good old fashioned organic pasture-raised bone broth!  Think chicken soup without the meat, veggies and noodles!  You can make broth out of any type of animal based bones – beef, fish and/or poultry.  The intestinal lining tends to recycle itself over a 21 day period.  Once you stop assaulting it with your sensitivity/allergy it will begin to repair!  If you suffer from Leaky Gut, you would greatly benefit from having a cup of broth or two throughout the day.  I like to have a cup in the morning.  It is a nice warm start to the day and I know that I am supportingthe health of my intestines as well!   The GAPS Diet, by Dr. Natasha Campbell, is highly recommended as a healing diet for those suffering from Leaky Gut Syndrome. 

As we wrap up food allergies and Leaky Gut today, I want to also stress this point…when Leaky Gut happens and there are food allergies or sensitivities, your body no longer gets nourishment from the food that you are eating.  That is tragic to your health and overall well-being.  That is why it is so important to have good Hydrochloric Acid production in the stomach….

Tragically, when people have low stomach acid (and remember that 90% of Americans do!) or even worse yet, are tragically placed on acid blockers, antacids and proton pump inhibitors (such as Prevacid) they are setting themselves up for Leaky Gut and for FOOD ALLERGIES!  Is it starting to make sense to you now why we are seeing so many people in society today with FOOD ALLERGIES?   Sadly, not only do people suffer from food allergies and sensitivities, they also suffer from undernourishment and lack of well-being when this happens.  This is why GOOD DIGESTION IS FUNDAMENTAL TO NUTRITION AND TO YOUR HEALTH.

Digestion is a north to south process.  What I mean by this is if you fix the stomach (north) with better acid production, the southern parts (intestines) will respond positively and often times fix themselves.  There is a true chain reaction when it comes to digestion.   By simply helping your stomach have ENOUGH acidity, you can PREVENT allergies and senstivities to food from ever happening.  This is the GOAL!

Stay posted for more on Digestion and FATS:  Why you may have GAS after eating that cheese…..

Blessings & health,

Jen

The GIFT of Great Digestion

Want to give yourself a gift?  We buy ourselves a lot of things, but the biggest gift that you can give your body is the gift of good digestion!   Every cell that makes up every tissue that makes up every organ depends on the body’s Digestive System to provide the nutrients it needs to keep on functioning.  

bigstock-Closeup-of-woman-belly-button-16999280

As I mentioned yesterday in my previous blog, the most “perfect” person with the most “perfect” diet that ate all of the right things would still be not getting good nutrients if they were not digesting properly.   Without good digestion, everything else concerning nutrition is pretty much POINTLESS.  No matter what you do, you will still have deficiencies.

Did you know that digestion actually STARTS IN THE BRAIN?  Digestion isn’t just about our stomach and intestines.  Our bodies are amazing and just by the sight and smell of food, our brain triggers our salivary glands and our body starts getting prepared to digest!

A goal to strive for:  RELAX WHEN YOU EAT.  TAKE A MINUTE TO SAVOR WHAT YOU ARE EATING

Digestion also occurs in the MOUTH.   We actually digest most of our carbohydrates here….This is somewhat of a scary thought considering how FAST MOST OF US EAT!  Think about it…do we really take time to eat any more?  Run a short errand on your lunch break and you will see most people multi-tasking in their cars, cramming in lunch!  Everyone shovels in fast food as quickly as they can before heading back to work.  Fast food is actually made to be SOFT so that you can scarf it down so quickly!  That “special” sauce on that fast food burger isn’t just there for taste!  When it is washed down with a soft drink or beverage – you barely have to chew it!  This is very hard on your body because we actually produce an enzyme in our mouths called Salivary Amylase that performs most of the digestion on carbs. 

Remember being told to “Chew your food,” by your mother growing up?  Well, that was very sound advice from dear Mom.  Chewing uses your teeth to mechanically break down food into smaller particles.  This works together with Salivary Amylase, the enzyme that digests carbs, and helps to further break down your carbohydrates for absorption by your body.  By skipping this process, and most of us fast-paced Americans do, you actually put undigested carbs through your system which can cause a myriad of problems such as indigestion, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Colitis, Crones Disease, Leaky Gut and also the overgrowth of bad stomach bacteria. 

We all have bacteria in our intestinal tracts.  However, we have good guys (probiotics) and bad guys (pathogens).  They are constantly in a game of war to rule the throne of your system.  When you have undigested carbs in your intestinal tract you are fueling the bad guys and giving them power over the good.   Don’t let that happen!

A goal to strive for:  CHEW YOUR FOOD FOR 30 BITES BEFORE SWALLOWING EACH BITE

Once food hits your stomach, the real party begins!  Shake it up!  Food is mixed and churned with something called Hydrochloric Acid and this is what helps to disinfect it.  (Ever wonder if your piece of chicken was dropped on the floor in the kitchen at a restaurant before being placed on your plate?  Hydrochloric Acid will come to the rescue if it was! )  Hydrochloric Acid is very acidic.  Most people who have Acid Reflux or GERD tend to think that they have too much of it in their stomach.  However, they are wrong!  THEY ACTUALLY DON’T HAVE ENOUGH HYDROCHLORIC ACID IN THEIR STOMACH.  Yes, you read that correctly!

90% of the population has LOW Hydrochloric Acid.*   How can that be, you might ask?  Well, the production of stomach acid (Hydrochloric Acid) can be greatly diminished due to stress, nutritional deficiencies, food allergies and just aging in general.  Let me just ask you, who out there ISN’T under some sort of stress? 

When people have low stomach acid, what happens is that their food just sits in their stomach.  You know you have felt that at some point in your life!  It feels like a bowling ball just sitting in your stomach!   Bloating and belching tend to be big signs alerting us to this occurance!  It is truly the acidity of the food that eventually triggers the gatekeeper to the small intestine to open up and let food in to move further on down your intestinal tract.  This little gate-way to your intestines is very stubborn!  If it doesn’t get the right “code” from the food in stomach (by having the right acidity) it won’t “Open Sesame” without being forced.  This gatekeep allows (or doesn’t allow)  your food to enter into the small intestine to be further broken down for use by your body.

When food just sits in the stomach, it rancidifies, putrefies and ferments!  Sounds lovely, right?  What happens then is it starts to expand and reflux back up your esophagus!  That is when people FEEL THE BURN from the SMALL AMOUNT of stomach acid that is actually there in your stomach!   Tragically, most people don’t understand this and instead pop acid blockers, proton pump inhibitors (PPIs such as Prevacid) and antacids like candy!  This is so destructive to your body and to digestion! 

Yes, you may feel relief from the heartburn with these acid blockers – they do greatly diminish the acid production in your stomach.  But, think about the little gatekeeper  to your small intestines! Imagine now how even more stubborn it will be and how it will take even longer for food to pass through to it due to the lack of stomach acid available to trigger it to open.  When this happens, food that is supposed to nourish your system instead just sits in your stomach and rots.  This is very destructive to your body.  Cells are not able to receive the nourishment that they need to perform well for you!

Instead of stopping the production of stomach acid with these types of medications, we should be ENCOURAGING the production of stomach acid so that the gatekeeper of the small intestine will open up faster!  This will allow your food to push through the way it is supposed to instead of rotting in your stomach and refluxing back up your esophagus. 

A solution to the dilemma of low stomach acid is to reduce stress (if possible).  Also, consider drinking less water or beverages around your meal time.  You don’t want to wash down your food because a lot of these beverages also dilute your hydrochloric acid.  Try to only have a beverage (preferable pure filtered water) on hand for little sips here and there when needed when you are eating.  Avoid drinking much liquid about 30 min-hour before and after your meals. 

Another natural solution that has helped many people is to take a tablespoon or two of apple cider vinegar prior to eating.  The natural acidity in the vinegar helps to contribute to your stomach acid and can greatly alleviate Acid Reflux and other issues surrounding LOW stomach acid. 

Additionally, you can supplement with HCl (Hydrochloric acid).**  There are supplements out there that you can easily purchase.  Our family personally takes Betaine Plus HP or Hydrozyme, by Biotics, prior to every meal.  These both contain HCl.   There are also other products that you can buy that have HCl in it to aid digestion.  Just please start slowly with the dose.  You don’t want to overdo it!  (Note: if you try a HCl supplement and you feel funny or feel burning – take a tablespoon of baking soda and dilute it in some water and drink it – this will neutralize the acid if you happen to have taken too much.) 

Some people will only need one supplement, whereas others will need several at each meal.  It is bio-individual.  The way to know what dose is right for you is to slowly increase the dose over a period of several meals until you get to a point where you feel a warming sensation.  This warming sensation shouldn’t be uncomfortable – it just should feel warm.   For example, at the first meal you are trying the supplement out, only take one dose.  See how you feel.  The next meal, take two doses right before you eat and see how that feels and so on.  When you get to that dose that gives you a warming feeling note that amount.  Take one less than whatever that amount was at each meal.  (Example:  If I had a warm feeling when I took 3, I would note that and take 2 now at every meal because I know that is my body’s specific dose.)

I can’t begin to tell you difference that this small aid to our digestion has made in our lives!  It has personally has been remarkable.  We feel better, have more energy and vitality.  I believe that this is one of the greatest gifts that you can give your body – the gift of digestion. 

Goals to strive for:  REDUCE STRESS (if possible), LIMIT BEVERAGE INTAKE AROUND MEALS, CONSIDER SUPPLEMENTING WITH APPLE CIDER VINEGAR OR HYDROCHLORIC ACID SUPPLEMENTS.**

Stay tuned for The GIFT of Great Digestion – Part 2 tomorrow!  Until then, keep on making the BEST choices for your nutrition that you can!

Blessings & health,

Jen

 *Jonathon Wright, MD, came to this conclusion using Heidelberg Gastro Telemetry equipment to check the stomach pH of thousands of patients.  This physically measures the pH in the stomach of the patients.  He has found out that 90% of people are not producing enough HCl (Hydrochloric Acid)

*Dr. George Goodheart, an amazing chiropractor, came to the same conclusion as Dr. Wright using kinesiological analysis and functional assessment. 

**Please note: It is recommended that you consult with your Medical Doctor or Health Care Professional prior to adding any supplementation of any kind into your diet.  Please see my disclaimer.

Nutrition – It Isn’t JUST About What You Eat

When people think about Nutrition, often times the first thing that naturally comes to mind is food!  Yes, nutrition is about food.  However, when you take a deeper look at nutrition, you will find that there is much more to it.

Nutrition is really an ART!  Take a beautiful painting for example.  An artist can’t just rely on paint.  They also need to have a great canvas and brushes too!  The same applies to nutrition.  Like the artist’s paint, the food that we eat is a primary factor in nutrition’s grand contribution to our health.  However, we also need to have good digestion of that food and we need to have several other contributing factors in order to have optimal health.

So, to get techy for a second…Nutrition is focused on the interactions between living organisms and their food.  But wait!  It is more than just a focus on food!  It is actually a study of a two part process:

1) The study of the biological processes used in consuming food

2) Our body’s ability to use the nutrients contained in food

I believe that the study of second part of the definition, our body’s ability to USE the nutrients in our food, truly gets severely overlooked!  I believe the reason this gets overlooked is because there is a tough uphill battle concerning the very first part of the definition and that is the food that we eat!  Most people are not even actually choosing or getting great foods full of nutrition – so how in the world can one even imagine focusing on how their body is actually USING the food that they are eating?

Imagine for one moment, the most “perfect” person eating the most “perfect” diet… What if their body wasn’t able to USE the nutrients in the most “perfect” foods that they were eating?  Would it even matter that they were being so perfect?  Not really!  The end result would be the same as if they weren’t eating well at all….they would still be under-nourished.  Not only is it important to focus on WHAT we are eating, it is also very important to focus on how our body is functioning in order to actually USE the nutrients derived from our foods.

I sincerely don’t want to diminish the importance of making healthy food choices.  The first step is to truly make great choices for food.  Organic, whole foods are optimal in terms of nutrients.   This step is essential for the health of your body.

Nutrients provide energy (measured in calories), contribute to the body’s structure (our physical being – bones, flesh, muscles and blood) and regulate the functioning of all body processes (enzymes and hormones).    You are familiar with nutrients – especially if you have been living the SAD lifestyle and have ever done yo-yo dieting!  I can’t tell you how old I was when I started counting calories and carbs! At any rate, there are 4 main nutrients:   WATER, CARBOHYDRATES, PROTEINS and FATS.   VITAMINS & MINERALS are nutrients too!  They are known as the Micronutrients.    These are all the big players of nutrition.  This is what keeps our bodies running smoothly as we journey through life.

The goal of wellness through nutrition can only be achieved by first choosing great sources of food and then secondly being able to actually use the nutrients from your food.  This second part can be greatly impacted by what is called the FOUNDATIONS.  The Foundations are focused on the following:

  • Digestion
  • Blood Sugar Balance
  • Fatty Acid Balance
  • Mineral Balance
  • Hydration

Over the next few days I will be focusing a little on each Foundation and how it relates to your body’s ability to actually use the nutrients found in the foods that you are putting into your body.

Nutrition description

The ART of Nutrition:
1) The food that you eat 2) How your body uses the nutrients in the food that you eat

Meanwhile, check out the Nutrition section on this site and start making great food CHOICES!  If you are a DITCH THE SAD MEMBER, continue following the TRANSITION PLAN to help you as you learn how to embrace wellness through nutrition.

Blessings & health,

Jen

My Story

Just like most Americans, I grew up living on the SAD.  As a child, McDonalds was my favorite restaurant.  In fact, my very first pet, a Cockatiel Bird, was named after my favorite place.  We called him MAC. Seriously…..!

The truly sad part was that I know my mother fed me what she thought to be healthy.  No one knew any better.  How could food not be FOOD????   Actually, I had a healthier diet than most of my friends.  Yes, we were allowed Kool Aid, fast foods, some candy and bakery type treats.  However, we weren’t allowed sugary cereals and my mother was one of the few among the mothers of my friends that actually made nutritious homemade dinners almost every night.

Living the SAD lifestyle, I quickly found myself a true fan of sugar.  In fact, I wasn’t just a fan, I was an addict.  Skittles and M&M’s were my favorite.  I can’t imagine how much food coloring I ingested during this time in my life!  As a teenager, I would skip eating lunch at school and just eat candy most days (unbeknownst to my mother, of course).

I also loved fast food.  It was a treat to go to Taco Bell, or any other fast food drive-through.  I wasn’t picky… I was a true junk food junky!  The resilience of my youth kept me functioning for the most part during this time.  Although, I didn’t escape without some consequences, I experienced a lot of emotional outbursts which I now am most certain, were due to my lack of nutrition during this period of my life.

In college, I didn’t get much better.   In fact, I was like many college students out there = broke!  As a result, I ate as cheaply as possible.  I lived on diet coke, ramen noodles, cereal, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, bagels, frozen yogurt, ice cream, fast food and pizza.  I did eat the occasional salad here and there, but that was a rare occurrence.  Needless to say, I had terrible acne and felt fatigued through most of those years!  Youth kept me going though, and I really didn’t have much further impact on my health at that time….

That all changed in my late twenties and early thirties.  I was living a fast paced life working in Healthcare Sales.  I spent time in Pharmaceutical Sales with multiple drugs and in Medical Device Sales with Cardiovascular products and Pacemakers.  As I had matured, I had transitioned my diet to eating more “whole” meals that included eggs and meat regularly.  However, I still was addicted to sugar and couldn’t get through the day without some sort of candy by my side.  Whether I was snacking on Hot Tamales or a Snickers bar, I always had something nearby.  I found that this sugar helped me stay up and pull all-nighters so that I could study for my job or so I could respond to the page that came in the middle of the night for one of our patients with a pacemaker.

The irony is that I always stayed fairly slim throughout my life.  I was very weight conscious so I watched how much I ate.  Yes, I filled my day with mostly junk food; however I didn’t eat a ton of it so my weight stayed stable.  I certainly wasn’t eating nutritious food to counter the junk.  From the outside, I looked healthy and great, but on the inside something else was going on….

In my early thirties I started really “not feeling right.”  I couldn’t quite pinpoint what didn’t feel right.  I just knew that I didn’t feel right.  I started to notice that I was developing strange symptoms.  I got blurry vision, headaches, a numb tingling sensation in my arms and legs, intestinal issues, strange rashes on my body and I even developed oral thrush!  I went to several doctors and being in the Medical Industry, I thought I knew the best doctors to go to.

Not a single doctor could find anything wrong.  The typical response was that I needed to “get some rest”….that I should just “take it easy.”  I became so frustrated because as they were telling me these empty suggestions, I could literally feel my body falling apart.  The fact that I “looked healthy” seemed to hurt my ability to be taken seriously by my doctors as they seemed to just write off my condition as a result of stress and the wear and tear of the daily grind….

Out of frustration, I started my own research on my symptoms.  I typed in “Oral Thrush” in Google’s search engine, and Candida popped up.  As I researched Candida, I found that I was experiencing many symptoms of this disorder.  I didn’t have the typical “female” symptoms of Candida, I had SYSTEMIC symptoms instead.  I figured my OBGYN would be the best expert to consult with this as they had the most experience in dealing with Candida since it tended to manifest itself as a female infection.  Truthfully, I was desperately looking for some magic pill to make everything better and fix my issues.

My OBGYN conducted the normal “female” Candida test on me and when it came back she said that I didn’t have it.  That I should just get more rest and take it easy!!!  Of course the typical “female” test wouldn’t show that I had Candida.  I didn’t have THAT symptom!  Candida wasn’t manifesting itself in my body in that way.  I had the SYSTEMIC symptoms, but they didn’t have a test for that!

I was at the end of my rope.  In my research it stated that Candida often times would occur in conjunction with many other serious disorders.  I seriously believed that I was dying or that I was on my way to getting a severe Autoimmune disorder like Multiple Sclerosis.

I was desperate.  I did the last thing that I could do.  I followed the diet guidelines that I discovered in my own research about eliminating Candida.  I was so sick that I didn’t even feel depressed over the VERY RESTRICTIVE diet recommendations.  The night before I started the Candida diet, I stopped at my favorite fast food restaurant, McDonalds, and got a double cheeseburger, small fry and diet coke.  That was my final meal that I ate living the SAD – Standard American Diet.

The next day I changed everything, cold turkey.  I eliminated gluten completely.  I eliminated refined sugars completely!  The only things that I ate were animal proteins, gluten free oats, nuts, veggies, plain organic full fat yogurt, small amounts of rice and some fruit. Even though fruit was in general forbidden, I couldn’t bring myself to get rid of at least one type of sweet in my diet. (Knowing what I know now, organic fruit offers many vitamins and minerals and if consumed in moderation is very healthful to your body.)  I also took strong probiotic supplements during this time, as recommended by much of my research.

Needless to say, I went through an extreme detox.  What I found to be most shocking was after only 2 days of following this plan, my vision became clear!  I stopped getting tingling feelings in my arms and legs, my rash went away, my headaches stopped and my oral thrush was completely gone!  I could finally sleep well!  I actually developed energy that I had never had before.  It was the most incredible and extreme change that I had ever experienced in my lifetime.  Truly, I was hooked on nutrition and natural remedies from that point on.

As I continued on my quest for knowledge, I learned of the scandal and lies that we are being fed by the FDA and the Food Giants (predominant food manufacturers).  I became angry!  I looked around at all of the people who were TRYING to be healthy, who were listening to the lies and instead were getting unhealthier by the minute!  In fact, I saw a lot of these sick people as I was a Medical Rep and many were not getting better, they were getting progressively worse.

I continued to scratch and claw for information.  When I read that Candida was prevalent in all Autistic children, I became worried that I was setting up my future children for this horrible disorder.  After all, wouldn’t it make sense that if I had Candida, my children might get Candida also?

Desperate to find out all that I could about wellness, I chose to leave the Medical Sales world and gained certifications as a Healing Foods Specialist and as a Nutritional Therapist Practitioner.  I never dreamed that my life would have taken this course.  However, information is so hard to come by and the TRUTH in nutrition seemed impossible to uncover any other way.   I wasn’t satisfied with little bits of information here and there; I wanted to KNOW the truth.

Following the principles that I have learned in my studies, I can truly say that I have never been healthier.   I have since expanded my diet in some ways, but mostly stick to the principles from the initial cleansing diet.  Personally, I have found that works for me.  However, I believe in bio-individuality and what works for one person may not work for another, so everyone needs to discover their best nutrition plan within the realm of a few foundational principles that I will share with you.

I am so thankful and feel blessed for the information that I have received because I am no longer hopeless.  As they say, “Knowledge is power!”  Although, at times I do believe, “Ignorance is Bliss”!  When you know something, you actually have accountability to it.  That accountability can be challenging at times, but I can promise you that it is very rewarding.  What it offers you is control.  Control over your health through how you choose to nourish your body.

My goal is to help share Health, Healing, Hope & Happiness with others who may be suffering from an ailment due to nutritional issues.  I know how hard it is to get answers and find information concerning nutrition and healing.  I want to make your journey easier than mine was!  I have been where you are.  I know that the journey towards wellness is challenging.  However, over these past several years I have experimented with endless recipes and foods to help successfully replace many of the foods that people are resistant to giving up, even though they know these foods are bad for them.  In my certification, I was taught a principle to never eliminate a food without replacing it with a healthy substitution.  I will help you not feel deprived through your transition and into a new way of life.

If you choose to make the commitment to Ditching the SAD, you will actually feel satisfied and balanced after eating a meal.  You will break the vicious cycle of guilt with eating.  Be prepared…as you Ditch the SAD….you will experience an increase in Health, Healing, Hope & Happiness!  You will live life to the fullest!

Blessings and health,

Jen Herlevi CHFS, NTP

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