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December 1, 20170

Did you know that its possible to be allergic to a certain food, and not even realize it? Join me on this journey, and I’ll help you discover your own food allergens.

Food Allergy or Intolerance:
First, what is the difference between a food allergy and intolerance? When someone has a food intolerance, they have some kind of physical, mental or emotional reaction. These could show up as skin rash, headache, brain fog, digestive issues like constipation or outright pain, hives (see as red on and around the face, or swelling of eyelids and lips), any kind of emotional feeling, teary eyes, and more.

A true food allergy means that the human body has an immune system to the food.


Food Intolerance in Childhood:

Children often have food intolerances from birth to five years. These could be there in a few minutes to any food, including dairy (often seen in newborns in my experience), tomatoes, strawberries, soy, eggs, and more. When the child gets old enough, we think of them “growing out of” the food intolerance or allergy. Unfortunately, this isn’t true at all. Instead, the immune system matures enough to adapt to the food allergen. The body’s visible surface symptoms then disappear. But the allergy is still present. And the immune system? It’s busy trying to adapt all the time to this problem food.

Food Intolerance in Late 30’s and 40’s:
Let’s fast forward now to a person’s 40th year and beyond. Suddenly, little problems start to show up. These may be there in a few minutes headaches or skin rashes. Nausea after eating dairy may happen. GERD or acid reflux may visit you late at night after spaghetti sauce (condensed tomato) and wine.

How to Cope:
The person may take Tums or start drinking aloe vera juice, a soothing herb drink) to deal with it. This is a coping strategy – it does work. But this is using herbal medicine in an unhealthy way: putting a bandaid on the problem. And taking Tums can lower stomach acid, which can make it impossible to break down foods to get the vitamins out of them.

Food Avoidance for Healing:
Why not cure the real issue? Observe your food reactions and cut that food out of your menu. (This is easy to say but can be there in a few minutes hard to do – We crave those allergenic foods. When we eat an allergen, we get a rush of cortisol CHECK. We sort of feel “high.” Later, we may have lethargy, brain fog, headache, rashes, and digestive issues – But on our “trip” we feel GREAT!!

Discover Your Own Food Allergy:
Now its your turn – Would you like to find out what foods to which you are allergenic or intolerant?

Get something to take notes – a piece of paper, your phone notes or this free Google Document Food Allergy Questionnaire. It’s important that you take the time to write this down in some way. Ready?


Food Allergy Questionnaire:
You’ve had a hard day at school/work/life. Things didn’t go well, and you’re tired and drained. You get home, where your pantry is full of every food imaginable. You decide to reach for one of these favorite meals (List as many as possible)

____________________________________________________________________________________________________

____________________________________________________________________________________________________

____________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

You have woken up in the middle of the night, possibly upset. You decide to go have a snack of –

____________________________________________________________________________________________________

____________________________________________________________________________________________________

____________________________________________________________________________________________________

What are your favorite foods that you eat often and daily?

____________________________________________________________________________________________________

____________________________________________________________________________________________________

____________________________________________________________________________________________________

What are your top FOUR comfort foods?

____________________________________________________________________________________________________

____________________________________________________________________________________________________

____________________________________________________________________________________________________

Did you do it? Did you write them down?

 

My Favorite Foods:
Almost all of my favorite foods include wheat, cheese and potato. These are the foods that I reach for when I need comfort foods, or pick me ups. Unfortunately, these are my food allergens.

  • pierogi (mashed potato with cheese, wrapped in pasta dough- hmmmm!),
  • potato knish (potato in pastry with gravy over it),
  • pasta Alfredo (wheat pasta and cheese)


Moment of Truth:
Now, look at the lists that you wrote. What food categories reappear again and again?
Are any of them in these common allergy food categories? You could even mark a hash mark for each time they show up, or use another tally method.

  • Dairy: (Includes cheese, yogurt, milk, butter. 60% of people can’t digest dairy. (1))
  • Wheat: (Including flour, pasta, semolina (pasta flour), kamut, spelt, panko Japanese bread crumbs, some soy sauces, and (yuck!) injected into commercial turkey.(2)
  • Nightshades: Tomato, potato, eggplant, cumin, mild and hot peppers, cayenne, chili powders (It’s a South American fiesta!)
  • Eggs
  • Soy Bean (Includes tofu, edamame, soy sauce, teriyaki, marinades, salad dressings, and in the feed of our meat animals.)
  • Strawberries: I was told by a pediatrician that kiwi could cause cross reactions for anyone with this allergen. If you have problems, try to determine whether its hives (rash on face around mouth) or a rash elsewhere, a problem with the fibrous seeds (scratchy on the last part of the colon), or a problem digesting fruit (common in older people). These are three widely different intolerances, you see?
  • Raspberries: The tend to be seedy with high mold content. If you react, consider whether it a fiber & scratchy seeds issue in digestion, or not. If you feel bad after eating them (within a day or few days), you could get yourself checked for things related to mold: fungus and yeast overgrowth.
  • Mushrooms: These are in the fungus family. If you react to then, you might again get yourself tested for tings related to fungus: yeast overgrowth  (Candida albicans) and mold. Think about your living environment, too. Is there mold in the home?

Well, what did you find out? Did you discover one or more allergenic foods, or food intolerances? Did this make you sad or mad at this new info? (Me, too – Sorry!) Please leave your thoughts in the comments below.

If you enjoyed this article about my health history, please Share it with your friends, using the social media buttons below. And let me know what you think in the Comments below.

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November 20, 20170

Looking at other cultures, they are rich with holidays, special events, rites of passage, holy meals and ceremony. What do we have in most of American culture, regardless of the ethnic group? Not much. We have ceremonies for births, marriage, and some deaths. If you’re lucky there’s an ethnic feast day to celebrate a certain culture. What is wrong with our lack of ceremony? What significance does it have? Stay tuned and find out!

Young women today have hardly anything to mark their entrance into womanhood, with the start of their cycle, and other life transitions like moving out to live independently, or supporting themselves fully.

A woman’s period has been labelled in the past a “curse.” Women were even convinced their vaginas were “unclean”, even though the good bacteria there protected her from infection. This feeling of unclean led to scary practices like killing off vaginal flora (which we need!) with anti-bacterial sprays. (Don’t ever do this! Super bad idea!)

My upbringing was more progressive. My cycle was seen as a positive thing, and not labelled with negative words. In my twenties, I felt very spiritual during my cycle. Indeed, it reminded me that I could be the bearer of new life.

At The Gathering of Eagles, a spiritual retreat in South Dakota’s Black Hills during Summer 2016, a Lakota tribe young woman had ceremony for a young woman to celebrate her becoming a woman. It was a beautiful ceremony, that I would love to see for all our young women. The Jewish people have Bat Mitzvahs for young women, and the Hispanic communities have Quinceañeras, to celebrate a girl’s 15th birthday. I want to suggest starting a new tradition for the rest of us, where we notice and celebrate young women on their passage into womanhood. This could be an informal event like a meal, or it could be a small ceremony with elder women.

thai boy in rite of passage ceremony, thai boy in life transition, thai boy in coming of age celebration
Family celebration of Rite-of-passage of a boy. This girl is dressed up, too. From Bagan, Myanmar (Burma). Photo taken by Kathy, Flickr.com, used unchanged under Creative Commons license. Click to go to photo.

 

And young men may also benefit from a rite of passage into manhood. A male teacher at my herbal school talked about men in their 20’s, 30’s and 40’s not feeling like “men.” At what point did they “arrive” into manhood? Sometimes men continue to party into their 30’s like they did in their 20’s. There seems to be a feeling sometimes of confusion and waywardness.

Maasai warrior after circumcision ceremony, Maasai boy after rite of passage ceremony, move into manhood, life transitions, ceremonies to mark changes in status or age
Maasai Youth: At or around puberty, young maasai males experience a circumcision ceremony as a rite of passage in the process of becoming a Maasai warrior. During the healing period, they don the black cloaks and traditional face painting, surviving on their own away from their village for 6 months. Photo by Anita Ritenour, via Flickr.com, shared under Creative Commons license. Click to visit link.

A boy’s passage to manhood was marked in the past in other cultures by a young man’s senior male relatives celebrating the young man, and telling them they had passed into adulthood. There may have been a celebration, meal or new privileges that came with this arrival. They may have been brought into the a sacred society or other group. They may have moved their sleeping place away from their female relatives. The shaman may have sought spiritual guidance or “dreamed” about what role or job the young man should be guided toward. Wouldn’t that help a young person reach their potential while being held and supported by their families and relatives?

Reed Dance festival of the Zulu people, South African festival, ceremony in culture, celebrating rites of passages
The Kingdom of Zulu’s Reed Dance Ceremony, KwaNyokeni Palace, South Africa’s Kingdom of Zulu.
Once a year, thousands of people make the long journey to one of the king’s royal residence at KwaNyokeni Palace. Here, in Nongoma, young Zulu maidens will take part in a colourful cultural festival, the Royal Reed Dance festival…The Reed Dance festival has been tirelessly celebrated by countless generations, and attracts thousands of visitors from throughout the country and the world. A dignified traditional ceremony, the Reed Dance festival is at same time a vibrant, festive occasion, which depicts the rich cultural heritage of the Kingdom of the Zulu and celebrates the proud origin of the Zulu people.

And although we have funerals for deaths, there is no ceremony at all for pregnancy miscarriages and still-borns, whether they are two months in, or between 6-9 months. There really should be some kind of group response for this intense loss. But there is often nothing to mark this great sadness. I think people may now have a funeral if the baby is a certain size, and I believe its necessary for the couple and families involved to mourn and process their grief in a healthy way.

Burmese boys pray at Buddhist temple, Shinbyu Ceremony, spiritual ceremony for boys, novice Burmese boy monks, coming of age, spiritual ritual
Boy novice monks come to pray all day at a Buddhist temple. Every boy performs at least once at the Shinbyu Ceremony once they have reached the age of seven or older. A symbolic procession and ceremony of exchanging princely attire with that of an ascetic follows the example of the historical Buddha. By dany13, Flickr.com, used under Creative Commons license. Click to view photo.

And menopause – it is such a slow process, often five to ten years long to taper off a menstrual cycle and then stop. One only knows that menopause has been reached when a women experiences a year of no period. There is often silence and privacy on this subject. It’s only been a little less hush-hush in the last thirty years. In some cultures, these menopausal women would be considered “crones” or “wise women.” (There is a great photo here of a maiden-matron-crone ceremony.) There would be something to mark their value and status in the group. They might be invited into a special group or be asked to guide younger women. What do we have? We keep on chasing youth, and women in their seventies and eighties die their hair ridiculously dark colors. We chase impossible standards as all young women in makeup magazines are in their twenties or below!! We inject our faces with toxic botox, and stop moving the upper half of our face!

I have been proud to see some women in Colorado sporting gray and silver hair. It is sometimes long, and sleek, and reminds me of the pelt of a silver fox. It makes a woman’s face stand out, and is quite striking. I hope when I get to the gray point, that I have the courage (and patience) to let it become silver.

Older women’s hair is sometimes long, and sleek, and reminds me of the pelt of a silver fox.

We need more ceremonies to mark our life changes in a positive way, for our own sake and that of the community. Can you think how you could incorporate more in your own families’ lives?

If you enjoyed this article about my health history, please Share it with your friends, using the social media buttons below. And let me know what you think in the Comments below.

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November 10, 2017

I wanted to take a moment today and write about my own health~ where I’ve been, and the things I’ve travelled through. Perhaps you’ll see what has inspired me to help others through health coaching with my own company, Transform Health. I guide people to the right nutrition, create custom herbal formulas, and help them move toward healthier lifestyle choices.

In my twenties, I was hardly ever sick. I was extremely thin and known for eating the most of my friends and family – this may have been a sign of gluten intolerance even then. I had issues with constipation quite often. Walking daily and trying to drink more water helped. (Knowing what I know now, I would have eliminated all dairy, or all except yogurt, and added in herbs that are moistening: real cinnamon, marshmallow root, slippery elm (endangered), flax seed, okra. Licorice root is also moistening, but can alter blood pressure, unless its in its “deglycerized.”)

My twenties were about 1990-1995. The “no-fat at all” craze was in full force. Pritikin was making non-fat salad dressings, and people were eating high carbohydrate (flour and sugar) to make up for the lack of fat in foods. I can’t tell you how extreme and bad idea a non-fat diet is. (Read about numerous cholesterol studies cancelled because they were killing people in Ignore the Awkward by Ravnskov, M.D. Poor Pritikin died young.) I tried to be “virtuous,” (I thought wrongly) but didn’t realize the truth: every cell in our body is made up of fat. We need fats daily for every cell, for the endocrine system, and our brain. Twenty-five percent of our fat goes to make our brain healthy. I ended up craving and eating BOXES of cookies. I started becoming obsessed with food. This is malnutrition, my friends!! We need healthy fats in our menu!! (To read more about healthy fats, see this article about healthy fat sources and this article about wild and farmed salmon.)

Eating Dairy & Taking Antibiotics
In my early thirties, eating dairy with cereal started to make me nauseous. I started to avoid it. I had a few colds that involved taking antibiotics. No one talked about restoring gut flora after antibiotics then, so I didn’t do that. (oops!)

Bring On The Baby!
My husband and I started trying to conceive a baby, and it took us a while- over three years, in fact. I know now that being too thin and having trouble becoming pregnant can also be a sign of gluten intolerance. The body is not absorbing the food that has been eaten because the little hairs called villi that absorb in the small intestine have been sheered off. Stopping conception is the body’s failsafe: the body has to have enough fat and vitamins in it to be able to grow a baby successfully to term. (Babies are also the “perfect parasite” – the fetus gets all the vitamins first. That’s why it’s so important to eat healthy foods, including healthy fats, during pregnancy. You need vitamins, too!)

Cheese, How I Adore Thee!
After becoming pregnant, the constipation worsened, which is normal. Digestion becomes more acid, and wrings every vitamin it can out of our menu. Iron supplements can worsen this situation. The more acid stomach can cause heartburn. One positive side effect was that I could then eat cheese with no problem. This continued post-pregnancy for a while.

Birth & Antibiotics:
At the birth in 2005, I was dosed with antibiotics intravenously. This is supposed to increase healthy outcomes for babies and moms. I’m skeptical about this, however, for these two reasons:

  1. The mom is about to give her good bacteria to her baby through the baby’s birth canal travel, breast milk and skin contact. Mom’s today are often already too low in good bacteria due to a both a lack of breastfeeding in past three generations, the rare use of fermented foods which can raise food bacteria in the body, and the multi-generational use of antibiotics, which knock down our good bacteria, especially in our digestive tracts. (Cite 1)
  2. Mom and baby are in a hospital, the main site for extreme anti-bacterial cleaners and also the presence of anti-biotic resistant bacteria like MRSA. She needs her defensive system!!
  3. I’ve heard, but not researched yet, that a lot of appendix cases are post-birth moms. If that’s the case, we need to look at this practice, as well as increase the practice of lying in for 40 days, with friends and relatives bringing moms food and company, and doing their housework.

I found it very hard to take care of both myself and the baby post-birth, even with my husband helping me. I was so very tired all the time! When we are tired, we crave carbs, and I ate them with abandon. My go-to food was raisin bran cereal with milk. Looking back, I probably wasn’t digesting either of these. I was exhausted.

I also started eating  a lot of frozen food that was microwaved (read – lower vitamin content and exploded fats!), especially after my husband went back to work. I wish I had been eating meat, veggies, fats, broths, fruit. Two months after birth, the day after Halloween, I had extreme pain and lying on the cool floor tiles  seemed like a good choice. I had my appendix out that day. And then – wait for it – more really strong antibiotics!  (-With weird mind side effects. I had to pump my milk and dump it, and give the baby formula. I couldn’t pick my baby up because I was too weak in the abdomen.) Did anyone tell me to rebuild after the surgery with good bacteria? They did not. (Grrr!)

Diana Sproul at healthy weight, Fall 2006, fat face, good weight, before digestive issues, before stomach trouble, before stomach issues, before digestive trouble
This is me with a healthy weight and normal face, from about Fall-Dec. 2006. This is before we moved to Colorado, the digestive issues, and the GAPS diet.

My digestion was messed up after the appendectomy for a long time. About 2007, my child was about 1.5 or two. I had stomach pain all the time, which became worse when the stomach was empty. This may have been an ulcer, which we now know is a bacterial infection thanks to someone who gave themselves an ulcer, cured it, and then won a Nobel prize. Rather than treat an ulcer, the doctor (whom I liked) gave me a stomach acid blocker, also called proton-pump inhibitors (PPI’s). Proton Pump Inhibitors are a terrible, terrible idea. If the stomach acid is lowered, and any bad bacteria are present there, these bad bacteria can overgrow in the stomach further. Then they would lower stomach acid even further. Our flora should be in the colon (the end of the line), not in the small intestine nor stomach. If I could stop the production and dosing of one medication, it would be opioids, and proton-pump inhibitors (PPI’s). 

And we now know that these stomach acid blockers or proton-pump inhibitors (PPI’s) lead to gluten intolerance.

Why We Need Stomach Acid
We need stomach acid in order to get the vitamins and minerals out of our foods, too. (Lower vitamin absorption – ) I stopped after a while, and the stomach became more acidic. (Today I would have herbal helps for these, including aloe vera juice and slippery elm to soothe.) I’ve read, but haven’t confirmed, that there has not been a study to see if the proton pumps ever turn back on to full performance. And we now know that these stomach acid blockers or proton-pump inhibitors (PPI’s) lead to gluten intolerance.(5) And I would say dairy, too. Digesting dairy and gluten are a two step process, unlike other foods, so everything in the digestion has to work perfectly. (1)

Celiac Test
I was tested for celiac, but it was negative. Beware of these tests – the usually test only tests for 3 out of 50 possible gluten intolerance markers. And one can be gluten-intolerant, or unable to digest it, but still not have celiac (Side note: In Italy, it takes about three weeks to determine gluten intolerance. In the US, it often takes over ten years!! This means long term malnutrition and gut damage. Cite 2)

Colonoscopy
About 2009, I was losing weight and had diarrhea often. I felt tired a lot. I actually insisted that my next doctor send me for a colonoscopy. It hurt me as they pushed the tube past a colon turn twice, and I screamed out in pain in spite of the anesthetic. They found a little irritation, but no colon cancer or ulcerative colitis. No parasites either, but the colonoscopy prep is drinking a lot of salt water, which can remove those.

Fiber Solves Everything – Not!
I was told to eat more wheat fiber in apple sauce, which I probably couldn’t digest, and everything would be OK. This is the “more fiber solves everything” theory, which is horrifically wrong. (See the book Fiber Menace. His story matches mine.) The digestion is a complicated multi-step process. To solve things, we have to address the real digestive problem, which can’t happen in a 15 minute doctor conversation.

I had been cleaned out, but again not told to rebuild with good gut flora. The appendix normally is our backup pouch of good gut flora when the body decides to void bad food. I didn’t have one.

Moving to Another State
We moved to Colorado with our then three and a half year old and a dog. We had no home, no jobs, no friends or family. Our goals was to start a business, which we did successfully. The stress from this move can easily be categorized as a “life event” or “crisis.” I worked long hours along with my husband (sometimes the home shift), ate too much sugar and coffee to prop myself up, and didn’t exercise as often as I adapted to Colorado winters. I got a mysterious lump under my jaw, and a tooth crown.

My digestion was having trouble, and I had diarrhea and constipation. I felt tired and a little crazy. My doctor didn’t help me much, calling it “stress.” (It was that, too!) I was prescribed an anti-depressant, which left me sitting in the window for hours with no energy. (It also blocks vitamin B’s and the things you need to feel better.) (Today I would say that I needed child care help, and probably Vitamin D, because its a common deficiency in northerly climes. I would get dark curtains so I could sleep well without the street light flooding my room, and take magnesium to help me relax into sleep. And maybe a life coach referral. I didn’t get any of these.) I got a shrug-

I started having all kinds of teeth trouble with cavities, and they were related energetically to the small or large intestine, according to a book by Donna Eden. (3) I also got a crown put in after a root canal, which may be a source of continued infection.(4)

GAPS Diet
We were concerned about money, and I hadn’t gotten help from three different Western doctors at this point. The issues had persisted through five to seven years. I found out about the Specific Carbohydrate Diet online and through a book about IBS. It eliminated sugar, grains and beans, which are fibrous ad called “double sugars.” These can cause bad bacteria to overgrow. I didn’t know if I could do it, because it included raw veggies like broccoli. (You could cook them, I found out.)

Diana Sproul, too thin, lost weight, following the GAPS diet, on the GAPS diet, date around 2015, my health journey, healthy lifestyle blog, nutritionist blog, healthy articles, digestive issues, stomach trouble, stomach issues, find a nutritionist
Me, way too thin, while I was on the GAPS diet for digestive trouble (which turned out to be viral- read the blog!) I can see my chest ribs- ugh- From August 2011.

I read about the GAPS diet (from the Gut and Psychology Syndrome book), which was adapted from the SCD diet, but added probiotics, broths, fermented foods, and stages. I went on this solid for two years, eating meat from farmers and grass-fed when possible, and bought organic vegetables from a CSA (community supported agriculture, or a farm produce subscription). I was better. Eliminating gluten worked for me, and the soups were nourishing. I started to absorb my food. The Introduction diet (broth and sauerkraut water, later with egg yolks) did cause me to lose weight, which was a terrible look. I went down to 104 lbs: read skeleton in a bikini. Yikes! I was embarrassed when visiting a pool.

Diana Sproul, too thin, lost weight, following the GAPS diet, on the GAPS diet, date around 2015, my health journey, healthy lifestyle blog, nutritionist blog, healthy articles, digestive issues, stomach trouble, stomach issues, find a nutritionist
Me, too thin, having lost weight while on the GAPS diet for digestive issues, which turned viral (read on). Sharp collar bones & too thin neck. Yikes! From around 2015.

Turning It Around:
The good news is that I quickly found out what I could not digest. And my eye lashes grew in thicker and longer, and my nails stronger, as I started to digest better. The bad news – I kept trying to test some things that weren’t good for me. Nuts is one. I never got to the stage where you can eat a lot of raw vegetables, including lettuce. To this day, I have limited digestive power.

I learned to ferment things, which is intentionally leaving things to grow on the counter. I’ve craved salt and fat for a long time, and this will make more sense under the Ayurveda section below. The warm, wet soups and emphasis on fats, helped me feel better.

Stopping the GAPS Diet:
I tried to go off the GAPS diet, adoring my small rye toasts (gluten!) with butter (dairy!). The digestive problems returned. I had read of someone who could eat wheat after avoiding it for two years. This was not me. I was so sad about this.

I could not digest gluten-free products, either, except for brown and white rice flour. Gluten-free grains tend to be low nutrition, often made with white rice, potato and tapioca. These three can grow bad bacteria.

If gluten-free products are not poor-nutrition “white” flours, they’re made with scratchy coconut flour. This can cause trouble with anyone feeling like Crohn’s or fiber causing pain could be an issue.

Gluten-Free Products contain Gluten!

Gluten Inside Gluten-Free Products?!
GF grains are also often cross-contaminated with wheat – I’m not sure how, but they are.

And these gluten-free products are allowed to contain a certain percent of gluten – it’s low, but still high enough to cause a reaction, according my multi-generational, celiac, nurse friend. It was better for me to avoid all gluten-free products.

Naturopath One: Step Up
I paid a lot of money to see a naturopath for several months. They are a medical doctor who also deal with Eastern medicine things like acupuncture, herbs, and definitely nutrition! He found out I had candida overgrowth, and low thyroid, calcium, and vitamin D. (Vitamin D alone is tied to 400 body processes. Most people in northern climes are low in vitamin D – Get yourself tested via a lab!) He treated the yeast, and tried to help me work on lifestyle issues like exercise and sleep. I started doing rice powder with a full amino acid profile, which are the building blocks of protein. They found out that I had food reactions to many common GAPS foods, including peaches, carrot, celery, eggs – common foods!! (This can be a sign of deeper illness, when you react to weird things. Who is allergic to peach or carrot? It’s a sign of rampant inflammation. Look for a deeper issue.)

I went on an anti-candida diet, which Dr. McBride said  (I learned later) that candida is “invited into the body” to deal with toxins.(1) More on this later.

I wish the previous Western doctor had tested my blood for anything, when I told her I felt crazy and exhausted. We could have at least solved the thyroid issues… I suspect the low calcium continued from low digestive power (from the acid blockers still wreaking their havoc?). I had been eating tons of dark greens daily, which have calcium in them. But you need digestive power (stomach acid!!) and gut flora to convert them to something usable.

My first naturopath left his practice after a time, se we parted ways.

I Studied Herbalism and Nutrition:
In 2014 I started attending the Colorado School for Clinical Herbalism. I was guided through meditation to become a homeopath. I knew so little about herbalism that I thought that it was homeopathy. (These are quite different.) However, I was guided to go to this school, so I went. And I got much healthier. Getting out of the house and doing something I loved was amazing! I drove three days a week for ten months to Boulder, even through winter, and loved most of it.

Epstein Barr virus and Lyme Disease are common illnesses in the community at large

Epstein Barr virus and Lyme Disease are common illnesses in the community at large. Lyme is common nationwide and worldwide, even. This becomes important later.

I invented my own gut tea, which really helped me. I tested flower essences and tested many different herbs.

I had a really bad cold that winter while in school, and I made my own anti-bug brew with burdock root and a strong antibacterial called oregon grape root, which I had never used. (Oregon grape root contains a compound called berberine, similar to Golden Seal herb. Its often found in the blood sugar area of health food stores, so it must also help with that.) I ended up with a boil on my elbow, which the herb school teacher told me was my body trying to throw off something. A boil looks like a raised red column on the skin about 1/4″ high. So odd! (Some people in the past have had multiple boils on them – yikes! I can’t imagine!)

Diana Sproul nutritionist, nutritionist and herbalist at Transform Health, healthy lifestyle coach at Transform Health, Advanced Herbalism Certificate from the Colorado School of Clinical Herbalism, Boulder Colorado, Fort Collins Colorado, Loveland Colorado, Windsor Colorado, herbalist, custom herbal formulation
I earned an Advanced Herbalism Certificate from the Colorado School of Clinical Herbalism in June, 2015. The school training included nutrition, physiology, herbal safety and custom formulation, and much more.

People told me I really changed and looked better. (I think they meant personality – I was calmer, and had some sense of humor back.) I felt better. Herbs and nutrition were very, very helpful. All of us changed in a positive way. We adapted to a Paleo diet or at least high enough protein (most people don’t get enough), slept and exercised more, drank more water, had less coffee and sugar, and used herbal medicine and nutrition to help us. I very much wish we had a “before and after” picture for all of us. I could see the changes in people’s faces.

most people don’t get enough daily protein

New Doctor
I went to a new Western doctor. She sent me to an ear, nose and throat doctor for the lump under my jaw. He told me it was a tumor (surprise!). It turned out through more tests to be benign, slow growing, and unlikely to spread. I can’t believe the previous Western doctor didn’t tell me it was a tumor, didn’t follow up with me, and MOST IMPORTANTLY didn’t tell me to AVOID SUGAR, WHICH FEEDS TUMORS!!! She did call and leave a message about doing a fine needle test on the tumor, but I was deep in the digestive and thyroid issues, and really couldn’t deal with anything else. I soon forgot about the call. Did that doctor follow up? No –

Naturopath Two: Step Up
I met with another naturopathic doctor. She found at least 6 things wrong, and helped me treat them. (I felt better about not being able to heal myself.) These included blood sugar, thyroid and cortisol issues. Sometimes your “day” timing is off – I was waking up at night and falling asleep in the morning.

I was eating the GAPS/Paleo diet then. My gut flora and leaky gut state were really good! (I should hope so, after five years of working on gut flora with the GAPS diet!)

About February 2016, I was doing a meditation with a spiritual book. I asked to know what I needed to get well. I had a lucid dream a few days later about our rental house when we first came to Colorado. It didn’t look like that house, but I knew that it was that one. I dreamt it was full of moldy leaves up to my waist. We were wading through them. I realized in the dream state that I had mold issues.

The test was expensive. I said “no” at first, shocked by the price, but then I said to myself, “NO! You asked, and now you know!” I got tested for mold, which involved drinking much less water for a day, to concentrate the urine sample. It was positive. I began taking a strong tincture (1:1) for nine months, and taking black clay daily to detox. Yuck! It was so strong that going up one drop at a time would cause diarrhea. I had to avoid any rice, potato chips sugar and chocolate during that time, which made me mournful. I realized how much my treats and events are associated with food!

Candida is “invited in” or encouraged to grow in toxic body conditions.

Remember the candida and what Dr. McBride had said? Candida is “invited in” or encouraged to grow in toxic body conditions. Mold causes toxins in the body.

After that I moved to the Autoimmune Paleo Diet (called AIP for short). I don’t have autoimmune thyroid, or any autoimmune issue. One is suspected, perhaps. Autoimmune Paleo Diet is a way to lower inflammation in general, however. It involves eating meat, vegetables, healthy fats, bone broths and fruit. These are avoided: grains, legumes, sugar, dairy, other vegetable oils besides olive, food colors, eggs, nightshades (tomato, chili, potato). I was physically able to eat white rice sometimes. This diet can get old, and I was hoping to increase my possible food categories, with dreams of traveling again sometime. (Can you imagine eating AIP in France or Italy?) But I do try to be creative, and these colorful “food porn” photos on Instagram show my pretty varied diet of meat and coked vegetables.

Autoimmune Paleo Diet is a way to lower inflammation in general.

In Spring of 2017, I got tested for Epstein Barr virus, and was positive. No dream hints this time. I was just looking for the deeper cause of my digestive issues, and remembered my school lectures. I knew it had to be something! If it had been negative, I would have gotten tested for Lyme and other things next. My herbal and nutrition school and a medical intuitive called Anthony Williams said it was an epidemic and the cause of chronic fatigue. I just wish I had gotten tested so much earlier.

Look for the deeper causes of illness

I am no longer able to tolerate white rice or potato chips (this last might be the vegetable oils). More pleasure foods gone away…. sniff!

Acupuncture and Ayurveda
Lately I’ve been exploring three other modalities: NAET Acupuncture, Ayurveda and Hands-On Healing (Energy Work). NAET is a form of acupuncture where you hold the allergenic food during the fine needle treatment. First the practitioner clears out things like blood sugar, salts, fats, and then individual foods. The client can clear about 1 food per 24 hours. I did it once a week for a while. I feel like my food reactions to nuts (anger reaction) and corn (swollen belly) have gone down. I still can’t physically digest them, though. And corn in general is genetically modified, which my naturopath said causes a list of ills, including holes in the intestines (different from leaky gap junctions). Best avoided –

Ayurveda is an East Indian medical modality that involves nutrition, heating or cooling foods, breathing and herbal-infused oil massage to correct imbalances. There are three types of imbalances called “doshas”: Vata (air humor), Pitta (fire humor), and Kapha (water humor). Each type is associated with mental states and physical types, too. People are born with one type as a main, but mostly we’re supposed to have all three in balance. Life changes can cause one area to be more out of balance.(6)

It was interesting that I’ve craved salt and fat for a long time now. I have even ADDED salt to chips. I thought this was low adrenals and my body’s attempt to raise low blood pressure. The Ayurvedic nutritionist said that my cravings for these were my attempt to adjust my dry and cool temperament that was made MORE out of balance by moving to an even drier Colorado (dry airy person + dry airy land = Vata imbalance). Isn’t that interesting? Now I try to balance it out with pure coconut milk shakes with stevia and vanilla, instead of chips. (Well, most of the time.) I was also given an herbal sesame-oil massage to do to help remove toxins.

Hands-On Healing:
I also tried energy healing work with someone who trained for four years by Barbara Brennan, who supposedly could see the energy and its impaired flow around the body. I felt a lot of anger in my gut, and strong negative emotions are related to digestive issues. I asked for help in releasing whatever was negative in the stomach. I can’t say I saw a huge shift, but I’ve only gone once so far. (If you have them, you know how the state of the mind can affect the stomach and vice versa.)

What’s Going on Now:
I was able to work full time outside the house for many months. It caused me stress, but was also an accomplishment. Now I’m returning to my healing work, helping clients. I hope to sign up for homeopathic training and other healing modalities.

I’m treating the Epstein Barr virus with another fatigue-causing, strong tincture as the virus is woken up and attacked. I’m trying to be virtuous in what I eat, but that difficult. I’m eating AIP with potatoes, which I know I should cut out. Soon… I’m working on getting more than eight hours sleep a night and exercise. (Sleep can greatly impact all aspects of health and healing.)

I wrote about the virus on several forums for the GAPS and SCD diets. I’m hoping that other people can cut short their healing time by uncovering the root cause sooner. (I’m hoping that doesn’t come back to bite me – )

I love using herbal medicine to treat whatever is going on, and just kicked out a cold that was on its way in. I used herbal medicine, tea, extra sleep and warm covers to gently simulate a fever.

I want to learn more about acid blockers and whether the stomach’s proton pumps ever recover.

I have read several times that root canals may be a cause of disease due to locking bacteria into the mouth, possibly causing autoimmune issues. I want to research this further related to the tumor and digestive issues.(4)

And I just read another article (on PubMed) where they said that bacteria in the mouth may be the cause of bacteria overgrowth and digestive issues. (Is this the case, or is it just in both places?) In case this is true, I have been using toothpaste with neem oil in it.

If you enjoyed this article about my health history, please Share it with your friends, using the social media buttons below. And let me know what you think in the Comments below. Should we look for the deeper issue?

Want to sign up for our newsletter? Includes healthy recipes, nutrition and herbalism tips, and more. It’s free, and once a month. Just click here to sign up in 10 seconds.

And check out my online course, Raising Your Immunity Through Herbs, Nutrition and Lifestyle Methods. Here’s a course discount, below, too! Runs through Nov. 2017.

Contact me if you would like my help for your health journey. Thanks!


Citations of Sources:

  1. Gut and Psychology Syndrome book, Dr. McBride, Medinform Publishing, 2010 and
    2012 Weston Price Conference lecture
  2. Gluten Free Magazine, I believe
  3. Energy Medicine book, Donna Eden and David Feinstein, Ph.D., 2009, Tarcher Penguin publisher, p. 307
  4. Article on Pottenger-Price Website
  5. Colorado School of Clinical Herbalism, class education
  6. Planetary Herbology, Michael Tierra, N.D., Lotus Press, 1988

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October 27, 2017

Carrot Tops! Who ever heard of eating those?! “Isn’t that the part we throw away?” you ask-

I was really skeptical, too, when I heard about making an Italian pesto out of them. This crazy recipe was invented and shared by an East Indian acquaintance. I had to guess at the proportions, but it was wonderfully delicious and bright green that I had to try making it myself!

The first attempt was great! I had to share it with you! It’s an easy way to get greens that aren’t kale (shudder!).

 

it was wonderfully delicious and bright green

 

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This version has less water and oil in it, and no cilantro.


Chili Lime Carrot Top Pesto Recipe:

Put into a food processor or other high-powered juicer/blender, and mix until smooth. You might need to scrape down the sides with a spatula and pulse it. Don’t blend too long, or it will get hot form the motor. (That may have caused the color change, as I kept blending it and adding more lime.)

  • 1.5-2 Limes (more if necessary to get a balanced sour flavor)
  • 2/3 cup Sunflower Seeds, roasted & salted
  • About 1.5-2.25 cups/ 2″ squished down in blender – Carrot Tops (thickest stems removed)
  • 3/4 Serrano Chili – stem cut off and seeds removed (Could substitute jalapeño)
  • 1.5 large garlic clove– chopped
  • 1/3 tsp Sea Salt
  • 1/4 dry measure cup (like a flour mixing cup) – Olive Oil (cold pressed preferred)
  • 1/4 cup Water (liquid measuring cup)

That’s it! I hope you like it as much as I do!

**This recipe is safe for the Paleo diet, GAPS diet, and SCD diet, as long as you don’t have trouble with chilies (a nightshade family ingredient) nor seeds. It is a nut-free pesto!

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This pesto version has more water and oil in it.

I added a small handful of cilantro in my first try, but that may have been a mistake. It tasted good, but turned an unappealing grey-brown quite quickly even with lime in it. I would suggest blending it with the lime in it at first, to stop any color changes. I made it the first time with avocado oil, but I think olive would be better. 2nd making – I liked it better with olive oil. It’s definitely better without cilantro.

I made it in a food processor and the texture was fairly smooth. I would suggest blending it in a blender next to get it to a “creamy” state. You could probably also use a Magic Bullet or other super-powered blender or juicer. I don’t think you could use a regular blender very easily at first, because the carrot tops are fluffy, and won’t touch the blade. There just isn’t enough liquid.

If you enjoyed this recipe for Chili Lime Carrot Top Pesto, please Share it with your friends, using the social media buttons below. And let me know what you think in the comments below.

Want to sign up for our newsletter? Includes healthy recipes, nutrition and herbalism tips, and more. It’s free, and once a month. Just click here to sign up in 10 seconds.

And check out my online course, Raising Your Immunity Through Herbs, Nutrition and Lifestyle Methods. Here’s a course discount, below, too! Runs through Nov. 2017. Thanks!



April 22, 2017

On this Earth Day, you can save money paying extra utility costs, while helping the planet at the same time. It’s a win-win! I’ve put together some resources to help my neighbors, local Fort Collins residents, save green while going green. (Please share with your friends – they like saving cash, too!)

This Energy Star website lists many different appliance, water heater and heating system (including geothermal) rebates that are available. Just put in your zip code, and you’ll be on your way.

And there are more local rebates at the Fort Collins Utilities website that include lighting, solar power rebates, and water bill rebates for dry-plant installation in gardens. The solar rebate is 30% of the total costs with installation!! The low-water planting program (called xeriscaping) can credit your bill 75 cents per square foot of lawn converted to either low-water plants or hardscape (cement, rocks, patio, etc.). There are even audits for sprinkler systems, which apparently are the leading water need at our homes (I thought it was long showers!) I had my system checked last year, and they found a sprinkler head leak. (That explains the lush green patch – oops!)

Want to know how green is your home? You can schedule a home efficiency audit here, at the Fort Collins Utilities website. The website says that this service is normally $400, but only $60 now.

If you enjoyed this article about green home energy efficiency conversions, please share it with your friends, using the social media buttons below. And let me know what you think in the comments below.

Want to sign up for our newsletter? Includes healthy recipes, nutrition and herbalism tips, and more. It’s free, and once a month. Just click here to sign up in 10 seconds.

And check out my online course, Raising Your Immunity Through Herbs, Nutrition and Lifestyle Methods. Here’s a course coupon, too! Thanks!



April 4, 2017
  • Eat grass-fed meats and wild fish [for high omega 3 which converts to DHA in the brain]
  • Eat seaweed 1 time/week [for iodine]
  • Eat 3 cups of greens per day
  • Eat 3 cups bright colors vegetables and fruits [for antioxidants (fruit is 1x/day)]
  • Eat 3 cups sulfur-rich vegetables per day [cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, turnip, rutabagas, kale, brussel sprouts, mushrooms, onions, leeks, garlic, shallot, collard greens]
  • Eliminate gluten and dairy, possibly eggs

– From Dr. Terry Wahls, The Wahls Protocol



April 4, 2017

It will cost more to eat this way. You will pay the price now for food that restores your health and vitality, or you pay later for doctor’s visits, prescription drugs, surgeries, missed work.”

From Dr. Terry Wahls, The Wahls Protocol



March 28, 2017

Black Bean Brownie Recipe – Why Add Black Beans to Dessert Brownie? The beans in the recipe add fiber, which can slow down the absorption of white sugar and white flour in the recipe box. Slower sugar absorption slows the body’s reaction to sugar, which causes the release of insulin. This yo-yo of raised and lowered blood sugar can lead over time to insulin resistance and diabetes. And it is now thought that the body deposits cholesterol in the arteries to protect it from insulin, NOT from the eating of cholesterol.

This recipe came from my friend Mary. It can be made with wheat or made into gluten-free brownies if you use a gluten-free brownie mix.


Ingredients:

  • 1 can 15 oz black beans
  • water
  • Brownie Mix (Mary suggests Trader Joe’s gluten free brownie mix- 18-20 oz)
  • 1 egg (optional)


Recipe:

Heat the oven to the temperature listed on the brownie box. Choose the right pan size and type (metal or glass). Grease pan if required, but only halfway up. You actually want the brownies to be able to cling to the sides about halfway up the pan.

Drain and rinse one 15 oz can of black beans. Return drained black beans to can and add new water to cover. Then blend to a puree.

Combine bean puree and one box of brownie mix in a mixing bowl. Add 1 large egg if you would like a softer spongier consistency. Mix well and bake according to box directions.

*Note: You may need to cook the brownies longer than usual, because of the increased water, from the beans. Cook until the edges start to pull away from the sides, and the middle is no longer liquid. You can test them by dipping a toothpick into the brownie, and pulling it out. Normally you want to see no crumbs on the toothpick. In this case, you want to pull them out a little before its all the way done, so it doesn’t end up overdry. The brownie will continue to cook after its removed from the oven.

Cool on a wire rack. Cut from the pan.

Taste The Results~
The resulting brownies tasted just like normal brownies, but with a nice moistness, and earthiness that was satisfying. You won’t get quite the blood sugar spike from eating them, either. The color looked just a little darker than normal chocolate brownies. Enjoy!


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