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Debra

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It’s Been Too Long

Nearly eight months have passed since my last blog post.  

There is a good reason for being MIA. For most of the year, I been consumed by a new world of diet and nutrition that took me on a journey I never knew existed.

While I thought I was becoming close to a nutrition “expert” – I had no idea the learning curve ahead of me.

Four days before Christmas, my daughter was diagnosed with an auto-immune disease, ulcerative colitis. When we first heard the diagnosis, my immediate reaction was, “OK, how do I fix her?” And the response I received was “there really is no cure – this is a life-long condition that she can treat with medication.”

I am not writing this post for sympathy votes. Not even close. I am writing to share how much I have learned, in the hopes that I pass that learning on to a much broader audience.

The gut microbiome is a very complex and fascinating part of our bodies. Literally, our bodies function from this one main “control center”. It effects our minds, digestive system, organs, energy levels…the list goes on. When the balance of our gut is disrupted, it can cause havoc on our body.

In our case, I am convinced antibiotics initialized the disease. Sofia had 3 major infections, within 6 months of each other, that required strong antibiotics and hospitalization. Historically – healthiest, strongest child with a stomach of iron and no history of any illnesses/allergies/concerns.

The diagnosis was both shocking and devastating. As per doctors’ orders, we put her on prednisone immediately. Something I wish I had known more about before agreeing to the treatment.

Shortly after, I discovered something called the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) through a close friend, whose son was diagnosed with Crohns. She healed him strictly through the diet, never touching any medicine.

SCD is primarily a diet of protein, veggies, nuts and fruits – no grain, gluten, starch, dairy or sugar. Think Paleo, one step further. It sounds nearly impossible, however, it’s much more versatile than you may think. SCD is widely recognized as a healing diet for disease. When using SCD to heal an autoimmune disorder, you typically go through stages of the diet – from basic, to more complex – opening up an abundance of options. It is definitely a journey, as the body takes a very, very long time to heal.

My option was to have my young, developing daughter depend on fabricated medicine, or heal her through diet. Yep, diet won.  And it worked.

Through diet alone, her bloodwork is now impeccable, inflammation markers are normal and she is currently symptom free.

What have I learned?

  • Healthy foods heal – first hand proof
  • The microbiome is a very complex organism – It is critical to keep a healthy gut balance with an abundance of good bacteria
    • Antibiotics, processed food, preservatives and sugar can disrupt this balance and cause havoc on our bodies
  • Probiotics and prebiotics are critical to building a healthy gut microbiome
    • The prebiotics help the probiotics flourish and multiply
  • The American diet is killing off bacteria strains – we have an abundance of good bacteria strains in our bodies – when the good strains can’t survive from being deprived of proper nourishment, they die off and become extinct. The reaction is not immediate, it happens over time. The fewer good bacteria strains we have, the less we can fight off sickness and disease.
  • A healthy gut begins as early as birth – implementing a healthy diet from the beginning can foster a multitude of good-strain bacteria
  • Cooking food from scratch is worth it…and fulfilling
  • There are delicious, grain-free, sugar free recipes and foods readily available
  • A good diet will make you feel better, look better, live healthier and grow stronger
  • Homemade almond milk is actually very easy to make, and delicious (most store-bought brands, including Starbucks, have ingredients like sugar, tricalcium phosphate, sunflower lecithin, sea salt, xanthan gum, guar gum, vitamin A palmitate, and vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol)).
  • Homemade 24-hour fermented yogurt is a powerhouse food, full of billions of healing probiotics
  • Soy, in any form, is not good for you
  • Fat definitely does a body good – Healthy fats increase your metabolism, help you digest, build immunity, repair and support cell function, help absorb key nutrients, help you feel fuller, longer, help you lose weight, alleviate depression, build memory, give you energy and promote optimal, overall functioning of our entire body
  • Long term effects of poor eating are delayed – the ramifications will happen over time, even if appearing to have no current implications
  • Labels are deceiving – it’s important to know and understand ingredient labels and if you are unclear, to call the company to clarify any ambiguity
  • Laughter and stress reduction techniques are critical to healing and overall happiness
  • Your journey leads you to so many incredible paths…through this odyssey, I had the pleasure of finding (and working for) a grainless, gluten free café/bakery, met a slew of incredible people associated with autoimmune disease, created the most magical bond with my daughter and our family, witnessed the incredible support system around us, saw food in a whole different light, found spiritual guidance, opened incredible doors and started new relationships
  • Perseverance pays off

We feel vindicated that we stayed the path and see such tremendous, positive repercussions. This is definitely a journey for the long haul. One we will continue – with now even more substantiated vigor. I have committed to the diet with my daughter from day one so she had someone who understood her struggle. I am blown away by her commitment and perseverance. It truly just becomes a part of your lifestyle.

With so many positive implications, it is worth every last effort.

  • Kristi

    I love it! You go, Mama Bear!

  • Sabrina

    This hits so close to home. My 13y/o son was diagnosed with Crohns in June. We immediately put him on SCD while waiting for treatment (Remicade) to be approved. In 3 weeks he gained 3lbs with no tx, only dietary changes. Leading up to the diagnosis he had lost 12lbs, which left him at 73lbs. I was terrified. I wanted to not do medication but was so fearful seeing him so thin. We have continued SCD and will be having his 3rd Remicade treatment Saturday. I’m hopeful we can begin to see significant improvements in the near future.
    Something that really resignated with me was the origin of how this all came to be. When he was only 6mos old he developed a respiratory infection and was placed on antibiotics and steriods. Then had several issues like this follow closely. I’m convinced the overuse of medication left his microbiome completely in dis array. I wish I had known more when he was younger.

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New Clean Start Program

Are you confused about how and what to eat and the best exercise to get healthier?

It’s easier than you think.
I am very excited to announce my new Clean Start Program.

It’s time to take the stress out of eating and exercise and simply make it a part of your life.

Clean plate program

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Badda-Bing, Badda-Boom

The response to the last blog entry was overwhelmingly positive. So, why not continue the fun? Let’s consider this Part II…with a little twist. Following is a list of great finds that will help you cope with the stressful-excess-eating-pressure-filled-gift-giving-primping-indulging holidays.

The Holiday Hangover. You know the hangover is inevitable…but is it? This one is gold: Drink Before Elixir is a pre-cocktail beverage that claims “No hangovers & reduces redness”. The product’s goal is to “make it healthier and more comfortable for you to enjoy alcohol.” Giddy-up. Loaded with vitamins, potassium and amino acids, I was sold. So does it work? I say “Hell, yes.” Worked for me during a crazy weekend outing when drinks started pouring at 2 pm and the night ended at 3 am. Yep, I still got it. No hangover, no nausea, no problem. Find it on Amazon.

Loyalty Program. Who doesn’t love the Bed Bath and Beyond 20% off coupons, especially for holiday shopping? I can’t keep them in the house. If I wasn’t enough of a loyal customer before, now they really got me. They started a new loyalty program where you pay $29/year for an on-going 20% off your entire purchase. If you receive this exclusive invite…jump on it. Pure brilliance. Here’s more info.

Learn How To Read Your Body. This one is key. Especially during the holidays. Note what causes reactions to your body. Are you unusually bloated after you drink dairy? Do you crash hard after eating carbs? Are you unbearable after eating sugar? Are you especially thirsty in the evenings or AM from not drinking enough water or eating too much salt? Are you super lethargic in the morning from over-eating at night? Listen to these triggers and avoid them. Keep a journal of these reactions and when they occur and you will have incredible insights on how to feel and look better.

Luscious Lashes. We think holidays and we think lash extensions and falsies. There’s a new solution. No more expensive applications or over-promising mascaras. Rodan & Fields just launched this product called Lash Boost with clinical trials resulting in 85% longer, 90% fuller, 63% darker lashes with results in 4 weeks. And they’re killin’ it. Forget the iris-changing, crazy side effects of Latisse. Started mine 2 weeks ago and the difference is remarkably noticeable. They are offering a holiday gift with purchase – free cosmetic bag and eye cream. And now that I have access, so do you (or your favorite gift recipient). Buy here.

Get Matcha’d: I have searched for a good, authentic Matcha Tea for a long time  – however, most of them (including Starbucks) are not the real deal. I recently stumbled upon Motto Sparkling Matcha Tea: made to “make you feel and think better”. For centuries, Matcha has prepared Buddhist monks for meditation and readied samurai warriors for battle. Ok, so I’m neither – but I do frequently adorn my Wonder Woman cape. This Matcha tea is supposed to be a powerful agent of health, wellness and natural energy. Sugars are higher than I would normally grab (13 per bottle) but no more than the natural sugars in my afternoon latte. Small handcrafted batches made up of sparkling water, Matcha green tea, honey, organic agave, fresh lemon juice, organic apple cidar videgar and natural plant extract. (found it at Kings)

Read The Label: The most important thing in weight maintenance is reading the nutrition label. All too often, especially during the holidays, we have this “all or nothing” mentality. “I’ll get back into shape after the holidays.” Which I never truly understood why you would sacrifice 2 months of your life to binge eating. It only results in a guilt-filled, reluctant New Year with unreasonable “now I have to make up for lost time” pound abolishing goals. Learn to read nutrition contents and ingredients and always practice portion control. You can start using 4th grade math: If a serving contains 120 calories, 9 grams of sugar, 18 grams of carbs and 2 grams of saturated fat and there are 5 servings in the bag – and you eat the entire bag (and many of these bags are small and manageable enough to do just that), you have just indulged in 600 calories, 45 grams of sugar, 90 grams of carbs and 10 grams of saturated fat. Can you say sabotage?

Kill The Temptation. Want desperately to eat something on your plate you know is not the best choice? Spill water on it. Ever take a look at left-over food in the kitchen sink? Not very appetizing. Bet ya won’t want it anymore after it’s doused with water.

Talk In Code. We have all that partner in crime that we confide in at a holiday dinner. I mentioned The Skimm in my last write-up but what I forgot to mention was the kick-ass acronym cheat sheet they offer with the latest and greatest social uses. This one’s a must – read here (how fun to practice them over turkey dinner). And if you still haven’t joined The Skimm – do it now.

Burn Fat. There is a pretty good chance you will be indulging during the holidays (avoid making it a month-long habit). The key is to get your heart rate high enough to use up your stored glucose and get into the fat burning zone. How do you do that? Intervals. Workout example for a runner: Warm up 5 minutes at moderate rate (4.5 mph). Jog at a steady pace for 5 minutes (6.0 mph), then exert yourself running at a much faster pace (6.8-7.0) for 2 minutes. You should be breathing heavily and trying to catch your breath for those 2 minutes. Repeat that 5 min/2 min cycle for 30+ minutes, 2-3 times a week. This is the same concept of Tabata. High intervals with moderate rests in between. Adjust the times/pace to your level. Walkers walk for the 5 min and light jog/speed walk for the 2.

And that’s all folks. If you are looking for more tidbits or are interesting in a private nutrition counseling session, email me at dakarrat@yahoo.com. Happy, healthy holidays.

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