I’m Back….

So it’s been over 2 years without a blog post… no biggie.

Since I last posted I’ve moved to California, and then several months ago moved to North Carolina. I’ve been through an entire master’s program at Georgetown University. I’ve been to India, driven cross country and back, and have been all over like whoa.

These past 2 years have been some of the hardest of my life. In many ways, it has been like a rebirth. I am a raw person, and I plan to write about many of these discoveries and lessons on here to share with you all. Because we are all in this together, are we not?

I also have delved into my true passion… integrative medicine.

So…. Now that I am a Nurse Practitioner, I am starting my practice with Infinite Health in Charlotte, NC. I will be writing about integrative and evolutionary health, mind body medicine, and other health related topics here. I’ll talk about life, travel, and overall health and well-being. So stay tuned for all that is to come!

I’m glad to be back.🙂

All good things,


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(In Mumbai, India in March. Post to come!)

DIY Sunscreen



Here I am yesterday, a balmy 65 degrees laying in my front yard (It’s been a long winter here ya know. I will take what I can get).

I am getting a dose of UVB/UVA rays to make some Vitamin D.

Along with food in my pursuit for health awesomeness, I have also been very interested in learning what environmental factors make us tick. One thing I had avoided like the plague most of my life thus far was sun because it was, “Going to give you melanoma, massive wrinkles, and nasty spots.” Yeah, no thanks.

Also, in my younger years when I ate the typical American diet of pop, doritos, pizza, taco bell, and school lunches, if I spent too much time in the sun even with sunscreen I would develop sun poisoning. This was a horrid, itchy rash that would hurt if I scratched it, but would itch like nothing I have experienced if I didn’t. It could get nasty.  I had somewhat of an allergic reaction to the sun, if you will. Also being pale, I hated getting sunburn, so I did not want to spend too much time in it anyways.

Because of my diligent caution and slathering of the sunscreen, I have not had too many sunburns in my time. But I always wondered, “How could it be so bad for us? Shouldn’t something so fundamental to nature be helpful to us?”

My wheels really got turning Labor Day weekend last year. My husband and I went to Arizona for a camping trip. My brother-in-law, his wife, and another couple who are friends of ours joined for the adventure in the mountains. It was still pretty warm, 80-90 degrees, and even in the mountains in was at least 80-85. The sun was blasting us the entire weekend, and being at high altitudes, you are going to get more UVA/UVB exposure. We all wore the same exact sunscreen, and were diligent about putting it on. Now, I am very pale, and do not have a tan at this point (or ever for that matter). My sister in law is darker complected, and our other girlfriend is fair like me. Again, we all did the same exact thing with the sunscreen, and were wearing t-shirts and shorts. At the end of the weekend though, I was surprised to notice that although I was outside in the sun ( with hardly any shade) for two days, I had no burning, and hardly any color. The other two girls, on the other hand, looked like lobsters. Seriously, lobsters. My sister-in-law asked, “How did you not get burned? You are lighter than all of us and probably put on the least sunscreen!” FACT. But hmmm, yeah that is a great question.

Here is where it all comes full circle… Since I have been eating a predominantly paleo/primal diet, I realized I have not gotten one sunburn. Not one. So I decided to become a little more liberal with it as an experiment. I started going outside without sunscreen…. I would lay out for 20 minutes after work (10 minutes each side) in order to get some Vitamin D after being inside all day. I got like no color or tan lines, but I did get enough sun to produce me some good Vitamin D.

Now I haven’t spent more than 30-40 minutes in the sun without sunscreen. I know if I am going to be out there for longer than that, I do put it on or else I am afraid despite my new superpowers, I would probably get a little burned. It’s about a balance.

So why would my diet influence this? It turns out you can eat your way to having your body make, “Built in sunscreen.” One of my favorite blogs is Mark’s Daily Apple. Here is one of his posts on it: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/8-natural-ways-to-prevent-a-sunburn-and-sunscreens-not-one-of-them/#axzz2yaltaYxo

With my nutrient-rich diet, my body is doing things as it should including protecting me from *too much* sun.

The fact is people we need sun exposure, but research is showing you do not need more than 15-20 min a day of direct sunlight. You will be better equipped for the outdoors if you eat real food, and particularly for me a primal diet has been a winner, because when I ate grains I could easily burn still. So maybe try it for yourself and see how it works…

Before Paleo/Primal

*Easily would burn, sunscreen or not

*Sun poisoning

*Could not be in direct sunlight for long

After Paleo/Primal

*Do not burn easily/at all (I am moving to Southern California in 2 weeks and want to learn how to surf, so my skin will really be put to the test!)

*NO sun poisoning!

*Can tolerate being outside in the sun for long periods of time.

There are so many reasons why the sun and Vitamin D is important. I will write more about this another time, but alas it is for another time.

So, anyways, I am excited about this new development in my well-being and wanted to share. Thanks for reading!


Be well.



Acheta Domesticus

How the heck are ya?

I am so sorry for being gone for so long. I am in graduate school getting my master’s and working full-time 5 days a week AND getting to move to California (yowzas!). But I am taking a little break to write about something I find of upmost importance.


Yes, those little buggers are important in many ways. Although I don’t like them flying about my house and WILL summon my cats to attack when I see a big one, they are sustainable and nutritious food choice not only for animals but for people. Yes, people.

Although we here in the US of A do not consume much Buggage, people throughout the world are elsewhere and are getting plenty of benefits.

“Protein is a big part of their value nutritionally, but they also tend to be calorie- and lipid-rich and they are generally good sources of vitamins and minerals,” says May Berenbaum, the head of the Department of Entomology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. “There are ecological and economic benefits, too. [In general] some insects can be raised on foods that aren’t consumed by humans and rearing insects tends to produce far fewer greenhouse gas emissions.”

Read more: Crickets | What’s In a Bug? Lots of Healthy Nutrients | TIME.com http://healthland.time.com/2013/08/21/why-eating-bugs-is-good-for-you-its-about-the-nutrients/#ixzz2w49WdyJR

Sounds horrific, but I’m game. Heck, let’s get people to eat more insects, it is better for us AND better for the environment. Time to put my big girl pants on and give it a whirl.

Allen and I ordered some protein bars from this kickstarted company EXO. http://www.exo.co. I tried one yesterday…. the cacao kind…



(Nicky trying to get a nibble of my exo. I am onto your ways….)

IT WAS ACTUALLY REALLY GOOD!!!! It kept me full for several hours as a snack, too.

They are pretty dang nab expensive, but I think it is worth it. And heck, if they can get this mainstreamed with some other companies involved, hopefully it will bring the costs down. Either way, it is worth it I feel.

What are your thoughts? Has anybody eaten bugs before? I wanna know!


That’s tits



We are obsessed. Guys are obsessed, girls are obsessed…it doesn’t matter what team you’re batting for; the fact is that we as a society are absolutely preoccupied by the size and quality of breasts.

This post is little different than my usual food rants. However, instead of physical health being the focus, this follows more of a mental health approach. What is the boob-obsession doing to us? Yes, all of us.

I have currently two close family members with breast implants, two best friends considering a future reduction (understandable, their tits are large and in charge), two close co-workers who have had reductions, another who got an augmentation two weeks ago, and numerous others in my life who have had something done with theirs. On top of that, throughout my life I have heard my mom and aunts talk about how much they would like a boob job, but just never got it done.

Now I have seen my mother’s breasts numerous times since I was little, and honestly they look normal to me. However, in her mind they could be, “Better.” I think that is where we all get thrown off.


These boobs have become mainstreamed, and we are made to think/feel that anything other than the “implant look” could be “better.” How do you get there? Implants. Reductions. Lifts.

I am certainly not some die hard feminist. I shave my armpits/legs, dye/curl my hair, dress in dresses, and wear make-up.

Yes, I wear make-up. How weird is that if you really think about it? I place purples on my eyes, and comb my little eyelashes with mascara to thicken them up. So strange. And what if I don’t? Well let me tell you. I am very pale, and I naturally have dark circles under my eyes… not because I am tired, but because that’s the deck of cards I was dealt in the genetic pool. When I started working for the airlines back in college, I decided I wasn’t going to wear make-up… it was an outdoor job after all, being on the ramp. So what did I do? I went to work fresh faced. What comments did I get? “Are you feeling OK?” “You didn’t sleep, did you?” “You look so tired.” UGH. Because all the ladies wear make-up OR have tanned themselves so their circles don’t show OR naturally don’t have circles I got called-out. Now I personally did not think I looked bad, but because I got so tired of the comments I rejoined the club and went back to putting some make-up on. Also, braces. I had braces. TWICE. Another societal cosmetic expectation. Now my teeth are aligned and beautiful. And the concealer covers my dark circles. I blend in.

But back to boobs. I guess what I am wondering is, “What is becoming of us?” To me breasts are very important, for both women and men. Most importantly, they feed our children. That is their main purpose after all. In the US they are important for men and women sexually (some countries in Africa prefer the thighs over breasts as the sexual focus of the female body, Brazil it is the buttocks, etc.). But to shove plastic or silicone bags under our flesh or chop them down just to “Fit the mold?” I don’t know.

Several women I know claim they did not have confidence before the boob job. They said having implants, “Changed my life.” One girl from my high school class was talking about how, “I didn’t have an ounce of self esteem, and then when I bought the boobs it changed everything.” Now she was a bit tipsy while telling me this, but all I could think of that entire time was, “Yikes, that is kind of sad!” There has to be more to it than the boob size, and getting bigger breasts can only be a band aid for something greater.

I can see where some women it would be very uncomfortable to have a certain shape (google image “tubular breasts”). But just because I have little to no cleavage doesn’t mean I should go to such extremes, even though it would feel amazing to have full, voluptuous breasts. Have I ever considered a boob job? Sure. But maybe that’s where I need to draw the line… not only for myself, but maybe for society as well.

I will never forget this one story. One time I was at work talking to a very good friend of mine (we are still good friends to this day). We were talking in between flights and he was showing off his girlfriend’s boob job on his phone. He asked me something about my rack, and I answered (I don’t remember what it was). Then he asked me, “Well is your husband happy with them?” I gave him a weird look and said, “Well, yeah…” to which he replied, “Well that’s all that matters then.”

That’s all that matters, eah? I don’t think so Jimbo. The male counterparts’ opinions are not all that matters.  My point of mentioning that story is that it is not only the girls in society who need to do a double check, but the guys, too. If they think every woman’s rack should be round, symmetrical, and immobile they have the potential to become “disappointed” and expecting something “greater.”  It just is not healthy on any level.

I don’t have all the answers. I really don’t. I merely wrote this to stimulate thought. Sometimes when we think about actions or phenomena on a deeper level, the greater purpose behind the actions or phenomena becomes clear. What are we trying to accomplish by making breasts bigger? Is it just to look better? Fit in? Is it a lack of self esteem and maybe that would make it better? But why then? I believe this to be a phenomenon where the purpose varies from person to person, and each person has their story to tell.

What I do know is this; we all need to be mindful and conscious of what we expect, how we view ourselves and others, and what decisions we are making. It is important we realize our good qualities, and that beauty is diverse. I believe we as a society need to realize what we are doing and the expectations we are placing on each other as a whole, as I believe they are not positive expectations.

Take care of yourselves.


I have been experimenting in the raw… or should I say with the raw.

Raw milk that is.

Cow dairy gives me all kinds of IBS symptoms (not as bad as grains though). However, research points out that people who are lactose intolerant can tolerate raw milk with little to no problems. I have been doing quite a bit of research on raw milk though, and I have been curious as to what would happen if I drank a little. Not a whole glass everyday kind of thing, but a few sips here and there.

I gave up drinking milk quite some time ago, and pretty much eliminated cheese from my diet. This was a feat because I was a cheese hound. Love me some cheese. I stuck to almond milk mostly. However, I switched to full-fat coconut milk to put in my coffee or use for baking over the past year. I love its creamy goodness. Coconut milk is my milk of choice.

Cow milk is technically is not paleo. But I am willing to try some different things. I am an adventurous lady when it comes to food.

However, could my health benefit from small amounts of raw milk? My wheels are turning!

People who scream, “DANGER!” with raw milk say you are taking risks for ingesting harmful bacteria. One example is my husband’s professor…“Raw, or unpasteurized, milk can carry potentially deadly bacteria such as Salmonella, E. coli, and Listeria, which are responsible for causing numerous food-borne illnesses,” explains Dr. Mark Kauffman, DO, an osteopathic physician from Erie, Pa. “Symptoms of a food-borne illness, such as vomiting, nausea, and diarrhea, can lead to dehydration and even death.”

Nausea? Diarrhea? Death? Holy shit, no thanks.

But wait, much of the bacteria in raw milk are NOT those deadly little beasts. The FDA and other powers that be will warn otherwise. One thing that is certainly true is that commercialized milk production cannot be produced and sold raw and be safe. Pasteurization made commercialization possible, and the shelf life of this type of milk is longer. And I certainly do not deny that people have gotten a bad batch here and there and it made them violently ill. Still, why would nature make that the rule, not the exception?

Supporters of raw milk state:

“Raw milk contains many components that kill pathogens and strengthen the immune system. These include lacto-peroxidase, lacto-ferrin, anti-microbial components of blood (leukocytes, B-macrophages, neutrophils, T-lymphocytes, immunoglobulins and antibodies), special carbohydrates (polysaccharides and oligosaccharides), special fats (medium chain fatty acids, phospholipids and spingolipids), complement enzymes, lysozyme, hormones, growth factors, mucins, fibronectin, glycomacropeptide, beneficial bacteria, bifidus factor and B12-binding protein.  These components are largely inactivated by the heat of pasteurization and ultrapasteurization.” They will also say the government is biased. Find one supporters argument for raw milk, as stated above, and why the government if off their rocker here http://www.realmilk.com/press/fda-and-cdc-bias-against-raw-milk/. They are selling a product, so keep in mind where they are getting their facts, too🙂

I heard a lovely story about simple food microbiology on NPR last week that really got me excited about our normal flora and microbiology. Full story can be found at http://www.npr.org/2013/05/03/180824408/michael-pollan-you-are-what-you-cook

“FLATOW: Talking with Michael Pollan, author of “Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation,” a really – you always write fascinating books, but as someone who likes to cook myself, I found it’s even more fascinating. And as someone who loves cheese of all kinds, your chapter on the Ph.D. cheese nun in there…

POLLAN: Sister Noella.

FLATOW: She was – tell us about her a little bit.

POLLAN: Well, she’s an amazing character. She is a nun, and she’s in a Benedictine abbey in Connecticut, in Bethlehem, Connecticut. And she learned a few years ago – they had cows there, and they were trying to figure out what to do with the milk. And a cheese maker from France came over and taught them how to make a very traditional French Saint-Nectaire, it’s called, from the Auvergne.

And she is making it according to a traditional recipe that would give conniptions to the FDA or any local public health authority.


POLLAN: And the reason for that is she makes it in a wooden barrel with a wooden spoon or ladle to stir it. Now you cannot sterilize wood, and in fact the instructions for this cheese are – and talk about learning to love bacteria – the instructions for washing it out is just rinse it with a little water, no soap, no attempt to disinfect.

The public health department tried to close her down. She appealed to the mother superior, and she got permission to go to the University of Connecticut and become a microbiologist, get her Ph.D. so that she could defend her cheese-making on scientific grounds, which she did as follows. This was – she set up this brilliant experiment.

Most cheese today, all cheese except for hers, I would guess, and maybe in parts of Europe, are made in stainless steel, which we think of as the ultimate in hygienic technology, right, because you can really sterilize it. Well, she got two batches of raw milk from her cows. She put one of them in a stainless steel container, and she put the other in her wooden barrel with the white film.

And she inoculated them deliberately with E. coli, waited a couple hours and then measured the levels. Well, in the stainless steel, E. coli bloomed magnificently, and there was very high, very dangerous levels of E. coli in that milk. In the wooden barrel, the levels were vanishingly small.

And what had happened was that the lactobacillus that lived in the wooden barrel got to work digesting the lactose in the milk, producing lactic acid, and they acidified the milk and killed off the E. coli. So you realize these traditional peasant cheese-makers in France had been practicing a kind of folk microbiology without even knowing it, strictly through trial and error, they had found a system that defended itself against pathogens.

And with this experiment, which she did for the health inspector, they backed off, and she continues to make cheese, or her – the other nuns do. She doesn’t actually do it. She’s done such damage to the carpal tunnels in her wrists from making cheese all these years that other people are making it. But they’re still making cheese in this traditional manner, and it’s a wonderful product.

FLATOW: Do they start out with raw milk?

POLLAN: Yes. She – and she feels strongly about that. A lot of cheese makers do. Raw milk, because it has so much bacteria in it, has a lot more flavor too. Every kind of bacteria in raw milk is producing an enzyme that’s – that is itself breaking down products in the milk and creating flavor. So most cheese makers will tell you that raw milk cheese, even though a certain risk is attached to it, produces a lot more flavorful cheese.”

Very interesting stuff. That nun was sticking it to the man… going back and getting her PhD to prove the government wrong with them facts.

Now, I would hesitate to give anything with a high bacteria content (normal flora or otherwise) to someone who is immunosuppressed, ill, etc. But a healthy, young lassy such as myself is willing to try.

ImageCheck out these cute little cows!

I went to the only farm in Northwest PA that sells raw milk. You can walk up to the cows and pet them. My kind of farm! I am a freak when it comes to petting cute things.

The cows graze on grass, walk, and enjoy life on the pasture. Buying straight off the farm brings me feelings of connectivity, responsibility, and empowerment that I have never felt before when it comes to food. It brings me a sort of peace. All this peace and connectivity talk makes it sound like I just smoked a bong, but alas, no… it is just how it makes me feel. I feel amazing shopping on a farm.

Anyways, I bought some raw milk. And here is how my experiment has gone thus far…

I have been drinking small sips of raw milk here and there for two weeks… no IBS symptoms (whew!). I am feeling mighty good, as usual lately. And my number two’s have been great (not that you needed to know that, but hey). Very regular, not constipated or anything. No cramping or bloating.

I do not plan on making raw milk part of my regular diet. But I do not mind a little change of supplementation here and there.

More posts will be coming up about bacteria. The good, bad, and why the “good ones” are our friends. There was plenty of bacteria talk in this post to get us started.

Again, do your own research, but hopefully these little tid bits will give you something to think about. Until then, eat well my friends.

“Well, it’s not the wheat”

Well, um, actually it is.

I went and saw a wonderful Naturopathic doctor in 2008 in Tempe, AZ. I decided I wanted to see a Primary Care Doctor who had a more holistic approach to health. I brought to her attention my ongoing constant bloating, farting, occasional cramping and other bowel lovelies. She immediately got a blood test for Celiac Disease.

Mayo Clinic definition of Celiac Disease is as follows:

“Celiac disease is an immune reaction to eating gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and rye.

If you have celiac disease, eating gluten triggers an immune response in your small intestine. Over time, this reaction produces inflammation that damages the small intestine’s lining and prevents absorption of some nutrients (malabsorption).”

I was very excited for the results. Could it be!?!? Alas, my results came in.



I was certain it was going to be positive. POSITIVE. However, according to my doctor, it wasn’t wheat or gluten. So no allergy. Well, ok then. On I go. “It’s not the wheat.” Just good old Irritable Bowel Syndrome… with no solutions.

I was already a vegetarian at this point eating a plethora of whole grains, per our USDA’s recommendations. So I am a good girl. Right?

Dead ass wrong.

Three more years pass, and during these years I am passing enough noxious gas to fuel a nuclear power plant. Not to be morbid, but you need to understand this was miserable. MISERABLE!!!!! Having to fart all the time is terribly uncomfortable, especially when you’re always around people. This had been my entire life, but when I was eating more whole grain breads, oatmeals, quinoa I was a balloon of bloat. It was Ezekiel cereal for breakfast, a whole grain sandwich for lunch, and some sort of seitan or tofu dish for dinner… mixed with plenty of fruits and veggies of course. And don’t forget the brown rice and beans!

March 2012 is when I did that fresh juice fast for two weeks with the hubby. No bloat, no farting, no misery. What gives? I had experimented with several different lifestyles over the years, however I had never in my life lived without wheat, gluten, and grains. Those two weeks were so relieving. I had read online that different people had success with the paleo diet and IBS, but OMG what a radical change. My wheat… brown rice… tofu… seitan… and beans… 70% of my then diet gone, only to let in meat and up the veggie factor.

Desperate, I tried. I told my husband I would do a two week trial. I mean, it couldn’t hurt.

So…I had never felt so amazing. In my life. I had been on this journey to feel amazing… not just OK, or “better.” I was on the journey to amazing, and I FINALLY arrived. Paleo brought to me what I had been searching for all these years.

Now, enough with me. Onto the bigger picture.

I always keep grains in mind as a healthcare worker. Just because one is negative for Celiac disease, Crohn’s, or ulcerative colitis doesn’t mean grains aren’t the culprit of their non-diagnosed misery.

I spend much of my time researching, and my research for the truth about grains has startled me. I can attest to it’s validity not only from my own personal experience, but from all the research out there. I recently have read more about the history of wheat, and it is kind of mind blowing. I always encourage people to go out and find the research for themselves, but here is a synopsis of what I have found…

Wheat has taken many forms over the centuries. The most radical change, though, occurred between the 1950’s and 1970’s

. Image

Wheat was genetically modified… big time. It was modified to be shorter , more resistant to pests, weather conditions, etc. This new dwarf wheat comprises 99% of the world’s crop. This is the beer you drink, the bread you eat, and the pasta you fancy.

The man who was behind the genetic modification was Norman Borlaug (google him). He actually won the Nobel Peace Prize for his work in making wheat a “power crop.” The food industry must have been giddy, because they have made the basis of their empire this new wheat. However, this wheat was never tested for human consumption. This wheat was not a work of mother nature, but a result of fiddling genetic codes to make the most profitable and plentiful crop in the world.

“Life in it’s fullest is enjoyed when mother nature is obeyed.”- Weston Price

The foundation of the American Diet is not a result of mother nature… it is man-made. Notice when America started becoming “fat.” Like 1960’s and 70’s? Hmmmm like when wheat became the base of the food pyramid… in it’s new form… interesting. And all of these food allergies, autoimmune disorders, and diabetes, metabolic syndrome…. weird. How did we become this way?

Did you know that one slice of whole grain bread will spike your blood sugar more than a Snicker’s bar? I didn’t. And yet the diabetics in our nation are told to consume whole grains as part of a “healthy diabetic diet?”


The higher the GI score, the more sugar is going to be released into your blood, which means more insulin is going to need to be released by your pancreas in order to transport the sugar from the blood into your cells for energy. If your cells have enough energy, anything extra is going to be transported to your fat cells to be stored since it is not needed at the time.

All this food science and talk goes much deeper than this, and I recommend The Wheat Belly by William David MD to get an idea about the history and effects of wheat. But I think you get the picture.

I cannot trust the giants of the food industry, FDA, and USDA.  When it comes to nutrition, I lack trust. Their advice is not a matter of science, but moreso convenience and profits. If it wasn’t, this nation wouldn’t be so sick. I listened for years, and I was not feeling well. Our nation does not feel well. Wheat has caused so much damage over the years that it is hard to imagine how to fix it all. All I can do is encourage people to cut wheat from their diets and find out for themselves the difference. More people are making the switch. Is it your turn?

I am sure Norman Borlaug meant well when he did his work. But in the end, you can’t mess with Mother Nature. It simply does not work.

I will be posting many wheat-free recipes for breads, cakes, bars, etc. Wheat is not the identity of a wonderful cupcake!

Until then, eat well my friends.