Monday, May 23, 2011

Movin' on Out & Over

to my pretty new site:

come join the fun! and the lively conversation! and together, let's stop that cortisol runaway train!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

5 Tips to Reclaim Your Thyroid Mojo

Today I'm reminding you of and then manhandling 5 mojo-zappers. Five things that I often find are depleting the energy of vast numbers of patients in my integrative medicine practice. Five things I want on your radar. Five things I want you to remove from your less-than-metabolized life. Immediately.

1.     Dial in your free T3. I find this tracks with mojo more than any other indicator of your thyroid function. I like to see my patients in the top half of the normal range.
2.     Correct your low Vitamin D. Even with all the press this cute little hormone gets, 90% of my patients are low. Yet Vitamin D has over 1000 jobs in your cells. My fave? It drives thyroid hormone into your cell nucleus, where it can work its wonders. Get some. Keep your level above 52. For optimal metabolism, I like 70-90.
3.     Beware: Endocrine disruptors. These buggers are killing you softly. They’re in your jeans (2/3 of jeans are manufactured in China). They’re in your mattress. They’re in your canned food. They’re in your car upholstery. Reduce your exposure starting today. Get your organic mattress (although you may need a doctor’s prescription – how ridiculous is that?). Get organic jeans against your skin (they are far foxier than they used to be). Eat fresh, organic, seasonal food rather than the canned crap. Be mindful about your plastics and cleaning products.
4.     Check your cortisol. Adrenal dysregulation – that is, a cortisol that is either higher or lower than normal – can influence your thyroid functioning. Both high and low cortisol affects how much T3 you make.
5.     Meditate. It elongates your telomeres, the sweet little shoelace caps on your chromosomes, longer and slows down biological aging. Even beginners get a boost in telomere length, says Nobel prizewinner Elizabeth Blackburn!

Now tell us in the comments what else gets your thyroid mojo revved up. And lengthen those telomeres!

 xoxox Dr. Sara

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Royal Hormones

Kate is a Perfect Hormonal Specimen.

Overly reductionistic? Perhaps.

While I don't have royal fever, I relished watching a video of Kate Middleton have her day in the limelight. OK, we know she had a team of makeup artists and other handlers getting her camera-ready for 3 billion viewers, but even so, she looked fan-tas-tico. She felt relaxed and joyous. Glistening hair, glistening eyes. Thin. She seemed like a perfect hormonal specimen. Same story with her sister, Philippa, shown in the above photo as her maid of honor. There are some good genes happenin' in that family of Middletons. Mom too. Hot.

Right. Perhaps I am guilty of reducing the beautiful Kate Middleton, now Duchess of Cambridge, to her looks alone. But Kate illustrates an important point by serving as a touchstone for an ideal hormonal specimen. Don't get me wrong. I'm not suggesting that you or I need to become Kate. I rather love the ease and internal reprogramming that comes with age and wisdom. But still....

What's an ideal hormonal specimen? Stable mood. Strong nails: not brittle or soft. No PMS-driven homicidal tendencies. Deliciously restorative sleep. Strong libidinal energy. You wake up and want to greet the world. You want to kiss your partner, even though he's bald and brandishes a ridiculous sword. You don't feel like the grumpy bridesmaid, below, to the left of Kate.

Let's take it one step further: you're wildly in love and want to run off with your partner. Not in a saccharinny, fairy tale way - but in a living life fully, deeply, drunkenly-good way. Drunk, that is, on oxytocin, the hormone of love and bonding. In fact, I think the entire pageant of the Royal Wedding got out collective oxytocin flowing. Something so ancient and comforting about it. xoxox Dr. Sara

Friday, April 22, 2011

Do You Hide Behind a Tunic?

Reflecting today on my growing selection of organic tunics and what they represent psychically. Around the time that I turned 35, and met for the first time my rather unforgiving metabolism, my collection grew. Some women buy Spanx. I buy tunics.

At first I told myself that it was all about the low-ride jeans that just don't quite work with a post-partum belly. That was after my younger sisters told me to toss my jeans from the 1990s. I had no idea how out of date I was. Then I bought some Sevens. Then I bought lots of tunics.
Is hiding my tush behind a comfy tunic my way of aging with a shield? Of growing old in a constricted, hidden way?

Let it shine, y'all. Time to be more conscious about loving my post-partum belly and my aging tush. Time to get the jeans I like (Organic jeans don't ride so low! Hurray!). Time to accept what is true for me and model that for my increasingly body-conscious two daughters. And maybe go to the Dailey Method more.

You know, embrace the deep femme!

BTW, what are you hiding behind?

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Mumford and Sons Raise My Testosterone!

Did you see Mumford and Sons kill the Grammys? Cannot get enough of them. They balance my hormones, among other things. I'm more than a bit obsessed with Marcus Mumford (below).

Here's the video. Lyrics? Brilliant and below. It's empty here in the valley of your heart... Come on out of the cave walking on your hands, y'all! Coming to Oakland April 21.

The Cave

It's empty in the valley of your heart
The sun, it rises slowly as you walk
Away from all the fears
And all the faults you've left behind

The harvest left no food for you to eat
You cannibal, you meat-eater, you see
But I have seen the same
I know the shame in your defeat

But I will hold on hope
And I won't let you choke
On the noose around your neck

And I'll find strength in pain
And I will change my ways
I'll know my name as it's called again

Cause I have other things to fill my time
You take what is yours and I'll take mine
Now let me at the truth
Which will refresh my broken mind

So tie me to a post and block my ears
I can see widows and orphans through my tears
I know my call despite my faults
And despite my growing fears

But I will hold on hope
And I won't let you choke
On the noose around your neck

And I'll find strength in pain
And I will change my ways
I'll know my name as it's called again

So come out of your cave walking on your hands
And see the world hanging upside down
You can understand dependence
When you know the maker's land

So make your siren's call
And sing all you want
I will not hear what you have to say

Cause I need freedom now
And I need to know how
To live my life as it's meant to be

And I will hold on hope
And I won't let you choke
On the noose around your neck

And I'll find strength in pain
And I will change my ways
I'll know my name as it's called again

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Fiber Is the New Sexy

What could be more sexy than a beautiful gut? All glistening and shiny, doing it's job just right, not inflamed, not allergic, just all happy? Fiber takes you there: removes toxins, keeps things moving, gives you a sense of satiety. Most important? Fiber protects your gut from injury and disease. Let's get some.

My Fave Fiber-Rich Foods

Bran, Baby. Bran, or at least raw bran from corn, rice and wheat, counters constipation because it is rich in insoluble fiber. Oat bran, lowers bad cholesterol (LDL). Bran can be sprinkled into your favorite foods—from hot cereal (I favor oat groats, quinoa flakes) to yogurt. And for those of you still eating cereal and bars (you mean I haven't convinced you not to?!), I've included some of the popular high-fiber choices.
    Food  |  Portion  |  Amount of Fiber
    Oat bran, raw - 1 ounce - 12 g
    Corn bran, raw - 1 ounce - 22 g
    Fiber One Bran Cereal - 1/2 cup - 14 g
    All-Bran Cereal - 1/2 cup - 10 g

    Beantown. Beans are some of the most naturally-rich sources of fiber. Many indigenous diets include a bean or two in the mix. Some folks experience gas as they amp up bean intake, so they may be better off slowly working beans into their diet. I cook mine in the slow cooker, after an overnight soak, and have zero problems with gas. Try a variety of beans as a replacement for animal protein in soups, salads, and dips.

    Adzuki beans, cooked - 1 cup - 17 g    
    Fava beans, cooked - 1 cup -  9 g
    Black beans, cooked  - 1 cup - 15 g
    Garbanzo beans, cooked - 1 cup - 12 g
    Lentils, cooked  - 1 cup - 16 g

    Berrylicious. We love berries for their superfood antioxidant status, but let's keep their fiber in mind. I eat berries every morning on my oat groats. I buy mine frozen and organic from the local store during the winter.

    Raspberries, raw - 1 cup - 8 g
    Blueberries, raw - 1 cup -  4 g
    Strawberries, raw  - 1 cup  - 3 g
    Boysenberries, frozen - 1 cup  - 7 g
    Blackberries, raw - 1 cup - 8 g

    Put Your Hands in the Air for Whole Grains. Not my first choice, but whole grains get you dense nutrients the less process they are. But aim for smaller quantities, particularly at lunch and dinner if you're trying to lose weight. Think of it more as a condiment.

    Barley, pearled, cooked - 1 cup - 6 g
    Oats (old fashioned), dry - 1/2 cup -  4 g
    Quinoa, cooked - 1 cup  -  5 g
    Wheat berries, dry  - 1/4 cup -  5 g
    Brown rice, cooked  - 1 cup  -  4 g
    Spaghetti (whole wheat), cooked - 1 cup -  6 g

    Crazy Sexy Peas. Peas are crazy full of fiber. Not just for New Years Day! I love BEPs in more ways than you know!

    Blackeyed peas, cooked - 1 cup - 11 g
    Peas, split, cooked - 1 cup  - 16 g
    Peas, green, frozen - 1 cup - 14 g

    Imma be the Queen of Greens. There are 1000+ plant species with edible leaves, so you can truly go wild in this category. I toss many of them chopped in a salad, or saute them in coconut oil with Meyer lemon and shallots. Delish.

    Beet greens, cooked - 1 cup - 4 g
    Mustard greens, cooked - 1 cup  - 5 g
    Collard greens, cooked - 1 cup -  5 g
    Spinach, cooked  - 1 cup  -  4 g
    Swiss chard, cooked -  1 cup -  4 g

    Wednesday, April 13, 2011

    Take On Your Weight Issues with Mystic Marianne Williamson

    When cleansing, I love to dive deep into mystical teachings along with the physical improvements in what I eat. Usually it's Ayurveda or Geneen Roth. This Cleanse, it's Marianne Williamson's A Course in Weight Loss.

    Marianne, my soul sister, has taken the Course in Miracles and translated them into 21 spiritual lessons for surrendering your struggle with weight.

    Imagine: a life where "lose weight" is not on your to-do list. You feel peace and serenity around your every food choice. You slip on your skinny jeans and they feel just right. Your weight stays within 2-3 pounds, for years and years. How good does that feel? Want some of that?!

    Her intro is fab. As is Chapter 2: Thin You, Meet Not-Thin You. I particularly liked this wisdom.
    You're you, whether you're eating wisely or eating excessively. But when you're eating wisely, you're expressing love for yourself. When you're eating excessively, you're expressing fear. 

    And this.
    The purpose of this lesson is to support you in reconciling your relationship with Not-Thin You. She is not your enemy; she is an unintegrated part of yourself. She is an aspect of you that is demanding to be seen and heard. It is only in learning to love her that you'll gain the power to calm her down. And you have to admit, she has gotten your attention.

    Um, that sounds like perimenopause - when all the disowned selves come home to roost, to be integrated or else!

    Here's a clip.

    Didn't get much out of Chapter 1. The brick wall didn't speak to me, but I could be missing something.

    Tell me what you think in the Comments section. And put "lose weight" on your stop-doing list. xoxox

    Let Kale Salads Rock Your World

    You know I'm the Queen of Greens. I eat greens every day: chard, kale, spinach, arugula, mache, chard, collards. Gram per gram, kale provides more iron than red meat, and we don't eat red meat while on the Gottfried Cleanse. Kale is nutrient dense in other aspects as well: one cup provides 1327% of the daily value of Vitamin K, 192% of daily value of Vitamin A, and 88% of Vitamin C.

    Let's leave out the bread crumbs and cheese while your cleansing. Click here for another favorite recipe for marinated raw kale.

    This traditional Tuscan salad is made with strips of Italian black kale, fresh lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, crushed garlic, red pepper flakes, grated pecorino Tuscano cheese and bread crumbs. These bright, refreshing flavors combine to bring the sunny taste of Italy to your table.

    4-6 cups kale, loosely packed, sliced leaves of Italian black (Lacinato, "dinosaur," cavolo nero) midribs removed
    juice of 1 lemon
    3-4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
    2 cloves garlic, mashed
    salt & pepper, to taste
    hot red pepper flakes, to taste
    2/3 cup grated Pecorino Toscano cheese (Rosselino variety if you can find it) or other flavorful grating cheese such as Asiago or Parmesan
    1/2 cup freshly made bread crumbs from lightly toasted bread

    Whisk together lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper, and a generous pinch (or more to taste) of hot red pepper flakes.
    Pour over kale in serving bowl and toss well.
    Add 2/3 of the cheese and toss again.
    Let kale sit for at least 5 minutes. Add bread crumbs, toss again, and top with remaining cheese.

    Check out the video right here.

    Monday, April 11, 2011

    Glee Over Ghee

    Today, I got a great question from a cleanser about why ghee is acceptable on the Gottfried Cleanse, but not butter.

    Here's my answer. Short version: butter contains the common allergens of dairy, casein and lactose, whereas ghee has them removed or cooked off. 

    Say more....

    Ghee, also known as clarified butter, is made by cooking unsalted butter until all water has boiled off, the milk solids (or protein) have settled to the bottom, and froth has floated on top. After removing the froth, the clarified butter is then spooned or poured off fastidiously to avoid disturbing the milk protein on the bottom of the pan. Depending on how fastidious one is (or the producer of your ghee), there may be trace amounts of casein and lactose, but usually not enough to trigger an allergic response.

    Ghee vs. Butter 
    • Great for cooking: Ghee does not contain milk solids (casein and lactose), which makes it very stable at high heat. Ghee has a high smoke point (~485 °F), which makes it one of the best oils , along with coconut oil, for baking, sautéing and frying. When you choose butter for a sauté, the milk solids precipitate to the bottom of the pan and can burn causing an unpleasant odor, appearance and taste. When you sauté and fry with ghee, there is no hissing or splattering. It also has a sweet aroma and actually becomes richer in flavor as well.  
    • Stable shelf life. Because ghee has very little moisture content, you do not need to refrigerate it for 2-3 months if you keep it in an airtight container. When kept in a refrigerator, ghee can last up to a year. In India, aged ghee is considered to have healing properties and some families have ghee that is over 100-years old. Ghee such as this is rare and very expensive. Old ghee is only used externally, and by experienced Ayurvedic practitioners only. 
    • Yummy Flavor. Ghee has a nutty, sweet, rich flavor. Small amounts add significant flavor. One tablespoon of ghee can replace up to three tablespoons of oil or butter. 
    • Alkalizing. In our Gottfried Cleanse, we are trying to alkalinize the body, which reduces inflammation, bone loss, and perhaps risk of cancer. Ghee has alkalizing effect on the body (butter has a slightly acidifying effect). 
    • Ayurvedic Use. Ghee heals many skin conditions. I prescribe medicated ghee in women with thyroid problems which leads to dry skin, and also in perimenopausal and menopausal women who have vaginal dryness. Try it on dry lips. Ghee is considered in Ayurveda to be "sattvic" food whereas butter is tamasic. Sattvic is a Sanskrit term, or one of the gunas, which refers to food or objects that are uncontaminated and should not spread evil or disease in the world - sattvic food must purify the surroundings. Thus when an individual consumes such a food, one must feel that one is eating pure food. The food should be healthy, nutritious and clean. It should also not weaken the power or equilibrium of mind. Tamastic foods benefit neither the body nor the mind.  Tamastic foods are thought in Ayurveda to withdraw energy and destroy resistance to disease. Over-eating is also called Tamastic eating. Foods in this category include, besides butter, meat, alcohol, overripe or stale foods, and vinegar. For more details on using ghee while cleansing, check out Panchakarma (I've consumed up to 3 tablespoons per day while performing Panchakarma, as it is considered very healing to the gut lining). Love those Ayurvedic concepts!
    Happy sattvic eating!
    Yours in alkaline,

    Friday, April 8, 2011

    Is Gluten the New Evil?

    This week, I taught a webinar on "How Cleansing Alters Hormones and Brain." Scroll down to watch a clip. While synthesizing the data, I read even more alarming statistics about gluten that I feel compelled to share.

    According to gluten guru Peter Green, MD, a gastroenterologist at Columbia University, 1% of the US population has gluten allergy, and yet 97% of these millions have not been diagnosed. And, equally bad, it takes nine years on average for a celiac, the most severe form of gluten allergy, to be diagnosed.

    Gluten is composed of the sticky proteins found in wheat. Most of our processed food is contaminated with gluten, which is present even in spices and shampoos and beer. 

    What's alarming is that our overexposure to gluten is leading to dramatic increases in the rate of gluten sensitivity - in fact, it doubles every twenty years.

    Many don't know about the link between gluten and insulin resistance, which can develop into pre-diabetes and diabetes. 

    Here's a clip from my webinar on this topic.

    Did you know that the malabsorption of gluten allergy triggers unsuspecting people to crave and overeat refined carbohydrates (e.g., chocolate, pastries, cookies), which can set off an addictive process? Here's how that process rolls.
    • Eating refined carbs results in excessive glucose spikes
    • Excess glucose stimulates excess insulin release (and contributes to insulin reistance)
    • Excess glucose and insulin leads to hypoglycemia; this causes fatigue, irritability, and cravings for more carbs.
    • You eat more refined carbohydrates 
    • Pleasure from satiation of hunger reinforces both the cravings and the cycles of addictive overeating
    What about the link between gluten and insulin resistance? 
    • Diabetics are 50x more likely to have celiac disease
    • Gluten directly damages islet cells, the pretty cells of the pancreas that make insulin 
    • Patients with celiac disease have high levels of diabetes- and thyroid-related autoantibodies that resolve when the patients are placed on a gluten-free diet (Ventura, J of Pediatrics, Aug 2000)
    • Babies exposed early to gluten-containing cereals have a greater risk of developing diabetes later in life
      Here's a good definition of insulin resistance from - the diminished ability of cells to respond to the action of insulin in transporting glucose (sugar) from the bloodstream into muscle and other tissues. Insulin resistance typically develops with obesity and heralds the onset of type 2 diabetes. It is as if insulin is "knocking" on the door of muscle. The muscle hears the knock, opens up, and lets glucose in. But with insulin resistance, the muscle cannot hear the knocking of the insulin (the muscle is "resistant"). The pancreas makes more insulin, which increases insulin levels in the blood and causes a louder "knock." Eventually, the pancreas produces far more insulin than normal and the muscles continue to be resistant to the knock. As long as one can produce enough insulin to overcome this resistance, blood glucose levels remain normal. Once the pancreas is no longer able to keep up, blood glucose starts to rise, initially after meals, eventually even in the fasting state. Type 2 diabetes is now overt.

      So, do you know get a feeling for why I want you off gluten? Many women find their bloating and difficulty with weight gain resolves when they are off gluten for 4 to 6 weeks. Try it out - dump the junk.

      Thursday, April 7, 2011

      Dump the Junk: Reasons to Dump Caffeine

      I recommend to all my patients that they limit caffeine intake and completely detox for at least 14 days twice per year. And I getta lotta push back. Why? Probably because mostly of my patients have some degree of adrenal dysregulation, and caffeine gets them going in the morning, and keeps them going during the day.

      What's so bad about that? I took a page out of Dr. Daniel Amen's book, Change Your Brain, Change Your Body. He's the psychiatrist who is all over PBS with his cute black jeans and balding head.

      Caffeine restricts blood flow to the brain. When you restrict blood flow to the brain, you get premature aging, lousy memory and brain fog.

      Caffeine makes your sleep suck. Sleep, you know, is key to brain health, skin rejuvenation, repair work globally in the body, and weight management (particularly appetite control).

      Caffeine dehydrates your brain and your bod. Your brain is 80% water and needs lots of water to keep hummin' along. Result? You're less likely to think quickly.

      Caffeine inflames you. Amen quotes two studies which showed that 200mg caffeine (about 2 cups of coffee) raises homocysteine, a biomarker for inflammation and heart disease.

      Caffeine linked to the muffin top. Come for the vanity and stay for the sanity. Caffeine raises cortisol, which makes you store fat at your mid-section for a rainy day.

      So if you have not yet completely kicked caffeine, do it slowly over the next 7 days. Stay off for 14 days. Report back what happens with your sleep and executive functioning. Bet it'll change for the better. And if you think you may have adrenal fatigue, test your cortisol and DHEAS levels.

      Wednesday, April 6, 2011

      Meet Your Hormones

      Today Imma be yackin' online about hormones and how they shift when cleansing, and why.  Was thinking I need a li'l reference guide to each hormone: who they be and what they do.

      So...I'm a scholar, seeker, yoga teacher and a doctor. It's serious, sacred stuff.


      Imma be honest. I frequently quote The Blackeyed Peas. 

      Want me to Quote Top 40 lyrics to you? (Or, if you’d prefer, we can talk very professionally about your hormones, nutrition, thyroid, libido, and lovely lady lumps. Oops, I did it again. Those pesky pop stars.)

      Meanwhile, back on the hormone ranch....

      Estrogen is the hottie of the group. Keeps you juicy, joyous and jonesin' for sex. Estrogen has over 400 jobs in the female body, and what you feel when there's too much or too little varies from creaky joints to brain fog to depression. As with most hormones, don't want too much or too little. Find your sweet spot with estrogen (estradiol to be precise), and she'll repay you in droves.

      Progesterone. Every kite needs wind. Estrogen needs to be sufficiently balanced by progesterone. Progesterone is the soothing compliment to the upper, all-business estrogen. Irregular cycles or you're on the rag more frequently than 5-10 years ago? Probably your ovaries making less of the stuff. Keeps you sleeping all night too.
      Cortisol. Powers through a car wreck ("fight") and gets you to run fast after your kids ("flight") and makes you fall in bed exhausted at the end o' the day ("collapse"). When your cortisol is too high, welcome the muffin top. When it's too low: depletion. Tank empty. Finito. Done.

      Testosterone. Hormone of vitality. Gets you either hungry for sex or receptive. Big difference, and difficult for women to attune to the latter. Key player along with estrogen in governing the perimenopausal and menopausal mood. When cycling regularly, peaks on day 9.

      Pregnenolone. Mother hormone of the whole fam, the matriarch, the precursor to absolutely every sex hormone. Involved in your memory, particularly word finding. Involved in keeping your vision in technicolor. Never heard of it? I know, me neither, until I did an advanced course with a very handsome fourth generation endocrinologist from Belgium, and let me tell ya, most European women have heard of it. Disappears when you are stressed.  

      Thyroid. Masta of metabolism. Keeps you energized, at a manageable weight (sans extreme measures that many of us in premenopause become reluctantly familiar with), and your locks glossy. Keeps your cholesterol reasonable. Keeps joints working well and pain-free. Keeps those finger and toenails from chippin'. Keeps mood and libido hummin' where it should.

      Oxytocin. Hormone of love and bonding. Men need to be hugged three times longer than women to get the same release of oxytocin. Babies produce this in us, which is why most of us women still want to have another baby even when it makes absolutely no rational sense.

      I loved the "Cast of Neuro-Hormone Characters" from Louann Brizendine's book, The Female Brain. I credit Louann for inspiring the idea for this post. xoxo

      Tuesday, April 5, 2011

      Is That Acrylamide in Your Coffee?

      Now that I've talked you off coffee, let's dive deeper into some of the badness of the stuff. Do you recall the debate that surfaced in 2002 about a potential carcinogen found in fried foods, called acrylamide? There was much sound and fury when the discovery landed on front pages nine years ago, and like Japan's nuclear crisis, it all died down rather fast. Initially, acrylamide was thought to be mostly a problem in French fries (the most commonly eaten food in the US... um, how sad is that?) and potato chips, but it turns out to be present in both regular and decaffeinated coffee too. In fact, 20-40% of your acrylamide consumption appears to be from coffee. Yikers.

      Who cares? I care. One study showed greater risk in women of uterine and ovarian cancer with increased acrylamide consumption. Not good.

      Problem is this: proving carcinogenicity as causal in humans takes a long, long, long time, and more sinisterly, allows the big Agricultural complex lots of time to administer disinformation and quell fears. The Grocery Manufacturer's Association is one example of this type of campaign. and popped up as the top promoted site on my google search today. They are quick to quote talking heads with credentials (and on their payroll?) that there is no proven risk of acrylamides to humans.

      Creepy. When this happens, when a deep-pocketed powerful lobby has a conflict of interest and the science is not fully formed, I favor the Precautionary Principle. In other words,  if an action or policy has a suspected risk of causing harm to the public or to the environment, in the absence of scientific consensus that the action or policy is harmful, the burden of proof that it is not harmful falls on those taking the action, as offered up by Wikipedia.

      I also favor the Swedish National Food Authority who first made the discovery of acrylamide in our food when carbs are heated with oil back in 2002. Here's a list of their publications and citations.

      While data on human risk is mixed, I'm not so sure we've settled the issue. Even the erstwhile conservative National Institutes of Health states it is  ''reasonably anticipated'' that acrylamide is a human carcinogen. And the Environmental Protection Agency, considers acrylamide, which does cause cancer in test animals, a probable human carcinogen.

      I tend to trust European sisters and brothers to uphold the precautionary principle to protect their people more than the US. For instance, they don't import cotton laced with DDT, another known carcinogen, but here in the US, we do. No surprise then that the European Chemicals Agency added acrylamide to the list of substances of very high concern in March 2010.

      With thanks to my dear friend, brilliant psychiatrist Seth Robbins MD, who talked over a yummy, hopefully low-acrylamide meal last weekend at Plum about the acrylamide story with me.

      Here's the chemical formula of acrylamide for my friends, the science geeks: C3H5NO.

      I'll be writing more about acrylamide as I learn more about it, in the meantime, rethink that cup of Joe. And, as always, share with me your insights, concerns, knowledge, delicious coffee suggestions that are acrylamide-free, and general love. xoxox

      Monday, April 4, 2011

      5 Burning Questions: Get Your Deep Cleanse On

      Part of cleansing is letting go of mental structures that no longer serve, along with choosing more fitting structures that would serve you more optimally. My best mentor?  Danielle Laporte. Check out the 5 burning questions (below) Danielle created along with Rich, Happy and Hot Marie Forleo and let them cleanse your mind.


      1. Say your "official" job title out loud. Three times. Deep breath. How does it make you feel?

      2. How much money would you like to make, annually? Visualize that number. Feel its energetic value. What's happening in body, as you hold that number in your heart?

      3. What's on your "stop-doing" list? What do you need to delegate (or eliminate), to make space for magic?

      4. What do people thank you for, consistently? What's the common thread of golden praise?

      5. So...for real, now. What would you like to do with your life and career? {Money is no object. Dream.}

      Hope these questions provoke and carry you to new insights. I'll show you my answers if you show me yours!

      BTW, join me in New York May 12 for deep cleansing with Danielle and Marie in a program they call Selling Your Soul. Be sure to check out their bad-ass video on their page. Makes my heart go pitter patter.

      Ancient traditions such as Yoga and Ayurveda view our lives as a perpetual search for physical, mental, emotional and spiritual food. Our optimal health is based both on successfully digesting the nutrients of our lives as well as on regular removal of the metabolic, energetic, and psychological waste/toxins. Old metrics that make you feel bad or less than are toxic and need to be removed and replaced with the jewels of greater authenticity.

      Sunday, April 3, 2011

      Plum Awesome: Clean Food in the Bay Area

      Most of you know I'm in the midst of a cleanse with an online, webinar group. I believe we must change radically how we eat, and to dump the toxins that slow our metabolism, harm our bodies and hurt the planet. I'm always interested in where to dine that supports these tenets.

      Who new that a swanky new restaurant recently opened near my integrative medicine office over at 22nd and Broadway in Oakland? Plum, it is. Opened last September by Daniel Patterson of the Coi fame.

      Plum is vegan- and gluten-free-friendly. I love that in a restaurant. Menu sings with interesting vegetables in season. Bring it.

      We arrived ravenous, my husband, a friend and I. Service was very attentive but painfully slow. A 3-hour dinner? Luxurious but put me past my bedtime.

      While cleansing, I don't drink alcohol. I often get a bit sad while dining out at places with exquisite wine lists. But I was in for a super great treat at Plum: they feature hydrosols in eclectic flavors. Their hydrosol is sparkling water with a homeopathic drop of vegetable oil. I got the ginger hydrosol. Made me happy all night to sip it, and I did not miss the wine.

      Not surprisingly, Plum features organic, fresh, local. Killer combinations. Here's their mushroom dashi with yuba and tofu.

      I ate the broccoli, squid and a salad. Here's the farm egg with farro, brussel sprouts and herbs, David's main course.

      We also had grilled broccoli and crazy fresh salad (even had a cute worm in it!). Portions were tiny. Our friend remarked after eating, "Where are we going for dinner? Razan's?"

      Here's an older menu for you to look over. My shots of the menu last night didn't turn out.

      Sometimes small portions are a good idea. I love to leave a restaurant feeling comfortably sated, 75% full. You? Are there other Bay Area restaurants that you love while staying off gluten, sugar, dairy, caffeine and alcohol?

      Friday, April 1, 2011

      Coffee Hijacks Thyroid Levels

      Do you take thyroid medication? Judging from my integrative medicine practice, I believe we have an epidemic of underfunctioning thyroid on our hands. Most national organizations of endocrinologists have issued guidelines that if you have symptoms of low thyroid function, a TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone) < 2.5 makes the diagnosis, yet most conventional physicians use the older range of 0.5-5 as normal. Tighter range serves you better.

      In other words, you may need a boost to your thyroid function, which I usually approach in a step-wise function. I start with certain nutrients (Vitamin D, iodine, copper, zinc, selenium), and if that isn't enough, herbal therapies. If that is insufficient, I'll augment with natural thryoid hormone, and usually prefer to start with glandular therapies such as Armour or Naturethroid.

      If you are already on thyroid hormone, a new study from the journal Thyroid may affect your use of coffee in the morning (hopefully you've joined our Cleanse virtually and are either off or almost weaned off of the junk by now). According to the recent article, in folks who consume coffee at the time of taking their thyroid medication, we see a 25-57% drop in T4, one of the thyroid hormones, compared to non-coffee drinkers. This adverse effect persists for up to one hour.

      I tell my patients to take their thyroid hormone first thing in the morning with a small sip of filtered water, and nothing else to eat or drink for 20 to 60 minutes after. Most of my patients are able to do 20 minutes during the week, and 60 on the weekend. But many of them have a wicked caffeine habit, and that small sip just might be of coffee. Based on this study, I will ask my patients to wait an hour if they are having coffee. Time to go back to the filtered water, and to wait 60 minutes before you cup of Joe, or better yet, before your cup of hot water with 1/4 lemon and cayenne.

      Thanks to Mary Shomon for bringing the Thyroid article to my attention.

      Thursday, March 31, 2011

      Meet Your Anti-Inflammatory Smoothie

      Nothing makes me happier than an anti-inflammatory smoothie with greens, berries, pea and rice protein (very hypoallergenic) and flax. Well, maybe containment of nuclear reactors in Japan, but that's a topic for another day.

      There's a concept I have found to be particularly true that goes like this:
      We need to reduce our antigenic load. The more we eat whole foods, and dump the junk (gluten, diary, sugar, alcohol, caffeine), the less antigens we get exposed to. When we're exposed to fewer antigens, we're less likely to get an overactivated immune system, or to have cross-reactivity with hormones (an example is autoimmune thyroiditis).

      In the service of stabilizing blood sugar and reducing antigenic load, try the following anti-inflammatory smoothing. Green smoothies rock!

      Wednesday, March 30, 2011

      Detox Genes: Personalize Your Liver Detoxification

      You've read my treatise on the liver, or not, and you're wondering how to make it more relevant to you and what you're known for. You know already that I'm a lover of the 4 "P's" in my medical practice: make it personal, make it predictive of your health, make it aggressively preventive, and make it participatory.

      Here it is: details on how to understand more personally your liver and its long, windy, circuitous path to continuous detoxification. I've taken the example of three genes coding for Phase 1 detoxification. Now that you've had the equivalent of mini-medical school on the liver from my previous post, I thought I'd offer a dessert you can eat on this cleanse: more data!

      There's a great test offered by Genova that examines your genetic programming for how your liver behaves in its detox job: the DetoxiGenomic Profile. Several other labs offer this type of testing but I like the robust explanations that Genova (formerly Great Smokies Lab) provides.

      Keep in mind that your genetic programming can be significantly influenced by your nutrition, lifestyle and environment. More details are available at many online sites, such as Gene Cards. Let me know if you find other good resources in the Comments section.

      This test can be particularly helpful to folks who have adverse reactions to drugs, as this is commonly due to a decreased capacity for clearing drugs from the body. Problems with Phase 1 clearance causes toxic overload in the body. Increased clearance of Phase 1 but without increased clearance in Phase 2 can lead to the formation of toxic intermediates, and in some cases, the intermediates are more toxic than the original toxin. Oh, no! Better to be on top of this.

      Phase 1 involves the following SNPs or polymorphisms in the genes your inherited from your parents. You have inherited one of three conditions:
      1. you inherited the perfect level of the enzyme (homozygous normal - the optimal genomic potential)
      2. you inherited one bad allele and one good allele (heterozygous, usually a 30-50% decrement or increase in enzyme activity) 
      3. you inherited both bad alleles, one bad one from each parent (homozygous, usually with a 70-90% reduction or increase in the activity of that enzyme).
      CYP1A1 - This enzyme detoxifies polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons such as exhaust fumes and charbroiled meats. Mine sucks - I have a 70-90% reduction in this enxyme. CYP1A1 converts estrogens to 2-hydroxyestrogens, which are protective against breast cancer if methylated, but which
      may be carcinogenic if not. CYP1A1 also activates many environmental xenobiotics to pro-carcinogenic intermediates.

      A CYP1A1 polymorphism is associated with increased CYP1A1 enzyme activity. Whereas the polymorphism MspI variant has been associated with both decreased and increased risk (in smokers) of breast cancer, the I462V variant has been linked in several studies with increased risk of cancer, especially in smokers and women exposed to PCBs.

      CYP1B1 - Important guy for the 4-hydroxylation of estrogen; that is, CYP1B1 takes your garden-variety estrogen and converts it to 4-hydroxyestrogen.  4-hydroxyestrogen is a potent estrogen that may, in turn, be oxidized to carcinogenic compounds. A polymorphism is associated with increased enzyme activity, therefore increased production of these potentially harmful metabolites.

      CYP2A6 - Detoxifies nitrosamines and nicotine. Nitrosamines are chemicals that arise from certain reactions such as making bacon, and some of them are carcinogenic. I have a problem with this one too. I don't wig out around smokers because of the how they damage the respiratory lining, kill cilia, and cause cancer; I wig out because I cannot detoxify cigarette smoke and it makes me incredibly anxious. Here's more info from Gene Cards.

      This is a review of just 3 of the many gene polymorphisms that affect your ability to detoxify. Contact Genova if you're interested in ordering the test from your local doctor, or if you are a patient or cleanser in our Gottfried Center practice, call Mandy at 510.893.3907.

      Happy cleansing - today is day 6. We start our anti-inflammatory shakes on day 8! As always, share questions, concerns, clarifications, corrections, additional info in the Comments section. Thank you!

      Tuesday, March 29, 2011

      Cravings 101: Fight the Saboteur

      Your saboteur (or as Annie Lamott aptly calls it: KFKD radio) is the one telling you that dumping the junk is a waste of time. Why bother? Who cares? Who does that quack doctor think she is?

      The key to counter your saboteur is to get empowered both to recognize and to talk back. Or send your saboteur my way and I'll handle him/her. Your saboteur has no power over me.

      Here are some other techniques, from 12-Step food programs, that work for me when the saboteur is after me to just have one bite of chocolate or just a little bite of croissant or a cup of coffee while cleansing.
      • Think it through to the bitter end. (This is from 12-Step literature). Rather than indulging in the fantasy and romance of what special food/wine you're craving and how it will taste, think through where your food trip has taken you in the past. Recall the injury. Recall the morning after - the remorse, the bloating, fatigue, hopelessness and shame. For some of us, the morning after includes struggling to zip the jeans.
      • HALT: Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired. Eat every 4-6 hours so that you don't become hypoglycemic and cranky. If you're angry or lonely, write it out or call someone to talk it through. Sleep more while cleansing - that is when all of your cells reparative work is performed.
      • Take action. What's the opposite of eating for you? Leave the scene of previous crimes (the kitch), make a gratitude or joy list (proven to raise your energy vibration), take a bath (I take up to two per day while cleansing with generous scoops of Epsom Salt), take a walk, call a friend.
      I wrote yesterday about the physiology of craving, that they tend to last 15-20 minutes, and so I recommend setting a time for 20 minutes, drinking a large glass of water and having instead a small 1oz protein snack such as nuts or seeds or fruit. In other words, set the intention to use your knowledge of physiology to combat your craving and saboteur.

      I'm also fascinated by the phenomenon of craving and how it separates temperate or normal eaters from problem eaters (of which I am one - I'm a sometimes compulsive eater). Do you know some normal eaters? Are you one? I have a friend who is a normal eater. She'll eat one small piece of cheese on bread, and stops. No message like crack goes to her brain (like cheese does in my brain - most contain morphine). Here's how Alcoholics Anonymous lays it out, which I believe applies to food, particularly gluten, dairy and sugar (that would include chocolate) items:
      • cravings become a habit, usually to soothe restlessness, irritability, malcontent
      • one cannot break the habit and it becomes more entrenched
      • creates remorse -> bargaining -> craving -> sometimes binge cycle
      • erodes self confidence
      • we become more reliant on self will which often doesn't work
      • problems pile up
      • finally, it becomes astonishingly difficult to solve the problem; psychic change, as Jung stated, may be the only solution
      Another way to look at psychic change is to borrow a concept from the buddhists: when faced with difficulty and suffering, seek refuge in the Buddha (or Higher Power, of your own understanding in the 12-step literature). If that doesn't work, seek refuge in the Dharma (or sacred texts, some literature which speaks to you and your suffering, offers a solution). If that doesn't work, seek refuge in the Sangha.

      We are a Sangha, our sweet group of Cleansers.
        Those are just a few ideas to work with as we march closer to our first official day of smoothies twice per day. In many ways, the 7-day pre-cleanse is the hardest part of the 21-day cleanse because you are navigating 3 meals per day while dumping gluten, dairy, caffeine, sugar and alcohol.

        Are you skin brushing? Drinking your hot water with lemon and cayenne? Taking your detox packets twice/day? Stocking up on seasonal vegetables? Stepping away from the microwave?

        Keep up the awesome work, and share with me in the Comments section what's working well, what's hard, what's neutral, what's charged.

          Monday, March 28, 2011

          Detox, Gottfried-Style - Join Us!

          We started our webinar cleanse last Thursday, but you can join us at any time up to March 30, 2011 right here.
          It’s never too late to detox.
          We are tasked with clearing out gluten, dairy, caffeine, sugar and alcohol over the first seven days as part of the "Pre-Cleanse" as well as starting the Detoxification Support Packets to prepare our liver and gut for the job ahead. Did you start your morning today with a cup of warm, filtered water with a quarter of yummy Meyer lemon and a pinch of cayenne? 
          To hear more about how to do this relatively easily and get started on balancing your hormones, click here.
          How are your cravings? Are you experiencing any? For a cup of green tea? For a bite of ice cream? Here's what we know about cravings: they are time-limited. They last for 20 minutes. Instead of taking a bite or a drink of what you're trying to dump, instead have a big ol' glass of filtered water and a small protein snack. Say 10 almonds or a carrot. Or a cup of your alkalinizing broth.
          Reset Your Liver with a Thorough Detox
          I thought we'd spend some time today covering the topic of why both resetting the liver. When we look at detoxifying our bodies, it is a good idea to start with the body’s own filter, the liver. Many people overlook liver health until it is too late. Signs that your liver is ailin': You're gaining weight and you're eating the same food. You're fatigued, and feel like you need a nap many afternoons. You have disrupted sleep, and tend to awaken between 1-4am. Please note, if you feel like you have severe symptoms, always check with your doctor!
          Is Estrogen Dominance Dragging You Down?
          Another thing to really be aware of is estrogen dominance when beginning a detoxification regimen. It is very common for women aged 35-50+and can have varying effects on the body. Estrogen is an important adaptogen for us: when it’s just right, our mood is stable, our weight is relatively easy to sustain, our periods are not too heavy, our libido is just right.
          Estrogen has over 400 jobs in your body. If it’s too low, as happens in menopause, our mood can fall because estrogen is Nature’s Prozac: it keeps your serotonin in the normal range. Low estrogen also causes dryness: of skin, vagina, vulva, clitoris, all the places that should be juicy and luminous. Your joints may also feel it.
          When your progesterone divided by estradiol in the mid-luteal phase (approximately day 21 in a regularly cycling woman) is less than 100, you have a condition called estrogen dominance. Some of the pretty symptoms include: weight gain, breast tenderness, mood swings/PMS, growing fibroids, heavy and/or irregular cycles, painful periods and occasionally endometriosis, infertility or subfertility, sometimes autoimmune conditions such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.
          Ready, Set, Cleanse!
          We start in earnest with our full Cleanse next week, on March 24, 2011 and the next seven days allow us to transition off of the toxins we've been using somewhat gradually. While this blog post is primarily aimed at those who have joined our Group Cleanse, you can also join us virtually both on the blog, or on Facebook, on Twitter, and take the supportive supplements (ordering information is below).
          Here is a great question on Detoxification: why bother with detox supplements to support the Cleanse? I thought I'd spend a moment giving the liver's job description and listing the functions of the supplements that support the job. I really believe that you understand the biochemical underpinnings, even in broad strokes; you'll be more motivated and derive a better outcome. First we'll talk about the liver and then I'll fill in the gaps on how the detox supplements help you.
          The Liver’s Job
          The liver takes harmful (such as alcohol) and more benign substances (such as estradiol, the most common estrogen until about age 50), and converts these substances typically from fat-soluble to water-soluble so that you can remove them in your urine, stool or bile. You have a bazillion enzymes in the liver that act on these substances.
          Break it down for me, please?
          There are two steps to the liver's daily task - Phase 1 and Phase 2. A toxin enters Phase 1 in the liver (the P-450 cytochrome system) and is reduced to smaller metabolites, which then move onto Phase 2, where they are bound to glutathione, glycine and sulfate. This new now non-toxic metabolite can be excreted in the bile, urine or stool.
          Phase 1
          Phase 1 either neutralizes a toxin or metabolizes a toxin to an intermediate form that is then neutralized in Phase 2. The mechanism used in Phase 1 includes the chemical reactions of oxidation, reduction and hydrolysis, and these processes produce free radicals which may damage liver cells. Antioxidants (Vitamin D, resveratrol, etc.) reduce the damage. If there are lots of toxins and not enough antioxidants, the risk is much higher, and sometimes potentially carcinogenic substances may be made.
          Phase 1 and/or Phase 2 detox pathways may be overloaded or otherwise not working well. Particularly bad (aka, perfect storm conditions) exist when an ill person has an overload of toxins coming into Phase 1, and then Phase 2 is inefficient. This can lead to chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, drug intolerance, and chemical/environmental sensitivities, as well as other not-fun conditions.
          A little more info on Phase 1: when it's inefficient or overloaded, you may experience intolerance to caffeine as well as scented products.  Overactive Phase 1 folks will be unaffected by caffeine. Here are things that activate Phase 1 detox:
          • food: Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cabbage; high-protein diet, oranges/tangerines, charcoal-broiled meats
          • alcohol, sulfa drugs, nicotine in cigarette smoke, steroids (including estrogen)
          • environmental: paint fumes, carbon tetrachloride, exhaust, dioxin, pesticides
          • supplements: vitamin C, niacin (B3) 

          Phase 2
          Also known as the conjugation pathway -- this means that liver cells add a little something (cysteine, glycine, sulfur) to the substance that is coming in. This makes the substance dissolve in water, and then you can get rid of it in urine, bile or stool. For things to work optimally here in Phase 2, you need the amino acids taurine and cysteine as well as additional nutrients (glycine, choline, and inositol). This is where the detox supplements come in!
          A Side Note about Bile
          Guess what? You make it in phase 2, and normal folks make a quart per day! Bile is the truck that drives the toxins out of your system into the intestines. What's important here is that the bile gets absorbed by fiber and excreted. Low fiber-diets lead to poor binding of the toxins, and the toxins get re-absorbed.  This now helps you understand why we are adding more fiber both with whole foods and a fiber supplement starting on day 8.
          Power Packets!
          Take a wild guess at what's in the Detox support packets: potent doses of taurine, cysteine, glycine, inositol, taurine, MSM, Vitamin B6 & 12, Vitamin C, antioxidants, and several other co-factors that help the liver such as biotin, selenium, zinc. These make Phase 1 and Phase 2 Detox pathways operate more efficiently and clear out lingering toxins. We haven't yet talked about the gallbladder, but several additional botanicals such as dandelion root, artichoke and beet extract help both the gallbladder and the liver with detoxification. The twice/daily Detox support packets prepare the liver and gut for the full Cleanse. The supplement helps to minimize damage from free radicals while revving up (or upregulating) the Phase 1 and Phase 2 liver detoxification pathways. You'll also get from the supplements improved digestion of fats and fat-soluble substances. You'll take the Detox supplements for one month.
          If you are interested in joining our Cleanse virtually, call or email our office and order the Detoxification Support Packets ($90 for a 30 day supply). Click here to order online or to visit our website (email us if you need help).
          Detoxification is a very complex biochemical system, and I've oversimplified much of it in the service of making it more accessible. If you have questions, please post them in the comment section.

          Friday, March 25, 2011

          On Cleansing, D#1 - Kicking Caffeine

          What is your most irrational fear? As you titrate with us off caffeine, gluten, dairy, alcohol and sugar, what are you most afraid will happen? Let's start with caffeine.

          Today is D#1 of the Gottfried Cleanse, and I'm kicking caffeine - or at least I'm starting the process. Why is it so hard to decaffeinate? What's stuck and repetitive in my thinking about caffeine and what it does for me? Are you similarly addicted? What are the reasons? Better energy? Better concentration? More creative? More on your game?

          Many of my patients look at me blankly when I suggest they detox off caffeine. A doctor has never told them to decaffeinate before - and that may have something to do with the fact that 90% of doctors are addicted to caffeine. Yet the same patients tell me they're exhausted, they don't get restorative sleep, they're sleep is disrupted with awakenings at 1am or 2am or 3am or 4am or all of the above, they have a hard time winding down, they're "wired but tired." We check their labs and cortisol is too high after their cup of Peet's, and there's a muffin top emerging in their mid-section. They have blood sugar instability, and get irritable unless they eat frequently. Even worse, caffeine increases inflammation, which is the final common pathway for many bad things from bad aging to cancer.

          All related to caffeine. Kick the habit with me, slowly over the next 7 days. Substitute real sources of energy rather than fake sources. Exercise in the morning instead of your cuppa Joe. Meditate. Take maca capsules or add maca powder to your smoothie. Check your adrenal function.

          "But I only drink decaf!" is another common refrain in my practice. I drink decaf too, well Blue Bottle Decaf Noir to be precise. It has a fair amount of caffeine (usually 1-3% to comply with international standards), and the process for decaffeinating is not exactly good for you. Here's that chemical process as described by Wikipedia:

          In the case of coffee, various methods can be used. The process is usually performed on unroasted (green) beans, and starts with steaming of the beans. They are then rinsed with a solvent that extracts the caffeine while leaving the other essential chemicals in the coffee beans. The process is repeated anywhere from 8 to 12 times until it meets either the international standard of having removed 97% of the caffeine in the beans or the EU standard of having the beans 99.9% caffeine-free by mass. Coffee contains over 400 chemicals important to the taste and aroma of the final drink: it is therefore challenging to remove only caffeine while leaving the other chemicals at their original concentrations.

          I've taken a fair amount of chemistry and biochemistry courses, and I can tell you that "solvent" is almost never a good thing.

          I'm taking my Detoxification Support Packets, which really helps the liver with getting off caffeine with minimal side effects. For more on the two phases of detoxification and how the packets help, click here. To order Detox Packets, go here and search "detox."

          Today: white tea, third infusion only. No decaf. Lots of herbal tea including ginseng. My canary: hot filtered water with Meyer lemon and two pinches of cayenne. I'm lovin' my liver again. xoxo

          Thursday, March 24, 2011

          On Cleansing, D#0

          A Hindu Scholar named Swami Adiswarananda once said that we must renounce what we've been doing for something that feels better. None of us renounces what feels good for something that feels worse.

          His words frame my entry into the official start of our Gottfried Cleanse tomorrow, which is designed to balance your hormones and reduce your toxic load. You can join us via webinar at any time up to March 30. 2011 by clicking right here. I am going to post daily, Monday-Friday, on what is happening while I cleanse for the next 21 days: what comes up, what I'm working with, what about my relationship to food (and self-realization) is shifting, what I'm learning as I transcend the desire for food that makes me ill.

          Today I asked our cleansers to start with an inventory of their relationship to food. Here are some questions to consider (please let us know your responses in our comments section!):
          • POWER What makes you feel most powerful when reviewing how you eat and your relationship to food? When do you shine with food; what best serves you?
          • HARM What is chronic, charged, repetitively not serving you in how you feed yourself?
          • STOP What would you like to stop eating or doing with food? Examples: eating standing up, eating in the car while speeding to school to get your kids there on time, drinking 2 glasses of wine when 1 would have been fine.
          • FEEL How do you want to feel with food?
          Meanwhile, we talked about many fun and practical things that I wanted to share, for instance:
          • For getting off caffeine over the next 7 days, meet or re-introduce yourself to the many detoxifying benefits of skin brushing. One cleanser from Oregon tells me there's no Whole Foods Market near her, so could I help a girlfriend out and give a link to where to obtain one. Here you go. Today on our webinar, I demonstrated how to dry skin brush, but my tiny little video didn't quite do it justice - so here's another video on it.
          • Eat lotsa greens! Here's a favorite recipe from an old post on massaged greens. Share other fave recipes in our comments section!
          • Breakfast ideas. When I'm cleansing, I eat 1 oz dry of quinoa flakes or gluten-free oats (when "wet" they usually weigh 5-6 oz) with 6oz of berries, 10 almonds and 2-3T of flax seeds. I add 2 poached eggs.
          • There are significant risks from eating off food cooked on teflon-coated pans. Much better alternative: Scan Pan. Here's a link to scan pans at Sur La Table.
          Some come back and join the dialogue as we transform your relationship to food, which I believe is foundational to both hormone organization and self-realization!

          Tuesday, March 22, 2011

          Natural Health Magazine: Interview on Low Libido

          Thrilled to be interviewed in Natural Health, published in the April/May 2011 issue. Most of what I said about hormones and how they modulate libido got cut. My main point that libido is extremely complex (and that 70% of the time there's a hormonal component) but that there are many other factors including relationship connectivity - at least that made it in. Click here to read the article.

          My long answer on how to manage adrenal dysregulation got distilled into a cliched soundbite: meditate and exercise. Excuse me? That is so not helpful. There's a much bigger story here, but still, it's a start. We gotta start somewhere.

          BTW, does anyone know how to post a PDF on blogger? Haven't figured it out yet, so had to send you to my website, where I do know how to post PDFs.

          Saturday, March 19, 2011

          Radiation in Cali: Not Normal, Not Dangerous But Are Physiologic Doses of Iodine Warranted?

          We know that 45% of survivors from the last nuclear blast in Japan had thyroid problems. I posted one week ago that potentially massive amounts of radiation could come our way on the US Left Coast if Japan's reactors had a meltdown, and we're still unsure if that may happen. Fortunately, right now the crisis seems a little less dire, or perhaps it's just eclipsed by the crisis in Libya.

          Last Saturday, one week ago, I warned you of the risk of the nuclear fallout from Japan so that you would consider buying iodide before the rush emptied the shelves. The US Surgeon General agreed with me. Not take the iodide, but have it on hand.

          I also owe you an apology for quoting Dr. Brownstein, who had heard estimates of up to 750 rads might show up here in California. Turns out that number was high, and for that I apologize, for any greater fear or panic it may have caused.  I didn't mean to suggest that 750 rads were here from Japan, but I did cite his numbers, which I later could not substantiate. I think it came from worse-case scenario readings from Physicians for Social Responsibility, but I'm not sure, and Dr. Brownstein has not responded to my request for clarification. I'm madly in love with transparency, so I want to be clear about my sources and lack of substantiation. I'm also not an expert at nuclear physics, but I am an integrative physician trying to protect your thyroid, and mine, and our kids, who are particularly vulnerable. It looks like massive amounts of radiation are not coming our way as of yet, at least not today or for the next two to three days. Like you, I'm still tracking the risk, the jet stream, and potential damage on a daily, often hourly, basis.

          Another of my concerns is that the Japanese lead the world in how much iodine they consume. They eat, on average, 13 mg/day, mostly in the form of sea vegetables. We in the US consume 100x less. That means the Japanese are at a lower risk of radiation damage from radioactive iodine than we are. The Japanese diet, rich in iodine, reassures me as they face the frightening ongoing risk of nuclear fallout.  However, our low consumption of iodine concerns me.

          While many physicians are saying: "Calm down! Don't panic! Don't take iodide!" I wonder, among the physicians who really understand the role of iodine in the body, how many of them are taking iodide at a dose lower than the CDC recommends should we be exposed in large amounts to radiation.

          Should you take a low dose of iodide? We're not sure.

          Here's a post from a doctor I used to work with, Beth McDougall, MD, who recommends to her patients 12.5mg/day of iodine in the form of iodoral.  I do not think we need this much, but is a lesser amount a good idea? I always, daily, take 0.4 mg of iodine; it's in my multivitamin. Should you? Now, we know that iodine is not for everyone - it can be harmful in some cases. Do you take it at a low dose? Check your multi and see. My point is that the less iodine-deficient you are, the less likely that even small amounts of radiation will be taken up into your body. And it's not just your thyroid; iodine is also taken up into your ovaries and breast tissues.

          A few gentle reminders. Information on this web site is provided for informational purposes only. The information is a results of years of practice experience by me. This information is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional. I cannot offer medical advice to those that I do not have a physician/patient relationship. But discussion is highly encouraged, along with knowledge and empowerment. 

          If this crisis and spotlight on iodine gets you to increase your iodine consumption to more physiologic levels, even if that's eating seaweed more often, that's a great value add.

          Let's talk it over here in the comments section.

          Thursday, March 17, 2011

          NYT: Radiation Extremely High at Reactors

          We finally have news today from a US official who has independently assessed the nuclear reactors, and states the amount of radiation is "extremely high" as reported on the front page of the New York Times this morning. Not surprisingly, the US and Japan are split on the potential nuke danger. Actual measures of radiation remain obscure, although Anderson Cooper and Sanjay Gupta, MD reported from Tokyo last night that their personal radiation dosimeters (little hand-held detectors they wear like Lawrence Livermore personnel) confirm that the radiation is 10 times normal.

          What are we to do here in California, where radiation is expected to arrive tomorrow in a "not normal, not dangerous" dose, according to the New York Times? Is "not dangerous" as defined by a group of conservative, conventionally-trained physicians, the same as my definition of "not dangerous"? I'm not so sure. Many are saying: don't take iodide, such as endocrinologist Theodore Friedman as interviewed by thyroid advocate Mary Shomon.

          I'm not happy with that message - I believe we still don't know, and that the answer is "maybe" we'll need the iodide. I agree with the US Surgeon General that it is reasonable to have it on hand. We are not yet advised to take it. Small doses may be appropriate and acceptable in some situations (discuss with your doctor), and if the frantic efforts in Japan, over 5000 miles away, do not succeed, we may need it. If we need iodide, I suspect we'll need less than the CDC recommended doses because of our distance from the crisis, but we really don't yet know. What else can you do? Stay indoors, take antioxidants such as Vitamin C. Let's see what unfolds, and as I keep saying: prepare for the worst, hope for the best.

          Wednesday, March 16, 2011

          Radiation Dilemma: Resources

          Yesterday the US Surgeon General said: Get iodide. It's a worthy precaution. But don't take it yet.
          Meanwhile, the California Department of Public Health says: Don't take iodide. Here's their new site of FAQ on radiation in California.
          The situation continues to worsen in Japan, and an MIT CNN commenter last night was . Thousands are fleeing Japan by any means necessary.
          The CDC, still not very helpful, states that if you have a thyroid condition, an allergy, or are over 40, you should not take iodide. Here's the FDA on the subject. Old (2001) but evidence-based.
          This morning, Japan raised the max radiation dose acceptable for nuclear workers to 250 millisieverts from 100 millisieverts, describing the move as "unavoidable due to the circumstances," AP reports. Last check: 3/16/11 at 7am PST.
          Stay tuned.

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          I'm an organic gynecologist, yoga teacher + writer. I earn a living partnering with women to get them vital and self-realized again. We're born that way, but often fall off the path. Let's take your lousy mood and fatigue, and transform it into something sacred and useful.