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 I had no idea how out of date I was.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.

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      About Me

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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.