Why GAPS?

Because we can heal.  Because medications squelch symptoms which are warning signs that something isn’t working right.  Because we don’t have to live with IBS, colitis and Crohns, ulcers and digestive problems, joint pain and skin problems, depression and anxiety, constipation and diarrhea.  We can heal and seal our guts, rebalance our microbiome, and live the healthy, pain free lives we were designed to live.

Is it easy? Well, it takes planning, preparation and commitment.  Is it worth it? To answer that, you must ask yourself what price you would pay to have your body feel good.  The testimonials around the world of people who have successfully healed from all the issues mentioned above tell me that it IS worth it. The fact that I personally no longer have any joint pain, which my family saw as hereditary, makes it worth it for me.

So, what is GAPS?  The letters stand for Gut and Psychology Syndrome.  The acronym and diet were created by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride in 2004.  Dr. Natasha has helped patients around the world heal from psychological issues such as autism, ADHD, depression and anxiety, as well as from physiological (body related) problems like autoimmune conditions, chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia, arthritis, headaches, PMS and all digestive disorders.  Therefore, GAPS also stands for Gut and Physiology Syndrome.

gaps book image

The body gets nutrition to build and rebuild itself through the digestive system.  Unfortunately, in the world today and especially in the United States, the standard American diet (SAD) not only cannot sustain the body, but it leads to the deterioration of it.  Our lifeless processed food does not give our body what it needs to build new tissue.   One of the first places to be damaged is our intestines which become permeable or otherwise known as “leaky gut”.   In addition, our overabundance of sugar caramelizes in our blood vessels wreaking havoc on our brains, eyes and nerves (and elsewhere).

When we have a leaky gut, things that aren’t supposed to get into our blood stream do and these can cause issues all over the body.   A major contributing factor to this is an unhealthy microbiome.  I strongly encourage you to read this article to understand why our microbiomes are  imperative to our health.

What do we do in GAPS?  We heal and seal that leaky gut with a healthy diet including lots of meat stock, grass fed/wild meat and animal fats and probiotic rich fermented foods. As we’re healing and sealing, we’re working toward reducing the toxic load on the body. This second part is so important because, unfortunately, we live with an overabundance of chemicals that our bodies can no longer handle.

What is the end result of GAPS? A digestive system that takes in what it needs to build healthy tissue while preventing the bad stuff from leaking through and causing dis-ease.  We fix what’s broken and the body works like it’s supposed to.

Real food ~ it’s the new medicine.




Gluten 101

Gluten handmadeWe’ve been hearing the word gluten for some time now…WHAT is up? For the newbies, I thought I’d write a simple “Cliff Notes” version of the issue.

Humans have been eating bread for millennia, what’s the big problem now?
Well, things were fine when nature was overseeing natural hybridization, but in the 1960’s, a movement began to hybridize wheat in the lab to increase yields. No safety tests were done. The 1990’s saw even more changes in the grain. At least 5% of the proteins in wheat now were NEVER in the food supply before. We have not evolved to be able to digest them, so they’re wreaking havoc on our bodies.

Who is at risk of gluten sensitivity?
Unfortunately, just about everyone in the U.S., unless you’ve been eating solely ancient grains that the body knows how to process; these include einkorn and emmer. In addition, the grains needs to be processed by traditional methods to neutralize anti-nutrients – soaking and fermenting (true sourdough).

Where do we find gluten?
Everything made with wheat, rye, barley, and triticale (cross between rye and wheat). So we’re talking pizza, pasta, bread, breadING, baked goods, cereal, etc. Gluten can be found in oats through cross contamination but gluten free oats are available from suppliers who are careful to avoid this.

What digestive problems can be caused by gluten?
Annoying things like constipation, heartburn, gas and bloating and diarrhea. With time, these will lead to more dangerous concerns like IBS, GERD, food intolerances, pancreatitis and celiac disease.

Are there other concerns besides digestion?
Oh, yes, non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS) can be responsible for or increase the severity of:
Skin problems – rash, acne, dark circles under the eyes, eczema, psoriasis.
Neurological symptoms – brain fog, ADHD, balance problems, headache (including migrane), increase symptoms of autism and schizophrenia.
Emotional problems – irritability, anxiety, dementia and Alzheimers, depression.
Musculoskeletal issues – fibromyalgia, joint pain and arthritis, chronic fatigue and reduced physical endurance.
Weight gain – especially around the middle and well as an increase in appetite.
Other – asthma, increase in blood pressure, just to name a couple.

Can gluten affect children and infants?
Definitely. Gluten has been found to be a major contributing factor in colic, chronic ear infections, poor sleep, digestive issues and skin eruptions like eczema in children.

So, what IS celiac disease, anyway?
Celiac disease is a digestive disease that severely damages the villi in the small intestine. Since it is in the small intestine that we get the nutrients out of our food, the body becomes malnourished because it cannot take in nutrients to rebuild itself. Significant deficiencies in minerals like iron, magnesium and zinc can cause a multitude of problems.

What does gluten do in the body?
VERY simply, in increases a substance called zonulin which makes our intestines become leaky. Then all sorts of things, like proteins, can leak out and go to the part of our body that is vulnerable (joints – arthritis, brain – fog and dementia, skin – acne).

What is the incidence of gluten sensitivity?
We know that celiac disease is on the rise, effecting about 2% of the population now, but non-celiac gluten sensitivity may affect between 30 and 40% of us, and “according to Dr. Alessio Fasano at Massachusetts General Hospital, virtually all of us are affected to some degree.” More info here from Dr. Mercola.

Can you have a problem with gluten and have no noticeable digestive issues?
Certainly. Sensitivity to gluten can show up anywhere.

The best way to see if it is affecting you, is to cut gluten out of your diet for a month (6 weeks is even better). I’d be surprised if you didn’t feel better.

Until next time…wishing you real food, for real health, so you can be real happy.




Does it bug you that you're eating Roundup? It should.

I watched this video last week and felt so sad knowing many of my loved ones are seeking help for illness from the medical field while they’re eating foods that not only can’t sustain them, but are literally harming them. In this interview, the actual mechanisms of harm are identified. I just had to share.

Many thanks to Jeffrey Smith and Dr. Stephanie Seneff for describing in detail what happens to the body as a result of exposure to Round-up. These destructive actions are contributing to most, if not all, of the diseases of our time. If you or anyone you know has one of the concerns listed directly below the video, I urge you to take an hour and watch. For those who can’t, I’ve summarized key points below, along with the time reading from the interview so you can go directly to that topic if you like. This IS effecting you. It IS harming you.

Jeffrey Smith interviews Dr. Stephanie Seneff about Glyphosate from Kristin Canty on Vimeo.

Problems influenced by glyphosate – the active ingredient in Roundup: anxiety, aggression, autism, ADHD, Alzheimers, cancer, depression, diabetes, fibromyalgia, gastrointestinal problems, heart disease, infertility, multiple sclerosis, and Parkinsons. If you have any of these issues and your health care professional has not advised you to stop eating conventionally raised food, you have not been given the whole truth. That professional has likely not been made aware of the danger, but it is real.

The interview begins by explaining that crops are now “Roundup Ready”, meaning the plants actually drink up the pesticide which leaves more in the food end product. Smith points out that the allowable residues have gone up since the plants were made Roundup Ready. Initially we were told Roundup would make it so less pesticides would have to be used, but the pests became resistant, and now its use has more than doubled. In the first 16 years, 527 million pounds of Roundup has been used. Current studies show, in the Midwest {7:20}, 60% to 100% of ALL samples of air, water and rain contain glyphosate. This is call for alarm. It is even found in the blood of newborn babies.

In a recent post on my site, I talk about how disease is caused by exposure to toxins and not having enough nutrients to protect ourselves. These are exactly the concerns Dr. Seneff cites {2:45} that Roundup is responsible for. She relates that glyphosate depletes calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc, cobalt and other minerals causing nutritional deficiencies AND leaves toxins in the body.

Dr. Seneff points out that Monsanto was able to say that the active ingredient in Roundup didn’t effect human cells because it works on a metabolic pathway called the shikimate pathway, which humans don’t have. However, as I pointed out in last week’s post on the Microbiome, we have 10 times more bacterial cells than human cells, and those bacteria ARE negatively effected by glyphosate, causing inflammation and other harmful responses.

What does glyphosate do in the body?

1. Harms our good bacteria and then bad (pathogenic) bacteria can take over (autism {5:oo}) and produce toxins (i.e. ammonia and formaldehyde) that can lead to encephalopathy (Alzheimers {20:00}) and DNA damage {13:00} (cancer {34:30}). Dr. Seneff stressed the #1 action to take for Alzheimers is to remove all sources of glyphosate (it is in processed food and used often in lawn/yard care).

2. Blocks the CYP 450 enzyme pathway {17:00} which harms the liver, ezymes that help us detoxify, hormones and our ability to make vitamin D.

3. Destroys amino acids in food as well as interrupting the body’s ability to make aromatic essential amino acids {25:03} like tryptophan and tyrosine. We need these aminos to make serotonin (lack = depression, aggression, obesity) and dopamine (Parkinson’s {32:00} and fibromyalgia).

4. Contributes to multiple sclerosis {41:00} both by destoying the myelin sheath and by causing leaky gut which leads to the body attacking itself (autoimmune disorders – of which we are seeing a dramatic increase). Leaky gut, or intestinal permeability, also leads to bowel inflammatory disorders {45:30} like Crohn’s disease, colitis and IBS.

5. Since minerals like zinc, cobalt and manganese are no longer available in our foods and our body requires these to function, we keep eating more and more in our body’s desperate attempt to get what it needs (Obesity {59:00}.

6. Disrupts our cells’ ability to store sugar (Diabetes {59:00}).

What about safety studies? {36:20} Monsanto did do short term (90 day) studies for safety. However, when independent studies were done, in the fourth month of research, the female test animals (80%) developed mammary tumors (breast cancer) and the males developed tumors in their kidneys and liver problems. Much more on Monsanto’s pseudo-science is available from the Institute for Responsible Technology.

GMO crops in this country include alfalfa, canola, corn, cotton, papaya, soy, sugar beets and squash (zucchini and yellow summer squash). And it’s not just GMOs anymore, Folks. Smith points out {60:00} that glyphosate is now being sprayed on non GMO crops such as barley, rice, wheat and rye immediately before harvest.

Bottom line…the mechanisms showing glyphosate/Roundup cause disease are now known and while you and I may not understand them in the detail Dr. Seneff does, we can take action to minimize their damaging effects on us. Eat NO GMOs. Eat organic. Do NOT spray your lawn and yard with Roundup or other toxic chemicals (that get on your shoes, your pets’ feet, young children playing outside).

If you haven’t already, I urge you to watch the film Genetic Roulette – The Gamble of Our Lives.

As always, wishing you REAL food, for REAL health so you can be REAL happy.




Chemical Calories for Your Skin??

What's in your face cream?


Did I get your attention? Good – because what you put on your body deserves as much attention as what you put in your mouth. The Food and Drug Administration monitors what we ingest through our mouth, but they haven’t yet accepted the fact that our skin soaks in chemicals and toxins, too.

While we don’t know for sure, many have suggested that through our skin, the body’s largest organ, we soak in calories from the products we use on our face and body. A recent study by researchers from the Children’s Environmental Health Center at New York’s Mount Sinai Medical Center identified an association between exposure to phthalates (found in personal care products, among other things) and obesity in young children – including increased body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference.

It is impossible to totally avoid the synthetic chemicals we breathe and those we come in contact with in public. But we can minimize our toxic load by paying close attention when selecting products for our faces, hair and bodies, as well as our homes and yards.

Most people want to trust that if a product is on the market it must be safe. Along the same line of thinking is the idea that our skin is a barrier that can protect us from harmful substances. Neither of these assumptions is correct. Unsafe compounds are being used and they are soaking in. And the efficacy of a product does not have to be proven so advertising can claim just about anything with regard to how it will make your skin and hair feel and look.

The regulatory authority’s stance in this country is that chemicals are safe until proven harmful. Eighty-nine percent of all ingredients in cosmetics have not been evaluated for safety by any publicly accountable institution. Sounds like we’ve been relegated to guinea pig status to me. By themselves, many of the compounds in personal care products have been identified as irritants, toxins, mutagens (damage DNA), terratogens (birth defects) and potential carcinogens (I think you know what that means) . We may be told the amounts are so small there’s no way they can harm us, but how many products are we using? What is the effect of mixtures of different compounds in the same products – or mixed with ingredients from other products? No one knows.

We have all the environmental toxins we’re dealing with, then we use small amounts of several personal care products, with unknown long-term effects and unknown synergistic effects. Scary.

What can we do? Read labels on everything that touches your skin and hair. Buy only products that are natural (vs. synthetic) and organic. Every dollar is a vote in a sense. Can you pronounce every ingredient? Is it a chemical name (dimethicone, sodium laureth sulfate, PEG-50 Almond Glyceride) or is it something you understand (like organic aloe vera and organic shea butter)? Is the word “fragrance” on the label? What exactly is in that?

Does the product have colorings? Are you aware of how many food colorings were once listed as safe but then removed from that list after they were found to cause cancer, behavior problems and other issues? At least 18. This is after we were eating them for years.

Parabens have for decades been used as an acceptable and safe preservative. Why then are many products coming out touting the fact they are “paraben-free”? Did you know methyl paraben is a xenoestrogen and has been found in 90% of breast cancer tumors tested?

There are products with integrity out there. The coconut oil I encourage people to consume everyday is a wonderful, pure, low cost moisturizer for skin and hair. Yes, it’s a bit greasy and can get on your clothes. During the summer, though, it’s great for bare legs and arms. I don’t recommend it for your face at all if you’re prone to oily skin. I choose to use Brittanie’s Thyme for my face, which is made in lovely Cedar Springs, Michigan. Their products are certified to food standards, so they can be eaten (and are safe).

Other organic brands are coming onto the market all the time (some wonderful, some deceptive). You can find recipes online to make your own. Do your homework, get used to reading labels, maybe switch one product a month. Please be aware. We’ve got to watch out for ourselves – and each other.

Until next time…wishing you Real Food (even for your skin) for Real Health so you can be Real Happy.




What We've Learned from Traditional Diets

http://www.tngparentsgroup.org/weston_price
Our standard American diet is sad; sad because its consumption is making us sick. Rates of cancer, diabetes and heart disease, as well as obscure diseases and behavioral problems in children are higher than ever.

Theories of healthy nutrition come and go, which only adds to the confusion about what we should eat to be healthy. The food industry loves this because then we all just throw our hands up and say…”everything is bad for you.” This is just not true. While sifting through all the claims and advice is not easy, when you use common sense and diligence, the truth emerges.

Fortunately we have the work of Weston A Price to show us what people who were truly healthy ate. Dr. Price identified 14 groups of disease free people. If we look at the diets of these hearty people we see they had similarities with each other but were very different to how we eat today. These common factors helped them build strong bodies that resisted disease.

Here are the 9 common characteristics of these life sustaining diets. Compare them with how you eat – could there be a correlation with your own aches, pains, tooth decay and other health problems? The answer is yes.

1. 30% to 80% of calories were from fat

2. Unrefined salts were eaten regularly

3. Lacto-fermented foods provided healthy bacteria for the intestine (this is where our nutrients are taken in to build our cells)

4. Absolutely no denatured/refined foods were eaten (no flour, sugar, lowfat milk, refined vegetable oils, food additives)

5. Some animal food was consumed by every group, be it raw milk or products made from it, fish, eggs, beef, pork or insects and reptiles

6. Nuts, grains and seeds were always prepared to neutralize substances in them called anti-nutrients

7. Preparation methods included cooking, soaking, sprouting and fermenting and some animal foods were consumed raw (milk and meat).

8. The amounts of omega 3 and omega 6 oils were about equal. Today that ratio is often 1:20 which has a devastating effect on our cells, particularly in the brain

9. All cultures used animal bones, usually to make bone broths.

These people ate REAL food they took time to prepare with love and care. And that food became their bodies through digestion and assimilation.

Are you eating REAL food? Think it might be time to?

If you see this as possible in your life, good for you, because it is. Large numbers of people are healing themselves by returning to traditional diets. The Weston A Price Foundation website is a wonderful resource. Each of the above issues will be addressed in detail in future articles on this blog.

Until next time, wishing you Real Food for Real Health so you can be Real Happy