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.

Protecting Ourselves from Radiation

Most of this article comes from my notes of a session on the dangers of Electromagnetic Frequencies presented by Mary Cordaro at the recent Weston A Price Foundation conference. Mary’s website is packed with science and helpful hints on how to protect us from the harmful wavelengths in the world today, as well as other environmental concerns. I encourage you to explore it as well as the site of the folks at Defender Shield who were also at the conference.

To learn more about specific types and sources of EMFs, I went to greenfacts.org.  You might want to do the same.


ELF – (Extremely low frequencies) – comes from wired devices

  • At desks, move cables/power strips as far away from your feet as possible
  • Unplug as much as you can in your room at bedtime
  • No electric blankets
  • Use battery operated clock
  • If you are really electromagnetically sensitive – turn circuits to bedroom (and around bedroom) off – do this after they have been inspected so you’re sure they are safe.

HF – (High frequency – digital microwave – pulsed radiation – cordless phones)

  • Antennasearch.com – see how close cell towers are to your house
  • When using the following, you should test the area before and after putting the protection up:
        • Window films and coatings
        • Window shielding fabrics
        • Canopies over beds
  • Cordless Phones:
      • Are like a mini cell tower – always emitting
      • Use no more than 900 megahertz
      • Use sparingly
      • Use speaker if equipped with such
      • Investigate protective stickers that can be placed near the battery
  • I found a great article on HF-EMFs here.

 Cell Phones

  • All smart phones and tablets emit radio frequency electrical magnetic fields 10-15 feet out when in standby mode
  • No pregnant women or children should use them
  • Use corded phones at home   (not cordless! – see below)
  • Everyone should minimize cell phone use
  • Use a well-researched protective device like DEFENDER SHIELD Cell Phone Protection
  • Talk on speaker
  • Use Blue TUBE (not Bluetooth!)
  • Place phone at least 15 feet from people
  • Put smart phone in airplane mode as often as possible (there still is some radiation still, but much less)


Wi-Fi  (studies in rats that showed Wi-Fi increases oxidative stress)

  • Keep in mind that the Wi-Fi harmful wavelengths come from both the router and the device hooked up to the Net
  • If you can, remove Wi-Fi from your home and use a hardwired Internet connection
  • Turn off your router at night
  • Move router away from people, especially children

Smart Meters

Dirty electricity is a problem if you have Romex (as opposed to metal tubing). To reduce it:

  • Avoid dimmer switches
  • Use incandescent bulbs
  • Avoid halogen lamps

Flat Screen Televisions

  • AC magnetic radiation from a flat screen is relatively low (lower than the fatter TVs used to be).
  • AC electric radiation, however, remains for up to 8 hours after turning the television off.

Additional websites that were strongly recommended:

I personally purchased a Defender Pad for use with my laptop.  While Mary Cordaro strongly recommended not getting a smart phone, I suspect some day I will.  When I do, I plan to get a Defender Shield case for it.







A Must Read - The Iodine Crisis

iodine crisisWe need to be AWARE – we have a severe nutrient deficiency in the U.S. (and many other places on the planet). The book, The Iodine Crisis, by investigative reporter and whistleblower, Lynne Farrow, should be read by everyone who is concerned about their health. I was moved so greatly by the content; I knew the importance of sharing information from the book with the masses. In the interest of time, both my own and for you the reader, I will provide highlights here.

Farrow begins the introduction with “Iodine deficiency wrecked my life”. How I wish we could quantify the number of people to which this statement applies.   I strongly suspect the same applies to myself, but we’ll never know.

The author’s search for the truth went into overdrive when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She was able to find objective research from over 50 years ago connecting breast cancer and iodine deficiency and was shocked that this issue was not mentioned in any sources available to current breast cancer patients.

As she dug more into this crucial mineral, she discovered a “text book-accepted theory about the dangers of iodine” dating back to 1961. Except is was NOT true. At all. Fortunately, Dr. Guy Abraham, together with his research partners Dr. Jorge Flechas and Dr. David Brownstein have brought the truth to light. More on that in a bit.

What happened to our use of iodine? Here I will take the lazy blogger’s way of conveying information and share with you some highlights from a few of the chapters.

Chapter 4: Bromine-A Cause for Iodine Deficiency   “We’ve become iodine deficient since the 1970s because the anti-iodine bromine has purged iodine from our bodies.”  “Iodine is the biochemical ‘antidote’ for toxic bromine but it takes time.”

Chapter 5: Why Does Your Body Need Iodine? Iodine is essential in small amounts for every single cell in the body.

Medical records from 1906, showed iodine was used as The Universal Medicine for things like atherosclerosis, uterine fibroids (seriously, after what I went through??), swollen glands, prostatic hypertrophy, depression, eczema, ovarian cysts, “rheumatism” and breast pain.  Farrow includes a list of conditions she has seen helped by iodine including those just listed and dozens more including fertility problems, blood pressure, fibromyalgia, hearing loss, constipation, eye problems, weight gain and brain fog. The way I see it, if you have any of these issues and you either aren’t taking iodine or haven’t had it tested, you’re missing out.

The myth that iodized salt has enough of this essential mineral to keep us healthy is DANGEROUS. First of all, half of the original iodide is lost from the time the salt leaves the factory until it gets to the grocery store. More of the iodine escapes into the air after you open it at home. Only 10% of the iodine is absorbable, that is as long as you don’t cook with it because cooking destroys it. And the form added to salt is not the form women need for healthy breasts. Sheesh.

If you think you can get enough iodine from fish, be prepared. You’ll need to eat about 4 pounds of fish from the ocean. Every day. Hungry?

Chapter 6: Why Consider Supplementing Iodine? Farrow emphasizes iodine’s “profound power to detox, normalize and nourish the cells so they can work optimally…Iodine is more of a missing link that helps the body regulate and adapt.”

In this chapter and Chapter 8 she discusses the particulars of why and how to take iodine. I’ll let you get the book instead of regurgitating it here. The most important point is to understand that the amounts recommended by the USDA are miniscule compared to what the body really needs (150 micrograms vs. 12.5 to 50 milligrams – {1000 micrograms = 1 milligram, by the way}).

I know so many women with Hashimoto’s disease so I believe this comment is worthy of mention here: “iodine deficiency is often the most direct cause of Hashimoto’s combined with selenium deficiency.”

Chapter 7 – What Do Doctors Think About Iodine? Most doctors in this country have been taught to be Iodophobic – to fear iodine because it could damage the thyroid. Two major reasons are 1.) The fact that iodine is cheap and can’t be patented, so no drug reps are “educating” doctors about it, and 2.) The Wolff-Chaikoff conclusion discussed in detail in Chapter 17 (keep reading please).

Farrow notes that “iodine literacy is spreading fast”, through the American College for the Advancement of Medicine, The Anti-Aging Conferences, The Iodine Conference and the Weston A Price Foundation conferences, where Dr. David Brownstein often speaks (very informatively I might add).

Moving forward to Chapter 11, Farrow discusses the growth of online discussion groups about iodine that have helped countless people regain their health. Included in these are www.facebook.com/groups/IodineWorkshop, http://curezone.org/forums, and http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/breastcancerthinktank.  Check them out. Please.

In Chapters 12 and 17, Farrow shares with the reader the REAL dangers of bromine. Not only is this dangerous halogen that blocks out iodine used as a fire retardant in cars, mattresses, electronics, pesticides and children’s toys and pajamas, but it is also used in flour, and vegetable oils (which are in Mountain Dew…ugh!).

In the early 1970’s, not only was iodine removed from bread and baked goods, but the anti-iodine potassium bromate was added. Insult to injury.

The fact that bromide has been banned in many countries, but not the United States, is reason to be concerned about policies related to health here at home.

Chapters 13 – 16 talk about the history of healing and the use of iodine. We learn that the old Merck Manual had iodine as the most used tumor remedy in the 1800s. How many cancer patients have been told this? We learn that the Civil War soldiers carried iodine canteens in addition to water canteens because iodine was used to purify water and treat infections. Other fascinating uses and a historical timeline dating back to 15,000 BC are shared.

After the second World War came the invention of penicillin and sulfa drugs which began to replace iodine for infections. Then, in 1948, and again in 1961, Drs. Chaikoff and Wolff published papers persuading physicians that iodine was dangerous. These erroneous reports, unsupported by legitimate science influenced medical educations for at least three generations until in 2005, Guy Abraham, MD., wrote the article The Wolff-Chaikoff Effect: Crying Wolff noting the mistakes in the studies from decades earlier. In bold, Farrow writes “The so-called fundamental law of physiology-that iodine can shut down the thyroid gland – has been challenged, overthrown and even reversed” and “If iodine could be stolen from needy patients for decades by two unverified scientific papers, we must blame a medical system that allows unverified studies to determine patient care.” Thoughts? I hope so. We have got to question! Think! And question some more!

This reversal of the Wolff-Chaikoff myth has created a revolution. “Iodine has been redefined from a poison to a vital nutrient with life-changing benefits.” Is your health care provider aware of this yet? Ask.

Farrow rightfully asks “How many women and men have suffered, yes, even died, because Wolff-Chaikoff’s conclusions that became the law of medicine?” Hmm.

Near the end of the book is a chapter entitled The Perfect Storm Theory of Breast Cancer which begins with a quote from Dr. Flechas “The absence of iodine in the human body is a promoter of cancer”. Once again, I’ll leave it at that and strongly encourage you to get the book for the fascinating details.

Finally, the Appendixes and Resources are enlightening and oh, so helpful.

Get the book. Read it.  I bet you’ll be glad you did.

When I purchase iodine off the Internet, I use Detoxidine, from Global Healing Center.

High Quality Iodine Supplement - Detoxadine










My hometown is waking up...to the microbiome

This post is dedicated to the new fermenters along the lakeshore of beautiful West Michigan. Great job to the students from my White Lake Area Community Education classes, Nourishing the Lakeshore, Fermenting the Lakeshore held at Unity of Muskegon and health conscious shoppers at Sweetwater Local Organic Foods Market.

cindy feister peer

What is the microbiome? Very simply, it refers to the fact that 99% of the DNA in our bodies is not our own; it belongs to micro-organisms. And if you’re eating nutrient dense foods, little to no sugar and fermented foods everyday, you’ll have “good” microbes that will treat you, their host, to health and wellness. Fast foods, lots of sugar and processed carbs feed pathogenic “bad” microbes and WILL lead to illness as well as extra pounds.

A little history…In the 1990’s, the Human Genome Project, the biggest project ever undertaken in biology, focused on decoding human genetic information (Holt, 2008). There was hope to find the genetic cause and cure for every disease that affects humanity. What was discovered by 2003 was that every animal species shares the majority of genes, but that the expression of the genes can come in a multitude of ways depending on something called the epigenome. The epigenome in influenced by what we are exposed to in our lifestyle. While the genome can be likened to the hardware in a computer, the epigenome is similar to the software, which tells the hardware what to do. But there turned out to be another missing link.

Ultimately, by 2008, the Human Microbiome Project began where we realized that part of the reason a stalk of corn has more genes (32,000) than a human (25-30,000) is the fact that we are hosts to an estimated 100 trillion bacteria. These bacteria work in concert with our genes to run our bodies.

NPR has an animated yet thorough introduction to this new knowledge. It is about 5 minutes long and I strongly encourage you watch it:

This research is in its very early stages. Yet if we look at the research of civilizations that did not live like we do, traditional peoples (like those found by Dr. Weston A Price), we see EVERY one of these healthy groups ate fermented foods. And they ate no processed foods whatsoever. When we learn to ferment and return to traditional eating, we, too, can experience the radiant health that is our birthright.

Today, our microbiomes are compromised all sorts of ways. Besides the losses during infancy addressed in the video above, our balance of good to “pathogenic” bacteria shifts with antibiotic use, toxins in our air, water and food, long term use of prescriptions and birth control pills as well as radiation. Without these beneficial “little critters” as I like to call them, we can’t digest and absorb nutrients to build healthy cells and this leads to nutritional deficiencies.

When we have an abundance of bad bacteria from eating processed food and drinking sodas, the “food” we eat gets broken down into toxic compounds which get absorbed into the bloodstream. From there they go to wherever we have a vulnerable area like our joints (i.e. arthritis), brain (i.e. fog, ADHD), skin (i.e. eczema, rash, acne) and our vital organs like our heart. These same bad little guys can damage the lining of our intestine and cause it to become inflamed and permeable (leaky gut), which leads to food intolerances and allergies. When this happens, we no longer are getting nutrients to build us up but instead get toxins that make us sick. And because 85% of our immune system is in our gut microbiome, if we don’t have good gut flora, our immune system goes haywire. No wonder so many people are unwell and overweight.

When people return to traditional ways, including fermenting, eating organic produce, consuming grass fed and wild animals and cutting out processed “foods”, their microbiomes can heal and do the work necessary to help return to wellness. For many, supplementing with probiotics is a sensible choice while they transition to more traditional ways. If this is something you choose to do, please make sure the product you use has integrity.

Lexi Larabee Photography

Lexi Larabee Photography

Wishing you real food for real health so you can be real happy.

The First Step to Better Health - Bacon Fat*

*from grass fed pigs…and organic evco

This post is dedicated to the incredible activist film maker Chris Bedford who introduced me to the sad and insidious world of food politics. He guided me – and thousands of others – to the possibilities for making our world sustainable. Today’s blog is controversial…Chris always loved controversy.

My family's favorite fat

Fats? Seriously? We’re supposed to avoid them, right? They clog our arteries and make us unhealthy. Especially animal fats. NOT!

Many people ask me what the first step toward better health is – I say switch out your fat. In my studies and travels I’ve met a growing number of very healthy people who understand the dire importance of good fats in the diet. But I’ve found the majority of people who live in my beautiful corner of the world, the Lakeshore of West Michigan, don’t have a clue. So I write this for them. The rest of you, nod your head and say “yup”.

Our bodies need fats. And saturated fats, those dreaded rascals that the American Heart Association and American Cancer Society have been warning us against for decades, are in EVERY cell in your body. Our heart, nerves, hormones and brain need them everyday. Has the advice we’ve been getting all these years shown a dramatic decline in cancer and heart disease? Let’s be honest…No.

Lipids and cholesterol = healthy cell membranes

That’s because our cells are starving. Look at any anatomy book and you’ll find that saturated fats and cholesterol form a key part of the outer edge (membrane) of all the cells that make up YOU.

So we have been encouraged to swap out animal fat with vegetable oils that aren’t healthy at the cellular level. Our poor cell membranes don’t get what they need to stay pliable and do their jobs in relation to the cells around them (cell signalling). After years of consumption of these liquid vegetable oils we end up with problems all over the body – immune system disruption, heart disease, memory issues, cancer and more. Yes, other lifestyle factors contribute to these concerns also, but why increase your risk? Dr. Mary Enig, the world renowned expert on the biochemical structure and effect of fats in the body discusses the issue at length in this interview, if you want to know more (and you REALLY should). No, you won’t see this on television or in the mass media because there’s no money in it. At least not for big business. But the truth is coming out, thanks to organizations like the Price Pottenger Foundation and the Weston A Price Foundation and the Internet (as long as we remain uncensored).

Well done Dr. Enig!! How sad that so many young people’s eyes were damaged because the advice we were given was flat out wrong. How long is it going to take to get this truth into the mainstream?

We must be aware of the QUALITY of the fats we eat. The fats from a grassfed cow are going to be healthy and the fats from a feed-lot cow eating GMO grains grown with pesticides and then filled with antibiotics and hormones are going to be VERY different. The organic extra virgin coconut oil that our cells thrive on and that can be safely heated to high temperatures is miles ahead of the rancid refined vegetable oil on the grocery store shelves that gets further damaged when we cook with it.

We’ve been sick long enough. It’s time for a change. The very first step I recommend is get rid of those truly dangerous fats and start adding in the coconut oil and fats that come from critters raised outside naturally. By the way, grass fed bacon grease is one of THE most tasty ways to add flavor to your casseroles and stir-frys.

We’ll talk about the superfood cod liver oil some other day.

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

What We've Learned from Traditional Diets

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

Rethinking the Food Pyramid...

Did you know that after the USDA released the Food Pyramid in 1992 the rate of obesity skyrocketed? That’s what happens when you encourage people to consume 6-11 servings a day of grain products without mention of product quality. And yes, there was a major link to the grain lobby. At the same time, the tip of the pyramid made the recommendation to use fats sparingly…no regard for the difference between good and bad fats. No mention of the fact that all our hormones are made from cholesterol.

The pyramid evolved and we were encouraged to eat less grains, make them whole, consume more fruits and veggies, but still eat “lowfat” milk and protein sources. We now have a “plate” as a guide – it’s better but does not address the need for high quality fat consumption (so necessary DAILY for cell and brain health) or the processing of grains/nuts/seeds in a manner so our body can better use their nutrients. The issues of pesticide residues, dangers of genetically modified organisms, concern about antibiotics and hormones in our animal products are not mentioned. These issues are real and are negatively effecting our health with every bite.

With so much mis-information out there, are you feeling overwhelmed? Feeling misled? Please don’t despair. The movement to get back to REAL nutrient dense food is growing exponentially. We will get there one step at a time. Pick a place to start this month. How about finding a local market in your area where you can meet the REAL farmer who grows your food. Or pick one vegetable or fruit in your diet and promise yourself you will only buy it if it’s grown organically.

One positive effort by the USDA is the program Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food. This is a step in the right direction to deal with the issues mentioned above. Here in Muskegon County, we are fortunate to have a source for local and organic food called Sweetwater Local Foods Market.

Take that first step.
Just start…

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

Update January 2014 – Denise Minger has now published an amazing book I highly recommend Death By Food Pyramid.