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Do you suffer from great challenge and/or a great health challenge?

Learn what worked for me, and what may work for you…

My latest book, The Memory of Health, is getting great reviews!  You can find it here for 40% off:

portlandwellnesscoach.com/MOH

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Get the pdf here:

Oxidative Stress, Baby

We’ve all heard of oxidative stress by now.  It’s when free radicals attack healthy cells and cause them to “rust” like a nail, or how skin can get that leathery look.

Free radicals are a byproduct of metabolism in your body, for instance.  They can also be produced by environmental toxins, when sun and air pollution mix, or by your liver due to poor detoxification.

If free radicals overwhelm the body’s ability to regulate them, a condition known as oxidative stress ensues. Free radicals thus adversely alter lipids, proteins, and DNA and trigger a number of human diseases.  Oxidative stress is now thought to make a significant contribution to all inflammatory diseases. (Lobo, Patil, Phatak, & Chandra, 2010)

Remember high school chemistry where you learned cells are made of molecules? Molecules, in turn have one or more atoms of one or more elements joined in chemical bond. You may recall (or may not :)) images of an atom as a circle with a nucleus holding protons.

Electrons circulate in the shells (or circles) around the atom. Atoms like to have a paired number of electrons in their outer shell for stability. So atoms get together and share electrons, forming stable molecules. To share they must split their bonds.

Here is how free radicals are made: when a weak bond splits and leaves a molecule with an unpaired electron, a free radical is formed. A free radical is smart and unstable. It quickly attacks a stable molecule to steal an electron. If the attack is successful, the molecule that gives up an electron then becomes a free radical itself. You can see where this is going. The end result is the disruption, oxidation, and death of healthy cells. Oxidative stress. Stressful enough?

What you may not know is that oxidative stress may play a role in auto-immune conditions. How? Oxidative stress can create pro-inflammatory cytokines. Excessive toxins may cause your white blood cells to down-regulate. This inhibition of your immune system may lead to more infections, thyroid dsyregulation, hair loss, premature menopause, constipation, and, yes, fatigue.

This is the one main reason I’m big on good nutrition and stress management. Self-care and practicing a healthy lifestyle can make a huge difference in the quality of your health and well-being. You want to protect your cells from losing their structure over time due to free radicals and oxidative stress. You can help protect your health by eating super dense foods which are high in anti-oxidants. Also, by managing stress levels, you may be able to minimize free radical damage. Both of these strategies can go a long way toward protecting your cells.

Oxidative stress can affect not only your immune system and organs, but also your nervous system. Additionally, oxidative stress may damage the mitochondria, the energy factories in cells, affecting what is known as mitochondrial energy. This may play a huge role, and be a big reason why people with chronic fatigue in general are so exhausted.

What happens when you have created too many free radicals in your body? You can deplete your glutathione levels, your master anti-oxidant. This scenario may lead to chronic illness.

Glutathione is present in every cell in the body and is low in almost every chronic condition (about 80%) including diabetes, cancer, heart disease, etc. Normally it soaks up free radicals. But if you don’t make enough and/or create oxidative stress in your body, you are probably low in this most important anti-oxidant.

Glutathione may also strongly affect mitochondrial performance, which is what produces energy at the cellular level in your body. Low glutathione levels are implicated in several neurodegenerative conditions such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. Since CFS is strongly linked to dysregulation in the hypothalamus, there is speculation that low glutathione levels might be a culprit in this condition. Low glutathione levels have also been linked to autism. Low glutathione is related to inflammation in lupus and arthritis. Also, it is implicated in MS. Low levels can affect the immune system and may lead to Th2 predominance.  Are you seeing the connection yet?

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In people who reach 100 years of age, there is a strong correlation between long life and high glutathione levels, some centarians even having levels as high as people in their 30s and 40s.  How do you protect yourself?  Your body makes glutathione, but if you are low, or don’t produce enough, you want to eat foods that are glutathione precursors, like fruits and vegetables high in bioflavoinoids.  Other great sources are raw foods like avocadoes, peanut butter, and whey protein.   See the section on Autism in The Memory of Health for a full list (pg.186).

Free radicals can also be produced by the liver, if one doesn’t detox properly (due to poor methylation, for example).   Free radicals are produced anyway, but your body can make too many of them as well.  There are actually two phases of liver detoxification: Phase I and Phase II.  In Phase I, your liver needs anti-oxidant power (such as glutathione) to regulate the free radical production in your liver, and also everything that travels through your liver.  You get this anti-oxidant power from that which is produced naturally inside of your body, and also from that which comes from antioxidants found in food.

Phase II is where your liver hopefully moves out unwanted toxins, compounds, etc.  In some people, this phase does not work as well as it should, which can lead to a build-up of even more toxins and subsequent free radicals, i.e. oxidative damage in your liver, and send out free radicals into your bloodstream, causing oxidative stress due to excessive free radicals in your body.  You can read more about the process of methylation in my book, The Memory of Health, in the section: Chronic Fatigue & Poor Methylation.

One of best things I found for gentle, natural liver detoxification is eating leafy greens.  I know it can seem hard to eat salad or leafy greens on a regular basis, but it can make a huge difference in your ability to detox and also raise your magnesium levels.  What I have found that works, is to make organic greens the base of my meals, and then add whatever else I love on top.  The point isn’t to “detox,” it’s to aid in your liver moving out toxins.  I will address this topic more soon here.

Some people use therapeutic grade wild orange or lemon essential oils (check with your doctor first).  I find this works for me, via a few drops in yogurt or smoothies.  One of the active ingredients in lemon and wild orange is d-Limonene, which may help with Phase II liver detoxification and may assist in building up glutathione levels (Brudnak, 2000; Sun, 2007).  MSM and turmeric help me with liver health as well.

If your body produces excessive free radicals in Phase I, you may deplete your glutathione levels.  You need glutathione for Phase II detoxification as well.  If you don’t have enough in Phase II, you may be susceptible to oxidative stress.  You can’t take a pill for glutathione – you can take precursors in pill form, but you make glutathione, you don’t take it – but you can eat foods and that increase natural glutathione production and take supplements like MSM, etc. (Mercola, 2013).

 

Glutathione Deficiency and Oxidative Stress

As we have been saying, glutathione is one of the major anti-oxidants and the master detoxifier.  It is a major component of your immune system, key to controlling inflammation, and a primary preventer of aging.  If you are not as vital as you’d like to be, you may be low in glutathione – and possibly CoQ10 (Bergamini, et al., 2012).

Many of us do not produce enough glutathione, especially those with chronic conditions who may have some impairment of the genes involved in glutathione metabolism.  How do you know if you are low in glutathione?  Get a genetic test (try an alternative practitioner).  There are other liver enzymes to consider being tested for as well, including the very important family of Cytochrome P450 enzymes.  See Chapter Four for details.

Without glutathione, or without enough of it, your body cannot rid itself of environmental toxins, processed foods, efficiently detox hormones, heavy metals, prescription drugs, etc.  How can you protect yourself? Eat more raw foods and more super-foods like wheat grass and spirulina.  These foods naturally contain high levels of glutathione precursors.  Increase your intake of peanut butter, sweet potatoes and turmeric.  Try natural whey protein.  Exercise increases glutathione levels and detoxifies your liver.  The time is now to start down a new path toward health.

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CFS and Oxidative Stress

It may be that people with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or even other chronic conditions have impaired immune function due to low glutathione levels.  This, in turn, may lead to muscle fatigue (myalgia – read fibromyalgia) and other symptoms associated with CFS.

 

Glutathione is essential to aerobic muscular contractions.  Is there competition between your immune system and muscular system for glutathione?  Testing does point to this (Bounous & Molson, 1999).

 

As Dr. Rich Van Konynenburg pointed out:

As a result of the shift to Th2…the immune system responds [and] further drains the body’s supply of cysteine to make glutathione, robbing the skeletal muscles of their supply, as Bounous and Molson hypothesized.  The muscles thus go low in glutathione and the oxidizing free radicals there (including peroxynitrite) rise in concentration, blocking their metabolism and producing fatigue.  Even though the HPA axis becomes down- regulated, there is still not an effective Th1 response to attack the viral infections, because of the glutathione depletion at this point. (Van Konynenburg, 2003)

 

MTHFR Mutation and Reduced Glutathione Production

 

As I mentioned, a major common factor in most people who have chronic conditions is reduced glutathione production.  Dr. Mark Hyman describes it best in this classic article: Glutathione: The Mother of All Antioxidants (Hyman, 2011).

 

What’s also relevant is what happens when you have a gene defect known as the Methylenetetrahydrofolate Reductase (MTHFR) mutation:

 

When you have the MTHFR mutation, the pathway for glutathione production is partially blocked and you have much lower levels than normal.   Glutathione is the key antioxidant and detoxifier in our body, so when its production is hindered one is more susceptible to stress and less tolerant to toxins.

 

… accumulation of heavy metals and toxins may lead to a multitude of symptoms including disease, memory loss, rashes, premature greying hair, hair loss, social deficits, migraines, depression, anxiety, nausea, diarrhea, cancers, and more.

 

[With children] who are autistic, 98% have a form of this MTHFR mutation.  A lack of methylfolate hinders the multi-step process that converts the amino acid homocysteine, to another amino acid called methionine.  As a result, homocysteine builds up in the bloodstream and the amount of methionine is reduced.   The body needs methionine to make proteins and many other important compounds. It also aids processes in the body from breaking down histamine, serotonin, and dopamine.  Thus, this defective methylation pathway is associated with psychiatric illnesses such as schizophrenia, depression and bipolar, as well as auto-immunity disorders, ADD, autism. (“MTHRF: Since an estimated 60% of the population has this condition,” 2013)

 

To find out much more about the MTHFR gene mutation, visit the website created by Dr. Ben Lynch where he reports on research studies: http://mthfr.net/ (Lynch, 2015).

 

Excerpts from my book, The Memory of Health.  You can find it here:  http://amzn.to/2aP3AbA

 

When I developed chronic fatigue, I turned to the natural foods industry to seek answers.   I began working in the supplements department of a natural foods store, and taking high-quality supplements (I’ve tried hundreds of them to find which ones work for me), and by learning how to eat well, I improved my energy levels and well-being significantly.  You can read more about my  journey here and in my book, The Memory of Health (see link below).

I cannot take prescription drugs, so for me, having access to high-quality supplements was a game-changer.  Of course, access to organic, non-GMO food is a game-changer too.

In my quest for answers to my health challenges and well-being, I became a Conscious Consumer. 

I share many theories and topics related to CFS and chronic illness as well as the road to well-being in great detail in my book, The Memory of Health.

You can find my book here.

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Do you suffer from chronic pain?  While, the company Liberty Lotion offers several products that contain CBD, Liberty Lotion is a CBD-alternative to address immediate pain needs.

Limitless Lotion by Liberty Lotion has saved me a few times in terms of addressing my immediate pain issues. 

I have had some lingering chronic pain from knee and back injuries. 

I have found Liberty Lotion to be especially supporting and effective and comforting for lower back  pain and hip joint pain.

Please note:

I have been given this product as part of a product review through the Chronic Illness Bloggers network. Although the product was a gift, all opinions in this review remain my own and I was in no way influenced by the company.

This is the product I was given to try.  It’s called Limitless Lotion…

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Here are some of the active, awesome ingredients:

White Willow Bark This is a natural pain killer, and works well in my experience for mild to moderate pain.  It works like aspirin to block pain immediately.  (Note: consider CBD found in other Liberty Lotion products to address chronic inflammation, and consider trying Limitless Lotion along with one of their lotions with CBS for complete pain support.)

Did you know?  White Willow Bark’s Connection to Aspirin and Salicylic Acid 

Limitless Lotion Ingredients | Willow Bark (from the Liberty Lotion website):

Willow bark has been used for thousands of years as a healing remedy. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, “[t]he use of willow bark dates to the time of Hippocrates (400 BC) when people were advised to chew on the bark to reduce fever and inflammation. Willow bark has been used throughout the centuries in China and Europe, and continues to be used today for the treatment of pain (particularly low back pain and osteoarthritis), headache, and inflammatory conditions, such as bursitis and tendinitis.” The article goes on to state that willow bark contains salicin, the source of Salicylic acid, which is used in many over-the-counter acne treatments. Some of you may be familiar with the healing potential of willow bark from one of my recent blog articles, “Limitless Lotion & Acne”. In this article, I touch extensively on how willow bark can be used to treat acne. Today, however, my focus is on the effect of willow bark on pain. The University of Maryland article goes on to say the following: “In combination with the herb’s powerful anti-inflammatory plant compounds (called flavonoids), salicin is thought to be responsible for the pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory effects of the herb. In fact, in the 1800s, salicin was used to develop aspirin.”   Read more here:  http://libertylotion.com/libertyblog/liberty-lotion-limitless-lotion-cbd-willow-bark/

Arnica Montana – I love this flower, and have found it very effective in addressing both immediate and chronic pain as well as chronic inflammation.   I have often taked it in the homeopathic version, which is highly effective as well.  This flower really works!

Boswellia (Boswellic Acid) – When in doubt, use Frankincense (also know as Indian Frankincense or Boswellic Acid).   I love this mantra, I find it very true, especially when it comes to pain and inflammation.  This resin is a star in the ancient Indian practice of Ayurvedic medicine. It is known for its ability to soothe joint, muscle and connective tissue discomfort.

Want to learn more?

You can check Liberty Lotion’s website here:  http://libertylotion.com

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*None of the statements have been approved by the FDA.  None of these statements or products are intended to diagnose, treat, or prescribe any condition.

PH449

Do you have Fibromyalgia?  Maybe you have some type of chronic pain or joint discomfort or chronic inflammation issues you are battling?

Address your pain, joint, and muscle discomfort and support a healthy inflammation response.  I tried this wonderful product, Fibro Soothe, and found it be VERY EFFECTIVE in addressing my pain, joint, and chronic inflammation issues.  This product works and works well!  I have had lingering knee and back injuries, and this product is a lifesaver!

Note:

I have been given this product as part of a product review through the Chronic Illness Bloggers network. Although the product was a gift, all opinions in this review remain my own and I was in no way influenced by the company.

I was given this truly wonderful formula by ProHealth.  You can find Fibro Soothe here:  http://bit.ly/2paIuhB

ProHealth was founded by Rich Carson, who was diagnosed with CFS back in 1981.  He is a huge advocate and much more of people with chronic conditions, including CFS, fibromyalgia and much more.  Here is a little more about Rich, his story, and ProHealth.

You can read much more on their website:

“Since our company’s founding in 1988, ProHealth has been driven by a crucial core mission: to support sufferers of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis / Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) and Fibromyalgia by offering world-class nutritional supplements, other products that make life easier for ME/CFS and Fibromyalgia patients, and targeted news, information and community access.

This commitment springs from our founder and CEO, Rich Carson, who was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome in 1981. A national leader in the fight against ME/CFS, Rich has been one of the top fundraisers in the United States for research against the disease since 1986, and was chosen to represent the Center for Disease Control in their $4 million Chronic Fatigue Syndrome awareness campaign. In 1997, Rich conceived and launched the Campaign for a Fair Name, which succeeded in changing the common name of the disease from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome to the name that patients prefer, ME/CFS. ”

Read more here:  http://www.prohealth.com/aboutus/

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*All images credits courtesy of ProHealth

From the ProHealth website:

“Fibro Soothe by ProHealth is a specialized formulation of herbs and other nutrients designed to help support a healthy inflammation response while also addressing joint and muscle discomfort. This combination of nutrients is specially formulated to help support cartilage and joint function.*

Helps Comfort and Soothe Aching Muscles & Joints*

  • Supports normal joint response to exercise*
  • Helps with sleep & mood*
  • Contains 9 specialized herbs and nutrients*

Fibro Soothe contains Boswellia serrata Wokvel®, Turmeric Longvida®, DL-Phenylalanine, Ginger, Devils Claw, Ashwagandha, Bromelain, Papain, and Turmeric Powder.”

These are some amazing and powerful ingredients that are superstars on their own.  When combined in this powerful formula, their synergistic effects are that much more effective in addressing pain, inflammation, and joint and muscle pain.  In fact, I was advised to take many of these ingredients (Devil’s Claw, bromelain, and papain) when I broke my knee in my early 20’s – this is the accident, along with surgery, that led me to develop CFS).

Let’s explore a few of the key ingredients in Fibro Soothe:

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*All images credits courtesy of ProHealth

Curcumin Longvida

Curcumin, the active ingredient in tumeric, has notable anti-inflammatory properties that may promote soothing comfort in muscles and joints. Longvida is 65 times more bioavailable than regular curcumin.***

Turmeric is very powerful in supporting a healthy inflammation response.  In fact, this is one of my go-to herbs to combat brain fog as well.

Devil’s Claw

Devil’s Claw is an anti-inflammatory herbal treatment which can help switch off inflammation, is widely used in Europe to relieve pain. One 54-week trial compared 38 people who took devil’s claw with 35 people who took the popular pain reliever rofecoxib (Vioxx). The devil’s claw was found to work as well as Vioxx in relieving pain.(12)**/***

This is one of the herbs my naturopath recommended to me when I was in rehab for my knee.  I was having a very poor reaction to ibuprofen, which I was taking to get the swelling in my knee down.  Instead, he told me to take enzymes like bromelain (on an empty stomach) and Devil’s Claw.  They worked like a charm so I could continue with physcial therapy.

Ginger

Ginger helps support pain relief due to inflammation or muscle soreness. It has strong anti-inflammatory properties that studies show may rival the benefits of some popular medications. A 2001 trial showed that a ginger extract significantly reduced the symptoms of osteoarthritis of the knee.(9)**/***

WokVel® Boswellia

Boswellia serrata, also known as Indian Frankincense or Guggul, was widely used in the ancient Indian practice of Ayurvedic medicine. It is a tree resin known for its ability to soothe joint, muscle and connective tissue discomfort.***

When in doubt, use Frankincense or Boswellic acid.  This resin is one of the most powerful solutions I have found to address a wide variety of issues related to pain and injury.

Bromelain

Bromelain, an enzyme found in pineapple, is a powerful inflammation response supporter. It has anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory properties.***

I was recommended to use this enzyme by a naturopath in order to help reduce chronic swelling in my knee after my ski accident.

Papain

Papain, an enzyme found in papaya, aids in the digestion of proteins and helps support proper inflammatory responses in the body.

Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha, also known as Withania somnifera is another key herb used in Ayurvedic medicine as a remedy for pain, stress, fatigue, and more. A review of ashwagandha studies indicates it possesses anti-inflammatory, anti-stress, antioxidant, immunomodulatory, and rejuvenating properties.(13)**/***

Sometime I am sensitive to Ashwagandha (it is a nightshade), but not in this powerful, synergistic formula.  That is the beauty of synergistic formulas:  they work in harmony to balance you and each other out.  Ashwagandha is also known as a powerful adaptogen (it can help your body cope with stress better).  In this formula, I am able to reap the benefits of Ashwagandha as a powerful adaptogen as well.  What a nice bonus!

DL-Phenylalanine

Researchers believe that D-phenylalanine (DPA) inhibits the action of an enzyme that breaks down endorphins and enkephalins. These are proteins that bind to opioid receptor sites in the brain, thereby influencing the perception of minor discomfort that is associated with normal physiological processes. By obstructing the action of this enzyme, DPA may extend the life of endorphins and their positive influence on comfort levels.***

DLPA is a powerful weapon to support pain levels.   It is a wonderful compliment in Fibro Soothe, and completes the wonderful profile of this product, imo.  I have found it to be a very good ally for mild to moderate headaches as well.

 

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Individual results may vary.

 

**For references, please see this page on ProHealth:

https://www.prohealth.com/shop/product.cfm?product__code=PH449&B1=BLGPH449

 

*** From the ProHealth website



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IBS is the most common digestive disorder, affecting 1 in 5 adults—and 2 out of every 3 women.

It affects all ages, and most sufferers are under the age of 50.

Yet, fewer than 50% of people who suffer from IBS seek help.

Get the facts on IBS on the infographic  above brought to you by Sabinsa and Delicious Living.

Click here for bigger size of infographic:  🙂

http://goo.gl/QHfY1A

What causes it, and how can it best be managed?

IBS is caused by:

  • Diet
  • Food Intolerances
  • Stress
  • Unbalanced Hormones
  • Disruption of Bacterial Flora in the Gut

Did you know?

Your gut and brain are connected by what is known as the gut-brain axis.

Your gut is known as your second brain.

Imbalances in your gut can affect your mood, and imbalances in your bacterial flora may lead to IBS.

What are the symptoms?  Check out the infographic above, or click here for a larger view:

http://goo.gl/QHfY1A

What are some solutions for IBS?

  • Do an elimination diet
  • Try a low FODMAP DIET*
  • Regulate digestion with fiber
  • Try to reduce or eliminate inflammatory foods (sugar, etc.)
  • Embrace real, whole, and natural foods – it can make a HUGE difference!
  • Supplement with probiotics and FOS (foods that feed friendly bacteria like onions)
  • Manage your STRESS levels – This can be a game-changer!  Excess cortisol can shut down digestion.
  • Eat probiotic-rich foods like yogurt (low to no sugar, kefir, kimchi, etc.)

*What is a FODMAP diet?

“FODMAP refers to foods that contain certain short-chain carbohydrates, and stands for Fermentable Oligo-, Di- and Mono-saccharides, and Polyols. The FODMAP theory suggests that when individuals who suffer visceral hypersensitivity and/or motility dysfunction consume high levels of FODMAPs there is an increase in intestinal distension which contributes to digestive symptoms.”**

Learn more here:

http://bit.ly/2ogk85N

**Managing stress may be a game-changer too.  Many people who have chronic stress can develop conditions like IBS, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, and beyond.  Managing stress means learning new skills like mindfulness, stress management, self-care, mediation, etc.  These practices can help create a healthy gut and help support symptoms associated with conditions like IBS.  There may be multiple causes of certain conditions, and but chronic stress is implicated in most chronic conditions as well.

Contact me if you would like help learning how to manage your stress better in order to feel better.

High-quality supplements offered by the natural foods industry changed my life. I am very sensitive to artificial ingredients, GMO’s, fillers, and low-quality ingredients (did you know if you are sensitive to something, it can create inflammation in the body – a big no-no!).

When I developed chronic fatigue, I turned to the natural foods industry to seek answers. I began working in the supplements department of a natural foods store, and taking high-quality supplements (I’ve tried hundreds of them to find which ones work for me), and by learning how to eat well, I improved my energy levels and well-being significantly. You can read more about my journey here and in my book, The Memory of Health (see link below).

I cannot take prescription drugs, so for me, having access to high-quality supplements was a game-changer.

In my quest for answers to my health challenges and well-being, I became a Conscious Consumer.

I take them every day, and they make a BIG difference in the quality of my life and well-being. I discuss supplements and holistic living in great detail in my book, The Memory of Health.

You can find my book here.

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**credit/reference:  Bolen, B. (2016).  Does a low FODMAP diet help IBS?  http://bit.ly/2ogk85N



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Plant Power:

How plant-based foods are supporting the health of people and the planet

People are more interested in alternatives to meat and dairy than ever.  Plant-based foods not only taste great, but they can improve the health of your plate and the planet! 

1 in 10 millenials are vegan or vegetarian now. We could save 8 million lives (not to mention the countless lives of animals) by 2050 if we focused more on plant food and less on meat.

Research and science have demonstrated that a diet that emphasizes plant-based food can reduce cancer, prevent chronic disease, and help you to manage your weight.

Did you know?

“AICR’s expert report, Food, Nutrition, Physical Activity, and the Prevention of Cancer: a Global Perspective, found that a predominantly plant-based diet – as in the New American Plate – may reduce the risk of cancer.

Not only do vegetables, fruits, whole grains and other plant-based foods provide an array of cancer-protective compounds, but a predominantly plant-based diet is a powerful tool in weight management. The fiber and water in plant foods gives a feeling of fullness without supplying a lot of calories.

The report concluded that maintaining a healthy weight is one of the most important things you can do to reduce your risk of cancer.”*

We have so many wonderful options these days and amazing recipes to power up your plate with the power of plant-based foods.

  • Pea protein is so versatile and tastes great in protein drinks.
  • Tofu can absorb the flavor of any dish, and is a great protein alternative.
  • Algae like Spirulina is a great natural mutli-vitamin and source of quality protein.

Explore plant-based alternatives and how they are feeding the good future in this infographic:

Infographic-PlantPower

Thanks to our friends at Delicious Living for this infographic:  https://goo.gl/II8T5J

Note: Click on the original link for this article above to see the infographic much larger!

 

* American Institute for Cancer Research (2017). The New American Plate. http://www.aicr.org /new-american-plate/reduce_diet_new_american_plate_science.html

 

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When did feeling “stressed out” become the new norm?

How did we get here?  And, how do we move out of this chronic state of feeling stressed out?

Unchecked stress can cause worry, anxiety, irritability, panic attacks, fatigue, and depression

We have many tools at our disposal, including yoga, meditation, exercise, sleep, nutrition, and community.

How do we stress less?  It might sound cliche, but it’s by finding balance.

I like to think of it as dynamic balance, where one is in a state of flow with life and self.

We find Balance again by:

  • A balanced diet (balance carbs, fats, and protein – see infographic above) – Emphasize alkaline food
  • Balanced Exercise (try yoga, meditation, walking in nature, hiking, etc.) – Aim for 30 min/day
  • By balancing our Energy – swap out coffee (which depletes magnesium levels) for green superfoods

Did You Know?

Balanced cells lead to a balanced body.

Balance = Stress Management

A 1:1 ratio of calcium to magnesium equals cellular balance.

Many people aren’t getting enough magnesium to create cellular balance, and stress depletes your magnesium levels even further.

When our cells are relaxed and in balance, proper magnesium levels keep calcium outside of the inside of the cell, except when it’s called into action.  When we are chronically stressed, we can develop a magnesium deficiency, which allows calcium to stay in our cells, after being called to action.

Check out the original article here for a much larger view of the infographic above, courtesy of Delicious Living.   The infographic contains wonderful information on how to regain balance from chronic stress, which can lead to depletion of magnesium levels, in part contributing to the feeling of being stressed out.

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How to Harness Electrolytes for Balanced Health

by Jack Challem

 

Magnesium

Often overlooked, magnesium is the second most abundant mineral in bone. However, its roles are multifaceted, playing parts in more than 300 enzyme reactions affecting muscle production, nerve function, blood sugar regulation and blood pressure.

Carolyn Dean, MD, medical director of the Nutritional Magnesium Association, points out that muscle twitches and spasms (think cramps or charley horses) are a common sign of magnesium deficiency. The mineral often helps with muscle tightness caused by stress and hyperactive behavior.

Dose: The RDA for adults ranges from 310–420 mg daily. A good target is 400 mg of magnesium daily in divided doses. Too much at once can have a laxative effect.

Your body teems with electricity, albeit at a very low level. Calcium, magnesium, potassium and sodium are your primary electrolytes, meaning that each of these minerals carries an electrical charge that influences how they work and interact with cells.

An electrolyte imbalance or deficiency in these minerals can cause serious health problems, even death. For your heart to beat, calcium sends a charge that contracts your heart muscle, and magnesium sends a charge that relaxes it. When you exercise, you lose electrolytes in sweat, especially potassium and sodium. That’s why smart athletes are quick to replace this loss with electrolyte-containing sports drinks, such as potassium-rich coconut water.

“Sometimes people consume too much of one type of electrolyte, such as calcium or sodium, and not enough of others, such as magnesium and potassium,” says Michael Miles, NMD, of Tucson, Arizona. “It’s important to get enough of the latter through food or supplements.”

Electrolytes have myriad other functions, such as maintaining strong bones and the body’s fluid balance.

Calcium

The body’s most abundant mineral, calcium is mostly found in bone. Bone isn’t a static tissue—old cells continuously get replaced with new cells and fresh calcium. However, some doctors question whether people take too much calcium. Thomas E. Levy, MD, author of Death by Calcium (Medfox, 2013), points out that vitamin C regulates the formation of the bone matrix (minerals and protein) and contends that low intake of this vitamin is a bigger factor in osteoporosis than low calcium.

 

Dose: The RDA for adults is 1,000–1,200 mg daily, but you can get much of that in foods, including vegetables and dairy. Consider modest supplementation, such as 500 mg daily of calcium citrate or carbonate. Add 5,000 IU vitamin D to aid calcium absorption.

 

Potassium

You lose a lot of potassium in sweat, and chronically low levels can contribute to hypertension and heart rhythm abnormalities. Unless you eat a lot of fruits and veggies—the richest potassium sources—there’s a good chance you’re low in this mineral. The problem can be compounded by taking loop diuretic drugs, which hasten potassium excretion. And drinking too many sugary cola drinks also depletes potassium, leading to muscle weakness, fatigue and in some cases paralysis. Taking potassium bicarbonate can counter osteoporosis, and it also reduces the body’s calcium loss.

 

Dose: Follow label directions. People with kidney disease or low levels of the hormone aldosterone, or who take heart medications, should not exceed 99 mg potassium daily from supplements except under a doctor’s guidance. Too much can also cause an abnormal heartbeat and cardiac arrest. Most multi-mineral supplements contain safe amounts of potassium, but the bicarbonate form may be preferred. The richest sources of potassium, however, are vegetables and fruits, and their intake is safe.

Sodium

Too much sodium causes high blood pressure, right? Not so fast. A recent government report downplayed the role of sodium because of conflicting research. Studies going back 25 years suggest that excess sodium is only part of the problem, mainly because only about half of people with hypertension are salt sensitive. Low levels of other minerals, such as potassium and magnesium, may also be contributing factors. And the other half of the salt molecule—the electrolyte chloride—might be a bigger problem.

 

Dose: You don’t need to increase salt intake unless you exercise in a very hot climate.

Check out the original article, plus specific recommendations by Delicious Living: http://goo.gl/Z43Qgk

 

High-quality supplements offered by the natural foods industry changed my life. I am very sensitive to artificial ingredients, GMO’s, fillers, and low-quality ingredients (did you know if you are sensitive to something, it can create inflammation in the body – a big no-no!).

When I developed chronic fatigue, I turned to the natural foods industry to seek answers. I began working in the supplements department of a natural foods store, and taking high-quality supplements (I’ve tried hundreds of them to find which ones work for me), and by learning how to eat well, I improved my energy levels and well-being significantly. You can read more about my journey here and in my book, The Memory of Health (see link below).

I cannot take prescription drugs, so for me, having access to high-quality supplements was a game-changer.

In my quest for answers to my health challenges and well-being, I became a Conscious Consumer.

I take them every day, and they make a BIG difference in the quality of my life and well-being. I discuss supplements and holistic living in great detail in my book, The Memory of Health.

You can find my book here.

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Delicious Living sat down with yoga teacher Heather Peterson, SVP of Programming for CorePower Yoga, to learn her top five yoga poses for stressful, anxiety-ridden days. Relieve tension with these easy poses at work, home, on the road, or at the gym.

Note: Here is the link to the original article on Delicious Living: 

http://goo.gl/bm9oVC

While “feeling stressed” holds a negative connotation, some stress is actually good stress.  This is known as eustress.

If your neighbor’s mean dog starts chasing you, for example, your body releases hormones like adrenaline to help you run away. This type of brief, acute stress helps you manage potentially dangerous situations.

It’s the long-term, chronic stress that is linked to dangerous diseases like high blood pressure, obesity, and diabetes.

The following simple yoga poses, suitable for novice yogis, aid in targeted stress relief. “These are amazing poses for calming the mind and helping reboot the immune and nervous systems, which are the key functions in relieving stress,” says Heather Peterson, SVP of Programming for CorePower and yoga instructor. “You don’t need to have any Jedi Master yoga skills—these poses are wonderful for beginners.”

Yoga can put your body and nervous system back into the parasympathetic state of being, where healing occurs.

This is known as The Relaxation Response, and is the opposite of the stress response and what is known as the sympathetic state or Fight or Flight.

While the following poses can be performed one after another, you can do any pose whenever you’re feeling especially anxious. Try holding each pose for 30 seconds or up to two minutes, breathing deeply throughout the duration of the pose.

Child’s Pose

yoga pose - female in sport clothes performing exercise

yoga pose – female in sport clothes performing exercise

Cues: Kneel on the floor and touch your big toes behind you, allowing your knees to sit wider than your hips. Lay your torso over your knees and extend your arms forward, palms down. Rest your forehead onto your mat.

Benefit: “We round over computers, children, or groceries all day, and the spine gets an asymmetric compression” says Peterson. In this resting pose, you are lengthening your spine and stretching your hips.

Downward Facing Dog

Yoga posture adho mukha svanasana downward facing dog white background

Yoga posture adho mukha svanasana downward facing dog white background

Cues: From your hands and knees, on an exhale, weight your palms and extend your pelvis back and up, reaching your heels toward the ground to form an upside-down “V”. Activate your arms like you are trying to push the floor away from you. Try bending your knees to lengthen your sit bones toward the ceiling even more for greater stretch.

Benefits: “This gentle inversion is a great way to cleanse the palate of the mind,” says Peterson. Because stress often worsens lower back pain, Downward Facing Dog stretches the entire back-line of the body and your shoulders. Plus, lowering your gaze helps quiet your mind.

Bridge Pose

yoga pose - female in sport clothes performing exercise

yoga pose – female in sport clothes performing exercise

Cues: Lie on your back with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor, and palms down (you should be able to reach your heels with your hands; if not, scoot your feet a bit closer to your pelvis). On an exhale, press your feet and arms into the floor and lift your hips toward the ceiling. Keep your feet and knees parallel, and continue to gaze toward your belly button.

Benefits: In addition to opening your hip flexors, Peterson says this slight inversion “also helps activate your lymphatic system,” your circulatory system that transports white blood cells throughout your body—a boon if chronic stress has weakened immunity.

Leg Up The Wall Pose

Fit young woman exercising to keep in shape

Fit young woman exercising to keep in shape

Cues: Sit next to a wall with your legs straight out in front of you. Lie gently onto your back and engage your core to lift your legs onto the wall, with the bottoms of your feet facing toward the ceiling and the backs of your legs grazing the wall. Place your palms out to the side for support. Release your head and neck onto the floor, breathing deeply throughout the duration of the pose. Try holding Legs Up The Wall for 2 to 5 minutes; if your legs start tingling, move out of the pose.

 

Benefits: “This pose is fantastic for people who have jobs that require being on your feet,” says Peterson. This moderate inversion promotes total body relaxation because it activates the parasympathetic nervous system, which slows your heart-rate and stimulates digestion.

Supine Spinal Twist Pose

supinespinaltwist

Cues: Lay on your back with yours arms in a “T” shape and your knees bent, with your feet flat on the floor. Drape your knees over to one side, gazing toward the opposite way. Keep both shoulders rooted to the ground. Repeat on the other side.

Benefits: “A twist is magnificent to reset digestion and elimination,” says Peterson. Grounding and gentle, Supine Spinal Twist is especially stress relieving if you sit all day, as it releases lower back tenderness. “It also cleanses internal organs to minimize immune burden and relieves muscles along the spine to provide deep relaxation,” Peterson continues.

Remember: It’s a good idea to talk to your healthcare practitioner before starting any new exercise plan. And if you have any injuries, it’s important to practice yoga under the guidance of a certified yoga instructor.

Images: Thinkstock





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Graphic credit:  http://goo.gl/7sd6lo

Having a positive start to your day can make all the difference! When you wake up feeling positive (or take the steps to get there) it can influence the rest of your day and beyond!

We often treat morning like it’s the starting gate in a championship race. What would happen if you slowed down and took a minute (or even 10) to begin your day more mindfully? Here are some easy ideas.

Let’s look at some positive steps you can take now to wake up and revitalize your mind, body, & spirit!

First, wake up your mind, heart, and spirit by thinking positively:

Today is going to be a great day!

I can’t wait to see what unfolds!

I will bring my best to the table today!

Then, if you feel like it, try some gently yoga poses to wake up your spine and nervous system.

Click here to learn more about which poses can help you to wake up in the a.m.!

Next, here are some more tips brought to you by New Hope Network and Delicious Living to help you slow down in the a.m. to power up the rest of your day!

  • Start with a herbal tea or a glass of water and maybe some organic lemon.  🙂
  • Remember reasons why you are grateful – this works at nighttime too!
  • Don’t forget to eat breakfast to get your body and metabolism going!
  • If you don’t do yoga or meditation some days, at least wiggle and stretch!
  • Find some positive inspiration: a quote, a morning show, a book or podcast, some music, etc.
  • Always seek the sun – it can truly help lift your mood and Vitamin D levels…

You can read more here:  http://goo.gl/7sd6lo

“Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.” 

~ Lao Tzu

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Enter to win a free copy of my book, The Memory of Health

Do you struggle with health issues like chronic fatigue, chronic pain, chronic illness, or autoimmunity?  Are you still seeking answers?

Are you curious about living a healthy lifestyle?

Are you interested in alternative and integrative health?  Are you curious about topics like yoga, meditation, mindfulness, lifestyle medicine, wellness coaching, self-care, stress management, resilience, and the mind-body connection?

Are you seeking a resource for CFS, other chronic conditions like MS, and mind-body research?

The Memory of Health took me 10 years to write.

It is a memoir and guide to living well, and is a meditation and conversation on well-being.

It covers many of the theories of chronic fatigue, as well as other chronic conditions like MS, RA, etc.

What makes you thrive in the face of great odds?  Are you seeking hope for your condition?

Enter to win a copy today!

Enter Here!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Memory of Health by Edie Summers

The Memory of Health

by Edie Summers

Giveaway ends April 16, 2017.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

Enter the #bookgiveaway above, on Goodreads 🙂

If you are interested in getting my book, you can find it at an affordable price on Lulu:




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Here are some of the tactics I used to rebound from ME/CFS, brain fog, and chronic fatigue. 

These tactics – along with many more tactics, as well as links, resources, references, in-depth theories of chronic fatigue, ME/CFS and other chronic conditions – are from my book, The Memory of Health.  What is The Memory of Health?

A memoir and guide to living well. The Memory of Health is a meditation and conversation on well-being. What makes you thrive, even in the face of great odds? What makes you come alive? At the age of 22, Edie developed chronic fatigue after having surgery for a ski accident. While physical therapy was helpful, she had to seek alternative treatment to regain full use of her knee. In the course of seeking answers to her health challenges, she discovered the power of mindful living and became a conscious consumer in her quest for true well-being. Whether you like mainstream, alternative, or integrative medicine as your solution for health and well-being, be conscious of the choices you make, because they matter.

While there are too many to list here – you can check out my extensive book and resource The Memory of Health – here are some of the key ways that work for me (keep in mind that what works for you might be some of these tactics as well as other tactics, although chronic overstimulation may be one of the main factors for most):

  • Mindfulness – Mindfulness is the practice of being in the present moment, with great joy (I believe), and no judgment to a situation, or attachment to the outcome.  In the process of writing my book, I also learned that “memory” in its original form means mindfulness, or a lucid state of being.  When I first came up with the title for my book, The Memory of Health, I was referring, literally, to the memory of being well.  Little did I know, that this meaning would come full circle.  In the memory of remembering what it’s like to be mindful of our well-being, moment to moment, we have a greater opportunity to recapture the feeling of being in Flow.  Mindfulness is a huge topic, and it has many esoteric and practical meanings and uses. It’s also something we could all benefit from to practice more.  I use mindfulness and awareness to lessen the gap between my symptoms and well-being.  What does this mean?  It means that anytime I experience a symptom, I check in and reduce or remove the source of that symptom.  This removes stress and allows my body to relax and heal.  Along the same lines (but different) is using the Gupta Amygdala Retraining Program.  It literally teaches you how to retrain your amygdala to eliminate one of the main sources of fatigue. I am currently using this program to heal at the deepest level and stay well and thriving.
  • Yoga/Mind-Body Fitness – Yoga can keep your body in what’s known as the Relaxation Response, which is the opposite of the stress response.  This can literally help your body to reboot and help your nervous system to relax and heal.  The Relaxation Response takes you deep into the parasympathetic state (the opposite of the sympathetic state also known as Fight or Flight).  In this state, digestion returns, immunity goes up, and much more.  Yoga can affect and strengthen what is known as vagal tone, measure by heart rate variability (HRV).  The more variable your heart rate, the healthier you are.  There is much more I could say about yoga and meditation.  You can read much more about the healing effects of yoga, mind-body fitness like QiGong (energy cultivation) and meditation in my book and beyond.  Do yourself a favor and explore these healing arts & practices.
  • Deep Nutrition – What we eat has a  profound impact on our health and well-being.  While I believe the most important is our state of mind, what we eat does make a difference.  There is much I could say on this subject (and do so extensively in my book), but the main point for this blog is for you to realize that if you are consuming foods you are sensitive to, this may be contributing to your symptoms.  Please see “Reducing Irritants” coming up in this blog to learn more about how they may influence your health and well-being.  Of course, real, fresh, organic, and non-GMO food (when possible) can go a long way toward raising your vitality and nutritional levels in your body.
  • High Quality Supplements – Along the lines of eating real, fresh food, is considering taking supplments that may suit your current situation.  Please talk to your practitioners as well, to get their expert points of view.  High-quality supplements (note: they are supplementing your diet and lifestyle, and are not a substitution for eating and living well), can be game-changers in tipping the ball in your favor.   Along with focusing on fresh organic food, I have found key supplements that help me to stay well, such as extra-strength turmeric to fight brain fog, food-based multi-vitamins, and superfoods like acai and Hawaiian grown Spirulina offered in supplement form to keep me feeling good.  In fact, in my quest for answers to my health challenges, I found and explored the natural foods industry.  I cannot take prescription drugs, so for me, finding high-quality food and supplements offered by this industry changed my life.  Many people become conscious consumers in their quest for well-being.

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  • Deep Self-Care – Again, huge topic.  But, so many people who are sick have learned on some level to not put themselves first.  Putting yourself first and making self-care a priority can be a game-changer for your well-being.  It was for me.  Consider scheduling in time on a daily basis – i.e. build self-care rituals into your daily life/treat self-care like you would eating, sleeping, and brushing your teeth – such as yoga, meditation, spa visits (or do them at home), preparing good food and eating well, spending time with loved ones, and scheduling in lots of down time.  I balance up time with down time.  This makes all the difference in the world for me.   I wish the same for you.
  • Targeting Brain Fog – This is a huge topic, and I can’t cover it all here.  But, here are some of the situations that may lead to brain fog:  lower oxygen levels, muscle tension, hormonal imbalance, low B vitamin levels, and chronic inflammation, activated microglia (see both of these topics coming up in this blog).  A few of the key ways I fight brain fog are using mint, extra strength turmeric/turmeric milk, DMAE, and Fo Ti.  Always consult your practitioner before taking anything new.  In the end, it’s primarily your decision, I believe, but it’s good to get input.*
  • Reducing Irritants – As I mentioned above, certain foods, as well as other chemicals, may be irritating your system.  This may lead to inflammation in your body.  When this is a recurring situation, i.e. you keep consuming or are continuously exposed to an irritant (even synthetic perfume, as another example), your body may go into a chronic inflammatory state.  This state is where chronic illnesses arise.  Pay attention to what may be irritating your body and producing symptoms.  See if you can reduce or remove the irritations to give your body a break.  Irritants can lead to chronic inflammation, which can lead to chronic fatigue & chronic illness.
  • Chronic Inflammation – Chronic inflammation is one of the main bio-markers in any chronic condition.  While I won’t go into much detail here (see my book for a detailed discussion on how this state can impact many conditions including CFS, MS, RA, etc.), one main way I experienced fatigue was through an activated immune system, which is tied to chronic inflammation.   An activated immune system may, in some cases, contribute to that feeling of brain fog, through the activation of the brain’s immune cells, the microglia.  See The Memory of Health for more discussion.  Also of importance is to note that where there is chronic inflammation there is often chronic fatigue. 
  • Community – My one, main wish is that you make seeking Community your first mindful act.  If you feel you can do nothing else, seek community.  We are social creatures, and we need love and support to heal and thrive.  It also contributes greatly to what is known as resiliency.  Chronic illness can be isolating.  Find a way to get and stay connected.  Your life, health, and well-being may depend on it.

There is so much more I could go into, but that takes a whole book, which is why I wrote it.  There is much to consider when looking at your own particular situation.

For example, another huge topic is that many people with chronic conditions and fatigue syndromes may not be detoxing properly (poor methylation), leading to symptoms.  I emphasize eating greens, plant foods, and low sugar, along with taking a few key liver supplements (like Liverite & one from NOW brands) to help me detox and methylate properly.

So, while I cannot address all topics and possible solutions here, I attempt to address many of them in my book.  Please note that I am sharing what works for me.  Your situation is unique, and there are many factors to consider.  However, I hope you find a way to keep hope alive and keep seeking answers until you find what works for you.

Many of you have expressed great interest in my book (which is getting rave reviews) but also expressed that you currently have a limited income, and simply cannot afford $24.99.

I have made it available exclusively via Lulu.com at an affordable price, the same as most paperbacks.

You can get my book on Lulu for only $14.99 on Lulu.com.  Please consider leaving a review there and on Amazon.com as well, if you have the energy:  https://t.co/2jgHlN2WVM

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Here are some of the review for my book (maybe you will leave one too – much appreciated!):

5.0 out of 5 stars FANTASTIC Book!

Really great book! Equal parts raw memoir, practical suggestions, and positivity. The book itself is a fantastic read, but the list of resources at the end of the book is worth the price of this book alone! If you purchase the electronic book, be sure to click on all the links provided. There are many, many hours of extra information contained in practically every link, so when you take that into consideration, this book is a STEAL for all hundreds of hours of information and resources you get out it it!

Edie Summers has authored a Book of Deep Healing wisdom for each and every soul to drink and marinate in the Exquiste jewels of conscious awareness on so many layers and levels. I was completely captivated by the rich cohesiveness she shared with her audience in so many art forms via poetry, storytelling, quotes, photos, teachings; and most magnificently captured in the raw vulnerability of her life story, which cuts one’s soul open to it’s core Essence…with the very Powerful realization that even the darkness is a Gift. I walked away from reading the “Memory of Health” with a beautiful inspired vision of aligning with the Tao temple within my soul, heart, mind, and body eternally—and look so forward to rereading this amazing work over and over again to soak up all the wisdom which was so beautifully shared with her readers…

Man Meditating on a Rock at the Beach --- Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

Man Meditating on a Rock at the Beach — Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

Looking for more tips relevant to your particular situation with chronic fatigue or chronic illness?

Check out my book and resource, The Memory of Health.  I cover most of the theories of chronic fatigue, and offer extensive tips and resources to move toward well-being.  No matter your circumstances, I believe there is hope, and hanging onto hope is crucial to your recovery.

Are you a wellness warrior?  Write to me and tell me your story.  I may just feature you on my blog, radio show, and on my FB pages:  support@portlandwellnesscoach.com

Don’t Ever Lose Hope

Never Give Up.  Don’t Ever Give Up.  Don’t Ever Lose the Light From Your Eyes.  ~ My Dad

Whatever your current circumstances are, don’t ever give up.  People heal and move on all the time.

Wishing you much peace, healing, and light on your journey.

 

Edie Summers xox

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Edie Summers is an author, consultant, yoga instructor, and top-rated radio host.  She is pursuing her Ph.D. in Health Psychology, and certifications in Functional Medicine and Clinical Nutrition.  She hosts the top-rated radio show, The Wellness Coach, on BlogTalkRadio, where she interviews experts, leaders, and celebrities on health and well-being and runs the popular page on Facebook, Chronic Fatigue Support:

You can find them both here:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/thewellnesscoach

https://www.facebook.com/ChronicFatigueSupport/

 

*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA.  I am not diagnosing, treating, or prescribing.