Ripple Effect in My Body

I feel like I have been following a trail of breadcrumbs to the diagnosis of TMD or Temporomandibular Joint Disorder, which I received with a huge sense of relief in November.  I followed one un-ignorable breadcrumb to another: the inability to chew because of pain and sensitivity, months and even years after getting dental work on several molars; developing what seemed like tendonitis in my right arm; chronic, never abating pain in the neck; one chronically constricted muscle along the right margin of my spine; the inability to sit for very long before experiencing back pain; difficulty standing without slumping.  My massage therapist and others had mentioned mouth guards, and how well they worked for a lot of people.  My chiropractor noticed that the pattern of lock-up I experience seemed to originate somewhere around my right neck/shoulder.  My CranioSacral therapist said that there was an irritated nerve in my molar, but that the tooth was healthy enough.  An iridologist in Missouri said that there was something significant going on in my jaw/shoulder area.  I clearly had a problem.  Now the breadcrumbs had finally led me to a solution.

Since I’ve been seeing a specialist recommended by my dentist, and have been wearing a mouth guard, I have been slowly recognizing that for many years I had been unconsciously clenching – not just in my jaw, and jutting it forward, but other places in my body as well.  Little by little I bring consciousness to places in my body where I had been unknowingly tightening my muscles.  And I am learning, slowly, how to direct my attention toward those places with love and care.  And even more slowly, I am learning what it feels like when I am truly relaxed.  As I do, the pain is going away as if by magic. 

I have been instructed to wear my mouth guard night and day.  Wearing it during the night was helping, but not enough.  Dr. Citlali, my specialist, explained that my jaw is so habituated to being in a forward position, that I will need some time to train it to be where it is supposed to be.  After having the guard and using it night and day (when I’m not eating), when I take it out, I notice that my teeth come together differently.  Now it feels a little odd because it will take a while for me to get used to having it in the right place after having it forward all these years (maybe +50?).

This makes me think about how that misalignment must have been impacting my teeth.  When I was always chewing using my molars in a way that they were not designed to be used, with the jaw jutted forward, they just didn’t line up right, which caused undue wear and tear on them.  They served me as best they could under the circumstances, but with time, they wore down, chipped and cracked.  Now I understand why I have always needed so much dental work on my molars.  Before this treatment is said and done, I’m going to need to raise the height of the molars themselves because form follows function; my teeth have changed to accommodate my jaw movement patterns over time.  As a result of my jaw being relaxed and in the right place, many muscles (that I had no idea I was clenching) begin to relax.  This one little thing has had an impact throughout my entire body. 

The good news is that in response to the treatment (ongoing work with Dr. Citlali via the mouth guard) my body is relaxing and settling into its new normal.  I am noticing a ripple effect.  My arm (I couldn’t use that arm without pain) is back to normal.  My back feels somewhat improved, but it’s all the way back there and I still can’t really tell for sure.  The brittle feeling I was having in my feet and ankles is gone, and I sense my feet as newly supple and responsive to the demands I put on them.

With ongoing care scheduled (I have an appointment with the kinesiologist and two massages with my favorite massage therapist in the next couple weeks), I hope to bring even more awareness to those places so that my new normal will be relaxed, stronger and even more resilient than before. 

With this kind of care, education and support, I can learn to notice when I am clenching or drawing in, and anytime I tune in, I will more easily and automatically be able to return to a healthy, relaxed state. 

Through my healing process, I am bringing loving, conscious attention to obviously affected places, and my body in general, and am definitely feeling results.  Over the years, my legs did not really seem to be part of me, and it felt precarious to move through life in a fluid and grounded way.  By comparison, I can look back at times when it felt as though I was walking on tree stumps.  What I experience now is so much more fluid and integrated.  Like my right leg – my shins – my heels.  They are now parts of me.  I walk with more connectedness/awareness, more fully inhabiting my feet and lower legs. 

So, the journey continues.  I am super excited about this, and I am interested to see what happens next!

Giving & Receiving – Pop-Up Clinic Style

Thanks go to our lovely hosts, Gretchen & Emmet at Laughing Frog Gardens, and all the healers, therapists and care seekers who came out.  In all, we had a circle of 13, not including the other sentient beings of the gardens and the homestead.  Formal offerings included:

  • Shamanic Astrology
  • CranioSacral Therapy
  • Reiki
  • Sentient Movement
  • Chair Massage
  • Active Dream Sessions
  • Safe Attunement & Connection
  • Techniques to calm the Central Nervous System

We have more events coming up:

Marshall MO on October 21, 2017

North Village on November 11, 2017

Questions?  Call me at (573) 999-6011 or send me an e-mail at [email protected].

What If The Body Came With A User’s Manual?

What I’ve been noticing lately is a shift in what I feel and think about consuming sweet things (and other “yummy” things) and maybe about rules and rigidity in general.  The word restriction has been popping up for me.  Re STRICT ion, and also the association between eating disorders and “rules” about food.

We want to avoid being overly strict or rigid in our lives.  So it’s good to be on the lookout for arbitrary restrictions that we place on ourselves, and then get curious about them.  I mean, yeah, if I had concerns (evidence) that I might be growing a tumor, I would maybe want to cut out sugar for a while.  I might want to go on a sugar fast or something.  But the sugars actually do have a place on the pyramid.  The refined ones are up there on the very top, but fresh fruits and root vegetables are a source of important nutrients – at least for me….today.  Grains seem to be less important, but not something I need to cut out completely.  Highly processed foods are at the little bitty point up there on the top of the triangle, where the space they take up is very, very small in comparison to the balance of what I eat.

I know, there are so many rules out there about food and what is actually good for us, but what’s important is for us to take personal responsibility and adopt some kind of structure to help us respond to our unique and changing nutritional needs.  Guidelines help us navigate our lives and make choices from the myriad options we face every day.  But just make sure you don’t let your guidelines become too strict or rigid.

One of the guidelines I’ve been using lately (and not strictly) is based on the pH of the body.  Some foods, when we consume them, make our bodies more acidic, others more alkaline.  Remembering that if I eat four times as many alkaline foods as acidic foods – an excess of acidic foods creates acidity in the body which supports the proliferation of parasites and yeast which I understand to be precursors of many chronic illnesses – my body will function better.  If I fill my diet with mostly acidic foods, my body is going to get out of balance.  So while I don’t need to be constantly measuring or restricting myself, I can keep that idea in the back of my mind, and if I notice that my health is slipping, or my energy levels aren’t what I’d like them to be, or I’m feeling that something is off, I can make some adjustments in the types of foods I’m eating.

The other thing I’ve noticed is that starting a couple weeks ago I was having really strong cravings for something.  It wasn’t sugar, though I did veer toward fried things.  But when I sat with it, and asked my body what it really wanted, it seemed more like it was asking for more high quality proteins.  Also entering my awareness from various articles and conversations I was having was the idea that I was needing to increase my consumption of high quality proteins and fats.  So that is the direction I moved in.

In this phase of temporarily self-imposed monkhood, I realized I had begun to associate high-quality proteins and fats with unwanted expense.  So I picked up a small container of cheap, highly processed peanut butter, and quickly concluded that this wasn’t what my body was asking for.  It just didn’t taste like food.  A couple cans of tuna, some cashews and some queso fresco later, the cravings went away.  I will need to make a trip to the gringo getting-place and pick up some tahini and almond butter, which will set me back some $15 or so.  Not a whole lot in the scheme of things.  I’m on it.

Note to Self: If I notice myself skimping, I may need to re-assess whether I’m associating not having what I need with my worthiness or ability to have what I need.  If I can put some attention there, I can see pretty easily that I am worthy of adequate nutrition (what my body needs to stay healthy).  For me, it is sensible and correct to include healthy proteins and fats along with the wide variety of fresh produce that I can get for next to nothing here in Mexico.  I can also assess whether I have adequate margin in my budget to cover nuts, nut butters, avocados, high quality oils, and high quality meats, and usually I do.  I don’t need to go overboard, but I do have enough.  (These things are up there in the top of the pyramid, just under treats and sweets.)  And yes, they cost a bit, but they are also my medicine, one of my best ways of building and maintaining health.

There is no doubt about it, sweetness is something we all need, and if for some reason you have been prohibiting or limiting sweetness in your life, that’s something I recommend you pay some compassionate attention to.

In summary,
  • There are different kinds of edible sweets available to us in markets and selling establishments everywhere. And there is also sweetness available to us from every direction in the form of connections with nature and other beings.
  • If I build sweetness into my lifestyle, I won’t feel like I need to “steal” it (impulse purchases at the check-out lane, etc.).  Sweetness then becomes a normal, built-in feature of my life.  If I include having a cup of tea with a cookie, or even a few little cookies, every day, I have chosen to make sweetness a regular part of my life.  (I tried this and I noticed that I didn’t put any sugar in my tea in order to make it feel like a special treat.  This way, my treat is one that I’m allowed – whole-heartedly – not one I’m “getting away with,” or sneaking off to consume, hoping nobody notices.)
  • Craving sugars, in the past, has pointed to a lack of the sweetness that I can only get through warm and authentic human connections and communion with nature. Now that I have lots of interesting and satisfying interpersonal connections in my life, I don’t notice as many cravings for sweets anymore.  This shift has required me to really pay attention and make adjustments as I go, based on what tastes good to me, and what feels good in my body after I eat it.  It’s an ongoing process, but a super-important one.
  • We are being bombarded by campaigns crafted by the processed food industry to increase our consumption of their “yummy” products (laden with high quantities of salt, sugar and fat), and what seems “normal” can get skewed pretty quickly if we’re not aware and purposeful about what we purchase and consume.

Add to Body-Owner’s Manual:

Having Cravings?
  • Check to see if you’ve been skimping on the relatively expensive high-quality foods that make you feel grounded and well-cared-for and probably build health and a strong immune system. If you are getting enough of those kinds of food, you’ll be less likely to crave those “kiddy” foods – the foods that the immature self wants – which help us know that at some level we are crying out in response to feeling unmet or unseen or uncared for.
  • Make sure to reach out to others and invest time in mutually nurturing friendships.
  • Connect with nature in some way that feels satisfying or nurturing to you.
Noticing Strictness or Rigidity?
  • Being strict is no substitute for staying as attuned and available as possible to the feedback that your body provides. There are a lot of guidelines out there, and if you find one that resonates for you, great!  Experiment with it and notice how your body reacts.  Notice cravings, energy levels, mood and immune system functioning.
  • Realize that your needs change over time, and the guidelines you use will need to be used with flexibility and openness to adjustment as your needs change.

For more on becoming an ally with your body, check out Toni’s Mid-MO Tour, happening in October 2017.


The Body Keeps The Score – Book Review

One of my favorite things to do is reading good books.  I finished reading Bessel van der Kolk’s The Body Keeps the Score some months ago, but it has taken me a while to report on it.  Besides having gleaned 25 pages of quotes, I’m feeling the need to go back and re-read the whole thing.  This was a book of serious ahas.  Van der Kolk is himself a survivor of early relational trauma – a fact of which he was unaware until well into his professional career.  Currently the Medical Director of the Trauma Center in Boston, he is also a Professor of Psychiatry at Boston University Medical School and serves as the Co-Director of the National Center for Child Traumatic Stress Complex Trauma Network.  You can read more about him here.

“Trauma,” says van der Kolk, “drives us to the edge of comprehension, cutting us off from language based on common experience or an imaginable past.”  Its effects are profound and lasting when it occurs before we have language to describe it or even hope to get the help we need.  But, “like a splinter that causes an infection, it is the body’s response to the foreign object that becomes the problem more than the object itself.”

I love this book because Van der Kolk gives me words for things I had no idea how to talk about before.  And he validates suspicions that have nagged at me for decades.  For instance, when I was 24 and had already ditched my first husband and abandoned my three-year-old son, I was puzzled by the lack of pain I felt.  What was wrong with me, anyway?  I had many explanations, some of which had to do with depression, being clueless about what I was going to do with my life, and feeling incapable of caring well for a small child while trying to do all those things that I had been taught that a husband was supposed to do.  Van der Kolk calls this “Numbing.”  In describing what one survivor of developmental trauma experienced, he says, “He desperately wanted to love his family, but he just couldn’t evoke any deep feelings for them.”

Numbing may keep us from suffering in the short-term, but long-term is another matter.  “…though the mind may learn to ignore the messages from the emotional brain, the alarm signals don’t stop.  The emotional brain keeps working, and stress hormones keep sending signals to the muscles to tense for action or immobilize in collapse.  The physical effects on the organs go on unabated until they demand notice when they are expressed as illness.  Medications, drugs, and alcohol can also temporarily dull or obliterate unbearable sensations and feelings.  But the body continues to keep the score.”

“After trauma the world is experienced with a different nervous system.  The survivor’s energy now becomes focused on suppressing inner chaos, at the expense of spontaneous involvement in their life.”

The seemingly endless path of breadcrumbs leading me back to my own trauma included my status as “stimulus seeker.”  Though I am most likely on the mild end of this spectrum, survivors of trauma don’t feel quite alive if they aren’t in the middle of some kind of chaos.  Says van der Kolk, “Somehow the very event that caused them so much pain had also become their sole source of meaning.  They felt fully alive only when they were revisiting their traumatic past.”

“That is why so many abused and traumatized people feel fully alive in the face of actual danger, while they go numb in situations that are more complex but objectively safe, like birthday parties or family dinners.”

All of this is determined at a very physical level.  “If an organism is stuck in survival mode, its energies are focused on fighting off unseen enemies, which leaves no room for nurture, care, and love.  For us humans, it means that as long as the mind is defending itself against invisible assaults, our closest bonds are threatened, along with our ability to imagine, plan, play, learn, and pay attention to other people’s needs.”

Among van der Kolk’s research-based conclusions (and things to think about as you consider this idea he’s calling developmental trauma):

  • Exposure to stress relieves anxiety.
  • Addiction to trauma may be characterized by the pain of pleasure and the pleasure of pain.
  • Immobilization is at the root of most traumas (your heart slows down, your breathing becomes shallow, and, zombielike, you lose touch with yourself and your surroundings).
  • It is especially challenging for traumatized people to discern when they are actually safe and to be able to activate their defenses when they are in danger.
  • All too often, drugs such as Abilify, Zyprexa, and Seroquel, are prescribed instead of teaching people the skills to deal with distressing physical reactions associated with repressed emotion.

Real healing, he says, has to do with experiential knowledge: “You can be fully in charge of your life only if you can acknowledge the reality of your body, in all its visceral dimensions.”  Here, EXPERIENCE, not UNDERSTANDING is what we need.

“…neuroscience research shows that very few psychological problems are the result of defects in understanding; most originate in pressures from deeper regions in the brain that drive our perception and attention.  When the alarm bell of the emotional brain keeps signaling that you are in danger, no amount of insight will silence it.”


“Treatment needs to reactivate the capacity to safely mirror, and be mirrored, by others, but also to resist being hijacked by others’ negative emotions.”

“…the great challenge is finding ways to reset their physiology, so that their survival mechanisms stop working against them.  This means helping them to respond appropriately to danger but, even more, to recover the capacity to experience safety, relaxation, and true reciprocity.”

Mindfulness, or the ability to hover calmly and objectively over our thoughts, feelings, and emotions, is one of the primary tools van der Kolk teaches his patients.  This ability allows us to then take our time to respond,” he says, which “allows the executive brain to inhibit, organize, and modulate the hardwired automatic reactions preprogrammed into the emotional brain.  This capacity is crucial for preserving our relationships with our fellow human beings.”

Increasing “interoception,” or self-awareness, is another important feature of recovery, van der Kolk says.  “Because traumatized people often have trouble sensing what is going on in their bodies, they lack a nuanced response to frustration.  They either react to stress by becoming ‘spaced out’ or with excessive anger.  Whatever their response, they often can’t tell what is upsetting them.  This failure to be in touch with their bodies contributes to their well-documented lack of self-protection and high rates of revictimization.  And also to their remarkable difficulties feeling pleasure, sensuality, and having a sense of meaning.”

Noticing and then describing what they are feeling is a process van der Kolk helps his patients learn.  He begins the process by helping them talk about what is happening in their bodies, “not emotions such as anger or anxiety or fear but the physical sensations beneath the emotions: pressure, heat, muscular tension, tingling, caving in, feeling hollow, and so on.”  He also works on “identifying the sensations associated with relaxation or pleasure…their breath, their gestures and movements.”  He asks them to “pay attention to subtle shifts in their bodies, such as tightness in their chests or gnawing in their bellies, when they talk about negative events that they claim did not bother them.”

“…many programs (that try to help traumatized people) continue to ignore the need to engage the safety system of the brain before trying to promote new ways of thinking,” van der Kolk says.  He provides some ways to engage this part of the brain in his book.  Among them are:

  • Yoga
  • Theater Programs
  • Breath Exercises (Pranayama)
  • Chanting
  • Martial Arts
  • Qigong
  • Drumming
  • Group Singing
  • Dancing

“Our culture teaches us to focus on personal uniqueness, but at a deeper level we barely exist as individual organisms.  Our brains are built to help us function as members of a tribe….Most of our energy is devoted to connecting with others.”


A few more nuggets I thought you might appreciate:

  • While you need to be able to stand up for yourself, you also need to recognize that other people have their own agendas. Trauma can make all that hazy and gray.
  • (As infants) our most intimate sense of self is created in our minute-to-minute exchanges with our caregivers.
  • Children’s disturbed behavior is a response to actual life experiences – to neglect, brutality, and separation – rather than the product of infantile sexual fantasies.
  • Our lives consist of finding our place within the community of human beings.
  • Babies can’t regulate their own emotional states, much less the changes in heart rate, hormone levels, and nervous-system activity that accompany emotions.
  • Learning how to manage arousal is a key life skill, and parents must do it for babies before babies can do it for themselves.
  • Securely attached kids learn the difference between situations they can control and situations where they need help.
  • Kids will go to almost any length to feel seen and connected.
  • Traumatized parents, in particular, need help to be attuned to their children’s needs.
  • Dissociation means simultaneously knowing and not knowing.
  • Early attachment patterns create the inner maps that chart our relationships throughout life, not only in terms of what we expect from others, but also in terms of how much comfort and pleasure we can experience in their presence.
  • It’s not important for me to know every detail of a patient’s trauma. What is critical is that the patients themselves learn to tolerate feeling what they feel and knowing what they know.
  • Rage that has nowhere to go is redirected against the self, in the form of depression, self-hatred, and self-destructive actions.
  • Eradicating child abuse in America would reduce the overall rate of depression by more than half, alcoholism by two-thirds, and suicide, IV drug use, and domestic violence by three-quarters.
  • Social support is a biological necessity, not an option, and this reality should be the backbone of all prevention and treatment.
  • As long as people are either hyperaroused or shut down, they cannot learn from experience. Even if they manage to stay in control, they become so uptight that they are inflexible, stubborn, and depressed.  Recovery from trauma involves the restoration of executive functioning and, with it, self-confidence and the capacity for playfulness and creativity.
  • In order to recover, mind, body, and brain need to be convinced that it is safe to let go. That happens only when you feel safe at a visceral level and allow yourself to connect that sense of safety with memories of past helplessness.
  • Being traumatized is not just an issue of being stuck in the past; it is just as much a problem of not being fully alive in the present.
  • Antipsychotic medications such as Risperdal, Abilify, or Seroquel can significantly dampen the emotional brain and this makes patients less skittish or enraged, but they also may interfere with being able to appreciate subtle signals of pleasure, danger, or satisfaction.
  • As long as you keep secrets and suppress information, you are fundamentally at war with yourself. Hiding your core feelings takes an enormous amount of energy, it saps your motivation to pursue worthwhile goals, and it leaves you feeling bored and shut down.

I highly recommend this book.

Van der Kolk, Bessel. The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body In the Healing of Trauma. New York: Penguin Books, 2014.

Microbiome Summit 2016 – Repost

Hello friends!  I want to share with you some gleanings from a virtual Microbiome Summit I attended last spring.  As much as I would have liked to spend more time with each speaker, other activities and obligations did not allow this, so I took advantage of the abbreviated version, and wanted to share with you what I found.  As usual, what I loved about this summit was that each speaker had a personal story and a personal journey, and discovering the microbiome was a very vital and exciting part of it.  Primarily, this post includes the name of the speaker, the name of the talk, and three bulleted ideas that summarize the talk.  I also include a URL so you can find them yourself, online.  In some cases, I added quotes and personal observations.   I was doing this at the beginning, and with speakers who I found particularly interesting – though anyone who works in this field is instantly my best friend.  With Deepak Chopra, I was not able to listen to the entire interview, which made me very sad, but I think you get the gist.  It was amazing, and I hope this inspires you to nurture your microbiome, and look to your entire miraculous and ingeniously designed system as so much more than you ever imagined before.

Microbiome in your Mouth – Gerry Curatola, DDS   Oral and overall health statistic:  Over 80% of his patients have gum disease.  The ecology of the mouth is so important.  For centuries we have been following an unfortunate strategy with regard to hygiene products.  For instance, we have pesticides in our toothpaste (because 100 years ago, we learned that germs were bad).  In fact, the bacteria in our mouth evolved to help keep us alive.  Gerry Curatola has been researching the oral microbiome for 17 years.  According to him, our mouth needs to be rebalanced, not nuked.  There is actually no such thing as a “bad” bacteria.  Context is everything.  In the right place, potentially pathogenic bacteria become health-promoting bacteria.  Bacteria in the mouth help keep us alive.  If we were successful in getting rid of plaque, we’d be in big trouble. We can prevent illness by balancing the oral microbiome.  People with gum disease have ten times the risk of heart attack.  Gum disease is the body’s #1 source of chronic low-grade inflammation.

Not realizing it’s going on.  There is a silent alarm bell going off.  Your body is in a continuous stress response that is awakening the immune system.


·         Gums bleed

·         Aches and pains in the body

·         Bad breath

·         Inflammatory Markers in the blood

Over 80% of the American adult public have some stage of gum disease.  Even if your gums are healthy you can have an unhealthy oral microbiome.

If you think about it, Gerry points out, soap was invented 100 years ago by soap makers.  It contains Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, a known irritant to the body.  This was justified and understandable because of the recent discovery that washing hands in the hospital saved the lives of many in obstetrics.  But we have not updated our ideas about the body and how it works, and there is a predominating germ phobia that has resulted in a compulsive drive to eradicate germs.  In killing germs, we are disrupting a healthy microbiome and interfering with a healthy immune system.

Dr. Curatola is opposed to fluorination of toothpaste and drinking water.  Go to his website at to see where he bases this opinion.  Negative effects of fluoride in the body:

·         Lower IQ

·         Disruption in thyroid function

We should adopt an “Organic Gardening” approach in the mouth, pruning instead of eradicating.  Definitely need to discontinue using detergent-based products.

Dr. Curatola says that you can improve your dental health by:

1.       Alkalize Diet

2.       Exercise/Fitness (running, etc)

3.       Control Stress (meditate/pray, etc)


Signs of stress in the mouth:

·         TMJ

·         Grinding teeth

·         More cavities

·         Gum inflammation

Flow, movement is so important for healing.  This is why exercise (get the blood and lymph flowing) us so important.

Also recommends Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), Vitamin C, Cell Salts (Homeopathy).  Says that Florine promotes remineralization when you use it in micro-doses.  In large doses, it makes teeth and bones brittle.

“Bad bacteria” are just “pissed off” bacteria.  They are there to protect us from dangerous foreign bacteria.

Improve mouth ecology:

·         Prebiotic approach

o   CoQ10

o   Vitamins (E,A,C)

o   Folic Acid

o   Selinium

·         Restore Homeostasis

·         Targeted Nutrition

·         Work with a Practitioner

Bloating is a sign that you have a chronic problem.

Teeth whitening systems can be very harmful.  They can denature DNA of your cells, and lead to oral cancer.  If you want to get them whitened, get them done by someone who knows what they are doing.

Other things you can do to restore homeostasis in your mouth include gargling Himalayan salt (a couple teaspoons of saturated solution every morning.  Strawberries can whiten your teeth.  Weleda.  Auromere.

Clean out your medicine cabinet.  Nutrition is the cornerstone.  Exercise and fitness.  Manage stress (balance mind, body, and spirit).


Kara Fitzgerald, ND   A Key Player in the Microbiome: The Skin

With a background in Nutritional Biochemistry, Kara is a Functional Medicine Practitioner.  She practices integrative medicine.  She says that the bacteria in our system “are probably running the show more than we are.”  She spends a lot of her time treating people that the medical system can’t help, with allergic diseases.

Kara finds herself working with clients around the microbiome and immunity.

·         Constant communication between these two

·         Dissolution of tolerance

·         Food allergies/intolerances

·         Genetics and epigenetics

She says that things go awry, leading to allergic response, and that there is a great deal of crossover between the gut phyla and skin phyla.

Problems occur when there is a breakdown in the epidermal barrier.  Rashes and chronic skin diseases are very often a result of products we use.

“We want to nourish and nurture our microbiome,” she says. “We want to love our microbiome.  And we need to treat our skin’s microbiome the same way.”  She says we should slather ourselves with probiotics.  We can love the skin microbiome by:

·         Using dairy-free yogurt

·         Topical probiotics (kefir)

What we take internally affects the outside.  When you have a skin condition, there is some kind of dysregulation of the microbiome (dysbiosis).  Eczema, fatigue, and bacterial imbalances are all symptoms of this.  Kara says there is no need for the use of steroids in such situations.

Probiotics she recommends for the skin include:

·         Bifido bacteria

·         Lactobacillus

·         Cosmoceuticals

Hand eczema, she says, often has a gene influence.  She recommends a probiotic wrap with a coconut oil base.  You can also sprinkle a probiotic into that.

Chapped lips also signals dysbiosis in the small intestine.

·         AmmoniaOxidizing Bacteria

·         Stop using hygiene products (spritz, don’t shower)

·         Repopulate native flora

·         Reduce ammonia levels (a lower pH supports a healthier biome

Acne and dermatitis can be treated by tending to the microbiome.

Kara says that the average American showers too much, and that we aren’t exposed to dirt enough.  We have become hygiene excessive.  The skin microbiome protects us, our organs, systems, overall health.

The Skin Microbiome

·         The bugs are deep in the dermal tissue, and they help regulate the immune system

·         They are in the adipose and the dermis

·         Commensal Bacteria – mutualistic (dampens immune response)

·         Ceramides – topical application of probiotics can reduce the signs of aging

She cites a study done with baby mice, and the development of their immune systems.  What they found was that there is a certain developmental stage, or a window of time, when an organism learns that the organisms around it are safe.  When kids aren’t exposed to enough, their ability to tolerate things is sacrificed.

We should avoid exposure to antibiotics if at all possible.

Gut-Skin Connection

·         Whole-person care

·         Filaggrin (protein) mutations (genetic)

·         Dietary impacts

·         Environmental impacts

Fatty Acids

Fish Oil

Stop eating Gluten

Live in a humid environment

Sometimes it’s just limited to the skin.  Nothing unhealthy is going on in your gut.

Progressive Lab Tests to Evaluate Microbiome

·         A little Lps is protective (signals tolerance)

·         Organic Acids

·         D-arabinitol – alcohol produced by candida (yeast)

·         D-lactate – indicates whether you can tolerate probiotics

You can test for carbohydrate imbalances, celiac and other problems.


David Perlmutter, MD   The Microbiome’s Influence on Your Brain·

Connection between inflammation and disease

·         How to reestablish gut lining

·         Dietary changes and healing the microbiome

Board Certified Neurologist

The information base is exploding.  The microbiome plays a role in neurological function.

Functional Neurology

·         Symptom vs disease management

·         Root Cause resolution practices for Alzheimer’s, ADHD, Parkinson’s Obesity, Diabetes, etc.

·         Alzheimer’s and Autism

·         Nutrition and inflammatory cascades

The brain like any other organ is influenced by the body’s chemistry (our diet)

Diet influences inflammation.  Inflammation in the body indicates inflammation in the brain.  It originates in the gut.  The genesis of inflammation:

·         Starts in the gut

·         Gut permeability

·         Leaky gut factors

·         Gut bacteria enters the surrounding tissues

When you go out to dinner, think about what your microbiome wants to eat.  In fact, our microbiome dictate what we want to eat.  The lens we see the world through is filtered by the microbiome.  How are we traumatizing the microbiome?

·         Dramatic antibiotic overuse

·         Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs

·         Exposure to toxins

Ways we can reverse or remedy this:

·         Fermented foods

·         Prebiotic Fiber

o   Jicama

o   Dandelion greens

o   Garlic

o   Onions

o   Asparagus

o   Leeks

o   Artichokes

·         Fecal transplants

Butyrate improves blood brain barrier, like the gut lining.

Neurological Disorders/Problems and Gut Problems are one and the same.  The brain and gut are a continuous organ.  Most people think of their “selves” from the neck up.  We’re as much in the gut and heart as we are in the brain.


Martha Herbert, MD, PhD  Pediatric Neurologist and Brain Development Researcher

·         Interaction between your gut and brain ecology

·         Improving brain function and eliminating toxins

·         Role of lymphatic and immune systems

·         Linking ecosystems

Dr. Herbert says that GMOs wreak havoc on the gut because of the use of herbicides and pesticides used in their cultivation.  She says they punch holes in the intestinal lining, activating the immune system, causing inflammation.  She says to repair the gut lining we have to cut out the GMOs and add:

·         High Quality Fish Oil

·         Vitamin D3 (take with Vitamin K)

·         Vitamin B Complex


Max Lugavere  How to Improve your Neurological Health

·         Preventing cognitive decline or “Bread Head”

·         Supplement and vitamin recommendations to improve brain function

·         The cause of growing rates of Alzheimer’s disease


Natasha Campbell-McBride, MD  Medical Sciences in Neurology

·         Dietary challenges to influence anxiety, depression, stress and brain fog

·         Steps to healing your gut: GAPS Diet

·         Recommended supplements to naturally improve mental health

Dr. Natasha says that each person has unique dietary needs.  And that any diet needs to be tailored to your unique needs.  Also, your metabolism changes all the time, depending on so many things, including ancestry, genetic makeup, stress levels, physical demands, etc.

·         pH

·         sympathetic/parasympathetic balance

·         electrolyte balance

·         weather/season

·         whether you’re tired or rested

How do you know?  We can use our senses:

·         desire

·         smell

·         taste

·         satisfaction

“What would I kill for right now?”

All senses should be involved.  Babies smear food on their faces, etc.  This has an adaptive function.

Dr. Natasha also says that we’re all addicted to foods, particularly carbohydrates.  She recommends the use of:

·         Meat Stock

·         Non-starchy Vegetables (exclude vegetables from the potato family)

o   Yams

o   Leeks

o   Cabbage

o   Broccoli

o   Squash

·         Fermented foods

Introduce eggs and other foods that are more difficult to digest as the body can tolerate them.

Such a diet will result in marked improvements of anxiety and depression.  She says that the toxicity that results from dysbiosis makes its way to the brain.  She says that if you have a mental illness, this is an indicator that your brain is under autoimmune attack.  She explains that depression and anxiety results from a lack of neurotransmitters, almost 100% of which are manufactured in the digestive system.

1.       Serotonin – Happy Neurotransmitter

2.       Dopamine – Motivational Neurotransmitter (get up and go conquer the world)

3.       Gaba – Keeps us in the correct balance

When digestive system isn’t healthy, it can’t produce enough neurotransmitters.

Dr. Natasha says that we need to have a diet high in animal fat

·         Pork fat

·         Duck fat

·         Sour cream

·         Butter

·         Ghee

·         All animal fats


Julie Matthews, CNC   How Beneficial Bacteria Can Help Children with Autism

·         Differences in pathogenic bacteria levels in children with Autism.

·         Recommended foods for an individualized diet

·         Fundamental nutrition principles for children with autism


Leo Galland, MD   The Allergy Solution for a Healthy Microbiome

·         The difference between treating disease and treating people

·         The effects of inflammation on your microbiome

·         Role of the “healer” and “healee” in the healing process


Amy Myers, MD   Taking Control of your Autoimmune Disorder

·         Major myths about autoimmune disorders

·         Connection between mold and your overall health

·         Role of stress, even in the world of functional medicine


Deepak Chapra  How Thoughts, Feelings and Environment Influence Gene Expression

·         How your body is a process that can be changed through consciousness

·         “Speaking the language” of your cells and microbiome

·         Impact of emotions on your microbiome

Mind and matter are inseparably one.  Matter is an experience in consciousness.  Where is that consciousness?

·         Sensation

·         Image

·         Feeling

·         Thoughts

The entire universe is an experience in consciousness.  Mind and matter are subtle modulations of consciousness (an unknown variable).

Modern medicine does not rest on these ideas.  Doctors in medical school studied medicine by studying dead bodies.  Your body is a verb (a process of becoming).  A cadaver is not the human body.  Doctors end up missing the entire microbiome.

1.       Your body is not a thing.  It’s a process in consciousness.

2.       Therefore, your body is not the same body it was a minute ago (you can’t step in the same river twice).

3.       We can change the physical body through our thoughts and behaviors.

4.       Statistics are misleading.  They don’t tell me where an individual is.  We inhabit our home with our bacteria (we share the same microbiome).

Genes, he says, have consciousness/intelligence, and this has practical implications for society, for health and healing.

99% or more of the world is sub-empirical.  Mind and matter are inseparably one.  There is no such thing as a thing.  Only activities.

Decolonization and my Refrigerator

Decolonization.  A great word to describe what is happening in my world today.  It’s an idea that you have to experience to “get.”  For me, it’s a newfound commitment to living within my means.  Not drawing on nonexistent resources or borrowing from the future.  And you know what?  It’s amazing.  Going through life, moment by moment, using my gut as my guide, never wandering too far from joy and pleasure in just the right measure, checking in to see what my purpose really is, as many times as it takes.

This is where it’s at folks.  It is breaking to smithereens all the ways I used to feel about the world, first and foremost that I don’t get what I want, or I don’t get the support I need because, you know what?  I do.  If I can quiet myself enough; if I can receive; if I can listen.

My refrigerator had been giving me fits.  The freezer’s been just fine, mind you, but down below, it’s more like the temperature of a root cellar.  And about a month ago I had figured out how to deal with a different problem: it was freezing everything.  So what I own is a refrigerator that is trying to make up its mind.  I know better than to try to ask some technician to look at it.  That will be an investment of very questionable value in terms of both time and money.  Instead, I get to have this experience, which as it turns out, is kind of fun.  I’m decolonizing.

I have been intimately aware of my addictive patterns around food.  I devolve down a well-worn groove from good intentions to just a little more of the comfort food, to full-on surrender to my cravings.  And I’m forced to find my way back to myself again.

When I came home to my decomposing celery and spinach I got mad.  But then I made soup.  My heart ached because I had just bought whipping cream for my tea but then I made cream of spinach soup and used the sour cream for my potatoes.  It was divine.  I froze what was left of the spinach and I went to the market looking for what would keep better in my “root cellar,” began to make more frequent trips to the market (on my bicycle), and purchasing less each time.  I also had to stay on my toes (conscious) about planning meals around what needed to be used up first.  I made smoothies out of things I’d never used before, and used my dehydrator.  And I became even more conscious about scouting out foods that were on sale or offered as surplus.  When I do this I know that I’m more likely eating what’s in season and local – at least at my neighborhood market here in Guadalajara.

This, my friends, is what it takes for me to avoid seductive patterns that offer the illusion of comfort; that lure me with their “convenience” but actually lull me into unconsciousness and addiction.

Underneath all that, I am discovering as I listen, are my unconscious fears:

  • I’m not going to have what I need.
  • Taking care of myself well is a thankless, all-consuming drudge.
  • My food needs are overwhelming and unreasonable.


Now I can see them.  Thank you Spirit.  Here is what I’m shifting that to:

  • I have what I need.
  • I am not alone in caring for myself.
  • I am well supported, though support sometimes comes in the form of change and I don’t understand it at first.
  • My needs are normal.
  • Meeting my needs is actually a lot easier than I thought.

The thing is, I need to keep my focus more on the short-term, and not extend my food planning out so far.  This is what it takes for me to come out of addiction, to follow my guidance, and live, fully embodied in the present.  I’m not sure I’m going to ever fix my refrigerator.  I may just begin seeing it as another instrument of God – slowing me down, bringing me back to myself, reconnecting me with my purpose, and helping me to live more sustainably and aware of my body’s needs and the planet.