Did you know that drinking a lot of water before and during a meal actually dilutes the acid in your stomach that is needed to digest your food properly?

Drinking clean water is good for you but drink it 30-60 minutes before or after you eat.

If you have digestive issues (IBS, gas, constipation, bloating, diarrhea, ulcers or acid reflux) consider adding Betaine HCl (Pepsin and Hydrochloric acid) to your routine. Although it sounds counterintuitive, having the proper amount of acid and digestive enzymes available when you eat may alleviate some of your concerns -even ulcers and acid reflux. Decreasing caffeine and processed foods, of course, will also help…

Let me explain….
Proteins are broken down into smaller molecules in the stomach by Pepsin. Pepsinogen is secreted by your gastric (stomach) chief cells but requires a low (acidic) pH in order to be broken down into its active form, Pepsin.
In addition, pathogenic bacteria (the bad guys) thrive in the stomach when the pH isn’t low enough or acidic enough. One in particular, the infamous H. Pylori, we now know is directly responsible for causing stomach ulcers -NOT acid!! Yes! A bacteria is responsible for that gnawing, burning sensation in the pit of your stomach -literally. We must crowd those out by reestablishing the correct pH in our stomach and replenishing the good bacteria, probiotics, in order to crowd out our uninvited guests.

Pepsin and other digestive enzymes in the stomach require a pH of 1-3 (acidic) in order to activate and work properly or they will denature (fall apart) and be rendered ineffective. The digestion process continues in the small intestine once the stomach has completed its job. As the contents of the stomach are dumped into the duodenum (the entry way into your small intestine) the acid is neutralized by the bicarbonate secreted by your pancreas into your duodenum and the digestive process continues from there by the enzymes produced by your pancreas.canstockphoto18463211

Ensuring that this process occurs as designed helps to maintain a good balance of the beneficial bacteria in your intestines that influence about 70-80% of your immune system and actually produce necessary vitamins for your nutrition as well. (More on that another day). If you’re unable to take or tolerate capsules, chewable digestive enzymes may be helpful as well.

If you’re suffering from indigestion, upset stomach or just a blah feeling whenever you eat, consider adding Betaine HCl and/or digestive enzymes to get you back on the right track!

Happy Healthy Living!
Until next time…

Take Home Tidbits
Drinking a lot before you eat dilutes the stomach acid that you need to digest your food
Stomach ulcers (along with other digestive issues) are due to the presence of bad bacteria
Beneficial bacteria in your gut help digest your food and synthesize vitamins

Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is – Dental Care Done Naturally

I was recently asked for my opinion on mouthwash. Due to the use of saccharin as a sweetener in mouthwash a friend of mine was very concerned. She takes great care of her diet and health and didn’t want to expose even just her mouth to saccharin that is commonly used to sweeten mouthwash.  She asked me and a few other health Gurus what we thought about the use of mouthwash with saccharin. I don’t use mouthwash personally. There is an increased risk of cancer associated with mouthwash use and saccharin is likely one of the main culprits of that risk – that and the eradication of the protective bacterial balance (probiotics) in the mouth. The conversation about mouthwash that my friend initiated inspired me to do an oral health article.

I’ve learned so much recently and wanted to share what I’ve learned. I just had a dental appointment and was spontaneously informed that my “gums are in great shape!” That’s when I began to share what it is exactly that I do. Thankfully my dentist is very open to natural and holistic approaches and was well aware of a lot of the misinformation regarding dietary recommendations out there as well. So it was very nice to have a great meeting of the minds over the current shift I’ve taken in my life.

For starters I use a silk all natural floss for my teeth before I brush. Growing up we were taught to brush and then floss but that has since changed. The recommendation currently is to floss and then brush.  That changed back when I was in Medical School. We took some lectures with the Dental Students so I learned a lot from them. The thought is that you dislodge and loosen the plaque and tartar that harbors the bacteria that causes tooth decay and gum disease before you brush. (Dental disease is also associated with an increased of heart disease – let’s put a pin in that for another day.) Loosening up the plaque before brushing will help you be more effective at removing it when you brush. I use silk, fluoride free floss. Silk because it’s natural and honestly it just seems to be so much more effective! I can literally see the tartar and plaque being removed every time I use it. Plus it’s natural – no chemicals and it doesn’t cut or irritate my gums when I use it.

Also, I refrain from fluoride use in any and everything!  You heard me correctly – no fluoride in my house at all! We have a water filter that takes all of the fluoride and chlorine (among many other things) out of the water that we drink and cook with. When I can remember to fill up my canteen I keep in the bathroom, I use that water to brush my teeth. Truthfully there’s plenty of evidence to support not using fluoride for preventing cavities. Perhaps this is why most of the Western World does NOT fluoridate water. In fact, there is no significant change in the amount of cavities in the studies that I’ve seen associated with fluoride use. Plus there is a lot of toxicity associated with using fluoridated water including the risk of lowered IQ as clearly demonstrated in 50 studies!!  Nothing is one size fits all – not even fluoride. Some people are genetically predisposed to the toxicity of fluoride use. If you are a person of color, it’s more likely that you have one or two copies of the gene that increases the amount of fluoride your body uptakes when exposed to it. Too much fluoride or fluorosis causes discoloration of the teeth.  Do you have any white or brown specks, lines, pitting, or freckling on your teeth? Bingo! Studies back from the 1930s demonstrate that it is actually the increase in grain consumption that is associated with increased cavities.

Also, do you have any idea where this fluoride comes from? It is actually a waste or byproduct from fertilizer production!! It’s called fluorosilicic acid, sodium fluorosilicate, and sodium fluoride. It is shipped to our water treatment plants in HAZMAT (Hazardous Material Transportation) trucks and the staff that is charged with delivering it also wear HAZMAT suits!!  I’m not comfortable putting THAT in my mouth and body! You?! A good amount of the fluoride that we put in our water sources actually comes from China. Guess who doesn’t put fluoride in their water? China! Now years ago there was a big scare about not buying toys made in China because of lead contamination. Yet we’re going to accept fluoride from them?!  I’ll take the zero. Now the latest  is the USA has contracted with China to grow chickens for us. Guess what I won’t be eating?! Chicken from China. But I digress….

Dental Care Done NaturallyAll of that to say I do not use fluoride in my toothpaste and we are very judicious about removing fluoride from the water that we drink or use to cook. My children have NEVER used fluoridated toothpaste. My sweet little BeBe has never been diagnosed with any cavities (he’s 4yo now). And my oldest, Bunny, only had one small cavity in between two of her very tightly spaced teeth at 5yo. However, I realized shortly thereafter that the cute little flossers that I had been buying for her to get in that tight space had fluoride on them! Aaaargh! So obviously since then I stopped using those. She’s had no more problems since then.

When in doubt we make our own remineralizing toothpaste or gel if there is a concern about cavities. We had a little scare with my sweet little BeBe recently and I thought I saw some brown spots behind what looked like a little bit of tartar buildup. (We had to reschedule his dental appointment due to some scheduling conflicts so it was a couple weeks later than normal and brushing his teeth when he was younger sometimes was like wrestling a 40 pound octopus – true story.) I jumped right on it and started smearing a little bit of my homemade remineralizing solution on it.  Within a day or two the brown spot started to shrink and is now no longer detectable by the naked eye.

I almost never use toothpaste when I brush my teeth as I had so many concerns about some of the ingredients -even in the “natural” options. I use an ionic toothbrush. It uses gentle natural ionic charges of electrons to draw away bacteria, plaque and tartar.

I also use coconut oil to do oil pulling from time to time. I will admit I don’t even do it every day.  I might do it once or twice a week at most but I definitely feel how fresh my mouth feels afterwards. Coconut oil has natural antibacterial and antifungal properties so that helps clean my mouth naturally.  Also, when I remember to do so I use a copper tongue scraper or cleaner when I do my dental care. It’s a nice natural way to kill bacteria in the mouth. I was riddled with cavities growing up and lots of dental issues (while using fluoridated toothpaste and drinking water mind you). But as an adult I’ve had no problems! No more cavities and no more loss of enamel since I’ve stopped using fluoride and started using Mother Nature whenever possible. Yes, we go to the dentist every six months for a thorough cleaning and check up. But we clearly request no fluoride treatments! And the Beebster, Bunny, Daddy and I have been just fine!

Happy Healthy Living!

Until next time…..

P.S. As I was sitting here typing this my sweet Bunny came to tell me that she just discovered two more loose teeth! I hope the Tooth Fairy has deep pockets because she is on a roll! Pixie Dust here we come!

Dental Care Done Naturally

Take Home Tidbits

Helpful Resources

Fluoride Action Network

The Influence of a Cereal-Free Diet Rich in Vitamin D and Calcium on Dental Caries in Children

Ten Facts About Fluoride 

Feel free to comment and ask questions in the comment box below!



There has been so much going on in the news lately – whether it occurs a world away or in your own backyard – the impact can be felt deep in your soul if you’re listening.  If you are anything like me, your Facebook and other social media feeds are running over with the anguish of the people that you know and to whom you stay connected.  Many unanswered cries – one after another. I barely watch the news anymore as it sometimes becomes just too much to bear but the truth is that it’s so much that you can’t escape the reality of it all.

Depending on what sources you choose there are anywhere from 4 to 7 stages of grieving.  I was taught the 5 stages so I will speak from that vantage point. Grieving is experiencing a loss – whether it is of a person, a relationship, a dream, or an ideal like “We hold these truths to be self evident…”  So irrespective of your connection to the events of yesterday, today, or tomorrow we all have and will grieve something or someone at some point in our lives so I hope that this helps.

Stage 1 – Denial (shock or numbness)

This is thought to be somewhat of a self-protective stage as the emotion or reality of it all may just be too much to bear at the time. As you begin to come to terms with the loss, this stage will begin to fade away.

Stage 2 – Bargaining

I call this the “if only” stage.  We begin to ruminate about how things may have or could have or should have been different “if only…”

Stage 3 – Anger

The rage that can come from the feeling of hopelessness and powerlessness takes over.  This anger can be directed toward individuals, institutions, the world, or anyone who doesn’t see/empathize with you and your viewpoint.

Stage 4 – Depression

The sadness of recognizing the value of the loss begins to set in.

Stage 5 – Acceptance (It is what it is)

This involves coming to terms with your “new normal” after a loss. This is perhaps where you can take steps to remedy the situation (if you haven’t done so already).  Take some of that energy that may still be left over from the previous phases and do something constructive – for someone else! Sometimes the best way to get out of our own feelings is to direct them towards something or someone else. If there is something that directly caused your loss, do something about that! Fund raise for a cause, become involved in your community and its politics to put policies in place so no one else has to suffer the same loss again, educate others about the illness that took your loved one.  Whatever it is/was – take action!

There are some things that you can do along the way to help ease SOME of the pain and hopefully with time and support it will get better.  Prayer, meditation, yoga, and seeking wise counsel of your choosing can help you start to wrap your mind around what happened and calm your spirit. Aromatherapy can help calm your mind as well.  Just inhaling genuine essential oils can positively impact your psyche.  Clinical research shows that Frankincense oil can help alleviate depression.  Perhaps that is why it is mentioned so many times in all manners of ancient texts when it comes to temples and worship time. Adaptogens like Ashawaganda can help relieve some of the physical stress that all of those racing emotions and hormones are causing. Exercise can cause the release of endorphins and your “happy hormones”.  Very active exercise like say, running, bike riding, kickboxing and the like can help you physically work out your emotions.  Try to remember what makes your heart sing – even if the last time that you did it was as a kid. What was it? Dancing the night away?, Singing in the shower at the top of your lungs (when nobody else is home)?, Climbing a tree? Walking on the beach?, Horseback riding? Whatever it is – get to doing just that!

Bottom line? It’s okay to feel what you feel! The difference is what you choose to do with those feelings that separates mice from men. Be cognizant of how you feel and try not to sit your feelings too long and become consumed with them. Your feelings will vacillate up and down and back and forth.  That is normal, too.  There is no magic potion or pill to resolve what you’re feeling.  You shouldn’t have to feel what you are feeling – but we are. If, however, you notice that you are feeling more down than up and that ratio doesn’t begin to change with time, PLEASE go seek professional help.  Ask your primary doctor for a referral. There is no shame in needing and asking for help.  That requires courage like no other.

Happy Healthy Living!

Until Next Time…

Take Home Tidbits:

  • It is okay to grieve.
  • Grieving has stages and you may vacillate between them all from time to time.
  • Prayer, mediation, yoga, exercise, aromatherapy and adaptogens may help some.
  • If you aren’t improving, get professional help.
  • It is okay to ask for help.

Helpful Resources

Why did they bring frankincense and myrrh?

Frankincense and Mirth

Suicide Prevention Hotline   1-800-273-TALK (8255)

Anxiety and Depression Society of America – Finding Help

Don’t Try This At Home Folks

Summer Safety is a hot topic that is sometimes overlooked or forgotten.  The buzz of the summer months provides for lots of fun family time but sometimes we may get caught up in the moment and accidents happen.

There is an exhaustive list of summer safety subjects but in light of the holiday weekend that is upon us let’s focus on fireworks for the time being.  Although the purchase of fireworks for personal use is legal in some states (check with your local legislature to be sure), the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that you leave it to the professionals.  Many cities, towns, and communities have a fireworks display done by professionals that you can attend for free. I grew up in our nation’s capital, Washington, D.C., so I had the pleasure of watching those awesome fireworks on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial across from the Washington Monument, over the Reflecting Pool.  If you ever have an opportunity to see that spectacular display in person, take advantage of it!

If you do decide to have a home display, PLEASE keep an eye on your little ones.  Very serious burns can occur with things that seem as innocuous as the old-time favorite, sparklers. Fireworks including sparklers can reach temperatures over 1000 degrees Farenheit. YES I said it, ONE THOUSAND degrees!

Summer Safety

If perchance a burn does occur, IMMEDIATELY apply cool water – NOT ice – cool water. What you may not realize is that once your skin has been burned a thermal reaction in the affected tissue continues.  So even though you may have removed your hand from the fire, for instance, the damage from that retained heat continues to impact the burned tissue AND the healthy cells next door.  So in order to reduce the impact of the damage to burned and neighboring cells, apply cool water to the area. The cool sensation may also help give some relief from the discomfort.  However, ice can actually cause more damage than good. Believe it or not, ice can burn, too.  Frostbite ring a bell? Hypothermia (super cold temperatures) can cause just as much damage as hyPERthermia (too much heat). See the difference? hyPO = too low, hyPER = too high.  So whenever you see those in front of a medical term (prefix), now you know what that means.  Hypoglycemia = LOW blood sugar. Hypertension = HIGH blood pressure. Got it?

Remove any clothing from the area immediately unless it is stuck to the skin.  Cover the area with clean, dry, sterile gauze or cloth if gauze isn’t available and see your doctor.  Seek medical attention immediately if there is any blistering or oozing of the burns or if the burn is circumferential, meaning it wraps around or encircles an extremity or digit like fingers and toes.  Burns that wrap around parts of the body can cause problems down the road as they heal if not monitored by a trained professional.  As scar tissue is formed in a burn that wraps around a body part occurs over time, the scar tissue can tighten or contract and constrict function of some of the muscles in the area if not addressed appropriately by a professional.  Facial burns should also be evaluated by a physician immediately.

Bear in mind that some children have sensory integration disorders and the loud, flashing lights may be genuinely uncomfortable for them. Noise canceling headphones may be helpful in those cases. Also, if anyone has a photosensitive seizure disorder, the repetitive, intense flashing could possibly trigger seizures.

Sidebar – if you MUST partake of a hot dog as is traditional during this time of year PLEASE look for unprocessed ones containing only ingredients that you can read.  More and more manufacturers are answering the call for healthier versions of foods.  You just have to take the extra seconds to look for them in your local grocery store. Processed meats are associated with a higher risk of cancers later in life.

Happy Healthy Living!

Until Next Time….

Take Home Tidbits:

  • Fireworks can reach 1000 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Apply cool water – not ice – to burns
  • Seek medical attention immediately if burns are blistering, oozing or circumferential
  • Find unprocessed hot dogs

Helpful Resources

AAP 2016 Summer Safety Tips

Dietary Exposure to Volatile and Non-volatile N-nitrosamines from processed meat products in Denmark

Calcium Inhibits Promotion by Hot Dog of 1,2-dimethylhydrazine-induced Mucin-depleted Foci in Rat Colon.