Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Pesto In December?!

I had vowed never to be a 3 store grocery shopper but trying to follow a budget and feed my family with fresh and organic food, quickly changed that thought! I found myself embracing 3 and sometimes 4 places to purchase interesting foods. This week while at BJ's - my first stop of the week to purchase some organic veggies, grass fed bison and other organic meats, large bags of organic tortilla chips - there was organic fresh parsley and basil. I could not resist to purchase them and to plan a family meal with my version of pesto. I have found that many of these delicious sauces are very dense in fat/oil and this not only is very caloric, but can feel heavy on the digestion. I have experimented over the years using chicken broth to make up part of the liquid volume in many of these sauces. This lighter sauce can be used over pasta, grilled chicken breast, as a salad topper or even to top a baked potato! Try this version and reap the benefits of amazing herbs and the monounsaturated, heart-healthy olive oil. I use organic ingredients. Julie's Pesto: 2 tbl olive oil 3/4 cup plus 2 tbl organic chicken broth 1/4 cup parmesan cheese 1-2 garlic cloves 2 cups fresh basil leaves 2 tbl pine nuts or walnuts Blend all ingredients together until smooth. Store in covered container in refrigerator Bon Appetit! Julie

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Thanksgiving Plate and A Yummy Thanksgiving Pumpkin Cheesecake

Once November comes around, the focus of nutrition counseling becomes damage control, reality checking and enjoyment - sometimes a challenging concept! Thanksgiving being the first of the holidays and one of the biggest feast days, is a great place to begin. I use the template of visualizing the plate 1/2-full of veggies, 1/4 protein (about 4-6 ounces) and1/4 starch (1/2-3/4 cup cooked grains/starches). Since many of the favorite foods are high in carbohydrate, it becomes an activity of choosing what to have and how to fill in the 1/4 plate. The starchy carbs include potatoes, sweet potatoes, winter squash, stuffing, cranberry sauce, rolls and most of the desserts. It may be wise to take tablespoon portions of all the favorites or to pick the most important foods that one enjoys. Always be sure to fill 1/2 the plate with non-starchy veggies such as green beans almondine or oven roasted Brussels sprouts, accompanied by a good portion of turkey. Starting the day off on the right foot is so very important. Always have a good protein meal to be full for a long time, such as ham and eggs with a slice of whole grain bread. Muffins and bagels just won't work, as the excessive carbs will cause a crash of energy. When it come to dessert, consider having it a few hours later as the snack and again, balancing some protein and good fat along with carb, will make the treat satisfying not only for the palette, but also for staying full. Try this recipe that I created as a low glycemic option that tastes great! Pumpkin Cheesecake 1# lowfat cream cheese 2 eggs 3 packets stevia 1 tbl vanilla extract 1 cup crushed graham crackers or ginger snaps 2 tbl melted butter or coconut oil 1/2 cup pumpkin puree 1 tsp pumpkin spice Mix together the cream cheese, eggs, stevia and vanilla Press the crushed crackers with the butter/coconut oil into 8" pie plate Pour the cream cheese mixture into the crust Mix the pumpkin puree and spice together and swirl into the cheese mixture Bake 350 for 25 minutes Bon Appetit! Julie

Friday, November 22, 2013

"Potty" Training and Retraining

I see many patients in my office with gastrointestinal issues and at the same time, have been dealing with my own set of IBS/candida/bacterial overgrowth issues, secondary to the type of cancer that I have. While it can help to understand others' suffering, it sure has not been a fun time! In my own personal work, I have certainly attended to the obvious dietary adjustments - no sugar, good fiber, probiotics, antifungal supplements - and yet, my reflexologist and other energy workers, see constipation throughout - meaning that there are habits and ways of being that I am having a hard time letting go of. How interesting a concept! If one thinks of the chakras, energy systems in the body, the second and third chakras have to do with being safe and secure, as well as relaxed with oneself and surroundings, and being able to digest and assimilate nutrients and new information. While pondering this concept, I immediately thought of how proud my Mom was that I was "potty trained" by the age of 2! I recall her telling me that we were moving into a house and she wanted this done and over with before the move. Wow - what pressure for a toddler's body, as well as brain - and yet, this was not an uncommon expectation for those growing up in my era. I learned at a very young age to hold things in and not let go. It now makes so much sense to me. This holding pattern is so well ingrained on the anatomical level as well as the emotional level, but at least with awareness, these traits can be transformed into healthy patterns. I will bring this awareness into my practice with my patients and see how the combination of functional medicine - the diet, supplements, relaxation - along with identifying early life experiences, brings hopefully a more complete healing. To be continued. . .

Monday, November 18, 2013

Visting The Mount

It has been a little over a month since my Mom died and I decided to take my Dad and daughter to visit a lifelong friend, Fr Steve. Fr Steve or his religious name, Fr. Emmanuel, has been an amazing support, an open-minded theological expert, whose life's work has been to bring people of all faiths and spiritual orientations together as "one". This theme speaks volumes to me, as I practice this philosophy in my personal life as well as with my clients. The mount is Graymoor, a full mountain devoted to caring for the poor, the addicted and those with emotional concerns. Graymoor is nestled in the Peekskill Mountains of Garrison, New York. At the base of the mount, the sisters tend people providing seminars, reiki, massage, and when I was a child, they baked fresh Irish Soda bread and sold it for the use of providing programs for those in need. Further up the hill, the brothers tended the farms and worked in the hospital with folks who struggled with addictions. While farming is no longer part of the work, the infirmary is still quite active. As my daughter and I climbed from top to bottom to the top again, we not only had an amazing cardio workout, but had a breath-taking view of the Hudson Valley. This was a spiritually uplifting experience, combined with awesome discussions with Fr. Steve about his open-heart for fostering the spiritual nature of all. For my Dad, this was an opportunity to go back to a place of familiarity - in fact 60+ years of visits - also an opportunity to spend quality time with family and friends. What is the message here? Find what brings you to your core self - the attributes that are important in your life; how to get in touch with those attributes and then to bring them forth. For me and many, being in nature calms the mind, creating an allowance for focus on the inner self. Knowing your inner self will allow you to bring forth your gifts. Now, go forth! Peace and blessings, Julie

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The Anniversary

It's been a month since my last post. This has been a month of transition, of pondering, of disbelief, of reality. On Oct 13, my Mom passed away. As I write this, there is still a part of me that really does not comprehend those words. She passed peacefully at the hospital with my Dad, my two daughters and my older daughter's boyfriend, all surrounding her with love, prayers and last conversations. As I've mentioned in other posts, my Mom had been ill for about 1 1/2 years, but especially challenged since being on dialysis 10 months ago. There have been very important correlations between my mother's illness and my own. The day that my Mom went into the hospital for the first time, was the very day that I got my diagnosis of hairy cell leukemis. And from then on, when my Mom was having a complication, I often had a similar medical issue going on - digestive issues that required exploration/surgery, extremely low blood pressure, very low iron that required a transfusion for my Mom and almost required the same for me. It became a bit beyond coincidental for these occasions. During these past 3-4 months as these occasions increased, I chose to seek assistance with a healer who specializes in family constellation therapy. This proved to be very enlightening and brought me great compassion for those parts of my Mom that I struggled with. As with all us parents, we have our loving and amazing qualities, as well as those parts better known as the "shadow side". I have personally done a lot of work on accepting and integrating my shadow side and what a liberating feeling! How nice it is to learn to love all of who we are without having to hide those parts that are less appealing. It remains a work in progress! By learning more about my lineage - my Mom, her siblings, parents, grand-parents - I felt not only a deeper connection with my Mom, but an ability to become less enmeshed and more of my own person. During the few weeks prior to her death, we had amazing talks. I was able to share deep feelings with her that I had been too embarrassed to talk about - to be able to show my vulnerability, to cry with her, to massage her back, legs and feet, to hug her closely as if she were now mine. Since my Mom's passing, I have been very open to listening to messages that she is sending me, to pay attention to the important details in life. I am able to see more clearly that my Mom gave me life in her passing. In her wisdom toward the end, she told me how important it would be for me to take care of myself, to get rest and not feel guilty about not being there all the time. The past year was challenging because there were times that I could not go into the hospital due to my own low blood counts, and times that I was so tired, but would make the trip 1 1/2 hours each way to visit. I feel even more conviction that I will heal my cancer - I learn from it every day! With love and blessings for all, Julie

Sunday, October 6, 2013

The Migraine - Physical, Emotional and Spiritual Aspects

Well, I missed my Tuesday blog, partly due to having a migraine and needing to conserve my energy to stay focused on my work for the day. I've had migraines since my late adolescence and have learned much about the physical and emotional triggers that can cause these miserable headaches. I've searched the food sensitivity theories, lack of magnesium, hormones, too little sleep, stress, alcohol, perfumes, light etc. It seems that just as I think I have it figured out, I realize that I have more to learn or to catch on more quickly. Being in the health science arena, I usually begin looking there first, but I also have my feet in the "other world" as well - that which is unseen, but is just as real. I met with my colleague a few years ago, Susan, whose specialty is spiritual counseling. She has a doctorate in divinity and can speak to any spiritual affiliation or to those with no spiritual identity. As Susan carefully listened to my story, she not only acknowledged my hormonal abnormalities, but she also observed that I had some unresolved feelings that I did not express - feeling angry yet unworthy to express any negative feelings. All of s sudden, the light bulb went on. I had been conditioned as a child to never show angry feelings. I grew up during the era when "good girls are to be seen and not heard." As a result, I learned to avoid conflict as much as possible, even when I felt upset by something. It has been a few months since my last migraine which is such a great improvement. I had had monthly migraines, sometimes every few weeks, for years and the duration is generally five days of feeling pretty lousy. I decided to look at not only my hormonal relationship, food triggers and other environmental triggers, but at the emotions that I have been experiencing. Sure enough, I found some areas where I had suppressed my feelings. I decided this time to use my voice, speaking my truth, with kindness and compassion. To digress just a bit, but tie this to the theme of this blog, I usually use reiki energy on my throat chakra on a daily basis. Reiki is an ancient tool used to focus energy to particular areas of the body that need healing and clearing. I chose the throat and heart chakras as part of my daily preparation in order to be at my best when working with my patients. Now, I needed to clear the throat chakra for me - to feel worthy of expressing my feelings, whether positive or negative, in a loving and compassionate manner. For me, as for many, I also find an increase in magnesium makes a big difference in my headaches. Magnesium is known as nature's calming mineral. Magnesium citrate, taurate and glycinate are the best forms for supplements used in treating headaches, muscle tightness and digestive issues that can accompany migraines, but there are many foods that are also wonderful sources of this nutrient. See the following list of foods rich in magnesium and remember that migraines are multidimensional, crossing into physical, emotional and spiritual areas. Foods that are good sources of magnesium are avocados, bananas, blackberries, guava, kiwi, pomegranate, raspberries, watermelon, artichokes, okra, peas, almonds, cashews, oats, wheat, beef, cheddar cheese and tuna.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Hearty Soups and Stews

Tis the season for having a warm cup or bowl of soup or stew. The air has a refreshing chill and warm foods are great for digestion. In fact foods and beverages are much better assimilated when warms or at least at room temperature. The beef stew recipe is a simulation of a stew that I had years ago at The New England Baptist Hospital cafeteria. I asked what was the "special ingredient" and was told it was basil. I went home to my food laboratory, the kitchen, and began the experiment. I think you'll enjoy this hearty stew. When I roast a chicken, I save the pan drippings, pull off the parts to be eaten and save the bones, wings, skin and some meat. All of this goes directly into the soup pot and the stock is started. There are many ways to make a chicken soup, but I like to get a few different meals from the roaster and also like to get the soup started while enjoying the chicken meal. I'm always thinking of efficiency when it comes to creating and preparing delicious and nutritious meals. Enjoy this soup with a baking powder biscuit or two! Hearty soups and stews Basic chicken soup 1 3# organic roasting chicken 2-3 celery stalks with leaves 1 onion 2 bay leaves ½ tsp marjoram ½ tsp thyme 3-4 carrots 1/3 cup brown rice or other grain Roast a chicken. Pull parts for meals etc, then put bones with leftover meat, skin and scrape the carmelized remains in the baking pan into a soup pot. Cover with water and bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer for 25-30 minutes. Remove from heat and cool slightly before putting into refrigerator overnight. Remove from refrigerator and skim fat, also remove skin from chicken and clear the meat from the bones. Add the meat back to the stock and bring to a boil. Add 1-2 bay leaves, marjoram, thyme and minced celery with leaves, as well as a sliced onion. Add 1/3 cup grain such as brown rice, millet, barley, buckwheat or a combination of all. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Add chopped carrots and cook for 15 minutes. Cool. Best served the next day, but can be served immediately. Beef stew 1# grass fed sirloin strip steak or sirloin tips, cubed Olive or canola pan spray Gluten-free flour or cornstarch 1 turnip 3-4 carrots 1 onion 2-3 stalks celery with leaves 1 tsp basil 1/3 cup brown rice or other whole grain Cube beef and toss with 1 tbl flour or cornstarch. Heat pan with pan spray and brown beef cubes with diced celery stalks and onion. Add water to cover with about 2” water. Bring to boil and add rice, basil and celery leaves, simmering for about 20 minutes. Add cubed turnip and carrots, bring to boil, reduce and cook for additional 30 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Unplugged and Happy Birthday

The weekend began with a crash of the internet, but it did not rattle me the way it usually would. I tend to keep up with work emails, answering clients within 24 hours and doing the weekly bills and office billing early every Sunday morning. But this weekend was to be different. I started my recertification training in yoga, thus was gone all day Saturday and Sunday. As should be no surprise, I was in my "zen mode" for the entire weekend. Monday arrived and I was back to no computerized charts, but that did not cause angst - I reverted to the old fashioned way of interviewing and assisting my clients. There was something actually a little nice about being unplugged. Fast forward to today, September 19 - my birthday. Usually, I am working and we celebrate as a family on a day that is convenient for us all, but today was different. I usually work at the clinic on Thursdays, but it is closed for updates for the next two days. Knowing this, I tried to work on filling my newly hired dietitian with clients, but he is finalizing details, so the day was open. Wow - what a gift. I decided to listen to the universe with regard to how hard it was to fit work in, and thus chose to take a day for me. Being self-employed with multiple initiatives, there is always work to do. As I've mentioned in previous blogs, the lesson is learning to play as well as work - a word not in my vocabulary until recently. When we balance life with work, rest and play, our true selves shine through. This week has provided me with wonderful opportunities and the message for you all is to go with the flow, listening to your heart. Last of all is my creative concoction for dinner: leftover roast pork tenderloin, diced garden tomato, chopped sauté both in coconut oil sprinkle with garlic powder, oregano, parsley, basil top with green olives and shredded parmesan place on arugula serve with toasted millet-flax lavash Enjoy! Julie

Friday, September 13, 2013

Fish Anyone?

Fish is a popular protein in today's world. It is low in calories and saturated fat and is called brain food because of its amino acid content and omega three fatty acids. Be sure to choose wild caught rather than farm-raised fish, as the farm raised contains higher levels of contaminants. Try this delicious recipe that combines a variety of flavors including sweet potato, capers, parsley and tomato. An interesting combination! Fish with Tomato Ragout on Shredded Sweet Potatoes Serves 4 2 tablespoons flour ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided 4 fillets (about 1 pound) cod fillets or any white fish 6 cups water 3 sweet potatoes, peeled, shredded in food processor 1 dash ground black pepper 2 cloves garlic, minced ½ cup red onion, diced 2 cups plum tomatoes, diced ¼ cup fresh parsley, finely chopped 2 tablespoons capers, rinsed, drained Directions: 1. Combine flour and red pepper flakes in a shallow dish and coat fillets with mixture. 2. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large, non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. 3. Place fillets in skillet; cook 4 to 6 minutes, carefully turning once, until fish flakes easily with fork. Remove from skillet and keep warm. 4. Meanwhile, bring 6 cups water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add shredded sweet potatoes and simmer until just tender, about 5 minutes. Drain and add ground pepper. 5. Heat butter in same skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and red onion; cook and stir 30 seconds. 6. Add tomato, parsley and capers; heat through. 7. Divide shredded potatoes among 4 plates; place fish fillet on potatoes; top with tomato ragout. Nutrient Analysis: Nutrient Single Serving Calories 278 Protein (g) 23 Carbohydrates (g) 31 Fat (g) 7 Saturated Fat (g) 4 Cholesterol (mg) 64 Sodium (mg) 251 Dietary Fiber (g) 5 Exchanges: 3 meat, 2 bread, 1 fat Make it a meal: For each serving add 1 cup steamed Italian pole beans. Enjoy! Julie

Monday, September 9, 2013

Fight Back . . .

As I was looking through my recipes this morning, I came upon a a book that my mom gave me years ago, "Fight Back With Food", a great resource about foods, their vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and qualities that can assist in healing certain diseases. It struck me odd that "Fight" was the word being used. A few hours later, I was at the cancer clinic to have my check up with my oncologist whom I adore. While sitting in the waiting room, I became aware once again of the idea of chemotherapy "fighting" cancer. I left to come back to see patients and was so aware of the theme that prevails in our society. We are seduced into believing that life is war, that we are separate from other beings, whether animal, plant or people. I further thought about how I approach my clients' issues. It is not usually using food to fight conditions, but rather to understand how food can heal and how certain behaviors have been present to support one's well-being, even if they have overstayed their welcome. Case in point, as I spoke with one of my clients, I gently reminded her that anorexia and being overly focused on calories was a coping mechanism that allowed her to deal with tremendous stress as a child, stress that she had no other way to manage. Counting calories is often less scary than dealing with abusive parents, peer relationships, choosing whether or not to attend college. I suggested that she can thank her eating disorder for being there, but that now she is learning and using other nurturing techniques to support her physical and emotional growth. Pay attention to concepts of "fighting", "beating", "overcoming", and consider softening the tone, recognizing that all that is in the universe is complementary. Healing on all levels begins with acceptance and self-love. Namaste Julie

Friday, September 6, 2013

Green - Nature,Color, Heart Health - Did You Get Your Dose Today?

As I walked the lake with my dog, Tammie, a little shih-poo, who is my walking and running buddy, I entertained my message for this blog. Green on many levels, provides us with healing qualities, from being out in nature to cooking those beloved greens such as kale and swiss chard. I love to walk in nature, taking in the variety of green leaves, and seeing how the sun shines through the tress, casting different shades. What I notice the most is the calming effect that this has on my body and brain. Feeling the difference is quite remarkable - tension reduces in muscles, eyes are less tired and energy is renewed yet calmed at the same time. Another interesting aspect of the color green is that it is associated with the heart chakra, the energy center that allows us to receive love and to give love. This chakra is known as the feeling center. Many of the popular greens that we cook or use in salads, are also rich in nutrients that keep our hearts healthy along with other systems of the body. Deep greens are rich in beta-carotene or pro-vitamin A, folic acid, iron and calcium. The downside is that they also contain oxalic acid, a chemical that helps the plant to survive the harsh elements, but that also makes it hard for the body to absorb the iron and calcium. To counter this effect, adding an acid to the cooking or eating process, allows these minerals to be absorbed. Try this delicious way to prepare steamed greens: Steamed Greens 1 bunch greens, rinsed and stems trimmed, cut or torn into 1 1/2 inch pieces Steam in heavy pan using just the water that is left clinging to the leaves - about 1-2 minutes or until leaves shrink Drain remaining water and toss with 2 tbl unrefined apple cider vinegar or lemon juice, 2 tsp olive oil and 1 garlic clove minced or 1/4 tsp garlic powder Yours in health, Julie

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Content Not Calories - and - A Delicious Recipe

It's interesting to look at what America focuses on regarding our nation's health. Calories seem to dominate the fault for many of our chronic diseases - diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, gout and obesity. While calories certainly do count, they are not the only reason and may be less of the cause than originally thought. Much of the recent research is now focused on inflammatory effects of chemicals in foods and the genetic modification of foods which alter how the body is able to digest and absorb nutrition. Many calorie reduced foods are laden with chemicals that are completely unrelated to food. Take for example, many low carb, low calorie breads are infused with extra gluten to increase the protein content, while decreasing the carbohydrate content. These foods are also boosted with fibers and chemicals to provide flavor and texture resembling their original counterparts. Gluten containing grains are difficult for many people to digest and these grains have been genetically modified, further creating digestive disturbances. But there is good news here! Choose organic fruits and vegetables, organic grains, grass fed meats and organic poultry and eggs, and cold water fish, never farm raised. If it is not financially possible to purchase all organic fruits and veggies, at least look at the "dirty dozen" and be sure that these are organic. Certainly be cautious about portions. Visualize your plate 1/2 full of veggies, 1/4 protein and 1/4 starch. When eating sandwiches, eat 1/2 the bread, all the meat and add a side salad or vegetable/broth-based soup. Stay tuned for my cookbook, Feel Great, Look Great Recipes: Food For A Healthy You. Try this delicious chicken dish that I adjusted from the decadent, Food and Wine magazine. Crusted Chicken Breasts Serves 4 4 boneless chicken breasts Cooking spray For dipping mixture: 2 large egg whites 2 teaspoons cornstarch 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice For crusting mixture: 1 cup coarse bread crumbs 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped 1 dash kosher salt ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper 1 teaspoon lemon zest, minced Directions: 1. Preheat oven to 450°F. 2. Prepare chicken breasts by cutting breasts in half and pounding to an even ½ inch thick. 3. In a wide, shallow dish blend egg whites, cornstarch, and lemon juice; set aside. 4. Combine bread crumbs, parsley, salt, pepper, and zest in a second wide, shallow dish. 5. Crust chicken breasts by dipping a chicken breast into the egg mixture, letting the excess run off, then fully coating in bread crumb mixture. Repeat for each chicken breast. 6. Let chicken rest at room temperature on a rack for 20 minutes to set crust. 7. Using a large, nonstick oven-proof skillet, coat with cooking spray and sauté chicken over moderate-high heat for about 3 minutes or until golden-brown and crisp, turning to crisp both sides. 8. Carefully turn with a spatula and transfer skillet to oven for about 8 minutes until chicken is done. Nutrient Analysis: Nutrient Single Serving Calories 152 Protein (g) 23 Carbohydrates (g) 9 Fat (g) 2 Saturated Fat (g) 0 Cholesterol (mg) 49 Sodium (mg) 189 Dietary Fiber (g) 1 Exchanges: 3 meat, ½ bread, ½ fat Alternatives:  Parmesan Crusted Chicken: Add ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese to crusting mixture. Make it a meal: 1 serving Sage-Butter Sauce, 1 serving Roasted Potatoes with Garlic and Rosemary, ½ cup steamed green beans.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Hairy Cell What?

I've referred to my cancer in some of these writings, but have not elaborated on the specifics and how health care in this country addresses cancer treatment. It had been about a years and a half of not feeling well and worsening symptoms of fatigue, achiness, migraines, often feeling flu-like. When I finally got the diagnosis of hairy cell leukemia, a rare leukemia, I actually felt some relief. There was finally a name for what I had. Now, it is important to note that I had always feared cancer and avoided learning about it, always referring patients to cancer nutrition specialists. What I learned about this cancer is that it was slow growing, but progressive, usually affected males in their mid-70's. The only treatment available was chemotherapy. These chemotherapeutic drugs can improve function for up to 10 years if the patient responds. But, what is understated is that these very drugs can cause more virulent cancers, neuropathy and other side effects. After weighing the pros and cons of traditional treatment, I chose to look into alternative therapies. It is not easy to find out about alternatives and in fact, many of these programs were forced out of the United States and into other countries. Being the networker that I am, I was connected to a wonderful naturopath in Connecticut and an organization, People Against Cancer. This organization assessed my labs and provided me with information about traditional and non-traditional treatments specific to my cancer. The challenge was and remains that since this is such a rare cancer, there is less information about treatment protocols. For example, many solid tumors - breast cancer, colon cancer - do better with vegetarian diets, whereas I need red meat, lots of protein. I was connected to a program in Germany and went for three weeks. I learned about detoxification in ways beyond what I already knew, as well as spending a lot of time meditating, visualizing myself as being already healed. We spent time out in nature and organic meals along with alkaline water. We used a papimi machine that created a thumping sound, used to alter the energetic rhythms of the various organs. While working hard in this program, I was also on a very specific supplement regimen. I take over 100 supplements daily, some with food, others on an empty stomach. I refer to this as my chemotherapy because some of the mushroom extracts help with supporting the immune system, while others assist the liver in detoxifying the body. I have not been sick since being on this regimen. In addition to looking at the physiological aspects of the disease, we learned about the spiritual and emotional aspects of certain cancers. Leukemias refer to lacking joy in life, lacking self-love and I could certainly relate to this. My life had been dedicated to serving others without really thinking about what I wanted, what was my purpose and passion in life. While I love my work, music, being with my family, I had become a workaholic due to life circumstances. It was easy to focus on work and providing for others because I needed to do this, but what was totally missing, was stopping to take time to replenish. All of a sudden, it clicked - I did not give to me the way I gave to others. I did not show myself love and now my body came to a screeching halt. I was exhausted, unable to do things in the way that I once did - "the energizer bunny" of the past. But what was even more challenging is that my disease is considered low grade and I can still function, wanting to function, yearning to keep things as they were, being successful. As I started to feel better in the Spring, I fell into old habits - more work, taking on extra responsibilities, not listening to my spirit that needed rest and continued visualization toward balance. Speed on to July - blood work worsened, stomach involvement due to compromised immunity, low energy. But at least this time, I recognize that I have a choice - either workaholism that will kill me or stepping back into a period of true healing - work, fresh air, meditation/yoga, my various treatments - vitamin C IV's, infrared sauna, energy work. My spirit feels strong - I can heal, but it will take time. I continue to work closely with my medical team and coordinate my care which is time-consuming. I meet with my oncologist every 3 months, my functional medicine doc every 2 months, my naturopath every 2-3 months, consult with my People Against Cancer director to revise my supplement regimen and consider what labs need to be done. I look at this period as a "bump in the road". Life lessons are valuable and if these challenges can be seen as gifts, one can succeed with true healing. I've always taken the road less traveled and I will continue along this path - I know that this process will be an inspiration for others in the future. This is one of the gifts of my cancer. I plan to heal my cancer, listen to its message, not blast it away. After all, it is a part of me. In health, Julie

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The Belly

I am so excited to write about this topic because it is one that is near and dear to many of us. One of the frequent questions asked in my office is, "can you help me get rid of this stomach", and as I walk around town, I see the expanding abdominal girth of many. Whenever I would gain weight over the years, it always went directly to the middle, bypassing my very skinny ankles and calves. My nickname was "chicken legs"! This summer has been a sobering one for me as I dress creatively to manage bloating and stomach discomfort. It is no coincidence that many of the clients referred to me are struggling with stomach distress, bloating and abdominal weight gain as well. Many of these folks have diets that are high in refined carbs or they may be on medications that have compromised gut function, thus creating an environment for the "ugly buglies" to grow - yeasts and bacteria. In my case, the cancer that I have suppresses the immune system, thus allowing the gut to be overcome by these yeasts and bacteria. What is interesting is that I was one of those who struggled with eating excessive carbs and craving sweets. As the years have passed, my eating habits have become very clean and I love my food. It is no longer a struggle to choose greens, whole grains, lean proteins and healthy fats. And yet, the bloated belly is uncomfortable and we must remind ourselves that we are more than our bodies. What I am referring to is the self-esteem that can get caught up in body image. It takes a lot of self-talk to keep one feeling good about other attributes because often the superficial aspects of body image create a false sense of self-worth. As I have further explored digestion, there are other emotional and spiritual factors that can affect one's difficulty with the middle weight gain. According to Louise Hay, author of "Heal Your Body", she correlates diabetes and pancreas issues with a lack of sweetness in life. Other energetic healers look at the solar plexus (the middle abdominal area) as the area where one may hold onto old hurts, old angers, old ways of being. This "holding onto" can create bloating and constipation. One healer that I met with suggested a mantra that really resonates for me - "I release, I allow, I accept, I rejoice". not only If you struggle with belly issues, consider not only looking at the diet, which is certainly an important aspect, but dig deeper into the emotional aspects that might also be impacting your digestion. Are you truly enjoying the "sweetness" in life or are you feeding yourself sweet to make up for it? Are your holding onto old stuff that needs to be let go? Release, allow, accept and rejoice! Julie

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Satisfying the Palette

Saturday was the day to do focused shopping - my younger daughter heads to college next week, thus there were storage containers to purchase, toiletries and a quick trip to our favorite make-up store, Bare Minerals. My older daughter needed to find a dress for a wedding and also needed to replenish her Bare Minerals as well. I had heard about this company a few years back and knew that the claim to fame was few ingredients and allergic reactions. While in Germany last year for my alternative cancer program, I once again heard about this company from EWG (Environmental Working Group, an agency that rates cancer causing chemicals in skin care products, cleaners and other chemical-laden products. When I think about "palette" in this context, I am brought back to my concept of my tag-line, "Feel Great Look Great From The Inside Out". This concept was born when I learned about skin care, wardrobing and social presence and modeled for an agency during college. Prior to this experience, I was very unconfident in my presence. I carried this concept into my weight control classes that I coordinated in the health promotion department at the hospital where I worked and created a fun program for teens focusing on total body care - good nutrition, fitness, skin care and wardrobing for unique body types. In our family, we are cautious about what products we use on our bodies and are moving into changing cleaning products as well. The skin care line at Bare Minerals is nice and what I also really like about it is the natural look that is created, emphasizing one's unique beauty instead of changing one's look entirely. Consider taking an outing and create your own palette of color! The other palette that was satisfied Saturday evening was taste. I've mentioned often that being creative with food comes naturally for me. I love blending flavors and presenting food on the plate that appeals to the eye as well as the stomach! This week, the organic eggplant and tomatoes were abundant, so I decided to create a greek meal. I oven roasted diced eggplant with onions, then added diced tomatoes and a sprinkle of oregano, continuing to roast until the eggplant was browned. I then mixed grass fed ground bison with gluten free bread crumbs, an egg, onion powder, oregano and feta cheese. I made burgers out of the mixture and fried them in a greased pan. For the carb lovers, I made a focaccia on Samis Millet and Flax pizza crust. I order the millet-flax line of grain products from Samis Bakery as these products are wheat free, many are yeast free and the fiber content is high. I cut the crust into wedges, brush with olive oil, onion and oregano and bake to brown. Needless to say, our taste palettes were very satisfied. To finalize satisfying the palette, I took a short bike ride, soaking in the sun, blue sky and beauty of nature. Being active and being outdoors will surely help one to Feel Great and Look Great, From the Inside Out! I hope this combo might be worth a try! Julie

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Delicious and Nutritious Cookies and Quickbreads

Who doesn't like a yummy treat, yet in this day and age, often these delightful desserts push calories, fat and sugar over the top resulting in weight issues, elevated blood sugars and stomach problems. There is a way to create treats that fit the bill on both fronts - great flavor and texture, along with being low in sugar, fat and higher in fiber. For those who prefer gluten free options, it is an easy process to substitute the flours. Most quickbreads and cookies call for about 1/2-2 cups flour. Substitute 1/2 cup flour with 1/2 cup Benefiber or other soluble fiber. Do not use psyllium - it creates a tough batter. If using gluten free flour, I prefer to use mixed gluten free baking flour rather than one source. Add 1 tsp xantham gum to the flour mix to keep the bread from becoming crumbly. Use 2-4 tbl sugar per recipe and add 1 tsp vanilla to increase sweetening. If the cookie or bread goes well with cinnamon, add 1 tsp to the batter. This also increases the sweetness. For oil and fat, use 1/2 applesauce for the fat/oil. Try this favorite recipe, Banana Bread, yield 12 slices, 125 calories, 30 grams carb, 4 grams fiber, 5 grams sugar 50-60 min 1 1/4 cups gluten free flour 1/2 cup Benefiber 2 tsp baking powder 1 tsp xanthan gum 1/2 tsp salt 1/4 tsp baking soda 1 tsp cinnamon 2 tbl oil 3 tbl applesauce 2 tbl sugar 2 eggs 1 tsp vanilla 1 cup mashed bananas 1/4 cup chopped walnuts preheat oven 350 stir dry ingredients together beat oil, applesauce and sugar add eggs and vanilla, beating well add flour mixture to egg mixture alternating with bananas, ending with flour mix until combined, but do not overbeat pour into greased 9x5x2 loaf pan and bake 50-60 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean To make this a Pumpkin-Chocolate Chip Bread, substitute 1 cup pumpkin for the bananas and 1/4 cup chocolate chps for the walnuts. Bon Appetit! Julie

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Videos For Your Viewing

I'm slowly moving into the social media realm - not usually the most comfortable place for me.  While I love public speaking, teaching classes and engaging with individuals and groups, the "technology piece" has never come easily.  Luckily, I have a great behind the scenes team of folks to present my messages!

I have two video clips for your learning:  Supermarket Smarts and Jazz Up Your Palate.

I love to cook and to especially take decadent, rich recipes and lighten them up in order to increase fiber, decrease sugar, omit unhealthy fats and replace them with smaller amounts of healthy fats.

The supermarket can also be a daunting place for many and in this video, you will gain some helpful hints on how to approach the market.  For those who live closer, I am happy to take you to the local market for a tour.

Bon Appetit!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Lemon Meringue Pie: All Is Well

On Wednesday, it was my Mom's birthday and she is not a real cake person, but loves pies, especially lemon meringue.  I usually bake a homemade dessert for my family members on their birthday and have been doing this since I started baking and cooking in the 6th grade.  This year was a mixed bag with regard to celebration because my Mom has been quite ill.  She is on a renal diet and dialysis, thus many foods and beverages are limited.  In fact, she was supposed to be home from the hospital, but has had one complication after another.  When our family arrived to the hospital on Wednesday, she was not feeling well and was quite hungry because she had not been allowed to eat in order for medical tests to be done.  As we opened cards for her, showed her the flowers and old photos from the family album, we also presented the pie.  She  was happy to have a piece of the pie and felt better - I'm sure part of that was raising her low blood sugar from having no food all day. 

It is now Saturday and my Dad has been bringing her a slice every day.  When I arrived this afternoon to see her, Dad brought her in another slice and immediately her eyes lit up.  She savored every bite, seemed more content and I knew that while my Mom is quite ill with aging diseases, at least in this moment, all is well!

Food has so many meanings in our lives and one of those meanings is an expression of love.  Every culture has their expression of love being associated with food and this is wonderful as long as food is offered and not forced.  Never feel offended if someone does not accept a food offer - this is truly an individual choice.  Keep it simple and be grateful!

Next blog, I will share some tips for adjusting recipes to keep them delicious and nutritious at the same time.

With joy and gratitude,

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

"You Look Great"

Have you ever heard that from someone before and yet felt bad instead of glad?  I'm sure many can relate.  As I've said in my personal story and will also do in the blog, you will learn about me - my trials and my triumphs, as well as hot topics in nutrition, alternative therapies and psychology.

For years, I have counseled women with disordered eating issues, listening to how invalidated they feel when someone comments how good they look.  What goes through their minds are statements like, "I must be fat" or even worse, "She has no idea how depressed or anxious or fearful I really feel."  And so the unhealthy behavior continues, with underlying hopes that people will really see the pain, the fear, the inability to step into being a confident and responsible adult.

When I work with these folks, I help them to find their voice, to use their voice and to know that this will help in gaining self-confidence and attracting the people, jobs, things that are wanted in life.

While I do not have this specific issue with regard to body image, I have really struggled with this theme during my illness.  I feel that the cancer that I have has great meaning in my life.  It is a slow growing cancer, is not necessarily debilitating, but can be and it does not cause deformity.  While I have felt poorly, I have remained functional and usually on work days, wear make-up to create a bright and cheerful image.  My attitude is also generally upbeat and energetic, and even on days when I feel lousy, I normally don't let it show.  So often during this past year, people have commented how wonderful I look and while I thank them, down inside, I feel angry, invalidated, thinking, "Do you know how I feel?" 

This week, I had an "ahha".  I realized that I have not been in my integrity, not being upfront about how I really feel, thus how could anyone even know how I feel.  Talking to someone who is ill is often uncomfortable and as humans, we want  to avoid pain for ourselves and others.  The best way to avoid the discomfort is to tell someone how wonderful they look, trying to be supportive.  By learning to be honest about our true feelings - "I'm not feeling well these days" - we have an opportunity to allow others into our space, to be closer to us and to be able to help in some way.

The moral of the story is that it may be best to avoid commenting on how people look, but to say how good it is to see them and to ask genuinely how they are, intently listening to their response.  We spend far too much time looking at the outside without listening to what's going on inside.

Be well,

Saturday, August 10, 2013

GMO and Your Digestion

We have an underground war ongoing in this country about the use of genetically modified foods.  While years ago, scientists were researching ways to keep seeds and plants healthy through challenging environmental circumstances - rain, drought, heat, cold - it seems that these modern, technological advances have actually created more problems.  The genetic modification of seeds that become fruits and vegetables for our consumption leaves our digestive systems with an inability to interpret what the food really is and hence, how to digest and absorb the nutrition from it.

Part of the problem lies in how do we restructure the economics in this country to support local farming and to research ways to get back to the basics with regard to production and purchase, while feeding the masses. This brings to mind a teaching opportunity that I was engaged in a few years back.  A local charter school asked me to come and speak to the classes about organic foods, genetic modification, local farming etc, because the students were to be going on a week to live on a farm and learn about these very topics.  In my research to prepare for the classes, I had to review some basic facts:  organic fruits and veggies must withstand the elements, thus they are often higher in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants because these "phytonutrients" (plant chemicals) are in larger quantity in order to survive.  Wow - does this make sense!

The tip of the day is to choose non-GMO foods and organic foods (especially the dirty dozen fruits and vegetables) as much as possible.  Use farmers markets, local farms, BJ's and Costco, as well as Whole Foods and other markets that offer these.

Yours in health,

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Are You Complicated?

Aren't we all?   Yes and no from my perspective.  I tend to attract clients who have been everywhere, have had every test, and by the time they arrive at my doorstep, they are frustrated, angry, often invalidated and told that there is nothing known that is wrong, so try some valium!

My first goal and often most therapeutic is to listen to their story, their hurts, their traumas and to validate his or her pain.  Next is get a chronology of the medical, lifestyle, emotional history and to begin to create a picture, a working canvas so to speak.

Why are we viewed as complicated.  I think in part because our health system tends to put labels on illness and conditions and by doing so, health insurance will pay for part of the treatment.  Only problem here is that we are not merely a body, but a body with a mind and spirit, and it is by weaving together a composite of all aspects of the person that we begin to really understand what is really going on.

Luckily, integrative medicine is emerging, more than just poking its head above water, but is really taking on momentum.  Modalities such as acupuncture, now have peer-reviewed research that lends credibility in the eyes of more traditional medical modalities.

Back to my original question - are we complicated?  When looking at the body-mind-spirit approach, not so.  Take low back pain for instance.  There can be structural issues that cause low back pain, but also stress from fear of finances, feeling insecure, can also impact low back pain.  Another example are digestive issues.  Challenges with food intolerances and allergies, and a lack of adequate digestive enzymes can certainly play a role in this major cause of US health complaints, but also being unable to take in what one needs on an emotional level and to eliminate toxic emotional waste, can impact one along the digestive path.

While these concepts may seem far-fetched, there is much written about weaving the body, mind and spirit together and it is a habit in my practice to look at these various levels of health.

I look forward to supporting your process along the way!


Saturday, August 3, 2013

To Carb Or Not To Carb

It seems that there have been an influx of stomach-related issues with clients being referred recently.  What is going on?  Many folks have long histories of dieting, on sugar-off sugar, many medications, lots of stress. We'll talk about GMO's next time!  Can you relate?

Our digestive system is very delicate and needs a balance of nutrients, as well as an atmosphere of calm in order to properly digest, absorb and eliminate.  What does carb (short for carbohydrate) have to do with this?  The US diet is very high in carbohydrate (starches, grains, snack foods, fruits and drinks-both alcohol containing and not), and much of this carb is refined, meaning it either is in the form of sugar or turns to sugar very quickly.  This sugar in turn, upsets the insulin response or becomes food for the "ugly buglies", as I call them.

When insulin levels become elevated, our bodies hold onto body fat in the mid-region for dear life, fearing the crash and subsequent starvation.  We know that we are going to eat, but our bodies are on auto-pilot.

Carbs are also fuel for yeasts and bacteria and this is quickly becoming a more prominent problem.  There are healthy carbs and less healthy ones and keeping the portions limited will help to keep balance and less chance for these "bad bugs" to overgrow.

If you are experiencing gas and bloating, constipation/diarrhea, stomach pain or discomfort, you may want to consider consulting a health professional about these overgrowth conditions.

Here's to a happy and healthy digestive system!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Colonoscopy

I'm sure many of you who are now of the "golden age" or for many of my clients with GI (gastrointestinal issues), this dreaded procedure has been done.  While writing this blog, I am in my starvation phase, dreaming of the wonderful meal that awaits at the end of the day!

I've pondered over this past 24 plus hours how much I think about food, depend on food, plan my day around food!  Of course, this is of no surprise because I talk about it all day with my clients and have my own history of disordered eating and past weight issues.  This process sobers me yet again, giving me more compassion and insight into what others are feeling in this very moment.

I do not like to fast, I am pretty scheduled around fueling my body regularly, giving it a blend of protein, carb and fat, usually decked out in some delicious manner.  And yet, this process is an opportunity to let go of the food and to go inside and feel emotions.  Journalling during this time can be a wonderful source of bringing our truth to the surface - what do I really feel, who am I under the surface.

My last fast was in December when I attended an alternative cancer program in Germany.  We fasted on juices and teas, while engaging in a silent retreat.  The fast was for 2 1/2 days, the silent day for 24 hours and we were expected to journal, be outside observing nature and it was truly amazing.  Everything was crisp and clear and I noticed things that normally just pass me by.  Thoughts and feeling came up easily and I was able to really process some of my "blind spots".

While I do not suggest fasting without discussing the idea with a health professional, it can provide another tool to learning more about ourselves and to truly appreciate the wonderful gift that food is for us.

Blessings on your day,

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Post Surgery Reflections

It is 2 days since having surgery and I've already walked the lake with Tammie, looking peacefully at the blue sky and vibrant green trees.  While surgery went well, the ego blow was learning that my cancer markers have worsened over the past 2 months.  Hmm - what can I learn from this. 

When I revised my website 2 years ago, I had all intentions of becoming an online expert, creating interactive communication and learning for my clients.  Shortly thereafter, I began to feel more and more poorly, going down the path of auto-immune disease and chronic lyme, only to be surprised by the diagnosis of hairy cell leukemia, a rare, but generally slow growing cancer.  I chose to face this head on without fear, but with curiosity and also decided against chemotherapy for the time being, as the drugs have potentially  more lethal side effects.

My journey is now one year long and it has been quite an adventure.  I withdrew retirement funds in order to attend a program in
Germany that focused on diet, meditation and inner exploration, along with detoxification.  for many months I felt much better, but this past month was challenging - a cervical polyp that needed removal in the hospital due to the low platelets associated with the hairy cell; significant stomach distress resulting in an upcoming colonoscopy and endoscopy and major dental work to be done, again, possibly associated with the hairy cell.  Wow, what a month - I need to check to see if I am really 55 or 85!

I met with my coach - my work coach, life coach, stress coach - not sure what I'd do without her!  She instructed me on an autohypnosis program in order to use less anesthesia.  I was more concerned about the poisons being introduced than the  actual surgery.  For 2 weeks prior to surgery, I used the Peggy Huddleston Prepare For Surgery approach and came prepared to the Brigham and Women's Hospital with IPod, instructions for the anesthesiology team for me to have reiki and very little medication.

I was awake during my surgery, spoke often with my doctors and came home feeling awake and quite hungry!

As I reflect on these past 2 days, I am alert, have very little pain and feel grateful for being alive and well.  I realize that part of my learning about my cancer is that I have been working too much without the balance.  In Germany, we were expected to be outdoors for 20 minutes following each meal.  I know that balance is the key to thriving and being in nature offers that balance.  Never underestimate the power of it!

With peace and love for all,