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ADAPTOGENS: AGENT NATEUR’S ANTI-STRESS AGENTS

By Jena Covello and Alexa Ouaknine

Stress is part of every day life, for every person, but that doesn’t mean that we aren’t the ones who decide how we deal with it. Adaptogens have been an extremely hot topic in the wellness world lately, and we've been mixing up some of these potions ourselves to keep our stress in check, our skin luminous, our immune system strong and our hormones balanced, to start. The verdict is in, and we can’t rave about adaptogens enough. Now that we’ve given them time to work and have seen the amazing results for ourselves, all we want to do is share all of their glory.  
You can’t spell adaptogen without the word adapt, and adapting is exactly what adaptogens help our bodies to do. These balancing herbs have been used in Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine for centuries, and are prized for their ability to help the body adapt to stress. They help to normalize our physiological functions regardless of the direction of change, going where they are needed when they are needed and adjusting to our body’s demands. Adaptogens give us that middle ground that many of us have trouble finding. If you are up, they calm you down, and if you are down, they pick you up. If your immune system is autoimmune they can have a suppressing effect, and if your immune system is deficient they can help to pick it back up. Moreover, Adaptogens do wonders for supporting adrenal function. They regulate our nervous response to stress by making the stress response efficient and the ability to switch them off efficient as well. We have to be able to switch off our stress response in order to avoid running them to exhaustion and to protect the host from its own defense mechanisms. If we don’t, responses like inflammation, immune activation and changes in the liver will have seriously harmful effects.
Stress happens more frequently than we can put our finger on. Stress hormones are secreted when we exercise, have a bad night’s sleep, are sick and fighting off illness, aren’t eating nourishing foods, etc. A stressor is really anything that knocks us out of homeostatic balance, and what our body does to get itself back to “normal” is what we refer to as the stress response, which can be even more damaging than the thing that knocked us out of balance in the first place. What’s great about these herbs is that not only are they totally non toxic to the body when taken in therapeutic doses (we recommend starting with ½ to ¼ teaspoon and increasing over time), but they help our bodies to be more resilient to these stressors without acting as a chemical straightjacket, like antipsychotics and antidepressants do. Since some adaptogens are calming (such as cordyceps, schisandra, and reishi) and some are stimulating (like rhodiola), we suggest rotating them and starting with small amounts. Test them out and see what works for you, but like with most things, give them time to work their magic before throwing in the towel. If you are pregnant, nursing, or have a pre-existing medical condition, consult with your doctor before incorporating these herbs into your regular routine.

OUR AGENT TIP:
We love to get our adaptogens in bulk from Mountain Rose Herbs. They are the same high-quality as some of the fancier brands, but are much easier on the wallet because you’re not paying for the fancy packaging. (https://www.mountainroseherbs.com)

Some of our favorite anti-stress agents listed below!

Holy Basil
Also referred to as Tulsi and is “known as the "Queen of the herbs". Holy Basil is an ancient adaptogen that helps to balance hormones, boost the immune system and reduce inflammation throughout the body. It is used to calm anxiety, and help with adrenal fatigue, hypothyroidism, acne and blood sugar.

Pearl Powder
Yes, the same kind of pearls we wear on our ears and around our necks are also what we are calling the golden ticket to glowing skin. As Dr. Will Cole (https://drwillcole.com) says, crushed pearl powder is an adaptogenic source of amino acids, proteins, calcium, trace minerals and polysaccharides that promises glowing skin, healthy hair and stronger nails. Pearl also helps promote bone and cell building. It is made up cell building compounds, helping us repair tissue, promote peaceful mood, and slow the aging process. Pearl powder promotes regeneration of new skin cells, regenerates collagen, and improves skin elasticity. It is nearly tasteless and so easy to incorporate daily.

Chaga/ Reishi/ Cordyceps
Chaga – The ultimate immune and health tonic for fighting off bacteria and viruses and supporting immune system. By providing our cells with such a significant amount of antioxidants, Chaga slows down the natural aging process and can even help repair skin damage.
Reishi – A calming, grounding, and balancing adaptogenic mushroom that has traditionally been used throughout Asia to assist in deepening meditation. Reishi contains many antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds and can help improve the central nervous system and balance hormones naturally. We love using Reishi for a less stressful menstrual cycle.
Cordyceps – This adaptogenic mushroom is known to be a longevity-promoting herb that helps fight the effects of stress and aging and increases immunity against viruses. Cordyceps can help control autoimmune disorders, excessive inflammation, and tissue damage while speeding up healing time.

Rhodiola
Rhodiola is a stimulating adaptogen, so if you’re looking to be productive and get that natural energy boost without the crash, look no further. Rhodiola burns stored fat for energy, is great for enhancing athletic performance by increasing red blood cell count, lowers cortisol and improves brain function. It helps fight depression by increasing dopamine and serotonin sensitivity, which are two neurotransmitters known for increasing focus, memory, pleasure, and improving mood.

Triphala
Triphala is a natural laxative and colon cleanser, therefore making it a great adaptogen for anyone with digestion issues. It is known to lower cholesterol, aid in weight loss and detoxification, fight off cancer and is an excellent source of vitamin C.

Pine Pollen
This powder from pine trees is packed full with B Vitamins and vitamin D.  This nutrient powerhouse is high in antioxidants and helps with energy levels. It is most commonly used for balancing hormones and can be incredibly useful for naturally increasing low testosterone levels. Pine pollen protects the immune system, acts as an anti-inflammatory agent and helps to beautify the skin.

He Shou Wu
A true “a youth elixir” that has proven to stimulate the body’s longevity promoting substances. It has been used for thousands of years to promote healthy aging by tonifying the Kidney and Liver functions. He Shou Wu stimulates the most potent antioxidant in the body, called superoxide dismutase, which heals from disease and extends lifespan. He Shou Wu helps keep the skin moisturized and contains iron, zinc, copper and other minerals that are important for women’s health and fertility, making it a great blood tonic after a period cycle.

Schisandra
Schisandra is a true brain and beauty food that acts as an aphrodisiac and nourishes the inner organs, resulting in shinier hair and glowing skin. It is a natural beauty tonic that protects the skin from toxins, allergic reactions, environmental stress and dermatitis. It contains a high concentration of antioxidant compounds, therefore making it useful for combating inflammation.

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CHAGA LATTE RECIPE AND THE BENEFITS OF MEDICINAL MAGICAL MUSHROOMS

by Jena Covello and Alexa Ouaknine

Replace coffee with a delicious, anti-inflammatory chaga latte that you will love!  Chaga detoxifies the liver, calms anxiety, heals the gut and makes your skin beautiful. Here is the yummy recipe followed by some of the wonderful benefits of medicinal, magical mushrooms:

Hot Chaga Latte

Ingredients:

1 teaspoon of chaga, shop here: CHAGA

1/4 cup of water
3/4 cup of almond, coconut or hemp milk
4 dashes of cinnamon
1 teaspoon of ghee
1 teaspoon of manuka honey

Heat 1/4 cup of water on stove.  Once heated, pour in blender and blend with chaga and cinnamon. Pour in cup.  Add ghee and manuka honey.

Heat 3/4 cup of your choice of non dairy milk on stove.  Pour in cup over other ingredients.  Stir and enjoy!

Mushrooms or magic? We’re sure you are already catching on, but here at Agent Nateur, we are all about traditional foods that hold incredible nutritional value and reincorporating them into our diet. Medicinal mushrooms are another great “superfood” that have been around for thousands of years, and without side effects have been used for their foundational healing properties.  Staying true to this idea of food-as-medicine, mushrooms are one of the best examples. In fact, about 40% of western medicines nowadays utilize mushrooms, (http://drjessechappus.com/chaga-reishi-cordyceps-medicinal-mushrooms/), and medicinal mushrooms have given us many pharmaceutical medicines from penicillin to the anticancer treatments.  They are highly anti-inflammatory and support immune function and mental clarity. The skin of mushrooms absorbs vitamin D from sunshine similarly to how the human skin absorbs vitamin D, and because one third of the population is deficient, even over here in Sunny California, we look to these medicinal mushrooms to give us that boost.

 Some types, like Reishi and Cordyceps, act as Adaptogens, and in doing so help the body adapt to biological and psychological stress by making it easier to balance hormonal systems. Medicinal mushrooms give us energy when we need it, and at the same time, help us relax when we need it, too.  The healing properties of mushrooms have been studied in depth, and offer a broad spectrum of powerful, research-backed healing properties. Medicinal mushrooms are also great for people with autoimmune conditions. They can regulate and calm down hyperactive immune responses by acting as anti-inflammatory agents and promoting gut health. Incorporating mushrooms into your diet doesn’t mean you will never get stressed, but it definitely will give you the capacity to better deal.  There are at least 270 species for mushrooms known for their therapeutic properties, but we want to start start with the “Big Three” that are the most mainstream: Chaga, Reishi and Cordyceps.

CHAGA

Chaga mushrooms are best known for their anticancer properties, and to be one of the highest sources of antioxidants in nature. They also act as a powerful anti-inflammatory agent, are rich in B-vitamins, digestive enzymes, and are pure gold when it comes to minerals. Chaga mushrooms work to protects cells, reduce stress and inflammation, cleanse the liver, fight parasites and certain types of cancer, regulate the immune system, and promote endurance and longevity.  They are filled with melanin which means they help to ensure your skin is beautiful and supple.  They help protect hair and skin from sun damage and can diminish the size of age spots.

 REISHI

Reishi mushrooms are excellent to incorporate in your evening routine.  Reishi is best known to relax the body, mind, and nervous system, and therefore enhances a deeper and all around better quality of sleep.  Reishi supports immune function, helps balance hormones, supports the function of the liver and detoxification, and reduces risk for infections and viruses. Reishi mushrooms act as Adaptogens, helping the body to deal with stress from things such as inflammation, depleted energy levels, damaged blood vessels and hormonal imbalances.

CORDYCEPS

Cordyceps mushrooms are also considered an Adaptogen, and help the body to maintain constant energy levels by producing energy on the cellular level. It is a great alternative to coffee, as coffee gives our bodies false energy that can tax our adrenal glands. Cordyceps are also known to be a longevity-promoting herb. They fight the effects of stress and aging and increase immunity against viruses. They can help control autoimmune disorders, excessive inflammation, and tissue damage while speeding up healing time. (https://draxe.com/cordyceps/ These are great for anti-aging and for a balanced pick-me-up, perhaps before a workout.

When it comes to nutrition, it is absolutely a personal journey, but consistency is the best way to reap the benefits. By incorporating medicinal mushrooms daily, or even often, you might find improvement in respiratory health, heart health, detoxification, slowing of the natural aging process, increased energy levels, and an improved immune system, to name a few. People often want to feel the effects right away or anticipate that they will, but it’s important to understand that our bodies adapt over time and it’s a cumulative effect, but it is true that with some, you might feel the effects right away. For example, Reishi and Cordyceps are Adaptogenic, so if you are a high stress or generally sensitive person, you will often immediately feel an energy boost or better quality sleep. Chaga on the other hand, with more sophisticated benefits, works to improve skin quality and act as an antioxidant, so the effects take place over time instead of immediately.  We recommend doing the research, seeing how you feel, and giving it time to work.

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OFFAL, BUT NOT SO AWFUL: WHY YOU MIGHT WANT TO CONSUME ORGAN MEAT

By Jena Covello and Alexa Ouaknine

I know what some of you are thinking when you hear organ meat, but hear us out. While not the most glamorous topic, organ meats, also referred to as offal, are nature's multivitamin and offer significantly more nutrition than their muscle-meat counterparts. Organ meats are the most concentrated source of nearly every nutrient we seek. We’ve been all about lean meats as of late, but our ancestors used to consume every part of the animal, and even prioritized organ meats because of the incomparable nutrients they offer. In some traditional societies, organ meats were often saved for tribe leaders, pregnant women, and those believed to be at the top tier of society. Now we seem to have it totally reversed. For those of you who are weary about organ meat, it might be smart to ease into them by incorporating some of the more common types into your diet, like heart, kidney and liver. These are nutritional powerhouses and are loaded with nutrients that are hard to find elsewhere. Liver, for example, has more than double the daily-recommended value for vitamin A and vitamin B12, and is believed to be one of the most nutrient dense foods one can consume. Kidney provides us with an outstanding amount of lean protein and folate, and heart is the best food source of CoQ10.  There are ways of sneaking these organ meats into your diet so you hardly know they are there, like grinding them up and adding them to meatballs or ground meat dishes. It is paramount to source these meats properly, meaning grass-fed and raised on pasture. The health of the animal greatly affects the health of its organs, so choosing a healthy source is a must. It might take some getting used to, but because of their benefits, organ meats sell themselves. We’ve outlined some of our favorite benefits below.

For starters, organ meats are a great source of Vitamin A, which is one of the most powerful antioxidants there is, protecting us from diseases associated with oxidative stress and providing us with immune support. Liver is an important source of retinol, which is pre-formed vitamin A, meaning our bodies don’t need to convert it for it to become active. Vitamin A is one of the fat-soluble activators present only in animal fat and is needed for a number of biochemical processes. Without it, the body is not able to utilize protein, minerals, and water-soluble vitamins. It is useful for healthy pregnancy, infection prevention, hormone production, optimal thyroid function, healthy digestion, and eye health. And one of our personal favorite benefits, Vitamin A helps skin keep its elasticity and stay supple. In regards to Vitamin A toxicity, we are talking about Vitamin A from a natural, animal-derived source, not synthetic Vitamin A, and it is therefore not an area of concern. More on this here. https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/12/30/eating-organ-meats.aspx

Organ meats are also packed with a wide array of B-complex vitamins such as B1, B2, B6, folate, and B12. These vitamins help us maintain healthy blood pressure levels, boost learning and memory, help improve mood and protect against depression, anxiety, and heart disease, to name a few. Usable B12 is found only in animal products, and when B12 is depleted, deficiencies such as anemia, impaired eyesight, panic attacks, schizophrenia, and nervous disorders may arise. (https://www.amazon.com/Nourishing-Traditions-Challenges-Politically-Dictocrats/dp/0967089735) They contain important trace minerals, such as copper, zinc, and chromium, and offer a highly bioavailable form of iron, which helps protect from anemia. Further, B-complex vitamins are especially useful for nursing moms. B6 is known to decrease pain caused from menstrual cramps and helps with “morning sickness” phase of pregnancy, and folate is one of the key nutrients found in almost all prenatal supplements, known for its role in promoting a healthy pregnancy.  (https://draxe.com/offal/)

Another amazing benefit is the high content of CoQ10 found in Heart, a nutrient known for its role in promoting cardiovascular health. CoQ10 has similar benefits to the B-complex vitamins because of its antioxidant properties and its role in disease prevention. The Heart is also known to contain twice as much collagen and elastin than regular meat, two important nutrients for healthy connective tissue and digestion. Organ meats are also rich in minerals like iron, magnesium, selenium, zinc and important fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K.  Additionally, Organ meats are known to have some of the highest concentrations of naturally occurring vitamin D of any food source. The protein we get from animals is our only source of complete protein, providing us with all nine essential amino acids our bodies need to function effectively.

Of all the new, and expensive, Super foods we are constantly being introduced to, perhaps the most nutritionally well rounded are right back at home and are easy on the wallet. Food has become increasingly processed, commercialized, and standardized in recent years, leaving us with poor immunity and weak constitutions. By reincorporating traditional, nutrient dense foods that we need in order to be and grow optimally healthy, we are reminded that our food hasn’t always been this way.  It seems we have stopped trusting tradition and instead started following the ways of food companies and medical doctors with no real nutritional training to tell us what and how to eat. The culinary traditions of our ancestors should serve as a model for contemporary eating habits, especially during this time of highly processed and denatured food. Remember, organ meats in the old days were savored as a special treat and often reserved by the alpha and the tribe leaders. So lets all be kings and queens and get involved.

 

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PROTEIN, FAT, AND FIBER: YOUR NEW BEST FRIENDS

by Alexa Ouaknine and Jena Covello

We love smoothies for breakfast, or anytime, really. Not only are smoothies delicious and easy to make, they allow our bodies to ease into our day after what is usually a 12-hour fast from our dinner the night before. In order to turn a smoothie into a substantial breakfast that will give us enough energy to tackle our day and make us feel good without depriving ourselves or counting down the hours until lunch time, we want to make sure our smoothies have these three things: protein, fat, and fiber.
Protein and fat are needed in all meals (not just smoothies) to turn off hunger hormones and to properly regulate blood sugar which will alleviate light headedness and nausea.  Protein at the start of your day will not only boost energy, it will also keep you feeling relaxed and help keep you away from the junk food. Fat helps us to feel satiated, aids in lowering bad cholesterol, shedding excess weight, and keeps our hair, skin and nails shiny and strong. Our bodies need healthy fat. Fiber promotes regular bowel movements, slows the absorption of sugar in the body, and keeps us feeling full. In addition to protein, fat, and fiber, we encourage adding an unlimited amount of greens to your smoothies, along with any of your favorite superfoods.
Utilizing these three nutrients to turn off hunger hormones helps us to avoid doing things like grabbing a coffee and a protein bar, or maybe just a juice, and calling that breakfast. By not depriving ourselves of the nutrients our bodies need, we actually set ourselves up to make conscious and healthy decisions throughout the remainder of the day.

Recommended sources of Protein, Fat, and Fiber

Protein: beef, chicken, or marine collagen, a raw, sprouted vegetarian protein powder, organic grass fed whey
Fat: Coconut oil, MCT oil, Avocado, coconut butter, Nut Butters.
Fiber: raw fiber powder, coconut, berries, Asian pears, chia seeds and avocado.

Below are our favorite (AIP) go-to smoothies

Blueberry Antioxidant Fat Fiber Protein Smoothie:
Ingredients: 1 scoop of grass fed collagen (PROTEIN) 1 cup of frozen organic blueberries 1 cup of frozen organic spinach 1/4 cup of frozen strawberries 1 cup of coconut milk 1/4 cup of water 1 tablespoon of organic chia seeds (Not AIP compliant but very good for extra fiber so my doctor allows it) (FIBER) 4 dashes of cinnamon (***excellent for stabilizing blood sugar) 1 tablespoon of organic virgin coconut oil (HEALTHY FAT) 1 tablespoon of organic maple syrup
Blend together

Smoothie 1-
1 serving collagen peptides (PROTEIN)
1 cup of coconut milk
½ of an avocado (HEALTHY FAT)
Spinach (remember, greens are always unlimited!)
½ of a frozen banana
Spirulina
1-2 tbsp. chia seeds (FIBER)
ice, if needed
Blend together

Smoothie 2-
1 serving grass fed collagen (PROTEIN)
½ green apple
spinach
¼ avocado (HEALTHY FAT)
1 tbsp. coconut butter
1-2 tsp. chia seeds (FIBER)
pinch of cinnamon (***excellent for stabilizing blood sugar) Blend together

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Feng Shui Your Way To Good Health And Good Fortune

By Jena Covello and Alexa Ouaknine
We recently worked with Feng Shui expert, Deanna Cohen, to Feng Shui our personal space and are excited about the results we’ve seen so far. After our own personal Feng Shui session, we saw significant changes, like improved sleep and much calmer and peaceful energy in the home. As predicted, relationships, wealth and finances have improved.  We are in the process of adding objects, like clay to the bedroom to incorporate an earth element, and metal in the kitchen to guard against pain, arguments, accidents, and delays.    
Deanna is located in Montecito, California and has been working on her Feng Shui craft for many years. The Feng Shui she practices involves a compass reading of the structure in conjunction with the date the structure was built. She also analyzes the birth date of the occupants to determine whether the home is supporting them. The practice is beneficial to those looking to better their lives in terms of health, creativity, spiritual growth, love and marriage, career and money, to name a few. We are so impressed with the changes Feng Shui has made in our space and the insight to our surroundings that this tool has given us so we asked Deanna some important questions and are excited to spread the word with all of you.

Q & A


1.    Can you explain the process of Feng Shui in regards to someone’s personal map and the East/West System? What are the benefits from this information?
One has a personal map based on one’s birth year, which tells us the directions we need to position ourselves in order to sleep better, create financial prosperity, have harmony in our personal and professional relationships, good health, etc.  Feng Shui also lets us know what our directions are for poor finances, arguments, poor health, loneliness and other negative manifestations.  The same is true for the home, based on its compass reading and the year it was built.  Knowing this, for example, one would want to arrange the furniture in such a way as to take advantage of the positive directions for both the person and the home so that one is able to manifest better health, good finances, public and family harmony, and lead a peaceful and meaningful life.  

 2.    How can Feng Shui benefit health, emotions, and sleep?
Based on the birth year, one has a direction that is best for sleeping, however if that cannot be achieved because of the layout of the home, then one must try to achieve one of the three other directions that are positive, otherwise sleep can be disturbed, creating emotional disturbances, poor health, and simply put, unrest.  

3.    Would you say that Feng Shui is linked to prosperity?
Absolutely, because what Feng Shui is about is creating balance and harmony in one’s world, and should the person and their environment be out of balance, it is hard to be prosperous over the long term.

4.    Why is the Ganesh important to have in the house and which specific colors are important to have in the house?
The metal Ganesh is just a metal remedy suggestion and not meant across the board for everyone, only those who resonate with the meaning of Ganesh. Ganesh is the remover of obstacles, and so if he resonates with you, then Ganesh a good way to enhance your Feng Shui by being conscious of what he represents. But the importance of a metal Ganesh for Feng Shui purposes is the metal aspect of the statue, which would be needed in a specific area requiring the metal element to remedy the energy pattern in that area.  Colors are important especially if they are colors that are creating an energy pattern in the house that is throwing things out of balance, either for the house or the person, creating arguments, illnesses, and other kinds of difficulties. When the colors are correct for the house and the occupants, the occupants will feel more at peace.

5.    We get this question most often. In general, is there a direction that people should face when they sleep, or is it completely based on the person’s birth date?
The direction one should sleep in is specific to the year in which they were born.  So for example, if you were born in 1956 and you’re a woman, you should sleep with your head West.  However if this cannot be achieved you could also sleep with your head SW, NW or NE. It is simply not true, according to Feng Shui that everyone should sleep with the head north.  It could be that the Chinese figured out that one’s orientation for sleeping is way more specific than what others may think.  Don’t forget, Feng Shui has been around for thousands of years.

6.    Is there any general advice or tips you can give someone on how to Feng Shui their own home?
General tips would be to first of all clear the clutter, organize your possessions so that you are aware of what you have and discard what you don’t use or need. So much of the time people complain that their life is not progressing as they would like it to.  The first thing to look at would be how the things you have in your home are weighing you down and blocking you from moving forward.  Sometimes we hold onto things for years thinking one day they’ll be useful.  Clothing is a big one for a lot of people, but clothing has a life span and even though it may not be worn out, it doesn’t make you feel good when you put it on anymore. Examine the things you have for the emotion it provokes and whether it is evoking “motion” in you. If it doesn’t, let it go, it’s holding you back.

7.    You talked about 2017 as the year of the Rooster and the Peach Blossom year. Can you tell us a little bit more about what exactly that means, and any advice you have for us as we approach the last few months of 2017?
The Rooster is considered “peach blossom”, which means he is good for romance.  Think about a rooster.  He loves the attention of all the hens hence, a lot of romancing goes on around the rooster. This has to do with Chinese astrology.  Also, a year can be a peach blossom year, even when it is not a Rooster year. It just so happens 2017 is a peach blossom year as well as a Rooster year, therefore making romance doubly highlighted. This could mean any number of things and it all depends on how the individual will experience it. For example, one could find that problems in one’s romantic life are resolved this year, or the romance finally ends after much back and forth, or one finally decides to accept the limitations and frustrations of the relationship, surrendering to the fact that it is what it is, and finally feeling okay about that realization. On the other hand, it is easier for single people to find romantic relationships this year.  So my advice as we approach the last few months of 2017 is, resolve what you know to be true in your heart, and if single, get out there.
 
8.    What is one way you’ve implemented Feng Shui in your own life and how have things unfolded?

I have put all the necessary remedies in my home in order to balance the 5 elements throughout the house, and have arranged the furniture so that I am able to sit, and work in the directions that benefit me.  My bed is positioned in my best sleeping direction of course.  I have water fountains outside in the directions that are necessary to make it better for finances since I have a 20 year lock on my property inhibiting wealth.  I have found that everything in my life is working very well and I feel balanced. I have my emotional flair ups but they last only a minute or two, and then I’m back to being fine. My life flows easily and well in every way with no real complaints.  I also keep up a meditation and yoga practice, which I began when I was 12 years old, along with continuously tweaking my Feng Shui.  I’m always finding little ways to improve my Feng Shui by refreshing the way things are placed in my house, while implementing the knowledge I have about the 5 elements and the patterns they are creating.
 
9.    If you suspect that people are not in the right relationship or living space, are there ways to rectify those relationships and/or living areas while still staying in them?
Absolutely.  Say someone is an East person, and the other person is a West person, they are going to have different directions, including and most importantly, different sleeping directions. This is not ideal and the Chinese don’t recommend such a relationship, but what can you do? They are together.  If they aren’t having a problem, leave well enough alone, but If they are finding that they are at odds with each other a lot, they might decide to not sleep together for awhile and sleep in their best sleeping direction so they balance out with each other.  Sometimes this can scare people, but experimenting to create harmony is well worth it.  It doesn’t mean sex can’t happen just because the two people aren’t sleeping together.  It just means both people are getting a better night sleep.
I would also suggest that they use their good directions when arranging the furniture so that they are utilizing their best directions even though the house may not be supporting them in the way a good direction house would.  I suggest implementing the remedies for making the house strong and that’s that. One doesn’t have to move out of the house or end a relationship just because the Feng Shui is not ideal.

10.   How do you use Feng Shui as a tool in helping people to buy a new home and decide whether or not that home will be the right place for them?
I use three systems of Feng Shui to help buyers determine whether the house will be good for them.  I use a system called the ‘Flying Star School’ to determine whether the house is one that is good for money, and or for people, based on the compass reading of the house and the year it was built, and tell them how it would need to be remedied should the house be weak for either of these two aspects.  I also let them know based on the “East/West System” whether the house is either a West or an East house, because ideally the buyers would want to be in a house that is oriented in the same direction as they are, so that the beneficial areas in the house coincide with their own personal beneficial areas, otherwise it’s not an ideal match. Also I use another system called the “Land and Form System” to determine whether the area surrounding the house has good Feng Shui.  For example it is not good Feng Shui to live up against a freeway, or across the street from a cemetery.
 
11.    What is one thing about Feng Shui that you’d like to share with people who might not know a thing about it?
I would learn Traditional / Classical Feng Shui and be discerning about what to believe and what not to believe. There is a lot of misinformation out there about Feng Shui that is not true and is ineffective.  I asked a Feng Shui master once about a particular system of Feng Shui that was introduced to us in the west in the 1970’s, and what she thought about it since it had so little to do with Traditional Feng Shui.  The master said, “You will not find that system in Asia”.    That pretty much says it all.

12.   What might you suggest for people who cannot seem to find harmony in their home and are struggling with the ways that this lack of harmony is bleeding into their relationships or personal lives?
I would begin with a Feng Shui consultation of your home so that you can find out what seen and unseen energies are operating and affecting you, and remedy them as soon as possible.  We often blame ourselves for things we haven’t even created and feel at odds with ourselves. There are energies in your home that are either helping you, or are making life more difficult.  We need all the help we can get in this world, so it’s a good idea to make your environment as strong as you can, using the principles of Feng Shui to support you.

13.What role does energy and meditation play in Feng Shui?
Everything is energy and Feng Shui defines the energy pattern of our world and the effect it has on us, and our environment, as it relates to the 5 elements, fire, earth, metal, water and wood, on the seen and unseen levels.  Meditation is considered a cure all by all the mystical traditions so that balance and harmony can be achieved in an unbalanced world. Quieting the mind is important because of the degree of bombardment we encounter everyday with all kinds of stimuli that over heat our brains creating imbalance. In other words, bad Feng Shui. Meditation heals this problem so that we can be more effective and fulfilled in this life, despite its challenges.

14.What is your favorite Feng Shui success story from your own personal experience? When did you realize this is real and something you wanted to take on as a career?
I discovered very early on that I felt so happy and fulfilled in my whole being when helping people with their Feng Shui.  At the beginning I felt altered and would feel light headed after doing the work of Feng Shui, which kind of surprised me.  I was working as a realtor in Montecito, California and for anyone who has ever been a realtor or who has ever bought or sold a house, it is highly stressful, but as soon as I started discussing the principles of Feng Shui with my friends and clients, I felt aligned, happy and in my power.  I was able to talk about houses in a way that was more in keeping with my deeper nature having already had an extensive background in yoga, mediation and Jewish mysticism.  Feng Shui was now the next step in deepening my understanding of the universe, and I could apply it to housing, which was so exciting.  When the housing market crashed in 2007 it became harder to want to keep selling, and so I was left with just wanting to help people with their Feng Shui.  I just followed the good feeling I had inside, and so it has remained with me as my career of choice.
For more information on Deanna and her practice, you can visit her website at: https://www.fengshuisantabarbara.com/

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AIP MEAL PLAN DAYS 4-6 BY ALEXA OUAKNINE

 DAY 4 by Alexa Ouaknine

BREAKFAST

Energy Boosting, Low-Glycemic Green Smoothie
Containing fat, fiber, protein and greens to properly nourish and carry you through your morning
  
 Ingredients:
1 serving of collagen peptides (you can buy HERE)
3/4 cup of coconut milk (DIY or a full fat canned coconut milk, free of additives)  
3/4 cup of coconut water
1/4 of an avocado
½ cup of frozen banana

1 large handful of spinach, or any other leafy green
1-2 tbsp. of chia seeds
Small handful of ice
 
Blend all ingredients together in a high-speed blender until smooth, about 30 seconds. Pour and enjoy!
  
LUNCH:

AIP Veggie Sauté Spaghetti Squash

Ingredients:
 1 spaghetti squash
2-3 Tbsp. unrefined, cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil (can also use unrefined coconut oil or ghee)
Sea salt, to taste.
For the vegetable sauté:
2 tbsp. avocado oil (great for sautéing because of its high smoke point)
2 large zucchinis, sliced ¼ inch thick.
2 cups mushrooms, diced
2 garlic cloves, smashed
1 small bunch kale, peeled
Pinch of sea salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper.
Cut squash in half, length-wise, and scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Brush both halves of the squash with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt.
Place both halves face down on the lined baking sheet.
Bake for 35-45 minutes, depending on the size of the squash. A large spaghetti squash will take closer to 45 minutes.
Meanwhile, add avocado oil and/or ghee to a large skillet over medium high heat. Once the oil is warm but not smoking, add the zucchini, mushroom, and garlic to the skillet with a pinch of sea salt. Cook for about 7-8 minutes. Add the kale and continue cooking until wilted. This is very versatile, and any vegetable/herb replacement will be good.
Remove the squash from the oven and let cool. Once it is cool enough to touch, use a fork to shred the squash, creating a spaghetti-like noodle, and place in a serving bowl.
Mix in the vegetable sauté to the spaghetti squash. Feel free to sprinkle extra salt and/or garnish with flat leaf parsley or cilantro.

 
 SNACK
   
Homemade Golden Milk
Anti-inflammatory. Leftovers are great as a hot or cold beverage, or as the base of your morning smoothie.

Ingredients:
3 cup of coconut milk (DIY or a full fat canned coconut milk, free of additives)
1 ½ tsp. of ground turmeric
1/4 tsp. of ground ginger
1 cinnamon stick or 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tbsp. unrefined coconut oil, optional
Add raw local honey, maple syrup or stevia as a natural sweetener

Place all ingredients in a small saucepan and whisk together over medium high heat, until hot, but not boiling.
Turn off heat and serve immediately, leaving the cinnamon stick behind. Leftovers can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days.

DINNER
Maple-Glazed Wild Caught Salmon (Sheet Pan Dinner!)

Ingredients:
  2 tbsp. maple syrup
2 tbsp. cup tarragon leaves, minced
 1/2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1/2 tsp. thyme leaves
 1 garlic clove, minced
 ½ tsp. sea salt, to taste
 ½ cup unrefined, cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil
 1 pound wild caught salmon fillet
 1 ½ pounds wild caught salmon fillet
 1 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
 1 bunch of asparagus
  2 sweet potatoes, cubed

Preheat oven to 450 degrees and line a sheet pan with unbleached parchment paper. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the maple syrup, tarragon leaves, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, thyme leaves, garlic and sea salt. Slowly stream the olive oil into the mixture to create vinaigrette.
In a separate bowl toss the Brussels sprouts, butternut squash, and parsnips with enough of the vinaigrette to evenly coat, leaving some for the salmon.
Place the salmon across the center of the lined sheet pan.
Surround the salmon with the marinated vegetables. Drizzle the remaining vinaigrette over the salmon and season with more sea salt.
Place in the oven the cook for 12-15 minutes. Heat the oven to broil and cook the salmon about 2 minutes more, to create a nice golden color.

 

DAY 5 (taken from Dr. Will Cole)

BREAKFAST

Turkey and Greens Hash Brown Bake

Ingredients:
1 tbsp. coconut oil
1 pound ground turkey
3 large sweet potatoes, thinly sliced
2 cups chopped beet greens
2 cups baby spinach
1⁄2 small onion, chopped
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
1 cup canned full fat coconut milk
 
Preheat oven to 375 degrees
In a large skillet over medium heat, heat the oil. To the oil, add the turkey and cook for 10 minutes, until the turkey is brown.
In a large bowl, mix the next 6 ingredients (sweet potatoes through thyme) with the turkey.
In a large baking dish, pour the contents of the bowl. Pour coconut milk over the potato mixture and cover. Place in the oven and bake for 25 minutes, until sweet potatoes are tender.

SNACK

Coconut Raisin Fat Bombs
Makes 8 cups
Ingredients:
½ cup of coconut oil, melted
¼ cup coconut flour
1/2 cup sundried raisins

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl until smooth. Pour into silicone cups or muffin tin. Freeze until hardened,
About 20 minutes. Store in refrigerator for several days.
You can even add a little carob powder in there for a “chocolatey” taste if you like.

LUNCH
Chicken Slaw Salad with Lemon Basil Vinaigrette
Ingredients:
2 cups cooked and cubed chicken breast
4 cups shredded red cabbage
4 cups arugula lettuce
2 cups chopped cucumber
2 cups diced avocado
1/3 cup lemon juice
4 large, pitted dates
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
¼ cup chopped fresh basil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

In a large bowl, add the first 5 ingredients (chicken through diced avocado). In a blender, add the remaining ingredients and blend until smooth. Pour the vinaigrette over the salad, toss and serve.

DINNER
 Creamy Pumpkin Soup Ingredients:
  1 pound cooked bacon crumbled, with grease saved and set aside
 2 pie pumpkins
 2 cups chicken bone broth
  2 yellow onions, diced
 3 cloves garlic, diced
 1/4 teaspoons nutmeg

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Cut pumpkins in half and remove seeds. Place on baking sheet and bake for 40 minutes. Scoop out pumpkin and mash and set aside. To a large pot add onions, garlic and 2 tablespoons bacon grease and cook. Add in bone broth, pumpkin, nutmeg and 2 more tablespoons bacon grease.  Stir together to combine and let simmer for 15 minutes

 

DAY 6

BREAKFAST

Warm Porridge with Lemon and Berries taken from the Autoimmune Wellness Blog
Serves 4

INGREDIENTS
1 large head cauliflower
¾ cup finely shredded coconut
2 tbsp coconut butter
3 cups coconut milk
Zest of a large lemon (save the juice for something else)
Generous pinch salt
Spoonful softly whipped coconut cream* (optional for serving)
Handful mixed berries (optional for serving)
Toasted coconut chips (optional for serving)

Cut the cauliflower into florets and put them into your food processor with the ‘S’ blade, not forgetting the stalks.
Pulse about 8-10 times until the cauli is the same consistency as large grains of rice (you may need to do this in two batches). Pulsing puts you in control; if you simply press the 'on' button you risk ending up with purée!
Transfer the riced cauliflower to a large pan, add the remaining porridge ingredients and stir to combine everything.
Bring up to a simmer, cover with a lid, and cook for about 25-30 minutes until the cauli is tender and the porridge nice and creamy.
OPTIONAL:
While the porridge is cooling, whip the coconut cream. Start by removing your chilled coconut milk from the fridge, turning it upside down and opening it up with a can opener.
Pour the thin coconut water into a jar and keep for another purpose, such as in smoothies.
Scoop out the cream and beat with a balloon whisk until soft peaks form, then transfer to a small container until needed.
NOTES
*Put a can of coconut milk in the fridge at least the night before you want to make whipped cream.


LUNCH

No Nightshade Ratatouille taken from Sophie Van Tiggelen

Serves 4

Ingredients:
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil (organic, unrefined Bragg’s)
2 medium golden beets (about ½ pound), peeled and roughly chopped
3 medium carrots (about ½ pound), peeled and roughly chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 large yellow onion (about ¾ pound), peeled and roughly chopped
1 medium yellow summer squash (about ½ pound), chopped
1 medium zucchini (about ½ pound), chopped
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
1 tsp. fine sea salt (suggestion)

In a large saucepan, heat olive oil over medium-low heat. Add beets, carrots, and garlic. Cover and cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally
Add onion, yellow squash, zucchini, oregano, rosemary, and sea salt. Continue cooking, covered, until vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes.
Check seasoning and adjust salt to taste. Serve hot or cold.

DINNER

The Perfect Detox Salad by Alexa Ouaknine

Ingredients
2 cups of kale, thinly sliced
2 cups of red cabbage, thinly sliced
1 large head of broccoli, finely chopped
2 small beets, cubed
1 bunch cilantro, chopped (amounting to about 1 cup)
2 large carrots, peeled and grated
1 avocado, cubed
1 cup pomegranate seeds
For the dressing:
1 garlic clove, minced
Sea salt, to taste
1 tsp. rice vinegar
1 tsp. red wine vinegar
3 tbsp. lemon juice (about 1 large fresh lemon)
½ cup unrefined, cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil

Combine all salad ingredients in a large salad bowl and toss gently. Set aside.
Combine the garlic, sea salt, rice vinegar, red wine vinegar, lemon juice and olive oil in a jar with the lid closed and shake until well mixed. Can also be mixed in a blender.

 

       

       

AIP 3 DAY MEAL PLAN

DAY 1 Jena Covello

Breakfast:

Blueberry Antioxidant Fat Fiber Protein Smoothie:

Ingredients:
1 scoop of grass fed collagen
1 cup of frozen organic blueberries
1 cup of frozen organic spinach
1/4 cup of frozen strawberries
1 cup of coconut milk
1/4 cup of water
1 tablespoon of organic chia seeds (Not AIP compliant but very good for extra fiber so my doctor allows it)
4 dashes of cinnamon
1 tablespoon of organic virgin coconut oil
1 tablespoon of organic maple syrup

Blend together

SNACK

Iced Maple Salted Cinnamon Matcha Latte:

Add 1/4 cup of water and 3 ice cubes to blender and blend on high
Add 2 teaspoons of Matcha with 3 dashes of cinnamon, 1 dash of pink himalayan salt and 1 tablespoon of maple syrup
Blend together
Pour over ice and coconut milk

LUNCH

Arugula Salmon Salad

Ingredients
4 cups of organic Arugula
1 cup of fresh organic spinach
1 cup of frozen artichokes (thawed)
1 pack of wild smoked salmon
Toss together with 5 tablespoons of olive oil, one fresh squeezed organic lemon, a few dashes of pink himalayan salt and one tablespoon of coconut aminos

DINNER

Italian Branzino and Zucchini
 
In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1/4 cup of coconut oil with a clove of chopped garlic. Season the zucchini with salt and cook over high heat until lightly browned and tender, about 4 minutes. Transfer the zucchini to plates.

Add 4 tablespoons of coconut oil to the skillet with 1/8 cup of organic chicken bone broth. Season two 3 ounce branzino fillets with salt and add to the skillets with a clove of chopped garlic, skin side down. Using a large spatula, press the fish lightly to sear the skin for a few seconds. Cook over high heat until the skin is very crisp and browned, about 5 minutes. Carefully flip the fillets and cook for 1 minute longer, until the flesh flakes when pierced with a fork. Place the fish over the zucchini, skin side up.

Dessert

Salted Cinnamon Vanilla Ice Cream

Ingredients:

2 cans coconut milk
4 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tablespoon of cinnamon
1 teaspoon of pink himalayan sea salt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Directions:
1. Combine all ingredients in a pan over the stove. Heat to combine.
2. Let cool and place mixture in ice cream maker and follow the directions to churn.
3. Place in freezer to let set.

DAY 2 (taken from Dr Will Cole)

BREAKFAST

Inflammation-Fighting Smoothie

Ingredients

1/2 cup pineapple, chopped
1 cup cucumber, chopped
3/4 cup water
1/3 cup coconut milk
1 scoop grass-fed collagen powder
1 small handful mint leaves (about 10)
1-inch ginger root, peeled
2 teaspoons turmeric
1/2 cup ice
Directions
1. Combine all ingredients together, blend, and enjoy!

LUNCH

Chicken "Rice" Soup

Ingredients:
2 chicken breasts
2 cups carrots, chopped
2 cups celery, chopped
6 cups chicken bone broth
1/2 tablespoon turmeric
3 bay leaves
Salt and pepper to taste
3 cups uncooked cauliflower finely pureed to "rice"
Directions:
1. Add all ingredients (minus cauliflower) together in slow cooker.
2. Set slow cooker on HIGH for 6 hours.
3. Add cauliflower "rice" and let cook for another 10-20 minutes until cooked. Shred chicken and serve.

DINNER

Italian Zucchini Meatballs

Ingredients:
1 pound ground meat of choice
1 cup zucchini, shredded
1 teaspoon italian spice blend
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
Sea salt and black pepper to taste
Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Mix together all ingredients in a bowl.
3. Roll into desired size balls and place on a parchment lined baking sheet.
4. Bake for 15-20 minutes.

Coconut-Lime "Rice"

Ingredients:

1 large cauliflower
2 tablespoons coconut oil
6 tablespoons coconut milk
1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped
Juice of 1-2 limes
Sea salt to taste
Directions:
1. Chop up cauliflower and pulse in food processor to "rice" consistency.
2. Cook cauliflower in skillet with 1 tablespoon coconut oil and sea salt over medium heat until done.
3. Mix in coconut milk and remaining 1 tablespoon coconut oil until melted and combined.
4. Remove cauliflower and place in bowl. Stir in cilantro and lime juice to combine.

DAY 3 by Carolina Amaris

BREAKFAST:

Fresh Fruit Salad
Ingredients:
Watermelon, pineapple, banana, pomegranate blueberries and grapes Chop fruit and mix together with lemon juice

Coconut Matcha Latte:
Ingredients:

Add 2 teaspoons of matcha to a quarter cup of water and blend
Pour over ice and coconut milk

LUNCH

Roasted Fall Vegetables

Ingredients:
What you need :
1 lb. fresh Brussels sprouts
1.5 tbsp. olive oil
2.5 tbsp. balsamic vinegar, divided ( non alcoholic) if you have sensitivity to this ingredients you can use coconut oil or grass fed ghee ( non lactose ) and melted.
2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1/2 tsp pink Himalayan salt 1/4 cup of water1 tablespoon of honey1 lb. of organic carrots1 lb. of organic golden beets1 pomegranate1/2 tsp of apple cider vinegar1/2 tsp of coconut vinegarPre heat oven to 400.  Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.  Rinse all your vegetables and make sure to cut the ends. Cut golden beets  into 1/4 thin slices, set aside. Cut ends of Brussels sprouts and toss into a bowl. Cut ends off of carrots and slice down center into 3/4.  Combine all liquid ingredients into a bowl and whisk for about 69 seconds.  1/2 tsp of apple cider vinegar1/2 tsp of coconut vinegar 1.5 tbsp. olive oil
2.5 tbsp. balsamic vinegar, divided
2 cloves fresh garlic, minced1/2 tsp pink Himalayan salt 1/4 cup of water 1 tablespoon of honey

Place all Brussels sprouts into liquid mix. Gently place Brussels sprouts on to cookie sheet, followed by carrots and golden beets. Pour excess liquid over vegetables .
Roast for 45 minutes .
Remove and cool down for 15 . Add a little olive oil or coconut oil for a sweet taste. Garnish with pomegranate.

DINNER

Organic Roasted Citrus Chicken

Ingredients:
1 whole chicken ( organic or grass feed)
Fresh Rosemary 1/2 cup
Fresh Thyme 1/2 cup
Fresh Sage 1/2 cup
4 garlic cloves
Coconut sugar
2 oranges
3 lemons
1 cup of olive oil
Water
Pink Himalayan salt
Extra large zip block bag
1 yellow onion ( optional
For AIP diet to opt out if you have sensitivity)

First things first never wash your chicken underwater . Instead wash your chicken with one whole lemon and then pat try. Allow for chicken to sit for 20 minutes to bring to room temperature.

For Brine :

3 cups water
1/4 cup pink Himalayan salt
2 tablespoons coconut sugar
3 sprigs fresh rosemary
3 springs fresh thyme
2 cloves garlic, smashed with the side of a knife
1 squeeze of orange juice use left over for brine
1 squeeze of lemon juice and use left over for brine.
Place chicken inside zip block with brine and leave to marinate for 3-5 hours . The longer the better if you have time .
1 tablespoon of minced garlic
4 carrots peeled and cut in half

Heat oven to 425

In a cooking pot or roasting pot cut onion and place inside pot. I like cutting into 1/4. Cut orange and lemons into thin slices ( save some for the top of chicken ). Place sage, rosemary , and thyme . Carefully place chicken and half of brine juices. Nestle garlic cloves and carrotsaround chicken. Use the rest of brine juice along with oranges and lemon. Layer another round to your liking of fresh herbs.

Option to sprinkle anotherbit of coconut sugar on top chicken.

Cook for 1 and 34 minutes . Use another 7 minutes under broiler for crispy skin.

 

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The AIP Autoimmune Protocol You Might Want To Get Behind

The AIP diet, also known as the Autoimmune Protocol diet, is a relatively new, food-based approach to healing the gut in order to reduce inflammation created by autoimmune conditions. Some Autoimmune diseases include Rheumatoid Arthritis, Endometriosis, Hashimotos, Lupus, Celiac Disease, MS, Crohn's Disease, Psoriasis, and Thyroid disease, often resulting in inflammation, chronic pain, swelling and misery. The diet aims to reset the immune system by avoiding foods that cause inflammation and attempts to reduce the symptoms of these conditions.  It also contributes to gorgeous, radiant, red-free skin.     

An autoimmune disease starts with the body attacking itself. With autoimmune disease awareness and diagnoses on the rise, there are over one hundred confirmed autoimmune diseases, but the root cause remains the same. Our immune system’s job is to protect us from harmful microorganisms that it detects within our body. In Autoimmune disease, the first thing that happens is a breakdown in the ability to detect the difference between the foreign invader and ourselves, and in turn, the immune system starts to attack itself rather than the bacteria, viruses, parasites, etc. that it is supposed to protect us from. The specific autoimmune disease is then classified by which proteins, cells, and tissues are attacked.

Stories of people suffering from an autoimmune condition often begin the same way;  with symptoms like unexplained chronic pain, fatigue, joint pain, and headaches that are repeatedly explained to doctors and still misunderstood. Doctor’s aren’t able to figure it out, and it’s common that people don’t feel supported or understood by their healthcare practitioners, leaving most of us to resolve to silently suffer while the symptoms continue to worsen. As stated by Dr. Will Cole in his eBook, Functional Medicine asks the vital questions that very few conventional doctors ask: “Why do you have this problem in the first place?” and “Why has function been lost?” and “What can we do to restore function?” Western medicine treats the symptoms but never seems to get to the root cause.  In other words, Functional Medicine looks to find the root cause or mechanism involved with any loss of function, which ultimately reveals why a set of symptoms is there in the first place, or why the patient has a particular disease label.” Unfortunately, the western medical system is flooded with misinformation and doctors are practicing on the foundations of studies that are decades old. However, a little something to keep in mind is that these dismissive doctors, too, are part of this broken system and we have to continue on with compassion instead of allowing them to discourage us. We now have the knowledge and resources to find confidence in trusting our intuition and the power of relying on ourselves to heal.

This is where the Autoimmune Protocol comes in to play. These diseases are direct links to our food and lifestyle choices, and the protocol is helpful for any inflammatory disease. As confirmed by Angie Alt and Mickey Trescott, of The Autoimmune Wellness Podcast, an incredibly informative podcast on the autoimmune wellness journey, even these generally dismissive doctors are contacting them after seeing their self-informed client’s profound results from the AIP Diet. So much so that they are further educating themselves on the protocol in hopes of implementing it into their practice.

The AIP diet is quite restrictive, eliminating any possible foods that might be triggers for your disease, like nightshade vegetables, like peppers and eggplant, and NSAIDs, like aleve and ibuprofen. It helps to reduce symptoms and heal imbalances by decreasing inflammation and healing gut dysfunction. Gut health is extremely important in healing. More than likely if you're suffering, your digestive tract and gut isn’t in the best shape and byproducts of all things passing through your intestines are leaking through your gut barrier into your blood stream, causing the immune system to respond. The goal is to eliminate inflammatory and allergenic foods to support the body in cooling down the immune system.

The AIP diet is an elimination diet strategy, and equally important to elimination is the act of reintroduction. Many end up staying on the protocol for months or until they start feeling relieved of their autoimmune systems, but how long you choose to stay on the diet is a personal choice. A strict elimination period of at least 18 months to two years is recommended before reintroducing nutritional foods that were initially removed for potential harmful compounds. The best part of an elimination diet is that in time you get to reintroduce foods that you have been avoiding.

The diet often raises concern for people who enjoy dining out. First and foremost, if it’s not perfect, it's OK!  Healing yourself does not mean having to put the joys of life aside, like eating out with friends. It is so important to not be too hard on yourself if you slip up. The guilt and blame you are putting yourself through for not being perfect might even be doing more harm than the “banned” food you just put into your body. Trying our best counts for a lot.  Concentrate on the foods you can have instead of everything that isn't compliant.  There is no shame in being upfront with your waiter or waitress.  In regards to our health, we have to get past the fear of seeming too picky or high maintenance.  More often than not, your waiter or waitress will be happy to work with you to find something that fits your dietary needs.

We are teaming up with Doctor Will Cole in formulating a four week long, AIP compliant, nutritious and delicious meal plan and will be sharing it soon. We know that the restrictions can seem quite difficult, so we are excited to do our part help make the protocol diet as fun and feasible as possible.

 Keep in mind that diet is just the first step. Focusing on sleep, self-care and self-love, moderate exercise, meditation and a stress management practice that works for you is equally important. The protocol is great because it goes beyond food, and recognizes the importance of a balanced lifestyle in the autoimmune wellness journey. Rest is easily overlooked, but is right up there in importance with diet. Remaining hopeful and positive and giving yourself the space to do things that bring you peace and joy will help to achieve optimal results. Without these important, but often-overlooked components, the other factors will fail to be as effective. Try to remember that it is not about only having the right mindset when it comes to the food; it’s a balancing act and how you feel supersedes anything you eat.

Click on the link below for AIP compliant foods as well as the ones to avoid:

AIP FOOD LIST

Stay tuned for the meal plan...

By Jena Covello and Alexa Ouaknine