think you can get away with eating wheat?

Posted by on Nov 20, 2014 in Gluten Free, Holistic Pain Relief, Why Organic? | 1 comment

I’m back from a wonderful vacation and I am PISSED. Not at you, dear readers. I am angry at Monsanto, Roundup, and all the farmers using it. This isn’t the first time I’ve felt this way and it’s probably not the last.

Wheat 300 pxRoundup is so noxious that it changes our produce INSIDE, not just on the surface. That’s the reason why I encourage you and everyone to eat organic produce. But there’s more to it than our produce choices!

As I talk with clients, friends, and you about how holistic pain relief relates to gluten people ask me WHY? Why has wheat and gluten become a problem in the last 10-15 years? Just like these folks, don’t you also wonder why wheat-based foods didn’t bother you as a kid, but now you’re sensitive to gluten and wheat?

I’ve always answered that it’s because today’s wheat isn’t the same as the wheat from 30-50 years ago. That’s not wrong, but now I see it’s incomplete.

You can read the whole article (with links and sources at the bottom of her page) here:

Let me summarize briefly for you:

During the 1990s, conventional (non-organic) wheat farmers started drenching their crops with Roundup (a common pesticide called glyphosate) just before harvest. This practice increases yield (makes them more money) and makes the harvesting process easier.

Roundup and glyphosate are banned in quite a few countries in Europe. Not just on wheat but on all crops.

In 2013 a study was done connecting glyphosate and the incidence of celiac disease and gluten intolerance. The increase in use of glyphosate is followed exactly by the incidence of these two health conditions. (And remember they are connected strongly to chronic pain!)

If that doesn’t make you mad enough. Here’s the next consequence:

“Roundup significantly disrupts the functioning of beneficial bacteria in the gut and contributes to permeability of the intestinal wall and consequent expression of autoimmune disease symptoms,” says The Healthy Home Economist.

When your gut bacteria is out of balance, you’re more likely to have a variety of medical issues including those related to chronic pain. (Here’s just one study as an example:

Again quoting The Healthy Home Economist, “The effects of deadly glyphosate on your biology are so insidious that lack of symptoms today means literally nothing. If you don’t have problems with wheat now, you will in the future if you keep eating conventionally produced, toxic wheat!”

Are you pissed now too? Please visit the entire article and read the details, as well as her suggestions on how to avoid glyphosate in your food choices. And definitely share this information with family, friends, and in social media.


Do you just wish you could find a set of realistic, holistic tools you can put in practice that will minimize your pain and maximize your energy? Download my free PDF report to learn 17 EASY WAYS TO START MINIMIZING PAIN TODAY!

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hydrate or die!

Posted by on Jul 17, 2014 in Anti-Inflammatory Ideas, Healthier Choices, Holistic Pain Relief, Wellness | 0 comments

Being properly hydrated is critical to holistic pain relief. The big question is what does “properly” mean to you?

Back in 2008, I had the opportunity to participate as a support team member during the bicycling race called Race Across America or RAAM. I was the massage therapist for a team of four cyclists and eight crew members. The race began in mid-June on West Coast—beautiful Oceanside, California. We traveled to the finish in Annapolis, Maryland in just over seven days. The cyclists rode as a relay without stopping for overnight resting periods. In fact, none of us had “normal” sleep for the entire race. We just grabbed our zzzz’s as we could, rotating crew and cyclist duties to continue moving forward. It was one of the most physically challenging events I’ve ever participated in—as much for our crew as our cyclists.

Newsletter 07172014 RAM

That’s me doing massage! Our stop in Death Valley is the photo at left.

And you’re wondering what this has to do with hydration, right? Well, that’s when the phrase “hydrate or die” became a part of my regular vocabulary. We went straight through California’s famous Death Valley! But hydration was just as important every other day of our eight-day trip. Riders and crew were pushing themselves to the limits of physical and mental endurance. We had almost no time to eat a “proper” meal, but fuel was critical. So we grabbed healthy food as we could. No matter the food choices, we always made sure water was available for everyone.

If you’re living with chronic pain, hydration is no less important. Not one system in your body—muscles, bones, blood, lungs, heart, digestion, etc.—can work correctly if it doesn’t have enough fluid. The water we drink supplies that fluid.

Think about your pain, whether muscle tension, headache, or something else, as a communication from your body. Often pain is a cry for more hydration—more water!

How Much Water is Enough?

You probably grew up with the message I did, “Eight eight ounce glasses of water a day is best.” There is some disagreement about whether this advice is truly logical for all of us. And hydration is bioindividual just like all other decisions we make in our lives.

I’d recommend letting two things be your guide: thirst and urine color. These two guides are a simple way to tell what your body is communicating. When you’re thirsty, you may already be dehydrated. So drink water. And know that you may need more than a glass. You may need well more than eight ounces, and that’s where having a refillable water bottle can be so helpful. They are larger and often designed to keep water cool if you prefer it that way. When you’re dehydrated your urine will be dark yellow or almost brown. That’s another cue to drink more water. The more hydrated you generally are, the easier it will to change that urine color to clear. If you’ve been dehydrated for a long time, it may take more time and more water to change that color. Let your body teach you the best amount for you, adjusting for conditions like heat and activity level.

Will Other Liquids Hydrate Like Water?

The short answer is no. But I know you want to know more. Somewhere in the last few decades, we’ve decided that water doesn’t have enough taste. It’s not as interesting to our palate as some of the other options, especially the multi-flavored soda and “energy drink” concoctions we find on shelves today. So we choose coffee, tea, soda, energy drinks, juice—there are a multitude of options!

Many of these options contain caffeine, which actually dehydrates us. Caffeine flushes water out of our system, which is exactly the effect we need to avoid. I’m not saying you have to completely eliminate caffeine (although that’s something to consider), but if you’re living with chronic pain it may not be helping your body feel better. It’s always your choice!

I did recently find this interesting research on coconut water, which is being touted as a healthier choice for electrolyte balance than the Gatorades of the world. You might find coconut water to be helpful as an addition to your plain water intake, especially in the heat of summer or physical activity. But be aware that all coconut water isn’t created alike.

Hydration Strategy

Here’s a simple way to be sure you get enough hydration. First, buy 4-5 refillable water bottles and mark each of them with a different interval during the day. So one says 8am – 11am, and the next says 11am – 1pm, 1pm – 5pm, 5pm – 10pm. Use the intervals that work with your sleeping and waking cycle during the day. Start the first one immediately upon waking.

When the first bottle is empty then you move on to the next and so on. And notice that the intervals between them are shorter in the morning. Drinking more water in the morning helps detoxify us, and also means we’re less likely to have to get up in the middle of the night for the bathroom.

If you find that carrying multiple bottles of water is impractical in your day, set some timers on your phone as reminders. Name the timer something like, “Have you finished 24 oz. of water since 8am?”

Thanks for reading … now go drink some water!


Do you just wish you could find a set of realistic, holistic tools you can put in practice that will minimize your pain and maximize your energy? Download my free PDF report to learn 17 EASY WAYS TO START MINIMIZING PAIN TODAY!



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what causes systemic inflammation?

Posted by on Jan 15, 2014 in Anti-Inflammatory Ideas, Healthier Choices, Holistic Pain Relief | 7 comments

CW_Anti-InflammatorySeriesWhy talk about inflammation? Simple—too much inflammation is a huge factor in chronic pain. Plus, finding ways to control and limit inflammation is a key strategy in holistic pain relief. This is a multiple part series of articles covering these topics—it’s too much for one article!

First, what do I mean by systemic inflammation? Systemic inflammation is throughout our entire bodies – throughout all the systems. It’s not that localized inflammation you see when you fall and your knee swells. Systemic inflammation generally develops over time, can become chronic, and is the result of a variety of different sources.

Fundamentally, inflammation is our body’s natural protective response. But left unchecked, inflammation can actually cause more inflammation. So getting our inflammatory process under control is essential to holistic pain relief.

Some pain-related diseases and conditions with chronic inflammation include: chronic peptic ulcer, rheumatoid arthritis, chronic periodontitis, ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, acid reflux, and chronic sinusitis (there are many more).

Here are some of the main factors in chronic, systemic inflammation. We’ll address steps to improve these factors later in this multiple-part blog series.

1. Poor sleep quality: One of the best ways for your body to heal is getting a good night’s sleep. But for a lot of us, this kind of sleep is elusive especially when we’re experiencing pain. However, scientists at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, Georgia found that “Poor sleep quality, and short sleep durations are associated with higher levels of inflammation.”

2. Environmental factors: Toxins in our world are creating chronic inflammation in our bodies. And you’ve probably heard about the huge variety of toxic ingredients in everything from our cleaning products to cookware to our furniture and carpeting. Being aware of toxins as a factor in our inflammation and pain is the first step to making changes.

3. Poor diet: Certain foods, especially sugar, refined flours, processed foods, and inflammatory fats such as trans and saturated fats are a big factor in chronic pain, because of their relationship to inflammation. Making all these changes at once can be overwhelming. You’ll want to address these changes part by part. And since stress is a part of inflammation too, it’s best to get coaching and guidance when overhauling your diet.

Next time we’ll address four other factors in chronic inflammation. I’d love to have your comments and questions on these three issues, and anything you’d like me to be sure to cover in this series. See you back here soon!


Do you just wish you could find a set of realistic, holistic tools you can put in practice that will minimize your pain and maximize your energy? Download my free PDF report to learn 17 EASY WAYS TO START MINIMIZING PAIN TODAY!

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investing in new cookware for holistic pain relief

Posted by on Oct 30, 2013 in Anti-Inflammatory Ideas, Cooking at Home, Healthier Choices, Holistic Pain Relief, Wellness | 10 comments

oos350-614470-847__1Several months ago, Barbara and I decided to replace our non-stick cookware with stainless steel. Why? Very simply, another step in our path of holistic pain relief. Plus, there’s mounting evidence that the chemicals used in non-stick cookware, perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), may contribute to the alteration of natural hormones that influence inflammation, cartilage repair, and other criteria associated with arthritis. As Barbara has rheumatoid arthritis (RA), it was a no-brainer for us to move forward with this endeavor.

Understand this…Barbara thinks I’m cheap; I think I’m frugal, thrifty, and practical—great attributes for a COO! Nonetheless, since I am the primary “chef” in the family, we decided I would be in charge of researching and selecting which cookware set to purchase. No problem. They’re all the same, right?

On our next trip to the local warehouse store, I was excited to find a 14-piece stainless steel cookware set for $99.00. It included all the pieces that I needed for preparing my culinary masterpieces. What a deal! I promptly looked up reviews on my iPhone while at the store and was chagrinned that the set was poorly rated. Hmm, I guess they aren’t all the same. Phooey.

For the next week or so, I endeavored to learn what I needed to know about buying safe cookware. I digested a dizzying number of articles that covered types, manufacturers, and cookware SKUs along with many reviews, both user and expert, from varying sources—Amazon to Consumer’s Reports.

Well folks, this is what I found out:

First, I wanted to find support for the negative health affects from PFOA and PFOS, particularly as it pertains to arthritis. I’m a very logical person and soon realized that finding non-biased information about health-related topics was like trying to get neutral political opinion from both FOX and MSNBC. This is one of the articles that I read—“Teflon component linked to arthritis” based on a study featured in the American Journal of Epidemiology.

Obviously, this ruled out non-stick cookware.

Next, I wanted to find a synopsis of what’s available. I viewed this slide show on the Huffington Post about the different types of cookware. Yeah, I know. It’s a liberal site…but this is a very non-political blog post!

  • Copper
  • Non-stick
  • Aluminum – we ruled out aluminum because of the possible correlation between aluminum and Alzheimer’s disease
  • Anodized aluminum
  • Stainless steel
  • Cast iron
  • Enameled cast iron
  • Carbon steel
  • Enamel on steel
  • Green pan (a ceramic-based non-stick material)

Wow, that’s a lot of choices. After considering the above materials, we decided upon stainless steel. But, what’s the difference from one stainless steel set to another? After reading around a hundred reviews on Amazon and other sites, I learned that it was the thickness of the steel and whether or not it’s “multiclad/tri-play” or aluminum layered in the stainless steel both on the bottom and sides of the pot/pan. This is important since stainless steel is not a good conductor of heat.

Now, what brand? There were basically three manufacturers with models that rated well, 1) All-Clad, 2) Cuisinart, and 3) Tramontina. They all have multiclad styles.

I knew it wasn’t going to be cheap, but $1500.00 for a 14-piece All-Clad set was a bit too rich for our blood. The Tramontina set I considered was only available through Sam’s Club and we’re not members. Therefore, we decided upon a multiclad Cusinart set.

But wait! Where to buy it? The Cuisinart MCP-12N MultiClad Pro Stainless Steel 12-Piece Cookware Set available at Amazon was priced at $299.00. Now, this is where my cheapness, frugality, practicality comes to play.

Drum roll please. While looking at the Costco website, I noted they had a Cuisinart® 12-piece Professional Tri-Ply Stainless Steel Cookware. It was Cusinart. Check! There were no discernible differences. Check! It was “tri-ply”. Check! It also had glass lids that the Multi-Clad Pro set did not have. Yay! The set at Costco cost $199.99 or a hundred bucks less than the set at Amazon.


P.S. Since then, we bought a stainless steel steamer set for steaming vegetables and we also determined that we needed to make one concession for using non-stick cookware—frying eggs. However, once the non-stick surface starts to show signs of wear, we’ll trash it. Oh well. Not perfect, but pretty close to it.


Do you just wish you could find a set of realistic, holistic tools you can put in practice that will minimize your pain and maximize your energy? Download my free PDF report to learn 17 EASY WAYS TO START MINIMIZING PAIN TODAY!

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the most important detox you can do

Posted by on Sep 11, 2013 in Anti-Inflammatory Ideas, Healthier Choices, Holistic Pain Relief, Wellness | 2 comments

Smiley GR EmoticonPeople often ask me about whether a detox program or a cleanse is right for them. They especially wonder if it’s a good idea to help initiate some holistic pain relief. My answer is always, “It depends on you.” Sometimes a 7-14 day detox is just the thing to reset our taste buds and remind us of all the yummy things we gain by adding more vegetables and fruits into our lives. But I also often find that clients living with chronic pain discover that the detox is more stressful than it’s worth. All the restrictions and extra planning can be taxing if you are living in an exhausted, pain-filled state. On the other hand, if you’re doing pretty well … a short detox can really create a wonderful boost. It depends on you, and I’d encourage you to really be still and let you intuition tell you what’s best.

What I like to do instead is teach people how to maximize their body’s detoxification functions every day. It’s possible to make small changes over a little while really amp up the things your own body can do for you! It takes a little more patience, but it also can be a lot less stressful.

But today I wanted to talk about something other than food-related detox. What about detoxing our thoughts from the negativity of the world? I believe that how we refer to our bodies, our pain and any diseases we live with can make ALL the difference. Negativity detox is so critical to your holistic pain relief plan. This is all up to you, and not something you can pay someone to do to you or for you! This is personal philosophy, so if it doesn’t resonate with you that’s okay too.

Here’s what I mean: When I was first diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, I was immediately concerned about the type of language that is used to describe autoimmune disease. This is a situation where part of your immune system is overactive towards your body. Notice I said overactive—but typical medical language is that your immune system ATTACKS your body. I decided very early on to NEVER use that phrasing when I was talking about myself. It just doesn’t seem to be productive to me since my main goal is find healing and pain relief, not WAR and FIGHTING.

It’s not that I’m dishonest about my pain or about RA when someone asks, but I always look to the most positive possible way to frame the situation. People asked, “how could you do massage with RA?” My answer, “I’ve never NOT done massage with RA, so it seems normal to me!”

If I feel limited in any given day, I choose to focus on and remember what I CAN do instead of what I can’t. Every moment I am up and moving around is a privilege, because I know people whose pain immobilizes them and makes them 100% dependent on others. So what do I GET to do today? Instead of what CAN’T I do!

Want some help with these ideas? I have two friends who are creating great programs RIGHT NOW about letting go of negativity in our lives. Of course, I can help too … but I wanted to share these great additional options because they are helping ME!

Star Staubach’s 21-Day Challenge to RECEIVE is still open … it started September 1 but I’m guessing all the content will be available even after the 21 days are over!

Jennifer Boykin’s 30-Day Negativity Cleanse is open too! You take a pledge to refrain from negativity, and Jennifer sends you a daily uplifting email for 30 days. What would happen to our world if we ALL did this?

Let me know what you sign up for okay? I’m excited for all of us to receive all this GOODNESS!


Do you just wish you could find a set of realistic, holistic tools you can put in practice that will minimize your pain and maximize your energy? Download my free PDF report to learn 17 EASY WAYS TO START MINIMIZING PAIN TODAY!

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