Wednesday, October 7, 2015

5 Ways to SabotageYour Gut Health

No buts about it, we need a healthy gut. It's the key to overall wellness. Once the wellness of our gut is disturbed, then a domino effect is created for problems in the body. We have several working systems in the human infrastructure. They all interconnect. Our digestive system is extremely intricate and directly works with our immune system. We build our immunity by what we take in physically, environmentally, mentally, and emotionally. It only stands to reason that if we put garbage in our bodies then that is what will come out.

Our gut, the worker bee for the digestive system, or the gastrointestinal tract is comprised of a tube that runs from our mouths down to the anus. Throughout the tract there are necessary hormones, bacteria, and enzymes that are necessary for a well operating machine.

In order to stay strong and vibrant, we need to be aware of the factors that damage our wall of defense, our immune system. The foundation is a mighty digestive system. 

Here are 5 Ways Daily We Can Harm Our Gut:

1) Pharmaceutical Drugs: Prescription drugs at very intermittent times may have a time and place, especially in the case of warding off severe pain long enough to the body to a place where other methods can then be used to get to the heart of the issue, but they are not a permanent solution for life time issues. They do not heal or nourish, simple mask and cover. Often they come with a host of side effects and cause the body more negative issues. They cause confusion in the body. Use them rarely, and then so with care and caution. Antibiotics and vaccines are the worst offenders for destroying good digestive health.

2) Caffeine: It effects different people in different ways. Small amounts from healthy choices like organic green tea and organic dark chocolate usually is not a problem, and the health benefits from those foods evens the game a bit. Consuming caffeine daily, especially larger amounts though is bad news for the gut and our endocrine system.

3) Over the Counter Medications: While marketed as safe and helpful solutions for our day to day rounds, they are far from it. Drugs like acetaminophen are linked to blood cancers and liver failure. NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) like ibprophen, are linked to cancer, miscarriage, and cardiovascular trouble.

4) Processed Foods: While these are sold on the grocery store shelves all across the world, especially the United States, masked as foods, they are actually science projects drawn up in labs. They are inexpensive to produce and keep us sick, which keeps us going to the doctor and the pharmacy, and buying more over the counter medication and prescription you see the connection?

5) Unmanaged Negative Stress: Our nervous, endocrine, and digestive systems certainly take a beating from unmanaged stress. Disregarding healthy ways to manage our emotions can lead to lower immunity then causing anxiety attacks, frequent colds, yeast infections, migraine headaches, unnecessary weight gain, and hormonal imbalances.

In follow up articles I will discuss ways to support our immune and digestive systems. Check in with my blog often.  Learning how to support our bodies and taking control of our wellness is the only way we can truly have vitality and vibrancy in our lives. We need to our own best manager of our health. The more you pay attention to your body, treat it well, and eliminate poor patterns, the more intuitive you will become. You are truly your own best advocate! The journey can be daunting. Consider hiring a health coach as a guide and friend along the way. Contact me for more information on my health coaching program.

Helping you to be a good steward of your health!~Marie A, Brock, HHC


Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Belly Butter

I've just been having so much fun in my body care workshop, aka my kitchen, creating different, safe, nourishing items to use for common body care items. I have two whole cabinets dedicated to the ingredients, containers, and appliances. Feeding our skin is as important as the actual food we eat.

My lovely friend Marie, who just had her baby, recently came to visit me. She asked if there were any cocoa butter based lotions or creams for stretch marks. Immediately I asked if I could make her something. Then "Belly Butter" was born. It is more or less body butter, with a partial cocoa butter base along with grapefruit essential oil. 

Using genuine essential oils in homemade products don't only provide safe lovely scents to body care they increase healing time. Different essential oils have different properties. In this case I chose grapefruit because it contains limonene. It is present in citrus peels, especially grapefruit. It support skin health.

Making the belly butter was extremely simple. The process for making most balms, salves, deodorants, and lotions is very similar. It makes pairing combinations easy. 

Belly Butter Ingredients

1/2 C Cocoa Butter
1/2 C Shea Butter
1/2 C Organic Unrefined Coconut Oil
1/2 C Avocado Oil

Tools Needed 

Double Boiler
Silicon Spatula (reserved for body care making)
Chopstick (I use this to stir)
Hand Mixer
3 (4oz) glass jars or 1 (12-16oz) jar

Instructions (Please read these before jumping into action)

Gather your oils and butters, measure and place all into the double boiler, EXCEPT for the essential oil, it's not time for that yet. Melt the oils and butters in the double boiler over low-medium heat. Be patient, shea butter takes a while to melt. As mentioned in previous posts using a double boiler is really important. Just using a pot directly on the heat could over-heat or burn the oils/butters. You can easily create a make-shift double boiler by using a small stainless steel mixing bowl with a 2-3 qt pot.

Next remove pan from heat and let it cool in the refrigerator until semi-solid. Then remove it the fridge, now add your essential oil, and whip with a hand mixer right in the pot. It will look like mashed potatoes. 

Finally using your silicon spatula fill your jars. 
Use a sticky label and pretty handwriting.

Isn't that easy?!!! You can make it too along with other simple body care. Feed your skin well. Remember to be healthy, be blessed, and be a good steward!

Friday, October 2, 2015

Supporting Emotional Wellness

We live in the culture of the diagnosis. Everyone has a label. Each person seems to have some kind of disorder. Prescription medication is given out like jelly beans, meanwhile hands are being shaken and money is being exchanged...infuriating! Today specifically the topic of discussion is how to support our emotional wellness. We have a lot going against us, so the following are some tips to assist in the day to day for overall healthy living.  Truth be told though there are numerous dangerous side effects to prescription medication. If you are not on medication, this article will go over some areas to be aware of, and things that you can do naturally to support your body. Even if you are on medication,  many of these practices can be employed to raise your quality of living while continuing with your prescription. Clinical depression is an authentic condition. That is not what we are discussing today. It should not be discounted. In many cases though it is more of a symptom, and using natural methods is great way to support yourself..

 *Before I go further I want to state that am a certified holistic health and life counselor. I am not a medical doctor nor a trained psychologist. If you are a patient on ANY type of prescription medication, I am not telling you to stop. That is not my place nor what the article is about today. There are real conditions going on in people's bodies. Every condition is different. You can never be fully aware of all of the factors in someone's life: other medications, lifestyle choices, as well as illnesses/conditions. I would instruct anyone who reads this to NEVER tell anyone to just stop prescription medication. That would be irresponsible.That is a decision between the individual, God, and their doctor. It is extremely important to follow a doctors directives with medication, if you desire to be free from it. Find a trained medical professional. Do not do it on your own. You are not Sally down the street, you are you. Please be responsible.

Supporting a Healthy Environment
It's important to always start with a firm foundation. Examine yourself. Purchase a journal for a dollar and write down these questions and the answer them. Ask why do I feel a certain way? Is there anything truly internal going on causing me to be anxious? Examples are but not limited to: physical illness, prescription medication, poor daily diet, unhealthy digestive system, or unbalanced hormones.

Is there anything external going on causing me to feel this way that would rationally cause prolonged tension? Examples are but not limited to: separation, divorce, a severe physical illness-someone else's, an abusive personality in your life like a spouse, parent, or co-worker, job loss or simply financial instability, or death of a loved one. 

If something like this is going on then you have to give yourself some breathing room! You are bound to fall in one or both categories. You are normal to have reactions to these situations. There simply seasons in life that are difficult. It's perfectly normal for your body to be fighting the negative stress that follows from negative situations. It's even okay for you be down, but only for a time. Chronic negative stress, not dealt with in a positive fashion has been shown to alter the way your brain operates and cause more harm.

Create healthy boundaries for yourself, if possible. If someone is physically abusive removing yourself from the situation is always appropriate. Do not stay in harm's way. Bruises and beatings are not God's Will for your life. Don't allow anyone to tell you otherwise. You are worth so much more. You are a beautiful creation of the Most High God, be safe. Be self-affirming. For every negative comment you hear, out loud tell yourself that you are beautiful, you are fearfully and wonderfully made, and you are loved! Do talk with someone! Good counsel is imperative. Find a trust worthy counselor to meet with often. This may be a psychologist, pastor, or health counselor. Don't go through this alone. 

The Basics
Now is the time to accept responsibility for the things you can change. The number one area is with what you stuff your face. Yep, it really matters what you eat. There is no one best way to eat for all. It is very individualized. 

Good rules of thumb are lots of plant foods, especially organic leafy greens like lettuce, kale, collards, chard, and baby spinach. Greens will cleanse the blood of toxins with lots of chlorophyll and vitamin C. Raw greens are great! If you have certain types of auto-immune disorders though like with thyroid, then you want a higher percentage of cooked green veggies, at least 50/50. Different health conditions require different foods as well as the way they are prepared. If you are dealing with something like breast cancer, then you want to be as raw as possible and vegan. 

There are different classes of vegetables. I cover this in my holistic health counseling program. All veggies are not the same. Eat lots of different colors, and try new things. Take note to how certain ones effect you.

If you eat meat make sure it's organic, 100% pastured/grass fed beef (no grains), soy and corn free for chicken feed for the chickens and eggs. What the animals eat directly effects us. Animals also need lots of sunlight as well as fresh air and space to roam. This provides healthy protein for the muscular system to operate properly. Any animals eating soy and corn are consuming genetically modified fake foods, then those are going into your bodies.

Fruit is great! Eat the lower sugar choices most often like apples, berries, and grapefruit. If you eat oranges, do so with white part, that's fiber to balance out the high sugar. Do not drink fruit juices. Straight fruit juice is too much sugar. If you own a juicer the rule is juice your veggies, but blend your fruits. So do veggie juices and fruit & veggie smoothies.

Higher doses and portions of healthy fats. Be liberal here because your body needs it. Healthy fats are one of tools the body uses. Positive choices are: organic unrefined coconut oil, hempseeds/oil, extra virgin olive oil, chia seeds, grass fed hormone free butter, red palm oil, raw nuts & other seeds, grass fed ghee, wild caught salmon (from clean water if you can find it), organic peanut butter, raw almond butter, and my favorite food-avocados. Fats do not make you fat, sugar does. If you start craving unhealthy starches, which have lots of bad sugars that turn into fat, retrain your brain for what it needs, more healthy fat. Fat does not add fat to the body. The fat is used as a tool in the body for maintenance.

Consider going grain free during this time period. Even whole gluten free grains like brown rice and GF oats have a lot of natural sugars. Choose foods like quinoa, buckwheat, millet, and amaranth. If you don't eliminate them, prepare them properly by soaking before hand, and reduce them in your diet, if possible. The body doesn't always metabolize sugars well during high negative stress intervals. Do what is right for you. Think along the same lines for beans and legumes. Look, I love these foods, just pay attention to your body. Sometimes we need to make adjustments.

Sweet stuff, even GF/DF raw clean treats, should be treated like a regular Twix Bar or Snickers. Choose just a little, don't go overboard, and all will be fine. Stick to low glycemic sweeteners like whole stevia leaf drops, coconut sugar, and coconut nectar. Healthy choices though ones to use less often are delicious raw honey, whole organic cane sugar (also called Rapadura; this is NOT regular organic cane sugar or raw sugar or sucanat or turbinado sugar), and organic maple syrup, dates, and other fruit.

Yes, using truly natural high quality supplements is extremely helpful in giving the body what it needs. Some choices are foods and others are in liquid capsules and herbs. Again, I am not a medically trained physician. So I cannot prescribe these to you. I would suggest you do your research, if you have a doctor make him or her aware of the regimen you'd like to start, and be responsible for your own wellness. If you were a health counseling client of mine these are some we would discuss. For supplements mentioned, if you are on prescription medication of any kind, check with your local pharmacist for contraindications.

Probiotics: a healthy gut is a key to a healthy immune system; inside the gut is it's own set of emotions which affects the rest of our body when it's gets off balance, providing healthy bacterial strains with a high quality probiotic encourage balance; FYI- acidophilus is not enough, look for a multi strain probiotic containing at least acidophilus, bifidus, bulgaricus, plantaris, and saccharomyces boulardii.

Enzymes: extremely important little protein catalysts to the body functioning properly, the digestive function alone is crucial. Enzymes are needed by the entire body though, so their use therapeutically, which will be in an up coming blog post, is extremely helpful to proper body function.

Fermented Cod Liver Oil: cod liver oil that has been through the fermentation process has kept all of its nutritional factors in tact unlike distillation methods used on most fish oils,. FCLO provides healthy omega 3 fatty acids which are integral to the brain working as it should. Studies have shown that higher levels of omega 3 fatty acids have been extremely useful in those experiencing depression and anxiety. (

Chia Seeds: there are 2140mg of omega 3 fatty acids in one TBSP of these wonderful little seeds. They do not need to be ground to absorb nutrients like flax seeds. Chia are also a super source of fiber and calcium. They give fantastic energy. Great in smoothies or on salads or GF oats. I take 1 1/2 TBSP in a mason jar of water with 2 drops of grapefruit essential oil and 2 drops of organic stevia.

Raw Unpasteurized Apple Cider Vinegar: only beneficial when unpasteurized, great way to boost the immune system, naturally cleanse the body, balance pH by supporting proper amount of stomach acid, and burn fat. Do a healthy sized splash in your water daily.

Coconut Oil: in it's unrefined organic form it will nourish the body with healthy fat, combat unhealthy bacteria, and detoxify poisons. I take 2 TBSP a day. Eat it solid, liquid-melt it (not in the microwave) in a glass jar in a pot of boiled water, spread it of GF toast, on an organic baked sweet or russet potato, or in a smoothie.

B3: another name for Niacin; research has shown higher dosages of Niacin has been extremely help in correcting nutritional deficiencies contributing to depression.(

B12: many ailments spoken about today can be contributed to a deficiency in B12. It's an extremely important vitamin and allows the body to function properly. Make sure it is in Methylcobolamin form only and if you purchase it over the counter you get it in sublingual or patch form only. You will not absorb it in a multi vitamin or B complex that go through the digestive tract. (

D3: more of a hormone than a vitamin, it's integral to the brain and hormonally based systems in the body operating as they should; best gotten from the sun although difficult to attain for many reasons; ALWAYS supplement it unless you live below the state of Georgia, and are outside between 12pm-3pm daily; read Dr. Mercola's dosage recommendations. (

Magnesium: a tremendously important mineral, helps operate the nervous system, can only be attained by plant foods, most people are deficient in the USA, best taken in topically when supplementing; I make and sell a magnesium chloride spray; aluminum depletes magnesium, as does a lack of D3 , and TOO MUCH calcium. (

Tulsi (Holy Basil): Ayurvedic herb that is in a class called adaptagenic; allows body to deal with stress while enhancing the immune system.

Ashwaganda: another Ayurvedic adapatgenic herb; works well with Holy Basil to teach the body how to cope with emotional, physical, mental, and environmental stress.

Turmeric: a great root vegetable used in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries is a natural all over anti-inflammatory. This allows the body to fight the heart of all illness: inflammation. Eat the organic culinary spice often or the root. Take a high quality organic supplement with a high ratio of curcumin. It's the anti-oxidant in turmeric that gives it the anti-inflammatory action. 

Essential Oils: amazing tools, often over looked, misunderstood, or misused. Essential oils are not some new concept under the sun, but it is only in the last 5-6 years that they are gaining credibility in the USA. Do be sure to know who you are buying from when it comes to essential oils. I only use  Young Living. To be safe , if you are new to essential oils, they should always be used with a carrier oil applied topically. A carrier oil, simply a fatty based oil, that is not aromatic, to blend it with because some essential oils cause a tingling warm feeling that can be uncomfortable. My favorite carriers are organic unrefined coconut oil and avocado oil. Rub essential oils on daily. Citrus oils in particular help supporting a positive mood. Lavender, frankincense, rose, and vetiver are wonderful choices.  Lemongrass for some can provide very positive endocrine system  support. Apply these around the front of neck, chest, and shoulders.  To help encourage a healthy digestive system applying on the bottoms of the feet and the abdomen/stomach area use ginger and fennel. Inhalation is wonderful way to use them. One drop rubbed into your palms then cupped up to face to breathe in deeply is delightful. Also consider purchasing a high quality diffuser. Good ones run $75-$150. You can purchase them here.

We were made to move! Don't skip it! Sedentary bodies do not provide nourishing environments. Motion, movement, and building of muscle detoxifies the body. We must sweat! Never wear anti-perspirants. They clog the lymphatic system. 

We need the release of healthy endorphins, the hormones that say to our body, "Hey, we're doing pretty good!"

Walking is one of the best ways to get the body motivated to do what it should. It is the most natural movement. Try a healthy medium pace for 30 minutes 3-4 times a week. 

In addition employing a high intensity short duration workout is paramount. You will build muscle, especially in your core. The core are the muscles in your abdomen area. These must be strong for a healthy back and posture. I use Dr. Josh Axe's Burst Fit Workout with my clients. It's a 20 minute DVD program 5 days a week. If you travel, take the DVDs with you, or try Natalie Jill Fitness, she has online workouts.

Be aware of skin care products, home cleaning products, air fresheners, and dental products. These all have ingredients that go into the body too. Choose wisdom. Just because it's on the shelf at a store, is FDA approved, or is "doctor recommended" doesn't make it healthy or safe.

Choose clean water. There are all sorts of unsafe chemicals in our water that affect the body's own ecosystem. Reverse osmosis for the whole home is best, but any filter is better. Filters in the fridge, on the faucets, and showers are very beneficial.

I hope this post helps someone. Let me know if you employ any of these tips, and how helpful they are to you. Be healthy, be blessed, and be a good steward! Much love!