Are you a shower or a grower?

Do you see life as a chance to grow or to show?

If you’re honest, the answer is “can’t it be both?” But one answer likely dominates.

If you’re a grower, you see life as presenting you chances to learn and develop into a more mature, happy human. This makes sense because you are a work in progress. You have potential and are not limited by the way you were as a child, a teenager or even yesterday. A success in your life is a chance to smile and congratulate all involved. A failure hurts but you’re resilient and persevere. It’s a wake-up call! You’re motivated to improve and to do better next time. This is all possible because you can trade in any cards you’ve been dealt.

If you’re a shower, your em oh is to demonstrate what you know and that you’re a very accomplished, socially limber, <more adjectives>, capable person. This is logical because you were born with what you got and it’s up to you to make the best of it. Every success is a chance to hone your set of skills and prove that, whatever you were dealt, you’re absolutely killin it. You’re worthy of all the good things in your life and everything is justified. But… a failure… oh, a failure is shameful. It feels best to blame other people to distract from your indelible flaws. Failure makes you exposed, vulnerable and lame, the kind of person who will and should get left behind and eaten by wolves.

In one world, effort is a bad thing. It, like failure, means you’re not smart or talented. If you were, you wouldn’t need effort. In the other world, effort is what makes you smart or talented.

In a Brainpickings article, Carol Dweck identifies two ends of the mindset spectrum: fixed and growth.

Fixed = I am what I am. I’m fixed. My qualities are written in stone. My talents & capabilities hang from me like shingles… they’re how I display to others who I am and what I can do. When I’m born, my personality and talents are brand new. As I age, they deteriorate, warp and rot. I might change, but it’s just to compensate for things that happen to me… I don’t really ever change… not really. “Risk and effort are potential giveaways of” my inadequacies. Failure means I am a piece of shit. I can only love someone who will both ignore and compensate for my faults… and basically worship me. If we have a misunderstanding, it’s a sign that we’re not meant to be together.

Growth = I am always changing. I have potential. The grandiose “I can do anything” is a sham… the truth is I define my own destiny and can change it at any time. My talents and capabilities define me, but only in one moment in time, and only in the context of my entire experience. I change all the time in response to so many opportunities I’m given to learn– strangers, family, friends, my dog… everyone is helping me. One unsuccessful effort does not invalidate me as a quality human… it actually makes me better. I catapult towards my potential… it’s hard work, but why would I aim for anything else? I can only love someone who will help me improve on my faults as compassionately as I help them improve on theirs. When conflicts arise, we’ll talk about them and our bond will be even stronger.

The view you adopt for yourself profoundly affects the way you lead your life. It can determine whether you become the person you want to be and whether you accomplish the things you value.” ~Carol Dweck, Stanford psychologist and author of Mindset: The New Psychology of Success.

If you’re a shower but wish you were a grower, don’t worry. You can change! It will be scary, but worth it.  All you need to do is change your definitions of success and failure…. and you’ll also likely need to find new friends…

Having a forward-focused, positive mindset (being a grower) is healthy. The opposite (a shower) is not. A grower’s mind is like a healthy digestive system. It metabolizes thoughts and experiences, extracts what’s good and evacuates what’s bad, then flushes. A shower’s mind is constipated. It holds on to shit for too long until it overflows all over everyone else.

More in this BrainPickings article.

Highlights of the article (all modified quotes):

  • A mindset is an interpretative process that tells us what is going on around us. In the fixed mindset, that process is scored by an internal monologue of constant judging and evaluation, using every piece of information as evidence either for or against such assessments as whether you’re a good person, whether your partner is selfish, or whether you are better than the person next to you. In a growth mindset, on the other hand, the internal monologue is not one of judgment but one of voracious appetite for learning, constantly seeking out the kind of input that you can metabolize into learning and constructive action.
  • One of the most basic beliefs we carry about ourselves has to do with how we view and inhabit what we consider to be our personality.
  • A “fixed mindset” assumes that our character, intelligence, and creative ability are static givens which we can’t change in any meaningful way, and success is the affirmation of that inherent intelligence, an assessment of how those givens measure up against an equally fixed standard; striving for success and avoiding failure at all costs become a way of maintaining the sense of being smart or skilled.
  • A “growth mindset” thrives on challenge and sees failure not as evidence of unintelligence but as a heartening springboard for growth and for stretching our existing abilities.
  • Out of these two mindsets, which we manifest from a very early age, springs a great deal of our behavior, our relationship with success and failure in both professional and personal contexts, and ultimately our capacity for happiness.
  • Believing that your qualities are carved in stone — the fixed mindset— creates an urgency to prove yourself over and over. If you have only a certain amount of intelligence, a certain personality, and a certain moral character — well, then you’d better prove that you have a healthy dose of them. It simply wouldn’t do to look or feel deficient in these most basic characteristics.
  • Every situation calls for a confirmation of their intelligence, personality, or character. Every situation is evaluated: Will I succeed or fail? Will I look smart or dumb? Will I be accepted or rejected? Will I feel like a winner or a loser? . . .
  • In the “growth” mindset, the hand you’re dealt is just the starting point for development. It’s based on the belief that your basic qualities are things you can cultivate through your efforts. Although people may differ in every which way — in their initial talents and aptitudes, interests, or temperaments — everyone can change and grow through application and experience.
  • No, but they believe that a person’s true potential is unknown (and unknowable); that it’s impossible to foresee what can be accomplished with years of passion, toil, and training.
  • creates a passion for learning rather than a hunger for approval. Its hallmark is the conviction that human qualities like intelligence and creativity, and even relational capacities like love and friendship, can be cultivated through effort and deliberate practice. Not only are people with this mindset not discouraged by failure, but they don’t actually see themselves as failing in those situations — they see themselves as learning.
  • The mindsets change what people strive for and what they see as success. . . they change the definition, significance, and impact of failure. . . they change the deepest meaning of effort.
  • These mindsets form very early in life. In one seminal study, Dweck and her colleagues offered four-year-olds a choice: They could either redo an easy jigsaw puzzle, or try a harder one. Even these young children conformed to the characteristics of one of the two mindsets — those with “fixed” mentality stayed on the safe side, choosing the easier puzzles that would affirm their existing ability, articulating to the researchers their belief that smart kids don’t make mistakes; those with the “growth” mindset thought it an odd choice to begin with, perplexed why anyone would want to do the same puzzle over and over if they aren’t learning anything new. In other words, the fixed-mindset kids wanted to make sure they succeeded in order to seem smart, whereas the growth-mindset ones wanted to stretch themselves, for their definition of success was about becoming smarter.
  • In another experiment, after having their brains scanned, those with a fixed mindset were only interested in hearing feedback that reflected directly on their present ability, but tuned out information that could help them learn and improve. They even showed no interest in hearing the right answer when they had gotten a question wrong, because they had already filed it away in the failure category. Those with a growth mindset, on the other hand, were keenly attentive to information that could help them expand their existing knowledge and skill, regardless of whether they’d gotten the question right or wrong — in other words, their priority was learning, not the binary trap of success and failure.
  • Growth mindset: “personal success is when you work your hardest to become your best.” Fixed mindset: “success is about establishing their superiority, pure and simple. Being that somebody who is worthier than the nobodies.” For the latter, setbacks are a sentence and a label. For the former, they’re motivating, informative input — a wakeup call.
  • And how does this apply to love? Those with a fixed mindset believed their ideal mate would put them on a pedestal and make them feel perfect, like “the god of a one-person religion,” whereas those with the growth mindset preferred a partner who would recognize their faults and lovingly help improve them, someone who would encourage them to learn new things and became a better person. The fixed mindset, it turns out, is at the root of many of our most toxic cultural myths about “true love.”

Tools for analysis of 23andme genetic info

What do your genes say about you!?

You can find out by running the 23andme test.* And once you do, there are so many tools to help you analyze your genetic info and make the most of your results. *Full disclosure: that link includes a referral code that gives me a tiny kickback.

With my clients, I focus on the genetic info that describes your body’s ability to methylate (MTHFR) and detoxify. But there are so many other relevant topics, such as locating relatives/ancestors for family trees, mapping your genome, locating all the research on a particular gene and more.

Here are three tools to start with. They’ll provide general info, specific nutrition/supplementation insight and athletic profiling:

Please remember: Genetic info is not the be all end all when it comes to disease risk… the study of Epigenetics (as well as common sense) proves that your environment** acts upon your genetics and ultimately has the greatest impact on your health. You can feel empowered by that! **Environment = air, food, microbes, relationships, emotions and more.

  1. PureGenomics offers an analysis of a few key genes that affect methylation,  detox, mental health & cognition, weight management and nutrient metabolism.
    • Unfortunately, they don’t just give this info away– It is free, but someone deemed to be a “practitioner” needs to set up an account for you. I will happily get you access for a small fee to cover my time (fee = whatever you choose to give).  Please see below for how to get this done.
    • The site will provide you with 2 resources (please scroll to the bottom of this post for images of some samples): “Personalized Table,” which lists Pure Encapsulations supplements that might benefit you, and “Personalized Graph,” which indicate which part of various pathways may be affected by your unique genetic makeup. Find these at the top, under “My Results.”
    • The site also provides a list of which PureEncapsulations products their research deems best for each of your SNPs. Unfortunately, you can’t generate this report– it can only be done by the practitioner who created your account.
    • Here’s what to do if you would like me create a PureGenomics account for you:
      1. Send me a few crumbs (say 5 bucks?… whatever works for you) via PayPal or Venmo. Please mention PureGenomics and include your email address.
      2. I’ll create your account as soon as I can & email a confirmation.
      3. You’ll get an email from PureGenomics with instructions. You can either upload your 23andme data by providing your login info or uploading the raw data directly. (*To access your 23andme raw data, find instructions here.)
      4. Once you upload your 23andme data, I’ll be notified by the PureGenomics site. At that point, I’ll generate your supplement report and email it to you. I can only do this if you allow me to view your results. Please see disclaimer below.
      5. **Implicit in your request for the PureGenomics supplement recommendations is an understanding that I’ll be able to see your data. (If you allow it, I will only have access to the info produced by PureGenomics, which is a mere subset of your 23andme data). I won’t look at your data. I’ll download the analysis, email it to you and then delete both the file and the email. I care a whole heck of a lot about your privacy! After you get my email, feel free to hide your data from me by going to Account –> My Account, then unchecking the box at the very top, next to “Allow my practitioner, Anne Buzzelli to view my results.”
    • If you want to order any of the products from the recommendation, I’m happy to be able to help you get a 15% discount at my online dispensaries! (Transparency alert: I get a small kickback on purchases, so it’s a win-win… Plus, unfortunately, you can trust these sites, unlike the discounted vendors on Amazon and eBay.)
  2. Athletigen provides insight about your ideal forms of exercise. This includes things like endurance, muscle type and recovery time. *Please see the comment from Athletigen below for updated information.*

If you want to dig a little deeper, check these out:

  • **To access your 23andme raw data, find instructions here.
  • GeneticGenie provides you with both a Methylation Analysis and a Detox Profile. The former will indicate whether you need to tweak your diet and supplementation (especially to make sure you’re taking the correct forms of folate and B12). The latter will help you understand how well your body can detoxify (this output is much less helpful than the methylation analysis).
  • Promethease creates a report for $5. It’s a mess of data, but I don’t recommend it unless you’re planning to dig deep.
  • Livewello offers a comprehensive look at the relationship between your genetics and physical traits & disease risk (all for $19.95).
  • offers “tools to help you explore your individual 1600-3000 page report: modern search, over 2000 topics, major categories, filters, favorites, social genomics.” Includes “Psychological traits such as resilience, stress response, empathy, etc.”
  • NutraHacker has some free features: “After a short 29 question anonymous survey that contributes to research, receive a FREE detoxification and methylation analysis (examining 49 SNPs) that will help clarify your nutritional needs. You also receive a FREE placebo tendency analysis report.” Full report is $23 and includes all future updates.
  • offers a good cause & some great visuals. It is “a citizen science experiment to help people lose weight, feel better, and live longer. By bringing together the right data we can understand the interactions between genetics and lifestyle for the good of science! Our tools give you an overview of the genetic risk profile of several diseases, and match you with open-access literature written about specific genetic variants.”
  • offers a free genome report, but to download it you have to hand over $40.
  • allows you to “find users with similar DNA and share the experience.”

Even MORE tools can be found at these links:

If you find anything cool (like a long-lost relative living down the hall in your apartment building) or another tool (that identifies alien DNA or designs specific fashion that best suits your genes), please let me know pronto!


The following are sample reports from the PureGenomics analysis mentioned above:

Personalized Report (this is just a snippet):Screen Shot 2017-09-12 at 2.35.39 PM

Personalized Diagrams (2 of many):

Screen Shot 2017-09-12 at 2.37.55 PMScreen Shot 2017-09-12 at 2.37.38 PM






Supplement report FireShot Capture 1 - Select SNPs_ - https___puregenomics.com_escript_selectsnps.aspx

3 things a chronically ill person might want you to know

Do you know anyone with a chronic illness? You may without knowing it. Many people with a stubborn health condition might seem “normal,” but that’s only because you’re seeing them on a good day. They  may be expending all their energy to function normally and, after you say your farewells, may be headed home for a long nap. And after they park in their driveway, it might take them ten minutes to conjure the energy to get inside. (Chronic illness may include  chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, lyme disease, flaring autoimmune issues, thyroid disorders or many other long-term, highly-taxing conditions that haven’t yet been graced with a name and convenient code for insurance purposes.)

This list from Psychology Today of “3 Things the Chronically Ill Wish Their Loved Ones Knew” seems quite accurate. #4 is my addition.

…But first there should be a field-leveling perception adjuster: Everyone has bad days that can be characterized as exhausting. But if you’re relatively healthy, your experience of “worn treads” might be a good day for someone who’s not feeling well. You probably cannot relate to someone with chronic illness… and to compare your tired times to theirs is downright dismissive.

1) “The grief we feel over the life we’ve lost may re-emerge now and then…indefinitely.”
2) “We can feel as if we’re letting you down even though you’ve repeatedly told us that we’re not.”
3) “Being chronically ill can be embarrassing.”
4) “We may assume we’re not quite good enough in general and that other parts of our lives will fail, chronically.”

Many causes of chronic illness are missed by traditional healthcare providers. Nutrition and neurofeedback are two approaches offered at BuzzNutrition that can have huge impacts on both the body and mind. Acupuncture and massage are two other modalities to consider.

Source: 3 Things the Chronically Ill Wish Their Loved Ones Knew

Power Poses (for 2 min/day) May Change Your Biochemistry!

Quick version:

Holding “Power Poses” (making your body appear big) can change your biochemistry making you less stressed and more confident, at ease, assertive, confident, relaxed, risk tolerant, and fearless. More in Amy Cuddy’s TED talk.

Long version:

When my Mom and Sister are in airports or on long road trips, they pass the time by making up stories about fellow passengers as they wait, walk or whiz by. As elaborate as the details of these stories get, they’re all informed by the characters’ body language.

Whether or now we’re conscious of it, we communicate with our postures, stances, hand movements and twitching facial muscles. We all send messages about whether we’re happy or lying or bored or embarrassed that can be imperceptible to all but our subconscious minds.

But what about us? Does our own body language send our own subconscious brains messages? According to Amy Cuddy as shared in a TED talk, the answer is YES!

Cuddy’s research show that holding a “power pose” for 2 minutes a day can change your body chemistry and lower cortisol! “Power poses” include hands on hips, legs open (while remaining a lady if you are one :), arms up and out while talking, arms up with hands crossed behind your head, leg up on a chair… basically stances that make you look big (no growling required).

Don’t worry, as this 2-minute daily exercise will not transform you into a ruthless, cut-throat business person. You will not have an urge to wear heavily-starched shirts.

Holding power poses may simply dissolve away the biochemical curtain that’s keeping you from showing the world who you are. As Cuddy says, “Fake it till you become it!”

Alternatively, holding a “low-power pose” may do the opposite and cause your body to produce chemicals that urge you to hide & protect yourself. Low-power poses make you small: crossing your ankles and/or arms, hunching over, cupping your neck.

Check out the talk for pictures, more explanation and a very inspirational story.

So, why not try it? For 2 minutes every day (after waking, before sleeping, in a bathroom stall, in your office, on the bus!?), stand in your power like Wonder Woman. And if you’re about to go into a job interview or other potentially intimidating situation, take a power stance for 2 minutes just beforehand.

If you try it, please report back about what happened!

More info here:

Cloudy days, clearer thinking and SAD

(Discussion on Daylight Savings here:

It can’t be denied that the state of the sky affects our mood and perception. A clear, blue sky is crisp with contentment, while a cloudy, soupy sky might weigh your mind and your heart. For many who suffer from SAD (Seasonal Affect Disorder), cloudy days have dire consequences.

But the first-rate blog,, recently reported on a new psychological perspective: Cloudy days may actually make us think more clearly!

If that’s true, how lucky it is that our world is a very cloudy one! Almost 70% of the Earth’s sky is typically covered by clouds, especially over the oceans, where it’s only 10% clear at any given time (USAToday).

But don’t move to Seattle, yet… Unfortunately, it also turns out perpetual cloud cover negatively affects both the body and the mind.

The good news is that it looks like there might be a way to get the best of both worlds!

And what a relief that is, because it’s quite “clear” from the satellite photo below, that the USA has got itself some serious cloud cover. Our cloudiest areas are in the Pacific Northwest (Seattle & Portland) and around the Great Lakes (Buffalo, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Rochester, Columbus, Cincinnati, Detroit).

(In case you’re curious, some of the sunniest places are: Phoenix, Las Vegas, Sacramento, Los Angeles, Miami, Denver, Oklahoma City, San Diego and Salt Lake City.)

“Sunshine dulls the mind to risk and thoughtfulness.”

This is a quote from a book by Adam Alter called Drunk Tank Pink: And Other Unexpected Forces That Shape How We Think,  Feel, and Behave. (Source:

Alter describes an experiment in which social psychologists in Sydney, Australia put some trinkets on a store counter (things like plastic toys, Matchbox cars and a piggy bank). As shoppers exited the store, they were asked to recall as many trinkets as they could, then identify the ten trinkets among a list of twenty. The psychologists did this experiment on a variety of different days, and at different times of day, over the course of two months.

What they found, as you might have guessed, was that the shoppers’ trinket recall was better on cloudy days– THREE TIMES better than on sunny days! Can you guess why?

Survival instinct. That’s what most human rationale comes down to, after all. Alter says it best:

“Humans are biologically predisposed to avoid sadness, and they respond to sad moods by seeking opportunities for mood repair and vigilantly protecting themselves against whatever might be making them sad. In contrast, happiness sends a signal that everything is fine, the environment doesn’t pose an imminent threat, and there’s no need to think deeply and carefully.

These contrasting mental approaches explain why the shoppers remembered the ten trinkets more accurately on rainy days; the rainy days induced a generally negative mood state, which the shoppers subconsciously tried to overcome by grazing the environment for information that might have replaced their dampened sad moods with happier alternatives. If you think about it, this approach makes sense. Mood states are all-purpose measurement devices that tell us whether something in the environment needs to be fixed. When we’re facing major emotional hurdles — extreme grief, an injury that brings severe pain, blinding anger — our emotional warning light glows red and compels us to act. For most of the time we sail smoothly through calm waters, allowing much of the world — including small trinkets on a store countertop — to pass by unnoticed.”

*See more discussion in the Brain Picking’s blog post.

Many people write poetry when they’re sad or contemplative, but leave the pages blank when happy and content. Could this be what Alter is talking about? Does a dampened mood prime our perception and creativity for problem-solving emergencies?

The big BUT here is that lack of sunlight has a laundry list of negative effects on the body and mind:

  • Vitamin D deficiency impairs the body’s immune system, bone health and mental/emotional state. (We get vitamin D when sunlight hits the cholesterol underneath our skin.)
    • When D gets thrown off, so do the other fat-soluble vitamins, A, E and K.
  • Light deficiency sets our Circadian Rhythm off-kilter, which hampers the sleep-wake cycle, hormonal waves, brain detoxification and more.
    • Serotonin is turned into melatonin, which makes us fall asleep, when the pineal gland in the brain receives signals about daylight/darkness. Lack of direct sunlight can cause overproduction of melatonin, which dampens the mood, immune system and more.
    • Use of cell phones, iPads, laptops and computer monitors at night adds to this problem because of the particular blue wavelength of light they emit.
    • Fluorescent lights also throw many people off.
  • Both of the above trigger our Stress Response, which directs us to store more energy as fat just in case an emergency is coming.
  • Unfortunately for them, people who work night shifts have given us plenty of evidence of the detrimental effects of light deficiency and internal clock disturbance.

Everyone has different levels of ability to adjust to cloudy weather, but some are just plain out of luck. These people have what is called Seasonal Affect Disorder (SAD), and being sad is the least of their worries. SAD can result in debilitating depression, slow thinking, terrible sleep, anxiety, apathy, loss of libido, and major cravings for carbs which leads to weight gain.

So, obviously, people with SAD would tell those Australian psychologists where they could shove their ten little trinkets!

Now to the good news: When there’s no sun, we can MAKE light! But not all light will do the trick. Our bodies are too smart. For example, fluorescent lights just make matters worse, and those brand-spankin’ new energy efficient spiral bulbs emit mercury and other heavy metals (though Mercola does carry some full-spectrum bulbs that are low-emission)… But, let’s keep looking.

Products called “dawn simulators” could be a good place to start, and could be enough. Like a silent alarm clock, they produce light that slowly gets brighter as it’s time to wake up. As long as the light is full-spectrum, it potentially fools the body into thinking the sun is rising. Here’s a good description of dawn simulators. While this can work for many, really tackling cognitive and mood symptoms might require more.

Light boxes are made specifically for countering cloudy days and SAD. While many emit the wrong frequencies of light, some are more accurate to the specific needs of humans’ eyeballs. A good light box should produce a full-spectrum light, closer to the blue or blue-green spectrum. This site has some good recommendations.

Light boxes work for many people, but you have to sit in front of them for 30+ minutes per day. While that’s a great opportunity to meditate or relax, it’s not necessarily practical for those with busy mornings.

Side note: Do beware of a product from Finland that shines light into your ears through ear buds. It’s not what it’s cracked up to be… the site makes it look amazing, but think about it. Why would we have light receptors in our ear canals? Many of us have hair that covers our ears, and so did our Neanderthal ancestors (except for the Teenderthals who wore the first mohawks). I’m not a scientist, but I know the body is efficient and does not waste resources. Don’t waste your resources on ear light!

Now, enter Re-Timer, a wearable light box! These bad boys emit the correct wavelength of light (into the organ that is made to receive light) and they do not tie you down for 30 minutes a day! As an added bonus, the look very badass… And they’re available through BuzzNutrition at a discount (contact me for specifics).

Who might benefit from Re-Timer, or a high-quality light box?

  • Those with mild “Winter Blues”
  • Those with full-blown Seasonal Affect Disorder (SAD)
  • Those with Insomnia or other Sleep Disturbances (fall asleep to early or too late?)
  • Those who work a Night Shift
  • Those who travel a lot and suffer from Jet Lag
  • Those who want to try to hack their bodies and brains to make them even more efficient and powerful
  • *When using light for a condition, especially bipolar, contact your health practitioner for guidance. There are some specific techniques that may be recommended.

Who should NOT use Re-Timer or a light box?

  • Those with Macular Degeneration.
  • Those who suffer from Porphyria, Lupus, Actinic Dermatitis (seriously sun-damaged skin), or Solar Urticaria (sun makes your skin hurt)
  • Those who take a medication that sensitizes them to light

It is believed that humans evolved in the middle of the globe where it was sunny all the time. We wore our bikinis and speedos and got plenty of sun on our skin. Then, in efforts to follow food, escape natural disasters, flee predators, or after a crazy night of drinking, we found ourselves flung all over the globe where weather was much different. But luckily we’re smart and can adapt with homemade light!

Maybe there are parts of the world where humans simply should not live (like Las Vegas). Maybe your personal ideal would be to move to a sunnier place. But, what if you can’t leave? What if your family, friends, community and job are in a cloudy place, but the light they create is brighter than the sun? Then, you can adapt just like your ancestors did, but in today’s age you have the advantage of various brilliant pieces of technology.

Today you can live under clouds and create your own light- the kind of light that your body recognizes and responds to. While enjoying physical and mental health, you can appreciate the added benefit of also thinking more clearly and noticing all the trinkets, advantages and opportunities in your surroundings and encounters.

Flex your gratitude muscle

While we can’t change the world, we can change the way we see it. Practicing gratitude can increase your happiness by 25% (as reported by Robert Emmons, PhD in his book, “Thanks! How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier.”)

The idea is that gratitude is like a muscle: the more you flex it, the stronger it will get! Said another way, as you pay attention to feeling grateful, you’ll notice more and more reasons to feel that way.

Many people think Darwin had it right- that it’s a dog-eat-dog and we’re all wearing milk bone shorts (quote from Norm in Cheers). “Survival of the Fittest” means you have to eat or be eaten. But, Science is starting to come around to the more refined and sophisticated perspective that, while an organism’s ability to survive is obviously important, cooperation seems to be just as crucial.** If organisms can cooperate in their social structures, and with other species, they survival can be enhanced.

Say you’re a vulnerable organism in a pinch and another organism helps you for no apparent reason… Wouldn’t that feel great? It sure would! It would conjure a ton of gratitude, which may then lead you to help another individual… and then that organism would be driven by its gratitude to return the favor and help another being in need. That chain reaction of gratitude could have astounding effects. In my opinion, we’re wired to feel gratitude and value it highly, which causes it to get passed around like a beneficial contagion.

As you watch this video of a child basking in her first rain fall, you’ll likely feel a sense of exuberant gratitude wash over you.

See what I mean!

From another angle, it’s well-known in sales that the most powerful tactic is to make someone feel grateful to you. For example, when a telemarketer says up front: “I value your time so I will be brief,” you might give them an extra millisecond or two of a chance because you feel grateful. Or, a car salesman is the opposite of aggressive and says, “I know you’re probably expecting a hard sell and that can be uncomfortable, but I don’t work that way. Why don’t you tell me how you’d like to talk about this car?” Or, an internet deal reads, “Download this huge recipe book for free, and then let us know what else we can do for you!”

If you’re interested in flexing your gratitude muscle, consider giving this website a go:

Scientific research has shown that doing this simple practice for 30 days significantly impacts feelings of appreciation, positivity and satisfaction.

For more ideas, check out this excellent collection of the 8 Best Gratitude Websites, from


**In this study of algae, which concluded in 2014, researchers showed that Darwin’s was wrong about competition.

  • “The researchers … were so uncomfortable with their results that they spent the next several months trying to disprove their own work. But the research held up.
  • “Darwin was obsessed with competition. He assumed the whole world was composed of species competing with each other, but we found that one-third of the species of algae we studied actually like each other. They don’t grow as well unless you put them with another species. It may be that nature has a heck of a lot more mutualisms than we ever expected.”

Other examples can be seen in symbiotic relationships of all sorts, including a parrot fish that can live in a poisonous anemone, and a bird that cleans the sharp teeth of a alligator. These activities are not purely out of the goodness of the hearts of those involved- they’re mutually beneficial. Symbiosis does not preclude gratitude.

free NA anemone fish sybiosis - George Becker -

Image by George Becker


Your cells work hard

Get to know your body by watching these mind-blowing, awe-inspiring videos… keep in mind, these things are happening RIGHT NOW in YOUR BODY!

1) An immune cell is chasing a bacterium:

2) A kinesin protein is WALKING on a microtubule. This is a simulation, but is complete non-fiction!

3) The previous video is an award-winning excerpt of a simulation commissioned by Harvard and made by XVIVO, called Life of a Cell. It depicts a white blood cell responding to an external stimulus. There are more like it at Harvard’s website.

Curiosity ensures success

This amazing video is the winner of the RSA Student Design Awards, played along with an excerpt from Ian Leslie’s book called Curiosity. See the excerpt in text on the site, where each article is highly satisfying.

As you listen, you might consider what it has to do with nutrition and health… or, read on to see my interpretation.

There is much more to nutrition than chewing and swallowing and growing/healing/maintaining your body. It’s a beautiful spider’s web of interconnected themes, relationships and metaphors. From repair, to love, to metamorphosis, nutrition is a key part of it all. Nutrition operates in the meta, and in the hyper-micro. Your nutrition began when your great-great-greatest grandparents took their first bite of food, was at its peak of importance while you were in your mothers’ womb, is currently shaping the destiny of any children you might have, and will contribute to the nutrition of others after you pass away and go back into the Earth.

The slightest tug on any thread of this web will reward you with a nugget of information that will make you curious. You’ll pull another and another and, as you realize that you are a node in this web– that these threads are a part of you, some looser than others and some more taught. These questions and answers that quickly morph into more questions, are shaping you and pulling you.

As your questions (more than the answers) morph you into an empowered, aware individual, all the things you’ve learned– not just about nutrition, but about race cars, knitting, fire breathing and paperwork– they will begin to congeal. Then, you will want to know more!

This kind of curiosity will help you gather the information you need to be creative- to make connections and create new ones that have never been thought of before. And as your brain tips into the dance between question, answer, connection and new question, you’ll find that’s where creativity blooms. The place a Neurofeedback session can sometimes take you– the hazy place between rational thought and anything-goes– is where sparks ignite bigger questions.

This is important to the achievement of good health (physical, emotional, mental and spiritual) because we are none of us the same. To find your own way to health requires problem-solving, resilience, sense of humor and the curiosity to ask the questions in as many ways as you need to get the answer that will lead you to the next question. This curiosity will make you healthy, and will also be contagious in a way that will cause others to want to know and become healthier themselves.

To sleep, perchance to… cleanse your brain

free NA irrigation - feraugustodesign Sweep Themselves Clean Of Toxins During Sleep

…As if we need another reason to get a good night’s sleep!

This article on, called “Brains sweep themselves clean of toxins during sleep,” discusses the new discovery of channels that cleanse your brain by whooshing out harmful toxins while you snooze.


  • During sleep, cerebral fluid flows through the brain, like a dishwasher, or irrigation in a monoculture field, or a gentle fire hydrant.
  • In mice, the process is “almost like opening and closing a faucet.” During sleep, brain cells shrink to allow more fluid to move through. Then when the mice wake up, brain cells swell back up and the washout ceases. This is likely why the brain doesn’t cleanse itself all the time.
  • There is an association between sleep disorders and brain diseases, including Alzheimer’s. “Beta amyloid concentrations continue to increase while a person is awake, and then after people go to sleep that concentration of beta amyloid decreases.”
  • More details on the study in this article on


  • It’s important to sleep (for detoxification which prolongs the life of brain cells, but also for stable blood sugar, emotions and executive function. See this article on Zengar NeurOptimal’s blog for more info about sleep (this is the company that makes the neurofeedback machine that I use in my practice).
  • Drink water! If you are dehydrated, you will lack the fluid to create enough cerebrospinal fluid to wash out the brain.
  • Get massage. Massage opens up all channels in the body, especially lymph, which is the system that helps remove the toxins that were washed out overnight and keep others from building up and damaging your tissues.

Image: by feraugustodesign

“Eat a Bug” Class

Tonight I had the distinct pleasure of teaching a class through Staunton’s Parks and Recreation called Bite a Bug.  Please read further about it in the Staunton Newsleader article, by Laura Peters.

The title of the class, Bite a Bug, is not a play on words… we ate bugs… Lots of bugs!! Crickets, mealworms, giant water bugs, sago worms, termites, ant eggs and shield beetles. It was a BLAST!

If were to ask you, “Hey, do you regularly eat bugs?” and you said “Nope,” you would be hugely mistaken! We all eat bugs almost every day!

The Food and Drug Administration knows it’s impossible to keep insects out of food, so it maintains “permissible degrees of insect damage and infestation”. These guidelines are more for aesthetic purposes than for health and/or safety. Check out the document, Food Defect Action Levels, unless you have an active imagination or easily-turned stomach.

1978903_818993698216892_8960385181453747651_nEating insects is not terrible!! 

More than 80% of the world’s population eats bugs. And it’s not because they’re weird or have no other food to choose from. In a 2003 report on insects from the FAO (Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations), we learn that locals of NE Thailand eat edible rainforest insects because the bugs are delicious! Not because they have no other choice or because anyone is forcing them.

Insects are highly nutrient dense! They are packed with protein, vitamins and minerals. The amounts depend on the bug and what it ate, but those compact and efficient bodies really do pack a punch.

Insects are a source of sustainable protein! Since they’re exothermic, bugs don’t need to use energy to heat their bodies and all their food can go towards building mass. They have a higher Efficiency of Conversion Index (ECI) and convert vastly more of their feed to meat, as compared to cows, pigs and chickens.

The 2003 FAO report also states that, in 2050, there will be an estimated 9 billion people on Earth. To feed everyone, we will have to double our food supply. That will be extraordinarily difficult, since we’re already using 70% of our agricultural land for livestock production* and the oceans are overfished. Our only choice for protein may be to eat insects!

Lastly, the harvesting of insects is by far more humane than that of any other animal. The usual practice is to slowly chill insects until they die. They basically just fall asleep. This is much nicer than the fear, pain and near-torture that other animals undergo, especially chickens.

In conclusion, don’t be meek, eat an inseect!… But beware:

  • If it’s red or yellow, it can kill a fellow (red and yellow in nature mean poison!)
  • Always cook your insects (cold kills parasites, but not their eggs, and many bugs carry parasites that you don’t want to share).
  • If you’re allergic to seafood, shellfish, dust or chocolate (and the venom of specific insects, like bees and wasps), do not eat bugs.


*Fine print: Many people say that insects are the answer to the horrendous environmental effects imposed by livestock production… I agree with a huge qualification:

  • I do not like CAFOs (concentrated agriculture feeding operations), which is the typical model followed by most mass-producing animal farms. This is definitely to the detriment of the environment, not to mention, a highly unethical way to treat animals.
  • But, other farms, like Polyface Farms and Buffalo Creek Beef (carried by Donald’s Meats) do things differently and have less of an environmental impact. See this blog post for more information.
  • Plus, there was once a figure floating around that said 18% of greenhouse gasses worldwide came from cow farts, but that number has been adjusted to state that all of agriculture contributes to 11%, with cattle representing only a tiny percentage.