Cellular love

free NA love holding hands by Sarah Pflug on burst.shopify.comRomance with and love of a person is a fantastic thing- but it isn’t really about that person. The bubbling of euphoria that pops onto the face as a smile is actually a renewed affection for life and nature and beauty and everything that makes us feel good. To open to love is to open to life.

Each of our 70 trillion cells is a miniature versions of ourself! Every MiniMe-cell does what you do as an organism: eat, breathe, reproduce, excrete, metabolize, react… Might they also feel love?

When you watch one of those videos of adorable dogs and cats on Facebook and your mouth curls into a sweet and melty smile, do you feel that love only in your head, or does your entire body react? Does your chest feel fuller, your eyes brighter, your breathing slower and deeper? (If you’re looking at a picture of Johnny Depp cuddling the cute cat, your breathing may speed up, but this also proves my point.)

Every emotion has a different body-wide feeling. Anger feels different from appreciation. Sorrow feels different from joy. Pensiveness feels different from goofiness. Appreciation feels different from jealousy. Politeness feels different from sassiness. Lust feels different from awe. These sensations come from vibration– the sum total of all the vibrations made by electrons in the atoms in the molecules in the compounds that make up hormones, neurotransmitters, nutrients and enzymes.

When a cell is vibrating with love, its environment is pleasant and work is a song. Even long lines in the grocery store are something to enjoy. The goal of whole-body health is to carry a pure feeling of love at a cellular level. The secret is that your cells listen to you with the deference that Ben gave to Grizzly Adams. If you’re pissed or sad, they will be too, and they won’t work as well.

But when they feel love, your trillions of cells each hum along and work to their highest potential, the sum of which you will enjoy. They will open to life and operate in its rhythm. And when life produces sharps, flats, or cacophonies, those blips will be drowned out by your cells’  perpetual honeymoon.

The only way this works, is if this love is generated by you and for you. When you rely on others to strum you into love’s vibration, your cells won’t carry that new tune for the long-term. Similarly, if you try to be something for someone else, your cells will resist the inauthenticity.

But, just as we aren’t meant to live life alone, we aren’t meant to love alone. We’re meant to connect and have a partner, family, friends, and pets. If the people in your life have a hippie-like commune of love-vibing cells, it’ll be easier for your cells to catch the rhythm and accompany with their own best melody.

Family is also an excellent potential source for calibration-to-love, but not everyone is lucky enough to have this resource. No need to avoid your family if their cells aren’t honeymooning, just try not to add their songs to your playlist.

So, for the sakes of your trillions of cells, feel love. Love doesn’t have to be cheesy. Start by sitting quietly and feeling your heart beating and all the pulses in your body reacting to its electrical signals. That there is love. Soak it up and know that you have trillions of voices inside you saying “we love what’s happening and what we do… and we are you!”

Image by Sarah Pflug @ burst.shopify.com/photos/close-up-on-couple-hands

Top 5 reasons to try going gluten-free

free NA gluten baguette with stop signEveryone’s talking about gluten… but do you really know what it is? Quickie definition: it’s the main protein in wheat and it can really hurt some people. But wait. We’ve been eating wheat for thousands of years… if it were so bad, why hasn’t it killed us by now?! Plus wheat is delicious! Why on Earth would someone want to stop eating wheat? Well, I’ll give you five reasons!

1) Wheat is no longer wheat.  Yep. That’s what I said! Back in the 60s, scientists tinkered with wheat in a lab and created 30,000 different varieties of the plant. They were aiming to create a version that grew faster and taller so they could help solve world hunger. They succeeded but the plant they “made” would DIE without human intervention… how natural is that?

2) Wheat spikes the blood sugar. Wheat has quite a high Glycemic Index, which is a measurement of how much sugar is in the blood after eating a food. When blood sugar spikes ver high, it invariably crashes super low, which causes hunger & cravings… then, your brain thinks you’re dying! It directs you in a desperate and intense manner towards foods that spike the blood sugar… and that navigates you right into the jaws of wheat. This cycle of you and wheat jawing each other continues every 2 hours throughout the whole day.

3) Wheat causes inflammation. Inflammation is the cause of nearly every chronic disease, plus it makes all other conditions worse. Many things can cause inflammation, but wheat is way up there because A) the body isn’t yet well acquainted with its brand spankin’ new proteins (thank you, scientists), and B) blood sugar spikes are inflammatory because sugar molecules are like little balls of sandpaper. Even if wheat is not the sole cause of inflammation, it is likely a major contributing factor.

4) Wheat causes weight gain. Wheat triggers inflammation and when the body is inflamed, it switches to Danger Mode. The body thinks it’s starving or injured so it would never dream of releasing weight! What if it needs that stuff to survive!?! It not only holds onto the fat it already has, it makes more fat in a new place: around the belly. And guess what! This fat (called visceral adiposity) churns out inflammatory chemicals & estrogen. That is not good. As if that’s not enough, as mentioned, wheat causes intense hunger & cravings every 2 hours. That also does not help.

5) Wheat can cause Leaky Gut. There was a while there when doctors said Leaky Gut didn’t exist… but they’ve come around and it’s now a widely-accepted situation. Leaky Gut is just what it sounds like: the Food Tube gets leaky and allows things like food chunks, bacteria and toxins to get into the bloodstream. When undigested gluten gets in, the immune system attacks it viciously! At the least, there’s collateral damage from the battle, but worse case scenario is autoimmune disease (such as celiac disease, ulcerative colitis, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, type I diabetes and many, many more).

6) Bonus reason: Going gluten-free is mad sexy. I mean it is to some, but likely clocks in below nice, smart & a tight… sense of humor.

The Big Picture here is this: Modern Wheat has not been around for that long. The Wheat Game has changed and our bodies haven’t yet learned the New Rules! This means your 70 trillion cells are not getting the raw materials they’ve come to expect and thus can’t work to their full potential… and that means that you, as a walking neighborhood of collaborating cells and bacteria, can’t work to your full potential. Going gluten-free, even just for a 2-week experiment, gives you a glimpse of what you’re truly capable of… and believe me, it’s a whole heck of a lot.

If you want more explanation about the whats, hows and whys of going gluten-free, please check out my online classes, Get Out of the Gluten Glut. They feature strong visuals, fun animations and accessible metaphors. The classes are also very “easily digestible”, as each is split into 12 or more lectures, most of which are only 2-5 minutes long. If you sign up for these classes, please tell me what you think because I want to know!

Pass the sugar, Sugar!

UnknownSweet things are good. Nicknames like “sweetie pie” and “sugar” have more than positive connotations. But, the tables turn when we’re talking about food & nutrition.

Humans have primal impulses to seek out foods that are sweet because they were harder to find in Nature. Really, what were the choices? Berries, honey & sugar cane. When we found those sources of pure energy, our brains rewarded us with dopamine, the pleasure chemical, so that we’d do that sugar thing again.

Fast-forward to today when we have Ho-Hos and Skittles and Twizzlers and tubs of icing and bags of actual straight-up sugar right around the corner in a store that’s open 24/7… but despite that, we STILL have the primal urge to seek it!

Let’s get philosophical for a moment. Food is not just about nourishing the body. It nourishes the soul, creates bonds and externalizes celebration. Sweetness is also a metaphor & symbolizes the “sweetness of life”. Sometimes it’s hard to find sweetness inside, so bringing it in from the outside is a close, though fleeting, second.

Many people who contemplate reducing their sugar intake (similar to perusing the gluten-free aisles) have an emotional response that screams “NO! Don’t take my sweetness away!” But, that despair is not real. It is a distraction created by your brain because it thinks you really can’t survive without sugar. Your poor, deluded, beautiful amazing, behind-the-times brain.

When you do decide to give a low-sugar diet a try, pat your brain gently and say to it, “Sweetie, just trust me for a little while and you’ll feel better than you’ve ever thought you could.” It probably won’t listen to you.

Then, try this: read to it. Specifically, read your brain this well-written, “fact-ion”-packed book by Margaret Wertheim, MS RDBreaking the Sugar Habit: Practical Ways to Cut the Sugar, Lose the Weight, and Regain Your Health. She’ll tell your brain directly and politely why lots of sugar isn’t helping your brain (or any other part of your body) + how to reduce the sugar in your life while retaining some safe sweetness.

Cell phones are a detriment to sleep

Sleep is more important than good nutrition. That’s a weird thing for a dietitian to say, but it’s true.

We detoxify & organize our memories during sleep. One poor night of sleep can make your body act pre-diabetic. Cutting-edge neurobiology teaches us that during sleep, cleansing spinal fluid is released from little compartments in the brain to give your brainy bits a little bath.

Many things get in the way of sleep, but this study highlights one of the most modern and pervasive: technology.

Research: Using a Smartphone After 9 pm Leaves Workers Disengaged

Here are the main points:

  • A well-rested employee is a better employee (supported by extensive research: insufficient sleep has been linked to more unethical behavior at workcyberloafing, andwork injuries, and less organizational citizenship behavior).
  • Smartphones are almost perfectly designed to disrupt sleep: keep us mentally engaged with work late into the evening & make it harder to psychologically detach from the most pressing cares of the day so that we can relax and fall asleep
  • Hypothesis of study (which was proven correct): a greater number of minutes spent using smartphones after 9pm would more negatively affect sleep; that this in turn would leave people feeling tired in the morning; and that, as a result, they would be less engaged at work the next day.
  • Smartphones (and laptops) expose us to blue light– even small amounts inhibit the sleep-promoting chemical melatonin.
  • Solution: have management-defined “predictable time off” during which emails/updates are not sent. OR have defined expectations of when employees are expected to respond (ex. email comes in at 10pm, but it’s okay to wait until 9am to respond)

If you HAVE to use your phone after 9pm, try f.lux. It’s an app for your computer (PC & Mac) & iPhone/iPad that dims the light it emits after a certain time (specified by you). This prevents the “blue light” wavelengths from stalling out your production of melatonin.

Nighty night!

Americans eat poison that’s banned in other countries

The familiarity of your Grocery Store Landscape can make you think it’s a reasonable representation of “food”… but if you live in the USA, that’s not necessarily the case. Let’s put our food in perspective.

Would you like to globalize your perspective on “normal food”? Let’s take a look at 8 foods that are common here, but are banned in other countries:

1) Artificial Food Dye (aka “post-Froot-Loop milk”: Found all over the place (cake mixes, sports drinks, cheese, candy, packaged mac & cheese), dyes are linked to brain cancer, nerve-cell deterioration, and hyperactivity in children. {Banned in Norway, Finland, Austria, France, and the U.K.}

2) Olestra (aka. Olean, aka. “fat substitute that can cause anal leakage”!): Found in fat-free versions of potato chips & french fries, Olestra prevents your body from absorbing nutrients and, in excess, can cause a bathroom-bound water slide. {Banned in the U.K. and Canada.}

3) Brominated vegetable oil: Found in brightly-colored beverages (because it causes food dye to stay dispersed in liquid), bromine is a flame retardant linked to organ system damage, birth defects, growth problems, schizophrenia, and hearing loss. {Banned in >100 countries.}

4) Potassium bromate (aka. bromated flour): Found in bread products, like wraps, rolls, bread crumbs, bagel chips, flat breads, bromated flour decreases baking time and reduces costs, but may cause kidney damage, cancer, and nervous system damage. {Banned in Europe, Canada, and China.}

5) Azodicarbonamide (aka. chemical used to bleach flour and plastic): Found in breads, frozen dinners, boxed pasta mixes, and packaged baked goods, azodicarbonamide can induce asthma. {Banned in Australia, the U.K., and most European countries.}

6) BHA & BHT: Found in cereal, nut mixes, gum, butter, meat & dehydrated potatoes, these preservatives are known to cause cancer in rats. {Banned in the U.K., Japan, and many other European countries.}

7) Synthetic growth hormones, rBGH & rBST (aka. growth hormones injected into cows so their bodies think they’re pregnant and will produce milk): Found in dairy products, rBGH & rBST potentially cause infertility, weakened muscle growth, and a whole array of cancers. {Banned in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Japan, and the EU.}

8) Arsenic (aka. straight up poison!): Found in industrial poultry (added to chicken feed to make meat appear pinker and fresher), arsenic is linked to… death if you ingest enough. Plus, think about the health of the chicken that you’re eating… {Banned in the EU.}


Do you pathologize yourself?

free NA confused worry http-::www.clker.com:clipart-confused-man.htmlThe label of a health-related diagnosis is like a tattoo on your subconscious mind. But it’s not who you are.

If you’re dubbed a “Diabetic”, or “Heart Patient”, or “Obese”, or even “Schizophrenic”, is that different than being called a “person who has Diabetes“? You betcha.

Just as you’re not “John’s wife”, “Patricia’s husband”, “Albert’s husband” or ” “Natalie’s mom” (you are you!), you are not your condition.

The condition you’re managing is happening in a snapshot of time, which happens to be now. It likely wasn’t always there, and it doesn’t always have to be there either. Something triggered it and your body responded to keep you going. If you identify & remove the trigger, your body will adapt again!

The longer a condition has been activated, the longer the physical changes will take as your body regains its balance. But the most important first step is to adjust your perspective so the condition does not intrude on your identity.

If you often tell people about your condition, consider stopping that. Tell them something else that has to do with who you are deeper down inside (You play the cello? You taught your dog how to use the toilet? You’ve finished each crossword puzzle for the last month?).

If you do mention your condition, you might try phrase it a bit differently (maybe practicing in the mirror first?) For example, “I’m currently managing diabetes” (take care not to say “my diabetes“). Or, “My body is holding on to some extra weight” (not “I am obese” because that’s not who you are).

After this initial step of changing your perspective, you may feel motivated to seek some help in finding the root cause and learning how you can remove it and rebalance your loyal and hard-working body. Consider consulting a qualified healthcare practitioner, like me at BuzzNutrition.

Kids’ Night in Downtown Staunton!

Last night at Kids’ Night, I had the pleasure of edutaining (educating & entertaining) a constant stream of bright-eyed, curious, enthusiastic and well-mannered kids!


My table at 16 West Beverly, home of Virtually Sisters, was eventually covered with dirt because of the kids who wanted to hold a worm… Using a lesson thought up by Pat, the creator of this summer’s nutrition education series at the Boys & Girls Club, I showed the kids a picture of the components of a cheeseburger and we worked backwards to the source of the ingredients. Guess what…{Spoiler alert}… it’s worms! 

After the kids learned that there’d be no food without worms, I figured they’d want to thank some. (One little girl even took 2 of them home to put in her garden!) So before I left for the event, I plucked a few willing participants out of my worm compost bin. (At Staunton’s newest shop, Harmony Moon on New Street, Sally had a demonstration with live bees, another insect that we rely on to pollinate our food.)

The kids also played a game of Tic Tac Toe, in which they had to guess a fruit or veggie by touch only (quite a challenge!) All the kids, and even many of the parents had a great time testing out their produce-sensing abilities.

I was very impressed by the kids. Staunton has some good eaters who, very surprisingly, love broccoli!


Let’s Talk Thyroid

ImageLet’s Talk Thyroid 

Have you ever pondered your thyroid? From its perch at the front of your throat, this butterfly-lookin’ endocrine gland monitors your body’s metabolism, aka how every single cell creates & uses energy. 

Metabolism is often thought of along with weight loss, but it’s also important in temperature regulation, growth/development, immune regulation and digestion… pretty much anything that requires energy, which is everything. 

Wow. That’s quite a responsibility.

Luckily, the thyroid doesn’t work alone. It’s intimately connected to your adrenal glands, digestive system and various brainy bits. When one member of the team falters, the others must pick up the slack. And over time, all the teammates can get tired and peter out.

While there are at least 5 reasons why the thyroid can peter out, most doctors only test for one lab value that doesn’t give the whole story. Thyroid health responds well to nutritional changes (especially going gluten-free), but it’s imperative to dig for & treat the root cause. The root cause determines the best treatment, and determines which common treatments could actually be harmful! 

Here’s list of some common signs & symptoms of thyroid dysfunction:

  • Cold hands/feet
  • Poor eyebrow growth (outer third is thin)
  • Swelling under eyes, or of eyelids
  • Hoarse voice
  • Fatigue
  • Hair loss (especially around the face)
  • Brittle nails
  • Cold intolerance
  • Constipation
  • Depression
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Dry skin
  • Elevated cholesterol
  • Hypertension
  • Fatigue
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Poor memory
  • Infertility
  • Irritability
  • Low blood pressure
  • Menstrual irregularities
  • Muscle cramps
  • Muscle weakness
  • Nervousness
  • Slower heartbeat
  • Throat pain
  • Weight gain

Go ahead. Lovingly pat the front of your neck. Tell your thyroid you’ve got its back. You appreciate it and will do your best to give it what it needs. Give me a call if you need help with figure out what that is!

Questions from Clients: To Salt Or Not To Salt!

Each month I address a client’s burning nutrition question. July’s came from Luise (I just forgot to post it in my blog):

“Dear BuzzNutrition, What is the difference between Sea Salt and Kosher Salt?”

Thanks for the question, Luise! First of all, I’m glad you’re using salt. There’s a lot of fear around salt and its potential to raise blood pressure but the story is much more complicated than that. Plain table salt has one ingredient: sodium chloride. The human body thrives when it has an abundance of well-balanced minerals, but runs into trouble when one of those minerals dominates. When sodium dominates, balance is disrupted and there’s not enough of other minerals, like magnesium, potassium and calcium for the body to get its millions of jobs done. It’s more likely that this mineral imbalance contributes to high blood pressure, not salt itself.

So, to your question! While table salt is mined from underground salt mines and sea salt comes from evaporated sea water, kosher salt can come from either source. Another difference is that table salt contains a small amount of calcium silicate to prevent clumping, while kosher and sea salt have no preservatives. Kosher salt that comes from sea water differs from sea salt in that it’s gone through the koshering process (a requirement for some religions that has no effect on nutritional value). In summary, any salt that comes from sea water offers a more well-rounded group of minerals and no preservatives. The best sea salts are any color other than white and are slightly wet. Two good brands are Real Salt and Selina Celtic Sea Salt. 

A few gluten-free recipes for holiday desserts

ImageIf you’re trying to avoid gluten but also want to go to a holiday party, you might feel stuck. In order to avoid feeling left out, bring your own gluten-free deliciousness!