Posts Tagged ‘Diet and Health’

Laura Bruno at Monday Night Live!

On Monday, March 9, 2009 I spoke to a packed house at the new Cafe Gratitude in Healdsburg, CA for their Monday Night Live Event, facilitated by Shea Lynn Baird. Her partner, Stephen, MC’d this past Monday and we’ve got a 10-minute YouTube clip (below), or you can view the full hour-long presentation here. If a woman’s making the introduction, it’s not my video. Click on the images/names to the right.

“The Strangest and Most Common Things Seen by a Medical Intuitive” covered B-12 symptoms not widely known; insights into the mind-body-spirit-soul connection; information on autism; the importance of finding your life path; ways of relieving anger; how I embraced raw food, Reiki and Medical Intuitive work; and some observations on miscarriages and fertility. We had a great, well-informed audience at Cafe G! Many Thanks to Shea and Stephen, Cafe Gratitude and all who attended. Again, you can view the full presentation here or watch a YouTube clip below.

Breast Health: Some Medical Intuitive Observations

Medical Intuition is the ability to access information from a person’s body and surrounding energy field, which exists on physical, mental, emotional and spiritual levels. With so many women suffering from breast cancer or monthly breast pain, I thought I’d offer some Medical Intuitive insights on breast health. In this area, prevention works especially well. I’ve divided this post into physical, mental, emotional and spiritual patterns I frequently see affecting breast health. Please keep in mind that I do not intend this article as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. I’m only sharing patterns I’ve noticed in nearly eight years as a practicing Medical Intuitive. 

 
Physical Factors
1) Diet. The American Cancer Society recognizes the role of antioxidants from fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds as protective against free radical damage associated with cancer. Some studies have also shown correlations between heavy meat-eating, colon cancer, and breast cancer. For a comprehensive list of FAQ’s about the ACS research on various foods and supplements, please click here.
Eating lower on the food chain does seem to help people, but I have known plenty of vegetarians and vegans who still got breast cancer. Clearly diet doesn’t change everything, but it does seem to offer some protection. I have noticed some correlation between following a 100% raw vegan diet (organic when possible) and the cessation of monthly PMS-related breast pain. 
  
2) Vitamin D-deficiency. Dr. Mercola and Dr. John Jacob Cannell have both raised the awareness of Vitamin D’s importance in overall health, including breast cancer reduction. Please click here for more information. Having worked with several intuitive clients for whom Vitamin D deficiency came up as an issue for testing, I’ll say that so far, my Medical Intuitive observations seem to agree with what these doctors share; however, I’ll let them explain the science!
3) Self-Breast-Massage. Sluggish lymph causes much of the pain of tender breasts, and it can also put people more at risk for future breast cancer. You can get that lymph flowing through brisk, bouncy walks without a bra, jumping on a rebounder, or by doing a self-breast-massage. This short YouTube video shows you exactly which movements will pump the lymph out of your breasts in a healthy way. Highly recommended!

4 ) Reiki. This ancient form of energy healing operates on all the levels, including physical. Because stress activates potential for all health issues, especially those affecting the breasts, Reiki’s relaxing effect supports breast health. As a non-invasive treatment, Reiki also allows a woman with breast cancer to receive physical nurturing without the risk of spreading tumors. For more on Reiki for breast cancer, please click here.

Mental/Emotional Factors

1) As part of the Heart Chakra, the breasts house our deepest emotional wounds and our greatest capacity for love. Resentment aggravates the breast tissues as much as physical factors like caffeine! Practice forgiveness for breast health. If you have trouble letting go, you might find this meditation helpful.

2). Combat Candida. You might wonder why I list Candida here instead of under “Physical Factors.” True, yeast overgrowth affects the physical body, but it also thrives in thought and emotional patterns that negatively affect breast health. Candida resonates with “victim.” A particular kind of victim: the kind of victim that feels overburdened by life, that feels like everyone walks all over her. The kind of victim that carries a lot of unexpressed resentments and worries. The kind of victim who just can’t seem to move beyond the inertia of current life circumstances. 

Candida thrives in this environment! You can take all the pau d’arco tea, probiotics, and oil of oregano you like, but if you don’t change the mental/emotional patterns, you’ll have a very difficult time ousting your Candida. Meanwhile, you’ll have all that grief, mild depression, and resentment festering in your Heart Chakra. Not good! 

If you catch yourself acting like an oppressed person, shift that energy immediately. You create your external world, and your experience of the external dramatically influences your internal terrain. For the sake of your breasts (and your happiness), take steps to move beyond your self-imposed limitations.

3) Get Creative. The breasts and arms extend from our hearts. Breasts produce milk to nurse babies, and arms produce artwork, healing, writing and hugs. The Heart Chakra wants to create. If you do not channel that creativity into some positive flow, the urge for creativity may not disappear. Cancer is a very creative disease.

Even if you’ve never painted before in your life; even if you’ve never considered yourself a healer: get some energy flowing through that Heart Chakra! Hug a stranger. Awaken your healing gifts. Embrace your desire to beautify your surroundings. Doing so may just save your boobs.

4) Love Your Breasts. While I have never read any official study on this topic, I have noticed that women who have difficulty accepting their breasts or femininity often develop breast cancer or other problems with the breasts.

Remember, the body responds to your thoughts, attitudes and the deepest longings of your soul. If the body hears that you hate your breasts, it may take you at your word and orchestrate a removal of them via mastectomy. As part of your Heart Chakra, the breasts listen very closely to the cries of the heart. If you want healthy breasts, let them know you love them. And let your softer, feminine side know that it’s ok to be a woman. In fact, it’s beautiful, and wonderful and you honor the breasts as two of those obviously feminine markers.

In February 2009, Rory Freedman of Skinny Bitch fame wrote a great post called Boobs. Go ahead; follow Rory’s lead. Release your inner diva and let those breasts know how much you love ’em!

Spiritual Factors

Breast issues encourage humans to explore the tender realm of the heart as an evolutionary portal. Offering ourselves as channels for unconditional compassion for humanity, the galaxy and beyond supports the breasts. So does honoring Mother Earth. More than any other part of the body, breasts symbolize Motherhood. Awakening the Goddess within, loving Earth’s creatures and Nature, and cultivating a spirit of generosity all resonate with the wisdom and guidance of our breasts.

When we actively engage and listen to our bodies, they can speak in gentle whispers instead of screaming for our attention with pain or disease. With communication and love, body and soul become intimate, and we radiate their joy.

www.internationalrenaissancecoaching.com  

 

 

 

Coaching Yourself through Food Issues

Eating disorders, obsession with food, and perfectionism do not always end with a nutrition degree or a 100% raw vegan diet. Yes, removing toxins and processed foods helps—sometimes tremendously—but the pressure to look healthy, thin and beautiful can continue beyond education or dietary shifts. Often, it actually increases.

As a Medical Intuitive and Life Coach, I’ve encountered many nutritionists, spiritual healers and raw fooders who feel ashamed and embarrassed of their ongoing issues with food. As health advocates, they’re “not supposed to have these problems anymore!” “Why can’t they practice what they preach?” “Why the self-sabotage?” Secret cooked food binges, bulimia (overeating followed by regurgitation or excessive exercise), dangerously long fasts and detoxification attempts, uncontrollable cravings: this dark side of radiant health can plunge people into a sea of shame and depression—which, of course, they’re also not supposed to feel. “What if my clients or readers find out?” they worry. “You’re human,” I say. “And it’s more common than you think.” So common and under-reported, in fact, that I decided to write an article.

Fortunately, our bodies never betray us. They work on behalf of our souls—trying to grab our attention when nothing else has. As with any health concern, once we decode and accept the message, we can let the symptoms go. Most psychologists recognize these patients’ tendency toward perfectionism. Therapy attempts to negate self-judgment. This helps to some degree, but most “recovered” anorexics, overeaters or bulimics privately confess that the disorder returns whenever they feel out of control. Best case scenario, they can manage the stress and not return to old behavior patterns—but the thoughts remain. Telling someone to “drop the perfectionism” doesn’t provide a cure. In fact, it prevents the cure! Because, truth be told, these people know they can do better. They know they can live bigger, brighter, more influential lives—perhaps more than anyone around them imagines. The quest for perfect body or perfect health reflects a deeper urge to perfect the Self.

 Successful treatment of eating disorders needs to honor this inner drive—and create a safe space to explore unusual gifts and talents. In a society that feels more comfortable with mediocrity, it often seems easier to transfer the soul’s mission to the body. Thus, the anorexic who holds within her a fully compassionate, radiant, healing presence feels less conspicuous as a walking skeleton. The bulimic whose potentially bestselling words of wisdom could transform millions of lives finds it easier to throw up food than to write her book. The personal trainer who intuitively knows how to heal his clients’ self-esteem puts all his energy into pumping iron—so that people notice his body rather than his soul. The overweight psychic piles on pounds in order to subdue her too-bright inner glow. I’ve noticed a complex yet consistent dynamic in people with eating disorders. Yes, they exhibit perfectionist tendencies, but not in the way most people assume. The shame of imperfection stems less from impaired body image than from living below their natural capabilities.

On some level, these people recognize that they have gifts to share, but they get scared. Maybe the world won’t accept their unusual talents. Maybe family tells them they need to live a certain way. Perhaps some people find their message offensive. What if everyone thinks they’ve lost their minds? Whatever the rational for avoiding their gifts, these perfectionists intuitively know they’re not sharing what they could. The shame they express with regard to their bodies or eating habits really mirrors a deeper shame at not living as authentically and compassionately as they could. It doesn’t matter if people tell them they look good or consider them experts in their field. It doesn’t even matter if they are experts in their field! These people know they could do more, and they feel ashamed for slacking.

Ultimately, it’s not really about perfection, though. It’s about the “r” word. Responsibility. Having the kind of influence that changes lives can feel scary. Self-sabotage provides both distraction and “proof of unworthiness” to wield such influence. But physical/psychological symptoms can only distract for so long. Eventually, they demand attention, forcing people to deal with those latent gifts. The good news is that people do recover from eating disorders, and you can, too, by augmenting your traditional treatments with targeted personal growth exercises:

1 ) Practice mindful eating. Pay attention to your food. Notice the flavors, colors, textures and how these make you feel. Ponder all the people and processes involved in the growth and production of your food and express gratitude for the gift on your plate.

2 ) Start a meditation practice. You can buy a CD like Yogiraj Alan Finger’s Life Enhancing Meditations or Deepak Chopra’s SoulofHealing Meditation CD. Both offer excellent guidance in forgiving yourself and others, allowing you to open a bigger, more influential you. You can also try a kundalini yoga meditation called Sa Ta Na Ma. The words “sa ta na ma” translate roughly to birth, life, death, rebirth, and are thus a powerful transformative mantra. When chanting Sa Ta Na Ma, sit on the floor with your legs crossed and press your elbows to your ribs, so that your arms each form 90 degree angles at your sides. Press the fingertips to the pads on your palms and stick your thumb s up like a hitchhiker. Inhale deeply and then exhale all your air, sucking your navel towards your back. Holding the belly empty, chant silently within yourself four rounds of “Sa Ta Na Ma.” Inhale deeply and repeat this process at least six times, up to eleven minutes. The combination of completely emptying and then filling the lungs and belly, combined with the meaning, make this a super technique for people with eating disorders.

3 ) Whenever you feel “too big” physically, explore your spiritual gifts. If you don’t consciously know what these are, ask for guidance. They will reveal themselves! You can also take a 60 question inventory here: http://www.elca.org/evangelism/assessments/spiritgifts.html (If you are not Christian, modify the questions for your personal belief system.) People often feel “huge” not because of actual girth but because they have so much unused “stuff” inside of them.

4 ) When you feel the urge to purge, release in other ways. Honor pent-up energy, words and talents that seek expression. Write, paint, draw, volunteer. Share something beautiful!

5 ) When you want to starve yourself, “feed” the world. Look at people around you starving for emotional or spiritual nourishment. Offer random acts of kindness as support. Clean house and donate old clothes. Give until you feel balanced to receive again.

6 ) If you feel ashamed for your “issues,” remember where you’re headed. Shame will dissolve as you embrace your deeper purpose and share that beauty with the world. We change the world and our lives one small step at a time. Each day, concentrate on one small step—a journal entry, conversation, or application essay. An outfit of older clothes put together in unexpected ways. A walk in nature. A letter to the editor.

7 ) If your stomach bothers you, focus on your heart center. If you have trouble getting into your heart, imagine green, gold, or pink light moving in and out of you with your breath. Follow your breath and feel a pulsating warmth in the center of your chest. Let that warmth envelop you and radiate from you like warm, honey, emanating sweetness. Your heart’s just one step above your tummy, but that one step lifts you out of ego and into communion.

www.internationalrenaissancecoaching.com

Related Post: A Three Day Gratitude Extravaganza

If you live in Northern California, you can hear Laura’s free talk, “The Strangest and Most Common Things Seen by a Medical Intuitive,” at Cafe Gratitude in Healdsburg on Monday, March 9.  707-658-2787 for details.

B-12 Deficiency: Some Medical Intuitive Observations

Yes, I am a B-12 “mom,” always nagging people to get tested or proactively supplement, but only because B-12 deficiency is one of those things I see repeatedly in Medical Intuitive sessions. The list of symptoms is bizarre, but when I have people get checked or they just start supplementing, the results confirm the suspicion.

Note: I see B-12 deficiency in vegans and raw foodists because many of my clients follow these diets; however, I have noticed the issue in meat eaters as well. As people age, they lose intrinsic factor in the gut, which means they are getting less and less B-12 from swallowed food, supplements or pills. Someone may not notice any signs of B-12 deficiency until s/he has a severe depletion, and once that happens, the person is unlikely to consider B-12 as the issue.

These are some of the health or other issues for which people have contacted me, and which resolved immediately or shortly after taking B-12 shots or sublingual tablets:

1 ) inability to breath deeply
2 ) angina symptoms
3 ) poor memory and concentration
4 ) wanting to leave their marriage (very common with B12 deficiency!)
5 ) feeling too restricted by an otherwise terrific life (I’m not talking about when people really know they need to make a shift; I’m talking about when they’ve made their shifts and everything’s good but they feel a massive need to sabotage)
6 ) pernicious anemia
7 ) hallucinations
8 ) extreme (bedridden) fatigue
9 ) pain in the lungs
10 ) anxiety, depression, bi-polar tendencies and insomnia
11 ) poor skin
12 ) vertical nail ridges
13 ) “B-12 madness” — this is a little discussed term among raw foodists, but essentially, it refers to what happens to people when they have maxed out their B-12 stores; they literally can go mad, but they will believe it’s everyone else but them.
14 ) high blood pressure
15 ) ADD
16 ) fugue moments
17 ) feeling completely out of body
18 ) eye twitching
19 ) tingling toes, fingers or limbs
20 ) kundalini experiences with electrical currents running up and down the body
21 ) schizophrenia
22 )  speech problems

… and many, many others, but these are the highlights …

Obviously, these symptoms can stem from other causes than B12 deficiency; however, I have had clients with each of these symptoms whose doctors could not find any cause for the problem. The symptoms resolved once adequate B-12 stores were returned. Caught early enough, B-12 deficiency’s reversible, but it can cause PERMANENT NEUROLOGICAL DAMAGE if left untreated.

Even if the neurological damage is reversed, some changes in peoples’ lives may not be so easily reversed. Take, for example, the marriages and families that folded not because of actual irreconcilable differences but because one or both people just needed a simple supplement. Take, for example, the people who thought they were “following their bliss” only to have the bottom fall out in a major, preventable way; they may fear having faith again, when in fact, faith was not the problem–B12 deficiency was. I’m not saying everybody has it, although Gabriel Cousens says 80% of long term vegans do. I’m just saying that if people heard the stories I hear on a weekly basis, they would definitely supplement–even meat-eaters over age 35 would.

I have written about B-12 before as a key to human evolution.

If you live in Northern California, I’ll be speaking on Monday, Marchh 9, 2009 at Cafe Gratitude in Healdsburg’s Monday Night Live event.  Topic:  “The Strangest and Most Common Things I’ve Witnessed as a Medical Intuitive.”  B-12 ranks high up there in both categories!

www.internationalrenaissancecoaching.com

www.lazyrawfoodist.com

Evie’s Kitchen, A Book Review

Evie's Kitchen by Shazzie

Evie's Kitchen by Shazzie

Evie’s Kitchen, by Shazzie

Reviewed by Laura Bruno

 

The first thing you will notice about this book is that it is stunningly lush and beautiful.  From the cover photo of Evie looking so faeriesque, to the family photos to all the gorgeous recipes:  Evie’s Kitchen offers a feast for the eyes!

You might also notice early on that this is a book of love.  Shazzie, the UK’s most famous raw foodist, wrote this book with a mother’s love for her daughter.  She researched the content for four years with the passion that only a mother would feel about this topic.  Painstakingly recording her daughter’s food intake, staying on top of the lastest finds in the world of raw and vegan foods, researching supplements, and finding answers when people told her she had no reason to search for answers:  Shazzie goes beyond a typical nutritionist giving stats. 

For this reason alone, I would say that every vegan and certainly every raw vegan should own this book.  Even if you never intend to raise children as raw vegans, you will find information in here that applies to adults as well.  As a Medical Intuitive with a fairly large raw food following, I encounter many, many clients who already follow either a raw or long-term vegan diet.  This way of eating offers amazing benefits:  just look at the glowing skin, boundless energy and vitality in Raw Spirit Festival photos or YouTube videos.  In my own life, I have found raw and vegan foods a wonderful support for mental clarity and energy, allowing me to function at higher levels than I did pre-“permanent”-brain-injury.  So, yes, I am a fan. But …

and this is a big BUT, in my work, among friends, and even in my own life, I have witnessed enough to know that this diet also requires quite a bit of knowledge.  Depending on one’s reserves of fat, B12, Vitamin D and minerals, someone might thrive on a raw vegan diet for years without much effort.  Terrific!  The problem I notice so often in intuitive sessions or just socially comes when someone has depleted reserves faster than they’ve taken them in.  Green juices will keep you mineralized, but they won’t give you B12, Vitamin D or significant levels of DHA.  If you don’t drink enough green juices, they may not even provide enough alkalizing minerals to keep your bones and teeth strong in the midst of so much sugary fruit.  It’s not just the sugar on your teeth; high blood sugar will leach minerals from your teeth and bones if you consistently fail to balance your intake.  For someone with lots of reserves, not such a problem; for someone with few reserves to spare, huge problems can happen f-a-s-t. 

Enter Evie’s Kitchen.  Shazzie includes charts with the proper amounts needed for each of these nutrients at different ages.  She lists signs of deficiency and signs of excess, along with good sources for each essential building block of a healthy raw, vegan child.  Her mama bear dedication comes through in assertive reasons to supplement.  While she writes the book for children, much of her research applies to adults as well.  I see WAY too many people who desperately need B12 and Vitamin D.  While I cannot legally “diagnose” as a Medical Intuitive, I can recommend people ask their doctors for tests.  Whenever I have strongly suspected a deficiency, it has always shown itself in blood work.  By the time most people contact a Medical Intuitive, their symptoms have usually gotten quite severe.  Trust me, you don’t want to mess around with Vitamin D or B12 deficiency!

Evie’s Kitchen arms you with the tools you need to avoid all deficiencies on a raw diet.  More than that, Shazzie offers recipes!  Unlike typical gourmet raw recipes that offer improvement over a SAD or SUKD diet without necessarily balancing all the nutrients, these recipes include superfoods, Omega-3’s, phytoplankton and loads of mineral rich greens–all taste approved for kids.

With her usual creativity and kooky sense of humor, Shazzie includes recipes for things like “Shoelaces,”  “Russell Brand’s Hair fell on my Plate,” and “Monster Slime.”  If you have picky eaters, you can get them to try things for sheer fun and novelty.  Oftentimes, they can even help you prepare the food. 

Seeing photos of a cute little girl eating, smiling and loving raw food will go far in helping children relate to a healthy diet that might initially seem weird.  I don’t have my own children, but I am a proud aunt to four of the pickiest junk food eaters out there.  I know that half the battle comes from clever marketing.  Spaghettio’s just look more fun than zucchini or cauliflower.  Well, watch out kids, because Evie’s mum knows how to make healthy foods appealing!

For those of you who got into raw foods by reading Shazzie’s famous journals, Evie’s Kitchen fills you in on “the missing years.”  When Shazzie decided to switch to “mupdates” (a.k.a. monthly updates), many people in the raw food world felt like they had lost touch with a trusted friend.  I hear from clients all the time that “Shazzie got me into raw food.  I just love her journal.”  Well, if you wondered what really went on in those early years from pregnancy to child birth to single mom, Evie’s Kitchen provides more than hints.  You’ll get the full story from gleam (literally) to pregnancy cravings to natural childbirth plans and all the way through Evie’s fourth year.  If you don’t want those details, you can easily skip that section and just read the recipes and science, but for those who like a personal touch, Shazzie gets very personal in Evie’s Kitchen.  🙂

I have already recommended this book to everyone I know raising vegan kids–raw or otherwise.  It’s also a fabulous gift for anyone who loves cheese and can’t eat dairy.  She includes so many different recipes for cheese that she even makes a joke about it, but they’re good, and dense, and chock full of things you no doubt need.  I cannot recommend this book highly enough to anyone contemplating more than a quick foray into raw and/or vegan foods.  Many thanks to Shazzie for having the courage, love and dedication to create this beautiful book, which you can find at www.shazzie.com.

www.internationalrenaissancecoaching.com

www.lazyrawfoodist.com

Another Lazy Raw Foodist Book Review

Melissa Neesham, editor of Vegetarian Women Online Magazine, recently posted another review of “The Lazy Raw Foodist’s Guide.”  You can read her comments here.  If you’re vegetarian, vegan, raw, or just into some healthier New Year Resolutions, check out the site.  They have some inspirational articles on there!

You Know You’re a Raw Foodist When …

Three days ago, I found a great little Mexican grocery store about 1 block from our condo.  They have a full deli, all the traditional Mexican canned goods, spices, pastries, and a small produce section with tomatillos, jalepenos, salsa ingredients, and fresh cactus.  I was especially excited about the cactus, so I bought a bag. 

On Sunday, I made a sprouted lentil version of “refried beans” with Cafe Gratitude’s “I am Hot” sauce and some tomatillos.  I served this alongside fresh guacamole and a salsa made with about 1/2 the cactus.  Mmmmm!  It was tasty and filling.   

Fast forward to Wednesday morning.  Since we live in Northern California, we sometimes encounter some mold issues.  During the rainy season, our car’s vents have developed some kind of nasty mold smell.  Our car’s under bumper to bumper warranty, so we decided to take it in for service.  They assured us they could remove the smell and any mold spores for no charge.  Yeah, warranty!

I’ve been extra hungry lately and not eating enough, so last night I soaked almonds to make almond milk as a smoothie base.  I wanted those high calories!  Before heading out to the dealership, I created a super delicious and dense smoothie:

3 bananas

1/2 bag of nopal cactus

4 leaves of Romaine lettuce

2 cups fresh almond milk

mesquite powder (1-2 TBSP)

2 TBSP Vita-Mineral Green

1/4 cup goji berries

1 TBSP cacao

handful of ice

3 drops vanilla stevia

 

I think that’s it!  I blended, and it tasted amazingly creamy and dense, with a subtle sweetness.   In short, I loved it.   So, I chugged half  at home and then brought the rest with me in a Mason jar.  When we arrived at the dealership, a lady in service said to to me:

“Is that a drink [insert disgusted lift of the lip] or your car oil?”

I replied, “It’s a drink!” 

My hubby cracked up.

You know you’re a raw foodist when your car service people think you’re drinking the oil change leftovers.  Mmmmm … mmmm!  Love those green smoothies. 🙂

 

www.lazyrawfoodist.com

www.internationalrenaissancecoaching.com

Vegan Food Allergies: How to Deal, Ways to Heal

I’ve heard from countless readers and clients that they suffer multiple food allergies and would appreciate any tips on dealing with them. This article goes beyond ingredient substitutions, offering ways to handle and potentially heal food allergies, intolerances and sensitivities. But first, some definitions:

A true food allergy involves a specific reaction in the immune system (that part of the body responsible for attacking invaders). An allergy occurs when the body mistakenly identifies a harmless substance (antigen) as a threat. The body then creates an antibody, damages cells, and causes a release of histamine. This process, rather than the antigen itself, causes harm. Symptoms of food allergy can include asthma, nasal congestion, digestive woes or, most seriously, anaphylactic shock. If you suffer a severe food allergy, lifelong avoidance might remain necessary.

More people suffer from food intolerances than true allergies. Intolerances can result in a wider variety of symptoms, including respiratory distress, depression, migraines, arthritis, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), among others. Unlike food allergies, which usually result in immediate symptoms, intolerances can reveal themselves “subtly” even several weeks after ingesting a particular food. As with food allergies, intensities can range from temporary, mild discomfort from too much of a certain food, to celiac disease?a severely damaging intestinal intolerance to any and all glutens (the proteins found in wheat and other grains like barley, spelt and rye).

Food sensitivities can arise from chemical compounds like MSG, caffeine, sugar, or food additives. These substances act like drugs, with some people having lower thresholds than others. The line between food sensitivities and intolerances often blurs, though, since many food intolerances arise from reactions to chemicals like sulfites, nitrates, salicylates, or amines. In Eat Right 4 Your Type, Dr. Peter D’Adamo discusses food sensitivities in relation to blood types. He theorizes that certain components of food, called lectins, react negatively with particular blood types. According to his research, lectins introduced into an incompatible blood type can result in symptoms like abnormal cell growth (cancer), insulin issues, digestive irritation, heart disease, compromised immune system and rheumatoid arthritis. Dr. D’Adamo does not consider his observations “the only factor” in maintaining health but believes blood type can play a key role in determining how food affects us. On a side note, Dr. D’Adamo recommends a strict vegetarian diet for Blood Type A, which comprises about 40% of the world’s population, compared to the estimated .2-4% of the world currently classified as “vegan.”

Many people use the terms “allergy,” “intolerance,” and “sensitivity” interchangeably, and indeed, treatments and testing often overlap. The most common method of identifying food issues involves an Elimination Diet in which the patient removes all common or suspected allergens from the diet for a set period of time. If symptoms improve, the patient then reintroduces foods and records effects. This technique works fine if one or two main, common food allergens cause the symptoms; however, in the case of multiple triggers or intolerances (which can take weeks to manifest) the Elimination Diet can prove cumbersome and less effective. But there is still hope.

The following suggestions helped me overcome my own allergies, and I’ve seen them help many clients and friends as well:

“Go Raw” or take digestive enzymes. Each raw food carries its own enzymes necessary for digestion. When heat destroys these enzymes through cooking, our pancreas works overtime, creating “digestive enzymes” to break down food. (Humans have the largest pancreas relative to body weight in the entire animal kingdom.) If the pancreas becomes fatigued, inadequately digested food particles arrive in the intestines. From there, undigested protein molecules sometimes enter the blood stream and cause an immune response. Low stomach acid can also result in incomplete digestion, and some people find raw blended greens a natural means of improving hydrochloric acid levels. (For more information on green smoothies, read Green for Life by Victoria Boutenko.) Some foods have enzyme inhibitors and need to be soaked in order to activate their enzymes. A few actually digest easier when cooked. If you don’t like raw foods or have minimal access to them, digestive enzyme supplements taken right before meals can also reduce your pancreatic load until you get back on track.

Control Candida. Commonly known as “yeast,” Candida albicans exists in the digestive tracts of all humans. Antibiotics, birth control pills, stress, and sugar can result in Candida Overgrowth, causing Leaky Gut Syndrome, food intolerances/allergies, thrush, “yeast infections” and a host of other symptoms. Though difficult to eradicate, Candida does hate oil of oregano, pau d’arco, sugar restriction, and probiotics like L-acidophilus and B-bifidus. For more information, you can read The Yeast Connection: A Medical Breakthrough by Dr. William G. Crook. From a Medical Intuitive perspective, I’ve also noticed Candida resonates with “victim.” As people empower themselves and curb feelings of victimization, Candida symptoms often dramatically improve.

Cleanse your Body. Even though vegan diets tend to be “cleaner” than the Standard American Diet, at times we can pass a threshold of toxic or allergenic overload. Maybe it’s hay fever season, we lived entirely on Tofutti last summer, have black mold in our home, or accidentally ate larvae on organic produce. Ewwww!!! Hey, sometimes it happens! A friend of mine always quotes Harry Potter’s Hagrid: “Better out than in!” Whether through a full parasite cleanse, a one-day-a-week fast, or gentle herbal support, food sensitivities implore us to lighten our load. Macrobiotic principles suggest people chew food well and detox with the seasons: Liver/Gall Bladder (Spring); Heart/Small intestines (Summer); Spleen-Pancreas/Stomach (Late Summer); Lungs/Large Intestine (Fall); Kidneys/Bladder (Winter). For more information on cleansing with the seasons, I recommend The Self-Healing Cookbook, by Kristina Turner.

Cleanse your Mind. Stress has been shown to lower the threshold for allergens, so take a few deep breaths and relax. Spend some quiet, reflective time each day. Ask yourself what stands in the way of your being able to eat the foods you like. What expectations, fears or judgments are limiting your naturally free and compassionate mind and heart? On the physical level, allergies and intolerances result from mistaken judgments-the body labels a neutral substance “bad” and launches an attack. The process, not the antigen, causes the problem. We accept the cliché, “You are what you eat” but rarely recognize that the inverse is true as well. We eat as we are. If we want to re-pattern our bodies to embrace the nourishment we offer them, then it helps to stop reacting in other areas of life. In my work, I’ve also found that people sometimes react to foods simply due to their association with an unpleasant event that no longer consciously registers. In such cases, food allergies offer an opportunity to heal the soul as well as the body.

Eat with Gratitude and Love. A little Mindfulness goes a long way in this fast-paced world of ours. Because gratitude and love are incompatible with fear, cultivating these states encourages our bodies to feel “friendlier” and less likely to overreact. Pausing before we eat also signals the body to transition to a more relaxed state, which optimizes digestion. In case words fail you, June Cotner’s Graces: Prayers and Poems for Everyday Meals and Special Occasions offers multi-cultural prayers, poems, songs, and invocations ranging from a Sanskrit sun salutation to Native American blessings, to inspirational words by Helen Keller and Ralph Waldo Emerson. Whether a formal reading or a quick lift of the heart, expressing gratitude and love for our food reminds us of the reasons many of choose a vegan lifestyle.

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6 Reasons to Go Raw for the New Year

(Cynthia Mosher, Editor of Veg Family Magazine, just posted a review of The Lazy Raw Foodist’s Guide.  Click here to read it.) 

Laura’s Top 6 Reasons to Go Raw for 2009:

1)  With the right raw diet tailored to your body, mind and spirit, you can eat tons of food and still keep that New Year’s Resolution to lose weight.

2)  You can amplify that fresh, New Year’s energy by including more fresh, living foods in your body.

3)  Ditch the winter doldrums with vibrant produce and superfoods.  Most people notice their depression and brain fog lifting after only a few days on an all or mostly raw vegan diet.  Even increasing your raw to cooked ratio by 10-20% can create a huge mood lift.

4)  Raw food is the wave of the future.  I always say, “Any diet where you can eat this much, look this radiant, and still lose weight, is not going away!”  As more celebrities and newstations become aware of the effects of organic, raw, vegan, living foods, we can expect to see more and more raw friendly options popping up everywhere.  In fact, it’s already happening.  When I first went raw in 2004, the only raw items I could find even at Whole Foods were in the produce section.  Now we have our choice of several varieties of raw granola, tons of chocolate options, trail mixes, even brownies!

5)  It’s good for the planet.  True, flying exotic berries across the globe can leave a larger ecological footprint than eating locally grown produce, but changing to a largely unprocessed vegan diet will still give you more “carbon credits” than driving a hybrid!  You can improve your health AND feel good about your contribution to the greater world.

6)  It’s all about the vibration, and high vibe foods make high vibe folks.  The more individuals raise their own vibration, the more they follow their intuition and little synchronicities.  The planet as a whole begins to shift.  Despite the wars, despite global warming and the so-called global financial crisis, Earth is still a pretty awesome place to live.  … And it’s getting better!

Happy New Year!!  May you find and create beauty, light and love!

Many Blessings,

Laura Bruno

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Superfoods for Migraines

Migraines and cluster headaches: whatever the label, the pain and side effects can be intense! In addition to traditional treatments, including more of the following “superfoods” can help.

What are superfoods? Well, they’re not exactly supplements–although some supplement companies have begun to market “extracts” of various superfoods. By definition, superfoods are whole foods or oils that offer exceptionally high doses of nutrition. People call them “super” in part because of their benefits and in part due to their origins. Most superfoods are not new; rather, they’ve been used by powerful ancient cultures and only recently rediscovered by the West. Although some scientists and many raw foodists credit superfoods with amazing regenerative and protective abilities for almost any health issue, this article discusses superfoods for special consideration by those who suffer migraines and/or cluster headaches.

Cacao (kuh-COW): Commonly marketed as raw cacao or raw chocolate, this “food of the gods” actually became monetary currency in the Aztec empire! Conventional wisdom tells those with migraines to avoid chocolate as a major trigger food. While some people do have sensitivities to chocolate, most people actually react to the typical dairy and refined sugar in cooked chocolate bars. Raw cacao, by contrast, offers seven times the antioxidants of its cooked version, without the offending dairy and sugar. More importantly for those with migraines, raw cacao contains one of the highest sources of magnesium in any food. Magnesium acts as the relaxing counterpart to calcium and helps to balance brain chemisty. In fact, many migraine sufferers manage to stave off headaches by consuming large quantities of magnesium supplements. Magnesium can also help with PMS, another known trigger of migraines. In addition to magnesium, raw cacao offers caffeine (which seems to affect the body less intensely in its raw form). Some people with migraines find that judicious use of caffeine can curtail a headache before it becomes a full blown episode. Most prescription migraine pills contain some form of caffeine. From a nutritional standpoint, raw cacao certainly beats a Pepsi! If you know for sure that chocolate causes a reaction, skip the raw cacao, but otherwise it could be worth a (delicious) try. Add cacao nibs or powder to morning smoothies, or make raw fudge by mixing the powder with coconut butter, raw agave nectar or honey, and some of the other superfoods listed below. As with any new food, start small so you can monitor your reactions.

Maca (MAH-kuh): Also known as “Peruvian viagra,” maca is a root grown at 14,000 feet in the Andes Mountains. Despite its fame for keeping Peruvian men virile into their 80’s, maca actually functions as an adaptogen, meaning it balances all hormones. If someone has too much estrogen, maca works to lower estrogen levels. If another person has too little estrogen, maca helps the body bring those levels back to optimal levels. Maca also nourishes the adrenal glands, helping the body handle some of the stress that so often triggers cluster headaches and migraines. Maca grows in some of the most inhospitable conditions on earth, but it has learned to flourish where other plants die. Natives believe that the root transfers this strength and adaptability to those who consume it: “You are what you eat!” Metaphysics aside, maca’s high mineral content, B-vitamins, protein, fatty acids, and plant sterols allow it to rebuild the body wherever it most needs help–good news for people whose headaches come from stress or hormonal imbalance. Maca tastes a bit like radish, so you don’t want to add too much to sweet smoothies. It blends exceptionally well with cacao, though, and I always enjoy a morning glass of fresh squeezed lemon juice in water with about a teaspooon of maca. The lemon brings out maca’s hidden sweetness, making a surprisingly zesty lemonade.

Hemp: No, I’m not talking about marijuana, even though some people do employ cannabis for medicinal purposes. You can now find hulled hemp seeds, hemp butter, hemp protein powder and hemp oil at alternative health food stores and in many online shops. Despite virtually no THC content (the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana), the U.S. government prohibits the sale of hemp seeds ready for sprouting, so you can only legally buy hulled ones or hemp products, most of which seem to come from Canada. Nonetheless, hemp has experienced a major resurgence in recent years as people have rediscovered what ancient Europeans knew so long ago. Hemp supports the immune system and contains edestin, the protein most easily assimilated by humans–good news for people who react to protein powders made from soy or dairy (whey). Hemp seeds, butter and oil also contain the perfect ratio of Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids, thought to help balance hormones and brain chemistry. In addition, the green color of hemp comes from chlorophyll, which differs only by one atom from hemoglobin. (Hemoglobin forms around an iron atom, whereas chlorophyll forms around that beneficial magnesium atom.) Purifying the blood with chlorophyll-rich foods like hemp, wheat grass and leafy greens can alkalinize the body, which, in turn, eases stress responses like migraines and cluster headaches. Hemp protein powder tastes a bit gritty, but the butters, oil and seeds carry a pleasant, slightly nutty sensation that combines especially well with raw cacao and maca. You can also replace the bulghur wheat (gluten is a major migraine trigger) in foods like tabouli with hemp seeds, or use hemp butter as a nutritious replacement for another common trigger–peanut butter.

Yerba Mate (YUR-buh MAH-tay): For those people who know they need to kick the coffee habit but simply can’t forgo their cuppa Joe, Yerba Mate offers a good substitute. Another highly mineralized South American food, Yerba Mate tastes somewhat similar to coffee, but instead of depleting the adrenal glands, it nourishes them with B-vitamins, 15 amino acids, 11 polyphenols (like in green tea and red wine) and, you guessed it: more magnesium and chlorophyll. Whereas coffee provides a caffeine jolt, mate’s energy comes from the B-vitamins, blood purifying properties and a component called mateine. Unlike caffeine, mateine gives a lift without the crash. Some independent coffee houses now serve soymilk “mate lattes,” or you can brew the tea at home. For best results, warm but don’t boil the water, then let the tea steep for 5 minutes. You can then add hemp milk and essential oils like peppermint with a hint of raw cacao powder, creating your own minty mocha. Yerba Mate also brews well as a sun tea, mixed with orange peel or traditional chai tea spices. A favorite of shamans, Yerba Mate offers a traditional, nutritional alternative to coffee, along with minerals and nutrients thought to support hormonal balance and alkalinity.

In short, these superfoods bring trace minerals, potent nutrients, and a bit of folklore. As foods rather than drugs, they gradually rebuild and support the body, instead of generating a “quick fix.” If you’d like a holistic approach to treating migraines or cluster headaches and haven’t responded to “newfangled cures,” you might want to explore some ancient culinary treats.

 

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