Foot Spas Hype or Help?

I am the biggest skeptic and a consummate researcher…which is why it can take me a LONG time before I “buy into” something.  So…no surprise that it took me years after experiencing my first foot spa treatment before I bought my own unit.  Ionic foot baths help the body to release various toxins via the sweat glands located at the bottom of the feet and improve the body’s natural ability to excrete toxic substances via the liver and kidneys.

There are many units out there…buyer BEWARE! (this is one of those instances where you do NOT want to buy on Amazon)  The only two spa brands I would personally consider are (AMD and PES) both of which are used at the Sophia Institute (Dr. Dietrich Klinghardt’s) treatment center in Seattle.  I own the PES System which consists of a patented electronic array composed of two polarized electrodes (a positive and a negative charged coil).  When the array is placed in warm, salted water, it creates an electromagnetic current which draws the oppositely charged ions through the pores  of the sweat glands in the feet (there are 2000+ sweat glands in each foot—more than anywhere else in the body) into the water.

I typically think if it sounds too good to be true it likely is. So I was surprised and intrigued when I learned that Dr. Klinghardt had replaced all of his former methods of detoxing, including IV glutathione, with the foot spa AND went so far as to spend his own money to write a white paper on the effectiveness of it in detoxing heavy metals.  Interestingly, the majority of the detoxification happens internally (up to 3 days POST foot spa).  When urine is tested for days after a foot bath session, large increases in heavy metals are found.

Here is one study of heavy metal excretion in the urine, as seen days following only 1 foot spa treatment session


Everyone responds differently to a session.  Differences in diet, lifestyle, exercise, genetics and stress can all affect the outcome of a session.  The body will release in order of perceived importance.  For ex. if a person is dealing with ongoing un-managed stress, This chronic level of stress can create an acidic system.  IF this person had heavy metal toxicity as well, the first release may be the release of excess acid while heavy metals would not necessarily be released until subsequent sessions.  That is why, as with any healing modality, you can’t just do one session and expect your problems to be resolved.

I have personally witnessed changes in mood (depressed and lethargic to positive and perky), changes in balance (couldn’t walk a straight line before the foot spa, no problem after), pH improvements from acidity to alkalinity with one treatment, and a client who only used the foot spa to detox heavy metals go from toxic to normal over a 6 month course.

I love that the foot spa doesn’t tax the body’s detox systems and instead puts a person into a parasympathetic state where true healing can occur.  I also love that the foot spa meets my criteria of “above all do no harm” and in fact…does a lot of good!

Interested in checking it out?  Call (805) 305-0774 or email to book a session.




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Magnesium…Indispensable Yet Underappreciated

Magnesium is one of my favorite minerals.  Compared to its friend calcium, magnesium is severely underappreciated which I think is a shame.

Magnesium is needed for more than 300 biochemical reactions and 600 enzymatic reactions in the body. In addition to supporting  cardiovascular and bone health, energy metabolism, glucose metabolism, mood, sleep, nerve health, muscle relaxation, detoxification and bowel health, researchers are now studying its role in improving cognitive functioning.  It appears that different forms of magnesium have different roles to play.  In my practice, I tend to use three main forms:  glycinate, citrate and malate all for different reasons. Citrate is good for constipation issues, glycinate for blood sugar balancing and malate for muscle pain.  I have recently discovered a fourth form which is threonate.

Magnesium L-threonate is a unique form of magnesium that crosses the blood brain barrier where it increases the synaptic connections between brain cells and improves cell to cell communication. One of the key benefits of increased brain magnesium levels is improved memory. In compelling animal models, magnesium L-threonate improved short-term memory by 18% and long-term memory by 100%.  Neuron.2010 Jan 28;65(2):165-77.

Crave chocolate? Sugar? Alcohol?  Got that annoying eye twitch? Pain in the shoulder blades? Constipation? Leg or foot cramps?  History of kidney stones? PMS? Heart beating out of synch? What do all these have in common? They are all signs of magnesium deficiency.  Why would the body crave chocolate and sugar one might ask? Because both are naturally high in magnesium.  With regard to sugar I am referring to pure sugarcane. If you were to cut off a stalk of sugarcane in the field and suck on the end of it, it would be rich in magnesium, trace minerals, enzymes and b-vitamins.  But instead, most of us are consuming the highly refined, Genetically Modified form (sugar beets are GMO, organic sugarcane is not) that further depletes us of minerals and B vitamins leading to… more sugar cravings!

Many of us are magnesium deficient so if you have any of the above mentioned symptoms/conditions you might benefit from adding more magnesium into your diet. Foods rich in magnesium are: dark leafy greens, nuts, seeds, fish, beans, whole grains, avocados, yogurt, bananas, dark chocolate, and more. The current daily value (DV) for magnesium is 400mg but you might need more if you have a condition called KPU (Kryptopyrrole Urea) where your body dumps magnesium, B6 and zinc under stressful conditions.  The good news is that it is hard to over dose on magnesium.  The rule of thumb is dose to bowel tolerance (a nice way of saying loose stools).  IF you get diarrhea you have taken too much, constipation (not enough).  For most people that is somewhere around 400-800mg/day in divided doses.  The oxide form is the cheapest and most likely to cause loose stools which is why I don’t use it in my practice.

Last but not least, if you have recently been diagnosed with osteopenia or osteoporosis, BEFORE you add in calcium make sure you have adequate magnesium (measured thru red blood cells NOT serum levels) vitamin D and Vitamin K on board since the calcium wont be absorbed with these deficiencies.

Off to eat some dark chocolate 🙂





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Biggest Loser?…Or NOT?

My sister recently sent me this article on the show Biggest Loser which I used to be an avid watcher of.  I was always fascinated with each contestants personal story of how they got where they were and even more the underlying emotional issues that seemed to surface only when Julian kicked their ass and “broke” them so to speak.  I was enthralled with her determination and deep sense of empathy cause she had been there and she “got it”.  I was also saddened and disappointed to learn that 80% of the contestants gained their weight back and sometimes even more!  I thought how could that be?  They endured SO much to get to their goal weight how could they ever gain it back?

The article attempts to address this very issue but I find SO many things wrong with with it I just had to rant.  Never once in the course of this show did anyone ever address food allergies.  Instead the trainers (NOT the dietitian…and yes, they had one on staff, I know cause I emailed her) recommended low calorie, low fat EVERYTHING, low fat glasses of milk, low fat cheese, low fat mayo, whole grain bread and MICROWAVING!  Don’t even get me started on that topic!  If you take one look at Sean Algaier, the 36 year old worship pastor from Charlotte, NC what is the most obvious thing you see with his face?  RED CHEEKS!  In fact, the reddest cheeks I have seen in a while.  Why is that significant?  Cause in Chinese face reading cheeks = stomach/intestine and red = inflammation.  Funny how this picture shows him taking communion and both red wine (high in histamine/mold/sulfites) and the communion wafer (likely glyphosate sprayed wheat) are both the very things that are probably contributing to his inflammation.  Why is inflammation important?  Because it is the precursor for every disease state known to mankind and, inflammation = weight gain.  I always said, IF they got me on the show I would be the “Jillian of food” and her words could have easily been mine “Do you know how easy it would be to tell people what they want to hear? It would be heaven! But, unfortunately, it doesn’t get the job done.”

Another HUGE topic that is not being addressed in this article is the thyroid.  I know they have to be measuring it but GOD only knows WHAT they are measuring.  TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) is a very poor indicator of overall thyroid health (perhaps 5%).  You should also measure Free T4, Free T3 and something called Reverse T3.  Reverse T3 is critical because in times of stress (in the old days, this was starvation) the Reverse T3 ramps up to try to protect the body from wasting.  After the stress is over it takes sometime to convince the body that it isn’t going to starve again.  If Reverse T3 is elevated it prevents Free T3 (the active form of the thyroid hormone) from binding to its receptor sites and thus producing a therapeutic response (in this case increasing metabolism).  In the case of the biggest loser’s the stress would be the workouts and the starvation would be the “diet”.

When Mr. Cahill describes his routine to lose one pound a day as “Wake up at 5 a.m. and run on a treadmill for 45 minutes. Have breakfast — typically one egg and two egg whites, half a grapefruit and a piece of sprouted grain toast. Run on the treadmill for another 45 minutes. Rest for 40 minutes; bike ride nine miles to a gym. Work out for two and a half hours. Shower, ride home, eat lunch — typically a grilled skinless chicken breast, a cup of broccoli and 10 spears of asparagus. Rest for an hour. Drive to the gym for another round of exercise.” I am EXHAUSTED (and boored) just listening!

Which leads me to the next issue…ADRENALS!  If you don’t treat them kindly don’t expect them to support you.  And since thyroid and adrenals are closely connected if one is not on board the other wont be either.  After punishing his body with the above Danny says “He was so mentally and physically exhausted he barely moved for two weeks after his publicity tour ended.”  NO SHIT SHERLOCK!  If it isn’t sustainable don’t do it!

Over and over the trainer recommending cutting calories but Dr. Ludwig said that “simply cutting calories was not the answer.” DUH is all I can say.  If I hear one more “calories in calories out statement” as the answer to weight loss, I am going to scream!  CLEARLY we have proven that is not the case!  It is not the calories, it is the QUALITY of the food (WTF is Danny eating chips for?) , exercise levels, emotional, mental and spiritual attitude and your belief.  I add that last one cause I am a big believer that if you THINK you are fat you will be fat and many of the contestants held that belief from a very young age.

SO…what is the answer?  SLOW SUSTAINED WEIGHT LOSS!  If you kick your ass, your adrenals will kick you back and your thyroid will ramp up Reverse T3 making your efforts difficult if not impossible to maintain.  Also work with a qualified EXPERT to determine food allergies and last but not least, BELIEVE you deserve to feel and look your best no matter what weight that is.


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I am a stealth cook, i.e. I LOVE to hide things…even from myself.  I personally am not fond of the taste of sea veggies, BUT I know they have powerful nutritional properties SO…in order to get them down I hide them!  And I cant think of a better way to do that then in your salt.  The advantage of putting them in your salt is that if your salt was not iodized it now will be.  I also like hiding them here cause you can’t taste them and because you use less salt in the process.  In keeping with the latter concept I recommend adding more things you don’t necessarily want to taste but are good for you.  In this version I used nettle, sage and dulse.  In other versions I have incorporated rosemary, lemon verbena, thyme…basically any herb you have growing will work.  It is nearly impossible to get it wrong cause the salt masks the flavor of most of it.

Homemade drying rack with nettles

Homemade drying rack with nettles

Dried nettle in coffee grinder

Dried nettle and sage in coffee grinder

Ground nettles

Ground herb mix

Himilayan salt in grinder

Himilayan salt in grinder

Matcha Powder

photo 2

Organic Dulse Granules. Could also use nori or kelp too.

Salt + matcha + herb mix + dulse granules

Salt + matcha + herb mix + dulse granules

Herbed Salt

SUPER powered salt!

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My Beef with Dr. Oz.

For the record I have always liked Dr. Oz.  I have even been known to watch his show occasionally.  I think he does a good job of breaking down hard to digest scientific information and making it palatable for mainstream America.  My problem began when I became active in Prop 37, California’s attempt to label genetically engineered food.  Dr. Oz up until this point had always been a strong advocate of organic and a voice of reason in a sea of insanity about the dangers of GMOs.  In an article published in Cornucopia Institute, Dr. Oz once told millions of viewers, “I want you to eat organic foods” and “your kids deserve better than to be part of a national chemistry experiment.” Oz is also quoted as having previously said “Our children should not serve as the human equivalents of lab rats.”

I gotta say I LOVED the man for saying this and respected the hell out of him.  But as love often does…mine started to fade…when suddenly, out of nowhere, he changes his tune.  In a Time Magazine article,  Dr. Oz claimed that conventional (non-organic, potentially GMO) foods are “nutritionally equal” to organic foods and Oz went on to call organic foods “elitist.”  When an interviewer asked about his choice of words and apparent change of opinion he was quoted as saying, “I was trying to be self-deprecating [in the article]. That was the whole point— which obviously didn’t hit the target for some folks.” No Dr. Oz, It DID NOT!

He then goes on to say, “I think America’s big battle is not between your buying the highest quality produce available on the market, or the boxed, frozen variety. It’s whether we’re eating fruits and vegetables at all. And that was the point I was trying to make. Canned foods, because canning technology is improving, there’s less salt required in them. Many vegetables are pretty tasty that way. Canned asparagus is terrible out of a can, in my opinion. But corn is reasonable coming out of a can. And a mother should feel comfortable, if it’s a low-sodium variant, having corn come out of a can as opposed to giving her kids some muffin, which is also inexpensive, but doesn’t have any nutrient value to it. That was where I was trying to push some buttons on that article.”

REALLY Dr. Oz?  You are trying to push some buttons with canned corn?  My first question is, are you really trying to defend what is likely a can of GMO corn since 88% of all corn in the US was GMO in 2012 (lastest data I could find)?  But if that wasn’t bad enough, the corn that you are suggesting a mother should feed her kids over a muffin raises blood sugar to about the same degree (glycemic index of corn 55/vs blueberry muffin 59).  If you REALLY want to make your point PICK THAT CANNED ASPARAGUS!

I agree with  who says EXACTLY what I am thinking.  “It appears Doctor Oz now faces the largest “moment of truth” of his career as a doctor and a public figure. The wiggle room is gone, having been replaced by a collective worldwide voice, relentless daily pocketbook voting, and data to further drive the final nail into the sealed GMO coffin. Commanding the increasingly educated audience Doctor Oz has patiently built, coupled with now megaviral attention, he stands on the precipice of greatness. A rare opportunity to be the voice of a generation that has been waiting for a mainstream public figure with integrity to say what we all already know.”

I am hoping beyond hope that Dr. Oz will “win back my love” and finally take a stand for what I and countless other health care practitioners know and see in our patients…GMOs are unsafe, untested on humans, and we the American public should not be experimented on without our consent.  And for GOD’s sake at least label it!

Source:  Glycemic Index:

Jeffrey Jaxen’s article:

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Winter Wellness Kit

Why is it that whenever you start to feel that slight scratchiness in the back of your throat it always seems to be Friday night AFTER all the stores are closed! I am often asked by patients what they can do to ward off an oncoming cold or flu virus. There are some who will tell you there is nothing you can do once a virus takes hold, but I have found several things to be effective in treating them. If I have learned one thing as a holistic medicine practitioner, it is that you need to treat the patient BEFORE their symptoms become chronic or too severe.   That means that like a good Girl or Boy Scout you need to be prepared. Since viruses and bacteria typically grow according to a logarithmic scale, it is important to treat the patient in the lag phase and not the log phase (bet you thought that algebra would never come in handy!). For those of you who forgot, this is the slow growth phase at the beginning of the curve before things take off and are a lot harder to treat. So basically, that means that you need to have a variety of anti-viral and anti-bacterial items on hand in your tool kit for when those nasty bugs creep up on you in the middle of the night. Here are a few things I have in my Winter Wellness Kit.

Natural Sources Elderberry Concentrate: Effective at killing the common cold virus and 3 types of flu. LOTS cheaper than Sambucol and just as effective. Also makes a great base for salad dressings or can mix with sparkling mineral water for a delicious immune boosting soda!

Vitamin A (10,000 IU): Works great for when you first start to feel sick. I take 40,000 IU at one time. I have checked with my doctor friends and found out that you can do this for short periods of time. I only take 40,000 IU/day but usually that is enough to make a noticeable difference in about 20 minutes.

Probiotics (20 billion +): In addition to their beneficial effects on the health of the colon and digestive system, probiotics also support our immune systems. It is thought that probiotic bacteria inhibit the growth of potentially pathogenic organisms by producing acids, hydrogen peroxide, and natural antibiotics called bacteriocins and microcins (Fernandes 1987)

Grapefruit seed extract by Nutribiotic: I can’t imagine the bug that can survive this stuff! It is HORRIBLE, VILE, NASTY TASTING stuff…BUT…it works. 20 drops in a tablespoon of elderberry concentrate is the ONLY way I can get it down.   Since it has the consistency of a resin, it coats your tonsils and back of throat where viruses and bacteria linger and like I said not much can survive this stuff… including you!

Oreganol by North American Herb and Spice Company: If you like oregano, you are in for a treat. HOWEVER, if you are like me and wouldn’t be caught dead using it in your pasta sauce, know that what you are trying to kill can’t stand it either. A couple of well aimed drops at the back of your tonsils will usually do the trick and create a significant gag reflex to boot.

As you can see, my kit doesn’t contain Vitamin C or Echinacea. That is because after years of using it and getting sick anyway, I gave up and continued the search for products that work more reliably 90% of the time. On the occasions that I lose the battle, I remind myself that sometimes, it is OK to be sick.

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Pillow Talk

Did you ever wonder if your pillow is making you sick?  Most of us will attest that there is nothing better than a good night’s sleep and the RIGHT pillow makes all the difference in achieving that goal.  Therefore, when we do finally find that perfect pillow some of us will keep it FOREVER!   That is why it is imperative that you do yourself, and your significant other, a favor and THROW OUT YOUR PILLOW!  YES!  You heard me right, hater of waste, queen of recycling I said, “THROW IT OUT!”, especially if it is over 2 years old or can’t handle this test.  Take your favorite pillow, fold in half and watch what happens.  Does it spring back?  If so, you are in luck and get to keep it.  If not TOSS IMMEDIATELY, here is why.

Pillows are a breeding ground for tiny little colonies of bacteria.  What prey tell (pun intended) do these critters feed off of…YOU!  Actually, the former you, i.e. dead skin cells and the organisms that feed off of them.  Dr Heike Neumeister-­‐Kemp, CEO -­‐ Mycologia and former Chairperson of the Indoor Air Quality Special Interest Group for the Clean Air Society of Australia and New Zealand, explains that our pillows are a breeding ground for dust mites, mold and fungi.  “Most of us spend up to a third of our lives in bed and nasties build up inside our pillows creating a hygiene issue.

Fungi love to grow in the warmth and moisture we sweat from our bodies. They use the nutrients from our dead skin cells to grow right under our noses,” she said.“These organisms can emit toxins which we breathe in when we go to bed at night,” Dr Kemp said. And if that wasn’t enough to make you holder-ons throw it out, consider this… About one in four Americans has some type of allergy, and within that group about two-thirds are allergic to dust mites, said Dr. James Sublett, an allergist in Louisville, Ky., who is chairman of the Indoor Allergen Committee of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.  “Very few people are allergic to just one thing,” he said.

Not sure whether you have a sensitivity to dust mites? Ask yourself these questions: Do you have persistent sniffles and sinus headaches? Do you often wake up with scratchy eyes? Do you sneeze repeatedly first thing in the morning? Do you have chronic nasal congestion? How often should you be changing your pillow?  About every 2 years.  You can you prolong the life, freshness and health of your pillow by: – Every month put your pillow in the dryer for 20 minutes – When you purchase your new pillow get a dust mite protector case as well – Keep pets away from your pillow – And lastly…if in doubt THROW IT OUT!

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What The Dalai Lama and I Share in Common

I LOVE the Dalai Lama.  I love his bravery, I love his sense of humor, and I love his words of compassionate wisdom.  The other day I was talking to a friend and the topic of the Dalai Lama came up and she said, “you know he is a meat eater” and I said “WHAT?  How does he reconcile that with being Buddhist and the philosophy of harming nothing?”  To which she replied, “I don’t know…but he eats meat!”    SO…I do what I always do when I want an answer to another one of my esoteric questions…I GOOGLE IT!  And this is what I found:  Dalai Lama on meat eating.

I was pleased to discover that the Dalai Lama and I have more in common than a birth month…we both got jaundice from being strict vegetarians and we both came to the same conclusion, i.e. everyone needs to find what works for them while still being a compassionate steward on Planet Earth.  For me that means I eat meat but I do it responsibly, i.e. I pay more for eggs that come from a farmer who lets his chickens run free range and feeds them a mixture of yellow dock, dandelion and milk thistle to bolster their immune systems (see previous egg rave post). Or I buy meat from a farmer who treats his animals like one of my heroes Joel Salatin (the farmer featured in the movies Food Inc and Fresh).  Here is ONE of my favorite quotes from him that pretty much sums up my philosophy on food.

“This magical, marvelous food on our plate, this sustenance we absorb, has a story to tell. It has a journey. It leaves a footprint. It leaves a legacy. To eat with reckless abandon, without conscience, without knowledge; folks, this ain’t normal.”― Joel Salatin, Folks, This Ain’t Normal: A Farmer’s Advice for Happier Hens, Healthier People, and a Better World

SO…whether vegetarian or vegan or meat eater or opportunivore, I encourage you all to find what works for your bodies with clear conscience and a heart of integrity.

In great health!


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When Cheating is Good for You!

I just had the thought this morning that I wonder if someone else were to grade
me on my eating, what grade would I get? So I asked my friend David who always gives me an honest answer on weird questions like these and he said 9…NOT BAD!

I like being a 9 cause I don’t want to be perfect. In the past I would have redoubled my efforts to try to be a 10. But, age brings wisdom and I have learned that being perfect doesn’t allow for mistakes/cheating and mistakes/cheating are where the real learning comes from.

Those of you who are my clients have probably heard me say that one of my rules to live by is 80/20. In other words 80% of the time do what you know is good for you and the other 20% of the time, CHEAT! I think David was being too nice (angels are like that) by giving me a grade of 9. I would probably give myself an 8 for the Kettle sweet onion potato chips (I just saw they have a Maple Bacon that I must try!), Pamela’s gluten free pecan shortbread cookies, maple bacon doughnuts, Michel Cluizel dark chocolate with candied orange peel, infused martinis and BACON that occasionally sneak past the gates and into the dark recesses of my gastrointestinal tract. I must admit I don’t always feel good when I succumb to the above temptations BUT…I think it helps to satisfy that part of me that will MUTINY if I don’t give her what she wants.

SO…I encourage you all to CHEAT (in the context of a good diet of course) and let me know what your favorite 20% is…I will probably add it to my list!

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Breakfast Reconstructed

Sometimes I get bored…ok…often I get bored and have to think outside my own box for creative and tasty breakfast combos. Here is one that I created in a moment of boredom.

High protein quick breakfast

Gluten free bagel with chevre, fig butter, hotsauce and smoked salmon

photo 3

photo 2 (2)

photo 5

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