Beauty Is A Lot More Than Skin Deep

So many people today are struggling with acne, rosacea, dry skin, and more. The first thing a dermatologist will do is find a prescription lotion or pill to take to improve the look of the skin.

After working with my naturopathic doctor on nutrition, I’ve found out that it’s not what we put ON our bodies that affects the appearance of the skin long term, it’s definitely what we are or aren’t putting IN our bodies.

Most Americans are highly affected by stress, both from diet, physical, and emotional stress. Our adrenals were built to take on all that stress, but when it gets to be too much to handle, we experience adrenal fatigue.

From that point, our bodies won’t work as optimally as they should. For example, the adrenals control how much acid our stomach makes. Contrary to what the medical doctors believe, acid reflux is often a lack of stomach acid. The food sits there and decomposes, instead of being digested and moved through the colon as it should. When we eat more food, the decomposing food is sitting there in the way, and the stomach acid that is trying to digest the new food gets pushed up into the esophagus. Gross, right? And very uncomfortable and painful! Long term, it causes damage to the esophagus that can result in cancer! Then there are other problems…a lot of people with heartburn and acid reflux are also constipated, because their whole system is sluggish. Nothing is moving…oh boy, what a vicious cycle and downright terrible way to live!

Rosacea is also related to lack of stomach acid. When a person with rosacea begins to support their adrenals and get their colon cleaned out, and maybe even supplements with HCL, the rosacea clears up. I have a friend with rosacea, and she’s slathering on products all the time that have been found to BLEACH the skin! Oh my, how I wish she would address what was happening inside, instead of putting loads of chemicals on the outside.

Another huge problem for teens and some adults is acne. Along with that comes embarrassing scarring. A simple solution is to supply the body with quality Essential Fatty Acids and Zinc. Usually, the solution is to put something topical on the face, which can lead to sensitive skin being burned. As me how I know that??!! Along with my own experience, my own two children are teenagers, and should be covered with zits, but as soon as they start getting zits, my first question to them is, “Are you taking your EA’s and Zinc?” I always get the answer, “No, mom.” As soon as they start taking it, the zits are gone faster than a toupee in the South Dakota winds :P.

If we focus on healing our bodies and providing what they need nutritionally, not only will we feel better, but we will look better too!

Flu Season, or Holiday Season?

You know the all too familiar feeling….a slight achy feeling, tiredness, throat starts hurting, and pretty soon you’re down on the couch with the dreaded flu. They call this time of year, “flu season”, but is it really flu season or just sugar season? Note that the CDC shows that the flu season is basically October – February.

Exactly what happens in October – February? Lots, and lots of parties. What is at the parties? Unhealthy foods and sugar!!

October: Halloween
November: Thanksgiving
December: Christmas
January: New Years
February: Valentine’s Day

I’m just like you….I have a sweet tooth as big as a house, and if I don’t pay attention, I’m loading myself down with all the goodies. Not only do I feel icky, but then I get sick.

Why would sugar have anything to do with getting sick? Well believe it or not, refined white sugar is very hard on the immune system because it damages your white blood cell count. We want good, healthy blood cells that can be mighty fighters!! We want to keep them hungry so that they can eat up all the bad bacteria (think flu germs), fungus, and any foreign matter that shouldn’t be in our system. If you want a really cool word to throw out to your friends, this process is called phagocytosis.

When the white blood cells are damaged by our unhealthy diets, they get weak. Take a look at this data from JoAnn Rachor, in her book entitled Of These You May Freely Eat, she illustrates the impact of sugar on white blood cells activity. She shares the following, explaining that this is over a four-hour period:

  • No sugar in the diet…..white blood cells can kill 15 (foreigners…viruses, bacteria, parasites, cancerous cells) over a 4 hour period with no decrease in immunity
  • 6 t/sugar (½ can of soda) …..white blood cells can kill 10 = 25% reduction in immunity over next 4 hours.
  • 12 t/sugar (full can of soda or frosted brownie)….white blood cells can kill 5.5 = 60% reduction in immunity over next 4 hours
  • 18 t/sugar (piece of pie with ice cream)….white blood cells can kill 2 = 85% reduction in immunity over next 4 hours
  • 24 t/sugar (banana split with all the fixin’s)…white blood cells can kill 1 = 92% decrease in immunity over next 4 hours

Yikes!! So we go to parties, eat lots of junk, and hang around with all those people with probably at least someone in the midst that is carrying a virus, and boom, the next week we’re also down for the count.

So maybe totally avoiding sugar is pretty much impossible this time of year, but maybe cutting down as much as possible and building up the immune system in as many ways as possible with stave off the colds and flues that plague so any of us this time of year!

I recommend lots of clean water, exercise, probiotics, Vitamins B, C, D, lots of healthy veggies and fruits, elderberry syrup, and I have also successfully staved off sickness by taking echinacea capsules when I feel something coming on.

Contrary to what you might think, I am not a spoil sport, and I do indulge in all those wonderful treats from time to time, but I do everything I can to kick my immune system into gear at the same time.

Hoping you have a healthy Christmas and happy New Year!




Sugar Addict

Are you a sugar addict? I always knew that I loved sugar, and that I have a hard time controlling the amount I eat once I start eating it. I didn’t have a full realization of my addiction until I went on a fast.

It almost scared me how bad the cravings were, and how my body kept telling me how badly it needed sugar.

When I started researching they why’s, I found out that people who are addicted to sugar are experiencing the same effects that a drug use experiences.

When we eat, dopamine, a pleasure hormone is released that wants us to go back to that same activity. it’s the exact same hormone released when we feel “in love”.

The problem is that sugar and other highly processed foods make dopamine release at extremely high levels, so much so that the addiction can be as strong as illegal drugs. Scientists have done studies to prove that the brain lights up when it is subjected to sugar in the same ways it lights up when the person has used drugs. The same brain pathways are activated.

In the same way that drug users need more and more drugs to satisfy them, so sugar addicts need more and more sugar to satisfy their desires. This happens because as the body is exposed to more and more of the addictive substance, it becomes tolerant, and reduces the number of dopamine receptors. With fewer receptors, a larger dose is needed to reach the same effect.

If you doubt the addictive nature of sugar or junk foods, try quitting cold turkey. Your addiction will manifest itself as cravings! This happened to me recently when I changed my diet completely. I was actually shocked at how badly I wanted sugar, and even felt physically ill to the point that even with my strong will power, I grudgingly allowed myself a cookie or two.

There’s no way to really scientifically measure your addiction to sugar or junk foods, but doctors have begun using drug treatment medications for food addictions! If that doesn’t put a little bit of concern into your heart for what our SAD (Standard American Diet — which is indeed SAD!!) has done to us, I’m not sure what will.

I was actually able to come to the place where I said no altogether to processed sugar and junk, and you can too. Sometimes just grabbing a wonderful juicy peach or  your favorite fruit is a great way to quench those desires. Just not having junk near you helps, but a lot of times that’s pretty much impossible. I’ve found that drinking water with Stur, a natural flavoring with stevia, helps my cravings a lot. It feels like I’m having a treat, but I’m not putting poison in my body.

What tricks have you used to end your sugar addiction?




Thyroid Cancer Update

Hey everyone!

I just wanted to write an update on how I’m doing. I’m now 11 weeks post TT (total thyroidectomy), and I’m really feeling quite well. My balance that I struggled with a lot at first is so much better, as well as some left-over shakiness from low calcium. I’ on 130 mgs of Nature-throid that I take in two doses, 1 grain (65 mgs) in the morning, and 1 grain in the afternoon, around 2 pm.

I would say that I’m still a bit tired sometimes, but I would equate it to the normal tiredness that I’ve felt for years. Not debilitating by any means, and I’m back to all of my regular activities, even taekwondo, although not full throttle — yet!!

If you’ve had a thyroidectomy, let me try to explain a few things to you that can help you on your journey.

Why did I decide NOT to take synthroid or levothyroxin, and instead chose natural desiccated thyroid “NDT”. 

When I learned that the common treatment for metastasized papillary thyroid carcinoma is surgery, I knew I would need replacement thyroid hormones for the rest of my life. I tried natural protocols, but even my naturopathic doctor said at the stage mine was at, it might be better to get control of the cancer with surgery,so after wrestling through that decision for months, I decided to do the surgery.

It is sometimes very difficult to find an endocrinologist that will prescribe NDT, and of course, when I asked the endocrinologist assigned to my case about NDT, her answer was a flat out NO! It’s not regulated, blah, blah, blah. Friends, that is simply untrue, and NDT has been used for over 150 years. Until the pharmaceutical industry got their hands on making a T4 only med, and paying for the studies to say it was the best med, everyone had to use NDT.

Now we’re seeing tons of people with thyroid problems that feel horrible for the rest of their life because not only will doctors not do complete thyroid panels to check ALL the thyroid levels, but a lot of them do not link the complaints of their patients with inadequate thyroid hormones. Depression? Here’s a depression med. Pain all over your body? You must have fibromyalgia, so here are some more pain meds and depression meds. Can’t get out of bed because you’re dying of tiredness? Well your thyroid levels are fine, so it’s not that. Must be something else. On and on the balogney goes.

I see people on the thyca (thyroid cancer) groups complaining of symptoms that never get resolved for years!! Pain, tiredness, weight gain, muscle pain, join pain, depression, rage….oh how it grieves my heart!

I didn’t want to join in their misery, and to tell you the truth, I was terrified to have my thyroid removed. I’m a natural girl too, so it went against everything I believed before. I still believe to this day that the body can heal itself, but we can’t totally discount the gifts and knowledge that God has given to medical doctors either. We do need a hand up sometimes.

Whew, what a long rant hahaha!!

But anyway, back to NDT. After researching for months before my surgery, talking to my naturopathic dcotor about what his patients have experienced, and reading thousands of posts on thyroid cancer forums, I knew for sure that I wanted to be on NDT. I dismissed myself from the care of the first endocrinologist and found one that would prescribe NDT. 3 months out from surgery, and I’m still very pleased with my decision.

I haven’t had depression, anger, my female hormones are still balanced (I worked hard on that for several years before surgery), my adrenals don’t seem to be as stressed, I haven’t gotten sick once since my surgery and I had been sick all the time beforehand, I get through my very busy days just fine, and only slightly more fatigued than I used to be. I know my levels won’t be right for a while, because I’m still having a few hypo symptoms, but I’m very pleased that I never had to suffer long term like so many people I’ve run into.

Why does NDT work so well for so many? I’m not discounting others that have had success with their other meds, by any means, but by far, many people have seen great relief of their hypo symptoms with NDT because it’s a broad spectrum of thyroid hormones, 5 to be exact, where the synthetics are just one thyroid hormone, T4. Armour (which I don’t take because they changed the fillers and some people have had reactions to it), Nature-throid, WP, and the like have T4, T3, T2, T1, and calcitonin in them. Some people will still need to add a bit more T3 in a separate med, like Cytomel, but to make it easy on your body, and not have to make it try to convert T4 into T3, works for me and many others.

Yeah….I’ve had others tell me that I have no room to talk because I’m only 3 months out from surgery, so I don’t know anything. Maybe I don’t but I sure can’t discount the testimony of thousands of others that have experienced horrible health due to T4 only, then improved health with NDT. Maybe my bubble will burst tomorrow or the next day, but I’ve lived in fear, waiting for 3 months for the bubble to burst, and it hasn’t, so I’m leaving the fear behind and trusting God along with a lot of really smart people’s knowledge that have blessed me so much in this journey! I pray that I can be a blessing to you as well.


My Personal Struggles

Papillary thyroid carcinoma total thyroidectomy
1 day after TT!

You can live your best life even through real life struggles. How do I know? Well in January of this year, I was faced with the possibility of having cancer. Me? I’ve lived so healthfully for quite a while now, trying to do the best job I can at taking care of myself, and not having any symptoms of ill health that I was aware of.

Still, when I went to my doctor in January for a yearly checkup, he noticed that my neck didn’t look right. After feeling around a bit, he said that I had a thyroid nodule, and that it should be biopsied. But, in his opinion, he said that usually they are only cancerous in 1-2% of cases.

Am I the lucky little Irish girl or what??? After an ultrasound and some dubious results that looked more bad than good, and after waiting two months to get into an endocrinologist for a biopsy, I got the results on May 30th: Papillary Thyroid Cancer.

Now you must know that papillary thyroid cancer is a slow growing cancer, and thyroid cancer in general has a high cure rate, but removing the thyroid can send a person into a tailspin since that tiny little organ controls a lot of how we live our life — energy, whether we feel healthy, heart rate, metabolism….a big bunch of everything that makes us feel as if we are a healthy person or not.

As in any shocking news, there’s a bit of emotional upheaval, lots of research, trying to talk to others who have a similar story, finding out what to expect, and if you’re me, balking against everything the establishment says if you know there might be a better way 🙂

I did a thorough body cleanse and radical diet change from February to March, so I felt that I had given things a fair chance to change. The hard part to deal with was all the advice to cure the cancer naturally. I’m a HUGE proponent of doing everything naturally, but as you know, sometimes you need some radical medical help, and with the advice of my naturopathic doctor, lots of prayer and seeking as much wise counsel as possible, I went ahead and had a total thyroidectomy on May 18th.

The final pathology report came back with 2 large cancerous nodules on each side of my thyroid that had escaped the thyroid capsule a bit and aso infected at least one lymph node. I’m very sure that I did the right thing, and am well on my way to recovery now 13 days post-surgery!

I will update as I can on my progress. Except for the tiredness from surgery and having to adjust to thyroid medication, my moods are stable, I believe I’ve found a very good endocrinologist that actually listens to his patients, and I’m on NDT (natural dessicated thyroid hormones — I’ll explain why I fought for this in a later post). This is a new journey for me, but as I look at other survivor’s stories, I can see that life can be a big struggle for many who do not have the help that I have. My naturopathic doctor has assured me that I can do well, and I do feel that the nutritional help he has given me, along with having a great endocrinologist, and having great resources to point me in the right direction from the very beginning are an instrumental part in why I’ve felt so well in not even 2 weeks from my surgery.

Don’t let your struggles discourage you from living a healthy life! Grab your cape, and be super!!! 🙂

Superwoman -- a few minutes before surgery :)
Superwoman — a few minutes before surgery 🙂


Healthy Food Made Sooo Much Easier!

instant-potI don’t know about you, but as a busy wife and parent, I find it extremely difficult to get healthy food made in a reasonable amount of time. I also don’t particularly enjoy cooking. (I do however, love eating!!) I wanted to tell you about a product that has been life changing in the way I feed my family. It’s the one and only Instant Pot.

My mother used a pressure cooker years and years ago, and instilled a fear in me that the thing could explode and kill all of us. Did it ever do that? No. But that fear has been in me through the years. I mean, who wants a projectile bullet pressure gage-y thing thwinging itself through the house, or perhaps be burned alive by an exploding pot?? Not me, no sir, no way, no how. Putting the fear aside, I also remember the wonderfully tasty food and soft meat that came from that fearful pot!

Recently, as I visited a friend, and she made a delicious dinner from her stove top pressure cooker, and the memories of my mother’s delicious food came back in full force. I started researching pressure cookers, and this Instant Pot kept surfacing every time I looked up all the pros and cons of pressure cooking. I kept thinking, “Why would I want another countertop appliance? My slow cooker sits there on the counter too, always in the way, but only getting used once a week or so. It uses a ton of electricity too.”

I started reading reviews on the Instant Pot, even though I was dead set against getting another electric cooker that would die the death of such appliances like the toaster oven, I started being impressed with the reviews and comments of those who loved their Instant Pot. I thought the 10 safety features were quite impressive, and the cooking time saved was unbelievable. Another feature that impressed me is the fact that the inner pot is stainless steel, not some toxic coating that could flake off into my food.

Click here to get yours now!

What else impressed me? Well, besides being a pressure cooker, the Instant Pot can be used as a slow cooker, rice cooker, and has features for yogurt, soup, meat, poultry, beans/chili, a saute feature, and steamer. I got mine a few months ago, and fell in love with it right away!

I could tell you all of my favorites, but a few highlights are: frozen chicken cooked in 20 minutes (times don’t include it building up pressure, which adds another 10 minutes or so to the time, depending how full the pot is), brown rice 20 mins, hard boiled eggs 3 mins, 15 bean soup (the dried beans that take 8 hours in the crock pot), 25-30 mins, pork roast softest I’ve ever tasted 90 minutes, almost any soup in 15-20 minutes….I could go on and on, and I haven’t even tried many of the features yet because I’m always in a hurry!

If you’re wanting one for yourself (I know you do!!!), here’s an easy link to get one. You won’t regret it!
Instant Pot IP-DUO60 7-in-1 Multi-Functional Pressure Cooker, 6Qt

Exercise: Too Long, Too Frequent, Too Intense

In recent years, exercise gurus are seeing so many people who exercise for long periods of time, 3-5 times a week, yet there are little to no changes in their bodies. They might lose a tiny bit of weight, but gain it back as they get discouraged with the results and begin to slack off in their training.

Why does this phenomenon happen? The more you exercise and cut calories, the more you’ll lose weight, right?
This, after all, is what has been preached at us for years!

As fitness experts look into why typical training and dieting isn’t working for the majority of people, they’ve found that too much exercise and cutting too many calories is causing a stressed physiology. Most programs ask for a person to exercise for too long, too frequently, and too intensely, and it’s destroying those with even the best of intentions.

The metabolism starts to shut down when a person consumes too few calories, and then add the stress of too much exercise, and you have a very discouraged person on your hands because their weight stays pretty much where it’s been.

What is a person’s natural reaction to not losing enough weight even with lots of exercise and cutting calories? Well, they do even more exercise, and cut calories even more!

The right way to lose weight is to do intense reps of exercise in very short periods of time (15 minutes!!), and no more than 3 times a week. It’s called HIIT, or High Intensity Interval Training. While you’re able to exercise with correct form and intensity, you give it all you’ve got, and when you need to rest, you rest, then start back in as soon as you can. Does it work? Oh yes! This is my go-to type of training these days. It creates results quickly, and provides peace of mind knowing that you don’t have to live in the gym the rest of your life.

Small Goals

Hey! Just checking in to see how you’re doing, and maybe give you a little “kick in the pants” :). I need some encouragement every once in a while, and I’m betting you do too!

Health goals, just like any goal in life, can be overwhelming at times. If you feel bad all the time, are low in energy, or have a lot of weight to lose, just looking at the end goal can be so daunting.

I would encourage you to break any goal you have into small bits.

For instance, if you have 50+ lbs. to lose or even 5, why not break things down into just enough to handle for this week, or maybe just even TODAY. Seriously, days turn into weeks so fast, that focusing on just today might be enough. Could you exercise for 15 minutes today, or cut out one bad meal for a good one? Drink more water? Sure you could! I’m here to cheer you all the way!

I try to make my goals super simple as well. Instead of having a major carb-laden snack like chips or crackers (that usually end up making me feel nauseated later anyway), I go to the fridge and get some celery and almond butter. Do I really want that as a snack in place of the carbs? Nope. But once I get it ready and start munching, it actually tastes awesome!

I promise you that the little changes add up fast, but doing nothing won’t get you anywhere at all!

Whole Wheat Flour: The Big Hoax

bread-1329360-1279x1074 There’s a huge hoax in the world of health information today, and it has to do with a common household staple. You’ve already guessed by now from the title — I’m talking about wheat.

So if you eat wheat, hopefully this post will make things clear —- hopefully clearer than mud anyway :).

By in large, studies have shown that 73% of shoppers believe that wheat flour and whole grain flour are the same thing. Even labels are deceiving, stating that certain healthy products are “made with whole grains”. When you turn the package over, and look at the ingredients, they might say something like: wheat flour, whole wheat flour, or enriched whole wheat flour.

Why is wheat flour not the best thing to be eating? Well, if you look on the list of ingredients I mentioned above, that means that the natural vitamins and minerals have been stripped from the wheat, and the mill has enriched it, or replaced a few of them back.

Like a friend of mine says, if you had 21 dollars, and a robber came and took all 21 of your dollars, and then returned 3, would you feel “enriched”?

That’s exactly what happens when flour is enriched. The mill strips 21 nutrients from the natural grain, and then replaces 3 of them. It doesn’t sound so great now, does it?

So why is it done in the first place?

Well, natural grains are prone to going rancid, so when a mill refines the flour, it increases the shelf life for quite a long time.

Often, the “enriched” or “replaced” vitamins and minerals are also synthetic, and not even the natural ones originally found in the wheat in the first place! The companies can claim that a product is whole wheat or whole grain if at least 5% of the wheat is whole grain.

Why would this be a problem? Well of course if a natural food is stripped of its vitamins and minerals, it’s a lot less nutritious and you’re just eating junk food disguised as healthy food.

“Unbleached whole grain flour” is also a very misleading term. Whole wheat flour is never bleached in the first place, so this term only serves to make you feel better about the junk you just bought.

So what conclusion should you come to if you’re looking to eat wheat in a healthy way?

In the US, simply look for “whole wheat grain flour” as the first ingredient on the package. Don’t trust the flashy front label to tell you whether it’s made from whole grains or not, look on the ingredient facts on the back of the package.

This may vary in other countries. In the US, if the ingredients say “whole wheat flour”, it must contain the complete whole grain. In Canada, the whole grain will be labeled “whole grain whole wheat flour”. In the UK, it will be labeled as “wholemeal”.

If you’re concerned about getting the best nutrition available, avoid these ingredients:

Wheat flour
Enriched wheat flour
All-purpose flour
Unbleached wheat flour
Bread flour
Cake flour
White flour

Hope this helps with all the confusion.

Talk to you later,
Deborah Leaverton

The Battle of Motivation vs. Habit

Is motivation the real thing that gets people to change? That’s something I’ve had to think about for a while. I brought it down to real life.

How often do I feel motivated to clean the kitchen, do the laundry, or cook? For me, that answer is, “rarely”. How often do I feel motivated to make healthy choices or exercise. Again, my answer is, “rarely”. Now you might want to just call me lazy, and you might be mostly right :).

The fact is, with the exception of feeling more comfortable in a clean house and not embarrassed when people stop by, or feeling good about my health because of exercise and a good diet, these sorts of things don’t really cause me a lot of joy.

I cook because my family likes to eat LOL (don’t tell them that…although I’ve told my husband on numerous occasions that I could give up cooking forever and it wouldn’t bother me a bit!), yet I continue to do all of these things daily.

The thing I’ve had to do in my life because of the lack of motivation, is to develop good habits.

When you make a good habit into a daily habit, it changes who you are.

“You are the culmination of your habits.”

Exercise, as I mentioned above, is a perfect example of something that I wanted to change.

You see,  when it comes down to it, motivation is a myth. How do I know that? Because even if you’re motivated for a while, it wears off.

It’s not just you or me. Did you know that even after an athlete consistently trains for years and years, most of them only feel motivated to work out half the time?

A habit is something you do automatically,  and that’s what athletes do. They train whether they feel like it or not. It’s just a part of who they are.

You can set goals for yourself, and setting goals will help a lot, but there will never be a permanent change unless you learn how to make them a habit in your life.

The real struggle with changing bad habits into good ones, is to figure out how you can convince your brain to make permanent habits that will bring lasting change to your body and health.

If someone could make you change your habits so that you enjoy making healthy choices and exercise, they would have hit the jackpot!

What are your best tips to change a habit, so that it doesn’t matter whether you’re motivated to accomplish the task or not?

For me, I have to write the task down, and put it somewhere where I can see it constantly. For me, that’s the dining room table at the place where I usually sit. Now that’s not earth shattering, but since I also sit there to work on my computer, I see my list often through the day. Maybe you need to set an alarm on your phone. Maybe you have a certain person that you do things with on a regular basis, so seeing them reminds you of that goal you need to accomplish every day.

Whatever it is, you need to have something that makes you do what you set out to accomplish every day, until it becomes a part of your life, and you need to do it to feel accomplished.

To good habits for life!
Deborah Leaverton