Coming Out of the Mental Health Closet

Paleo FX 2014 - Our Flaws Are Our Trophies

This post is about the direction that I am taking Primal Balance. I've had some incredible breakthroughs in my life the last few years. I think it's time that I share some of those. This blog has always been about my journey in the primal lifestyle. I created it three years ago as a way to share my experiences of switching to a Paleo diet, fitness, nutritional therapy training, but most of all trying to balance my brain. I have always struggled with being manic depressive. Chemical imbalances run through my family like brown hair does. I feel like a lot of people will relate with me here but we have so much shame about mental illness and so much judgment about the treatment of it that very few people in the Paleo community will talk about it without condemning others' choices on how to handle it. Those of us who face it stay in the closet for fear of being ostracized.

So this is me being the voice for those of you who haven't found yours yet, but I know you will in your own time. Maybe I'll lose credibility, but honestly I think that those of you who need to hear this will embrace my story and support me through this. Two years ago, I was white knuckling it. I'd been Paleo for a year. My hormones were a disaster and with the help of Robb Wolf and his super podcast I got those straightened out, but my mood swings were only getting worse and my emotional turmoil was spiraling. I was going through intensive therapy that was helping me but the chemical ups and downs were blocking my growth. I tried to Paleo harder. I tried a ketogenic diet which made me utterly miserable. I did sugar detoxes that helped at least temporarily but didn't offer long term solutions. I had shame that I wasn't doing this lifestyle right. Because if I was, I wouldn't be such an emotional wreck.

You see I had a difficult childhood and I know for sure I'm not alone in this. I didn't know how to cope, so at 11 years old I developed a phobia of choking which turned into anorexia. Then when I was 15 I started experimenting with drugs and alcohol so I used those until I became a serious drug addict by the age of 21. It was all control mechanisms to avoid hurt and have some control over a young girl’s life that was completely out of control. I found myself in a 12 step program and while I easily got clean, for the first time I was feeling the disgusting pain of my life. I don't even know if there was one shred of light inside of me. I just felt black on the inside. I had a successful radio career with a well-known morning show on a popular station. But I spent most of my time fantasizing about suicide and escaping pain through caffeine, unhealthy food, cigarettes, and men. During that first sober year I was wrongly diagnosed by a psychiatrist and put on medication that only created a dependency on more drugs and caused me to be manic for two years straight.

When I got pregnant with my first daughter, I weaned off the meds and vowed to never use medication for my mental wellbeing again. Fortunately through my pregnancies and years of breastfeeding I found stability, but as soon as I wasn't pregnant or nursing I couldn't cope. I've always been high functioning, putting on the pretty face that I had my sh*t together. It was never hard for me to fake it because I was such a perfectionist that I spent my life trying to make people think I was...well...perfect.

Exactly two years ago I go to a family reunion. I get completely triggered by old, old, old abandonment that courses through my veins thicker than the blood inside of them. I was correctly diagnosed at that time and had an understanding therapist who supported my stance on using medication. She was trying very hard to help me cope without it. After the family reunion I came home suicidal. For the first time in a while and I knew that I could not live this way anymore. My children deserved better, my husband deserved better, and most of all—dammit!—I deserved better.

So I made an appointment with a psychiatrist who is the most gentle, supportive man I could have ever asked for. He listened to my concerns. He nurtured me in a way I didn't expect. He told me the story about Ted Turner in Atlanta who owns the Braves and all those tv stations and his journey through mental illness and finding success after he got medicated. I felt hope for the first time...maybe ever. The doctor found the right medication for me and I'm not exaggerating when I say, by the next day, my life changed. There were no side effects, I was still me, I wasn't addicted to the pills, I could actually do the work on my emotions without the chemical stuff holding me back. My husband fell in love with me all over again because he could finally see who I really might be. I started healing relationships with people I didn't think possible. Most of all...myself.

I learned to love myself. Through this journey I let go of control, jealousy, attachment, and I found freedom. I worked really hard. I'm not giving the medication all the credit here but it certainly deserves some of it. I do not believe that being medicated is right for everyone but I am tired of the judgment in this community about it. A few months after I started taking it, I was sharing a room with a beautiful young woman I'd just met at a Paleo conference. I had not yet told anyone in the Paleo world about my secret so I told her and she was so accepting. And told me that she knew someone close to her that was much like me and that she hoped one day I would come out of the closet so that maybe I could help others. Eris, I've never forgotten that conversation. You've been my inspiration to work up the courage to write this post all of these years.

I've made it a point to tell more people my "secret" lately as I've preached to y'all that shame can't live in the dark. It's definitely not a secret now and I'm proud of it actually. The beautiful thing is, lots of people in this community are going through exactly the same thing and once I got brave enough to share with them what I was going through they said they were going through it too. I know when I give a talk and women are in the audience crying because they can relate to my story, that I've made all of the right choices on this journey. I want to empower you to be who you truly are and I want you to make choices that are right for you and not based off the judgments of others. I want you to heal and live a joyful, fulfilling, and balanced life.


The direction of this blog will continue to move into a platform of empowerment and motivation. I want to talk about relationships and trauma and all that stuff that keeps us small. I hope you'll continue to join me on this journey of healing and finding self love…together.

xoxo-K





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Paleo Wellness Retreat in Jamaica May 7-May 11


A year ago I was introduced to Dr. Daniel Stickler and Mickra Hamilton. They are doing innovative and fascinating work at their two wellness clinics in Charleston, WV and Asheville, NC. Last October we along with a wonderful group of people made our way to sunny Jamaica for the first Paleo Wellness Retreat and now we're doing it again! This is an exceptional opportunity with great rates. Workouts include daily yoga on the beach, running, weight lifting classes in the gym, and parkour. The three days of morning and afternoon workshops will cover nutrition and fitness, stress reduction, and mind/body fitness. Leaving plenty of time for enjoying all that the beach and ocean have to offer and great food and drinks. Hope to see you there!

Arrive May 7 and Depart May 11

(add up to 3 days before or up to 3 days after at discounted rate)

 Join us for 4 days of Education, Relaxation, and Health Optimization

Enjoy 4 nights at the exclusive Grand Lido Negril, the secluded jewel of Negril Jamaica

This is all-inclusive with unlimited food & drink

Unlimited access to paddleboards, kayaks, sail boats and snorkling

$1400 Conference and Beach front room for two
$1280 Conference and Ocean view room for two
$910 Conference and Beach front room for single
$850 Conference and Ocean view room for single
**swim with the dolphins and other excursions are optional and available at discounted rates
**Airfare not included 






Daniel Stickler, M.D.

Dr. Stickler is a functional medicine physician and serves as the Medical Director of Synchronicity Wellness as well as Physiologix Medical Institute.  He is also hosts a blog: PaleoDoc.com.  
He trained in allopathic medicine and held board certification in General Surgery for more than ten years; performing general and vascular surgery as well as over 3,000 gastric bypass weight loss procedures. He had a thriving surgical practice and was a specialist in weight loss, treating over 10,000 clients in both the surgical practice and at the wellness institute. The busier he became the more he began to realize that true health is not a result of pharmaceuticals and stainless steel. He discovered that the clients at the wellness institute were making remarkable progress through nutrition, fitness and lifestyle counseling and hormone optimization.  Not only were they resolving disease, they were optimizing health, regaining vitality, improving neuro-cognitive status and creating lasting changes.  
This realization led him to the understanding that he could leave the old methods behind and fully embrace the new paradigm of health optimization. He retired from surgery and now knows that each individual has within them the ability to achieve optimal health and live a life full of vitality. He works closely with each client to develop individualized treatment regimens and provides extensive guidance throughout the year to assist the client in achieving their goals. 

Kendall Kendrick, NTP
  

Kendall Kendrick is a mom to four girls, Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, and motivational speaker. She writes about Paleo nutrition, lifestyle, personal growth, and empowerment on Primal-Balance.com and hosts the show Born Primal: Conversations With the Ancestral Health Community. Kendall shares her expertise with those facing nutritional adversity amongst peers and family members. She also speaks on the role of nutrition and lifestyle when it comes to self care, body love, letting go of control, shame, and perfectionism. 

 Mickra Hamilton, AuD
Dr. Mickra Hamilton is the Director of Wellness at Synchronicity Wellness LLC and owner and visionary of Source Harmonics PLLC. Her passion is to bring health to humanity through a new paradigm in medicine.  Mickra understands that optimized health and true balance are achieved only when all aspects of the human being are addressed.  Optimizing health is a beautiful process that focuses on the body, mind and spirit and involves hormone optimization, functional nutrition, functional fitness and stress reduction.
Mickra is a nationally certified Doctor of Audiology who leverages her twenty-five years of experience with neurophysiology and acoustics to diagnose and treat hearing loss and stress related dis-ease.  She uses Heart Rate Variability Biofeedback combined with customized sound/music to create unique and highly effective stress reduction programs in Synchronicity’s state of the art, 3D Anechoic, sound chamber.  Mickra also trains athletes in the use of HRV for sport specific training optimization. Her current research involves establishing evidence- based protocols for HRV and Music in the treatment of stress related disorders, specifically anxiety, ADHD, eating disorders, diabetes and Post Traumatic Stress Disorders.  
Mickra is a member of the Association for Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback and the International Society for Neurofeedback and Research. She is a WellCoach trained life coach and provides counseling for functional nutrition, functional fitness and stress management.  She is a certified CrossFit Level 1 and CrossFit Kids Instructor and is a trained Mountain Athlete and Wilderness Medicine First Responder. 

Kim Smith
Kim is the PaleoYogaMom. She is a mother, yogini, foodie, writer and lover of life. The practice, the lifestyle that is yoga has reconnected her to the shining light of creativity and clarity that exists in us all.  Through yoga she hopes to instill in her students and her family a deeper knowing of themselves, allowing a more rich and meaningful experience in life. Through the Paleo diet she has been able to achieve health and all the benefits that health has to offer. You can connect with Kim via Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/PaleoYogaMom?ref=hl or visit her blog,http://www.paleoyogamom.com      








G. Warren Walsh, Jr., DMD

Dr. Walsh is a practicing dentist interested in helping people obtain whole body health and wellness.  
 He stumbled into the paleo lifestyle/functional medicine paradigm almost four years ago looking for a new way to approach health, nutrition, and a better way of "living".  What started out as a personal journey now exudes though his personal, family, and professional life.
 Upon discovering functional medicine, Dr Walsh started to see many parallels between the state of dental health and whole body health and he is constantly working on ways to better serve his patients through diet and lifestyle modification programs in his current dental practice.
 He has a special interest in nutritional optimization and human performance using many different technologies and nutritional modalities. 

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Born Primal Episode 33: Sylvie McCracken Hollywood Homestead



This week's Born Primal guest has been a celebrity assistant for the last decade in Hollywood. Sylvie McCracken and her husband unschool their three children and she blogs at Hollywood Homestead. She's also the author of two e-books: The Paleo Survival Guide and The Gelatin Secret. 

On this episode we talk about juggling families and work, transitioning kids to healthier eating, how the Paleo diet improves your sex life, and all the great recipes in The Gelatin Secret. 


Podcast available on iTunes or Stitcher. You can also download the mp3 HERE!!!


Show Notes:

Articles---
Teenagers Perspective
Tips to Get Your Kids To Eat Paleo Edition
5 Ways Paleo Improves Your Sex Life

Born Primal listeners use code: BALANCE30 for 30% off The Paleo Survival Guide and/or The Gelatin Secret thru April 15th








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Paleo f(x) Presenter Podcast Round Up


We are less than two weeks away from Paleo f(x)! This roundup of presenters features anyone I've ever interviewed on the Born Primal podcast who will be speaking in Austin. For the full speaker list of the event click here. I'll be presenting on the Power of Imperfectionism Friday morning and participating on the Beyond Food panel Sunday. If you're coming to Austin, I'd love to meet you! 

Tony Federico of Paleo Magazine Radio and I are teaming up once again to bring you an excellent wrap up podcast featuring many PFX speakers. Enjoy the shows!!

Paleo f(x) Michelle Norris

The Paleo Mom Sarah Ballantyne

Nom Nom Paleo Michelle Tam

Balanced Bites Diane Sanfilippo

Everyday Paleo Sarah Fragoso

The Paleo Doc Daniel Stickler

The Paleo Drummer Steve Kirsch

Fitness Explorer Darryl Edwards

Paleo For Women Stefani Ruper

The Clothes Make The Girl Melissa Joulwan

Sustainable Dish Diana Rodgers

Paleo Comfort Foods Julie Mayfield

Slim Palate Joshua Weissman

Rubies & Radishes Arsy Vartanian

No Harm Foundation Shauna Young

The Domestic Man Russ Crandall

Primal Girl Tara Grant

The Paleo Manifesto John Durant

Livin' La Vida Low Carb Jimmy Moore

Hamilton Stapell



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Born Primal Episode 32: Stefani Ruper Paleo For Women



My mission to encourage people to love their bodies continues today with my guest Stefani Ruper who is the founder of Paleo For Women and just released the book Sexy By Nature. From the moment Stefani came on the Paleo scene she has encouraged women to own and love themselves. In this episode we talk about her new book, ancestral bodies, American obsession with weight. We also talked about Stefani's past struggles with disordered eating and how she's found the body that works for her. 


Podcast available on iTunes or Stitcher. You can also download the mp3 HERE!!!

Show Notes:
Paleo For Women on Facebook and Twitter









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Born Primal Episode 31: Melissa Joulwan The Clothes Make The Girl



Today I'm chatting with Melissa Joulwan of The Clothes Make The Girl. She's the author of three cookbooks: Paleo For Dummies, Well Fed, and Well Fed 2. In this episode, we talk about meditation (see links below,) living beyond food, sleep, having her thyroid removed, taking medication, yoga, feeling good AND looking good together, and Paleo FX.


Podcast available on iTunes or Stitcher. You can also download the mp3 HERE!!!



Show Notes:














Melissa's meditation links:


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Born Primal Episode 30: Joshua Weissman Slim Palate



Nothing in this world inspires me more than watching youth "get it." I've worked with and spoken to so many different children and teens through my food policy work. They are sponges and are fascinated by where food comes from and why it's so important. When I first heard Joshua Weissman's story a chord was struck. A teenager who of his own accord figured out how to chance his life. He lost over 100 pounds at 15 years old. But that wasn't enough. Joshua has taken his journey to the next level by blogging at Slim Palate and putting together this tremendous cookbook, The Slim Palate Paleo Cookbook.

In this episode we talk about Joshua's story of gaining and losing fat, his passion for sharing this knowledge with the world, how it's affected his family and friendships, Paleo FX, and his future plans.


Podcast available on iTunes or Stitcher. You can also download the mp3 HERE!!!



Show Notes:
Slim Palate on Facebook and Twitter





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Born Primal Episode 29: Arsy Vartanian Rubies & Radishes



This week I welcome Rubies & Radishes blogger, Arsy Vartanian, celebrating the release of The Paleo Foodie Cookbook. Arsy is also the author of The Paleo Slow Cooker. In this week's episode we chat about her health issues that led her to the Paleo lifestyle and renewed healthy. Arsy lives in California with her toddler and husband. 


Podcast available on iTunes or Stitcher. You can also download the mp3 HERE!!!

Show notes:
Rubies & Radishes on Facebook and Twitter
Buy the book:

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BEYOND FOOD: Digestion Matters (modPaleo guest post)

I was recently asked by my pals at modPALEO to contribute to a series titled Beyond Food where we explored stress, digestion, meditation, sleep, play, and fitness. 








Digestion, the essential process by which our body receives nutrients is one of the most crucial components to living your best life. The healthiest diet won’t make a difference if digestion is out of whack. Stress, sleep and activity are all factors that play a role in how well digestion works.
Digestion is a north to south process. Every cell that makes up every tissue that makes up every organ depends on the body’s digestive system to provide the nutrients it needs to keep on functioning. Let’s see what role this important plays in our health and what you can do better when it comes to digestion.

Digestion begins in the brain. The sight and smell of food triggers the salivary glands to begin producing saliva. As a culture we are overly stressed, which invokes a chronic state of “flight or fight”, a function of our sympathetic system which controls most of our internal organs. In order to digest our food we need to be in a parasympathetic (or restful) state.  It’s important that we RELAX before meals. Sit down to eat, eliminate distractions, take a few deep breaths, and be mindful.

The mechanical and chemical breakdown of food begins in the mouth. When the teeth physically break down food into smaller parts, we call that mastication. Salivary glands secrete saliva to moisten food and help with swallowing. Without proper chewing, the brain doesn’t get the message to trigger the proper digestive processes and food does not get broken down enough which places a burden on the stomach.
You can lessen the burden by chewing more. Chew foods at least 20 to 30 times per bite.

Once you swallow, food travels down the esophagus for passage to the stomach to continue the mechanical breakdown of food.Hydrochloric acid (HCl) triggers Gastrin to be released into the bloodstream. HCl is excreted into the stomach at a pH of 0.8, almost pure acid. Approximately 90% of Americans produce too little HCl. If you don’t produce enough, your body creates an environment where organisms like yeast, bacteria, viruses and parasites can thrive and raise havoc in the GI tract. Factors like stress, excess carbohydrate consumption, nutrient deficiency, allergies, and excess alcohol consumption can inhibit HCl production.

Digestion continues in the small intestine which has a dual role as a digestive organ and a gland. The intestinal walls secrete mucous while also secreting two hormones into the bloodstream: secretin and cholecystokinin (CCK). Secretin stimulates the pancreas to release bicarbonate and pancreatic juice, and CCK stimulates the gallbladder to release bile.
Low fat diets do not trigger the release of bile and diets full of bad fat can cause the bile to become viscous. The gallbladder tries to contract, but is unable to release the viscous bile. No bile leads to no absorption of fats.
Undigested proteins can impact the tiny hairs of the small intestine called the villi and microvilli. The lining becomes leaky and selectivity as to what passes through the lining is lost, a malady also known as Leaky Gut Syndrome. Nourishing proteins and fats inappropriately pass through the gut walls, which overwhelms the immune system. A nourishing food now becomes an assault on the immune system.

The leftovers from digestion are dealt with in the large intestines.  In the case of dysfunction, this includes maldigested foods full of parasites, microorganisms and undigested fats. Maldigested foods can clog the colon and get stuck, causing dysbiosis which disrupt the healthy flora. Without healthy flora, butyric acid is not produced which weakens the cells of the colon. This leaves the colon subject to inflammation, diverticula and loss of tone. Issues like IBS, crohns, colitis, celiac are a direct result.

As you can see, many problems can occur on the digestion journey, but we can help our bodies digest foods better simply by eating mindfully, chewing more and eating whole foods as provided by nature. It’s tricky and amazing science, but we can do our part.

Read more on modPaleo

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Born Primal Episode 28: Michelle Norris Paleo FX



Today's guest is one of the hardest working women in the Paleo community. Michelle Norris and her husband Keith are about to host their 3rd annual Paleo FX conference in Austin, TX April 11-13. In this episode we talk about what to expect at this year's symposium. Bigger and better than ever before so get your tickets now!

Every Paleo f(x)™ event is one of a kind.  Each event features world-class speakers from a wide variety of fields that includes New York Times best-selling authors, leading health professionals, athletes and coaches, research scientists, activists, bloggers, podcasters, and more.
Paleo f(x)™ is more than just a symposium of outstanding presentations and Mastermind panels.  It is also an expo of hands-on learning, networking, and a feast for the senses. The Paleo f(x)™ expo includes a Strength & Conditioning demo and workshop floor, a Paleo 101 stage for beginners, a Strength & Conditioning stage, a cooking demo stage, the Paleo f(x)™ store, and a huge fair of health-oriented, paleo-friendly vendors.

I'll be speaking at this year's event and look forward to seeing everyone there!

Podcast available on iTunes or Stitcher. You can also download the mp3 HERE!!!


Show Notes:

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Loving My Body: Before and After

Recently I experienced something that I imagine some women my age have gone through. I looked at a photo of my face and thought "Where did all of those lines come from?!?" Smile lines, laugh lines, crows feet…whatever you want to call them, I have them now. At first I was horrified. Then my reaction changed. Maybe because I realized that I'm 37 years old now and those lines are my trophies that I survived this long. There are times when I identify with being closer to 27 years old because I've only been emotionally in my whole self for the last few years. Not that I was immature, I've always been wise. But I've struggled so much of my life being trapped by my trauma and the victim role I so easily chose. I say that the lines are my trophies because they prove that I'm a survivor. There are times when I didn't think I was, that this world might just be more than I could handle. But I fought to live through those dark thoughts. 

One of the celebrations of my life now is that it's been three years this month since I found the Paleo lifestyle and community. Whoa…has it been life changing! I lost fat, balanced my hormones, cleared up my skin, opened up the channels to healing emotional trauma, found the best friends of my life, grew into my passion of writing and helping others heal, and truly found who I was and am. 

I was inspired to write this post after Molly Galbraith of Girls Gone Strong created a 28 day challenge to love your body. I do love my body, I really, truly, unbelievably do. Last summer I wrote a guest post about body image called "What Does Paleo Look Like?" I talked about my issues with gaining weight through my pregnancies and the physical fallout of having a twin pregnancy which means I have Shar pei skin on my belly now. Plus years of breastfeeding left my breasts looking like a tribal woman photographed in National Geographic. To honor the three years of growth I've had in this lifestyle, I wanted to do something I've never done before. I dug up the "before" photos I took. I've never had the courage to show them. In the previous body image post mentioned above, I showed what my current belly looks like and I'm okay that anyone who goes on Google can see that. But showing my previous love handles, muffin top, and dark circles under my eyes from severe anemia is another story.

A few months ago I decided that I wanted to really focus on building muscle so I did a mass gain program that included eating 3,000 calories a day and lifting weights three to four days a week. I gained 10 pounds. The coolest thing about these photos is that I weigh the same in both of them. When I originally went Paleo I lost the body fat that I wanted to lose but I didn't replace it with muscle. Tipping the scale back in the direction it was in three years ago when I wasn't healthy or happy wasn't scary at all. It was thrilling to imagine being strong for the first time ever in my life. Even if only to open a tight lid and not have to ask my husband to do it for me! Every week when I weighed myself to see if I was gaining, I would jump up and down when I gained 2 or 3 pounds. What a difference from years ago. Then I had a DEXA scan with my friend Dr. Dan Stickler at Synchronicity Wellness in Asheville, NC and it proved that my hard work had paid off! 

I'm never going to look like one of those fitmodel memes we all see on social media and that is completely okay with me. My body made and birthed four babies. That's pretty damn strong. I love that I can walk in the gym and knock out deadlifts and squats in a room full of men doing the same. My PR's are nothing compared to most women in this community. Sometimes I can still beat myself up feeling weak. Then I remember that I'm there and I'm doing it and I'm happy to rock a bikini at the pool and beach no matter what others might think. So here goes me being brave and vulnerable in sharing these photos of the body I'm so proud to reside in with all of it's beautiful flaws. No make-up, no photoshop, just me. Be brave today and love your body.








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Born Primal Episode 27: Dr. Shauna Young No Harm Foundation


This week on Born Primal, Dr. Shauna Young talks to me about her traditional naturopathic practice and work with autistic children. Dr. Young has a PhD in Natural Sciences and is a Certified Traditional Naturopath. She developed the free Spectrum Balance Dietary Protocol diet which has helped many of her patients recover from autism and other related disorders. She is also the author of If Naturopaths Are "Quacks"...Then I Guess I'm a Duck


Podcast available on iTunes or download mp3 HERE!!! 


Show Notes:
No Harm Foundation
Dr. Shauna Young on Facebook
Buy The Book:


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Born Primal Episode 26: Adam Farrah Practical Paleolithic




Adam Farrah, author of The Paleo Dieter's Missing Link, joins me on Born Primal this week to talk about the Paleo lifestyle, perfectionism, technology curfews, and more. Adam blogs at Practical Paleolithic and writes a column for Paleo Magazine. 


Podcast available on iTunes or download mp3 HERE!!


Show Notes:















Asian Efficiency
Tony Schwartz-Be Excellent At Anything

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Paleo Movement Magazine Guest Post: Freedom From Control, Living Without Shame

As someone who sees things from a scientific and evolutionary standpoint it can be hard to tap into what you might call my spiritual side. I did that at a recent Paleo Wellness Retreat in Jamaica where I was a leader along with Dr. Dan Stickler, a Paleo MD with practices in Charleston, WV and Asheville, NC along with his partner Mickra Hamilton, who specializes in nutrition, sleep, and stress management at their practices, and Melissa White, a yoga instructor and Radical Forgiveness practitioner. Lately, I’ve been looking at all of that factors that go beyond what we eat in the Paleo/Primal world and how we move our bodies- meditation, stress management, sleep, and the biggest one for me…dealing with my own stuff.
View from my patio in Negril
View from my patio in Negril
Just going to this beautiful resort was pretty wellness inducing. We had a three day schedule that included morning yoga, weightlifting, beach runs followed by breakfast and talks. Our conference sessions focused on dealing with stress, sleep, nutrition, and mind/body awareness. Our group had lunch together everyday and had lively conversations that were sparked by the talks. The afternoons were spent with my husband on the beach, soaking up sun and relaxing. Dinners were filled with more conversation over delicious food. It was an amazing and healing experience for me.
On Friday afternoon we sat on the grass next to the ocean when I gave my talk on The Power of Imperfectionism. I decided to just put myself out there and share from the heart. I talked about the sharp turn of events over three years ago that set me on a path to finding peace and stability in my life....
Read the rest of the article on Paleo Movement Magazine

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Born Primal Episode 25: Liz Wolfe Eat The Yolks


Liz Wolfe is back on the podcast, this time celebrating her brand new book EAT THE YOLKS. A book that dispels the food myths we've been led to believe for decades about cholesterol, dairy, red meat, whole grains, and more. As always, Liz let's her humor shine through in the book while dishing out the science to back why we need to eat real food. 

In this episode we discuss Liz' new homestead, what real food really is, the benefits of sunlight, and more!

Podcast available on iTunes or download mp3 HERE!!



Show Notes:





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The Public Health Epidemic Not In The News: SLEEP



I remember growing up, my farmer grandparents would go to bed before 9 and wake before the sun. They had earned it, working hard all day, but also resting in the afternoon when the Florida heat was too much to tend to the fields and animals. They, like most farmers, had a great understanding of what their bodies needed: rest and sleep to maintain a hard physical lifestyle. Now we stay glued to electronic devices and computers all day, do very little physical work that isn't outside of a gym, and we don't slow down for restful afternoon times that reset our clocks. We do mental work all day then do more work when we get home and stay up late for entertainment like television or social media. Burning the midnight oil has become a standard American attitude. But where it's led is to a public health epidemic of insufficient sleep. 

According to the CDC….
Sleep is increasingly recognized as important to public health, with sleep insufficiency linked to motor vehicle crashes, industrial disasters, and medical and other occupational errors. Unintentionally falling asleep, nodding off while driving, and having difficulty performing daily tasks because of sleepiness all may contribute to these hazardous outcomes. Persons experiencing sleep insufficiency are also more likely to suffer from chronic diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, depression, and obesity, as well as from cancer, increased mortality, and reduced quality of life and productivity.
 
Sleep insufficiency may be caused by broad scale societal factors such as round-the-clock access to technology and work schedules, but sleep disorders such as insomnia or obstructive sleep apnea also play an important role. An estimated 50-70 million US adults have sleep or wakefulness disorder. Notably, snoring is a major indicator of obstructive sleep apnea. 




According to data from the National Health Interview Survey, nearly 30% of adults reported an average of less than 6 hours of sleep per day in 2005-2007. In 2009, only 31% of high school students reported getting at least 8 hours of sleep on an average school night.

FUNCTION OF SLEEP:
Circadian rhythms are physical, mental, and behavioral changes that follow a roughly 24-hour cycle, responding primarily to light and darkness in an organism's environment. They are found in most living things, including animals, plants, and many tiny microbes. This internal clock, which gradually becomes established during the first months of life, controls the daily ups and downs of biological patterns, including body temperature, blood pressure, and the release of hormones. Circadian rhythms are important in determining human sleep patterns and have been linked to sleep disorders like insomnia. They've also been associated with obesity, diabetes, depression, bipolar disorder, and seasonal affective disorder.


Light is the main cue influencing circadian rhythms, turning on or turning off genes that control an organism’s internal clocks.


SLEEP DYSFUNCTION:
For people suffering from sleep dysfunction lifestyle can be a major contributor. For people with adrenal fatigue, their second wind usually kicks in around 11pm and creates a pattern of insomnia. If you’re waking between 1 and 3 am your liver may be lacking the glycogen reserves needed for conversion by the adrenals to keep the blood glucose levels high enough during the night. Blood sugar is normally low during the early morning hours but, if you are hypoadrenic, your blood glucose levels may sometimes fall so low that hypoglycemic (low blood sugar) symptoms wake you during the night. This is often the case if you have panic or anxiety attacks, nightmares, or sleep fitfully between 1 and 4 am. Both too high and too low nighttime cortisol levels can cause sleep disturbances.

SLEEP AND STRESS:
Our bodies are designed to handle acute stress. Being chased by a predator for example, we go into sympathetic mode otherwise known as fight or flight. Resources are prioritized and survival takes over which suppresses immune function, digestion, sex hormone production, for instance. To put into modern day terms, imagine when you’ve avoided a car accident. The stress hormones adrenaline, epinephrine, and dopamine take over. Your heart pounds, your hands my sweat, it takes you some time to calm down and recover. Our bodies can handle those types of situations when it’s a rare occasion. It becomes a problem when we live in a chronic sympathetic state like so many Americans do these days. Chronic stress looks like this:



Your circadian rhythms are easily disrupted if cortisol is continuously released due to chronic stress. If cortisol remains high at night, melatonin isn’t released. Even though you may be able to fall asleep despite high cortisol levels your rest may be disrupted causing further stressors that create a vicious cycle.

Problems from chronic stress causing sleep issues:
  • Adrenal Fatigue
  • Digestive, not eating in a parasympathetic mode causes digestion dysfunction
  • Insulin resistance/weight management
  • Inflammation
  • Mood disorders


SLEEP HYGIENE:
Maintain a regular bed and wake time schedule including weekends.
It's important to keep a regular bedtime and wake-time, even on the weekends when there is the temptation to sleep-in. A second wind hits at about 11pm which is why it is important to be in bed and on your way to sleep by 10:30 to prevent your adrenal glands from kicking into overdrive. Even if your night has been restless or sleep fitfull, sleeping between 7-9am can be restorative

Establish a regular, relaxing bedtime routine such as soaking in a hot bath or hot tub and then reading a book or listening to soothing music.
Avoid arousing activities before bedtime like working, paying bills, engaging in competitive games or family problem-solving. Some studies suggest that soaking in hot water before retiring to bed can ease the transition into deeper sleep, but it should be done early enough that you are no longer sweating or over-heated. If you are unable to avoid tension and stress, it may be helpful to learn relaxation therapy from a trained professional. Finally, avoid exposure to bright before bedtime because it signals the neurons that help control the sleep-wake cycle that it is time to awaken, not to sleep.

Create a sleep-conducive environment that is dark, quiet, comfortable and cool.
Design your sleep environment to establish the conditions you need for sleep – cool, quiet, dark, comfortable and free of interruptions. Also make your bedroom reflective of the value you place on sleep. Check your room for noise or other distractions, including a bed partner's sleep disruptions such as snoring, light, and a dry or hot environment. Consider using blackout curtains, eye shades, ear plugs, "white noise," humidifiers, fans and other devices.
  
Use your bedroom only for sleep and sex.
It is best to take work materials, computers and televisions out of the sleeping environment. Use your bed only for sleep and sex to strengthen the association between bed and sleep. If you associate a particular activity or item with anxiety about sleeping, omit it from your bedtime routine. For example, if looking at a bedroom clock makes you anxious about how much time you have before you must get up, move the clock out of sight. Do not engage in activities that cause you anxiety and prevent you from sleeping.

Finish eating at least 2-3 hours before your regular bedtime.
Eating or drinking too much may make you less comfortable when settling down for bed. It is best to avoid a heavy meal too close to bedtime. Also, spicy foods may cause heartburn, which leads to difficulty falling asleep and discomfort during the night. Try to restrict fluids close to bedtime to prevent nighttime awakenings to go to the bathroom, though some people find milk or herbal, non-caffeinated teas to be soothing and a helpful part of a bedtime routine.

Exercise regularly. 
Vigorous exercise is best, but even light exercise is better than no activity. Exercise at any time of day, but not at the expense of your sleep. If your nighttime cortisol levels are too low, you may sleep better when you exercise in the evening, before going to bed because exercise tends to raise cortisol levels. If your nighttime cortisol levels are too high, try doing relaxation or meditation exercises before going to bed

Avoid caffeine (e.g. coffee, tea, soft drinks, chocolate) close to bedtime. It can keep you awake.
Caffeine is a stimulant, which means it can produce an alerting effect. Caffeine products, such as coffee, tea, colas and chocolate, remain in the body on average from 3 to 5 hours, but they can affect some people up to 12 hours later. Even if you do not think caffeine affects you, it may be disrupting and changing the quality of your sleep. Avoiding caffeine within 6-8 hours of going to bed can help improve sleep quality.

Avoid alcohol close to bedtime.
Although many people think of alcohol as a sedative, it actually disrupts sleep, causing nighttime awakenings. Consuming alcohol leads to a night of less restful sleep.

Turn off electronics
Most people are photosensitive and watching TV or looking at computers, phones, tablets, etc keeps their melatonin from rising and inducing sleep. Try cutting off visual stimuli at least an hour before bedtime. Use Amber tinted glasses to cut down on blue light that affects cortisol levels.























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Born Primal Episode 24: Russ Crandall The Ancestral Table

     

Born Primal welcomes back Russ Crandall of The Domestic Man to this episode celebrating the release of his new book The Ancestral Table, Traditional Recipes for a Paleo Lifestyle, available in stores and online now. 

Russ has been creating dishes for the last 3 years that tend to buck the Paleo system including the use of rice, white potatoes, and dairy. His gourmet style cooking really stands out and he has produced a huge following without creating one almond flour recipe. The Ancestral Table is a beautiful collection of recipes that every Paleo lover should own. 


Podcast available on iTunes or download mp3 HERE!!

Show Notes:
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