explore + nourish


Thanks to Jennifer Esposito's post—which crossed my path as I've been dealing with my own funky health issues (even though I eat one of the healthiest diets on earth)—I requested the MTHFR blood test.  Lo and behold, it revealed that I have two copies  (homozygous) of the MTHFR gene mutation A1298C.

(If you've ever had any chronic health challenge, watch Neil Rawlins, M.D., in the video above, to see if it might be wise for you to consider this test, too.)
I'll let Dr. Erlich explain...
"There is much confusion about MTHFR genetic mutations...  Consequently the MAJORITY of people unknowingly carry a genetic mutation that can contribute to significant health issues—health issues that can be minimized by just taking a couple inexpensive B vitamins.
"What does the MTHFR mutation do?  Having a MTHFR mutation means that the enzyme that converts folic acid into it’s activated form (5-MTHF) acts sluggishlyHaving two defects at the same point makes it more sluggish than just having one...  Thus when an enzyme is sluggish, the biochemical reaction that relies upon it occurs slower than it should.  When one pathway is working slower than others, the other pathways that depend upon it either back up or find a detour to shunt their excess product...usually not as efficient, using more energy (ATP)...often causing new problems to be managed.
"The MTHFR enzyme metabolizes folic acid into 5-MTHF, needed to combine with homocysteine to break it down and to facilitate methylation processes in the body...
"Methylation is required for many processes in the body, from breaking down histamine, seratonin and dopamine to turning DNA on and off. Consequently, having a defective methylation capability is associated with psychiatric illnesses...autoimmunity disorders, ADD, autism, spina bifida, Down’s syndrome, miscarriages, and cancer. Defective methylation can come from not having the 5-MTHF or not having enough B12, so the disorders and symptoms associated with the MTHFR mutations often overlap with those due to B12 deficiency. Many may simultaneously have deficiencies in both.
"While I don’t test every one of my patients for the MTHFR mutation, I certainly try to test everyone who has a family history of cardiovascular disease, mental illness, autoimmune disorders, spinal cord defects, cancer or miscarriages. As these disorders are all too common, this explains why I end up ordering MTHFR testing, as well as B12 levels, on the vast majority of my patients. 
"I find that knowing your MTHFR status is far more empowering than it is scary. It allows you to provide your body with what it needs to function most efficiently and hopefully prevent disease. Finding that you have a mutation, or even two, also encourages you to get your other family members tested. Parents and siblings may likely also carry this mutation and often benefit greatly from the additional knowledge and support."
So...nutrition training taught me to ideally only take a Methyl B12 supplement, unless labs showed a need for otherwise—but even then, to first attempt to obtain them via sunlight/whole food.  But now, due to the specific MTHFR lab result, the doctor has suggested a few additional supplements, to see which can do the work that the double gene mutation cannot.  In a couple months, I hope to know.  ❤

Bamboo Goodhew

Soft, comfy, and full of natural fibers, it's been lovely stocking up on Goodhew's when they're on sale. Crafted in the USA, using good practices, they keep the toes (tootsies) toasty.  I know this is still a challenging issue for vegans, so if you have a more ethical natural sock, please, please pass it along! 

Gluten-Free, Jennifer's Way

A delectable (early) Christmas package arrived fresh from New York.

These cookies are simply exceptional (and the bagels are divine!).

Deep thanks go to Jennifer Esposito's (tasty + hardworking!) GF bakery.

Jennifer's Way and MTHFR

For those of us who have struggled with the mysterious challenges of celiac disease, Jennifer Esposito's advocacy on this front is heroic.  Her blog post on MTHFR is brand new to me, but has me researching it as we speak.  Deep thanks to @JennifersWayJE. ❤

Breaking the Depression Code

with Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D., author of the upcoming book, Uncovering Happiness: Overcoming Depression with Mindfulness and Self-Compassion, due to release on January 27th, 2015. ❤

Tutu Global Forgiveness Challenge

Your Forgiveness Challenge Invitation
Dear Desmond Tutu and his daughter lovingly invite us (through this most beautiful video) to walk with them, through a challenge.  The challenge is to take one baby step with them each day for thirty days.  Here is one excerpt:
"Because we are fragile and vulnerable creatures, we experience hurt, harm, and loss.  The wound can be physical or emotional.  We can be hurt with a weapon or a word.  A slight from a stranger, a rejection from a friend, a betrayal by a loved one are all affronts to our dignity.
"There is no way of living with other people without, at some point, being hurt.  When we are hurt we face the choice to retaliate or reconnect...
"We are social creatures, and our physical survival is just as dependent on happy relationships and social connections as it is on food, air, and water.  Today we are going to look at when we have chosen to retaliate and when we have chosen to reconnect."
The Tutu Global Forgiveness Challenge displays beautiful, simple tools (brief videos, poignant meditations, and a few life-changing visuals) which make this challenge quick, memorable and help us clearly see...how very powerful we are...with each baby step we take. ❤

Creating True Peace

This book holds my heart. I carry it with me wherever I can. It's a perfect adjunct to any belief/support system...guiding one through beautiful lessons. For instance, just as we find ourselves believing others will mindfully lead us, we might instead discover that we are the answer we were looking for. Or when we witness harm, we might now feel a lifetime of fear dissipate as courage breathes into our soul. We might find ourselves experiencing a calm, newfound strength, holding steady and strong for those who cannot. We might write healthy, new rules. And we might enjoy the most unexpected surprises. The significance of these lessons can humble us, provide deeper meaning to our purpose, and help us delightfully grow our humanity...once again. ❤

Natural Pain Relievers

People want to feel good. This can be especially true if one is experiencing the mind-body impact of trauma, which is a very normal experience during our lifetime. So how can we begin to help ourselves feel better? Below is an excerpt from Dr. Greger's video, where he lays out the science (which is also an important factor when analyzing drug legislation).

"In 1973, scientists discovered that we have...receptors in our brain for opiate drugs like heroin and morphine. Since we didn’t evolve shooting up, it stood to reason that there were natural compounds produced by our bodies that fit into those receptors.
"So we went looking, discovered them, and named them... endorphins. And endorphins are good... they’re our natural pain relievers, released during exercise, the consumption of spicy food, and orgasm.
"So, there are healthier ways to stimulate these receptors than shooting up heroin.
"In 1990, scientists discovered that we have specific receptors in our brain for the active ingredient in marijuana as well, cannabinoids like THC. Since we didn’t evolve toking up, it stood to reason that there were natural compounds produced by our bodies that fit into those receptors.
"So we went looking, discovered them, and named them endocannabinoids. And endocannabinoids are good...they’re one of our bodies ways to ease nausea, ease pain...generally chill us out. The question is, is there a way to get the good without the bad—stimulate these receptors without smoking marijuana?
"What’s so bad about smoking marijuana? Lung cancer. Smoking just a single joint is like smoking an entire pack of cigarettes. The worst death I ever witnessed in my medical career, the one that gives me the most nightmares, was a lung cancer victim gasping for breath being drowned by their tumors. It was hideous. Please don’t smoke—anything. Smoke inhalation is bad no matter what the source.
"Thankfully, researchers discovered a food this year that stimulates cannabinoid receptors, so you can get the benefits without the risks. Which food was it? Was it broccoli, coconuts, garlic, green tea, mushrooms, or tomatoes?
"It was the tea."