QUIZ: Which TED Talk are you?

A fun way to find a talk that’s just right for you…


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Cherry-Strawberry Chia Seed Fool with Vanilla Bean Coconut Whipped Cream


My sister and family are here visiting this week and they brought us about 10 pounds of freshly picked cherries from my brother-in-law’s parent’s house (they have about 7 cherry trees…jealous!). It was like Christmas morning when this loot arrived. I’m eating these beauties by the fist full. Adriana is going wild over them. It’s a good week. We pitted and froze a bunch to make 1-ingredient cherry sorbet in the Vitamix (my nephews loved it) and I’m dreaming up other ways to use them before they go bad!



This gorgeous Cherry-Strawberry Chia Seed Fool is a festive dessert I came up with for Canada Day tomorrow. I actually thought of it in the middle of the night last night and by some stroke of luck I remembered the idea this morning. In lieu of heavy dairy cream, I used full-fat coconut cream and whipped it with a touch of cane sugar and vanilla bean powder. So incredibly simple and delicious. For the berry part, I made a cherry-strawberry chia seed jam with maple syrup (does it get anymore Canadian?), vanilla bean, fresh lemon juice, and a secret ingredient – a teaspoon of finely grated beet for a bolder red color (but that’s totally optional). It turned out so lovely layered in parfait glasses. Many traditional fool recipes that I came across fold the berries into the cream until it’s pretty uniform in color, but I prefer the layered look so I did it my way. Then you can swirl it all together as you eat it. Total bliss! I also added some toasted sliced almonds and flaked coconut on top for some crunch. A little lemon zest would be nice too.



Cherry-Strawberry Chia Seed Fool

Vegan, gluten-free, grain-free, oil-free, soy-free

A vegan twist on the classic berry fool! I used whipped vanilla bean coconut cream and paired it with a delightful cherry-strawberry chia seed jam with lemon and vanilla. This dish requires some advance preparation so be sure to put the cans of coconut milk in the fridge the day before so the coconut cream can solidify. The jam also requires cooling, so you’ll need at least 2 hours to chill it in the fridge before layering the dessert.

6 parfaits
Freeze time
overnight + 3 hours
Prep Time
20 Minutes
Cook time
20 Minutes
Total Time
40 Minutes


For the Coconut Whipped Cream
  • 2 (15-oz) cans full-fat coconut milk, chilled overnight
  • 2 tablespoons natural cane sugar, or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla bean powder or 1 vanilla bean, seeded
For the Cherry Strawberry Chia Seed Jam (makes 2 1/3 cups)
  • 2 heaping cups fresh or frozen strawberries (hulled if using fresh)
  • 3 cups fresh or frozen sweet cherries (pitted if using fresh)
  • 3-4 tablespoons pure maple syrup, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • pinch fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract or 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla bean powder
  • 1-2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon peeled and finely grated red beet (I use a microplane lemon zester), adds bolder red hue
Optional garnishes:
  • Toasted sliced almonds
  • Coconut Flakes
  • Lemon Zest
  • Fresh cherries


  1. Chill the cans of coconut milk in the fridge for 12-24 hours so the coconut cream can solidify before use.
  2. For the chia seed jam: Add the berries and maple syrup into a medium saucepan. Stir to combine. Increase heat to medium, and simmer until the berries release their juices and soften, about 10 minutes. After the berries release water you can increase the heat even more to cook off the water. Watch closely and stir frequently. When the berries look a bit soft, stir in the chia seeds. Keep cooking over medium heat until the chia thickens the mixture slightly, about 5-10 more minutes.  Reduce heat if necessary to avoid burning. Remove from heat and stir in the salt, vanilla, lemon, and optional grated beet. Pour into a glass container and let it cool on the counter for at least 30 minutes before covering and chilling in the fridge for at least 2 hours, preferably longer.
  3. Chill a medium bowl in the freezer (this helps the coconut cream stay thick while whipping).
  4. Open the chilled cans of coconut milk and carefully scoop off the white coconut cream from each can and place it into a medium bowl. You should have 1.5-2 cups worth of cream. You can reserve the leftover coconut water for another use, such as a smoothie or you can freeze it into coconut water ice cubes (also great in smoothies).
  5. With electric mixers or a whisk, beat the cream and the cane sugar in the chilled bowl until smooth. Whisk in the vanilla.
  6. Layer the coconut cream and the chia jam in parfait glasses. Top with optional toasted sliced almonds, flaked coconut, lemon zest, and a cherry on top! Enjoy immediately or cover and transfer to the fridge until ready to serve. The chia seed jam will keep for up to a week in the fridge in an air-tight container, and I expect the coconut whipped cream will keep for at least 5 days.

Tip: If for some reason your chia seed jam didn’t thicken enough after chilling (this might be the case if the water wasn’t cooked off enough), stir in another tablespoon of chia seeds and chill it for another hour. That should do the trick!


I’m keeping this short and sweet today because I have a big cookbook deadline looming. Thank you so much for your patience with my infrequent blog posts lately. I am dying to get back into it!

Wishing my fellow Canadians a very happy Canada Day tomorrow. Also, happy 4th of July to our friends south of the border. (By the way, you can easily turn this into a red, white, and blue dessert by adding blueberries.) I hope you have a fun and safe week filled with all the goodness summer has to offer!

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The Problem with Coffee Pods

The dark side of k cups health environmental and financial problems 200x150 The Problem with Coffee Pods

The dark side of k cups health environmental and financial problems The Problem with Coffee Pods

I love coffee, though not for the caffeine… I just enjoy the taste. The research is divided on the reported health benefits of coffee, but those who tolerate it can generally drink it in moderation without a problem.

Coffee is a multi-billion dollar industry each year that has changed drastically in the last decade (and unfortunately not because coffee drinkers are moving back to real french press coffee makers).

The Rise of The Coffee Pod…

Over the last decade, coffee pods have become increasingly popular for their convenience and novelty.

Though their inventor, John Sylvan,  regrets creating them, and says he originally designed them for office use only, coffee pods (often called “k-cups”) are now a common fixture in many kitchens around the world.

An estimated 30+% of American households have a Keurig or similar coffee pod machine, accounting for an almost 5 billion dollar market last year.

Certainly, I can understand the appeal of an at-your-fingertips 24/7 coffee maker, but as most things that seem to good to be true… coffee pods have a dark side (and it isn’t just the dark roast they hold).

The Problem with K-Cups and Coffee Pods

The Environmental Factor:

One of the reasons John Sylvan regrets creating K-cups? The environmental repercussions.

Coffee pods generate massive amounts of plastic waste each year. They are not biodegradable or recyclable (though some companies have started making biodegradable options).

So why is this such a big deal?

Last year, enough k-cups were sold that if they were placed end-to-end, they would circle the globe 10.5 times. And that is just the amount sold in one year! (source)

In fact, almost 10 billion individual coffee pods were sold in the last year and that number seems to be rising.

Some of the newer generation k-cups are recyclable, but you have to take them apart and separate the plastic, compost the coffee grounds and dispose of the top. Plus, most people aren’t even aware that some of them are recyclable.

With the rising levels of BPA and other plastic chemicals found in our groundwater, ocean water, and even buried under 30 feet of ice at the south pole, experts warn that these chemicals may be contributing to the rising health problems we are seeing.

Coffee pods alone are a significant source of plastic chemicals in landfills, and unfortunately, the their popularity only seems to be growing. This prompted one video team to make an exaggerated video encouraging people to “kill the k-cup:”

Of course, this video is overly-dramatic, but it demonstrates the point that that even those of us who don’t use k-cups are affected by the plastics being put into the environment.

To be fair, Green Mountain (who owns Keurig) announced plans to make their coffee pods recyclable by 2020, but that still means billions more plastic cups will enter the landfills in the next five years, and even if/when they are recyclable, many people won’t recycle them.

Health Ramifications:

Equally menacing are the potential health concerns associated with disposable coffee pods.


They are plastic, so all the usual problems associated with consuming foods or drinks in plastic containers apply, but are actually intensified because hot liquid is used, allowing more plastic chemicals to transfer into the coffee.

The plastic chemicals like BPA, BPF, BPS and Phthalates are known endocrine disruptors and may contribute to hormone imbalance, weight gain and fertility problems. Though Keurig recently confirmed that its pods are BPA free, they did test positive for estrogenic activity and may also contain polystyrene, a possible carcinogen.


The top of these k-cup coffee pods is usually made of aluminum, which has some health concerns of its own and which may be bad for the brain. Aluminum exposure has been linked to Alzheimers, depresion, anxiety, autism and even autoimmune disease.

Mold, Algae and Biofilms?

Microbiologist Erin Chamerlik pointed out that Coffee pod machines are also a prime growing environment for mold, mildew, algae and biofilms.

The instruction manual of these machines states that once filled with water, the internal tank and lines cannot be drained, creating a perpetual dark, warm and moist environment.

These molds and biofilms bring their own health concerns and are almost impossible to eradicate. Hot water is not enough to kill them, nor is the acidity of coffee. Some sources recommend running several cycles with diluted vinegar, but lab testing has shown that this is not enough to remove the mold and biofilms.

To be fair, this problem is not limited to single-use coffee makers. Almost all coffee makers can be a source of mold and biofilms, and even 50% of coffee mugs tested contained mold spores or even fecal bacteria.

Financial Issues

If the health and environmental aspects aren’t enough to convince you, individual coffee pods are an absolutely horrible deal.

Of course they are convenient, but with as little coffee as is in each pod, a pound of coffee would cost over $50!

Even the highest quality single-sourced organic coffees don’t usually cost this much, and many of us pay that for low-grade, plastic and aluminum coated, environment wrecking pods!

If budget is an issue, these should be the first to go!

K-cups and Coffee Pods: The Solution?

Don’t buy a coffee pod brewing machine. If you have one, get rid of it.

Sure, the convenience can’t be beat, but they aren’t worth the health, environmental and financial downsides. Increasing levels of plastics in landfills is becoming a massive global issue, and this is one major source.

Of course, I’m a coffee drinker and I’m not advocating avoiding coffee, just brewing it in an environmentally and health conscious way (that also tastes much better, for the record). If you absolutely can’t part with your Keurig, at least consider buying biodegradable options like these that can be composted (bonus: they are cheaper too!) or using a reusable pod.

What I do:

K-cups take about a minute to brew, and my eco-friendly and much healthier version only takes about two minutes… plus, the taste is absolutely worth the extra minute of prep time.

I use a glass electric water kettle and a glass and stainless french press for coffee brewing.

I heat the water to almost boiling in the electric kettle. This takes about 30-seconds. While that is heating, I grind fresh organic coffee beans and place them in the bottom of the french press.

I pour the water into the french press and stir with a wooden spoon. After about 60-90 seconds, I push down the filter on the french press and have delicious fresh-brewed coffee sans plastics, aluminum or biofilms.

Confession: I did at one time have a coffee pod brewing machine. I used reusable pods or biodegradable ones, but after researching the various health and environmental problems with these machines, I returned to our beloved french press and could not be happier.

Are you a coffee drinker? How do you make it?


The Problem with Coffee Pods originally appeared on Wellness Mama.

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Adjuster? I Don’t Even Know Her

by Sara Kleinsmith To touch, or not to touch? This is one of the dilemmas we experience as yoga teachers. In yoga, adjustments can be a matter of personal preference. Recently, I’ve had many discussions with teachers about adjustments and their opinions regarding the subject. If you are unaware of what an adjustment is, it’s […]

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Neither laryngitis nor repeated microphone fails could keep Dame Stephanie Shirley from her TED Talk

It took Dame Stephanie Shirley more than a year and a half to tell her story on the TED stage. Photo: Bret Hartman

It took Dame Stephanie Shirley more than a year and a half to actually tell her story on the TED stage. She opted to bring her own stool from London for the occasion. Photo: Bret Hartman/TED

Dame Stephanie Shirley had just a few hours to go before giving her talk at TEDWomen 2013. There was just one problem: she could hardly speak.

Shirley, a tech entrepreneur who founded a software company in the 1960s, had flown from London to San Francisco to speak at the conference. Her talk told the story of how she started her company, Freelance Programmers, in her dining room, and used the name “Steve” in business correspondence to buck the gender bias of the time. She planned to talk about how she pioneered flexible business practices to let a staff of mainly female software engineers work from home … and how her business was eventually valued at $3 billion. Shirley’s rehearsal of the talk was flawless; staffers had goosebumps.

“I felt a bit poorly, but I attributed it to jet lag,” said Shirley. “But when I woke up the next day — the day of the event — I realized I couldn’t possibly go onstage.”

Shirley had come down with laryngitis. She couldn’t power through her talk; she needed to bow out. “I felt hugely disappointed,” she said. “I hate to let people down.”

The TEDWomen curation team needed a new speaker to fill her time slot, stat. They hoped for someone else who could talk about women in technology.

“Megan Smith — the vice president of Google X at the time and now CTO of the United States — happened to be an attendee at TEDWomen 2013,” said content director Kelly Stoetzel. “While we were on a quest to figure out who would replace Dame Shirley onstage, we spoke with Megan, who was making a documentary about Dame Shirley’s life and work. We mentioned that Dame Shirley had laryngitis. Megan offered to give a talk celebrating women pioneers in technology. It was just an obvious fit. We were very happy to get her onstage at the last minute.”

Smith’s talk gave a peek at her documentary about the many women who have — both quietly and boldly — had a hand in shaping technology, from the “first programmer in the world,” Ada Lovelace, to Grace Hopper, who offered up the idea of debugging. (Watch Megan Smith’s talk at TEDWomen 2013.) The audience loved it.

Megan Smith, now the CTO of the United States, stepped in when Dame Stephanie Shirley got laryngitis. Photo: Marla Aufmuth/TED

Megan Smith, now the CTO of the United States, stepped in when Dame Stephanie Shirley got laryngitis. Photo: Marla Aufmuth/TED

But Stoetzel wanted to find a way for Shirley to share her story. “We invited her back to speak at TED2014, but she was already booked the week of that conference,” said Stoetzel. “So we invited her to speak a full year and a half later, at TED2015.”

Sixteen months later, Shirley once again found herself practicing for TED. This time, the stakes felt even higher. “The tight timing scared me,” she said. “My friends told me, ‘They’ll switch you off if you go over your time limit.’”

Shirley had given many talks, but she rarely had to memorize them — and she found it difficult to learn her talk by heart. As she practiced, she thought carefully about each word.

“I was aware that there was an unknown, future digital audience beyond the people in the room,” Shirley said. “I wanted my talk to be meaningful everywhere, to people in Tanzania or Japan. I found that challenge stimulating. I aimed to use short sentences — nice, simple noun-verb-object sentences.”

But one other feature of the TED Talk format had her stressed. “Everybody stands while they deliver their talk, which I knew I wouldn’t be able to do,” she said. “I sat on my kitchen stool — a step stool, and I thought to myself, ‘I feel very comfortable here.’ So I brought the stool with me on the plane from London to Vancouver.”

Waiting in the wings of the TED2015 theater, Shirley felt confident knowing that her stool was waiting for her on stage. She walked out in a brightly patterned shirt and took a seat, folding her hands in her lap. She began to speak, calmly and measuredly. “When I wrote my memoirs…” And then she paused. She could tell that her voice was not echoing any further than the space in front of her face — her microphone had failed. So she tried again: “When I wrote my memoirs…”

No luck. She whispered, “Help, help.” A tech team member checked her microphone and whispered to colleagues, as the audience waited. Shirley was directed her back to her stool one more time, but the problem persisted.

“Sorry folks,” she said with enthusiasm, as TED curator Chris Anderson came back onstage and improvised while Shirley’s microphone was switched. A few minutes later, after a short video, Anderson introduced her one final time: “Speaking of unstoppable women, once again, Dame Stephanie Shirley!”

The audience stood up, applauding. Shirley reemerged with a good-natured smile. “Now you do know how I’m going to start, but you don’t know how I’m going to finish,” she said. “When I wrote my memoirs,” she began. And she, finally, delivered the rest of her talk.


She talked about how her business cut through the male-dominated business world of its day and established many of the practices that have become standard in the tech world. The audience appreciated her sense of humor (“You can always tell ambitious women by the shape of our heads: They’re flat on top for being patted patronizingly”) and connected with her as she told the difficult story of her late son’s autism and how she continues to fight for autism services in his name. As she finished her talk, the audience jumped to their feet, cheering loud for her.

“I was so grateful for the warmth of the audience,” Shirley said. “It really helped.”

As for her trusty stool? “It looked quite mod.”

The microphone glitch was edited out of the final talk that appeared on TED.com. So far, Shirley’s video has been viewed well over a million times.

In the months since TED2015, Dame Shirley has received messages of congratulations and requests for collaboration from people all over the world.

“My international profile has extended massively,” she said. “I have received invites to speak from Brazil, India, Israel, Turkey and Australia. Most of them I can’t accept, but it’s very exciting.”

While at TED2015, Dame Shirley met Jim and Marilyn Simons, directors of the Simons Foundation, which dedicates resources to autism research. They had spoken before the event, but meeting in person solidified their relationship. Shirley has a hunch it will be an enduring friendship.

Last month, Dame Shirley launched a think tank to develop a strategy for improving resources for autism in the United Kingdom by 2017. “That’s going to keep me busy for the next three years,” she said.

In addition to her philanthropy work, Shirley is excited that her memoir is being adapted into a film — it’s in the very early stages. Who knows? Perhaps her TED saga will make the final cut.

The view from Dame Stephanie Shirley's kitchen stool. Photo: Bret Hartman/TED

The view from Dame Stephanie Shirley’s kitchen stool. Photo: Bret Hartman/TED

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Mastering Inversions


As lots of you know I’m a huge yoga fan, it’s a big part of my life and it makes me so happy! In the last few months I’ve gotten a lot stronger, which is awesome as it means I’m able to push myself a little more and explore more fun and challenging poses, like inversions. Saying that, inversions are so hard and I get so scared when trying them! I’ve made great progress, especially with my headstands but I thought I’d ask one of my absolute favourite yoga teacher, Celeste, to share some tips, tricks and words of wisdom to help you all with your inversions as I know it’s something that lots of you are working on too! So, over to Celeste…


Aargh to invert! What a concept. Something I was never really that interested in I must confess. I started going to yoga because I wanted stronger arms. I wish I had a nice way of saying this, but they were quite pathetic, like two soggy parsnip chips hanging off my body. I was determined to get them stronger! So off to yoga I trotted and in each and every class I could feel my two little soggy chips transforming into yoga pose killing machines. “Awesome job, this is why I am here. Let’s get stronger arms!”

One day after the class finished, the teacher tentatively invited any students who wished to learn headstand to stay for extra practice. Still to this day I don’t know what made me hang around, but I did. Like an uninvited guest at a party, unwilling to really try anything the teacher was showing, I just sat there looking at the various levels either struggling up against a wall or elegantly floating up. I found the floating inspiring. But even more admiration was felt for the people who were struggling and yet for some wild unknown reason kept persevering.

Little did I know that ten years later I would be known as: “The yoga teacher that gets you to do what you DIDN’T THINK YOU COULD DO.” I wear those words with so much pride, because it took me AGES to figure out how to do most arm balances and inversions. When I started noticing the shortcuts I wanted to tell EVERYONE, “Don’t waste years like me, falling flat on your face. There are cheat sheets people. Try this, or this, or this… and BOOM! You’re world has been flipped upside down with ease.”

Obviously there are poses where you do need to put more effort in than others. But I was getting people with no previous yoga experience comfortable on their heads from day one! And in just a few short weeks, ordinary people were doing poses that should surely only be seen in Cirque du Soleil.

You might be thinking: “Celest, that’s exactly what all this crazy arm balancing stuff is. Nothing but tricks! There is no depth to it!” Maybe you’re right, but I have seen more smiling faces than I can count when the student finally takes a leap into the unknown and conquers a fear. Something about their beaming eyes and toothy smile, it literally makes my heart skip a beat. In addition to this, so many of these students have come to me after a few months and said, “You know Celest, I used to be so much more anxious and fearful. It used to stop me from doing things, things that could help me move forward. Now I still have that fear, but I know that giving in to it stops me from progressing in my life. Yoga has really helped me step into fear and accept whatever happens.”

You can only imagine how excited I get when I hear these words. It makes me realise that the stuff I’m teaching might look superficial, like they are just tricks, but actually they are making a huge contribution to helping people live happier lives. And the added bonus is our soggy arms are now healthy and strong! We can carry our heavy shopping with no complaints. All I can say is, if you are curious about it. Go for it! You’ll be amazed at how good you can feel!


Five tips for someone starting inversion practice

  1. Take it step by step

Sometimes inversions as the final product are crazy hard. But there are ALWAYS stepping stones, that you can use to scale back on what you are doing to build the necessary strength and flexibility. If going into the full pose is too hard, look at the pose and find out what the first step needs to be to get you there. For most people getting stronger arms is a good place to start. So start doing those beloved push ups :)

  1. Find a good teacher that weaves inversions into the class and ask for help.

Most teachers would love to share what they know with you. So don’t be afraid to go up to the teacher and ask for help with certain poses. If they can’t help, ask another teacher, till you find the one that you are most comfortable working closely with. Ask them if they can spend 2 minutes with you at the end of class and you never know what amazing things you might learn in that short space of time.

  1. Look on YOUTUBE

I did lots of YOUTUBE(ing) when I first started looking for the progressive steps that would help my inversions. That is one of the reasons I started my channel http://www.youtube.com/cityogitv. I wanted all the poses in one easy to find place for people that didn’t know how to do arm balances and inversions.

  1. Keep going – even when it’s tough

It will be tough at times. Yes you may fall. You might even get sore muscles, as you work parts of your body you didn’t know you had! But the persistence you develop in your practice is a great skill to have in general life. I promise that through your persistence you will progress. The mother of skill is repetition! So keep practicing!

  1. Enjoy yourself!

Life is too short to give yourself a hard time about not getting into an inversion. Remember the reason you got into yoga in the first place. For most people, yoga made them feel good! So enjoy your journey learning new stuff. Life can sometimes be quite dull and boring. We wake up, work, eat, sleep, repeat. Learning new stuff is a way to feed the mind and that can be really fun!


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Why We Get Sick—and How To Get Well

plant with roots

We’re in the midst of the most serious epidemic of chronic disease humans have ever faced. Half of US adults have one or more chronic health conditions, and 25 percent have two or more. (1) 7 of the top 10 causes of death in 2010 were chronic diseases, and two of them—heart disease and cancer—together accounted for almost half of all deaths. (2)    

While some of these problems (like heart disease) are fairly well-understood by conventional medicine, others are more mysterious. Conditions like Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, and autoimmune disease together affect hundreds of millions of people around the world, but in most cases patients are told that the causes of their condition are unknown and simply prescribed drugs to manage the symptoms.

But is it really true that we don’t know what causes chronic illness? Certainly there are particulars related to each specific illness that we don’t yet understand. But I would argue that we do, in fact, have a solid grasp on the most important factors that contribute to virtually all chronic disease. This means that it is within our power now to prevent, and even reverse, many of these conditions.

The Functional Medicine Systems Model

As many of you know, I will be launching a functional medicine training program for clinicians later this year. (You can learn more about it here, and stay tuned for another announcement in the next few weeks!) In preparing for that program, I’ve created a “unified theory” of what causes disease that I call the Functional Medicine Systems Model. I’d like to share that with you here, and use it as a springboard for our discussion.

exposome + genome copy

As the diagram illustrates, the interaction between an individual’s genome, epigenome, and exposome is at the core of what determines our health.

The genome is our complete set of DNA, containing all of the information needed to build and maintain the human organism.

The epigenome consists of chemicals that modify the genome in a way that tells it what to do, where to do it, and when to do it. These modifications do not change the underlying genes, but they can be passed on to future generations.

The exposome represents the sum total of all non-genetic exposures an individual experiences from the moment of their conception through the end of their life. It includes the food we eat, the water we drink, the air we breathe, the chemicals we’re exposed to, the social connections we have, and the environment we live in.

Did you know that 8 underlying causes are at the root of most chronic disease?

To use an analogy, the genome is like a piano; the epigenome is like the sheet music; and the exposome is what determines how the music is written and performed. The quality of the piano will certainly affect the sound that it produces. But the finest piano in the world will still sound terrible if the sheet music and performance are terrible. Likewise, a virtuoso pianist performing a Mozart piece will not be at her best playing a poor-quality piano.

In the same way, genetics do play an important role in human health and disease. However, we now know that the exposome (and its influence on the epigenome) is far more significant in most cases. In fact, it is responsible for >90% of human disease. That is why the exposome is at the core of the Functional Medicine Systems Model, and should always be the first thing addressed regardless of the patient’s complaint.

The modern diet, lifestyle, and environment affect the expression of our genes and lead to pathology, which in turn cause disease and symptoms in the patient.

But what are those pathologies?

The 8 core pathologies that underlie all chronic disease

I believe that virtually all diseases and symptoms that we experience are caused by the following 8 core pathologies:

  1. Gut dysfunction. Includes small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), infections (e.g. parasites, pathogenic bacteria, viruses), low stomach acid, bile, and enzyme production, intestinal permeability, and food intolerances.
  2. Nutrient imbalance. Includes deficiency of nutrients like B12, iron, folate, magnesium, zinc, EPA/DHA and fat-soluble vitamins (most common), and excess of nutrients like iron (less common).
  3. HPA axis dysregulation. Includes regulating the communication between the hypothalamus, pituitary, and adrenal glands, and balancing the production of hormones associated with those glands (e.g. DHEA, cortisol)
  4. Toxic burden. Includes exposure to chemicals (e.g. BPA, phthalates, etc.), heavy metals (e.g. mercury, arsenic), biotoxins (e.g. mold/mycotoxins, inflamm), or impaired detoxification capacity due to nutrient deficiency, GI issues, or other causes.
  5. Chronic infections. Includes “stealth” infections by tick-borne organisms (e.g. Borrelia, Babesia, Bartonella, Erlichia), intracellular bacteria (e.g. Mycoplamsa, Chlamydophila), viruses (e.g. HHV-6, HPV), and dental bacteria.
  6. Hormone imbalance. Includes hormones associated metabolism (e.g. insulin, leptin), thyroid, and gonads (e.g. estrogen, progesterone, testosterone).
  7. Immune dysregulation. Includes autoimmunity, underactive immune function, and chronic, systemic inflammation. 
  8. Cellular dysfunction. Impaired methylation, energy production, and mitochondrial function, and oxidative damage.

These pathologies (and the exposome-genome-epigenome interactions that lead to them) are at the root of everything from obesity, to Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, to asthma, to autism spectrum disorders, to depression. The understanding that the same 8 core pathologies are at the root of most modern, chronic diseases has profound implications for how we should address these conditions.

In conventional medicine, the focus is often on diseases and the symptoms; it works “from the outside in”. For example, let’s say that you go to the doctor for your annual exam and your blood tests reveal that you have “high cholesterol”. The most likely outcome in this situation is that you’ll be prescribed a statin, and in some cases be told to exercise more and eat better. There is rarely any serious investigation into what caused the high cholesterol in the first place.

In functional medicine, however, we work “from the inside out”. We pay less attention to the symptoms, and more attention to the pathology that produces those symptoms. High cholesterol is a symptom, not a pathology. The pathologies that can lead to high cholesterol include poor thyroid function, intestinal permeability, disrupted gut microbiome, chronic viral or bacterial infections, insulin and leptin resistance, and nutrient imbalances—to name a few. If I find high cholesterol in a patient, we will examine all of these potential pathologies, and of course we will also look at how the individual’s genetics, diet, lifestyle, and other factors related to the exposome may be contributing to them. Once we have addressed all of the core pathologies, the cholesterol levels typically normalize on their own.

Whether the patient’s main complaint is infertility, fatigue, sinusitis, or skin problems, I will focus on these 8 core pathologies because I know (from both clinical experience and research) that they are the most likely underlying causes of their condition.

As you can see, this is a fundamentally different approach than what is typically done in the conventional setting. The downside is that it requires a lot more testing and investigation up front, which can be costly and time-consuming. The upside—which obliterates any of the downside considerations—is that it becomes possible to not only prevent, but even reverse many chronic disease conditions without the need for taking medication for the rest of your life.

Unfortunately, the functional medicine approach is not yet embraced within the conventional health care model. But I believe that is changing. The prestigious Cleveland Clinic just launched a Center for Functional Medicine, directed by functional medicine pioneer Dr. Mark Hyman. This is a big step toward mainstream acceptance of functional medicine, and the research the center is engaged in will almost certainly lead to even broader recognition.

I think health insurance companies will also see the benefits of functional medicine. They’ll recognize that spending a little more money up front to properly diagnose and treat the root of the problem will lead to enormous savings down the line.

These changes aren’t going to happen overnight, and we still have a lot of work to do. But the tide really is starting to turn!

If you’re a health care practitioner and you’re interested in training in this approach, sign up for the early interest email list to be notified when enrollment opens for my clinician training program. We’ll be making another announcement in July, and likely opening enrollment as early as August.

If you’re struggling with a chronic health problem and are interested in learning more about how this approach can help you, click here to learn more about how my team and I work with patients and set up an initial consultation.

Now I’d like to hear from you. Have you been able to resolve chronic health problems by addressing any of the core pathologies I listed above? Have you found success with a functional medicine and ancestral nutrition/lifestyle approach? How did that compare to what conventional medicine offered for your condition? Let us know in the comments section.

from Chris Kresser http://chriskresser.com/why-we-get-sick-and-how-to-get-well/
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HTK Radio 008: How To Make Fitness Fun Again with Danielle Natoni

Harder to Kill Radio 008 - Danielle Natoni | stupideasypaleo.com

Watch this episode of HTK Radio on YouTube

“You’re not going to get anywhere by being complacent.”

Words of wisdom from my guest this week, Danielle Natoni. She’s proving that failing to settle combined with passion for what you do is a winning combination.

If she looks familiar, it’s because Danielle is a fitness phenom, INSANITY workout video cast member, and internationally renowned speaker who’s appeared in countless INSANITY vids alongside trainer Shaun T.

But, she wasn’t always out there motivating people to get sweaty while having a blast doing it.

Danielle made a second-career leap three years ago from fifth grade math teacher to full-time fitness professional. I know her story of overcoming fear to make the jump, and her practical tips for getting a family to eat healthier and make time for exercise despite a hectic schedule will leave you feeling inspired! I know I was!

In This Episode of HTK Radio, You’ll Learn:

  • How Danielle knew she was destined for a different career & how she made the switch.
  • How to get over the fear of “what if.”
  • Her rock-solid tips for tackling your to-do list.
  • How she’s built a strong relationship with her husband despite working together.
  • What a typical day in the life of an Insanity star looks like.
  • Her best advice for getting your family on board with healthy eating.
  • The most important ingredient in building unbreakable humans.

Links and Resources Mentioned In This Episode:

Woot! Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining me again this week. Have some feedback to share? Leave a note in the comment section below.

If you liked this episode, please share it via the social media buttons on the left side of the post.

I’d so appreciate if you take a moment and leave a review for Harder to Kill Radio in iTunes! When you rate and review the show, it really helps others discover HTK Radio, and I am so grateful for your feedback.

Subscribe: iTunes | Stitcher | RSS feed

I’ll see you again soon for Episode 9 with a very special guest who’s going to help you unleash your inner creative badass in 28 days. He’s the one who really taught me about podcasting, and he’s saved my tush more times than I can ever repay him for. Be sure to tune in!

Pin These For Later!

Harder to Kill Radio 008 - Danielle Natoni | stupideasypaleo.com

Harder to Kill Radio 008 - Danielle Natoni | stupideasypaleo.com

The post HTK Radio 008: How To Make Fitness Fun Again with Danielle Natoni appeared first on Stupid Easy Paleo.

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Chicken Fajita Breakfast Bake + Giveaway

Got a baking dish? Throw together this easy, flavorful Chicken Fajita Breakfast Bake made with Gold'n Plump's Tex Mex Chicken Patties for a low-carb breakfast!!

Got a baking dish? Throw together this easy, flavorful Chicken Fajita Breakfast Bake made with Gold’n Plump Tex Mex Chicken Patties for a low-carb breakfast! I remember in college, I would go back and forth between making myself chicken fajitas and shrimp stir-fry for dinner. They’re two dishes where I know I’m gonna get my…

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The post Chicken Fajita Breakfast Bake + Giveaway appeared first on Fit Foodie Finds.

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My Vegan Story

My Vegan Story 2015

Five and a half years ago I got a job at a little vegan restaurant on the Upper West Side of Manhattan with the intention of working there until I received my big break as an actress. I thought it would come quickly, after all, I had just finished playing Princess Tiana of The Princess and the Frog in a live Disney show. Clearly acting success was around the corner for me {insert side eye emoji}.

But you never know where life will take you. I was reminded of that truth when I sat in front of the camera last weekend to share my vegan story with you.

Shortly after beginning my career as an actress in New York City, and getting that job at the little vegan restaurant, I lost my passion for the craft. I floated in limbo not knowing what I should do with myself. I didn’t want to be an actress anymore, but I didn’t feel qualified to do anything else. I wasn’t vegan at the time. I had already started Sweet Potato Soul, but just as a hobby. I loved food so much, but what could I do with that?

Then it happened. I decided to go vegan and my whole life changed!

Check out the video for more more more!! Also, check out the post I wrote a couple of weeks ago for more insight into the good karma that came to me from going vegan.

Do you have a vegan story? I’d love to hear it :)

p.s. Thanks to all of you who shared your amazing suggestions for future Sweet Potato Soul videos on Youtube. I have an impressive list of over 80 suggestions, tons of repeats, and it’s still growing. If you haven’t given me your suggestions, please let me know what you’d like to see on my channel. I’ve got a lot coming down the pipeline in the second half of 2016, and I want to make sure I’m giving you what you want!!

The post My Vegan Story appeared first on Sweet Potato Soul by Jenné Claiborne.

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