A Few of My Favorite Things

There’s no doubt that I’m all about real food. Most of the modern healthcare situation we’re facing can be pretty directly traced back to the introduction of packaged, processed, chemical-laden, high sugar food-like substances. I like to say, Real food doesn’t have ingredients; real food IS ingredients. I believe everyone should be eating a diet based on nourishing, whole foods–the types of things your great-grandmother would recognize.

Now, having said all of that, I’m also a realist. Some real foods are off-limits to people due to food sensitivities. Most of us aren’t going to make our own yogurt (although I have, and it’s really easy!). And there are some things that frankly, we tend to miss when we move away from the Standard American Diet (aka SAD). So when I discover some healthy, tasty alternatives, I’m always pretty stoked. I thought I’d share some of my favorites here with you.

Mud WTR: Tasty coffee substitutes are something I’m often asked about. While I adore coffee, it does a number on my digestion, so I rarely indulge. For many people dealing with cortisol and adrenal issues, the caffeine in coffee is also no bueno. Mud WTR is a fantastic substitute. Imagine if chai tea and hot cocoa had a baby! All organic, it contains cacao, Masala chai, turmeric, adaptogenic mushrooms, and cinnamon. A cup has 1/7th the caffeine of a cup of coffee, due to the black tea powder. While it can be a bit hard to blend in (they send you a USB-powered frother when you order!), a spoonful of this mixed with Forager’s cashew coconut milk is one of my favorite morning treats. Mud WTR is only available by direct order from the company.

Nutpods: When I do have my tiny cup of occasional coffee, you can be sure there’s some Nutpods in it. These entirely sweetener-free creamers are made from coconut cream and almonds, plus a gum or two, and that always-mysterious “natural flavors.” Nope, we don’t know what that means, but the company says that they come from plants. These creamers have the richness of half and half, without the dairy. The cinnamon swirl is my absolute favorite. And when the special limited edition “eggnog” comes out each Fall, I buy cases of it.

Seven Sundays: My favorite food used to be cereal. Nothing made me happier than a big bowl of cereal, skim milk, and a banana. Particularly right before bed. Now that I know better, I do better! So, after many years without cereal (reminder: giant bowl of refined grain that spikes your blood sugar, causes inflammation, and leads to sugar crashes and hormonal effects), I was over the moon to discover Seven Sundays cereal. This Certified B Corp is supporting organic family farms and efforts to end hunger, while figuring out how to make cereal by upcycling sunflower protein leftover from other food products. (Read their fascinating story here.) Their cereals are free of sugars, flavors, gluten, and grains. Best of all, they’re crunchy and delicious and totally scratch that cereal itch. I like to toss a handful into the next product on my list….

Coconut Cult: Oh, Coconut Cult. You evil, evil geniuses. A couple of years ago, my dear friend Lara starting raving to me about this coconut yogurt that tasted exactly like chocolate mousse. She said it was unlike anything she’d ever had, and although expensive, worth every penny. At that time, it wasn’t widely sold in stores. So I spent like EIGHTY DOLLARS to get a few 16 oz jars shipped to me on ice from southern California. (Crazy, but hey, tax deduction, business research.) Let me just publicly say, Lara, I’m sorry I ever doubted you. This stuff is unbelievable. All organic, made of coconut cream meat and water, cacao, and coconut nectar (which does add a small amount of sugar). I seriously have no idea how they do it. The best part is, it has SO MANY probiotic bacteria in it, that you really can’t eat more than a couple of tablespoons without suffering some major GI distress. So, a little goes a long way. And the best BEST part is, it’s now sold at Whole Foods! So yeah, it’s $9 for an 8 oz jar. Don’t even hesitate, chocolate lovers. Go buy this immediately.

Siete cookies: Anybody who’s shopped the grain-free world in the last couple of years is familiar with Siete foods. Their tortillas and chips are pretty much staples for many of us. So when they recently introduced cookies, I was excited. I’ve tried the Mexican shortbread and Mexican chocolate, and they’re both fantastic. Made of a grain-free flour blend, avocado oil, spices, and a bit of coconut sugar, they are a great clean option for a little treat, with each cookie having about 1 g of sugar.

Except for the Mud WTR, these products are all available at Whole Foods in northern California. Let me know which ones you try!

Mold and Your Hormones

It was such a pleasure to join Christine Garvin on her Hormonally Speaking podcast recently, to talk about mold and hormones. We chatted all about this insidious scourge, how you get it, what it does to you and your hormones, and what can be done about it. As a mold survivor, this topic is near and dear to my heart. If mold is of interest for you, I hope you’ll watch this interview.


Those are Some Beautiful Genes You’ve Got There

Genetic testing has become very popular of late, with lots of direct-to-consumer tests like 23 and Me popping up. These tests sequence a portion of your genome, and then give you information about a variety of things you might be more likely to experience as a result of your genes. These tests are sort of a “genetics lite” version of the type of in-depth testing medical professionals do to look for disease risk.

The biggest issue around any sort of genetic testing has to do with one giant question: Just because I have this gene, does it mean I definitely have or will develop disease X?  This fear leads many people to avoid genetic testing, as they’re afraid the results will condemn their future. Basically, they wonder, are my genes my destiny?

The answer here is a resounding NO. Genes and genetic expression are complicated, but the easiest way to think about genes is like a light switch, that can be turned on or off. Genes are constantly turning on and off, or “expressing,” and just because you have a specific genetic presentation does not in any way mean that you are going to definitively develop the disease or effect that gene can cause when it is switched on.

There’s a fabulous saying about this: Genetics loads the gun, lifestyle pulls the trigger.

The field of genetics research is advancing by leaps and bounds daily, and there’s much we still don’t know. But there are a couple of hundred genes that we know enough about now to be able to say what environmental and lifestyle factors contribute to turning those genes on and off. Essentially, we can now tell you what you need to do to keep your potentially harmful genes in check; that is, how to not pull the trigger.

I’m now using a genetic test in my practice called 3 x 4, and I’m finding the information it gives incredibly valuable for my clients. This simple cheek swab test is able to give us insight into what you as an individual need to do to live longer, healthier, and better. Who doesn’t want that?!

Have you ever wanted to know…

How do I live a healthier and longer life?

How do I improve my physical and mental performance?

What is the most effective way for me to lose weight?

Why do I keep getting sick?

3×4 analyzes your genes across functional pathways, providing information about your genetic tendencies in 25 core areas, including cellular health, diet and energy, cardiovascular health, nutrients, and overall body health. It allows us to more easily explain your body’s health story, and guides us to making lifestyle and dietary choices to help ensure lifelong health. Rather than dealing with downstream symptoms, we can look a deep cellular level and feel empowered to prevent or delay disease. Importantly, 3 x 4 only reports on the genes that research has shown we actually have the power to affect with our lifestyle choices.

Some of the fascinating things I learned about my own genetic story:

  • I have a significant genetic potential for blood sugar dysregulation, as my glucose and insulin handling genes are somewhat compromised. This makes sense, as there is a lot of adult onset diabetes in my family. Luckily, my annual bloodwork shows my glucose handling is excellent, and my diet and lifestyle support this.
  • I’m genetically prone to elevated cholesterol, making a diet rich in fiber and healthy unsaturated fats key. Check!
  • Genetically, my bone turnover might be impacted, which means lots of minerals, vitamins D and K, and weight-bearing exercise are important. These are all part of my daily life.
  • My genes influence my appetite and satiety in such a way that I may need a higher amount of food than other people, in order to feel full. This may explain why I can throw down heaping plates of food easily!
  • I’m genetically likely to have trouble absorbing and using vitamin B12, making a focus on that vitamin important in food and supplements.

If you’re interested in learning what your genes can tell us, and how you can live your healthiest life for the long haul, reach out and let’s chat about running this test for you!


Sweat, Smile, and Shine in 2021

One of the (few) good things to come out of 2020 has been the amazing online fitness community I found, VFit Studio. I’ve always loved group fitness classes (especially when I’m not the one teaching them!), and lockdown in March meant I needed to find something to replace my usual workouts. VFit is a terrific group of talented trainers who offer around 100 live Zoom classes each week: everything from yoga and Pilates and barre to sculpt and tabata and Zumba. Because they’ve been doing this for years, they’ve got the online fitness thing nailed, and are a real community of people all over the globe who come together to sweat, smile, and shine. VFit is also a woman-owned small business. These workouts have kept me sane through 2020, and have packed on some muscle, to boot!

VFit is offering a free 2 week unlimited class pass through January 15, with no obligations or hidden fees. If your 2021 plans include a regular fitness regimen with a group of super fun people, I encourage you to check them out. Maybe I’ll see you on the yoga mat! http://thevfitstudio.com/sweatsmileshine/

Standard Process now available on Fullscript!

If products from Standard Process or MediHerb are part of your healing regimen of supports, you’ll be excited to know they have joined Fullscript and are now available by recommendation through my dispensary. As always, I offer a discount off of retail pricing, and shipping is free for all orders over $50. If you need me to add a recommendation so you can order your favorites, just reach out and let me know. Why not kick off 2021 with the fabulous 21 day Purification Program from Standard Process? You can create a Fullscript account for ordering products here: https://us.fullscript.com/welcome/elovelace

Discount On My Favorite Bars

I get asked a lot about bars — the kind you eat, not where you drink.

Mostly, I’m not a fan. The vast majority of bars are high in sugar, low in nutrition. And they replace an opportunity to eat some real food. That said, I understand sometimes they’re the only thing you may have time to scarf. (Which is also a problem, to be discussed another time!)

I have this one day, every two weeks, where my schedule doesn’t allow for lunch. So as I jump in the car, I grab an OHi bar. I really like these bars because they are chock-full of healthy fats from nuts and coconut, they are almost totally organic (a few of the nuts they use aren’t, mostly because that would make them cost-prohibitive), and the small amount of sweetener they use is low glycemic coconut nectar. Low glycemic means it doesn’t cause quick blood sugar swings, so it’s tolerated much better than simple forms of sugar or even honey or maple syrup. All those healthy fats mean lots of long-burning energy; I find these bars keep me satisfied for a few hours, which I’ve never found with any other bar. They’re also completely delicious!

OHi bars are cold-pressed, and are meant to be stored cold–so they’re not a great option to throw in your bag for hours. But if you’re looking for a good quick snack bar to give you some actual energy (as opposed to just crashing you quickly, like a Kind bar will), you might give them a try.

They sent me this 20% off code to share with you. I love all the flavors, so I always get the Variety box. If you try them, let me know what you think! http://ohisuperfoodbar.refr.cc/ellenl

Limited Time Discounts on Lab Testing

If you’ve been toying with the idea of doing some lab testing, or need to re-check some previous labs, this is a great time to do it. Some of the labs I work with are offering nice discounts for a limited time only, which I am happy to pass on to my clients.

Food sensitivity tests are $199 through May 15 (down from $350, a HUGE savings). This is a blood test that checks 170 foods and chemicals.

Salivary hormone testing (adrenals, male hormones, menopausal hormones, cycling female hormones) is 20% off through June 15.

Contact me to learn more.

COVID-19: What I’m Doing

I’ve resisted posting about COVID-19, figuring everyone is being *inundated* with info at this point. But I decided to share what I’m doing, in case it is helpful.

The basic epidemiology here is critical. The key thing is slowing the spread, or as the CDC calls it, flattening the curve of new infections. It’s not about your health (unless you’re over 60 or have a disease state that puts you at risk), it’s about the health of those who cannot fight this off if exposed. If you have the ability to stay away from people, you should. Limiting exposure and slowing the burden on hospitals is critical in the next few weeks. Anything you can avoid doing, any trips you can avoid making outside the house, you should. This isn’t the time to go to a movie.

The most nutrient-dense foods are those rich in minerals and fat soluble vitamins. There is some evidence that viruses like this one have greater effect on those with low vitamin A and D stores.

* Foods rich in fat soluble vitamins specifically (A, D, E, K) – eggs, fatty fish including salmon and sardines.
*Pastured organic eggs, rich in protein and healthy fats.
*Bone broth and soups.
*Fermented foods- raw sauerkraut, kimchi, fermented vegetables. You will find these in the refrigerated section only- the canned stuff has no living enzymes due to heat.
* Collagen powders can boost gut health and therefore immunity.
* Juicing – fresh pressed vegetable juices- carrots, beets, celery, with ginger and turmeric and greens.
* Vegetable, fruit/berry smoothies – adding in the collagen powder or a high quality protein powder can be good.
* Grass fed beef, pastured chickens, and organic organ meats (if you’re willing) are VERY high in fat soluble vitamins.
* And most importantly LOTS of leafy green vegetables.

No chips, ice cream, soda, energy drinks, sugar, muffins, refined carbs or processed foods. All of these reduce your immune response. Avoid exposure to other people by cooking at home.

Some of these I regularly take anyway for immune boosting and chronic viral suppression:

* MegaSpore probiotic
* Digestive enzymes as I eat to help digest/absorb nutrients from food.
*ADK: 1 capsule has 5000 iu of A and 5000 of D, plus K2
* Ultimate Antiox: A wide spectrum antioxidant that includes so many immune support herbs and vitamins
*Vitamin C: I take 2000 mg daily, and have been increasing to 5000 these days
*Selenium: 200 mcg daily
*SBI Protect: gut healing and mucosal immune support
*Zinc: 30 mg daily

And lots of water, particularly warm drinks that are more easily absorbed. Hydration is key for good health, good immune function and moving everything through the body, including toxins. It also keeps your mucus membranes moist, which is critical in fighting viruses.

If you have questions about how to support yourself, please reach out. The healthier we stay, the faster this all goes away and life as we know it can resume.

(Thanks to my colleague Jody Summers for initially sharing many of these thoughts. )