Tag: gut health

The Top 10 Healthy Food Trends from Natural Products Expo East 2015

Last month I had the opportunity to attend the Natural Products Expo East in Baltimore for the second time.

The Expo gives companies who create natural, organic, and healthy living products an opportunity to showcase their stuff to a community of retailers, practitioners, business owners, press, and bloggers like me 🙂


The best way I can describe the expo is like Halloween for healthy foodies. It’s like you get to meet all of the people behind all of your favorite products and then try their new stuff.

Pacing is important.

When you’re basically sampling all day from 9:30 until 6:00, you get full quickly, especially since many of these foods have decent amounts of fiber, healthy fats and protein.

Each year, new food trends pop up, and even though my #1 philosophy focuses on eating as much whole, real food as possible, trends are fun and can make mealtime and snack time a little more exciting.

Here are the top 10 trends I noticed in the natural food space and some products I tried along the way!

Transparency matters. Tell us what’s in your product and where it comes from.IMG_2373

As consumers are taking a closer look at labels and ingredient lists, there’s a growing demand for retailers to tell us CLEARLY what is in the packaged foods they’re making and to simplify their products to have fewer ingredients.

Here are some standouts that prioritize transparency. No secrets here!

The “free from” (dairy, gluten, nuts, grains, soy, etc.) movement is in full swing.


Because of years of poor diet, chronic stress, too many antibiotics, and other environmental and lifestyle factors, many of us are walking around with compromised digestive health, not realizing how badly we feel until we start feeling better.

Since 70% of our immune system lies in and around our digestive system, it makes sense that an unhappy “gut” = less than awesome health.

While we’re in the recovery phase, (or if we have to be “free from” a particular food for life), it’s helpful to experiment with cutting out certain ingredients (for me it’s dairy and gluten) to feel better. These are some of my favorite “free from” brands. They’re all dairy-free and gluten-free and some are free from other allergens as well.

Gluten-free is the way to be (31% of the products at the expo were GF).


I got to meet Elizabeth behind Purely Elizabeth granola! She's a fellow IIN grad and a rock star!

I also got to meet Elizabeth behind Purely Elizabeth granola! She’s a fellow IIN grad and a rock star!

Paleo is still going strong.


As the free-from movement continues and we get back to our roots of eating real food, the paleo diet (no grains, legumes, dairy, sweeteners, processed foods) maintains its strong following.

Their philosophy is, “If man made it, don’t eat it.”

As someone who doesn’t eat gluten or dairy, I often buy products labeled “paleo” because I know they will not have gluten or dairy in them, which gives me some peace of mind!

Check out some of these paleo options:

Organic, grass-fed meats and dairy are the new standard.


Cows are supposed to eat grass, not grains. When cows are fed grains, they often get sick and have to be pumped full of antibiotics, which then end up in our food. This is no bueno for the cows or for us.

That’s why we want to buy grass-fed beef whenever possible.

To take it to the next level, grass-FINISHED beef is the gold standard because it means that in the last stage of their life, the cows were still fed grass rather than being fed grains to quickly fatten them up.

A few brands of grass-fed jerky to check out:

  • Epic bars & jerky (Bill loves these and we find them at Wegmans, Whole Foods & MOMs)
  • The New Primal jerky (cows are grass-fed AND grass-finished). You can find these at REI.

Move over coconut water. Maple water is the new kid in town.


With a lower sugar content and price point than many coconut waters, maple water is a new trend.

I first found out about them when we were in Lake Placid this summer volunteering at the Ironman triathlon. Drink Maple had a team competing there, and we ended up being at the same cafe as them the day after the race.

Maple water has a subtle maple flavor and naturally occurring electrolytes, so for people who can’t stand the taste of coconut but want an option aside from plain water, this is definitely worth trying!

…But coconut is still in LOTS of products and is being reinvented.


Hemp is the new flax.


Hemp is an excellent source of easily digestible, plant-based protein and is a great source of healthy fats and minerals.

CBD is also becoming a popular cannabis-based ingredient in edible and consumable products that one could purchase from a cbd distributor. CBD businesses have become extremely popular over the years as the demand for hemp/marijuana-based products is soaring in the market. With a wide range of potential benefits from pain relief to anxiety management to help with insomnia, it’s no wonder that sites like Gold Bee (you can view the products they have to offer on the company website here) are becoming more and more popular. This is also why great care and attention need to happen on all ends when it comes to these businesses, including when it comes to financials. There are banks that accept cbd business for those that are looking, they just need to do some research in their business based area to find the right ones.

Here are a few hemp-based brands to try:

Turmeric, the ultimate anti-inflammatory, is taking center stage.


The key component of turmeric that makes it such an anti-inflammatory and protective powerhouse is curcumin. Research suggests that curcumin’s protective properties play a key role in the prevention and treatment of chronic disease and inflammation.

An inflamed body is a sick and angry body, so we want to do anything we can to cool inflammation, and curcumin that can be ingested via brands like CuraMed, is definitely one of the best ways to do this. But this is just one company to consider, so to find the best one for you, make sure to give these products a taste too…

This final trend excites me the most!

There’s a focus on taking a step back to traditionally nourishing, gut-friendly foods like bone broths and sauerkraut.

Since 70% of our immune system lies in and around our digestive tract, eating foods that make our digestive system happy make our whole body look and feel its best!


And, that’s a wrap!

For a gluten-free, dairy-free foodie who is focused on prioritizing whole, real food made with integrity by people who care, those were some of my favorite finds at Expo East 🙂

Top 10 Steps to Optimal Health: Go With Your Gut!

If you feel less than awesome in your body at this very moment, keep reading. What I’m sharing today could literally change your life!

Today, we’re talking about a topic that is near and dear to me because of my personal healing journey to identify food sensitivities, get myself off of a chronic disease medication, and heal my body.

What I’ve learned about the digestive system and its role in keeping me healthy has transformed my life. I have dealt with some form of sickness for most of my life, but addressing the underlying system and root causes has helped me feel better.

For the longest time, I felt like what I was dealing with was “normal” because it was all I’d ever known. (Doesn’t everyone get ear and sinus infections and bronchitis and reflux??). On what seems like a daily basis, I either hear stories about, talk to people dealing with or read about frustrating struggles with health issues that SEEM to be “normal” because they are common.

Normal Commong

From indigestion, migraines, asthma, acne, irritable bowel syndrome and heartburn to depression, anxiety, diabetes, and constipation, we’ve grown to think of these things as normal because so many people we know deal with them.

So what’s the secret?

Good health begins in the gut, the digestive system.

Did you know that over 50% of our immune system lies in and around our digestive tract? And that’s being conservative. Some experts report that as much as 70-80% of our immune cells are in and around our digestive system!

That means EVERYTHING we eat and drink goes through that system and affects it. Everything.

There is a strong link between what we eat and drink and how we feel.

I’m excited to share some potentially life-changing information with you in today’s post. I had the privilege of learning from one of the best and brightest in the field of nutrition and gut health, Dr. Chris D’Adamo from the University of Maryland Center for Integrative Medicine.

Check out his top 10 tips to optimize YOUR gut health to start feeling better today!

With Dr. Berman and Dr. Chris D'Adamo before his keynote

With Dr. Berman and Dr. Chris D’Adamo before his keynote

1) Acknowledge and believe that you don’t have to live with these symptoms just because you always have!

The body has a remarkable ability to be transformed and heal when we give it what it needs and take away what is hurting it.

Consider something like depression. It’s a complex condition without a sole cause or treatment. BUT, when you learn that over 90% of our “happiness hormone” (serotonin) production occurs in the GUT, it makes sense to look at healing the gut as a way to boost our mood and feel better. Aligning with functional medicine doctors can help you determine the true root cause of your condition, not matter what it is, and even it seems to have no connection to your digestive system.

2) See a gastroenterologist to rule out any serious gastrointestinal disorders.

I’m talking about Celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, ulcers, diverticulosis, infections, ulcerative colitis, gallstones, and colorectal cancer, among others. In case you were not already aware, gastroenterologists are doctors who investigate, diagnose, treat and prevent all gastrointestinal (stomach and intestines) and hepatological (liver, gallbladder, biliary tree and pancreas) diseases. Gastroenterologists can be found all over the world, so whether you are looking for a gastroenterologist in castle hill or a doctor closer to home, do not be afraid to do some research online to track down a specialist in your area. Above all, speaking to a few different doctors can help you to get a second opinion.

Consequently, if you’re looking for a gastroenterologist who has been recommended to me by Dr. D’Adamo, contact Dr. Jim Novick at GBMC in Towson. If you want to find someone near you, search for a provider at the Institute for Functional Medicine’s website here.

3) Try an elimination diet for at least 2 weeks.

Two weeks is NOT the same as forever. I promise.

Think of going through an elimination diet as “removing the tacks” you’re sitting on that are causing you pain/discomfort/less than awesome health. The ultimate goal is to remove as few foods as possible while optimizing your health.

Suppressing symptoms with medication is just like sitting on a sharp tack and holding an ice pack on the spot to numb it rather than removing the tack completely.

Remove the tack

Sometimes we are eating foods that are literally making us sick and causing us to stay there, no matter how much of the good stuff we add in. For me, those foods are dairy and gluten (the two most common allergenic foods).

Once I removed them from my diet, everything from congestion to sinus and ear infections and acid reflux went away.

Check out these AWESOME resources about how to do an elimination diet on the Institute for Functional Medicine’s website. Try it. These practitioners restore hope to health care.

Screen Shot 2015-05-17 at 8.45.54 PM

4) Reduce or (ideally) eliminate artificial sweeteners (including Splenda).

Aspartame, found in Diet foods and drinks, and also known as Equal and Nutrasweet damages the healthy balance of bacteria in our digestive system that keeps us well.

Sucralose, the sugar in Splenda, has been associated with weight gain and potential involvement in irritable bowel disease. Sugar alcohols (anything ending in “-ol” like malitol) can have laxative effects and disrupt healthy gut function.

If you or someone you know is trying to get off of artificial sweeteners, watch the free documentary Sweet Misery. In the meantime, your best bet for a real sweetener (in moderation) is raw honey because it contains prebiotics and probiotics.

5) Wean off of acid-blocking medications (under doctor supervision).


I’m talking about the Prilosecs, Prevacids and Nexiums of the world. They have NOT been studied for long-term use and can often ultimately do more harm than good.

They are symptom “shushers.” Many of them (PPIs – proton pump inhibitors like what you see above) work by shutting off our body’s stomach acid production.We NEED stomach acid to break down our food, so we can properly absorb and use it. We don’t want to shut off this natural function of our body.

Believe it or not, many people who are diagnosed with acid reflux may actually have LOW stomach acid, which was the case for me. I rarely felt true hunger and often felt like my food was just sitting in my stomach after eating, taking its sweet time to digest.

As a result of taking acid-blocking medications for almost a decade, I messed up my body’s natural stomach acid and wasn’t breaking down proteins properly into amino acids or creating vitamin B12 (essential for energy and hundreds of other functions in the body).


Guess what I’ve learned since then? We need the building blocks of protein to build everything from hormones and neurotransmitters to hair, skin and nails. I also learned I was deficient in stomach acid, so I had to supplement with hydrochloric acid (under the supervision of my nutritionist) to restore my digestive health.

Here’s my story of how I healed and got off of my medication….for good! Talk to your doctor before altering medication, and if your doctor is not open to doing this, find a functional medicine doctor, who will support you.


6) Heal the intestinal lining.

Bone broth and the supplement l-glutamine can both help us heal our intestinal lining.

Homemade bone broth contains amino acids that build and heal the gut lining. Here’s a link to learn about the health benefits of bone broth and how to make it yourself.

Buy yourself some bones* at your local market (MOMs Organic Market carries them), and make it yourself. Make sure they are from grass-fed, pasture-raised, humanely treated animals.

7) Choose fermented foods carefully.

They are a component of most traditional diets and naturally contain probiotics. Focus on miso, natto, kimchi, sauerkraut, kefir, and fermented yogurt.

I find Farmhouse Culture sauerkraut (lots of varieties!) and Bubbies (both pictured below) at MOMs Organic Market. Hex Ferments in Baltimore is another great place to buy lots of different fermented foods.

I used to HATE sauerkraut, but now that I know how good it is for my health, I have tried several kinds and have learned to enjoy it.

I used to HATE sauerkraut, but now that I know how good it is for my health, I have tried several kinds and have learned to enjoy it.

A lot of people ask about yogurt for probiotics. Most processed yogurts in the grocery store are heavily processed and contain more sugar and additives than healthy bacteria. For a review of over 100 yogurts and a ranking from best to worst, check out this guide from the Cornucopia Institute. Dannon and Yoplait are in the bottom 5!

Check out your local natural or health food store (or Whole Foods and Wegmans) for healthy fermented food options.

8) Consume prebiotic fibers to feed the bacteria in the gut.

We hear a lot about PRObiotics these days but not too much about PREbiotics. Prebiotics are fermentable fibers that FEED probiotic bacteria. Probiotics and prebiotics are both great for our gut.

We want the good guys to get the food they need to protect us and strengthen our immune system. Check out Fittty Brittty to see how probiotics and multivitamins impact our guts.

Sources of prebiotic foods include buckwheat, chicory, sunchokes (Jerusalem artichokes), burdock root, onions, garlic, asparagus, green tea, and blueberries, to name a few.


Clockwise: onions and garlic, asparagus, sunchokes, burdock root, buckwheat groats

9) When it comes to probiotics, you get what you pay for.

According to the World Health Organization, probiotics are “live microorganisms that can provide benefits to human health when administered in adequate amounts, which confer a beneficial health effect on the host.

In other words, probiotics are “good” or “healthy” bacteria because they support digestive health. Not all bacteria are bad! And since 70% of our immune system is located in and around our digestive system, it makes sense that supporting digestive health will boost our overall health.

Choose products that specify the strains of bacteria in them and that have research behind them. You also want them to be shipped on ice/cold shipped to protect the delicate, living bacteria. A few that were mentioned in the workshop were Natren, Garden of Life Raw, Theralac, and VSL #3. I’ve been using one recommended by my nutritionist called HLC MindLinx by Pharmax.

Probiotics are most important for people who have been on antibiotics, have digestive or autoimmune issues, or who will be traveling out of the country.

Keep in mind that different people respond to the same probiotics differently, so just because something works for a friend of yours doesn’t necessary mean it will work for you.

10) It’s not just WHAT you eat that matters, it’s HOW you eat, too.

Eating mindfully (slowly, chewing thoroughly, without distractions) is key to healthy digestion.

There’s a reason we call the gut “the second brain.” The brain impacts the bacteria in our gut and our gut health impacts our brain. It’s a two-way street. When we eat under stress, our body processes food differently, and we don’t get the most out of our meals. This is why it is a good idea to understand better how you can help you Inner Ecosystem, to help improve your gut so that you don’t prioritize food over your health.

Prioritize food enough to slow down and savor it when you eat.

If you’re going to take the effort to eat well in the first place, don’t you want to get as much out of that nourishing food as possible? Optimizing our gut health is key to making that happen.

An Inspiring Day of Hope, Happiness and Integrative Health in Baltimore

I first saw signs advertising the University of Maryland’s Center for Integrative Medicine’s Health & Wellness Conference a few years ago.

The topics and speakers always sparked my interest, but the timing never seemed to work with my schedule, so I never went.

After spending the past three years learning how to listen to my body, help it heal from years of medication use and poor diet, and optimize my health, I’m more passionate about the power of functional, integrative medicine than ever before, and I knew I had to go.

For the first time ever, the conference was held downtown at the Institute for Integrative Health’s facility on Fleet Street in the old Broom Corn factory. The recently renovated building has been converted into an open, inviting, vibrant space designed to provide an environment for innovative thinking, convene leaders and visionaries to promote true health care, reverse the sick care crisis, and educate the community about integrative health. Health is extremely important and it has been known that marijuana can have medicinal purposes, this includes physical and mental health, you can check out a medical marijuana card provider. A marijuana card provider is handy to get yourself a marijuana card – looking after your health!


Attending events like this and being surrounded by such brilliant, passionate, like-minded people energizes and inspires me and reminds me of why I do the work that I do.

As I wrote back in January, there is a special gift that comes from being with “your people.”

The conference started with some mingling and breakfast provided by my go-to healthy and nourishing meal choice in Towson – Zia’s Café – and Belvedere Square – Plantbar.

Daniela Troia, who owns Zia’s Café and Plantbar at Belvedere Market, uses whole, unprocessed, nourishing, vibrant food as a platform to promote health and wellbeing in Baltimore and beyond.

Not only did they serve breakfast, but they also provided snacks of veggies and hummus, fresh cold-pressed juices, wraps and salads for lunch and a chocolate ganache brownie for an afternoon snack. YUM!


Following the morning mingle, everyone convened for a Welcome to Wellness led by a pioneer in the field of integrative medicine, Dr. Brian Berman. He is the President and Founder of the Institute for Integrative Health and Director of the University of Maryland Center for Integrative Medicine.

Dr. Berman has dedicated his career to researching and promoting complementary and integrative medicine, and in 1991 he founded the first U.S. academic medical center-based program for integrative medicine.

He started the conference by asking,

“What is wellness? What is health?”

Those two words have a range of meaning depending on whom you ask.

Dr. Berman’s comment about how integrative health can change the future really resonated with me. I share his vision:



I firmly believe this to be true and am honored to be part of such a transformational movement that has already helped and will continue to help so many people restore and optimize their health.

We were then led through a centering morning chanting session with monks from the Drepung Gomang Monastery, who will be at Baltimore Yoga Village in Mt. Washington speaking, singing, praying and creating a sand mandala from now until May 14th.

To learn more about these events, click here.


The rest of the day was filled was passionate speakers sharing the latest research and life learnings about a variety of integrative health topics.

While we know food is important to overall health and is something I write about a lot on this blog, non-food nourishment is equally important.

The conference was filled with both forms of nourishment and truly focused on integrative health and the connections between our mind, body and spirit.

The first session I attended was about the science of happiness and forgiveness and was co-led by Drs. Delia Chiaramonte and Dahlia Hirsch.


A whopping 50% of our happiness is hard-wired and inherited while a mere 10% is influenced by our circumstances. That means 40% of our happiness is changeable. We have the power to influence that.

The most fascinating thing I learned in the session on happiness was that writing and talking about negative things in our lives increases our happiness, while intentionally dwelling on and THINKING about positive things that happen boosts our happiness. Talking and writing about positive things doesn’t change our happiness, but dwelling on the negative decreases it.

So, when bad things happen, write or talk about them, but try not to mentally dwell on them. When good things happen, think about them over and over again.

We can actively increase our happiness by doing these things:

  • Identifying and using our strengths and making note of how we’ve used them each day
  • Looking for the good, even in tough situations
  • Purposely ruminating over positive experiences (instead of forgetting them and fussing over the not so good stuff)
  • Nurturing social connections
  • Committing to a gratitude ritual, whether it’s keeping a journal, reflecting on three appreciations before bedtime each night or writing a gratitude letter to another person and reading it aloud to them

As we shifted from happiness to forgiveness, we were challenged by Dr. Dahlia Hirsch to consider,

“What ideas are running your life? Your body?”

This resonated with me, as I’ve been struggling with some negative thought patterns lately and feeling “stuck” in my thoughts and my body. It can be so hard for us to forgive ourselves and other people.


She reminded us that we CHOOSE what to focus on. We can either focus on being frustrated, stuck, annoyed or angry, or we can choose to forgive to free ourselves from those feelings.

The question that stuck with me the most was this:

“What do I have to give up to have peace?”

It’s something each of us can ask ourselves.

Whether it’s a feeling, a relationship, a job, a wrongdoing, or something else entirely, what are you holding on to that is preventing you from having peace in your life?

We transitioned from happiness and forgiveness to the healing power of touch. I’ve experienced this myself in the past through massage therapy, chiropractic care, and most recently, acupuncture. Donna Audia, the main speaker for the talk, is an integrative therapy nurse and team lead for the integrative Inpatient Care Team at the University of Maryland Medical Center.

She opened with talking about the anti-inflammatory response of shock trauma patients to acupuncture and had to make a shift in her own mindset from “intubating and sedating” patients to using healing touch to help and heal them.

Donna captured her patient philosophy in one brief statement:

healing patients

I LOVE that.

Imagine if every health care provider adopted that same mentality. The epidemic of health that Dr. Berman is calling for could be here sooner than we thought!

What stuck with me the most from our session was the knowledge that 20 seconds of continuous touch releases the bonding, trust, and safety hormone oxytocin – for both the giver AND receiver – assuming the touch is wanted.

As part of the session, each of us had an opportunity to buddy up with someone else at our table and alternate giving each other light back rubs. My partner was a beautiful young woman named Maura, who at the age of 19 is discovering what health means to her, as she has battled with weight and smoking, but is determined to change her life. I encouraged her that what she is going through and growing through will ultimately be used to help and inspire others.

It’s in our struggles that we become relatable and real and connect to other people. Imperfect people are the greatest inspirations.

I plan to stay in touch with her, so I can continue to follow her journey. She will be a voice of change one day, and her story will impact more people than she ever thought possible.

She said something so profound that I had to write it down:


Wow. Wisdom from a 19-year-old. Isn’t it true for so many of us?

We’ve so deprived ourselves of genuine, meaningful, healing human touch and connection that we reach for other things to satisfy and fill us – from food to alcohol to cigarettes and even credit cards.

The next time you hug a loved one, see if you can hold it for at least 20 seconds or offer to give them a back rub for at least that long.

There is healing power in touch.

Before heading to lunch, I attended a session on increasing sustainable, healthy local food led by Louise Mitchell, who has worked with one of my company’s clients, Meritus Medical Center in Hagerstown.


Louise taught us about the importance of eating locally, which usually means the food has traveled under 250 miles from farm to table, whereas most conventional food has traveled anywhere from 1,500 to 2,400 MILES before it reaches us.

A lot of the tips she shared about how to make eating sustainable, locally grown food more affordable are captured in this blog post about how to eat organic without going broke.

She also shared great information about the harmful health effects of pesticide use (what is sprayed on conventional, non-organic produce to keep it looking “perfect” and bug-free):


I learned about the work of Dr. Jim Duke, and the “green farmacy” he grows on his farm in Fulton, Maryland, where anyone can volunteer. I plan to check it out this summer! To learn more about his work and the farm, click here.

One of the most useful tips Louise shared was how to pick the highest quality and safest meats and poultry, so here you go. We want to eat:

  • Pasture-raised pork and poultry
  • Grass-fed and grass-finished cows, dairy products, and lamb. This means they are fed grass throughout their entire lives rather than being grain-finished, which is what helps “fatten up” and marble beef, but is not how cows are designed to eat. Check out the Eat Wild website to find sources for this type of meat near you.

Also, I teach this in the workshops I lead, but it’s worth reiterating that the word “natural” on a food label is unregulated and has nothing to do with how the food is produced. Don’t buy the marketing hype!

To learn more about sustainable farming, check out these resources:

After lunch, I was honored to attend a keynote presented by Dr. Chris D’Adamo, a nutrition researcher who is an Assistant Professor at the University of Maryland Center for Integrative Medicine. He also teaches workshops at the Institute for Integrative Health.

With Dr. Berman and Dr. Chris D'Adamo before his keynote

With Dr. Berman and Dr. Chris D’Adamo before his keynote

We learned the top tips to optimizing gut health, which many of you know is a passion of mine because of my own healing journey. I’ll be sharing those tips in a separate post because there was just so much great information that I can’t do it justice by summing it up here!

Dr. D’Adamo shared how over 50% of our immune system activity is in our “gut,” which starts in our mouth and ends, well, you know where 😉

Because of poor diet, stress, alcohol intake, and years of antibiotic and medication use, many of us have compromised our health and immunity and are dealing with the consequences in the form of everything from bloating, abdominal pain, reflux, allergies, and colds to rheumatoid arthritis, irritable bowel syndrome, depression, and anxiety.

According to Dr. D’Adamo, the bottom line is this:


That’s right. We can heal and be well. The body is incredibly resilient. We just need to give it half a chance to do its thing.

Dr. D’Adamo will be teaching a series of workshops about What Science Says about Dietary Supplements in May and June, and I will definitely be attending! Click here to learn more and register.

After going through an energizing movement routine led by Lynne Brick, we finished out the day by attending a few more workshops.


The first was a healthy cooking workshop led by Jennifer Helene, who emphasized the message that it’s not about deciding between being healthy OR enjoying food.

It’s about having it all.

Healthy food can be both nourishing and delicious, and I seek to constantly reinforce that point in every recipe post I share on this blog.

She said it’s about becoming the best version of ourselves and planning for the space between where we are now and where we want to be. It’s about making a commitment to our health and ourselves and not letting excuses get in the way.

As Jennifer said,

“Invest today to save tomorrow. Be in action every day without guilt.”

She shared some delicious recipes with us, and you can find more of them on her website.

The second part of the experiential workshop was led by Susan Weis-Bohlen, an ayurvedic expert, who taught us about the different doshas – mind/body constitutions that are reflected in our physical characteristics, temperaments and emotional traits.

My friend Susanna having her ayurvedic pulse points read by Susan Weis-Bohlen

My friend Susanna having her ayurvedic pulse points read by Susan Weis-Bohlen

I learned that I am DEFINITELY Pitta dosha, known to have a “fiery nature” in both spirit and body.

According to the Chopra Institute, “Pittas have a powerful intellect and a strong ability to concentrate. When they’re in balance, they are good decision makers, teachers, and speakers. They are precise, sharp-witted, direct, and often outspoken. Out-of-balance Pittas can be short-tempered and argumentative.”


Want to discover your dosha? Check out this free quiz.

To learn more about Susan’s ayurvedic and vegetarian cooking classes at her home in Reisterstown, check out this link.

The day closed with a workshop that dove deeper into digestive health, specifically as it relates to adverse food reactions, allergies, sensitivities and intolerances led by Erin Peisach, a registered dietitian who sees patients at the University of Maryland’s Center for Integrative Medicine. I’ll include the highlights from her workshop when I share the write-up about Dr. D’Adamo’s session in a future post.

Reflecting on the day, a few key insights stood out to me that summarize the mindset behind the day.


Sue Berman, Dr. Berman’s wife and Executive Director at the Institute for Integrative Health, noted,

“It’s great to have a day to be nourished in so many ways.”

I wholeheartedly agree. I wish more people could experience what TRUE nourishment looks and feels like and how transformational it can be for our health and our lives.

So many of us look to a TV show, book, “expert,” or doctor to “fix” us and tell us what to do. Part of what I’ve learned along my journey to healing my body and boosting my health is that I have responsibility in the process. I had to start listening to my body and stop ignoring and suppressing the signals it was sending me about how I felt.

That’s the secret.

At the close of her session on ayurveda, Susan Weis-Bohlen declared a truth that captures the essence of functional medicine and integrative health and the gist of the day. I hope it resonates with and inspires you to start paying attention to your body and take back YOUR health!

power within

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