Microbiome of the GUT & Probiotics? Which one is right for you?


Healthy people have a DIVERSE microbiome…  This means you have roughly 35,000 different microbe species living in your body.  What makes you susceptible to leaky gut, low energy, IBS, colitis, autoimmune diseases and hosts of other problems?  Low diversity.  This happens when we take antibiotics, eat non-organic foods that have been treated with pesticides like Glyphosate, exposed to mold, or other environmental toxins, or just have a low-fiber diet… usually because of a high carb/processed food diet.  This lifestyle kills off those little guys and can cause large, small and even subtle health problems. It really comes down to the balance of  “good bacteria” vs. “bad bacteria”.

Essentially, we need a higher ratio of “good bacteria” to outnumber those that are bad in order to stay resilient and healthy. Unfortunately — due to factors I mentioned above — most people’s microbiomes are home to many billions of potentially bad and even dangerous bacteria, fungus, yeast and pathogens. When we carry around more bad bacteria than we should, and also lack the diversity of protective bacteria we need, our health suffers. Throughout our lives, we help shape our own microbiomes — plus they adapt to changes in our environment.  So, the foods we eat, how we sleep, the amount of bacteria we are exposed to on a daily basis and the level of stress we live with all create the viability of having a diverse microbiome.

So, what do these bacteria actually do?? Our individual microbiomes are sometimes called our “genetic footprints” since they help determine our unique DNA, hereditary factors, predisposition to diseases, body type or body “set point weight,” and much more. Even the word “microbiome” tells you a lot about how it works and the importance of its roles, since “micro” means small and “biome” means a habitat of living things.  I find that very interesting that our good bacteria is closely related to our genes, and genetic code.  Even our mitochondria is an ancient bacteria in our cells that is the BASIS of our energy.  It is what creates it!  Another thing I found interesting, is that at Paleo f/x, this panel of doctors who spoke on this subject, discussed how many of these microbiome species are passed from mother to baby during childbirth, through mother’s milk, and that is how this diversity begins in a human being.

How do I even know if my microbiome is DIVERSE?  You can ask yourself several questions, how are my energy levels?  How am I sleeping?  How are my bowel movements?  Am I bloated or have tummy troubles?  Do I suffer from an autoimmune or chronic disease?  If you answer yes, to any of these questions, chances are you are lacking in the diversity of your microbiota.

Seeking professional guidance from a specialist or a functional medicine doctor can help you identify specifically which microbiome you need and they can help you with that.

For the rest of us??  Probiotics are the newest “buzz word” and everyone needs one, right?  Well, I learned some interesting things at Paleo f/x about probiotics and their efficacy!  As in, if the probiotic needs to be refrigerated to stay alive….  how is it going to survive your 98 degree body and your harsh stomach acid because it has to pass through all of that before landing in your small intestine where it belongs….  Even probiotics from greek yogurt can’t make it to the small intestine without dying.

I found a probiotic there that actually had research backing it with an amazing leaky gut study they conducted.  This is the first spore-based probiotic.  Please do your own research and enlist the assistance of health professional, but if you are a health enthusiast like myself, and would like to actually take a probiotic that will make it to your gut so you can actually feel it work, please learn more about this company!  And no, they are NOT paying me to promote this…  I’m too small time for that… haha.  But in learning what I have about leaky gut, autoimmune diseases, and even trying to figure out my own stomach and energy issues, this made sense to me.  This probiotic makes it to your small intestine, and has 4 different species of microbiomes.  Most of us don’t need MORE lactobacillus!  Which is what most of the refrigerated ones are made from.

Check them out, and read their study.  It was something that totally made sense to me!

Enjoy!!  and Happy Probiotic-ing!


Paleo f/x Conference – Austin, TX


I spent this last weekend in Austin at the Paleo f/x conference soaking in all the great lectures and info from incredible thought leaders in this industry.  It was amazing, to say the least!  Here are a few take-aways that I will give a rough overview here, but will dedicate a blog post daily for the next week giving you more detail of what I learned and how it can help you with what you may be struggling with health-wise.

  1. Probiotics!!  They aren’t all equal and what does a healthy gut really look like??
  2. Healthspan (not Lifespan) and what concepts should we all be adopting to ensure a healthy life.
  3. Chronic Disease Stats…. Where our country is headed at this rate!
  4. Metabolic Flexibility – how do we get this??
  5. Cortisol and weight loss – it’ll put a stop to your progress if you don’t know how to regulate it… and NO!! “Eating less and Exercising more” will only make it worse.

Stay tuned!!  Starting tomorrow, I will review these 1 topic per day in greater depth to assist you in understanding just how important these things are to our health and wellness and our abilities!  Don’t we all want more energy??  Don’t we all want a sharper and better focused brain so that we can work harder, and smarter?  I know from personal experience and personal study that we need change for these to work.  It’s not always easy in the nutritionally devoid world we live in right now, but it’s possible and it won’t break the bank!

Some other fun things on the horizon – I’m starting some Low Carb/Paleo/Primal Cooking Classes right here in my own kitchen in Laguna Beach.  The space will be very limited and based on the first few classes, I’ll see where my demand lies in opening more dates!  Keep checking in – The first class will be later this month in May.  Some recipes on the agenda will include – How to Make a Vegetable Hash and how to use it in several different dishes – How to Spiralize and make Veggie Noodles – How to make Cauliflower Rice the RIGHT way – and I’ll be giving everyone my sources for paleo, NON GMO, Organic sources for farm fresh goods, grass-fed and pastured raised meats, and pantry items.  We will have a real round table discussion as we eat our meal together, giving you all an opportunity to ask questions and engage in a fun conversation with like-minded people!  Hope to see you there!




Pepperoni Zucchini Lasagne

fullsizeoutput_5fb0I love playing around subbing vegetables for pasta!  This lasagne was a hit with my family and coupled with some roasted veggies with ghee??  Great meal!

Pepperoni Zucchini Lasagne:

For the meat sauce:

1 lb grass-fed ground beef

1 chopped onion

1 minced clove of garlic

Salt and pepper to taste

1 jar of Sicilian Gravy (any low-carb tomato sauce will do though!)

1 can of fire-roasted and diced tomatoes (Trader Joes)

**Brown the meat with the onions and garlic until cooked through, add your sauce and fire-roasted tomatoes and let simmer while you get everything else ready.

For the cheese filling:

1 container Whole Milk Ricotta Cheese

1 cup shredded mozzarella

1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese

1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

1 egg

2 minced cloves of garlic

Salt and pepper to taste

**Mix all together in a bowl.

For the noodles:

Slice zucchini at 3mm on a mandolin slicer – I got mine on Amazon, here and I LOVE it.  It’s great for slicing cheese and vegetables.


This is the tomato sauce I love…. and Thrive Market is one of my favorite places to shop for low-carb, paleo-friendly pantry items!


Now start layering!

hDHMXhtFTXe4f2EMjXqNw.jpgMeat Sauce, Zucchini Slices, Cheese Filling, Pepperoni, REPEAT

**One trick you can do to minimize the moisture that zucchini leaves behind after it’s cooked…  Salt your zucchini slices and let the salt draw out the water for about 15 minutes… then blot them with paper towels….  I’ll be posting some Eggplant Mini Pizzas soon and that requires some salting and blotting 🙂 Stay tuned for those!

1yzgJiDARqGSQKh1RS2lIA.jpgg1tftYitQh+ZdWHnX441rgI finished mine with some mozzarella, black pepper and basil leaves… And baked at 400 for about 30-45 minutes.

Nutrition FACTS: Makes about 12 servings, each serving contains – 395 calories, 27 grams of fat (13.5 saturated fat), 28 grams of protein, and 9 grams of carbs, with 1 gram of fiber, leaving a NET carb value of 8 grams per serving.

German Chocolate Bars

IMG_5491These really did come out FABULOUS….  See my instagram post for a little more info:



Melt in a saucepan over low heat –

1/4 cup coconut butter (find it here)

1/4 cup mixed nut butter (or any kind of nut butter you like!)

1/4 cup lakanto maple syrup (find it here)

Dash of salt

1/2 tsp almond extract

1/2 tsp vanilla

Once this is all melts and is smooth… Remove from heat –

Mix in:

1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut (I love Anthonys!)

1/4 cup almond flour (I love Anthonys!)

Stir together and then press down into a loaf pan.


Rinse out your saucepan and return it to the stovetop:

Melt together –

1 tbsp coconut butter

1 tbsp lakanto maple syrup

3 tbsp lilly’s chocolate chips (find it here)


Pour the chocolate over the pressed coconut mixture and smooth out, top with chopped pecans and refrigerate until firm!  ENJOY!!


Nutrition FACTS: Makes 8 servings, each serving contains – 230 calories, 22 grams of fat (13 gm saturated fat), 4 grams of protein, and 11 grams carbs, 7 grams fiber… for a NET carb value of 4 grams per serving.

History of Fat

food-eggsI’ve been recently reading, “The Big Fat Surprise” by Nina Teicholz and it’s a fascinating look at the history of nutrition in this country.  And why we have arrived in the current state of affairs we are in, with consistent annual increases in obesity and type II diabetes, among other diseases.  It all really began with Ancel Keys.  Public Health was my major in college so I love this stuff.  I am intrigued with scientists and researchers from our history who have made powerful impacts on our way of life.  Ancel Keys is just that person.  In 1957 Ancel Keys recorded a linear correlation between dietary fat and cardiovascular disease, and presumed that to be elevated serum cholesterol. His study was called the “Seven Countries Study” and he basically collected data from 7 countries (United States, Finland, Netherlands, Italy, Greece, Former Yugoslavia, & Japan) and the results of his study showed a close correlation between fat intake and death rates from heart disease in those countries.  Since his presentation of this study and his idea which he called the “diet-heart hypothesis” in New York in the 1950s, it got a lot of attention!  The influence of Keys on the world of nutrition has been unmatched! However, good scientists know that correlation does not prove causation, although in the past 50 years, our entire nutrition model has been based on this hypothesis!  However, the earliest studies conducted on diet and heart disease did not confirm Keys’ hypothesis.  In fact many other scientists had studied other groups of people in other countries and did not have the same result.  One such scientist, Gregory Mann, had a totally different experience when he studied Masai men in Africa who survived mainly on meat, blood, and milk and fat was more than 60% of their calories.  Despite all of this, their blood pressure and weight were about 50% lower than men in America at that time… and it didn’t increase with age, either.  And heart disease didn’t exist in those communities.


It’s so interesting to me that one man had such an ongoing influence on not only our country but many other countries in encouraging a low-fat diet, where saturated fat is bad, along with other lifestyle behaviors and contributes to the “cause” of heart disease.  The question I raise is, if this were true, then why in 50 years has heart disease and obesity just continued to rise to where we have over half of our population obese or over weight?  Obviously that advice didn’t help us… 50 years later we are WORSE than when we started…  It’s fascinating to me that conventional medicine is still preaching this stuff… Doctors are more educated on statins and pharmaceuticals to help these people “lower” their serum cholesterol levels and blood pressure, all while advising these patients to eat less meat, less fat, and less salt.    I worked in the medical industry for decades. I come from that environment, it was my schooling, and virtually all of my work experience. So, I don’t fault these doctors for what they advise people…  It’s just that it’s taught in medical school and the time these guys spend on learning nutrition while they are there is very little.  They are only giving out this information based on what our country has established as the “United States Dietary Guidelines” through organizations such as the American Heart Association, etc.  And what is really disturbing is how big corporate food companies are now directly connected with these organizations and the financial ties to them run deep.  I mean, the AHA came out with an “advisory” recently against coconut oil.  Google it and read it… what’s so crazy to me is that they quoted and sited Keys’ Seven Countries Study….  I mean, really??  You guys are going to advise against something on the hypothesis of something that was published in the 1950s???  I thought the United States was a lot more forward thinking than that!  And there are countless studies  now that discredit that hypothesis.  Saturated fat, coconut oil, is good.  It’s what our ancestors SURVIVED on.  My own 91 year Grandmother is still alive today because her whole life she cooked with butter (real butter), ate red meat (with potatoes, because she lives in Idaho), and drink whole milk because they owned a small dairy farm… and they fed their cows grass and hay.  NOT corn, or moldy grains.  Hay that my grandfather also farmed on his land.  Unfortunately today, our farmlands aren’t being used by animals….  Decades ago, farmland was shared by livestock (who ranged free and ate grass) which then fertilized the soil… That soil was the best soil to plant your vegetables in!  Today with the lack of livestock, our soil is too sterile… so it has to be pumped with artificial fertilizers which don’t exactly protect our plants from bugs so more chemicals get introduced to our food with pesticides, etc.  And I haven’t even touched on genetically modified seeds! It’s not a pretty picture today and we can thank those big corporate companies that were built on the notion that we needed to consume 6-11 servings of grain every day… and as people got busier and fast food became more popular, in came the boxes of food which were shelf stable and convenient.  Out with the traditional breakfast of bacon and eggs, and in with the Cheerios and skim milk.

Nutrition in this country has not been a pretty journey….  but this is why I feel so passionate about educating people on better food choices.  Get back to the eggs and bacon for breakfast!  That is your start… 🙂



What Do I Eat?

pexels-photo-326278Several years ago I was introduced by friends to the Ketogenic or LCHF (Low Carb, High Fat) Diet.  It was intriguing to me this idea that our bodies should have more fat, and not just more fat, but saturated fat??? I mean, wasn’t that the reason people die of heart disease and aren’t we supposed to avoid saturated fat?  That was what I understood about our Food Pyramid and what I’d been taught in school as a health major.  This idea intrigued me so much, that I started to research and learn about this “diet” and how to go about cutting out my breads, grains, rice, fruit, and start eating more butter, bacon, and coconut oil??  It seemed crazy to me!  I listened to podcasts, I read blogs, I read books and honestly, couldn’t get enough.  I was a sponge soaking this all in every day, in my car, late at night.  I was absolutely amazed at what I was learning.  To sum it all up in a few sentences, FAT is good for us.  And the fat we eat and the fat we accumulate on our bodies, are two very different things.  Sadly, I learned that our food guide pyramid wasn’t exactly an accurate recommendation of what we should eat to be healthy.  The Standard American Diet (SAD) is less than nutritious and can actually do more harm than good.  So where did that leave me?  In the face of dealing with Epstein Barr Virus that was continually leaving me feeling run down and tired, I was also experiencing the effect of my SAD diet, overcompensating my fatigue with endless ounces of diet soda, and carb cravings that felt beyond my control.  I decided to try to cut back on my carbs, enjoy the fat in cheeses, bacon, and my favorite – blue cheese salad dressing – and see how I felt?  And honestly, in the beginning, I felt worse.  Removing carbs from my diet and going from over 300 grams a day down to 25 grams made me feel sick and even more tired.  I remember the first time I tried to go running with “keto flu” and my feet felt like I had lead weights on them, and I had to stop and walk.  It made my cravings for carbs even worse, and like many people, I gave up after a few weeks.  I tried this several times, with a failed outcome each time.  So why did I keep coming back to this?  And what made it finally “click”?

I kept going back because I knew it was the right way to eat.  For everything I learned and continued to read about it, it just made sense to me…  I knew processed foods weren’t good, and it made sense that if you were going to take something out of your diet, like bread and grains, you better increase in another area (like fat and oils) to make up for it!  The problem I kept encountering was the amount of carbs.  I was lowering them too fast, too hard to maintain that.  It wasn’t until I read the book, “The Keto Reset Diet” by Mark Sisson that I understood why it was so hard and why it didn’t work for me.  I didn’t allow myself a 3 week period to lower my carbs enough to get me conditioned without making me so tired and ill feeling that I couldn’t continue.  It was after this 9 week process of first lowering my carbs to around 100 grams a day for the first 3 weeks, then lowering it to 50 grams a day for 6 weeks, that I finally reached my goals and felt the wonderful effects of a ketogenic diet or in Mark Sisson’s words, “becoming fat adapted”.  It’s not exactly a diet for me now, per say.  It’s become a lifestyle and the most enjoyable way of eating!

Here’s a short list of some of my favorite go-tos:

*Bulletproof Hot Chocolate with grass-fed butter and MCT oil

* Chia Seed Pudding (see this post on Instagram to see how I make it 🙂

* Raw Veggies (sliced cucumbers or mini peppers) dipped in Bleu Cheese Dressing

*Dry Roasted Almonds, Macadamia Nuts, or Cashews (in small quantities)

*Flackers with guacamole and sliced sharp cheese

*Eggs, eggs, and more eggs…. I LOVE my Instapot for perfectly hard boiled eggs in 8 minutes, perfect for salads, deviled eggs – these are my favorite, or just plain with salt and pepper.  I’m a HUGE fan of a good frittata or scrambled eggs made with heavy cream, red peppers, jalapeños, avocado, and sliced cherry tomatoes topped with Trader Joe’s Red Pepper Sauce or spicy salsa.

*Bacon – I love using Butcher Box for delivering me grass-fed, hormone free meats… and their bacon is super yummy.  My family’s favorite way to have bacon, besides just plain… is with brussel sprouts!  I just chop and cook my bacon on the stove, then pour all the bacon bits, and bacon grease all over the brussel sprouts, then roast them.

This is just the beginning, folks, with posting my food ideas and ways to eat ketogenically AND deliciously without feeling like you have to spend loads of money on expensive “health” foods when you can make simple choices every day to assist you in your wellness and weight loss goals.