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Here I am on the final days of an absolutely amazing four weeks filled with family, nature, and so many good meals together. My heart is filled to the brim as if it might burst. What a blessing to have two homes and to love each one equally for different reasons.

I’m quite grateful that my plan had us in Oehringen a full week leading up to our departure. Each and every day has been packed and there is still more to come. The days are full but they are not busy and the relaxed pace is rewarding. While there are special gatherings and events that have occurred these past weeks, it is the simple daily routines that fall into place that I appreciate most. These routines couldn’t be easier and begin each day with a family breakfast on the terrace that looks out over my mother-in-law’s garden. Sitting in the sun with overflowing platters of gorgeous fruits and freshly made tea, planning our day ahead is truly idyllic.

breakfast table

Laps in the Oehringen schwimmbad follow breakfast. Because this has been a cooler summer (rarely breaking 80 degrees) it was often just Joachim and me. Swimming in 69 degree water felt like home to us with our Austin Barton Springs holding at 68 degrees year round.  As swimmers, we have found that every lap pool has its regular cast of characters but I haven’t met one yet like the guy here who jumps a lane every length, making his way across the pool diagonally and back again. He so can’t be German!

schwimmbad

Food shopping is always last on my list of favorites at home because in Austin it always seems like such an ordeal. But, here, popping into the all bio grocers in Oehringen is the best thing ever. I can get in and out in 15 minutes, literally every product is organic, and they have everything I need. What’s even better? I can get there on my bike!!

lauren bike

Then of course there is cooking with Oma. It’s simply fantastic! We both have such a love for good natural food and at 81 she is still amazingly curious and more than willing to try new things. The fact that she embraces the way we eat is absolutely heartwarming. Some days we take turns with meal prep but most of the time we are in the kitchen together, turning out food fresh from the garden for the four of us to enjoy.

Then every evening we head to the Friedrichsruhe Wald for an after dinner walk. I don’t know that I can find the words to describe how I feel about this place but the closest one is “home.” The sensory experience is so intense from the fresh air, to the song of the rustling leaves, and the palette of every shade possible of green. In the constantly changing world we live in, with so much artificial stimulation, this is a place that delivers a great reminder of what is real.

forest

And so our time here soon comes to a close, as it has every summer for the past 8 years since we moved from Germany to Austin. Another life waits for us on the other side of the ocean with people we dearly love and a very different set of routines. It’s a little busier and moves a bit faster but it all happens in a city that won over our hearts on our first visit. It’s also home to all of my children. In a week’s time it will feel like all we shared in Europe is so far away. But when we take a moment and slow ourselves down we will remember the family breakfasts together, the feel of the forest each evening, all of the laughter, and of course the love which will carry us through the next year.

Greetings from the Canton of Bern in Switzerland! Joachim and I arrived earlier this week after a four hour car trip heading south out of Oeringen, past Stuttgart. We have rented a lovely studio apartment that is part of this old Ofenhaus on Mertonsee, one of my favorite and lesser known lakes of Switzerland.

Mertonsee

The purpose of our trip is to pay a visit to my mentor and dear friend Dr. Heiner Frei and the theme will be Homeopathy rather than Gemmotherapy. Dr. Frei is renowned throughout Europe for his precise and efficient Homeopathy prescribing method, Polarity Analysis and he was the most influential guide in my early work. Today Dr. Frei has become much more than a teacher as he is also a dear family friend. He sets an incredible example for me with his steadfast but determined approach to share his method. In addition to his speaking and teaching across Europe and beyond he maintains his busy practice in the small village of Laupen, where he moved with his family many years ago.

HeinerLaurenJoachim

Like many Homeopaths before him, Dr. Frei’s first training was as a medical doctor in Bern and he specialized in pediatric oncology. After some years of working under growing pressure in the field of research and cancer treatment he gathered up his young family and headed for the small village of Laupen. There he built a private pediatric practice on the ground floor of the half timber building he shared with his wife and three growing children. While caring for the families of Laupen, he looked toward Homeopathy as a less invasive therapy. Over the years he returned to research but on his own terms. Now researching the effectiveness of Homeopathy, he set out to prove to his medical colleagues that its effect was more than placebo.

Dr. Heiner Frei

It was during Dr. Frei’s Double Blind Study of ADHD symptoms and Homeopathy that he began to shape what is now known as Polarity Analysis. P.A. (Polarity Analysis) is a development of Boenninghausen’s Concept of Contraindications. It serves to determine in individual disease a healing probability for each Homeopathic remedy in question. The method leads to an efficient and reproducible choice of remedy and increases the precision of prescriptions as compared to a conventional Homeopathic procedure. Polarity Analysis is based on the revised edition of Boenninghausen’s Therapeutic Pocketbook, an exceedingly reliable repertory, and is generally practiced with computer software.

This past year, my tie with Dr. Frei grew closer as he teamed with my data scientist husband Joachim to develop an online tool for Polarity Analysis prescribing. They launched the beta version of this software in May and it is still available to all practitioners without cost at www.Polarity-Analysis.com. A monthly subscription price will go into effect in the fall and currently the program is available in German, English, and soon Spanish.

HeinerJoachim

While Homeopathy was my first love, it actually was its shortcomings that led me to study Gemmotherapy. While I believe Homeopathy is the ultimate therapy for the vital force and constitution, I also believe there is preliminary work that must be done to prepare the body first. And that work is best done with Gemmotherapy. Over time I have learned through observation that chronic conditions respond best with a protocol of Gemmotherapy and dietary changes before introducing a Homeopathic remedy. Once elimination has been optimized I then take a case using Polarity Analysis. I do believe the two together are much more powerful than any other natural healing therapy.

Though our daytime hours in Switzerland are taken up with discussions, Joachim and I have carved out some time in the evenings to get out and enjoy the local nature. Still light outside until nearly 10 pm, we have been on our bikes exploring the paths circling the shores of Murtensee. Two years ago we did the same with our son Sebastian and due to those memories we chose to return. Enjoying every last ounce of daylight, we have certainly gotten the most of our time here.

Please return next week as I share my last week in Europe soaking up time with our loved ones and enjoying Joachim’s lovely hometown of Oehringen.

Greetings this week from the forests of the Vosges Mountains of France and Friedrichsruhe, Germany! After eight years in Texas I can easily find myself captivated by the experience of exploring a forest, completely ruled by the cycles of nature. When truly present to all of its wonder, a forest provides such incredible lessons of both interdependence and impermanence.

Last week I began my series from Europe with our arrival in Le Thillot, deep in the Vosges Mountains of France. We had decided as a family it would be important to give ourselves a strong dose of nature at the start of our four week visit in order to shake off a year of deadlines, tight schedules, and way too much time on our laptops. So, following an overnight at Joachim’s childhood home, we were on our way to France along with my mother-in-law.

It was truly the perfect way to begin our weeks in Europe and so important to step completely out of our schedule and task driven world from the start. Renting a house in the midst of the Vosges was ideal. Each day, with very little organizing, we could head deep into the forests for magnificent hikes. As one can imagine it would be difficult for me to step into a lush European forest with Silver Fir, Oak, and Hazelnut lining the trails and not think of Gemmotherapy. In each direction that I cast my eyes I can encounter a vine, shrub, or tree that gives life to this amazing medicine derived from plant growth material that offers healing and support for specific organs and organ systems. So many of the extracts I use daily with my clients can be discovered with each step!

Interesting patterns indeed began to emerge first over the stretch of consecutive days hiking in the forests of the Vosges Mountains and now during my daily walks in the Friedrichsruhe near Oehringen. While the two forests differ, both share layers of plant growth similar to groupings of Gemmotherapy extracts that often work well together. Additionally each layer of the forest serves a purpose much like each grouping of Gemmotherapy extracts. I am certainly not the first student of Gemmotherapy to note this as The Drs. Franck Ledoux and Guéniot Gérard share antidotes about the natural growth of these trees and shrubs in their 2012 book Phytoembryotherapy, The Embryo of Gemmotherapy.  I also fondly recall long walks in the Romanian forests with my mentor Dr. Sorina Soescu discussing the groupings of the plants of the forest and how this might relate to possible protocols for our clients. It is probably because of this daily immersion in the forest setting, their ideas began to come to life for me.

I noted that the outer edges of the forests were thick with a collection of berries, bountiful this time of year. The berry vines and shrubs serving as a protection to the entrance of the forest included European Blueberry and Black Currant shrubs along with Blackberry and Red Raspberry vines. Here they were thriving as harmoniously together as I often group them in protocols.

Making up the next layer were Hazel shrubs along with young Birch trees on the banks of the creek. Often found under the canopy of an Ash tree, all three being water regulators in the body working to remove acidosis; Hazel supporting and protecting the lungs, Silver Birch the liver, and Ash the kidneys.

Going deeper into the forest I was greeted by Beech that purifies the blood and Hornbeam that increase platelets. These were followed by Silver Lime that regulates the nervous system along with Horsechestnut and Sweet Chestnut that improve circulation and lymphatic cleaning.  Threaded in the underbrush of these great trees I discovered Black Honeysuckle, used acutely for inflammation of the throat, and Lilac, used in protocols for cardiovascular health and emotional heartache.

Towering over all in the heart of the forest were the conifers Silver Fir and Pine, known in Gemmotherapy for supporting vertical alignment and the musculoskeletal system. So much healing potential and this is only a mere glimpse into the forest world! It is a good reminder that nature holds so much of what we need not only emotionally but also to serve and heal our mental and physical bodies as well.

My days ahead should allow an evening walk through the Friedrichsruhewald, pictured below. While not as lush as the forests of the Vosges, it possesses a magic all of its own. On the edge of this forest lie the house, farm land, and orchards where my mother-in-law was born and raised. Still full of life and love, it is now the home of her brother and his family making this forest even more special to my family. To see my son appreciate the trails that were walked by his father, grandmother, and great grandparents is heartwarming and a tradition I am sure he will pass along to his family.

I look forward to checking in with you all next week as I head off with my husband to Laupen, Switzerland to pay a visit to my favorite Homeopath and teacher, Dr. Heiner Frei.

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Greetings from Le Thillot, France, nestled in the Vosges Mountains!

Vosges

We have just arrived here after a four hour journey by car from Joachim’s home town of Oehringen, Germany. The drive itself has been successful in moving us into a different time and place. Life is about to slow way down for my busy family and that is just what this side trip is all about. We’ve had a fully packed first half of 2016 and now just beyond the halfway point, we are taking this well earned nature break. The two most stressful decisions of the next few days will be what we will prepare for mittagessen (midday meal) and which hiking trail to choose each morning. These decisions will be made that much easier as our AirBnB house sits next to an organic farm selling seasonal veggies and is on the edge of the forest with a myriad of trails just footsteps from the front door. This is exactly what an ideal Hubele family vacation looks like!

Hubele Family

So why is nature so important to us? Both Joachim and I fully recognize that we spend the majority of our day in front of computer screens. Fortunately my time also involves contact with a host of amazing clients but Joachim’s screen is filled with data- yikes!!! Given that fact, we crave the restorative effect nature delivers. We do carve out a slice at the start of each day for swimming at Barton Springs and a weekend hike when it’s not 100+ degrees, but that just doesn’t compare to a stretch of time surrounded by fresh mountain air, magnificent trees, birdsong, and picturesque meadows. And even though Sebastian has his nature fix built into his schedule with a full day each week of the school year devoted to Earth Native Wilderness School he always still desires more as well.

Vosges

The Vosges are home to some beautiful bodies of water. Gérardmer is the most famous along with the smaller, quieter neighboring Longemer. I happen to have a preference for Longemer and have wonderful memories of spending some of the last warm days of fall on its shore with Sebastian when he was only 18 months old. Returning now 13 years later will be a highlight for all of us. We certainly have plans to visit both lakes for a swim at least once during our stay and hope to also discover some new spots.

Recharging ourselves in nature is now backed up by some wonderful science. UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center put together quite a report in 2016 and shared the findings last March in The Huffington Post. How Nature can make you Kinder, Happier, and More Creative sounds exactly like the answer we have all been searching for in the light of our world and domestic situation. Who couldn’t benefit from a large dose of kindness, happiness, and creativity? I love this quote as it confirms exactly what I get out of a day in nature:

“Nature restores mental functioning in the same way that food and water restore bodies. The business of everyday life — dodging traffic, making decisions and judgment calls, interacting with strangers — is depleting, and what man-made environments take away from us, nature gives back.”

Trees

I am thrilled that we have my mother-in-law along with us on this journey. At 82 she may even still out-hike all of us! As our only living parent between Joachim and I, she has an incredible place of honor in our family and I am continually in awe of the life lessons she teaches me. Widowed two years ago, after ten years as the caretaker for the love of her life, she is living a whole new chapter, writing her own new script as she goes. When she can find peers to keep up with her, she will easily take a 20 mile bike trip on the weekend or cross country ski for a day. She’s been a vegetarian for 30 years and eats what she grows in her own garden. That’s what 82 can look like by the way!

Hubele Family

Since the fun has only just begun, be sure to follow me on Instagram or Facebook to enjoy the beautiful scenery right along with us.

Live Well,
Lauren

These past three weeks, we have followed Molly’s incredible journey from her tremendous grief and debilitating Crohn’s symptoms after the passing of her mother to experiencing and overcoming secondary symptoms and to the eventual discovery of a healing path. As Molly’s practitioner I could not be more pleased with her willingness to allow her body this opportunity to heal and everything she did to support the process with diet and lifestyle changes. I may have been able to offer Molly Gemmotherapy protocols, encouragement, and dietary suggestions, but she had the determination to make this work on her own. Molly’s dedication has been remarkable and you can feel her joy in her words below.

hiking

“I have learned so much in just under a year about my body, it’s healing abilities, and my internal strength and drive. I could have been crushed to literal death by the devastation of my mom’s passing and this debilitating disease. But, I AM WINNING!

This summer has been full of opportunities to develop my new lifestyle and to enjoy having my health back. When I think of food choices, I always remember that simpler is better. A simple smoothie or green salad is now my go to meal. I make a great quinoa salad and I can wrap ANYTHING in a gluten free wrap. I love a little bit of salmon on the grill and my favorite dessert is cashew ice cream.

Like I said in that first post, the key to diet changes is to find alternatives. I have successfully found alternatives for everything that my family loved, from butter and milk to eating out at our favorite restaurants. Food is not the only change I have embraced though. I know that good sleep and less stress is vital. I have used Gemmotherapy, acupuncture, and massage to relieve anxiety and stress. A well rested body can heal itself so I make it a priority to get plenty of sleep.

When I asked my children what they notice about me that is different their list makes my heart smile:

“You have more energy.”
“You smile a lot more.”
“We go on long hikes now.”
“You always look for gluten and dairy that could be hiding in our food.”
“You use the bathroom a lot less.”

And they are all right! I now enjoy a life that I am in control of. I do everything with my children now. I hiked with my family in Yellowstone National Park this summer. We were miles from any bathroom and I wasn’t even thinking about it until my six year sweetly asked if we should be looking for a bathroom for mommy. I never would have attempted a long hike in the past. What a change!

These good times with my family doing what we love is motivation enough to keep fighting for my body to heal. I am not perfect and there have been times when I haven’t been as diligent as I should have been in making healthy choices, but I take the setback in stride and get back to work. This journey has been an amazing accomplishment. I recognize that it is a journey and the end result is a completely healed body. As I near the end of my first year, I can hardly believe how far I’ve come!”


So what’s next for Molly? A lot more of the same to be honest. A plant based diet rich in whole nutrient dense foods, moderate exercise, restorative sleep each night, and continuation of her protocols. Recently we changed her Homeopathic remedy to one that will offer more emotional support and I look forward to the advantage this gives Molly as she considers some changes for her future. We also continue increasing the strength of her Gemmotherapy protocol to further resolve old inflammation and promote healing of her digestive organ tissues. We both look to the day when she will not need even the one prescription medication. I do believe this is possible but the timing must be right. Next month Molly will return for further testing of her inflammatory levels and we will know more about the progress she has made. I’ll be sure to post an update!

Gemmotherapy played a huge role in the healing of Molly’s symptoms. You can learn more about this emerging botanical therapy from Europe here on my website. Interested practitioners can find information on training in Gemmotherapy protocols here.

Next week begins a new series as I depart for my annual summer trip to Europe. Don’s miss this one as I post from our hiking in the Vosges Mountains, my time with my Homeopathic mentor Dr. Heiner Frei in Laupen Switzerland, and much more!

This month I’ve had the pleasure of sharing my blog with Molly LaChere who tells her inspiring story of addressing symptoms of Crohn’s. While Molly had lived with the often debilitating effects for 13 years, it was the passing of her mother that led her to make serious lifestyle changes.  In the first post of the series Molly explained the commitment she made to reclaim her health. Last week Molly described the setbacks she faced getting started.

For nearly half of her life Molly’s body made up for a poorly established elimination system and overburdened kidneys by dumping acid waste through her bowel. The urge for a bowel movement often appeared hourly and a combination of mucous, blood, and or loose stools were eliminated. This was a compensation that her body established in order to keep the raging state of inflammation under control. The challenge I would face as a practitioner was to fortify her kidneys using Gemmotherapy extracts and gradually shift her body out of this “dumping” state. As you found out last week this process triggered another response in her body- her limbs began to take on the inflammation that was not being dumped and her skin became an emergency exit to filter toxins as well. No doubt this was a miserable time for Molly and many would lose hope. I encouraged Molly to seek out additional support from her physician, whom she had worked with in the past. In her advanced state of Crohn’s, we were hoping it would be possible to find a balance suppressing some symptoms through medication just long enough for Gemmotherapy to strengthen her kidneys. Her Gemmotherapy protocol at first was only Silver Birch Sap, but we later used Blueberry for both kidney and bowel support, Black Currant to resolve inflammation and support her adrenal glands, and Silver Lime as a tonic for the nervous system and it’s mild general detoxification effect. In addition, I included an adrenal supplement and a monthly constitutional dose of Homeopathy.

healthy molly

Here is more of Molly’s story.

“January and February were marked by continued swelling, but was I able to stay the course. I continued to try every day to make positive changes. I was taking my Gemmotherapy extracts regularly and was even learning to adjust them on my own. I was quite excited about that! Even though I could feel my body trying to heal itself and I was making small improvements every day, I still needed some support from medical doctors. Crohn’s disease must be monitored closely as the inflammatory state is known to lead to cancers and other complications. Having lost a parent to cancer just months before understandably made this threat even more worrisome.

I finally was able to have an appointment with the Gastroenterologist on March 3rd. I was ready to fight because I knew they would want to start me on HUMARA, a drug that suppresses the immune system and is known to cause an aggressive form of Lymphoma. The doctors were certainly concerned, so they did the only thing they are trained to do, offer tests and medications. I am grateful for their tests, but I wanted to pass on their medication. The day following my appointment, I brought in a stool sample so that they could test for inflammation markers. The results could take a while so in the mean time I had a colonoscopy and started on a short course of Prednisone. The colonoscopy showed inflammation, but no cancer. What a relief! With that worry gone, and the Prednisone kicking in to suppress my immune system enough to relieve the inflammation a little more, I knew that I was turning a corner in my healing.  

I continued to feel better each day and after a few weeks I began to taper off the Prednisone. During this time we were able to increase the doses of Gemmotherapy without the fear we had previously of aggravating symptoms. By early April I had bowel movements only 3-5 times daily and all were formed with no pain! I was even sleeping through night. By the time I came off of the Prednisone my kidneys and bowels were functioning much better all on their own.

In May I returned to the gastroenterologist for the best appointment ever. First, we went over the results of the stool sample taken back in March. In a normal healthy person, the markers would be below 50, for people with Crohn’s disease, the goal is below 100. For comparison, my numbers have been over 1,000 in the past! The doctor couldn’t believe that my number was only 146! Remember, this was taken before I started on any medication! Diet change and Gemmotherapy was the only thing I was using to control my disease at the time of the test.

With this news, I knew that my drastic diet change made me feel better and now I had the proof that it was healing me too! We came to an understanding that day in the office that if I continued to make healthy diet changes, the doctor would be completely supportive of not using HUMARA. He even admitted to me that the medication often doesn’t work well unless patients are willing to make changes in their diets and it often leads to patients loosing parts of their colon or small intestines. I did however begin Asocol HD a mild medication that helps with inflammation in the colon. I have tried it in the past and it was never enough. This time it was a different story. It was just enough support. I have another appointment in August and I am so excited to see those results!”

Molly’s story is such a remarkable example of believing in your body and it’s ability to heal and, at the same time, taking the steps of intervention needed when a disease has progressed. She is fortunate to have an open minded physician that supported her commitment and could see a middle path. Had Molly and I began our work together when her symptoms of urgent loose stools began years ago, she would not have needed medication but in these advanced stages of autoimmune, with the knowledge we have today, the approach we found was a good compromise. Join us next week when Molly shares more of the specific lifestyle changes she has found successful.

Interested in learning more about Gemmotherapy? Pre-order my book, Gemmotherapy for Everyone: An Introduction to Acute Care. Find more here on Gemmotherapy protocols for yourself or family. If you are a practitioner, you may be interested in my online trainings available now.

Last week we began a new series featuring Molly LaChere and her personal story facing Crohn’s Disease head on. Molly shared that it was the passing of her mother in July that served as her pivotal point. Now, with five children of her own to take care of, she decided to finally take control of her health.

“I made a commitment to get better for good. No more half way, no more cheating. From now on I must be 100 percent honest with myself and my needs. It was this daunting task that I set out to conquer.” 

molly and daughter

Molly’s symptoms when we began our work together in August 2015 included 14-18 trips to the toilet, round the clock, to pass loose stool, mucus, or at times blood. She was weak and weighed 127lbs. She could not leave the house for more than an hour and only if she was sure she could get to a toilet immediately.

Here is the continuation of Molly’s Story.

“September came and our family of seven was thrown into the hustle of school and my work began again as a part time teacher. While my journey to better health was underway, all of the distractions could easily have derailed me had I not been so committed to changing my diet.  At the beginning of the month I had started taking a Gemmotherapy protocol and had eliminated all dairy and products containing gluten from my diet. Now I was faced with the challenge of creating a life I could live with.

Stress is a huge contributing factor for all individuals with Crohn’s Disease and I was being presented with an opportunity to face mine head on. As one who tends to over commit, the statement “Slow down and say NO!” ran through my mind constantly.

The diet changes I committed to were quickly put to the test once our fall schedule kicked in. My standard go-to dinners were no longer on the menu. I was working hard and struggling to stay the course. At first I found myself making meals for the family and then eating my own food alone and separate from them. Given the grief I was dealing with, that plan was not helping. I didn’t have time to make two meals, I didn’t want to be tempted to eat what they were having, but I didn’t want to eat alone. Keeping myself fed was creating incredible stress- just what I was trying to avoid! I began to look for alternatives to all of my family favorites. That was the key! Rather than doing everything different, I needed to find acceptable alternatives.

So I headed into October optimistically. I was beginning to find some recipes my family and I could all enjoy together and the 14-18 trips to the restroom that I was experiencing back in August had reduced dramatically with the Gemmotherapy protocol and diet change. I was having a formed bowel movement for the first time that I could remember in years and the frequency was down to 10x daily. 

However, just as I was beginning to believe in my body, I faced an entirely different challenge. At the beginning of October, I began to have symptoms of Erythema Nodosum, a rare side effect of Crohn’s Disease. Erythema Nodosum causes fevers, extreme pain, sores and swelling in the lower legs. It lasts up to six weeks and then goes away. Each of my legs took their turn, back to back, of course! With twelve weeks of swelling in my legs, I really had no other choice but to slow down. I had never looked forward to Christmas Break like that before.

During my break, I planned to spend the time healing and, literally, getting back on my feet. Of course, that didn’t happen. The swelling from my lower legs moved into my ankles and feet. It lasted weeks and the pain was unbearable. Eventually, the swelling moved to my knees and I had them drained three times. Each time, they took over 80ml of fluid. By this time, the doctors were convinced that I had Rheumatoid Arthritis. I was again devastated and mad that my body was letting me down, especially after I was trying so hard to make positive changes!

I really could have given up. That would have been easy. The doctors were pushing hard for me to take heavy drugs and even my supportive husband was giving me the nudge. How could he not?! I had lost so much weight that I was barely tipping the scale at just over 100 pounds, I had to use a cane to get around, and people who I had known for years didn’t even recognize me.

I finally got an appointment with a Rheumatologist in late January. He gave me exactly the hope I needed. Yes, he wanted me to get started on steroid medication, but he had the news I needed to hear. He didn’t think I had Rheumatoid Arthritis, but believed I was likely experiencing a systemic side effect from Crohn’s disease. I smiled and told him that it was the best news he could have given me! I still only had one disease, and I was determined to beat it in this New Year.”


You can only imagine how difficult it was for Molly to keep her spirits lifted and feel encouraged through the additional symptoms she faced. I was continually amazed at her determination to see this process though and give her body the opportunity and time it needed. She remembers now my telling her not to expect any stability in symptoms for a full year. While she questioned her ability to make it through she began to take things one month at a time.

As I learned more about Molly’s health story, I realized she had never had been given an opportunity to experience her body healing itself. From a young age Molly’s reoccurring ear infections were always treated with antibiotics. As a gymnast and later on a college diving team, there was never time to be sick and so antibiotic treatment became the norm for her reoccurring sinus infections. This process taught Molly early on that she didn’t have the resources to self heal. Changing a lifelong perspective takes some powerful positive thinking.  As for her body, with what we now know about microbes and gut bacteria, it is clear how the repetitive use of antibiotics was paving the way for the development of a chronic disease.

Our conversations over those trying winter months were focused on helping Molly understand her body’s process and begin to build some trust in what she was experiencing.   I actually was not surprised that when her 14-18 bowel eliminations was reduced that inflammatory symptoms began to appear on her skin. The Erythema Nodosum that is associated with Crohns was actually a very convenient  way for her body to continue it’s cleaning process, through her skin, until her kidney health improved. The Erythema Nodosum began just as her bowel movements turned solid and decreased.

With a careful eye and teaming with her physician, we supported her body’s elimination of this inflammation with Silver Birch Sap Gemmotherapy as a kidney tonic and later Black Currant and Blueberry reducing inflammation, supporting her adrenals, and supporting healthy elimination through her bowels and kidneys. I also gave Molly a Homeopathic remedy that would support her vitality and relieve her acute symptoms. We also made adjustments to her diet as we found that she could not tolerate legumes or grains in her inflamed state. Finally we turned to her physician for guidance on medication to suppress symptoms only when necessary and for a short period of time.

Molly rightfully needed a lot of emotional support during this transition period and I wanted weekly updates on her elimination and state of inflammation. It was an intense period but she persevered because she was determined to write a new story for herself.

Be sure to join us next week as Molly gets results back from her annual tests from her Gastro MD and experiences her first good health days.

Interested in learning more about Gemmotherapy? You can find out much more here on Gemmotherapy protocols for yourself or family. If you are a practitioner, you may be interested in my online trainings available here.

“July 11, 2015, a day that changed my world. My mother passed away after a five year battle with cancer. I was tired, alone, and sick. I had just had my fifth child in May, so tired was a feeling I knew well. Having dealt with Crohn’s Disease for 13 years, sick was normal. The loneliness, though, was devastating. I spent the rest of July and all of August trying to get through each day without breaking down. I cried about everything, I spent hours in the bathroom, and I desperately tried to have my kids believe that all was well. What a joke!

By September I crashed. I was mad! My world had fallen apart and my body was failing me. Crohn’s Disease had defined me for 13 years and I had let it. I always believed that my body could heal itself, but I knew it would take time and commitment, two things I didn’t have with five kids and a dying mother. Then something changed in me. I made a commitment to get better for good. No more half way, no more cheating. From now on I must be 100 percent honest with myself and my needs. It was this daunting task that I set out to conquer.” 

molly

Molly and I met to discuss her health in late August. As with all of my clients, I spelled out what would be needed to turn her symptoms around and get her body to begin healing itself.

Her symptoms at the time included 14-18 trips to the toilet round the clock to pass either loose stool, mucus, or at times blood. She was weak and weighed 127lbs. She could not leave the house for more than an hour and only if she was sure she could get to a toilet immediately. This alone made her case challenging, but on top of it all she was a nursing mom with a four month old and four other children under the age of eleven and worked part-time as a teacher at a local private school.

On her side was the fact that her family all wanted her to be well and would support whatever changes she needed to make. In addition, she had a Naturopathic doctor and Gastro MD who she had seen for many years and who also were both open to alternatives that would support Molly’s healing.

The protocol I would offer Molly wasn’t meant as a suggestion. It was really an “either/ or” moment. Either Molly committed to following the protocol or I would not be able to help her. If, as she had claimed, Molly really wanted to engage her body’s own ability to heal, she would have to get serious about her diet. Molly was in an incredibly inflammatory state and she could not afford to add to it with what she put in her mouth- Not even a bite.

Step One of Molly’s protocol was to eliminate all foods with gluten and dairy. Because Molly had already greatly reduced dairy she was halfway there. The challenge came with the need to eliminate both gluten and dairy entirely. To do this she would have to change the way she cooked for her whole family. In hindsight that was clearly a good choice as it quickly solved the chronic symptoms three of her children faced. Back in late August, however, Molly, who barely slept two hours straight and had debilitating symptoms round the clock, was naturally overwhelmed.

dairy gluten free

Step Two of Molly’s protocol was to take Silver Birch Sap Gemmotherapy extract 3x daily, beginning with a very small dose.

Molly’s task ahead was daunting and while I could offer her encouragement and suggestions, she was the one who would have to find the strength to make the changes in order to fulfill her commitment to herself.

Come along and join us in the weeks ahead as Molly and I share in the writing of this series and bring to life her path these past nine months. Whatever challenge(s) you face with your health, you will no doubt find Molly’s story inspiring. Her dedication to restoring her health and befriend her body’s process is an incredible journey.

babies

I’ve had a lot to say about babies the last nine weeks in this series and that’s because the first 36 months of life have such a significant impact on our health the rest of our life. A baby with any of the simple symptoms I have discussed such as Colic, Croup, Eczema, Sinus Congestion, Reflux, or Slow Elimination who receives natural support will develop a strong healthy immune system while those who have their symptoms suppressed by medications will forever struggle with weakened immunity.

Fortunately, science is revealing more each day about immunity, the creation of our microbiome and what can be done to restore it. Through science we know that everything in those first years count and the impact of our decisions follow our child through their lifetime. By being an informed parent, disruption to our child’s microbiome and developing immune system can be prevented or greatly reduced.

I like to do my part to support new parents in making conscientious choices and to realize there are options that not only work but strengthen the organ systems of growing babies. With this awareness we can reduce the chronic symptoms that are rampant in school age children today who suffer from recurring infections or are dependent on allergy medications, nebulizers/ asthma inhalers, topical steroid creams, anti-acids, melatonin, and so much more. Let’s be clear: The prescribing of these medications is not healing. This is symptom management. Not only is it a short sighted approach, it is setting up these children for immune issues and chronic disease as adults. In other words, the care that is most commonly being offered is damaging our children.

medicine

The origin of the chronic symptoms I see in school children all began in their infancy and can all be traced back to poor elimination. When the body cannot clean as it is designed to, it begins to compensate by using emergency exits which soon become the norm. This can be seen in a child that always has sinus congestion, a chronic cough, a bit of eczema that comes and goes, repeated upper respiratory or ear infections, sleep disturbances, cold or canker sores, and so on. While the steps to support a school age child to heal these symptoms may be more involved, solving it in babies is simple and straightforward. Parents just need to know about and use the right tools.

Here is what I’d like every parent of babies to do:

  • Know that how you handle today’s minor symptom does matter.
  • Always treat acute symptoms naturally first.
  • Use a natural health care provider who helps you uncover the root of recurring symptoms.
  • Keep babies and children away from all products made from milk (from cows, goats and sheep).
  • When breastfeeding is not an option make smart choices that are dairy-free and support your baby’s digestive system daily with probiotics and Gemmotherapy.
  • Say no to Tylenol, antibiotics, over the counter medications, and creams that suppress symptoms.
  • Say yes to breastfeeding for as long as possible, fresh fruits and vegetables when you begin supplementing, and Gemmotherapy extracts to support a maturing digestive system.
  • When Gemmotherapy and diet does not resolve your baby’s symptoms, look to Homeopathy. To learn more about Homeopathy order this book from Dr. Tim Dooley and visit the website for the National Center for Homeopathy.

So, parents there are options! I would love to support you in this journey to raise the next stronger healthier generation of children. Have questions still? Leave them in the comment section below and I will be happy to answer them.

Interested in learning more about Gemmotherapy? You can find out much more here on Gemmotherapy protocols for yourself or family. If you are a practitioner that works with babies, you may be interested in my upcoming training on Gemmotherapy Support for Fertility, Pregnancy & Infants held July 9th in Austin, Tx. Additional trainings are available online.

Over these past 7 weeks, I have taken the opportunity to address a variety of common baby ailments from croup to colic to eczema. While all are seemingly simple symptoms, each is actually an important not to be ignored or suppressed expression of your baby’s body. Each occurs because baby’s elimination is not optimal and emergency exits to clean are being tasked in the lungs, skin, or through the nose.

While it is the common and accepted conventional approach to quiet these symptoms with medication I have asked that you might consider an alternative. Rather than turning these inflammatory responses inward and disrupting baby’s developing systems, I suggest you consider instead a therapy to optimize elimination and enhance the body’s own capability to clean and self heal. In my opinion there is no better therapy for this than Gemmotherapy extracts that contain the meristems (plant stem cells) of specific trees and shrubs. The inclusion of the meristem material gives Gemmotherapy extracts the ability to simultaneously clean and heal organ tissue on a cellular level. This cleaning and healing reduces and eliminates inflammation rather than suppresses it. This is critical for all humans but particularly so during the first years of a developing immune system.

microbiome baby

What we are now learning about the human microbiome lends further credit to the supportive action of Gemmotherapy extracts to address baby’s symptoms as opposed to potentially harmful medication. The term, Microbiome, refers to the population of microbes that cover every surface of our bodies, both inside and out. Microbes are microscopic life forms that represent thousands of species, outnumbering our own cells by about 10 to 1. The populating of our microbiome occurs from birth with our first strains coming from skin to skin contact with our mother and through breastfeeding.

Microbiome is no doubt the scientific buzzword of the day but it is more than a fad and something with which every expectant parent and those with young infants need to familiarize themselves. While our microbiome continues changing throughout our lifetime, we now know that the first three years of life are most critical. New and Expectant Parent Alert: This first three year period of a child’s life is when the immune system matures and every precaution must be taken to protect rather than challenge this system.

“The microbial makeup a child has at three is the one he or she will carry into adulthood. So this is the most vulnerable period, during which messing with the microbiome could have longer-term implications.” according to Ramnik Xavier, a gastroenterologist at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, Massachusetts General Hospital’s Center for Computational and Integrative Biology, and Harvard Medical School.

What messes with the microbiome?  The three top interferences in infants come from

  1. C-section deliveries
  2. Formula feeding
  3. Antibiotics (for mom or baby)

microbiome baby

Vaginally delivered babies are covered in a film of microbes from their mother as they enter the world. This simply does not occur with c-section deliveries. However, hospital studies have been conducted that have investigated the success of “swabbing” babies with gauze containing microbes from mom. Thus far the studies have proven that a transfer of microbes from mom to infant CAN occur in this manner.

Breast milk has been the preferred food for infants for years and now this has even more backing with recent studies. Beneficial bacteria from mom are delivered directly to baby’s gut with each breastfeeding, supporting the development of a diverse microbiome. This makes a strong case for the use of probiotics in infants who must be formula fed.

It has become clear that the use of antibiotics can send the microbiome into a state of chaos, when given at birth or after. This recent study has even found a three-way link among antibiotic use in infants, changes in the gut bacteria, and disease later in life. Early imbalances in gut microbes have been tied to infectious diseases, allergies and other autoimmune disorders, and even obesity later in life. A recent Harvard Magazine article, How Antibiotics Disrupt Babies’ Microbiomes, states research that has found fewer strains of microbes in antibiotic-exposed children’s intestines and a less diverse microbiome creates a less stable microbial community.

The same article goes on to explain that having a diverse, rich, complex, microbial community is important for the immune education of the gut. According to this, growing up in a too-clean environment may actually be a bad thing because exposure to germs in early life is necessary to help train the developing immune system. Something extremely important to think about as it has become a trend to overprotect baby and baby’s environment.

While all of this just barely scratches the surface given the vast knowledge available on the human microbiome my hope is that it will pique your curiosity on the topic and lead to further research on your own. Next week, I will be wrapping up this Happy Healthy Baby series by offering clear steps expectant and new parents can take to support their developing infant before and after delivery.