Category

Living Allergy Friendly

Category

Dear Jess – Endometriosis Treatments and Fertility #endometriosis #womenshealth #holistichealth #dearjess #fertility

Hi Jess
So I have endometriosis and I hoping one day their is a cure or a good treatment. Endometriosis has taken over my life. I sit   here and hope and pray that I can  have another child. I do have one son (my miracle baby ) I wish I can give him a bother or  a sister but since my endometriosis  is  really bad .

I was told I can’t have no more babies and it makes me sad.  Do you see anything happening with endometriosis?  Or  any chance I would have another baby.

Thank you
Casey
God bless


**This article is not a substitute for regular medical care or treatment. It is meant for informational purposes and reading materials only.**

Hello Casey,

(You’ve been forewarned – this is incredibly long.)

As someone with Endometriosis too I can say that I have done a lot of research on it and been on every treatment possible with very few exceptions – as I have refused IUD’s and also the one that is the size of a match and they implant it in your arm. Otherwise, I have tried them all – shot after shot, pill after pill, surgeries, etc. and here is what I have found most helpful:

Treatment – the most effective I have been on is aygestin. It is a synthetic form of progesterone called progestin. (Personal communication, Dr. Laufer, Boston BWH)I have also found Femara helpful but you would have to combine it with something like a progestin or pill/shot of some form. Femara is an aromatase inhibitor and it works by blocking estrogen or restricting it in some forms. You can look it up online. 🙂 It is used also for women who have or had breast cancer and the femara starves the body of estrogen. (Ailawadi, Jobanputra, Kataria, Gurates, & Bulun, 2004) Depo provera can help (Personal communication, Dr. Boyle, MGH Chelsea, MA) but it is birth control. Aygestin is not birth control. (Personal communication, Dr. Richman, Hallmark Health, Malden, MA)And Depo may require you to take calcium and vitamin d with it (Personal communication, Dr. Boyle, MGH Chelsea, MA), similarly to Lupron Depo but not nearly as bad for bone density loss side effects. (Personal communication, Dr. Laufer, Boston BWH)With Lupron you have to take a lot of calcium and vitamin d just to offset some of the potential bone density loss. (Personal communication, Dr. Laufer, Boston BWH) It doesn’t mean you will experience the bone density loss but it is always good to prevent it…(Personal communication, Dr. Laufer, Boston BWH)

Additionally: It is important that I mention to you a drug that is in trial right now called Elagolix. (Found through personal internet research.) It has been in trials for the last couple of years and I try to keep up to date on treatments available – especially this one. It is looking very promising in its treatment (Moore, 2016) – not only while taking it but [last I read – about 8 months ago] it seems it can help keep the endo suppressed even after taking it. It is not clear for how long and the like as it is still in clinical trials but it looks like it can be a promising drug and treatment for the disease. (AbbVie, 2016)

2. Holistic Treatment – this is where things get interesting. So while you have the regular Western medicine treatment (and I highly recommend it) pair it with the following:

A: Go through a elimination diet. (Personal communication, Dr. Gordon, CHA Malden at Canal St., MA) There are many online but Dr. Weil and also the University of Wisconsin Medical Center for Integrative Medicine are the ones I have done. (Lifestyle, 2016) I have done the ACIM one most recently (I attached it to this email because the link URL is giving me a hard time.) (Lifestyle, 2016)

B: Go green with cleaning products and anything chemically oriented. Endometriosis and people with it tend to be more sensitive to chemicals, fragrances, etc. (Association, 2005) and so doing things like: not wearing or using perfume or scented/fragranced products unless they are naturally scented – using things like pure essential oils, buying organic foods – especially produce and packaged products is important, organic meats, eggs, dairy, etc. this way you get less crap in your system and/or there will be less crap for your body to process. Essentially you want to give your body a break and having to ward off the chemicals and everything around you is one big key. (Personal communication; Bamboo Clinic ND, Brookline, MA) Cleaning products – go natural or green, like Stop and Shop here has Nature’s Promise products, Seventh Generation is good and there are others. You can also make your own products too. And you want this to be for everything from the soap you clean yourself with (unscented, gentle, etc.) to your laundry detergent, all purpose cleaners, dish soap, etc.

C: For inflammation: Ask your doctor if you can try Dr. Weil’s Anti-Inflammation diet. (Personal communication, Dr. Gordon, CHA Malden at Canal St., MA) http://www.drweil.com/health-wellness/health-centers/aging-gracefully/dr-weils-anti-inflammatory-diet/ (Lifestyle, 2006) Women with Endometriosis tend to have some inflammation and pain.(Personal communication, Dr. Gordon, CHA Malden at Canal St., MA) This can help. It is likely best to do this after completing the anti-inflammation diet. So you would do this and essentially eliminated anything you found that bothered your body. (Personal communication, Dr. Gordon, CHA Malden at Canal St., MA)

CC: Inflammation II: Ask your doctor if you can try Turmeric as a supplement. (Swarnakar & Paul, 2009) There has been at least one study I read that said if you pair Turmeric (curcumin) with your other treatment (I am not sure if it was the pill, progestin, the shot, or femara) but I have tried it too when I had a big endometriosis problem last year and I took it with a low dose of Advil and thankfully I wasn’t in much pain at all – where before not even 1,000mg of ibuprofen would dull the pain. Turmeric can help. (Swarnakar & Paul, 2009)

D: Rebuild – GI, reproductive, etc. with pro and pre biotics. (Personal communication, Dr. Gordon, CHA Malden at Canal St., MA) Years of antibiotic use and eating not-so-healthy foods, and a million other factors like stress can give our digestion a run for its money. (Personal communication, Dr. Gordon, CHA Malden at Canal St., MA) And so rebuilding our gut health is important because the gut is kind of like a second brain. (Personal communication, Dr. Gordon, CHA Malden at Canal St., MA) It helps us with our immune system (I have read that most of our immune system is in our gut), it helps us process foods, extract nutrients, and more. (Personal communication, Dr. Gordon, CHA Malden at Canal St., MA) So a good healthy gut can help us have a good healthy system. Ask your physician for a recommendation for probiotics. (Hyman, M.D, 2015) I take Florastor 1 pill in the morning and 1 at night and 1 Renew Life Ultimate Flora Extra Care Probiotic 50 Billion only for about 2-3 weeks and sometimes paired with l-glutamine to rebuild the lining of the intestines. (Personal communication, Dr. Gordon, CHA Malden at Canal St., MA) I tried another brand of 10 strains and it bothered my body so I had to stop. But these work very well for me. And there are a bunch to try. Ask your doctor for a recommendation. Be careful! Some have to be refrigerated. (Found from reading labels.)

And then you got to give those good bacteria something to munch on. (Personal communication, Dr. Gordon, CHA Malden at Canal St., MA) This is where prebiotics come into play. I eat organic cereal with inulin in it. Inulin (chicory root fiber) can cause wicked bad bloat and flatulence but if you take it with a probiotic that may not end up being a problem and they can work together. Other prebiotics you can look up online but some are like raw garlic, onions raw or cooked and more. (Personal communication, Dr. Gordon, CHA Malden at Canal St., MA)

E: Stress: This is a huge thing. I read a study that was on the Endo Association (endometriosisassn.org) website and it was about how stress affects endometriosis. There were three mice: 2 mice they gave endometriosis and 1, the control had no endometriosis. They found that when they gave one mouse with endometriosis, the endometriosis not only grew faster but the pain and symptoms were significantly worse than for the non-stress induced endo mouse. Stress is HUGE for endometriosis. (Long, Liu, Qi, & Guo, 2016) I would recommend the following from years of personal experience: Walking, yoga, meditation, massage, Reiki, reflexology, guided imagery, tai chi, qi gong, acupuncture, acupressure, mindfulness, MBSR (Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction), The Relaxation Response by Henry Benson, EFT (emotional freedom technique), deep breathing, journaling, exercising, enjoying nature, aromatherapy and more – all with the intention of stress reduction. There are tons of ways to reduce stress. You can benefit highly from doing whatever you can to reduce stress. (Long, Liu, Qi, & Guo, 2016) (endometriosisassn.org)

And make sure you surround yourself with good, positive, well intentioned people. -Because the opposite will only contribute to your stress. . (Personal communication, Dr. Gordon, CHA Malden at Canal St., MA)

F: The metaphorical: I have been told by my herbalist (acupuncturist/herbalist) that most women she knows who have endometriosis, such as myself, have some kind of mother relationship issue. (Personal communication, Megan Smith Lic.Ac. Dipl.OM; KenKoDo Clinic, Broadway Somerville, MA) Personally, I grew up with a mother who had multiple personalities and was dissociative. She had been sexually abused as a child, leading her to be dissociative, depressed, etc. during my childhood and I don’t have a relationship with her now. And so working through any mother issues, relationships with mothers, and the like are important. It doesn’t mean you have to reach out to them or anything, but more of heal from within with regards to the disharmony. (Personal communication, Megan Smith Lic.Ac. Dipl.OM; KenKoDo Clinic, Broadway Somerville, MA)

If I remember correctly in Louise Hay’s book “Heal your body A-Z” (Hay & Gross, 2001)she too had a similar metaphorical reason for endometriosis. But the cool thing is that she offers affirmations for it and in her book “You can heal your life” (Hay, 1985) she explains how to use affirmations for just that (and other issues or “dis-ease”). (Hay, 1985)

G: Other Medicines: In addition to Western Medicine, I have personally tried a lot so don’t forget you can pair it with the likes of Traditional Chinese Medicine (acupuncture, herbal prescriptions, food recommendations, and the like; And Ayurveda (India Medicine) – food therapy, herbs, self massage, daily routines, etc. The goal of both is to identify patterns of disharmony in the body as a whole (mind, body, spirit, emotion). They do it from a similar but also different way. You can go online and take a Ayurveda body type assessment (Douillard, 2011) and from there get recommendations of foods, routines, etc. And you can consult an Ayurvedic Practitioner. You can also go to a TCM acupuncturist and/or herbalist and get an assessment (they will ask you questions, take your pulse, look at your tongue, etc.) and they will make recommendations for food, lifestyle changes and the like as well. You can also use acupuncture points (using magnets, earseeds, press balls, acu-pellets, or needles – only by a licensed practitioner) and the professional can tell you which points you need and why. The goal of TCM and Ayurveda is to balance the body as a whole.

Don’t forget Integrative Medicine (using herbs, food therapy, exercise, etc.); Functional Medicine (rebuilding the gut and GI system first and then treating more); Naturopathy (a whole body approach – food, exercise, emotion, etc.) -Homeopathy and more.

The trick is to learn from each professional and come up with treatments you can do. I went to a Naturopathic Physician and she told me I had intolerances to gluten and dairy and that I was vitamin D and vitamin B12 deficient. (Personal communication; Bamboo Clinic ND, Brookline, MA) She was right. The problem I had was that it was 10 years ago and gluten free food, food allergies and intolerances weren’t as popular then so I didn’t go completely gluten and dairy free until July 2009 and egg free not too long after.

G2: Nutrition and Water: Eat good things and drink plenty of water. Nix artificial sweeteners, and “natural” sweeteners. Unless it is pure organic cane sugar, pure maple syrup, or organic local honey don’t use it. (Personal communication,, Acupuncture interns from the New England School of Acupuncture) and . (Personal communication, Megan Smith Lic.Ac. Dipl.OM; KenKoDo Clinic, Broadway Somerville, MA) And even use the real sweeteners sparingly. Sugar is awful for endometriosis. . (Personal communication, Megan Smith Lic.Ac. Dipl.OM; KenKoDo Clinic, Broadway Somerville, MA) It just aggravates the body and so keeping it to a minimum is optimal. And trust your body – if your body likes raw food, and then go raw. If your body likes cooked food, then cook it. If your body likes partially cooked food (and by food I mostly mean vegetables) then partially cook it. There is no strict win that will work for everyone. We are all different. And so getting this in check and doing the above (elimination diet, etc.) will all help. And try to cut soda, caffeine (unless your doctor says you need it), etc. Try to stick to water, coconut water, or maple water.

H: The “Whole”: So if you pair everything above, you can figure out what works for you. I take TCM herbs and I have an herbalist who writes me TCM prescriptions. I also have a primary care physician who is an Integrative MD who tells me to journal, to meditate every day, to exercise, and to get to the root of problems, and to rebuild my gut and more. I also have a psychiatrist now, who I am very grateful for. Full of knowledge and I was blown away with how much he knew. I gave him my life story in 55 minutes and all of my medical problems (endometriosis, fibromyalgia, vitamin deficiencies, stomach problems, migraines, hypothyroidism, anxiety (general with panic), hypervigilance, agoraphobia, and IBS to name the top handful (and my endometriosis specialist and reproductive surgeon told me that basically everything I have is well connected and many women have the same or similar issues and endometriosis is usually the base) and he put all the pieces together and the first thing he asked me was “do you dream a lot?” I said “Yes, I work through a lot in my dreams. I tend to repress a lot.” And then he said “do you get attacked in your dreams or do you dream of being attached?” I looked at him blown away. I told him how I used to dream that my mother was trying to kill me and how it took over 15 years to get to a better place dream-wise with her (she did awful things to us here) and how my ex-boyfriend I would dream of him cheating on me, killing me, etc. and how I dream that I am being hunted down, chased and shot at often. I sleep but I don’t usually get restful sleep. So after we chatted some more, he made recommendations and I took them. My doctors’ office has acupuncture there. I get massages when I can but from a local massage school (they are only $25/hr), and I do a ton.

The point I am trying to make is that there is no “one way” to do the treatment BUT there are many things you can do to help it. And I truly believe you can.

I would never ever say it is not possible for someone to have children. I have encountered many women with infertility or reproductive issues over the years (and I am only 30). And a lot of them gave up (stopped stressing) on having a child and then wound up pregnant. Lots of people who adopt end up pregnant too. It may or may not be possible to become pregnant but I never ever say never. (Personal communication, Acupuncture student interns and supervisors of NESA – New England School of Acupuncture).

I had a physician probably 6-7 years ago who had trouble conceiving (from MGH Everett, MA. Name kept anonymous) She told me she tried everything and nothing worked – not even hormone therapy. Then she decided to use a donor egg and she was implanted and pregnant in a flash. She had a beautiful baby girl and she was thrilled. Then they did it again for baby number two – got a donor, she got pregnant, had another beautiful girl. Then, out of the blue she naturally conceived without a donor – her third child. She said after she got pregnant on her own after years and years of hormone treatments and bad news about fertility – she said she would never say never, ever again. She said she will always say it is possible. She was in her 40’s and had 3 beautiful little girls and she said going forward she would never tell someone that having a baby is impossible.

So what I took from that was- sometimes we need to stop stressing and worrying and just let nature take her course. Nothing is impossible.

I: Speak UP & Do research: Your doctor/s is only one person. I have observed through my own care that they only have short times in a day to talk to patients to respond to requests, etc. and they likely have hundreds of patients and they are usually incredibly busy. Doctor’s cannot know everything; they also cannot be responsible for your health 100%. They cannot read every book, every new research article out there, every study, etc. it would be impossible for them to stay 100% current with everything in medicine. And with them having hundreds of patients and with hospitals and clinics making appointment times shorter – you need to be in the driver’s seat.

I told someone recently that the only way to get the care you want and need is to be strategic. If I wasn’t strategic in my care I would be way behind where I am now. And how I got there was mainly through reading, researching, asking questions, swashing stigma (who cares what other people think – especially about mental health – the stigma is huge), and speaking up.

Every time I go to my physician for a monthly follow up (yes, once per month and a specialist like GYN, etc. as needed) I usually have a list of what I am taking (medications, vitamins, and other supplements), and a list of what I want to talk about and what I want to address by order of importance. I usually have stuff in mind to discuss but if I don’t have it written down then I will completely forget what it was. Write it down. And if your doctor has an email or online messaging system – use it. It is not for emergencies but for minor things, updates or simple questions.

I am also strategic in getting appointments because my doctors are so busy that I have to be strategic – otherwise I won’t get an appointment and I would never see them. You have to ask questions of the people on the phone, of the appointment setters – what is the best time to call for an appointment, is there a cancellation list? etc. It is all super important.

J: Remember we have: Mind, Body, Spirit, Emotion. And they all need love, care, peace, etc. And we can always touch our soul/spirit, do spiritual exercises, develop, etc. just like everything else.

In conclusion never be afraid to talk to your physicians. Never be afraid to help guide your own care, research your possibilities and present them to doctors. I learned research methods and design, applied statistics for psychology, data entry, analysis, and writing research proposals and even presenting them when I was in college. So my final semester I took extra classes so I could graduate early. I ended up researching endometriosis that year and I found that they were combining birth control with aromatase inhibitors like Femara and having awesome results. So I printed all the research, brought it to my specialist at Brigham and Women’s and asked him if I could try it. He said they haven’t tried it there before but he looked through the papers and said if I wanted to try it, he would let me. I did – it was great. And then because of this, it is now a treatment option for women with endo who go to Brigham and Womens and also Children’s Hospital Boston Gynecology (where I was first diagnosed).

I would have never expected him to know about this research because he is jam packed with patients and surgeries and emergencies and he had a family and home life. But I never would have known it was good if I didn’t look for it, research, present the data and findings. And the rest is history.

Keep in mind I don’t expect anyone to really go take hours to research BUT when you have time – do some. Search “scholar.google.com” for endometriosis (or any other illness you have) and go from there. Read books on healing, forgiveness, reiki, TCM, ayurveda, naturopathy, etc. learn as much as you can and never stop learning. Learning is what will help you in the long run.

I actually plan to write a book about everything I mentioned to you here. 🙂

I knew it was going to be long but I didn’t think it would be this long…

Namaste to all.

Here are some references:

1. Long, Q., Liu, X., Qi, Q., & Guo, S. (2016). Chronic stress accelerates the development of endometriosis in mouse through adrenergic receptor β2. Human reproduction (Oxford, England).doi:10.1093/humrep/dew237
2. University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health.“Elimination Diet.” UW Integrative Medicine Department of Family Medicine. (2008) n. pag. Web. http://www.fammed.wisc.edu/files/webfm-uploads/documents/outreach/im/handout_elimination_diet_patient.pdf
3. Lifestyle, W. (2006, August 8). Anti-inflammatory diet and foods | Dr. Weil. Retrieved November 9, 2016, from Aging Gracefully, http://www.drweil.com/health-wellness/health-centers/aging-gracefully/dr-weils-anti-inflammatory-diet/
4. Lifestyle, W. (2016). Food sensitivity testing – food intolerance test | Dr. Weil. Retrieved November 9, 2016, from Healthy Living,
5. Swarnakar, S., & Paul, S. (2009). Curcumin arrests endometriosis by downregulation of matrix metalloproteinase-9 activity. CSIR. Retrieved from http://14.139.47.15/handle/123456789/3329
(Swarnakar & Paul, 2009)
6. Ying, Z., M.D, Hong, C., M.D, Yu, Z., M.D, Peng, H.-Y., M.D, & Shang, C. M. D. (2013). Curcumin inhibits endometriosis endometrial cells by reducing estradiol production. Iran J Reprod Med, 5, 415–422. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3941414/
7. C, X. 3, & ’, script>. (2014). Chopra center marketplace store Deepak Chopra & Chopra center’s Dosha quiz. Retrieved November 9, 2016, from https://store.chopra.com/dosha-quiz
8. Douillard, J. (2011, November 16). John Douillard’s Life Spa Body Type Quiz. Retrieved November 9, 2016, from John Douillard’s Life Spa Body Type Quiz, http://lifespa.com/ayurvedic-health-quizzes/body-type-quiz/
9. Hay, L. L., & Gross, S. (2001). Heal your body A-Z: The mental causes for physical illness and the way to overcome them (10th ed.). Carlsbad, CA: Hay House.
10. Hay, L. L. (1985). You can heal your life (2nd ed.). Carson, CA: Hay House.
11. Ailawadi, R. K., Jobanputra, S., Kataria, M., Gurates, B., & Bulun, S. E. (2004). Treatment of endometriosis and chronic pelvic pain with letrozole and norethindrone acetate: A pilot study. Fertility and Sterility, 81(2), 290–296. doi:10.1016/j.fertnstert.2003.09.029
12. Attar, E., & Bulun, S. E. (2006). Aromatase inhibitors: The next generation of therapeutics for endometriosis? Fertility and Sterility, 85(5), 1307–1318. doi:10.1016/j.fertnstert.2005.09.064
13. Probiotics-Topic overview. (1995). Retrieved November 9, 2016, from WebMD, http://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/tc/probiotics-topic-overview
14. Hyman, M.D, M. (2015, April 17). Powerful strategies to eliminate IBS & other gut issues – Dr. Mark Hyman. Retrieved November 9, 2016, from Articles, http://drhyman.com/blog/2015/04/17/powerful-strategies-to-eliminate-ibs-other-gut-issues/
15. Association, E. (2005). Toxic Link to Endo. Retrieved November 11, 2016, from The endometriosis association, http://endometriosisassn.org/environment.html
16. Moore, C. (2016, August 25). Endometriosis therapy Elagolix meeting phase 3 trial targets. Retrieved November 11, 2016, from News, http://endometriosisnews.com/2016/08/25/endometriosis-therapy-candidate-elagolix-meeting-phase-3-clinical-trial-targets/
17. AbbVie. (2016, October 19). AbbVie announces positive pivotal phase 3 data demonstrating investigational medicine Elagolix reduces menstrual and non-menstrual pelvic pain associated with endometriosis at the American society for reproductive medicine scientific congress. Retrieved November 11, 2016, from AbbVie, https://news.abbvie.com/news/abbvie-announces-positive-pivotal-phase-3-data-demonstrating-investigational-medicine-elagolix-reduces-menstrual-and-non-menstrual-pelvic-pain-associated-with-endometriosis-at-american-society-for-reproductive-medicine-scientific-congress.htm

Personal Communications:
1. (Personal communication, Dr. Laufer, Boston BWH)
2. (Personal communication, Dr. Boyle, MGH Chelsea, MA)
3. (Personal communication, Dr. Richman, Hallmark Health, Malden, MA)
4. (Personal communication, Dr. Boyle, MGH Chelsea, MA)
5. (Personal communication, Dr. Gordon, CHA Malden at Canal St., MA)
6. (Personal communication; Bamboo Clinic ND, Brookline, MA)
7. (endometriosisassn.org)
8. (Personal communication, Megan Smith Lic.Ac. Dipl.OM; KenKoDo Clinic, Broadway Somerville, MA)
9. (Personal communication, Acupuncture interns from the New England School of Acupuncture)
10. (Personal communication, Acupuncture student interns and supervisors of NESA – New England School of Acupuncture).
11. (from MGH Everett, MA. Name kept anonymous)

Extra References:
1. A, 2013. (1997). Endometriosis. Retrieved November 9, 2016, from http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/condition/endometriosis
2. Northrup, C. (2010). Women’s bodies, women’s wisdom: Creating physical and emotional health and healing. New York: Random House Publishing Group.


Follow up from Casey:

Hi Jess 
I do dream a lot! Their pretty similar to your dreams. Crazy! 
My husband has done lots of research, he actually made me a binder lol 
The whole baby thing :/ I hope my doctors are wrong #powerofprayer 
I feel that my body is tired 🙁 but I’m not giving up. Thank you for your time.
Casey

Follow up to Casey:

I think if you were to try qi gong it could help rebuild chi. Because you are cultivating and building chi with it. Acupuncture can also build chi. And I think that would help a lot especially where your body is exhausted. A tcm professional can give you ideas too and lots of people with fertility trouble get pregnant after acupuncture. And acupuncture can help not only acute stuff but it can help heal the root as well.
**This article and all of its contents are not to be duplicated, reproduced, copied, quoted and the like without written permission. Please contact us for permission.**

9 Ways Cleaning Can Improve Your Life and Your Energy

Have you ever felt [energetically] how a room or house feels right after you cleaned it? It feels fresh, new, open, clean, renewed, and overall – just awesome. We are more motivated to do things, the air is cleaner and things overall are just flowing nicely.

Sometimes spiritually we need to clean and clear clutter to change the energy of our home. Sometimes mentally we are feeling stuck or congested and the way to clear it out is to clean and get organized. And sometimes we get motivated to move more when we have more space to move around in, better air to breathe, etc. And emotionally, we may feel “clearer” about what we want and how we feel when our environment isn’t so dusty and cluttered.

So cleaning has many benefits.

One of the many steps I recommend in an individual’s psychic development is to clean their home and/or room. They can do one room at a time if they want or just clean the entire house all at once. The reason I recommend they do this is because old energy, stagnant energy and sometimes negative or unwanted energy sits in dust and clutter. It makes everything feel stale or unhealthy. And so when we take the time to dust, clean and declutter we are opening up our environment, cleaning and clearing our energy and thus improving how clear we are energetically as well.

Let’s not forget that I also recommend – even in the winter – that we open our windows. Even just for 5-10 minutes here and there to get new air to circulate around the home. When our windows are closed and we aren’t letting any air to circulate, the air too can get cluttered and stale. And that is what we don’t want.

I was told once during acupuncture that if my room wasn’t clean and if it was a mess, dusty and disorganized that in order for me to help lessen my congestion, and be clearer minded (less fogged up with congestion) I needed to clean my room. That weekend, I did and it helped tremendously.

I find a big cleaning (like a spring cleaning) is something we need to do with each change in seasons. We may clean, dust, open windows, maybe rearrange furniture, introduce new scents in our diffusers, dust our natural crystals and rearrange them as well, and more. And then we feel better. This is also a great time to sort out things you don’t need or want. You can have yard sales, set up donations and even toss things that you cannot donate or sell.

And metaphorically, by clearing clutter, you are opening up more room – which opens more energy around you for new things. It is like when you clean out a closet and now you have all this space you didn’t have before that is open for new things, new stuff, etc. The same thing goes for your environment as it does for your energy. The same thing goes for letting go of the past, people, situations and the like (another topic for a separate post) but letting go in this way, opens you up more, and frees your energy for new and better things.

So when you feel the vibe to clean – go for it.

Cleaning can:

  • Improve the flow of energy in your home.
  • Declutter your home and make your living environment feel better and function better
  • A cleaner bedroom may be easier to sleep in
  • Always check Feng Shui for optimal placements of furniture and the like.
  • Dusting clears energy – especially if we open windows. This will allow the old stuck energy to move out and the new clean, clear energy to move in.
  • We can feel mentally and/or emotionally clearer once we clean, dust and/or declutter.
  • We may feel better physically as the environment we live in will have better energy, air and free flowing movement than when it was dusty, cluttered, or stagnant. And you may find your motivation has come back.
  • You may also experience less allergy symptoms if you are allergic to or sensitive to dust.
  • Your mood could improve because your living space has been positively altered. You would be surprised how your environment can alter how you feel.
  • And much more.

Don’t be afraid to let the cleaning vibe take over. Whether it is for a few minutes, a few hours, or an entire weekend – each minute counts. And the work you do cleaning, dusting, decluttering, getting rid of things you don’t use anymore, donating what you can, opening the windows to let new air in and more – all have so many benefits to your body, mind, spirit and emotion. It will be worth it.

Got ideas!? Email me! inspirationalsoulreadings@gmail.com

Gluten Free Granola, Allergen Free Granola, Allergy Free Parfait, Gluten Free Parfait

I was looking through some stock images today and searched “healthy” and I saw a picture of granola. I thought “wow! that looks so good!” And I thought about the many allergy free and allergy friendly ways it could be made. So here we go:

There are gluten free granola’s available now-a-days that are wonderful. They taste great and there are so many varieties available. To be honest, my favorite is Chex Gluten Free Honey Nut Granola. With any granola and parfait you need to realize that it could be highly caloric. So while it looks good and has healthy components, the overall quality of what you are consuming and the health/nutrition facts differ brand by brand and selection by selection. But most of the time, we don’t choose granola because it is low calorie. It is actually the opposite. I serving- 2/3 cup -of my favorite Chex Gluten Free Honey Nut Granola, has 260 calories, 4 grams of fiber, 5 grams of protein, 13 grams of sugar, 41 carbohydrates, and 9 grams of fat per serving. I mention this because while we want to eat well, allergy free, and healthy, we need to be mindful of what we are consuming and how much. Always read ingredient lists and nutrition facts; and don’t forget the serving size – all of which is usually located in the same general area of the package.

Now that we know there are many different types of granola available, let’s not forget we can make our own. It could be as simple as putting gluten free oats, slivered almonds, dried cranberries, and honey mixed together. Then spread thin on a baking sheet (with wax paper under it) let it get crisp (probably 400 degrees preheated and baked for 5-10 minutes, checking for doneness every few minutes so it doesn’t burn) and then let it cool off. You can even mix it up and use a smidgen of maple syrup, brown sugar and warm spices (like cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice, and/or cloves) with pieces of dehydrated apples, gluten free oats, chopped walnuts, and more.

More tips and ideas:

  • There are many gluten free (allergy friendly – check ingredient lists always!!) granola’s out there now
  • We can also make our own granola
  • We can add in some berries or other fresh fruit that we are in the mood for. You may also find it helpful to buy fruit frozen as it can be more cost effective at times, and it stores longer. To defrost – all you have to do is microwave some in a microwave safe bowl – keeping an eye on it so it doesn’t cook. Or you can thaw in a sauce pan on low heat until thawed. Frozen fruit also makes for great smoothies when left frozen – usually also in place of ice (but that is for another post). Don’t forget canned fruit too – so long as it is stored in its own natural juice and not stored in any syrups.
  • Then we can add in some allergy friendly yogurt – soy yogurt, coconut yogurt, rice milk yogurt, or even coconut milk (real coconut milk that comes in a can) and you can select which level of fat content you want as some are light, some are full fat, etc. Be mindful of how many calories, fat, etc. is in your yogurt too. Yogurt can have a lot of sugar in it, so please check labels for that as well.
  • Lastly, you can always use allergy friendly milks with or instead of yogurts. Yogurts do usually provide us with some friendly bacteria [probiotics] which is good for gut health and our overall well being. (Different strains are better for different things.) But if you want a creamier milk, that is thinner than soy milk – choose a nut based milk like almond milk. Unsweetened original almond milk is one of my go-to’s. It tastes good and works well in just about anything. Or you can opt for soy milk which is full bodied, a little creamy, and usually has a high protein count. Soy is considered a whole source of protein. Try to make sure your soy milk is non-GMO (actually make sure all of your milks are non-GMO) and organic if possible. And then you can also try rice milk which is the thinnest in consistency, a little sugary when you get the original, and I think it is the least creamy – but it is good. There are other milks available now too – cashew milk, oat milk, quinoa milk. The choice is yours.

You can layer them all delightfully in a bowl, cup or shown here in a mason jar – and enjoy!

Got ideas? Email them! Jess@JessicaCaracciolo.com

UPDATE 08/29/2017

Since I wrote this post, the granola I mentioned has been discontinued. I am totally bummed as it was my fav. But I have found another granola that is good too: Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Honey Nut (Almond) Granola. It tastes great but it is more caloric than the Chex one.

Fajita Mix, Fajita Recipe – Gluten Free

*This recipe is gluten free, dairy free, egg free)*

Fajita Recipe
©Jessica Caracciolo

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa (thoroughly cleaned)
  • 1 cup uncooked instant brown rice
  • 1 cup bell peppers sliced
  • 1 cup yellow onion sliced
  • 1 cup mushrooms sliced
  • (or you can use any vegetables you wish)

Fajita Mix Ingredients:

  • 3 tsp corn starch
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 3/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp natural smoke flavor (I use a smoke flavor spice blend from Trader Joe’s)

Directions:

  1. Prep all vegetables. Measure out 1 cup uncooked quinoa and 1 cup instant brown rice.
  2. Wash quinoa thoroughly, then put both the quinoa and the rice into a medium size sauce pan. Quinoa requires 2 cups of water per 1 cup of uncooked quinoa and rice calls for 1 3/4 cup water. So after putting dry quinoa and dry rice into sauce pan, pour 3 3/4 cup water and about a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil. Next put 4 tsp of fajita mix into the water, rice and quinoa. Stir and then turn stove top on high heat until it all comes to a boil. Then turn to low heat, stirring occasionally to make sure the rice doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. After most of the water has been soaked up, turn the stove top off and put a lid over the pan to allow the rest of the water to be soaked up.
  3. Put all your vegetables in a saute pan with 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, on low heat. Stir through. Place a lid over the top to allow the vegetables to steam until they cook to your desired doneness level. If necessary- strain the water out of the pan and put the vegetables back into it.
  4. Then put the remaining spice mixture into the vegetables pan with 1 cup water, stir thoroughly. Put on medium heat constantly stirring through until you feel it is done- about 5-10 minutes.
  5. Serve immediately. Serves 2-4 people. Can be eaten with taco shells, corn tortillas, tortilla chips and the like.

**Added note: this comes out best when you double the recipe and use half for the rice/quinoa and the other half for the vegetables.** And it goes awesome with corn tortillas with spring mix and baby spinach plus some crushed up tortilla chips for an added crunchy texture.

If you have any questions please contact me. I know what it is like to be free of many allergens and how hard it can be baking and cooking this way. I am happy to help you if I can.

Gluten Free Flatbread Style Pizza Crust

*This recipe is gluten free, dairy free, egg free)*

Gluten Free Pizza Crust
©Jessica Caracciolo

Ingredients:

  • 1 package rapid active dry yeast
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 1/4 cup warm water
  • 1 cup brown rice flour
  • 1 cup tapioca flour
  • 1/2 cup quinoa flour
  • 3/4 cup cornmeal
  • 2-4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Vegan egg replacer for 2 eggs (or 2 egg whites)
  • Cornstarch

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven 450 degrees. This will make 1 regular size pizza or 2 medium-small size pizzas.
  2. In a bowl combine sugar with warm water, let the sugar dissolve and then add the packet of dry rapid active yeast. Stir and then put the bowl in a warm dry place so the yeast can propagate- about 5
  3. Prepare a pizza pan or other pan accordingly. You will need to spray the pan with non-stick spray.
  4. In a separate bowl, combine: brown rice flour, tapioca flour, quinoa flour and cornmeal. Mix the dry flours together.
  5. After the yeast has propagated, pour all of the yeast/water in the bowl with the flours. Also pour in 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, 1 tsp salt and your 2 eggs or vegan egg replacer for 2 eggs. Stir well until all is well combined. The dough will be sticky.
  6. Then sprinkle some cornstarch on your hands and form the dough into a ball or 2 balls. If you are going to season the crust you need to do it now. Then press the crust onto the pans.
  7. Let sit in a warm dry place while you make your toppings and sauce. (about 15 minutes)
  1. Then bake the crust without toppings on it for 5 minutes. Take it out of the oven and pour a small amount of olive oil over the top to moisten the crust a little more.
  2. Put your sauce and toppings on the pizza now. Then bake at 450 for another 15-25 minutes until well browned or until it reaches your desired doneness. Crust will be nice, slightly crisp and have a great texture.

If you need a quick pizza sauce I use: 1 small 8 oz can of Hunts® regular tomato sauce with 3/4 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp onion powder, 1/2 tsp ground oregano, and 1 1/2 tsp dried basil. Mix together and heat on high until a slight boil. Then it is ready to go!
If you have any questions please contact me. I know what it is like to be free of many allergens and how hard it can be baking and cooking this way. I am happy to help you if I can.

Strawberry Quinoa Flax Muffins – Gluten Free

*This recipe is gluten free, dairy free, egg free)*

Strawberry Quinoa Flax Muffins
©Jessica Caracciolo
Yields: 14 standard size muffins

Dry Ingredients:

  • 1 cup oats – ground
  • 1/2 cup flaxseed meal
  • 1 cup rice flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Wet Ingredients:

  • 1 cup cooked quinoa (1/2 cup dry)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice (fresh)
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup applesauce unsweetened
  • 3/4 cup rice milk
  • 1/8 cup coconut oil melted
  • 1/8 cup Earth Balance Soy Free Butter melted or Smart Balance Light or other butter substitute

Other ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cup fresh strawberries
  • 1/2 cup almonds finely chopped

Directions:

  • Preheat oven: 375 degrees
  • Cook 1/2 cup dry quinoa until completely cooked. Set aside.
  • Prepare a muffin pan with muffin cups. -Pre-wash, dry and cut strawberries into small 1/2 inch pieces. Chop almonds finely and put in a small bowl, set aside.
  • You will need two bowls; 1 large and 1 medium size. Combine all dry ingredients in the large bowl. Combine all wet ingredients in the medium size bowl. Stir both separately.
  • When you have everything ready to go, very slowly and gently stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients large bowl. After everything is well mixed (NOTE: Do NOT over mix.) then fold in the strawberries gently. (Do not over mix strawberries in either).
  • Scoop mixture into muffin cups accordingly. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of ground almonds over the muffins, pressing gently.
  • Then bake muffins for about 45 minutes (more or less depending on your oven) or until toothpick inserted into the middle of the muffin comes out clean.
  • Let the muffins cool completely before eating and/or serving.

If you have any questions please contact me. I know what it is like to be free of many allergens and how hard it can be baking and cooking this way. I am happy to help you if I can.

Almond Honey Flax Granola Bars – Gluten Free

*This recipe is gluten free, dairy free, egg free)*

Almond Honey Flax Granola Bars
©Jessica Caracciolo

Ingredients:

  • 1 3/4 cups gluten-free oats
  • 3/4 cups gluten free whole O’s cereal
  • 3/4 cups gluten free crispy rice cereal
  • 1/2 cup chopped almonds
  • 1/3 cup lightly packed light-brown sugar
  • 2-3 tablespoons gf/df butter
  • 3 tablespoons almond butter
  • 2 tablespoons ground flaxseeds
  • 1/3 cup honey- add more if needed
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees
  • Line 11 x 14 baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Spray with nonstick cooking spray, leaving a 1-inch overhang on all sides. Set aside.
  • Place oatmeal, whole Os, almonds, flaxseeds and rice cereal in a large bowl; stir to combine. Set aside.
  • In a medium saucepan, mix together brown sugar, butter, almond butter, vanilla and honey. Place over medium-high heat; bring to a gentle boil. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Remove from heat and add dry ingredients; stir until mixture is fully coated and well combined.
  • Evenly pour entire mixture into prepared baking pan. Press mixture down in pan, tight. Bake 5-10 minutes until browned and crispy. Let fully cool and place in refrigerator for 30 minutes after cooling. Cut into 1 inch x 5 inch bars. Makes about 30.

If you have any questions please contact me. I know what it is like to be free of many allergens and how hard it can be baking and cooking this way. I am happy to help you if I can.

Jess’s Signature Oatmeal Cookies Light Recipe – Gluten Free

*This recipe is gluten free, dairy free, egg free, and soy free)* Substitution ideas below*

Jess’s Signature Oatmeal Cookies *Light*

©Jessica Caracciolo

Yields: 2 baker’s dozen (26 cookies)

Active Time: 15-20 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes

Lightened up Ingredients:

  • [Just under] 2/3 cup light brown sugar unpacked
  • 6oz (1 regular size cup) unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/3 cup cranberry juice (add a hint more if you want more moisture)
  • 1/2 cup oil= 1/8 cup Earth Balance soy free butter melted (or Smart Balance Light melted) and 1/3 cup coconut oil melted
  • 1.5 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ cups sweetened shaved coconut
  • 3 ½ cups old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 cup brown rice flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Measure out and mix together all dry ingredients first. (Brown sugar, chocolate chips, coconut, oats, pancake mix, cinnamon and baking soda) Mix dry ingredients together well.
  • Measure out in a separate bowl (or large measuring cup) combining all wet ingredients: applesauce, cranberry juice, oil, and vanilla. Mix wet ingredients together.
  • Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and thoroughly mix the ingredients together to make a moist cookie mixture. (Do not blend: hand mix only)
  • Prepare a cookie sheet, spraying with non-stick spray and measure out each cookie to be about 1 tablespoon in size each.
  • Cook to desired doneness. 6-12 minutes. 10 minutes on average. Make sure they are well cooked/browned to prevent crumbling.
  • Check bottom of cookies with a spatula to check “doneness” level, cookies should be browned on the bottom and on the top. The more browned they are on top the more crisp they will be. If you want them moister, cook them a minute or two less.
  • Let cookies settle for about 30 minutes before plating and/or preserving. Do not place them in a pile on top of each other or they will clump together.

Note: These cookies don’t stay together very well but they taste delightful.

If you have any questions please contact me. I know what it is like to be free of many allergens and how hard it can be baking and cooking this way. I am happy to help you if I can.

Jess’s Signature Oatmeal Cookies Recipe – Gluten Free

*This recipe is gluten free, dairy free, egg free, and soy free)* Substitution ideas below*

Jess’s Signature Oatmeal Cookies

©Jessica Caracciolo

Yields: 2 baker’s dozen (26 cookies)

Active Time: 15-20 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 6oz unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 cup 100% cranberry juice (or other 100% juice)
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 package chocolate chips
  • 1 1/2 cups sweetened shaved coconut
  • 2 1/2cups old Fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 cup brown rice flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Measure out and mix together all dry ingredients first. (Brown sugar, chocolate chips, coconut, oats, brown rice flour, cinnamon and baking soda) Mix dry ingredients together well.
  • Measure out all wet ingredients: applesauce mixture, oil, and vanilla. Mix wet ingredients together.
  • Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and thoroughly mix the ingredients together to make a moist cookie mixture. (Do not blend: hand mix only)
  • Prepare a cookie sheet, spraying with non-stick spray. Measure out each cookie to be about 1 tablespoon in size each. Press cookie down on sheet to flatten.
  • Cook to desired doneness. Make sure they are well cooked/browned to prevent crumbling. Bake 10-25 minutes.
  • Check bottom of cookies with a spatula to check “doneness” level. Cookies should be browned on the bottom and on the top. The more browned they are the more crisp they will be. If you want them moister, cook them a minute or two less.
  • Let cookies settle for about 20 minutes before plating and/or preserving. Do not place them in a pile on top of each other right away or they will clump together.

Note: These cookies don’t stay together very well but they taste delightful.

Substitutions:

  • If you need a soy free non-stick spray, I think Pam for Grilling is still soy free. It doesn’t have any grilling flavor or anything.
  • Light brown sugar for dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar can sub for 1/4 cup white sugar (less sweet) or 1/4 cup honey or a mixture of an extra 1/4 cup brown sugar and 1/4 cup white sugar to make the 1/2 cup.
  • Chocolate chips: From what I have found Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips are free of the 8 most common allergens, including soy. Always check labels to make sure a product is free of allergens.

If you have any questions please contact me. I know what it is like to be free of many allergens and how hard it can be baking and cooking this way. I am happy to help you if I can.

Blueberry Pie Recipe- Gluten Free

*This recipe is gluten free, dairy free, potentially soy free, vegan, nut free.*

*Shown here with melted dairy free ice cream.*

Blueberry Pie
© Jessica Caracciolo

Pie Crust Ingredients:

  • 2 cups gluten free all purpose flour (Bob’s Red Mill® All Purpose Flour)
  • 1/2 cup rice flour
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 cup Smart Balance© Light, cold and cut into small pieces (or a butter substitute that is solid when cold)
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon

Directions for crust:

  • Place flour, spices and sugar in the bowl of a food processor and pulse briefly to combine. Add cold butter and mix in food processor until pie crust forms.
  • Place pie crust mixture in a bowl and refrigerate until you need it.
  • Makes both the top and bottom crust.

Butter spread:

  • Melt butter in a small bowl and add a pinch of each spice from above and put aside for the pie.
  • Microwave butter substitute for a few seconds until warm and completely melted. Add spices and set aside.

Blueberry Pie filling
Ingredients:

  • 2 pints fresh blueberries

  • 1 tablespoon gluten free all purpose flour (Bob’s Red Mill® All Purpose Flour)
  • 1 tablespoon Smart Balance® Light or other cold solid dairy free butter
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup white sugar

Directions:

  • Pour one pint of the blueberries into the baked pie shell.
  • Combine gf flour, butter, lemon juice and sugar. Mix thoroughly. Add the remaining pint of blueberries and bring just to a boil over medium heat. Berries should begin to pop open.
  • Place bottom crust in pie pan, and then brush the melted butter mixture on the bottom. Poke holes in bottom crust for air. Pour cooked berries over fresh berries in the pie pan. Place the top crust over berries. Pinch sides together and poke holes in the top for air. Brush rest of melted butter on top of the pie. Bake at 350 until top of the pie is browned, about an hour. Chill pie and serve accordingly. Serve with  coconut ice cream.

If you have any questions please contact me. I know what it is like to be free of many allergens and how hard it can be baking and cooking this way. I am happy to help you if I can.