Cleaning Up The Gut


For today’s post, I am writing about clean eating for gut health. I will be discussing what I learned from cardiologist, and integrative medical doctor, Alejandro Junger. He has written several books on how to eat clean, and detoxify our bodies. During this session I had many “a ha” moments, realizing much of what he said applied directly to me! I was fascinated with his interview during the Gut Summit, and am putting into personal practice several of the things he discussed. I would love to share some of the information I learned, with the hope that you too will learn something new and helpful.

He began by discussing “leaky gut”, which is particularly interesting to me, because that is something I struggle with. He said, “the gut is the root of health”. It is the beginning of immunity. Before doing my research, I had no idea how closely the gut and immune system worked together. I also did not realize the gut-brain connection. For me, it is exciting to realize that I really can make a difference in my health!

Inflammation causes much damage in our bodies, and most of the health issues individuals have, are due to inflammation somewhere in the body. So the question is, “How do we lessen or completely get rid of inflammation?” Dr. Junger suggests that a lot of people are so much better off if they eliminate the toxic trigger foods that cause inflammation in the gut. For many people these trigger foods have to do with dairy, sugar, coffee, alcohol, and gluten in the diet. Each person is different, and sometimes it is trial and error to see what your trigger foods might be that are causing you to feel blah, bloated, or having to run to the bathroom. It is also important to take good prebiotics (the things the good bacteria in our gut requires) and probiotics (the good bacteria that live in our gut). Here is an article by Dr. Michael Smith of WebMD, that explains both probiotics and prebiotics.

Dr. Junger stated that a large amount of serotonin is made in the gut. So you might be thinking, “that is interesting, but what exactly is serotonin and why is it important?” I looked up a brief description of serotonin in Wikipedia to give us an idea of its importance to us and our well being.

This is what I found: Serotonin /ˌsɛrəˈtoʊnɨn/ or 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT) is a monoamine neurotransmitter. Biochemically derived from tryptophan, serotonin is primarily found in the gastrointestinal tract (GI tract), platelets, and the central nervous system(CNS) of animals, including humans. It is popularly thought to be a contributor to feelings of well-being and happiness.

Approximately 90% of the human body‘s total serotonin is located in the enterochromaffin cells in the GI tract, where it is used to regulate intestinal movements. The remainder is synthesized in serotonergic neurons of the CNS, where it has various functions. These include the regulation of mood, appetite, and sleep. Serotonin also has some cognitive functions, including memory and learning. Modulation of serotonin at synapses is thought to be a major action of several classes of pharmacological antidepressants.

No wonder Dr. Junger said, if someone is not making enough serotonin in the gut, it can cause stress! Life is always going to have some stress, but if we can help our bodies to deal with it more constructively, by taking care of our gut, we can lessen the detrimenatal effects of stress on our overall health and well being.

Come back next weekend and learn more fascinating and beneficial information about gut health!

I Needed A Perspective Change


I’ve been thinking about Jesus today, and who He is……

I came across a previous post that I would like to share again.

We could all use the reminder.


This world is hard on people.

Life can be harsh and confusing and many times it… well, it can be irritating. Oh, none of us like to talk about it, admit it….but, deep down we know it is true.

At the very least it wears us down.

I needed a perspective change…

Last night in Bible study, we ladies were discussing the verses about Jesus being The Word, and dwelling among us.

And, once again I was reminded…

The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.

14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.  John 1:9-14 NIV

Jesus understood the pain of not being understood. Can we even imagine?  Being accused. Being abused.

These particular verses amaze me…every single time I read them. They are powerful. Jesus, Creator of the world, and yet people didn’t recognize Him. Many did not believe Him….but, to those who did (and do), HE gave the right to become CHILDREN OF GOD.


Think about what I just wrote. Read the verses for yourself. Do it.

It is right there in black and white.

We, as believers, are adopted. Signed and sealed, because……..

Jesus chose to love us.

I don’t know about you, but that changes my perspective about today and tomorrow.

How can it not?

I’m carrying this Word in my heart today, with a smile on my face.

Great Things Happen…


These are printed words that I have taped to the front of my refrigerator…words that make me think. Always make me think. I am not a clean refrigerator door type of girl….I have many words of wisdom taped to the door. Words I see multiple times a day.

“More than being afraid of a dangerous world, MAYBE WE SHOULD BE much more afraid of comfort zones.” (

Comfort zones can be deadly. They are insidious, in that they kill new ideas, annihilate change, and often times leave us doing “the same old, same old” and getting nowhere as we walk in familiar circles.  It might make us feel good, thinking “we’ve always done it this way”, but that leaves no room for what might happen if we try something new and different.

Yes, change can be scary, but it can also be exhilarating. Stepping out of my comfort zone can make me feel anxious, especially when I’m not always sure what I’m stepping into…..but, if I never step up and step out, I will never know.

Life is far too short to stay insulated in a cocoon of complacency.

If one door slams shut, don’t be afraid to open another.

Great things happen to those who aren’t afraid.

Trust Your Gut


Those of us that are on a journey to better health, have come to realize that there are many things that we can do to help ourselves to not only look better, but to also feel better. Proper exercise, reduction in stress, getting enough rest…..all important for sure, but I have come to realize that the most important and crucial thing that we can ever do for ourselves, comes in the form of what we eat, because what we eat is our only source of fuel and nutrition.

Over the next few Sundays I will be doing a series on what I learned at The Healthy Gut Summit 2015. This Summit was created and sponsored by Donna Gates of Body Ecology. Her website states, “After years of extensive study, Body Ecology founder Donna Gates created a back-to-basics approach to restoring health and vitality by understanding the invaluable balance of the human body’s “inner ecology”. Often forgotten or unconsidered, probiotics and enzymes are crucial to a healthy and efficient internal system. When this system is out of balance, a host of medical issues and conditions can arise.” She invited both medical doctors and academic doctors, as well as other individuals in the healthcare field, to explain their research and findings.

The gut (seven key organs…these include the gall bladder, large intestine, liver, oesophagus, pancreas, small intestine and stomach) has often times been called the “second brain”, because there is an undeniable connection between the gut and the brain. According to Dr. Mark Hyman, MD, a functional medicine doctor, “the ultra prevention <is in the gut>….if your gut’s not healthy, you’re not healthy”.

He went on to discuss the top four enemies of gut health. 1. Processed food 2. Hybridized and genetically modified foods (GMO) 3. Stress and environmental toxins 4. Gut busting drugs (such as, antibiotics, aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs, and antacids).

Most of us, unless we are making a concerted effort, find it easy to fall into the processed food trap. I know, for myself, before I started my own health and wellness journey it was convenient to grab foods on the go. I might not have been eating a lot of food, but it definitely was not the right food. Those foods that come in boxes, have preservatives for longer shelf life, or whose ingredients are filled with chemicals or weird names that are difficult to pronounce.

I will be talking more about genetically modified foods in another post, but for now I will relay this: There is correlational data on the long term effects of GMO’s on the human body. Genetically modified foods have been linked to autism, diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, allergies, IBD, irritable bowel syndrome, chronic constipation, peritonitis, deaths from intestinal infection and dementia diseases. (Smith, Jeffrey)

Stress, we all face it. There really is no way to get away from it, unless we live in a bubble. How we deal with the stresses of day to day life is what makes the difference. Chronic stress is toxic to the gut. It promotes leaky gut, which creates holes in “the netting” of the intestines, allowing vitamins/minerals/food particles to escape into the blood stream. This causes food intolerances and autoimmunity. Stress also decreases blood flow, increases stress hormones, and causes inflammatory responses.

Lastly, one of the enemies of the gut is what some doctors refer to as “gut busting” drugs. These drugs, that I mentioned earlier, might be necessary to make some one well, but they can kill the good bacteria in the gut. Being aware of the consequences  of taking an antibiotic, will allow you to realize you need to replace the depleted good gut bacteria by taking some good probiotics/enzymes and by eating those foods that carry those probiotics, naturally.

I will leave you with Dr. Hyman’s “Five R’s of Gut Care”. 1. Remove (the enemies of the gut ) 2. Replace ( with good habits)  3. Reinoculate (give your gut the good probiotics and enzymes that it needs ) 4. Repair (work on healing the gut ) 5. Relax              ( remember excessive stress is harmful to the body )

Come back next Sunday for my post on clean eating and the gut.

People Of The Cross







The picture was difficult to look at, twenty-one orange clad men kneeling before their executioners. Egyptian Christians. Their executioners called them “the people of the cross”.  In those moments before death, I wonder what was going through their minds? They realized this was it….their entire lives came down to these last moments. Their deaths were imminent. Did they cry? Did they scream? Did they plead for their lives?

Or did they kneel silently, knowing the truth?

The truth that although their bodies would be killed, their spirits could not. The moment they ceased to breathe in this life, they would take their first breath in their new life. With Jesus, the One who died first, willingly….for them. For us. Before we even knew who He was. He loved us, though the world knew Him not.

There was the true Light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man. He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him.… John 1:9-11 

The people of the cross……they know Him.

They worship Him. He, alone, is worthy.

They are martyred for the privilege of following the One true God and His Son, Jesus the Christ.

 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die;  and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”  John 11:25-26 

As fellow “followers of the cross”, we know this temporary life is not all there is…..and it is all temporary whether an infant takes one breath in this world, or an individual lives to be one hundred years old….in the scope of eternity it is all short. We are in this world, but not of this world. We are on a journey, during the years we have here, and we each need to learn to travel light.

God included in His word, a history, a reminder, found in the book of Hebrews. None of this, that we see today on the news, is really new. We, believers, come from a long line of the faithful. Every time I read chapter eleven in Hebrews I am filled with awe and reverence.

….All these people <Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses…> were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.  Hebrews 11:13-16

…..And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson and Jephthah, about David and Samuel and the prophets, who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies. Women received back their dead, raised to life again. There were others who were tortured, refusing to be released so that they might gain an even better resurrection. Some faced jeers and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were put to death by stoning; they were sawed in two; they were killed by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated— the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, living in caves and in holes in the ground.

These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised,since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect. Hebrews 11:32-40 

Christ followers. Christians. People of the Way. Believers.




Life Becomes Just A Little Bit Sweeter


I feel the cold immediately. As soon as I open the door the frigid air fills the opening between cozy warmth and bitter winter winds. The only part of me that is actually showing is my eyes, and that is necessary only to see where I am going. The scarf, wrapped snuggly around my neck and over my mouth and nose, keeps my face warm and keeps my breath from freezing. A lined hat pulled down over ears, a thick coat and insulated gloves. This is my winter wardrobe. I am used to putting on and pulling off the layers several times a day. That is how it is when one has dogs to walk and animals to feed and things to do.

Winter sky, a brilliant blue, full of white, cottony clouds, stacked on top of each other and full of snow. I snap a picture with my eyes, and file it away in my memory. Snow blowing across the back fields, each flake chasing the next, racing to see which can whirl away first. I am mesmerized by the fierce beauty that winter holds. The wind whips hard against me, leaving me gasping. Facing directly into the wind and snow is not for the faint of heart….challenging Winter usually leaves one huddled and chattering.

The fence corner posts, grayed by the weather, stand strong in the slamming wind, not to be broken or bent. They look lonely on the edges of the field, standing guard over the property. I love to look out over the back field, all the way to where the ground meets the horizon. It is one of the most peaceful views, throughout all the seasons. Another picture for my memory.  I notice a little brown field mouse scurry by and dive into some straw near the chicken coop….he wedges himself into a little hole. I wish him well in his endeavor to find a warm haven.

I am thankful.

Thankful for my layered clothes. Thankful for my cozy house. Thankful for this beautiful season of cold, for without it I could never fully appreciate warmth.  Thankful for the ability to stop and be grateful in the moment, to see the beauty in all things. I am acutely aware that, that is a gift.

With that knowledge life becomes just a little bit sweeter, even when standing in the bitter winter winds.

For the choir director. A Psalm of David. The heavens are telling of the glory of God; And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands. Day to day pours forth speech, And night to night reveals knowledge.… Psalm 19:1-2 


The Real Deal


Love that is real, oh, don’t we all want that?   Not Hollywood movies. Not flowers and candy. Not even candlelit dinners. Don’t get me wrong, love is wonderful, but those examples are more about romance…and romance is fickle.

The love that God has for us is real love, that love that is unbreakable, undeniable, inescapable, and irreversible.

Love that is steady as a rock, and strong as the cross. 


I pulled this post from my archives….a reminder of all the ways that He loves…..

God Is So Good…And I Am So Loved

The journal is setting on the kitchen counter.

It is a simple, blue spiral notebook…the kind one sees at back to school sales at Wal-mart.

In itself, is nothing special, and  yet, it full of the most special.

Each word and phrase penned from a thankful heart.

Every word a reminder, of gifts so freely given to me.

Simple things, ordinary things, daily things…

How often, before the journal, did I gloss over the everyday moments,

not really see them for what they are?

God is so good…and I am so loved.

He shows me this a million times over.

So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him. Matthew 7:11 NLT

What I Love About Winter


A cold snowy day in mid February, finds me sitting at the kitchen counter while gazing out the window. Winter….people either love it or they hate it. I tend to love winter. I prefer the cold of this season to summer’s heat and humidity. I can always put on more layers, but when it is overly hot….there is only so much one can take off….before being arrested. You see my predicament?

Here are the top 10 things that I love about winter (David Letterman Style):

#10. Snow makes the whole world look fresh and clean….and magical. The hush of a snow blanketed world is lovely!

#9. I get to wear all the scarves in my rather large collection. Having moved to Ohio from Tennessee, this is a huge deal:)

#8. Hot drinks always taste better when it is cold outside. I mean who wants to drink hot cocoa in mid-July?

#7. Being a teacher, I still and always will, love snow days. It is a thing.

#6. I get a kick out of seeing all the mailbox contraptions people around here put up to defend their boxes against the snow plow. (see story here)

#5. I don’t sweat in the winter months. At all.

#4. Icicles and glittering snow diamonds on a sunny winter morning….amazing light and clarity in nature.

#3. Winter nights are the most clear and brilliant. I am awestruck by the beauty.

#2. Being forced to be inside if it snows or ices, allows me to get more done around the house.

#1. The God who created winter, is preparing the world for spring….sometimes we all need to be quiet and dormant for awhile and wait for the new beginnings.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 2 Corinthians 5:17

On Cruise Control


It is already Wednesday evening. The week is half over, and I’m not even sure if I ever got fully started. Can you relate?  I’m sure you know what I mean. Sometimes I go on “cruise control”, do what needs to be done, all part of the regular routines of life. I try to stop and really see the moments, but all too often I walk around with blinders on, completely focused on the urgent. Every day happenings can become emergencies in no time, at least it feels that way.

As one of my favorite authors, Ann Voskamp, mentioned in her book, One Thousand Gifts, life is not an emergency…and we shouldn’t live it like it is. I agree with her completely, and yet, here I sit on a Wednesday night. Depleted. Worn out. Just plain tired.

As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10: 38-42

I need to be more like Mary, sitting at Jesus’ feet. Resting.  I am rereading what Jesus said to Martha. I’m letting it sink in. His words to her are just as relevant today as they were when He first spoke them.

The Typical Life


Today I am thinking about all the ways God loves me, here on this Friday morning, in the midst of the mundane. In the walking of dogs, the vacuuming of rugs, the loading of the dishwasher…..getting ready to go grocery shopping. The typical life, the normal stuff that needs done. Those things that are routine on most days, but can sometimes get overwhelming. When I feel like the days all run together and I worry about all the things that are not yet checked off the to do list….when the mountain of laundry is not the mountain top experience I think I want………

(From my archives) 


EucharisteoGreek.  yoo-khar-is-teh’-o. Verb. Definition: 1.To be grateful, to feel thankful. 2. Give thanks

In chapter two of One Thousand Gifts, Ann talks about eucharisteo. Eucharisteo is the key word. The meaning behind it, the challenge of this entire book.

To Give Thanks.

(pg. 30)”On this page Ann asks herself if she needs to see the world, visit the exquisite, before she faces eternity? Or isn’t it here? Can’t I find it here? (31) Isn’t it here? The wonder? Why do I spend so much of my living hours struggling to see it?”

This is so true for me. It is easy for me to skim over the very real miracles of today, not seeing them. Blinded by the busyness of life, thinking I need to do something more. Something big. Something significant. Before I am witness to the incredible.Could it really be something as simple as giving thanks? Being grateful for what I have? Even if it is a simple thing…The simple things become the big things, if they are appreciated. If I remember to offer thanks for them.

(pg. 37) “What precedes the miracle is thanksgiving, eucharisteo, and it is a Greek word with a hard meaning that is harder yet to live. Do I really want to take up this word?”

Should I really take up the challenge of gratitude? Will it change me? Will my eyes begin to see the ways that God is saying “yes” to me, on a daily basis? Certainly it is true that God acts in big ways, when He chooses. But, isn’t it just as true that God acts in small ways? The small things that touch us in the grind of the every day? Shouldn’t I be as appreciative for the beauty in the quiet stillness of freshly fallen snow, as I am for the healing of a loved one? Shouldn’t I thank Him for hugs from children that he has blessed me with? As much as I see him in the faces of the forgiven? Shouldn’t the smell of freshly laundered towels be as heady to me as the view from a mountain top?

Isn’t God big enough to have everything under control? But small enough to to have communion with me as I thank him for the warm chocolate chip cookies baking in the oven? Why does my eucharisteo have to be small? Or only for certain things? Can I not thank God for ALL he does? All the ways he blesses? Even when I don’t understand? Even when things don’t go “my way”. Can I not thank him for being in control–even when I’m so out of control? For being sovereign when I can’t even see a second into my own future?

And with that…the Father of Lies whispers in my ear. He spits out the word eucharisteo. A whisper of irritation. A scratch of ungratefulness. “You don’t need eucharisteo. It’s useless. God isn’t listening.” And I am taken back to the garden. In the beginning he convinced Adam and Eve that ungratefulness was normal. That it was okay. That what God gave them wasn’t good enough…and with that they sunk their teeth into that glorious fruit. The same fruit that turned bitter and rotten in their mouths. Communion with God was fractured, and the ungratefulness started to fester. It has been that way ever since.

And yet…

I want to take the challenge….the dare….to give thanks. To live eucharisteo. To see with my own eyes the difference it makes.