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EAT Self Love Uncategorized

4 Secrets That Your Cravings Are Trying to Tell You

Picture it: you’re absorbed in work, when out of nowhere you are hit with a burning, insatiable desire … for chocolate. Immediately, all 5 senses are alight with expectation: you close your eyes and can vividly see your favorite truffle – its shape and velvety mahogany color. You inhale its sweet, rich perfume, and your anticipation heightens as the truffle draws closer to your mouth. You hear a soft crack as you take a bite, followed by a liquid gold sensation as the truffle melts and delightfully floods your taste buds flavors – nutty, earthy, floral and sweet. You have ascended into a body bliss state, and when you wake up from this powerful daydream … you need to find chocolate, STAT.

We all experience hunger, which is controlled by the release of the hormone ghrelin by the stomach and pancreas, and is satisfied by consuming a wide variety of foods. On the other hand, a food craving is an intense desire or urge to eat something specific that is usually high in fat, sugar, and/or salt. While we all cave into food cravings once in awhile, they can contribute to the development of disordered eating and obesity (12), and are often a challenge associated with elimination diets. Food cravings arise from physical, emotional, and spiritual signals that form an “It’s Complicated” relationship. Learning how to translate these cues to decipher what it is you truly desire (which may not be food after all!) is challenging to say the least. If you are willing to listen, your food cravings are trying to tell you something:

Ring ring, your microbiome is calling – Check your gut health!

Your micro-what? Your microbiome refers to the over 100 trillion bacteria, viruses and fungi that live in or on your body. While this notion may create the urge to take a bath in Purell (please don’t!), these worker bee microbes perform critical functions within the body including digestion, immunity, vitamin and hormone synthesis, metabolism, and mood regulation (3). Your “microbial footprint” develops and changes throughout your lifetime, and its composition is highly influenced by diet, personal hygiene, previous illness/infections, and exposure to chemicals, toxins, and medications. While food cravings are often attributed to lack of willpower, emerging evidence suggests that gut microbes may manipulate your eating behavior by several different mechanisms to promote their survival (4), such as generating cravings for specific foods that they thrive on. For example, some species thrive best on carbohydrates, while others on dietary fiber or fats (5). People crave sugary and fatty foods because of the resulting release of brain chemicals called opioids, which create feelings of pleasure and even mild euphoria. Importantly, microbes can also influence hosts through the production of hormones, including mood-boosting dopamine and serotonin, which drive pleasure-seeking behavior and your brain’s reward system (67). Interestingly, microbes also can rewire your taste buds. One study found that germ-free mice (i.e. mice completely lacking microbes) had altered taste receptors for fat on their tongues and intestines compared to mice with a normal microbiome (8). In a different study, germ-free mice preferred more sweets (and had a higher number of sweet taste receptors) compared to normal mice (9), suggesting that the composition of one’s microbiome could potentially drive the desire for one specific flavor or food.

Approximately 30 million Americans experience what is known as dysbiosis, or a microbial imbalance in or on the body. It is caused by the overuse of antibiotics, consumption of an over-processed, nutrient-poor diet, exposure to environmental toxins, and various lifestyle factors, including stress. Food cravings are one of the many associated conditions of dysbiosis, which may be the result of a dominating microbial or fungal species powerfully manipulating one’s eating behavior, mood, and neurochemical balance (for example, Candida albicans (yeast) overgrowth). While you may think that conquering your food cravings is impossible because you are at the mercy of your microbiome, do not give up hope! You can find support by working with a Functional Medicine practitioner for appropriate clinical testing and subsequent treatment, and a nutritionist or nutrition coach to implement a nutrient-rich, gut-healing diet and supplement protocol to heal your gut and keep your cravings in check.

Your life is a (stress) mess

Are your food cravings (particularly for salty or sweet foods) accompanied by chronic exhaustion, brain fogginess, and constantly getting sick? Take a moment to consider your stress levels: how would you rate your stress as related to your career, money, family, and health? Stress is a silent killer, and the American Psychological Association’s 2015 “Stress in America” survey reported that Americans’ overall stress has increased, with a greater percentage of adults reporting extreme stress levels compared to 2014. Overall, adults report that stress has a negative impact on their mental and physical health, with a sizeable portion feeling that they are not doing enough to manage their stress. So what happens to your body when you are chronically stressed?

Cortisol is a hormone that is released in response to stress, and governs your digestion, blood pressure, sleep/wake cycles, physical activity…and your cravings. Under acute stress, your adrenal glands produce a burst of cortisol to allow for increased energy and focus, which is healthy and beneficial as long as it’s infrequent. However, for chronically stressed individuals, the cortisol surge doesn’t turn off, or it swings wildly between too high and too low. As a result, we become hooked on caffeine to wake up and then pour the vino to assist in falling asleep. Studies have shown that elevated cortisol is associated with increased appetite, cravings for sugar and fat, and weight gain (10). After prolonged stress, the adrenal glands begin to decrease their hormonal output, including aldosterone, a mineralocorticoid that works with the kidneys to regulate fluid and mineral excretion. When aldosterone production decreases, we excrete large amounts of minerals in our urine, including sodium, potassium and magnesium (11), which can cause salt cravings. So the next time you have the urge to devour a pizza washed down with an entire bottle of wine, take a moment to consider that you may actually be craving rest, relaxation, and a break from your breakneck pace lifestyle. Stress-relief comes in many flavors, including writing/journaling (start a gratitude journal!), listening your favorite tunes, dancing (like nobody is watching), creating art, meditation, taking a nap, moving your body (deep stretching, yoga, tai chi, qigong), deep breathing, massage, aromatherapy, spending time in nature, and so much more. You just have to find what works for you!

You have a hankering for emotional expression

Each of us experiences emotional eating throughout life, also known as “eating your feelings”. Emotional eating is turning to food for comfort, a reward, or stress-relief rather than satisfying physical hunger. Eating serves two purposes – survival and pleasure. Taste is a pleasurable sensory experience, and we marry this experience with events that elicit “feel good” emotions, such as promotions, birthday celebrations, or the holidays. However, when eating is your primary coping mechanism – and your first impulse is to crack open a pint of ice cream (or even “healthy” treats!) every time you feel upset, angry, lonely, stressed, or bored – you quickly become trapped in an unhealthy eating cycle that leads to guilt, overeating, and weight gain … without the real feelings or issues ever being addressed. Scientific research has shown that when people have difficulty identifying their emotions and lack non-eating coping mechanisms, they are more prone to binge eat (12).

Consumption of sweet, carbohydrate-rich foods sets off a chemical chain reaction resulting in the release of your “happy hormone” serotonin. The same goes for fatty foods; a 2011 Journal of Clinical Investigation study reported that subjects fed a fatty acid solution through a stomach tube showed decreased sadness (by emotional ratings and brain scans) when exposed to sad music or visual cues, as compared to subjects who received a control (saline) solution (13). Food addiction research suggests that foods high in sugar and fat also initiate addictive mechanisms in the human body similar to heroin or cocaine (14). While we are biochemically wired to overindulge when our emotions feel unbearable, we are ultimately looking for comfort. When you feel the sudden urge to down a bag of potato chips, consider trying these alternative strategies:

  •       Take 10: Cravings tend to last only 10 minutes, so rather than telling yourself that “you can’t”, instead say “just wait”. When you’re hit with the craving, do something else to distract yourself – go outside, take a short walk, turn on your favorite tunes, meditate, or better yet, find a quiet place, take some deep breaths, and notice what you are feeling – are you feeling sad, angry, or frustrated? Then notice if the desire to eat is still there 10 minutes later.
  •       Unearth your feelings: Tune into the physical sensations of your emotions. Are you feeling a weight in your chest, or tension in your shoulders/neck, or a clenched jaw? Begin paying attention to these feelings, and consider tracking them in a mood journal. Do you notice that your desire to have a munch attack coincides with difficult emotions or physical sensations that you want to avoid?
  •       Sit with difficult emotions: once you are able to identify your difficult emotions, can you sit with them and let yourself feel them? This can be extremely difficult and scary, but the truth is that when we don’t suppress our emotions, even the most painful and difficult feelings subside quickly and lose their power to control our attention. To do this requires mindfulness and learning how to stay connected to your emotional experience moment-to-moment.

You are yearning for something more in life

While cravings have a physical and emotional basis, they also can be interpreted from a spiritual perspective. Cravings are desires that come from an imbalance or lack of feeling whole. When you decipher the true meaning behind your cravings, you can gain insight into what you are really hungry for. Cravings for specific flavors or tastes can be interpreted symbolically as areas of your life that need more attention. For example:

  •       Sweet: we crave the sugar high when we aren’t experiencing enough joy in life, which is all too common in today’s society where we are shackled to our daily grind, endless to-do lists and responsibilities, and have little to no time to do activities that bring us joy. Consider the relationships in your life – family, friends, work, romantic – do they leave you feeling unsatisfied or sapped of energy, leaving you craving sweetness and a boost of energy? Does your career leave you feeling fulfillment and passion, or stress and anxiety? Begin to reflect on what areas of life are sapping you of energy, and re-incorporate hobbies or experiences that bring you joy – at least 10 minutes a day to start!
  •       Fatty: fat digestion occurs in the presence of bile, which is produced by the liver. In many traditions, the liver is considered the seat of our personal power. Symbolically, we crave fatty foods because we have yet to accept our own importance, which stems from a wounded ego and reduced sense of self-worth. When we accept our own worth, we cultivate an inner power and knowledge that we have something to offer the world.
  •       Spicy: perhaps you crave spicy flavors of the eye-watering variety – the hotter the better! This can be interpreted as a need for intensity and action in life. If you are feeling bored with your routine and need to spice it up, perhaps it is time to pick up a new hobby, plan a trip, or try an adventurous sport.
  •        Salty: a craving for salt is physically associated with the adrenals, kidneys and water balance, but also symbolically relates to life stress and being in resistance to “going with the flow”. We crave salt during times of stress and exhaustion, when we are trying to “solidify” or create protective barriers when we are afraid and overwhelmed. This craving is a call to find strength in trusting the process of our life, acceptance in the present moment, and embodying fluid flexibility rather than rigidness.

Food cravings are a common occurrence for many of us. When we approach them with curiosity, self-inquiry, and self-compassion, we have a chance to decode the craving as a call to reconnect with and balance the needs of the physical body, emotions, and spirit.

References:

  1.     Schlundt DG, Virts KL, Sbrocco T, Pope-Cordle J. (1993) “A sequential behavioral analysis of craving sweets in obese women.” Addict Behav. 18: 67.
  2.     Waters A, Hill A, Waller G. (2001) “Internal and external antecedents of binge eating episodes in a group of women with bulimia nervosa.” Int J Eat Disord. 29: 17.
  3.     Blaser MJ. (2014) “The microbiome revolution.” J Clin Invest. 124: 4162.
  4.     Alcock J, Maley CC, Aktipis CA. (2014) “Is eating behavior manipulated by the gastrointestinal microbiota? Evolutionary pressures and potential mechanisms.” Bioessays. 36: 940.
  5.     Wu GD, Chen J, Hoffmann C, Bittinger K, et al. (2011) “Linking long-term dietary patterns with gut microbial enterotypes.” Science. 334: 105.
  6.     Eisenhofer G, Aneman A, Friberg P, Hooper D, et al. (1997) “Substantial production of dopamine in the human gastrointestinal tract.” J Clin Endocrinol Metab.  82: 3864.
  7.     Kim DY, Camilleri M. (2000) “Serotonin: a mediator of the brain-gut connection.” Am J Gastroenterol. 95: 2698.
  8. Duca FA, Swartz TD, Sakar Y, Covasa M. (2012) “Increased oral detection, but decreased intestinal signaling for fats in mice lacking gut microbiota.” PLoS ONE. 7: e39748.
  9. Swartz T, Duca F, de Wouters T, Sakar Y, et al. (2012) “Up-regulation of intestinal type 1 taste receptor 3 and sodium glucose luminal transporter-1 expression and increased sucrose intake in mice lacking gut microbiota.” Br J Nutr. 107: 621.
  10. Epel E, Lapidus R, McEwen B, Brownell K. (2001) “Stress may add bite to appetite in women: A laboratory study of stress-induced cortisol and eating behavior.” Psychoneuroendocrinology. 26: 37.
  11. Cavagnini F, Croci M, Putignano P, et al. (2000) “Glucocorticoids and neuroendocrine function.” Intl J Obesity 24: S77.
  12. Leehr EJ, Krohmer K, Schag K, Dresler T, Zipfel S, Giel KE. (2015) “Emotional regulation model in binge eating disorder and obesity – a systematic review.” Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 49: 125.
  13. Van Oudenhove L, McKie S, Lassman D, et al. (2011) “Fatty acid-induced gut-brain signaling attenuates neural and behavior effects of sad emotions in humans.” J Clin Invest. 121: 3094.
  14. Volkow ND, Wise RA. (2005) “How can drug addiction help us understand obesity?” Nat Neurosci. 8: 555.

 

 

 

Categories
Constipation Joel's Story STORIES-OF-HOPE Ulcerative Colitis

Playground Talk: “You Go To The Bathroom Daily”?!

“You go to the bathroom daily”?!

I exclaimed and questioned my friend in High School

Talking about bathroom activities was not normal conversation

Except for the one time I left a hard lump in my pants on the bus ride home from nursery school (Thank God it was a ghost poop. Yes, I’m writing about bowel movements. Great Gut’s are all about them. Boy was that embarrassing, walking off of the school bus feeling like a dumbbell was in my pants, between my legs. That was the first time bowel movements were ever spoken about with my family

This time was with a friend, he told me he went to the bathroom every morning

I thought he was kidding

As long as I could remember, I had never went to the bathroom two days in a row

Fine by me!

Less time in the loo, more time with my crew

On the playground

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For me, it was normal to not have to go three, four, five, or more days

Constipation is generally described as having fewer than three bowel movements a week[1]

More time in the playground meant more time playing with my GI Joe’s, avoiding homework and pretty girls I had a crush on

Girls like Amy Zimmerman, Jana Cooperman, and Betsy Kaye

Amy, Jana, Betsy, if you’re reading this, yes those awkward behaviors I had were really a crush I had on you

More time playing kickball, wall-ball, and Frisbee

More trips to Action Park, Six Flags Great Adventure and Da Vinchi’s Pizzeria

Hands down, the best New York Pizza worldwide

Little did I know that Ulcerative Colitis, though years away from official medical diagnosis, had already begun

The most common early symptoms of ulcerative colitis are constipation with passage of blood or mucus in the stools. The patient may have the urge to defecate with only a scanty bowel movement. Several months or years may pass before diarrhea develops with abdominal pain [2]


[
1] Mayo Clinic – http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/constipation/basics/definition/con-20032773
[
2] http://drhoffman.com/article/crohns-disease-and-ulcerative-colitis-2/

Categories
Abdominal Bloating abdominal ultrasound Appendicitis bad skin Brain Fog Colonoscopy endoscopy excess weight IBS Inflammation Nutrition Stress

My Gut Health Turning Point by Kimball Willson Functional Diagnostic Nutrition® Practitioner

The Journey

I used to think that once I discovered the ONE problem, infection, or imbalance in my body, all of my health issues would be resolved – the pain down the right side of my abdomen, the bloating that made me look 5 months pregnant, the low energy, bad skin, excess weight, brain fog, and of course, the dreaded constipation.

As I began my journey, a shift from fifteen years on a “pastry vegetarian diet” to a whole foods Paleo-template helped me experience some improvement.  Next, I thought there must be an herb (or half the bottles in the supplement aisle) that would take me over the finish line and grant me with abundant health and regular digestion… but the symptoms persisted.  

At one point, I was actually hospitalized for the pain – the doctors thought I might have had appendicitis.  After a CT scan, x-rays, bloodwork and numerous physical exams, they determined that I didn’t need my appendix removed… but they also didn’t know what caused my intense pain.  Over the next decade, I just dealt with the flares that came and went, just accepting that my body was flawed and that was how life was going to be.

Eventually the frustration built up, I felt miserable, and I gave in to conventional medical recommendations to undergo a colonoscopy, endoscopy, and abdominal ultrasound.  Again, everything was normal, thankfully.  I was fortunate not to have a disease, but I was still struggling with discomfort and fatigue.  They called it “IBS”… yet still no answers.

shutterstock_169804826-crop

I was told to take fiber and was offered antacids, painkillers, and anti-depressants.  I declined all of the prescriptions in fear of the side effects and knowing that it was only a Band-Aid fix.  

I had seen a glimmer of light when I changed my diet, and I knew in my gut that there was more work to do.  I no longer accepted that my symptoms were “normal” just because they were “common” among so many people struggling with digestive problems.  I didn’t have to live this way.

The Turning Point

I dove deep into my studies and learned to interpret more advanced functional lab testing.  I began to run all of the lab tests on myself.  I was still hunting for that ONE problem, hoping a simple change or pill would reestablish my energy, straighten out my gut, and relive me from all of the symptoms I experienced daily.  

However, with the inch-high pile of test results giving me black and white information about hormone imbalances, a parasitic infection, yeast overgrowth, severe gluten intolerance, and nutritional deficiencies, I realized that my health complaints were more a culmination of various hidden stressors, lifestyle factors, and a direct assault from more than a decade of a sugar and grain diet.  There was no ONE trigger to correct.

I remember that finally having these answers actually brought on a flood of emotions and tears to my eyes.  I had a long journey ahead of me, but there was light at the end of the tunnel.  

The Plan

I developed a protocol that included specific, targeted supplements.  Now that I knew what I was dealing with, I no longer just grabbed a bottle and hoped for the best.  I had a clear plan.  

While adding in the supplements was an exciting part of the plan, there were still other aspects of health that needed attention.  

Stress management was a huge area I needed to address.  Fortunately, transitioning to a career that I love and that aligns with my values, naturally removed a huge mental / emotional stressor for me.  Learning to observe my own body and do a series of breathing exercises also helped to reduce acute stress.

I used to pride myself on the little amount of sleep I needed, but in truth, I was just kidding myself.  Sleep is critical for repair and re-energizing.  Setting a bedtime and creating a night-time routine allowed my body to restore during the night and helped me feel refreshed the next day, which reduced my stress too.

Last among the lifestyle changes was the exercise I was doing.  Rather than pushing myself to run an uncomfortable distance, I actually scaled things back and enjoyed simply walking along the ocean, gentle yoga (instead of 90 minutes of hot Vinyasa), reformer Pilates, and getting back to my favorite activity… horseback riding.

The Transformation

As I began to heal, my mindset shifted from that of a victim of my body working against me to one of self-care.  I realized all of the interconnected ways my body functioned – that my symptoms were mostly derived from my compromised gut.

In my work with clients, I usually see this common pattern too.  Whether their main complaint is an issue with weight, energy, insomnia, headaches, foggy thinking, or skin rashes… the root of the problem usually comes back to gut health.

It took a lot of non-traditional training courses and trial and error on myself over the years to develop the tools I now share with clients – not only in regards to functional lab testing, but in appropriate diet and lifestyle habits that are supportive of their unique bodies and goals.  Despite the mainstream advertisements and promises from cleanse programs, there is never ONE quick fix, and reversing the damage done by chronic stress, inflammation and the wrong mindset can take time.

While I still consider myself to be a work in progress, I have dropped about 30 pounds, have glowing skin, a waistline I’m not shy to show in a bikini, and finally, regular digestion!  Rarely do I experience abdominal pain anymore.

Rather than focusing on each symptom, I used the test information to create a plan and repair my gut.  It has taken many years and visits with countless doctors, both conventional and natural, but it was my own intuition, studies, and commitment that helped me turn my health around.

Bridging the Divide

We are just beginning to understand the role gut health plays in our overall health.  When I was just starting my journey, I saw specialists – as if my body was divided in parts – gastroenterologist, psychologist, gynecologist, and dermatologist.  But it seems that the alternative / functional / integrative medical approach is finally (hopefully) making its way into more mainstream approaches to health.

Becoming your own health advocate and continuing to ask why you have a symptom can help you get to the solution.  After all, symptoms are usually the final messages from the body that something is wrong.  In my case, I think back to the years when these symptoms were just smoldering; being fueled by a sugar-rich carb-loaded diet, inadequate sleep, countless rounds of antibiotics, and an extra attack from birth control pills and Advil.  

And I’m not suggesting you stop seeing your doctor or avoid conventional medicine.  There is a place for it – in fact, I recommend getting properly screened by medical professionals.  But the issue lies in the fact that our healthcare system is not set up for health optimization – it is designed to diagnose and treat disease.  

Before symptoms advance to the disease state, learn to support diet and lifestyle factors in order to enhance your overall wellbeing.  Continue to seek out the reasons for dysfunction and even utilize lab testing to determine the hidden stress your body is experiencing.

It is rare that there is only ONE problem that needs to be addressed, as an imbalance in one area can create a cascade of symptoms.  Our bodies are deeply interconnected and looking to gut dysfunction can help reveal the reasons for symptoms that may not necessarily seem to be a direct connection to our digestive tract.  As in my case, skin conditions, poor cognition, mood problems and sluggish detoxification improved when I addressed my poor gut health.  

It’s been said, “all disease begins in the gut”.  You have the power to take control of your own health – keep digging deeper, asking why, supporting the gut, and rebuilding health.

As I continue to nourish my body, support my digestion and optimize my health, I actually feel grateful for the experience and am empowered by my discoveries.  It is an honor to be able to share this information and it is my hope that my journey inspires others on their path to improving health too.  

 

Categories
EAT Joel's Story Lialda-Mesalamine Nutrition

My body froze! Where’s my Lialda?

June 25, 2016 – Exciting day today

My friends put on the FitLife Live Transformation Summit at the Hard Rock Cafe in San Diego CA

Djamel Bettahar, Shanna Yvonne, Sheree Trask work with Drew Canole

Performing were other friends including Kiyoshi Shelton and Dallas Michael Cyr

I didn’t even have to ask who the remaining speakers were, I knew I’d be blown away

I packed my digestive enzymes, meal replacement bars, and headed downtown

 

 

I parked, closed the door, and walked towards the event

A block away my body froze

I freaked out

I literally checked my pockets to make sure I had my Lialda

You’ve been there yourself

Miles away from home

If you don’t take the medicine at the allotted times during the day, you pay the shitty consequences

Cramps, Pain, Bleeding, Fatigue, Mood Swings

An end to the day, An end to the adventure, time to retreat back home for privacy

I started to laugh

In the past year I’ve taken Lialda, or Mesalamine ONCE

In the past few YEARS I’ve taken Lialda VERY RARELY

Yet the muscle memory runs deep

My neurons, brain patterns, cellular memory are deeply engrained

I laughed out-loud

Continued to talk towards the event

Though the FREEZE was only for a split second, it shows just how deep our prior patterns run

Categories
BREATHE Colonoscopy Cravings Crohn's Disease EAT Friendships Healthy Weight Meditation Nutrition Parenting STORIES-OF-HOPE

Q&A With Tara Rosas, Aka Crohn’s Babe

When I was studying at Institute for Integrative Nutrition I met Tara Rosas. Here we sit down for a deep dive into her personal healing journey.

“Your interview with Tara was the best I have ever listened to with someone with IBD! And I read and listened to almost everything IBD/gut health related the past 5 years.” – Katalin

Tara Rosas 2009 PICC line
PICC line
One Great Gut Tara Rosas TPN Breakfast and Dinner
TPN aka breakfast and dinner
Tara Rosas One Great Gut Hospital
Tara in the hospital with healing bear

Tara has been a student of health and nutrition for the last fourteen years. She is a certified Holistic Health Coach and graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. Through countless hours learning and researching the topic of holistic health she was able to succeed in reversing her debilitating Crohn’s disease. With diet and lifestyle change she is now medication-free and in durable remission. Tara is currently writing a book to help others with IBD, and recently launched her company Enlightened Candles.

Tara’s journey with Crohn’s Disease is similar to many of ours. Diagnosed in 2004, initially by sigmoidoscopy. She was started on sixteen pills a day, and initially her symptoms cleared up in a few weeks. She had read about the perils of the disease and thought, I’m one o the lucky one’s where the pills will work great. For her first year as a Crohns patient, the Asacol pills were all she needed, until the following year when she landed, very sick, back in the hospital.

Immediately she was put on IV prednisone, antibiotics, kept on Asacol, and sent home. Eventually the disease caught up with her again and she was forced to move back home during a persistent multiple month flare. More Pills , more supplements, probiotics pills and drinks, a lot of trial and error and experimentation. Her mind started to open up to the possibility of alternative solutions, reading Jordan Ruben’s Makers diet book opened her mind, reading Nourishing Traditions by Sarah Fallon taught her about the relationship between diet and health. And for her, the bible was Jini Patels Listen To Your Gut. Tara says everyone who has Crohn’s disease should read this book.

With this knowledge she become her own best advocate. She started to haves conversations with doctors, and not just blindly follow their instructions. This was key. She feels her body knows best and, with the consultation of experts, of doctors, she makes educated decisions for herself based on all the evidence and research presented. The book that wound up rocking her world was the Gut and Psychology Syndrome by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride.

Tara’s a spiritual person, every since she was a small child. Has always had a relationship with god, spirit, universe. Not religion per se, but tuning into her higher self. After dozens of medications, and eventually upgrading to Remicade, which couldn’t stop the bleeding her GI doctor said they had nothing else to offer her. She wasn’t ready for surgery, like an airplane waiting to land at a busy airport, she was in a holding pattern. During this time she was lead to a holistic doctor in San Francisco. Tara and her Mom went on a road trip. For the first time she felt listened to. He listened, for 45 minutes he listened. Afterwards he explained a lot about what was going on with her body and to her it made complete sense. At this point she had had Crohns for 4 years without any success from western medicine. Actually to the contrary, Crohns almost killed her. This new doctor, recommended the GAPS diet book and upon reading it she felt it called to her. She felt at home, like she was a GAPS person.

Two months later she started. read as much as she could about the diet online. Not nearly as much information as is available today. She stayed on this diet very strict for one year, and the rest is history. Her body healed from the inside out. She was in a remission that was more durable than any drug she had taken before. The diet had it’s ups and downs. A rocky start led to purging, a flu, a cold, cough, lots of toxins being dumped. The first three weeks were terrible. Still with diarrhea, still with the bleeding. Then it leveled off., and once she added the fermented Kefir she really started to heal, practically overnight. Her energy was back, felt better than she’d felt in years. and was symptom free.

10 months into the diet she reduced her 6MP, though she’s wonders why she stayed on it as it didn’t do any significant good in the first place. She continued to taper off 6-MP and in November 2010 she took her last dose, and since then, has not been on any constant medication, and has been in continual remission.

Today she is not any longer on the GAPS diet. She used GAPS as a reset. She still has some of the staples from the GAPS diet at home. homemade broth, sauerkraut, and kefir, and knows it there if she needs it. After a year and a half of a strict GAPS diet she started incorporating more food into her diet. Food like gluten-free grains. Basic grains. Wheat here and there. And she felt okay.

Currently, she’s adopted an Integrative Lifestyle, eating clean 90% of the time, and 10% going out and eating what she wants, enjoying life as she says.

Tara Marie Rosas talks about her journey with Crohn’s Disease. From years of agony, and a near-death experience, to completely healing her dis-ease and living the life she desires.

In this episode, we cover:
00:01:31 Formal diagnosis and medical treatment of Crohn’s Disease
00:04:51 Other diagnosis, aside from Crohn’s Disease
00:09:31 The search for alternative treatment
00:10:48 First symptoms felt
00:13:37 The Healing Journey
00:19:48 Books, and learning more about Crohn’s Disease
00:22:21 Listening to your body
00:25:52 Experience with medications
00:31:40 Transforming from caterpillar to butterfly: Emerging from Crohn’s Disease
00:36:11 GAPS diet effects and experience
00:40:53 Tara’s present diet
00:43:28 Crohn’s a blessing in your life?
00:48:08 Learning to listen to your body
00:51:07 Favorite foods to eat
00:52:29 Crohn’s: A humbling experience
00:56:07 Does Tara consider herself cured?
00:58:44 Tara’s trigger foods
01:00:17 Tara’s tips for those who wish to follow in her footsteps
01:04:18 Books and resources Tara used
01:07:00 Tara’s health, then and now
01:12:19 Tara’s practices for optimal health
01:15:03 Tara’s books and practices in improving her spiritual health
01:21:41 Tara’s diet suggestion for Crohn’s patients
01:25:58 With Crohn’s Disease behind her, what is Tara up to today?

“Just when the caterpillar thought the world is over it became a butterfly” – Tara

References and Resources:

Full Interview Transcript is included in the  Crohns And Colitis Summit

Categories
Abdominal Bloating Acupuncture Asthma Botanical Medicine Brain Fog BREATHE Constipation Difficulty Concentrating EAT Gas-Flatulence Herbal Medicine MOVE Nutrition Stories

How Chinese Medicine Helped My Gut Health

I used to wake up and go through my undergrad days with asthma, sinus congestion, brain fog, difficulty concentrating, and digestive issues such as bloating, gas, and constipation. Now, I am free of many of these symptoms. I’ve stopped using inhalers and antihistamines. I am able to stay alert and concentrate even in some of the most tedious situations. How did I overcome this?

Chinese medicine. Acupuncture, moxibustion, herbs, and diet turned my life around after my first year in grad school. I was able to do the things I love more effectively and easily like breathing, running, and eating.

How do all of these symptoms have to do with gut health? All of these manifested because of poor gut health.

Gut health is essential to how we digest, absorb food, and how we eliminate waste from our body. Chinese medicine and western thought on gut health are similar in how the gastrointestinal system functions. Where Chinese medicine takes gut health to another level is about the energetics of food and how the nutritional components are absorbed and eliminated from the body.

Consider this image: a healthy gut is like a fire pit warming a steaming stone pot of nourishing veggies and meat.
fire-40252

 

The steaming stone pot is your stomach holding the veggies and meat that you’ve just eaten. The fire pit represents your digestive function that transforms the food into something that can be absorbed easily by your body which is depicted with steam.

If you stop the fire, the digestive process quits, and this will create some interesting scenarios for the body called dis-ease. Therefore, the energetics of food which include temperature, taste, and function are important to how the body will digest, absorb, and eliminate its nutrients. The symptoms that arise from having cold gut can mean bloating, gas, constipation, diarrhea, congestion, excess mucus, coldness in the body, brain fog, and the list goes on. Your acupuncturist will ask you about what symptoms you experience to develop a pattern to make a diagnosis. Then she will pick acupoints and herbs that will help you rebuild and rebalance your gut and health.

 

Here are a few tips to consider when keeping your digestive fire happy:

Eat some ginger. This herb is great for digestion, as well as for respiratory health. It is spicy, warm, and dispersing which helps with boosting digesting, alleviating nausea, stopping coughs, and thinning out mucus. Add a little to steamed milk, food, and water. Also, avoid eating meals while on the go. This will help you prevent indigestion, bloating, and allow you to focus on what you are putting into your body.

Drink room temperature water. Ice water slows down the digestive process. It’s also best to drink water between meals rather than with a meal, as it can dilute the digestive enzymes in your gut.

Move. Go play your favorite sport, run around, or shake that booty in salsa class. Moving encourages peristalsis to happen, which aids in the digestion and elimination process. Say NO to constipation!

Breathe. Breathing helps the body reduce inflammation, as well as helps you relax and focus on the tasks you want to get done. Try a five-minute breathing exercise by inhaling through your nose for 4 counts, hold your breath for 4 counts, and exhale for 5 counts. Repeat.

Rest. Sleep. Take time for yourself. Do something fun. A break from the everyday stresses in life can help your gut!

 

Categories
BREATHE Cramps Crohn's Disease Hematochezia(Blood in Stool) Hypnosis Meditation Relationships STORIES-OF-HOPE Visualization

Q&A With Bob Stickles – Reportedly Cured Of Crohn’s Disease – 30 Years Symptom Free, No Medication

I first met Bob in 2012, we had a conversation that was transformative. I learned of someone who had healed this Crohn’s Disease. He has been symptom and medicine free, without a strict diet for 30 years. Miraculous indeed!  It feels scary and vulnerable to release this video, it was my first, I appear unpolished, my bedroom is a mess ,and the interview takes unexpected turns and twists that are embarrassing. This post isn’t about my pride or ego, it’s about serving the Crohn’s and Colitis community. If one person can benefit from this miraculous story of hope and gain wisdom, suffer less, perhaps save an organ, save a life, I know it’s worth it.

In our interview Bob takes us on his healing journey. Diagnosed at age 21, medicine caused further damage and disease, to fully healed. As a matter of fact Bob emailed me March 15, 2018. He let me know that he had a Colonoscopy and the Doctor could not find any evidence of Crohn’s Disease. It’s been 30 years since being diagnosed, and he is still free and clear, no pharmaceutical medications, no symptoms. The Doctor said it was the first time he had seen something as miraculous as this. Perhaps this miracle is possible for you or your loved one?

With his father and brother both having IBD(Inflammatory Bowel Disease), he was predisposed and at the age of 21 he was diagnosed with a tough case of Crohn’s Disease. His initial treatments were Prednisone, Imuran(Azathioprine) via a Hickman catheter and another anticancer drug via a second Hickman catheter. Unfortunately the medicine gave him Pancreatitis. He saw how his family were living, dad in pain, wearing velcro pants his wife made to quickly unbuckle after running to the bathroom, brother with a colostomy bag, that was a wake-up call.

In this interview Bob shares his personal journey and gives profound tips around healing, and bathroom habits.

This interview is now bundled with 30 others featured in the *free* The Crohn’s And Colitis Summit. For over a year I interviewed Functional, Integrative, naturopathic Medical Doctors and Gastroenterologists , natural pharmacists, and 15 “All-Star Healed Heroes”, including Bob Stickles, who are healed of Crohn’s Disease, Ulcerative Colitis, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, some for years and decades without symptoms or pharmaceuticals. These stories of hope are inspiring, and sometimes, during the darkest of days, hope is your greatest ally. I’m delighted to announce I can offer the summit for free for a limited time. Check it out today by visiting The Crohn’s And Colitis Summit.

I hope you enjoy the summit as much as I did making it, plus with the 10,000 IBDers who have already attended you’re in good company. You can see read a few testimonial reviews on the Summit web-page and on our Facebook page. Here’s to your health, Joel



TOPICS COVERED:

His Medical Doctors’ Recommendations

Bob’s Diet

What Worked on Healing Bob’s Crohn’s

Resources that Helped Bob

Bob’s Shake Recipe

Results of Bobs most recent Colonoscopy

Funny, Embarrassing Bathroom Stories

Guest Speaker at Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America Meeting

Full Interview Transcript, Video and Audio are included with the http://crohnsandcolitissummit.com

Categories
Crohn's Disease Helminthic Therapy Ulcerative Colitis Uncategorized

Injecting Yourself With Worms To Heal Your Gut?

Helmethic therapy, or worm injection has been gaining popularity the last few years

Read here about Vik’s experience with worm therapy for his severe Ulcerative Colitis

The Parasite
Underground

A shadow network of patients are trying to treat their own debilitating
diseases — by infecting themselves with gastrointestinal worms.

When Vik was in his late 20s, blood started appearing in his stool. He found himself rushing to the bathroom as many as nine times a day, and he quit his job at a software company. He received a diagnosis of severe ulcerative colitis, an inflammatory condition of the colon. Steroids, which suppress inflammation, didn’t work for him. Mesalamine suppositories offered only the slightest relief. A year and a half after his diagnosis, Vik’s gastroenterologist warned him that because his disease was poorly controlled, he risked developing a condition called toxic megacolon: His inflamed intestines might rupture, leading to blood infection, septic shock or death.

The doctor recommended infusions of cyclosporine, a powerful immune-suppressant drug. Vik looked it up and learned that the drug, often given to transplant recipients, in rare instances can increase the risk of fatal infection and certain cancers. And if cyclosporine didn’t work, the next intervention would probably be the surgical removal of his colon. Vik might have to wear a colostomy bag for the rest of his life.

“I had a feeling there had to be a better way,” he told me recently. (Worried about being stigmatized, Vik asked that I identify him only by his first name.) He began researching ulcerative colitis and discovered that the prevalence of inflammatory bowel disease — an umbrella term that includes both ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease — had increased markedly in the United States over the 20th century. Yet the disease was less common in the developing world. He learned that exposure to dirt and unsanitary conditions early in life seemed to protect against these and other inflammatory diseases later. And then he encountered an explanation for the correlations in the research of a scientist named Joel Weinstock.

Weinstock, a gastroenterologist now at Tufts University, thought that parasites were to blame. But it wasn’t their presence in the human digestive system that was causing the rise; it was their absence. To survive for years in another animal, parasitic worms, known as helminths, counter their hosts’ defenses. Because an out-of-control immune response against native bacteria was thought to drive inflammatory bowel disease, Weinstock’s insight was that parasites’ ability to disarm the immune system might prevent the disorder. The broader implication was that the disappearance of parasites — largely eradicated from American life in the early 20th century through improvements in sanitation — might have left our immune systems unbalanced, increasing our vulnerability to all types of inflammatory disorders.

To Vik, Weinstock’s idea was the first cogent explanation for his disease. It also pointed toward a solution. Weinstock was already experimenting with “re-parasitizing” people with inflammatory bowel disease, using a helminth called Trichuris suis, the pig whipworm. He had chosen the species because, in theory, it can’t reach sexual maturity in humans and spread from one person to another. Early, small studies yielded impressive results, with 43 percent of colitis patients seeing improvement after 12 weeks of whipworm eggs, but Vik thought the use of pig whipworm had a flaw. It required continual dosing, and it could cost tens of thousands of dollars a year (a German company was producing the eggs for human consumption; in the United States, selling them to treat a disease is illegal). And most important, if he expected a parasite to change his immune system, he believed, a species adapted to humans, not pigs, was likely to do a better job.

Credit Illustration by Brosmind

Vik wanted human whipworm. This helminth, which reaches about 1.5 inches in length, fixes itself into the wall of the large intestine and feeds off the organ’s secretions for perhaps two years. The potential results of severe whipworm infection include anemia, clubbed fingers and, in children, stunted growth. But after exhausting his other options, Vik began to think of infecting himself with parasites as the most rational course of action. After all, the parasite had been with people since prehistory; Ötzi the Iceman, the 5,300-year-old mummy found frozen in the Italian Alps, had whipworm. Besides, the worst possible outcome of a whipworm infection was a kind of inflammatory bowel disease. And he already had that.

His doctor was dead set against the idea, Vik told me. So was his wife, a doctor in training. (They later divorced.) Vik is a driven, entrepreneurial type, though, and undeterred, he began emailing any expert who “would listen to my crazy ideas.” In 2004, he flew to Bangkok to meet a parasitologist who agreed to hear him out. He brought along his father, a professor and internist, for “gravitas.” (Vik’s father, who worked in Southeast Asia as a young doctor, told me it was common then to leave light whipworm infections untreated.)

The Thai parasitologist later handed him a vial of fluid containing whipworm eggs. Microscopic in size, they had come from an 11-year-old girl in southern Thailand, he was told. Vik flew home.

Next began what Vik describes as “the most difficult part” of his life. He set up a lab in his parents’ Southern California home and stocked it with a microscope, petri dishes, slides and flasks purchased on eBay. But he couldn’t get the eggs to “embryonate.” Just as chicken eggs need to incubate to hatch, helminth eggs require “embryonation” to produce infective larvae. Parasite eggs are excreted in feces, and in their native tropics, that embryonation occurs naturally after the eggs spend time in warm, humid conditions. But reproducing those conditions in his parents’ house proved difficult. He tried various conditions — warm, wet, cool, dry, light, dark — to no avail: The eggs remained inert. Swallowed in this state, they would pass right through his gut without hatching.

The breakthrough came when, imagining defecation under a tree, Vik abandoned his goal of antiseptic incubation and began using nonsterile tap water in the petri dish. Now the eggs, football-shaped and translucent under the microscope, began to display a knotted, ropy shape within — developing larvae — indicating embryonation. Months after returning from Thailand, he finally drank a glass of water containing a few hundred whipworm eggs.

Three months later, he swallowed another thousand eggs. Ova began showing up in his stool, indicating that his body now hosted living, breeding parasites. When he tapered off his drugs, his colitis remained quiescent. Instead of triumph, though, Vik felt doubt. Was this real? Or was it a natural ebb in his disease? “I wanted proof,” he told me. That’s when Vik began searching for what he calls “the Team.”

In his interactions with scientists, Vik had noticed that parasitologists, the scientists most familiar with the dangers of parasitic infection, were the most receptive to the idea that parasites might help with disease. So in 2006, after poring over numerous faculty web pages, he emailed a young parasite immunologist at the University of California, San Francisco, named P’ng Loke.

When Loke heard Vik’s story — his disease, his trip to Thailand, his trouble incubating the parasites — he found the tale compelling. “He didn’t seem crazy, just someone who had really done a lot of research, had his back up against the wall and decided to take a plunge,” says Loke, who now has a microbiology lab at New York University.

Loke agreed to monitor Vik, a decision that would alter the course of his own research. Over the following four years, Vik relapsed twice. Whenever his whipworms grew old, the colitis flared. Then he drank more eggs, and his disease came back under control. A gastroenterologist periodically examined Vik’s colon, taking tissue samples. And when Loke and his colleagues analyzed which genes were expressed during flares and remission — an indicator of immune activity — they discovered a pattern that may change how scientists think about ulcerative colitis.

When the disease was quiescent, production of one protein in particular, called interleukin-22, increased. IL-22 encourages intestinal mucus to flow. In inflammatory bowel disease, the protective mucous layer is often eroded. Scientists think this allows native microbes, usually held at a slight remove from the intestinal wall, to get closer to the gut wall, leading to inflammation and further impeding the flow of mucus. Vik’s whipworms apparently interrupted that vicious cycle by restoring the mucus barrier. Parasites, it seemed, could heal the gut.

Over the past decade, thousands of people around the world have introduced parasites into their bodies on purpose, hoping to treat immune-related disorders. Some have drawn inspiration directly from Vik’s case study, which appeared in the journal Science Translational Medicine in 2011. But many more have been inspired by the same research that inspired Vik. A confluence of factors is driving what is essentially an amateur quest to “rewild” the modern body and restore it to an imagined prelapsarian state. The internet has facilitated the sharing of information, both reliable and not. But maybe more important, scientists are wrestling with germ theory, a cornerstone of modern medicine, and beginning to articulate a more nuanced idea: that the organisms in our bodies not only make us sick but also keep us healthy. Participants in the parasite underground see themselves as acting on this new emerging paradigm.

Hookworms penetrate the skin and, after a weekslong odyssey, arrive at the small intestine.

When I first began exploring the movement a few years ago, two self-styled “providers” supplied most of the parasites. They’d read some of the same research as Vik, found it promising and acquired helminths in the developing world. After treating their own conditions (they claimed), they began advertising helminths online for thousands of dollars. They saw themselves as pioneers.

Since then, competition has come to this niche market. New providers offer lower prices. Users read about the science in online forums, share their experiences and learn where to get helminths. Like Vik, a growing contingent of users has learned to cultivate parasites for self-treatment, circumventing the providers altogether. They trade incubation methods in Facebook discussion groups, occasionally arrange for the exchange of “starter” material, including eggs or fecal material from worm-infested donors, and post photos of their homegrown eggs and larvae.

Anecdote fuels the movement, because no large randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled studies have produced evidence that parasites can cure anything. And because parasites aren’t F.D.A.-approved, paranoia is common. Nearly everyone I interviewed requested some measure of anonymity, not only to avoid stigma but also because they worried about losing access to a treatment they said had changed their lives.

Scientists I queried tended to emphasize the dangers of helminth use. “I do not advocate self-experimentation when the risks have not been clarified,” Stephen Hanauer, director of the Digestive Health Center at Northwestern Medicine, told me in an email. Joel Weinstock, whose research partly inspired the movement, ticked off more reasons purchasing unregulated parasites is a bad idea: You don’t know that you’re getting the species promised. Even if you are, you don’t know if the specimens are alive, or if you’re getting the appropriate numbers of them, or even what the appropriate numbers are.

Still, a few experts also expressed sympathy. “I certainly can’t condone it, but I completely understand,” Alex Loukas, a parasitologist at James Cook University in Australia, told me. “You’re talking about people with debilitating disease. Modern medicine has just failed them.” This is perhaps the best way to understand helminth use: as one grass-roots response to an epidemic. The prevalence of autoimmune and allergic diseases has increased between two- and threefold in recent decades. Roughly one in five Americans has an allergic disease, ranging from seasonal hay fever to life-threatening food allergies. Roughly one in 13 has an autoimmune disease — a disorder in which the immune system tasked with our protection instead attacks our own bodies. These disorders often strike in the prime of life or earlier, causing decades of suffering. And current therapies fall short. Continuing research offers reasons for hope, says Daniel Rotrosen, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease’s division of allergy, immunology and transplantation. But currently, he says, “We are really not where we would like to be in terms of treating many of these diseases.”

There’s an apt historical precedent for the current unregulated experimentation with parasites: the underground pharmacies and smuggling rings dramatized in the movie “Dallas Buyers Club.” They sprouted during the 1980s AIDS crisis, serving a demographic, mostly gay men, who were ignored by mainstream medicine and who, in an effort to treat themselves, began importing non-F.D.A.-approved drugs from Mexico. Many of the drugs they used didn’t stand up to later scientific scrutiny, it’s worth noting, but the calculus leading them to take unproven drugs was similar to that driving helminth users today. If you are stricken with a terrible disease for which medicine has little to offer, then what, really, do you have to lose by turning to a parasite?

One day in September 2010, Amy, a 46-year-old teacher in the eastern United States, found herself struggling to read and to see people’s faces. She thought she was going blind, but then she was given a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis. Her immune system was stripping the fatty coating, called myelin, from her nerve fibers, impeding their ability to transmit signals. As the disease progressed, it could cause paralysis and incontinence, but what worried Amy most was not being able to read. “My No. 1 activity is reading,” she told me. “I lost part of my life for a while.”

Her neurologist recommended a drug called Copaxone, she says. But the injections killed fat cells, leaving unsightly indentations and bruises along her thighs. And new brain lesions showed up on scans, indicating that the disease continued to advance. Amy tried another drug called beta interferon, but it triggered fevers, and after injections she felt ill for hours. “It was just this weird nightmare of life,” she says.

Then Amy’s thyroid gland, important in regulating metabolism, started failing, stressed by the interferon treatment. Her doctor recommended that she take thyroid replacement hormone. This was the last straw. Each treatment caused new problems, it seemed, and none really helped. She wanted another option.

A co-worker recommended a 2011 book called “The Wild Life of Our Bodies,” by a biologist named Rob Dunn. It discussed therapeutic helminths. The notion that we’d co-evolved with parasites for so long that our immune system needed them appealed to Amy’s holistic mind-set. She joined a Yahoo group dedicated to “helminthic therapy.” That’s where she discovered an extraordinary study from Argentina.

In the early 2000s, some multiple-sclerosis patients at a neurology clinic in Buenos Aires began showing up with parasite infections. Aware of the potential for parasites to help inflammatory disease, the presiding neurologists proposed an experiment: Don’t treat the parasites, and see what happens. Twelve patients agreed, and for nearly five years the doctors monitored them. Disease progression, as measured by brain scans, slowed significantly. Blood work showed an elevation of “suppressor” cells that prevent autoimmune diseases. And when, more than five years later, the doctors dewormed four patients who complained of malaise, those suppressor cells disappeared, and the disease started up again.

Credit Illustration by Brosmind

Inspired by these findings, which were published in 2007, small exploratory studies testing the pig whipworm on multiple-sclerosis patients began around that time at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. That helped to reassure Lisy, Amy’s partner, who initially thought the idea reeked of quackery. Amy contacted worm­therapy.com, a site run by man named Garin Aglietti. Aglietti wasn’t a doctor — he’d dropped out of medical school — but he’d treated his own psoriasis, he said, with hookworms acquired in Belize. His breadth of knowledge impressed Amy. “I felt this immediate trust,” Amy told me. Two years’ worth of hookworms cost $2,500.

In January 2012, Amy and Lisy flew to San Diego. Aglietti picked them up at the airport in an S.U.V. and drove them across the border to a two-story building in Tijuana, where Amy met a warm doctor named Jorge Llamas. His spare, basic office didn’t have shiny, modern medical equipment, but as Amy says, helminths were pretty “low-tech.”

Hookworms penetrate the skin and, after a weekslong odyssey through the body, arrive at the small intestine, where they feed on blood and grow to about a centimeter long. Llamas applied gauze to Amy’s arm containing 35 nearly invisible hookworm larvae. There was a remote possibility of a severe, potentially life-threatening allergic reaction as they entered her body, Aglietti explained. He had an adrenaline shot handy should that occur. They waited an hour, chatting, until Aglietti deemed things safe, and then he drove them back to San Diego.

About 10 weeks later, Amy’s bone-deadening exhaustion, a symptom of multiple sclerosis, began fading. She told her neurologist what she’d done. To her surprise, he was familiar with the background research, but he was nervous about her decision. Whenever she visits, he offers new drugs. “I have politely declined,” Amy told me.

Amy’s neurologist didn’t respond to my queries, but her family-practice doctor corroborated her account, adding, “As long as a patient is making an informed decision, and understands the risks, then something is worth doing if they decide it’s worth doing.”

What most frustrates Amy, Vik and other helminth users I spoke with is that while they have found something that helps them, there’s little willingness from mainstream doctors to consider it. Vik laments that sick people might be removing lengths of their intestines when a therapy exists that might help.

As it happens, a company called Coronado Biosciences did test Joel Weinstock’s pig whipworms. It ran the largest trials conducted to date, comprising 250 participants with Crohn’s disease. But in contrast to Weinstock’s earlier, smaller studies, which showed an almost miraculous curative effect in Crohn’s — 72 percent experienced remission — these studies showed no benefit at all. The company, now called Fortress Biotech, hasn’t released details from the study, but it has dismissed criticism — Weinstock, for example, thinks the trial should have started over because of an unusually high response among those taking a placebo — as wishful thinking. “These ‘believers’ are being fooled by randomness,” a spokesman for the firm said in an email.

Last year, however, Alex Loukas, the parasitologist in Australia, published a small study in which hookworm infection seemingly cured celiac disease, an autoimmune disease of the gut triggered by the gluten protein, found in wheat and other grains. He gave 12 celiac volunteers 20 hookworm larvae each. Once the worms established themselves, he began feeding the volunteers incrementally larger quantities of foods with gluten. At the one-year mark, eight participants who previously couldn’t eat any gluten without diarrhea and worse could now eat a bowl of pasta without problems.

Celiac disease occurs when a person’s immune system mistakes wheat protein as dangerous and attacks. This unbridled aggression begins to destroy the gut. How exactly the parasites stopped the disease remains somewhat mysterious. Studies suggest they hijack white blood cells, transforming them into soothing cells that prevent inflammatory disease. But research by P’ng Loke also indicates that they commandeer the microbiota, the community of microbes in the intestinal tract. In animals, parasites increase counts of anti-inflammatory bacteria thought to prevent a range of disorders, including asthma and colitis. And deworming people causes an immediate decline in those same bacteria, Loke has found, perhaps increasing their vulnerability to inflammatory disease. He thinks parasites do this, in part, by increasing the secretion of mucus, which selectively feeds anti-inflammatory bacteria. Loukas and his colleagues have received funding for a larger celiac trial, but he sees the field moving away from the use of live parasites, toward the identification of the molecules they secrete.

For helminth users, this push toward worm-­derived pharmaceuticals is cited as justification for the underground’s existence. People are sick and suffering today, they argue. Are they to wait for years or decades that they may not have for a worm-based pill when there’s something that might work now?

A few years ago, I acquired my own hookworm colony. I was researching what would become my 2012 book, “An Epidemic of Absence,” about the rise in allergic and autoimmune diseases. I have a number of immune-related disorders — peanut allergy, hay fever and an autoimmune condition called alopecia universalis that has left me mostly hairless — that would serve as test cases.

If you are stricken with a terrible disease for which medicine has little to offer, then what, really, do you have to lose by turning to a parasite?

Was I afraid? I knew that a number of parasitologists, well versed in the terrors of hookworm infection, had intentionally infected themselves. When you learn enough about a parasite’s biology, amazement and curiosity gradually replace fear and revulsion.

So one cool early-winter day, I walked across the border to Tijuana, accompanied by Garin Aglietti. In Jorge Llamas’s clinic, I riffled through several months of tests showing that Aglietti, my hookworm donor, didn’t have H.I.V., hepatitis or Strongyloides stercoralis, a particularly unpleasant parasite that, like hookworm, infects through the skin but which, unusually among helminths, can also multiply in the body. Then Llamas pressed a bandage against my arm containing, he said, 30 larvae. I felt the well-known hookworm itch, a slightly tingly, almost stinging sensation as they burrowed into my skin.

Over the next few weeks, as the larvae made their way to my small intestine, I felt as if I had a mild flu. Cramps, a little diarrhea, headaches and malaise followed. The symptoms lessened over time, and for a month or so during hay-fever season that spring, my sinuses were remarkably clear. Seemingly overnight, a patch of eczema on my hand also disappeared. Fine peach fuzz sprouted here and there on my body.

But those were the extent of the benefits. And late in hay-fever season, I was suddenly stricken by full-blown seasonal allergies. My eczema returned with a vengeance. I thought I’d lost the parasites, but they slowly reasserted control over my sinuses, although never quite as powerfully as during that initial period. I kept the colony going for over a year, during which time the benefits gradually waned while the symptoms — an occasional ache in the pit of my stomach and sporadic malaise — never completely dissipated. Ultimately, the benefits were too variable and the side effects too unpleasant to justify continuing.

When people have written me over the years asking for advice, I point out that I’m not a doctor, and I urge skepticism. It’s possible, I say, that parasites worsen your condition. I interviewed one young man with Crohn’s who gave himself hookworm, lost weight and became so anemic that he required emergency blood transfusions. I spoke with others who improved for a while but then relapsed.

But I don’t think that my warnings have dissuaded many people, for the simple reason that they’re desperate. It’s tempting to dismiss them because of this desperation. And certainly it’s possible that cases of remission are a result of the placebo effect, that parasites don’t help and that the community of helminths users is gripped by a self-reinforcing delusion. It’s also possible, though, that parasites can treat a subset of patients with autoimmune and allergic diseases, and that through self-experimentation, sick people are figuring out who’s in that group.

Today the members of the underground community infecting themselves with parasites find one another on Facebook groups with names like “helminthic therapy support” and “helminth incubation.” They ask questions about which diseases respond to helminths or see wrenching posts from people who recently acquired hookworm, felt terribly ill and now wonder why their joints hurt more than before. Others cheer them on, sharing their own experiences and pointing out that symptoms often worsen before they feel any better.

Success stories, when posted, invariably inspire a chorus of congratulations followed by questions — which species worked the best? Moderators curate up-to-date lists of these successes, some of which link back to their authors, making them somewhat checkable. They also include failures, in an attempt at balance. Documents list substances that users have found may accidentally kill parasites, like oregano oil and nitrous oxide.

The operating assumption in this world seems to be that parasites usually work. A moderator once politely asked that I stop referring to helminths as parasites and call them “symbionts” instead. And the social dynamics of these forums can strike some as odd. “There’s pressure to be positive and cheerful about it all the time,” a 30-something librarian who successfully treated her autoimmune thyroid problems with hookworm told me.

At the same time, these groups direct participants to a remarkable amount of scientific information, including numerous peer-reviewed articles. Particularly intriguing are the protocols based on users’ experiences. If you have a terrible reaction to hookworm — which isn’t uncommon — you might start over with smaller doses, and gradually introduce larvae over a longer period of time. Different organisms might also work for different disorders. I spoke with one British scientist, a biologist, who found that hookworm helped an inflammatory condition affecting his liver, but not his ulcerative colitis. Only when he introduced whipworm, which lives at the site of the ulcerations, did his colitis diminish.

At some point, I learned of a private online group where parents discussed treating their children with helminths. After my own experience, I couldn’t imagine intentionally giving my child a parasite, so I was surprised. Many members were mothers; some had immune disorders themselves. A few incubated their own parasites. Everyone I spoke to had given helminths to themselves before their children. Their children had disorders like eosinophilic esophagitis, which can make swallowing food difficult; severe food allergies; and a neuropsychiatric disorder with O.C.D.-like symptoms called Pandas. In several instances, conventional treatment had failed. The parents viewed the potential side effects of parasite infection as milder than the diseases already afflicting their children, and less dangerous than some of the drugs they had already tried. And they claimed to have seen impressive results with parasites.

Some were experimenting with a new organism, a tapeworm native to rats called Hymenolepis diminuta. A British company called Biome Restoration sells it. Depending on the dosage, an order can run just $40. Don Donahue, a radiologist in eastern Tennessee, founded Biome with two other passionate helminths users. He had long suffered from nasal inflammation and obstructive polyps. But just three weeks after acquiring 30 hookworms in Tijuana, he told me, the symptoms improved overnight. “It was like someone slapped me in the face,” he says. He started cultivating them at home for his own use. Spurred in part by the sick people he saw at work, Donahue then decided to make helminths more widely available.

The hookworm Necator americanus (“American murderer”) wasn’t ready for “prime time” in his view. “I really honestly hate hookworm,” he says, because some of the side effects are so bothersome. “But I’m sick without it.” So Donahue settled on what he considered a “gentler” organism, Hymenolepis diminuta. Yet even as he put most of his life savings into starting Biome Restoration, he has kept giving away parasites freely. Of everyone I spoke with, Donahue perhaps most fully expresses the ethos of enthusiastic sharing so often evident among the community of parasite users. I interviewed one young woman suffering from Crohn’s whom he met running at the park and gave a supply of the rat tapeworm. Her Crohn’s eased, she gained weight and, after years of trying, she became pregnant. I spoke with a former snowboarder in Portland, Ore., stricken with a painful autoimmune disorder of the spine called ankylosing spondylitis. That man, Scotty Wittlake — he wanted me to use his full name — told me his condition improved following his self-innoculation with Donahue’s hookworm.

“Citizen scientists are pushing this forward,” says Donahue, who acts more like an evangelist than an entrepreneur. He seems to want to share the miracle he’s found, to spread the word and help others. Biome Restoration has no robust safety data nor any evidence that rat tapeworms help with anything. And parasites that find themselves in unfamiliar hosts can, in theory, cause significant disease and, in rare cases, even death. (In March, the F.D.A. extended an import alert, which already applies to hookworm and whipworm, to tapeworm.) But the company, which seeks to make a more affordable helminth available to more people, is trying something few others have: It is engaging with regulatory authorities to legally sell its product in Britain. The underground is pushing its way aboveground.

Correction: June 23, 2016
An earlier version of this article misidentified a drug taken by a patient who had ulcerative colitis. It was mesalamine, not sulfasalazine.Moises Velasquez-Manoff is the author of “An Epidemic of Absence: A New Way of Understanding Allergies and Autoimmune Diseases.”Original Source: New York Times
Categories
BREATHE Cramps Joel's Story Parenting STORIES-OF-HOPE Ulcerative Colitis

It All Started Here – Circa 2001

On career day in school I never raised my hand and said “When I grow up I want to tell the world and blog about my shitty disease called Ulcerative Colitis”

Not in my wildest of dreams

Or scariest nightmares

I actually wanted to be an Astronaut

That’s as out of this world as what I’m doing here

Blogging about my life with a chronic bowel disease

Where do I even begin?

Medicine. Diet. Diarrhea for Days, Constipation, Hemorrhoids, Bloody Stools. I almost didn’t write this, but let’s be real, it’s a reality for some of us. Fatigue. Flare-Ups. Colonoscopies. Joint Pain. Prostatitis. Fecal Transplants. Headaches, Supplements, Integrative Nutrition School.  Natural treatments.  Leaky Gut,  food allergies, Cure IBD Foundation. Medical Intuitives. Shamans.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg

Or shall I say, tip of the sigmoidoscopy tube

Hold Up

Let’s rewind…

I was officially diagnosed with Inflammatory Bowel Disease in 2001

One could say I’m a veteran

This year is my 15th anniversary

The crystal anniversary

Apropos as my good friend John insists the black tourmaline necklace he gave me will protect me and keep away negative energies

I’m not so sure, but it does look good around my neck

Chronic Ulcerative Colitis is what the Gastroenterologist told me, and with two prescriptions he sent me on my way

I was 28. The youngest person, by a few decades, in the GI office

Thinking back to childhood

The stomach pain started way earlier

Living at my parents home in Spring Valley, New York

My bedroom on the 2nd floor

One night, I was woken up, not by the snow plow I was praying for, as that would likely mean school was postponed, or better yet, canceled

I was woken up by the most intense pain I’d ever experienced

Mom and Dad came, they rubbed my stomach

Gave me an electric heated pillow

Told me everything would be okay

“Even if the snow plow doesn’t come?”

“Yes, even if the snow plow doesn’t come”

Eventually, the pain subsided

I fell asleep

My parents went back to sleep

I was 10 years old

The pain wasn’t from my stomach

It was from my colon

This was the beginning of One Great Gut

Categories
Uncategorized

Event Recap: One World Academy – Being Limitless : In a Beautiful State – Miami Florida

One World Academy is a wisdom school for one-consciousness. They set you on the path of awareness, freedom, and change

Earlier this year, Tony Robbins, star of the recent Netflix documentary “I am not your guru”, filmed with KrishnaJi from One World Academy

Early in August our friend Janel was a participant in the “Being Limitless” weekend in Miami Florida

Here are her notes describing her experience

Future upcoming Being Limitless courses are scheduled in Brazil, Los Angeles, Hawaii, Europe, Asia and Australia

August 5, 2016

HIGH LEVEL SUMMARY POINTS:

  • OWA Presentation
  • Understanding Limitless Consciousness
  • Meditations for Stillness

DETAILED SUMMARY:

  1. Sanjiv introduces the weekend workshop.
  2. Assures that this weekend will be a beautiful and transformative experience.
  3. The three gifts that will be shared
  4. The Gift of Life Transformation – Wisdom
  5. The Gift of Profound Transformation.
  • Her presence, Preethaji – Co-founder of OWA – which we can all benefit from.
  1. The Alchemy to limitless will result in better relationships, successful achievements and contribution to life.
  2. Limitless is a form of death – death of distraction, separateness, isolation, alienation.
  3. Humans live in 2 states:
  4. Suffering – having limits
  5. No-Suffering – when we are in a beautiful state = we are connected, expansive, included, we include others/ togetherness.
  6. Breathing Practice
  7. Conscious Breathing – the Fundamental breath technique
  8. Be aware of the breath – have your awareness follow the path of your breath during your,
  9. Diaphragmatic Breath – Inhaling fully, allowing Belly to rise and chest to fill up & Exhale fully chest falls and navel pulls inSoma Breathwork Niraj Naik
  • Inhale for 4 seconds, and Exhale for 8. – the inhale/exhale ration to be 1:2
  1. All three previous steps, are done simultaneously, making up the “conscious breath technique”.
  • What is the single most important factor responsible for our destiny?
  1. Audience’s answers varied: Our state, connection, thoughts, decisions, love, contribution
  2. To have a great destiny:
  3. Need to perform right action
  4. Make wise choices
  • Need to have the right emotions
  1. You cannot be stuck in anger/hurt or being selfish.
  2. You must not act in reaction to or avoidance from past hurtful situations or experiences.
  3. To change your destiny:
  4. There must be a desire to change – this is an inferior pursuit; However, you need more than “just desire”.
  5. Not only do your conscious actions need to be changed, but thoughts and emotions need to be worked on (the superior pursuit).
  6. This stems from changing your consciousness – being more expansive and more connected.
  7. Being in a beautiful state.
  8. Human Beings are the most evolved species.
  9. We are capable of having creating and having great experiences.
  10. We are capable of being expansive – limitless
  11. It is truly a sad thing to not experience these expansive states.
  12. In the state of expansiveness – your problems will disappear.
  13. Personal support for this weekend’s journey.
  14. Spiritual Friend – Mitra
  15. Felicia Kestenberg
  16. Connecting with Mitra: Proclaiming to our spiritual friend. – “I hope for you to have peace, joy and love”
  17. Smile Meditation & Connection with Mitra exercise
  18. On average children smile 300-400X a day vs. adults 15-20!
  19. Scientifically proven – if you smile more, you will be happier.
  20. Smile Meditation
  21. Start with the conscious breath technique (x3)
  22. Next, Inhale, and on exhale, smile ever so slightly
  • Inhale, and on exhale smile, so you are moving your cheeks.
  1. Inhale, and on exhale smile, so you are moving your eyes.
  2. Smile, as you truly feel joy and gratitude.
  • Golden Eagle story. A baby golden eagle hatches, and the little boy at the farm, takes the baby eagle from its nest, and put it with the young hens in the barn. The baby eagle is raised by the mother hen, and believes itself to be a chick.  He feeds on worms and insects and bugs.  One day the baby eagle, sees his mother, the Golden Eagle soaring high in the sky.  He asks Mamma Hen, “when can I do that”?  The Mamma Hen replies “You cannot fly like that you are a hen”.  A few days later, the Golden Eagle Mom sees the young golden eagle on the ground pecking around for worms.  She swoops down and asks, “what are you doing there?” – “I am hen, a baby chic” – The Golden Eagle mom, shows him he can fly, shows him what he is capable of.  The young golden eagle begins to fly, and flies all the time, knowing he is now limitless.
  1. This is the story of the transformation that will happen this weekend.
  2. The Mother Hen in our story, telling us that it is okay to live in a limited state is society.
  3. Conventional Education gives us: skills and knowledge, but also teaches us fear. Teaches us to be ashamed of failure, that we are no good enough, and that we need to please others.
  4. We are on a journey to transform from being unaware to aware!
  5. READY?
  • Sacred INTENTION with ATTENTION.
  1. Right palm over left palm, place on right thigh.
  2. Spine is Erect, take in 3 conscious breaths
  3. Once in the state of stillness, this incantation is promised — “I WILL COMMIT MYSELF TO THIS JOURNEY, I WILL GO FROM LIMITED TO LIMITLESS”.
  4. 5 Elements in our Journey:
  5. Wisdom
  6. Spiritual Friend
  7. Detox Meditation
  8. Powerful Process
  9. Meditative Practices
  10. Inner Stillness – into Vision
  11. Life is fundamentally led by the vision we have. Most people the vision is external.  This weekend we are birthing a spiritual vision.
  12. This will allow us to live life free of inner conflict – no longer bogged down be inner chatter. This is a beautiful state of being.
  13. With inner peace comes the natural immersion of joy.
  14. Defying Gravity
  15. Gravity is a downward pull – lips being pulled down (frown). When life is so heavy, lips succumb to gravity.
  16. When in a beautiful state – smiles blossom from inside, from your source of infinite joy, your heart.
  17. LEARN TO SMILE CONSCIOUSLY
  • Detox Meditation
  1. Moving into Stillness: Bring awareness to the top of your scalp, feel as if there is an opening, which light can moves through.
  2. Inhale deep into the diaphragm, and when you exhale, breath out the sound “iinnnngggggghhhhh”
  • Stillness Meditation
  1. Standing feet slightly wider than hip width apart.
  2. Right palm over left, as if holding a ball (so hands are not touching.
  3. Consciously move your hands together in the movement of the infinite 8 while gazing at a point on the floor. Not staring, not focusing but gazing; taking in the space between your eyes and the point of focus.  As the movement of your hands guides your hips to sway, allow them to, if guided to – lift your heels in the rhythm of the infinite 8 movement.  Begin to slow this movement, allow yourself to flow, to be the flow, and  consciously flow slower and slower, deeper and deeper, until you are at a stand-still relaxed position.
  • Stillness Meditation cont…
  1. Still in the relaxed flow – sit at the edge of the bolster/seat/mat.
  2. Begin the conscious breath techinique, and begin to rock as you inhale and exhale.
  3. Inhale diaphragmatically. Feel as though your spine is a well.  At the bottom of the well is shiny silvery water, and on the exhale breath feel that water spurting out, up the spine and out of the top of your head like a fountain: drenching you with stillness, peace and joy.
  4. Visualize yourself, soaking in this silvery, joyful water, into every pore, refreshed, revitalized, and in total peace.
  5. Stay in the realm/space of your process
  6. Practice the Conscious Breath Technique – 7x before the morning class.
  7. Good Night.

August 6, 2016

HIGH LEVEL SUMMARY POINTS:
1) Principle of Inner Truth
2) Meditation on Inner Truth
3) Principle of Spiritual Connection
4) Principle on Expanding Connection
5) Kshetra Meditation with Preethaji
6) Aham Prakriya
DETAILED SUMMARY:
I. Inner Truth is your truth.
A. To awaken to your inner truth is facing/owning/and staying with (not running from/avoiding or ignoring) your anger, hurts, judgements and insecurities.
B. To move from untruth to truth is moving your dark to the light – this requires taking hold of the dark with command.
i. Once you are authentic, there are no boundaries of your past/present or future, you are in a state of bliss, and connected.
ii. In the state of consciousness – you respond to life with connection and compassion. Your judgments and mental chatter get moved to love, compassion, and limitlessness and bliss.
C. The Limbic system is the part of the brain that anger, jealousy, and fear reside.
D. The Mid pre-frontal cortex is where connection, awareness and greater wisdom reside. (I found this interesting that the part of the brain responsible for connection, is also being studied for effects of smartphone use and advanced cognitive functioning and dysfunction (due to rapid image technology) for young people.)
E. In the meditation practices today, we moved the “activation/synapses” from our limbic system to the connected and awareness center of the mid pre-frontal cortex.
F. Your inner losses/hurt/fear of your past and the anxieties of your future clouds your thinking.
i. By awakening yourself to power and to truth, you will conquer those inner losses.
ii. You will open yourself up to the experience of limitless consciousness.
iii. By acting and thinking of the past, the feelings of hurt and fear are magnified.
iv. When obsessed (consciously or not) with something, you are not able to see the big picture – which limits you, your successes and possibilities, because you are not able to step into expansiveness, where inspiration for possibilities take place.
II. Stretch Session
A. Conscious Breathing, Twists, Cat/Cow, Angel arms (exhale above head, Inhale to heart center), free flow like a 5th grader.
III. More on Inner Truth
A. Just as Carbon takes on different forms at different depth, so does truth.
i. Carbon = coal -> oil/gas -> diamond
ii. Truth = Emotion -> Observing ->liberation
a. Emotion – when you recognize emotions, you will be lead to a place of calmness.
b. Observing – When you observe the self-images that you (by default) always try to fit into or strengthen, and free yourself from them, you will live in a place of freedom. Your self-images, are pictures/roles you attach yourself too, they do not represent your essence or your connection with infinite/limitless.
c. Liberation – This can be done through transcendental meditation, where you are able to see the connectedness you are to the whole web of life.
B. Story about Man from China / observing the truth
i. A man from China came to the OWA center really irritated with his wife. After doing some self-work, he finally was able to see why he was irritated – the root cause. The actual feeling he was feeling, not irritation (towards someone else, which is an external behavior) but what he was actually feeling inside. She was a phenomenal woman, with many talents, intelligence and poise. He was jealous of her. This jealousy manifested into irritation.
C. AWAKEN TO TRUTH – SERENE MIND PRACTICE
1) Keep the body still & spine erect
2) 3 conscious breaths
a. Simultaneously, breath in (while mentally stating “I am inhaling”), breath deep (so your abdomen rises and lungs fill up), breath in steadily for 4 seconds.
b. Simultaneously, on the exhalation, breath out (while mentally stating “I am exhaling”), exhale fully (so your navel pulls in, and chest falls), breath out steadily for 8 seconds.
3) Proclaim “I am in the NOW”.
4) Recognize the emotion that comes up.
5) Observe your mindset
a. Obsessing about the past or anxious of the future?
b. Or, maybe not obsession, but are you distracted and wandering?
c. Are you engaged in being present?
d. Just notice the place/mindset, where your thoughts and feelings come from.
6) Feel/Visualize a candle flame glowing in the center of the brain (between the eyebrows in the center of your skull) – the pineal gland.

***What are you not wanting to feel?
i. The conscious breathing activates your parasympathetic neuro system.
ii. I found this practice challenging. I did not “feel” anything, and that was frustrating for me. I kept hearing myself ask the question, “What is it that I feel?” I spoke with Yuktesh on the break, and he suggested that I start from a feeling of frustration, frustration at not being able to identify with my feelings. This was a huge breakthrough for me, as I have found that my challenge in creating my vision is hindered by not being able to feel what I desire and truly want. If this meditation doesn’t come easy, having a starting place to work from is key.
iii. We were reminded that this is a practice that needs to be practiced, as several people had different issues surface during this exercise.
7) We discussed observing the mindset after this exercise. This should also include observing the self-image vantage point you project from.
a. The entirety of our suffering is caused by resisting reality.
b. You are always trying to fit the image you have for yourself.
c. When reality doesn’t match the self-image you hold yourself, we resist the truth.
d. When you are able to see reality, you will have freedom.
8) YOU CAN NOT CHANGE THE EMOTION
a. You need something deeper than “changing” the emotion, or else it will resurface again.
b. You need a FUNDAMENTAL shift. Instead of engaging the emotion (getting angry, feeling sad, allowing jealousy to consume you), switch to observation of the emotion you have.
IV. Stillness Meditation – This meditation prepped us to be conscious/aware of the sensations and feelings that come up, (in later meditations). It consisted of the conscious breathing technique, while being guided to listen to the sounds in the room (3 mins), then feel the texture through our awareness, of the clothes we have on, and how it hangs and drapes over our body (3 mins) , the last three minutes was to keep someone we love in our focus and think of a time that they were joyful and happy and hold that thought of them for three minutes
A. Next, raised hands on the side to meet together above our heads while exhaling, and inhaling as we move our hands in prayer position to our heart center.
B. Keeping our visualization that we are in the orb of light, and being aware at the sensation of being engulfed by a protective and soothing light.
V. TRUTH leads to WISDOM, WISDOM returns to WHOLENESS
A. Wholeness allows expansive states of consciousness.
B. Wholeness extends out and creates a beautiful experience and healing for others.
C. If you are not comfortable loving yourself (all of you – anger, hurt)  You can no “be” for others. If you are divided in yourself, you are never present for others.
VI. CONNECTION:
A. What is connection? Alignment, acceptance, understanding, balance {SPIRITUAL CONNECTION}
i. Connection is not being lost in your own obsession (your reasons, your beliefs…)
ii. Connection is letting others be themselves
iii. MOST importantly, Connection is HOLDING A VISION FOR THE OTHER’S JOY, THEIR BEAUTIFUL INNER STATE.
a. Knowing when one is not in a beautiful state, and making an effort, to move that person out of their pain and discomfort. (Truly serving).
B. Why connection?
i. Connection is food for your brain. Your brain requires connection to rejuvenate you.
ii. Meaning and Purpose to our life. – Numerous people are responsible for your making, as you are responsible for theirs. Perpetual Transmutation of Energy.
iii. Connection is life, if you are aware of it or not.
C. Why is there a disconnection?
*** Below are thought poisons***
A. Your expression of love may not be being received. In situations, conversations – Are you being present, are you letting and embracing the other be themselves, are you holding their beautiful inner state as the priority, OR, are you expressing your love by a definition of the past, or an avoidance of a definition of the past?
i. If you are reacting to what happened in the past, and/or you are programmed to respond that way  you are disconnected.
B. Are you mirroring your past?
i. Habit means no connection. A connection is to respond to the current situation, with no preconceived notions, no habits, responses or avoidance of past reactions.
C. Obsessing over future plans is also disconnection from the present.
D. When Doing becomes more important than Being. When your focus is on what the other is doing and not what they are feeling and/or why they are doing it, you are not present.
(ex: when a child is chronically misbehaving so discipline is focused on, vs why are they acting out like that).
(ex: Why is he late, why has he not called me? Vs. what happened, what is he feeling, why is feeling distant?)
E. Holding on to Judgements keeps you disconnected.
i. Always having to make your judgement right. By default, people are always trying to strengthen their judgements, day in and day out. So much so, that people are willing to let people go (out of their lives), because they refuse to see the entirety.
VII. HOW TO CONNECT
A. This is a PROCESS (not a meditation, advised to be under guidance) There is a specific timeframe for spiritual growth that is safe, and done in intervals. Processes are to free yourself from past hurt/fears/anger. This process is a deep meditative journey, results are unpredictable, and each person will be effected differently.
B. The root of all thought poisons are HURT, SADNESS, DISAPPOINTMENT that have been accumulated through your childhood, relationships, traumas etc…
i. These reasons lead us to mechanically act on thought poisons and not connect.
ii. These things can consume you.
iii. If we do not set ourselves free, we are perpetuating it in our children, partners, everyone, and everything.
C. CONNECTION PROCESS:
i. Connect with your experience of hurt(s). Feel how you felt as it was happening. Notice your body sensations. For me, it was lump in my throat, I couldn’t swallow, almost couldn’t breathe, exactly like it was during that hurtful experience(s).
ii. See the experience in total clarity. Where were you? How were you responding? This is noticed form an observation mode. Notice how the (hurt, sadness, disappointment) consumed you in the experience.
iii. In this process – Be kind to yourself.
iv. Breathing technique was guided.
a. In nose/out nose
b. In mouth/out mouth – rapid (breath of fire)
c. In nose/out mouth – deep breaths
v. After connecting and owning our hurt, next was to think of a loving connection in our lives. (There is so much love in our lives, allow those feelings to fill you up). Again, observing it in total clarity, feeling the sensations felt at that situation. Becoming engulfed in the feeling of that love.
vi. Next, was to breath into our heart space, visualizing your chest open up and allowing intense, burning white light to rush in (like a broken pipeline) and having the light coat our hearts in gold.
vii. Overwhelmed with this love, we held someone we want to love in our focus, (continuing the flow) and poured all loving thoughts and energy to that person. Breaking the cycle of hurt responses and paving the way for connected present-ness. (cleared past hurt, brought in love and light, send/gave out love and light)
*** this was a very intense process, and was advised not to practice, unless under guidance, as it is a process, not a meditation*** Layers were shed from my energetic body, weight was lifted, and root causes of unhappiness, and blockages, and limitations were revealed to me during this practice. I came out of this practice, in true love. Love for myself, love for the hard experiences that had affected me, and no longer are attached to me, love for the grace I am given, and love for this experience I was blessed to partake it, alongside a genuine and sincere group.
VIII. TRANSCEDENTAL EXPERIENCE
SHOWS HOW YOU CAN LIVE LIFE.
A. In this experience, you may be able to feel the expansiveness of infinity.
B. This experience generated a field of consciousness around us, a beautiful state.
C. People will be impacted when they step into your field.
PROCESS PREP:
1) 8 “conscious” breaths
2) Move your intention to the middle of the skull – pineal gland
3) Visualize a light there, focus on the glow, how it is alive
4) Make the intention to go deeper into this experience.
5) Allow the journey to take you.
(take note)
-the more dedicated you are to your breath, to feeling love and feeling life, the greater the transcending.
-If you are tentative and lukewarm, that is what you will receive back.
-Add to the energies around you, bring sincerity to this group exercise.
-Use the integrity of your “being” – in the now.
-Give yourself fully to the process – show up for yourself!
-This is healing to your consciousness; pains and fears get cleansed (or transcend). Breath
PROCESS:
A. Starting with a meditative gaze. Right palm on left palm, inside of hand facing up. Gaze into the space between your eyes and your palm. (~3 min) Be aware of the space between your eyes and your palms. Feel the gaze and the space.
B. Close your eyes, begin to swirl, your torso on top of your hips, as if your torso is a spoon, and you are stirring soup. Like the earth moves on its axis. Begin to be the movement, be the fluidity, go deeper into this process of being the movement – slower and slower.
C. Put on eye mask.
D. Breath work – Chaotic breathing, rapid, fast, hard, continuous, sounds and grunts, violent, movement if needed — just keep breathing, never a pause in your breath. Break the monotonous rhythm, this is chaotic breathing. SHOW UP FOR YOURSELF!!
-Some people were yelling with breath, animal sounds, almost hyperventilating.
– I was grunting, snorting, jumping, energy was surging through me.
-laughing, coughing and sneezing were heard.
E. Collapse to Mother Earth, and feel – let the journey take you.
6) Yuktesh guided us through D & E, three times.

The music selection for this process, was instrumental in the experience. I chose to go to the front side of the room, for more room to do the breath work and collapse down. Yuktesh suggested that the best thing for us, the rest of the night, was to not talk, but to stay inward. He asked us to assimilate our experience in writing before leaving. Although words cannot describe this experience of my expanded consciousness and overflowing feeling of joy and surrounding texture of love — Below is my unedited “assimilation piece”.

Letting go,
Showing up and giving all I can,
Continuously breathing, taking in all of life, vigorously, as if running to escape but in anticipation.
Energy awakened, surging through me, tingling its way to the edges and crevasses of my body, awaking every cell, connecting to the energy field of a collective higher frequency, feeling the jump to that higher frequency, I’m in a new realm. I am not matter.
Generating magnetism to all that is good – I am open and good rushes through me.
Rest/Collapse to mother Earth.
Expansiveness and vastness into the Universe, the Infinite. The midst of the rainbow, the colors made from light refracted, I am.
Feeling life and the force and growth behind it, — I am it.
I am the seed, made of possibilities and abundance, absorbing heat from the sun through the soil, and moisture from the soil, time stops, I am the seedling, piercing through the soil covering.
Hand chakras (pinky side of palms) being pulled to the energies in space. I’m expanding, with magnetic pull to the universe, stars swirl around. Speeds of light in the vast clean, dark universe, colorful gases and the energy I am is everywhere, and beyond. The Bright hot sun light, orange/red heat, I am the core. I travel on the lengths of heat waves, I cast nutrients to the trees and make shadows in the valley.
Soaring, I am the eagle, riding on different planes of wind, through a desert canyon, hearing my call, the decibels traveling and bouncing off the rocky cliffs, rippling onward and away – I was the sound intelligence.
Generating the immense healing energy by just breathing, breathing hard! fast! Chaotic, never not breathing. Knowing what I put in, is what I will get out (divine revelation (in feeling) for life as a whole).
In Mother Earths comfort, the bliss/joy bubbling over me. I am the butterfly; I am the wind as it rustles through the tall trees. Holding my family in this joy, intentionally giving them this experience of beautiful source energy. Holding my friends, extended family in this overwhelming joy and pure clean love, we are all one. I hold all of the earth and all of humanity, all life forms, all science and intelligence in this love and light.
Namaste.

August 7, 2016

HIGH LEVEL SUMMARY POINTS:

  • Vision of One World Academy
  • Principle of the Web of Life
  • Meditation on Interconnection
  • The Great Soul Sync Meditation Practice

DETAILED SUMMARY:

  1. “Every day is an Extraordinary Day!”
  2. The day started with a Laughing Meditation
  3. Begin with the Smiling Meditation
  4. Connect with Joy inside of you, then connect with your Mithra.
  5. Hold that joy as your intention/Let yourself go, going into that space.
  6. Hold that for your family and friends, the world at large.
  7. Recapture the spirit of being a child. Enjoying the moment, experiencing joy.

***The laughter in the room was infectious.  Even when returning to calmness, multiple rounds of gut wrenching laughter continued to inflate the bubble of joy in the room.  In the sharing of experiences, many people were most moved by this laughing meditation.  To bring yourself to joy at will, to experience life with comic relief, is a practice all humanity can benefit from. ***

  • Vision of OWA – Samadarshiiji
  1. “We have become family.” OWA cares for your inner experience. This weekend interaction, this journey shared with trust and openness, has made us family.  OWA does not ignore sadness or run form it, and we know how not to either.  Instead integrate it into being, into the now; Integrate all feelings, both sadness and joy.
  2. Know that the Experience of Life MATTERS! OWA is not in the business of pleasing others or speaking clever words to take advantage of anyone.  They live by speaking the truth gently.
  3. At OWA, help always has an open door – do not hesitate to reach out. By default, people are hesitant to ask for help. Flight and running from is ‘engrained’ in the unconnected person.  It is time to fly (Golden Eagle story, from Day 1) and to inspire people to fly with you.
  4. Do not say things just for formalities. Become the breed that says things you mean, and does them.
  5. Take-aways from Krishnaji’s story of almost losing his family (Preethaji and his daughter) at Big Bear Lake.
  6. It is your inner being that manifests as order or disorder.
  7. OWA will nurture the experience/ Nurture the “being”.
  • Why should learning only happen in pain, in a tragedy? – Every answer that came to Krishnaji, he observed that he “Did not know”.
  1. His mind refused to take refuge in any metaphysical concepts – The process of great liberation.
  2. In the water, scared, angry, with his life vest on, he felt he was Preethaji, he was his daughter, he was everything, he was every drop of water, and he was the entire universe. This state was penetrating insight into the nature of human suffering.
  3. ALL SUFFERING is caused by obsessive self-centered thinking, not selfish thinking. It’s the tendency of the human mind to obsess over itself. 
  4. All inner unpleasantness, is rooted in obsession with oneself, one’s reasoning.
  5. We must be freed of the obsession of ourselves.
  6. There must be a revolution in the way we love and experience life.
  7. This experience inspired Krishnaji to create parts of meditations, processes, to share with the world how to access beautiful states. OWA was born.  Its vision is of spiritual evolution of individuals.
  8. From WISDOM, you OBSERVE à from OBSERVATION arises TRUTH. From TRUTH, one can be catapulted to TRANSCEDENTAL CONSCIOUSNESS, into a BEAUTIFUL STATE, this is where we gain Insight that transforms us.
  9. Transform your Brain Recap
  10. 3 Conscious Breaths – Move into the NOW.
  11. Steady Mind Sate mediation
  12. It is only form a Beautiful State, that one can perform a beautiful action with wisdom.
  13. Beautiful states only happen in TRUTH (including dark and hurtful truths)
  14. Practice – Observe our emotion to get yourself to restore to Calm.
  15. Recognize the self-image you are identifying with, and the mindset you are observing from.
  • If you are not established in truth, you cannot access a beautiful state, and therefore you are just going through the action of emotion of love and kindness.
  1. This is ok, to just go through the motions, but be able to observe that.  Know the truth and know reality.
  2. Begin to be aware of the true experiences of your consciousness (transcendental).
  3. The Ultimate Exploration is Inner Exploration. (How amazing it is to dive in Hawaii or the Great Barrier, and bungee jumping), exploring your truth and expansiveness is even more exhilarating.
  4. HUSH THE RUSH book – written by Preethaji
  5. Made to help spiritualize your lifestyle/sweeten your life.
  6. Sleep peacefully
  7. Wake up joyfully
  • Eat consciously
  1. Converse calmly
  2. Drive cautiously
  3. Share this book with others. Help to lead them.
  4. Sharing of experiences of the seminar (about 10 people) – below are some takeaways that I resonated with.
  5. Life experience is a lovely lesson instead of a burden to carry.
  6. Intrinsically connected to everything.
  7. You never really know what is going on – get outside of your head – you don’t need to know what is going on – stay in your beautiful state – stay in your own joy.
  8. I have everything I need inside of me – available to access at any time.
  9. Getting out of the way for yourself – Give! When you give, you get.
  10. We are all blending together in this universal world picture – as a mosaic.
  • RECAP
  1. The journey going forward, we must continue to transform our unpleasant states into Beautiful states of being, our divided feelings into Oneness in expansion, and the separation sensations into connection.
  2. Discover LOVE first, then discover Partners to share with. When awakened to love, the relationship will last.
  3. Limiting Cycle — We move into limited states, and then try to escape them

What if…. ?

You lived a life of freedom!?!

  1. The human mind has an addiction to emotional drama. People are willing to believe anything that is negative.
  2. The mind clings to that one thing and nullifies everything else positive.

Why is this?

  1. The brain is neurologically wired to be attracted to sorrow/pain – There is a bias to the negative in the human brain.
  2. You must emerge from being a person into being a phenomenon.
  3. Life is pleasure, losing pleasure, feeling secure, then insecure, then back again. – Drama
  4. Being a phenomenon is living in a beautiful state of consciousness – your very state of living, inspires and heals the people around you.
  5. Your state impacts others around you – responsibility.
  6. You are able to manifest synchronicities, when your state is so beautiful, you are in flow.
  7. When your consciousness transforms, things are magical, things are beautiful.
  • WEB OF LIFE
  1. Most people have a passion to create a beautiful destiny for ourselves. Some of us, also are concerned with the bigger picture.
  2. There is an obsession of the self.
  3. Love at first site; Divorce at first fight.
  4. We need an evolution of consciousness.
  5. On a personal level (anger/ hurt à love)
  6. National level (fighting à peace).
  • Planetary level (destroying the earth à healing/preserving all life).
  1. We need to move into feeling separate à interconnected/interdependence.

We need to most from feeling insecure and fearful à allowing great wisdom to arise from limitless states.

  1. The sun, the moon, the farmer, his wife, their son, all their efforts, the grocer are all responsible for the piece of toast. If you waste that toast, you are disregarding the efforts and love of all these people and nature.
  2. Ocean currents, trees, wind à breath à universe moves in us.
  3. Moving our psychological state into à a beautiful state à comes from many/cumulative sources — experiences, food, situations, people and even unknown efforts. So many aspects of influence.
  4. If you start experiencing life as interconnected (As the Native Americans, Hawaiians, indigenous cultures do) – If you love from that place, it will result in great wisdom and great power. The way you will respond to life, from this place, will be tremendously different in being, feeling and in results.
  5. Being and acting in togetherness, is the place in which magic happens. When awakened to this interconnectedness, great wisdom and inspiration flows through your experience of oneness.
  6. Colors are magnified
  7. Senses are magnified
  • Stillness/ boundaries/ consciousness expands
  1. You lose touch with time and space à oneness with everything.
  2. ONENESS MEDITATION – ONENESS WITH EVEYTHING
  3. Spine Erect/Still Body
  4. 8 “conscious” breaths
  5. Feel joy – allow it to wash over you
  6. Feel joy for your family (hold them in this space)
  7. Feel joy for everyone (hold them in this space)
  8. Feel joy for life (plants, animals, organisms, cells, mountains, natures processes)
  9. Feel joy for the universe
  10. Gratitude comes from a place of gratitude.
  11. Spiritual responsibility
  12. Not only to yourself but to others. Commit yourself to do what you can do to eliminate suffering.  Clean yourself energetically before interaction(s) and after as well.
  13. Vision is large – Accelerate yourself!
  14. SOUL SYNC PRACTICE
  15. Many organizations do this in the morning. Setting intention while in a beautiful/expansive state of consciousness.
  16. Can be done in 9-12 min.
  17. Soul Sync leads you into a beautiful state, where you will hold a heartfelt intention, and the possibilities become realities.
  18. This practice balances pulse and balances blood pressure.
  19. Also, activates the parasympathetic nervous system and centers it.
  20. STEPS:
  21. Eyes need to be closed.
  22. Breathing Counts – Use fingers to count.
  23. -index/thumb
  24. -middle/thumb
  25. -ring/thumb
  26. -pinky-thumb
  27. -2x = 8 breaths.

Step 1 – 8 conscious breaths

Step 2 – 8 cycles of Inhale and Exhale – on the exhale, hmmmmmmm with a vibration, enough to vibrate

the inside of your head.  The humming releases nitric oxide, putting you into a state of calm.

Step 3 – 8 cycles of Inhale and Exhale.  – Between the inhale and exhale there is a pause.  Bring attention

to that pause, without manipulating your breath.  The pause is natural, not intentional (the

miniscule pause).  With practice this will leave an impact on how you see your thoughts (how

you observe your mindset)

Step 4 – 8 cycles of Inhale/ Exhale – on the exhale, internally change “Ah- HUMMM”, which means “I am

the Infinite Consciousness.  Allow yourself to transport into the undivided eternal field of

consciousness.

Step 5 – Move into the expansive, no need to count.  Be present, visualize light surrounding you.

Dissolve into the light.  Feel the light waves moves through you.

Step 6 – In this expansiveness, in this infinite, limitless state, move into a beautiful state and hold one

heartfelt intention.

  1. The difference between heart-felt connection and obsession or desire is that heart felt connection is in joy, alignment and truth. Obsession/desire comes from a limited state, anger, hurt, jealousy, a place of comparison.

Step 7 – Hold this intention when connected to the Universe.  Visualize the intention manifesting or feel

as if you have your intention already.   Open your eyes when you have visualized

or sincerely FELT your Intention.

***When you feel connected to the life around you, you do not doubt yourself***

Note: Originally published in August 2016 this article has been revised and updated for accuracy and thoroughness.