One of the darkest periods in my life was when I was in college and realized that I had lice.  Ew.  


NOT a teeny-tiny cute little spider.

A few days later, itching my head, I found (getting goosebumps just writing this) a whole lot more teeny-tiny spiders!  Not so cute any more.  

I practically ran to the drugstore to get Nix or whatever the over-the-counter lice remedy at that time was called.  Following the instructions to a “T” – even washing and vacuuming everything in sight – I was sure the ordeal was over.  


The little invaders returned.  Lice II.

I did the Nix again.  I even had my lovely, lovely roommate (I love you Erica) painstakingly comb every strand of my hair and hand-remove every single nit she could see.  This took about 3 hours.  

Lice III.

It was like a horror movie.  This time they actually were in my eyelashes.  And eyebrows.  I think I may have screamed.  

So, I did what every other red-blooded American does.  I called my doctor.  I was a UT student so I went to the student clinic on campus.  The doctor listened to me rant – probably frantically – about the lice “they were even in my eyelashes!!!”  Her expression didn’t change.  ”Did you try Nix?”  ”Yes… (thinking – I’m not stupid…).  I did it twice and it’s not working.”  ”Did you wash your bedding and vacuum?”  ”Yes!”  ”Well, I can give you a prescription for something.”  She shrugged her shoulders.  I’m sure she was judging me in her head.

I tried the prescription-strength lice-remover stuff.  I kid you not.  Lice IV.  

This is like the scene in the scary movie where the heroine is running to the door, crying.  The killer is right behind her.  This is her last moment to survive.  Kill or be killed.  

So I did what every other hippy-ish Austinite would do.  I went to Whole Foods.  I got tea tree oil shampoo.  One gentle washing and comb-through.  I also took some deep cleansing breaths and mentally decided that this phase is over.  Lice eradicated.  

I still have little flash-backs of this nightmare.  Seriously.  When I get a little itch on my scalp, I still check to make sure there’s no lice.  It has been over 15 years.  

My whole point is…(yes – there is a point!)

Well, two points:

1.  Tea tree oil is amaze-balls for treating lice.

2.  Why do we tend to go for the equivalency of the Atom bomb before trying a peace treaty?  Why do we opt for prescriptions and surgeries (which in a sense are fighting against what your body is trying to do and tell you) before we try something non-invasive and natural (that works with your body and its senses)?  I know there’s a time for the harsh tactics, but I think it’s when all else has truly failed.  

I think it’s that when we are hurting or sick in some way, we want the strongest thing around to fight it off.  Maybe this is just human tendency.  I’ve found that if I can just calm myself down first – whether it’s back pain or headache or stomach cramps or throat infection – and decide that I’m going to recover with the help of just some herbs, acupuncture, and maybe a massage, it works!  

What do you think?  Do you notice if you’ve ever gone in “full-force” to treat something with harsh medicines only to end up the same or worse?  Have you ever tried a natural approach and surprised yourself with how well it worked?  


Why is it that when you have a stressful encounter – like a car accident – that your heart can race afterward for hours?  Why does weight gain creep up steadily over the years?  

Your nervous system reacts to stimuli in your life and starts creating patterns.  From early infancy, your body is recording patterns and making assumptions about how things are supposed to be.  This makes me happy; this makes me mad; this makes me energetic; etc.  

Our complex monkey brains have adapted to unpleasantness through drug use.  We are all drug users.  Caffeine / alcohol / marijuana / NSAIDs / other various prescriptions / etc.  Even sugar is a drug.  Even bread!  Unless you are truly living off of the land – killing squirrels in your backyard and digging up roots to eat for dinner – you are using drugs.  Cleansing is a time to truly go “drug-free.”  The true purpose of a cleanse is not to starve yourself and make yourself skinny (although – admit it – you were hoping it would!).  The purpose of cleansing is to align your breath and your body and mind.  Give your neurotransmitters a break from the usual pattern.  Create a new pattern.  

We tend to eat the same foods every day.  It’s mostly just habit.  Weight loss won’t occur until you change the habits.  Anxiety won’t go away until you change the stimuli.  Only by creating a new pattern – a new way of feeling – will there be permanent changes in your body.  

People think about starting a workout regimen to get in shape, then drop out because they “don’t see any results.”  This is so short-sighted!  Our bodies are so resistant to change!  Only by committing to the new habit will positive changes show up.  And this process may take over a year.  

Unfortunately, most people won’t commit to change until the problem until they:

  1. acknowledge there is a problem
  2. acknowledge that the problem is ruining their life
  3. hope for the future is only through change

Many people try acupuncture for the first time because they are curious.  They come in for a treatment or two and then they’re gone.  ”I tried it!  It’s awesome!”  But then the next time they get a sinus infection, the pattern – the modus operandi – is to go back to their MD and get drugs.  It’s what we have been trained from infancy to do!  Even many acupuncturists are brain-washed to take Advil for a headache / Tums for acid stomach / etc.  It’s hard to change the pattern.  

I am a fan of “mini-cleanses.”  Even in the course of one day, I may consciously take 3 or 4 hours to just drink water and breathe deeply.  Get a massage.  Do some walking or yoga.  Go for a swim or sit outside and sweat.  

It’s a chance to reprogram.

What is your body telling you?  

Take a deep breath into your belly.  Relax your gut.  We tend to tighten our bellies all day long.  We are trying to look slimmer, but at a detriment to our lower backs and our digestive system.  Tightening your belly (“sucking in”) shuts down circulation to your middle “burner.”  In Chinese medicine this is your digestive and emotional center.  Your middle chakra (*chakras are NOT related to Chinese medicine BTW) is your power-house.  Don’t tighten, but relax and breathe in and expand.  

Take the time to relax your belly and breathe, drink some water, and clear your head.  Have an acupuncture treatment!  

The only way to change emotions, or weight, or any health concern, is to first OWN it.  Acknowledge that it is yours.  I think a lot of people trying to lose weight are trying to run away from the weight.  ”This isn’t me!!!  Get it off of me!!!”  This will never work.  Again, sit with yourself.  Breathe deep into your (perhaps big) belly.  Let it be there and fully present.  ”Hello, (big) belly.  What’s up?  What is your need?  How are you helping me?  What are you trying to tell me?”



They say the to “assume” anything makes an “ASS out of U and ME,” so I will be very clear here.  

What is a grain?  

A grain, according to, is

“a small, hard seed, especially the seed of a foodplant such 

as wheat, corn, rye, oats, rice, or millet (or) 

the gathered seed of food plants, especially of cereal plants.”
Wheat is a grain.  Wheat is a grain that is very (naturally) high in gluten, which you hear so much about.  ”Whole wheat” is wheat that has been ground into flour, but not denatured.  White flour is made – usually – from whole wheat, but the bran and germ (the healthier parts of the grain) have been removed.  Both whole wheat products and white flour products have gluten.  
Other grains – besides white flour and whole wheat – that contain gluten include 
spelt, kamut, barley, and rye.  
wheatIf you have celiac disease, which may manifest also as ulcerative colitis or chron’s disease, you should completely abstain from gluten – all sources of – as though your life depends on it.  
If you do not have celiac disease, you should still try to limit your consumption of gluten, as it does have health consequences in large amounts.  In particular, gall bladder problems, thyroid problems, and arthritis I believe are linked to gluten sensitivity or over-consumption.  
White grains are really just simple sugars.
Whole grains are still sugars, but also with some other things like fiber, oils, and vitamins.   
When grains are digested, your body uses the carbohydrates as energy.  Carbohydrates – or “carbs” – are sugars.  If they are not used for energy, your body stores them…as fat.  For most of us, we don’t really need to store any more fat!  
Plus, too much sugar => diabetes.  In the “old days,” people would have pancakes and biscuits in the morning because they were out working in the fields all day long.  You don’t need to “carb-load” if you’re going to sit behind a desk all day!  
Whole grains (whole wheat, corn, brown rice, whole oats, millet, etc.) are digested slower because they contain the bran of the grain, which is the fiber.  Fiber – in general – is good for you.  But the carb part of it, it’s still going to be digested as sugar.  And as far as whole wheat products go, it still has carbs and gluten!  
If you are
  • Trying to lose weight
  • Diabetic

it’s best to avoid all grains – and sugars – in general.  At least temporarily.  

We like to say “KNOW” not “NO”
In other words, KNOW how food is going to affect you and your body, but you don’t necessarily always have to turn down (or say “NO”) to …. a piece of chocolate cake or a delicious hamburger on a bun.  Just KNOW how it is going to affect your overall health direction.  Are you sure this is what you want?  If not, just like we did in the 80s, just say “NO!”


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