…is some pretty cool stuff about nutrition. I took some time for a family vacation in October. As soon as that was over, I enrolled in the Primal Health Coaching Certification Program with Mark Sisson – you can find his blog at [marksdailyapple.com]. The website is a wonderful resource for everyone, and the coaching program is excellent too. I will be finished in January, and then ready to work with clients in person, via email, on the phone, or with Skype or Face Time. Contact me if you’re interested.

In the meantime, though, here are the two biggest “ah-has” that I’ve had so far:

(1) As long as you have insulin in your bloodstream, your body is not able to access or process stored fat for energy. The body will use the glucose in your bloodstream first, producing insulin as needed to process the glucose and then storing any excess as glucagon.

(2) Any extra protein that you’ve eaten (like that second helping of holiday turkey!) will also be processed into glucose or glucagon before your body will look to process stored fat for energy. No wonder I can’t seem to lose any weight – I am eating too many carbohydrates (even the “good” carbs turn to glucose) and too much protein (which is also turning to glucose).

The above is the short explanation of why primal/paleo eating patterns work better than any other method. And Mark Sisson isn’t the only one saying so. I’ve also started to follow Dave Asprey and his book Head Strong, Dr. Joseph Mercola and his book Fat for Fuel, and Dr. Mark Hyman and his book Eat Fat, Get Thin. All three advocate the elimination of grains, sugar, and processed carbohydrates, along with limiting protein. The balance of your food intake should be “good” fats, including coconut, avocado, and olive based products. More about that next time.



geneticsI have become a big fan of these online summits. The format is a week or so of expert speakers on a particular aspect of health. You can listen for free during each summit’s run, and you can purchase the talks in several formats before and after. I have more time than money, so I always take advantage of the free education.

Some of the presentations were more oriented towards professional medical people – researchers and clinicians. I have listened to enough of these that I am catching on to the process and the technical terms, at least to some extent. In general, what I took away from the summit is contained in the bullet points below, from most to least important for us who are health-conscious patients.

First, take a breath and relax. Your genes are not your destiny. In fact, as much as 85% of our health or illness depends on exogenous, non-genetic factors. That’s according to Chris Kresser [http://geneticssummit.com/expert/chris-kresser/].

Next, we need to clarify genetics (the study of an individual gene) vs. genomics (the study of all genes and how they interact with one another). That’s also according to Chris Kresser as above.

We should realize that each individual gene acts or doesn’t act within a system that is impacted by many other internal and external factors. That’s the new science of epigenetics (literally, above genetics).

Third, the genetic and genomic testing that’s available now is not very conclusive. Wikipedia tells us that the definition of a SNP is “a variation in a single nucleotide that occurs at a specific position in the genome.” Several of the speakers, including Chris Kresser and Andrea Nakayama [http://geneticssummit.com/expert/andrea-nakayama/] among others, pointed out that evaluation one SNP at a time can yield contradictory advice.

Finally, several speakers including Dr. Tom O’Bryan [http://geneticssummit.com/expert/tom-obryan/] stated that one of the best current uses for this type of testing is to encourage and motivate people who have not yet come to the view that health is strongly related to the choices we make about our diets, exercise habits, relationships, and stress management. The summit host, James Maskell, agreed with that assessment.

So what I think we can all learn is that the “Back To Basics” approach that I use in my coaching work is the right one for most of the people most of the time. To find out more about what I believe, keep reading around this site. And please leave a comment or any questions you have – that helps me help you. Thanks.



First, a non-disclosure: there’s no need for any “full disclosures” here – nobody at Fitbit even knows I’m writing any of this, much less paying me to say it. And I’m sure there are other fitness trackers out there that do even more than this brand or this model. I’m just sharing my experience in case you want to try it. I had no idea it would make this much positive difference in my life.

The little package arrived on July 7. I charged it up on July 8, and wore it all day on July 9. I bought it because I had always wondered how much a Scoutmaster walked during a week at Boy Scout summer camp – a place where I have been volunteering for more than 30 years now.

I knew it was a lot of walking…but I would never have dreamed that my first Fitbit day would be over 20,000 steps and over 8 miles. Fitbit encourages a goal of 10,000 steps per day, and it was no problem at all to get that done during my week at camp. Every day was at least 17,000 steps (over 7 miles), and the record high was 23, 323 (9.5 miles).

Do I sound competitive here? I think I do, at least somewhat. And that is most unusual for me. I was “sharing” my results with friends and family inside and outside the camp. Since that first week, the feeling has evolved from competition to motivation, I think.

The following week was completely different – or I thought it would be. A relaxing time with extended family at a cottage on a lake. Time to test out the swimming feature of the Fitbit. I chose the Flex 2 from the Fitbit line because I swim twice a week, every week, at the local Rec Center, and I wanted to measure that exercise too. The little “pebble,” as the Fitbit mechanism is called, again performed perfectly. Since there were no lap lanes in the lake, I estimated by counting my strokes during that cottage week. It seemed to be correct. Later, in the pool, the measurement was surprisingly accurate.

Since then, there have been two weeks of more normal days. The swimming twice a week is a given for me. But for most of the last couple of years, that was all I was doing. I had a hip replacement surgery late in 2014, and the hip has not really been right since then. Thanks to the swimming and a terrific massage therapist I found last winter, the hip was finally ready to resume daily walks, although with a cane.

Again, using the Fitbit has provided me with motivation to get out there and compete against myself to equal or better what I did the day before. Besides measuring my walks and swims, you can set it to remind you to move each hour of the day – I chose the reminder for 9 am to 5pm. If you haven’t moved at least 250 steps in one of those hours, you get a little vibration to nudge you at 50 minutes past the hour. I have been amazed at how many hours I needed that, and also at how motivating it is to look at the readout on my phone and see the little hourly dots filled in. If “sitting is the new smoking,” as some have said, then I needed the Fitbit for more reasons than I thought.

Since it’s only been a month, I can’t say for sure whether the novelty will wear off. But I haven’t really explored all of the features yet, so I don’t think so. You can direct the Fitbit to track all kinds of exercise, tell you how well you’re sleeping, and keep track of how much water you’re drinking, your weight, calories in and out, and macronutrients. All in one place.

Maybe you’ll want to try one too. Write to me at [http://www.maryascher.net] and let me know how it goes if you do.

I KNOW WHY LYME DISEASE EXISTS – a personal perspective

I have diagnosed Lyme disease. I believe that I will always have it, although I have worked hard to put it into remission. Many times along the journey of the last several years, I have been despondent and discouraged and wondered why God (or the Universe or Source or what Dr. Joe Vitale calls ‘The Great Something’) has allowed this disease to appear and grow to epidemic proportions.

After seven years of wondering and wandering (not quite 40 years, like the Isrealites in the desert, but long enough) I figured it out a few days ago. It’s meant to be a wake-up call for functional medicine, self care, and DIY health. Not much in mainstream Western medicine has is helpful in either testing for Lyme or treating it. The same is true of the co-infections that almost invariably come with the Lyme bacteria – including another parasite bartonella and the parasite babesia, among others.

And even with the guidance of a good LLMD (Lyme Literate Medical Doctor), this is not the “pill for your every ill” medical model that is the basis of Western mainstream medicine. You have to participate by following the protocols for antibiotics, homeopathic remedies, and supplements. But you also have to change your diet and lifestyle. That’s it. No other way.

  • You have to eat right 100% of the time. For me, that means no grains, no sugar, no soy. Some of you may have to give up dairy.
  • You have to sleep enough and on a regular schedule.
  • You have to figure out if you have toxins and get rid of them.
  • You have to police your cleaning supplies and health and beauty aids to keep your toxic load to a minimum.
  • You might have to be careful about mold or EMFs or other environmental toxins.
  • You will need to increase your movement (not necessarily “exercise” in the traditional sense) and lower your stress.

All of the above will strengthen your immune system and help your body fight off not only Lyme Disease, but anything else that may be attacking from the inside or the outside. So it might be that we who have Lyme are the lucky ones, because we got the message first. But the message is for everybody, or at least everybody living a modern Western lifestyle. And I’m happy that I figured that out, and happier still to share the message with you.


And it might be worth a try for you too. There are many good reasons why. I’ll list four of the main ones here first and give you sources for the information later on. Also before we begin, notice that the subject here is “grains,” not just “wheat” or only “gluten.”

There are proteins in wheat, rye, corn, and barley that are as addictive as heroin. The damage is different for different people, ranging from increased appetite to depression and more.
Those same proteins cause intestinal permeability (more commonly known as “leaky gut”). In some people the leaks cause a misdirected and inappropriate response by the immune system that leads to inflammation in some organs or tissues (autoimmune disease). The inflammation turns up in whatever part of you is your weakest link. It may be your pancreas (diabetes), your joints (rheumatoid arthritis), your nervous system (MS), your skin (psoriasis or eczema), or your brain (Alzheimer’s). Sooner or later, you will see and feel the effects.
The component WGA (wheat germ agglutinin) is found not only in wheat but also in rye, barley, and rice. It is indigestible and interferes with digestion, causing inflammation in the digestive tract along with other bowel problems and gallstones.
Grains contain phytates, which block absorption of nutrients like iron, zinc, and magnesium. That’s why bread is sometimes “fortified” with these nutrients. It might be better to simply take supplements or eat something else.
On the other hand, grains contain the carbohydrate Amylopectin A, which is highly digestible and therefore raises insulin more than even table sugar. That in turn leads to diabetes and overweight, which are increasing and affecting younger and younger people.

This information comes from Dr. William Davis [http://www.wheatbellyblog.com/books/], whose desire to help his heart patients led him to synthesize this research and these conclusions. His newest book, Undoctored, includes these ideas from his earlier works, and recommends removing grains from the diet completely, immediately, and forever.

Doctors who agree include Dr. Tom O’Bryan [http://thedr.com/], Dr. David Perlmutter [http://www.drperlmutter.com/], and Dr. Peter Osborne [https://drpeterosborne.com/], among others.
belly-body-calories-diet-42069 (1)
Why am I sure they are right? Because I have proved it with my own body. When you have an autoimmune condition, you can measure the “antibodies” in your system that are attacking your own joints and tissues. My weakest link is my thyroid gland. I have had thyroid antibodies destroying my own tissue measured as high as 2000 in 2007 that are down to 110 – still high but very much improved. The photos tell the inflammation story – notice the difference in my face from 2007 to 2017. I have lost about 50 pounds with 25 more to go. I have no aches and pains anywhere in my 67-year-old body. I have also put Lyme Disease into remission over the same time frame…but that’s a story for another day.

Your experience with giving up grains may be different than mine. Many people improve much more quickly than I did. Most people see and feel some improvement in the first days, although some have an opioid withdrawal first. I hope you’ll give it a try and let me know your results below.


One of my nieces got married over Memorial Day weekend in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It was a wonderful gathering and blending of families and friends and food. There were two group events. On Saturday, instead of the traditional rehearsal dinner, the entire wedding guest list was treated to a professional baseball game in a separate party area out in right field. The next day, the same hundred people went to a beautiful old ballroom downtown for the vows and a party.

Both occasions called for food. And both times, the bride and groom were considerate and mindful of their guests’ requirements and preferences. There was always a way to be satisfied and well fed, whether you were a carnivore, vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, dairy free, drinker or non-drinker.

And I think that’s how it should be. I did not come to that realization easily or lightly. The research I have done over the past few years has convinced me that humans should not be consuming gluten. And I will have to be literally starving to death before I eat wheat and grains again. By the way, that is how humans started eating wheat and grains – out of desperation. I get my ideas from doctors like William Davis (Wheat Belly), David Perlmutter (Grain Brain), and Tom O’Bryan (The Autoimmune Fix).

However, there are other views. I eat meat. But only grass fed, without antibiotics, and locally produced. I am lucky to live in an area where that’s pretty affordable. There are some prominent people who don’t believe that eating meat is good for people or the planet. Authors with this view go all the way back to Frances Moore Lappe and her book “Diet for a Small Planet,” which was first published in 1971. I read it not long after that, tried the vegetarian diet for a year, and got pretty weak and sick. So it’s not for me. The current leaders of this movement include John Robbins who has been advocating the same view since “Diet for a New America” in 1987, and many others. Wikipedia says that various forms of vegetarianism have been around since since the 7th Century BC.

Wikipedia also tells us that “Discovery of Stone Age jugs suggest that intentionally fermented beverages existed at least as early as the Neolithic period (cir. 10,000 BC).” Apparently that debate has been in progress ever since. Alcohol has been both a source of pleasure and peril to people in my family, and probably in your family as well.

One other current dietary view is that we humans were designed to operate best when we consume lots of good, natural fats like olive oil and avocados. Next up on my personal reading list is Dr. Mark Hyman’s “Eat Fat, Get Thin.” He isn’t a big fan of grains, but does include some, along with a diet of 70-80% good fats.

So how about you? What do you eat? Why do you eat what you eat? Have you ever given much thought to what you eat? What do you believe about your food? Post a reply in the comments. I think it will be interesting.

Sorting it Out

Think about all the health information that’s out here on the Internet….
Feeling a bit overwhelmed just now? I used to have that situation. If you are frustrated by trying to implement everything you read here, I can relate. It is impossible to use every bit of the wisdom that we find here – there is too much, and some of it is contradictory.
I’m here today to share my solution. It may work for you too. What is the answer? Ask your subconscious mind.
Ask your subconscious mind about everything that concerns you. For example, as you read some information about the “_________ Foods that will ________” (fill in your own blanks), ask yourself if this is the right approach for you.
How do you get an answer? By employing the strategy called muscle testing. Here’s how it works. You can develop your intuition by asking clear questions of the inner intelligence in your subconscious mind. Try this technique called muscle testing to answer any Yes-No questions.
Start by making a link using the thumb and first finger of each hand. Join the links so that one is inside the other. (See photo)

ring holds firm on “Yes”

While you have the link, think or say “Yes!” – out loud if possible. Then try to break the link. It’s likely to be strong and hard to break. Then say or think “No” while you try to break the link. Did it come apart without much effort this time?
That happens because your subconscious mind is attracted to truth and repelled by untruth. Your body will be strong on truth and weak on falsehood. Another method of muscle testing is “stand and sway.” When you can, stand up, clear your mind and ask your body a question with a “Yes” or “No” answer. Continuing with the example above, you could ask, “Would eating more of (this food) be good for me?” Your body will sway slightly forward if the food is beneficial, and slightly backwards if not.
As you use these techniques, pay attention to your inner feelings to gain greater clarity and trust in your intuitive abilities, allowing your intuition to guide more of your choices and actions each day.

Lyme Disease

Looking back on my life, I would say that being diagnosed with Lyme Disease was among the best things that ever happened to me.
WHAT? Did I just write that?
Yes, and I mean it. The test that confirmed my Lyme Disease was done in September of 2013, just a little more than three years ago. In many ways, I am not the same person I was then. Here’s who I am now:
I am a person who put Lyme into remission by relying on herself and her own research and instincts far more than on doctors and pharmaceuticals.
I am person who is grateful for being forced to retire from a teaching career that I enjoyed very much, but which was adding to my stress and not adding to my health.
I am a person who enjoys a slower, quieter, healthier life.
I am a person who is careful about diet and exercise.
I am a person who gets enough sleep.
I am a person who realizes the connection we all have to each other through a higher power. It can be called Source, or the Quantum Field, or God, or whatever else you might choose to call it.
But the greatest discovery I made is the one I actually want to share with you. It’s about your intuition. Yes, your intuition. I have found mine, and I can help you find yours. Stay tuned.

How are those New Year’s Resolutions workin’ out for ya?

I’m actually doing pretty well.  I promised I would write something every day, and here I am.  (I’m not going to publish everything, though, so there won’t be that much for you to read – hope that helps).  And I have been exercising more – yoga and rebounding here at home added to the twice weekly trips to the swimming pool.

But I didn’t show up here to brag about my own success.  I was wondering if there was anything I could do to help you succeed in getting healthier in 2017.  Mostly, I wanted to point out that this whole New Year thing is rather overblown.  Since I’ve been consistently involved with the USA school year (not the first five years before kindergarten  or the past three years since I retired, but for the other 58 years of my life), it has always seemed to be that a new school year was much more like a fresh start than some arbitrary winter day in January.

And that’s my point.  Don’t let the next 361 days go by without doing something different just because the first 4 days of January are already in the book.  Start something new today…or tomorrow…or next week.  I started the eating plan that helped me get healthy and 30 pounds later one day in February of 2015.  That’s about two years ago.  Does the exact day matter?  Not really.  Does feeling better and being 30 pounds lighter make a difference?  Absolutely.

If you want to check out my eating plan, it’s called the Wheat Belly Way of Eating (or WOE).  I don’t get any kind of compensation from endorsing Dr. Davis or his work or his books or his blog.  I am simply a fan who knows that this works.  Find out more at http://www.wheatbellyblog.com  They have new groups starting every month all year long.  And you don’t even have to wait for that.  You can start your new year and your new life as soon as you’re ready.