Wheel of Life

Wheel of Life

Life is like a wheel. One day you’re on the top, the next you’re on the bottom. Last month we felt certain that our son, Blake, was on the road to recovery. This month, we were in the ER three times and Blake was diagnosed with yet another autoimmune condition: Henoch-Schonlein Purpura (HSP).

HSP is a rare autoimmune disease that causes inflammation and bleeding in the small blood vessels in your skin, joints, intestines and kidneys. Most children recover from this illness with no long-term side effects but in rare cases it causes kidney failure.

During his HSP flare ups, Blake’s feet were so swollen that he couldn’t walk. Since Blake’s physical activity was severely limited, we spent a lot of time cuddling in our backyard hammock.

One evening when we were lying there, the clouds parted and Blake caught a glimpse of the moon. He hugged me tight and laughed out loud. “Do you see how beautiful the moon looks through the tree branches?” Blake asked. Then he added “I love you so much! I don’t ever want you or Daddy to die. I want us to live together forever!”  I briefly looked down at Blake’s swollen feet, before turning my gaze back up to the sky.

Blake has taught me more about love and joy than anyone. I used to worry that if he was on the Autism Spectrum, he would never develop deep connections or have loving relationships. We still have many concerns about Blake’s future but I know that those particular fears are unfounded.


 

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Posted in ADHD, Austism, Parenting

Closing the GAP: My Personal Journey Towards Optimal Health

Changes

 

When I learned that Autism and ADHD could potentially be cured with dietary changes, I was at once thrilled and anxious.

I am intimately familiar with both the power food has to heal and the potential it has to harm. Not long ago, I underestimated the impact of my own personal nutrition experiment, which threw my hormones out of whack, caused my reproductive system to shut down, and sent my body into survival mode.

In light of this recent experience, I was apprehensive about making another radical change to my diet. However, after doing extensive research on Gut and Psychology Syndrome, I became convinced that the only way to truly resolve Blake’s health issues (as opposed to simply managing his symptoms) was to heal and seal his gut, detoxify his body, and replace missing nutrients.  Since I couldn’t imagine asking my son to do something that I wasn’t willing to do myself, I committed to strictly following the Gut And Psychology Syndrome (GAPS) nutritional protocol alongside Blake.

My personal reaction to the GAPS Introductory Elimination diet was far more intense than I anticipated. In many ways it mirrored my experience during pregnancy. Instead of feeling “glowy” and happy as per my expectation, I was perpetually rashy and bitchy. I often felt foggy and exhausted during the day and restless at night. Reminiscent of my third trimester, I would wake up to pee several times a night and subsequently lie awake for hours, trying to wrap my head around the profound sense of responsibility I felt.

My somewhat reckless attitude towards probiotics (“a little is good, massive amounts must be better!”) initially made it difficult to assess whether the negative symptoms that I experienced during the GAPS introduction diet were part of die off/a healing crisis or indicative that this regime is just not good for me.

When my negative symptoms refused to subside 5 weeks into the diet, I was advised to re-introduce sweet potatoes, increase my overall carbohydrate consumption and reduce my fat intake. After making these simple tweaks, I felt 100% within a few days.

Today I feel better than ever!  Initially I felt like I was making a huge lifestyle sacrifice for my son. Now I see that this is one of the countless ways that Blake is making me a better person.

I want to conclude this post by sharing a touching Mother’s Day article written by my friend Julie Daniluk, a phenomenal person and an amazing holistic nutritionist.

 


 

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Posted in ADHD, Austism, Health and Fitness, Parenting, Peak Performance

Hell’s Kitchen:

Gut and Psychology Syndrome (GAPS) Nutritional Protocol and Detox Program – 2 Month Update

Hell's_Kitchen

I recently saw someone wearing a t-shirt that read: “What stage of hell are we in?” I immediately assumed that he was working his way through the 6 stages of the GAPS introduction diet too.

Our family officially began the GAPS nutritional protocol and detox program in March and the past two months have been an intense roller coaster ride. My husband Rob and I implemented this difficult nutritional protocol under duress, two weeks before a pre-booked trip to Disney World. FYI – I wouldn’t recommend that particular vacation destination to anyone committed to eating clean food.

Admittedly, our GAPS diet implementation was ill-timed, however, we felt compelled to adhere to it as strictly as possible after seeing extreme regression in our son, Blake, following a string of social events where we failed to restrict his food freedom.  Blake’s typically mild ADHD, dyspraxia and autism symptoms became wildly obvious after he ate sugar, wheat, or dairy.

When I read this and this, I knew what we had to do.

I knew that the GAPS diet would not be easy. To understand what makes it so challenging: check out this fearless eating post.

There were many weeks when Rob and I felt like our lives were completely consumed by meal planning, grocery shopping, cooking and dish washing.  So were our Herculean efforts worthwhile?

Research suggests that “It gets worse before it gets better” but almost immediately after beginning the diet, we gave Blake aggressive probiotics (in the form of home-fermented kefir and sauerkraut) and I caught a glimpse of the potential healing power of GAPS. For the first time, Blake demonstrated the ability to follow multi-step instructions independently (e.g. put your toys away, then put on your socks and meet me by the door). Typically Blake would get distracted during the first step and he would require consistent prompting to stay on track. Blake also became super chatty with his toys and he volunteered to tell us stories at dinner that he had never shared before.

Unfortunately, Blake’s symptoms intensified shortly thereafter. We had been advised that during the initial stages of GAPS, each person goes through a “die-off” period, which temporarily increases the amount of toxins in the body.  As we introduce probiotics, beneficial bacteria is teaming with the overgrowth of pathogenic bacteria.  This releases toxins into the blood stream for our detoxification organs (especially the liver and skin) to deal with. Rob, Blake and I all experienced highly individual “die-off” symptoms. I will share more about our diverse healing journeys in subsequent posts.

We were told that healing is always two steps forward, one step back. Some days, Rob and I are absolutely convinced that the GAPS nutritional protocol and detox program is working. Other days, worrying symptoms return with a vengeance.

On the plus side, Blake and Rob have experienced some objective, positive physical results since starting the GAPS program. Blake’s body weight has increased by 10% and his normally bloated tummy now looks slender. Rob’s body weight has decreased by about 8% and he has definition in his abs that I’ve never seen before. I look and weigh pretty much the same as I did before. 😕


 

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Posted in ADHD, Austism, Parenting

Is There a Cure for Autism?

GAPS Diet, Autism, ADHDI used to believe that Autism was a life-long developmental condition for which there was no cure. I no longer believe this to be the case.

Over the past year my son, Blake, began manifesting symptoms of Autism, ADHD and Dyspraxia (a developmental disorder affecting fine and/or gross motor coordination). Blake struggled to meet some key social and physical milestones and he exhibited excessive self-stimulating behaviours (spinning, covering his ears with his hands, walking on his toes, chewing on everything he could get his hands on, vocal expressions, frequent posturing, seeking pressure).

Until recently, I believed that there were fundamental differences in the brains of individuals on the autism spectrum that affected their learning, sensory perception, and communication. I have since learned that Autism isn’t just a brain disorder. It is a whole body disorder diagnosed by what is observable. However, these signs and symptoms are often the result of underlying co-occurring/comorbid medical conditions.

The more I researched, the clearer it became — Autism, ADHD, ADD, Dyspraxia, Dyslexia, Depression, and Schizophrenia are all “Brain-Gut” disorders.  The data in Dr. David Perlmutter’s book, Grain Brain, helped me make sense of a pattern that I had long observed in Blake. Whenever he ate “inflammatory foods” like grains, dairy and sugar, he became hyperactive, unable to focus and his self-stimulating behaviours intensified.

After reading Dr. Mark Hyman’s article, Can Autism be Cured? the treatment plan for Blake became apparent:

Step 1: Fix His Gut and Cool the Inflammation There

Step 2: Replace the Missing Nutrients to Help His Genes Work Better

Step 3: Detoxify and Reduce Oxidative Stress

In hypnotherapy, the mind can follow the body or the body can follow the mind. I know that when we heal Blake’s body, his mind will follow. To that end, our family implemented the GAPS (Gut and Psychology Syndrome) nutritional protocol last Friday.  We are committed to following this challenging gut-healing nutritional/detox program for two years — the minimum suggested time frame given Blake’s symptoms.

I hate the idea of subjecting my son to such a restrictive regime but I want him to have the guts to live an unlimited life (pun intended!) Blake already has the spirit of a champion. I am confident that this nutritional protocol will help him build the mind and body to match.


 

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Posted in ADHD, Austism, Health and Fitness, Parenting

Your Diagnosis Is Not Your Destiny

doors of perception

I’m pleased to introduce a hypnotherapy program for children (8+ years of age) on the autism spectrum:

Opening the Doors of Perception: Mind Mastery for those Who Think Outside the Box

This program is designed to improve:

  • Concentration/Attention
  • Sensory Integration
  • Impulsivity/Self-Regulation
  • Emotional/Stress Management

Participants in the program will learn to effectively shift their focus and alter their perception of reality.

This Hypnotherapy program, titled OPENING the Doors of Perception, is based on the Mind at Large concept from The Doors of Perception and Heaven and Hell by Aldous Huxley.

In the aforementioned books, Huxley explores the idea that the human mind filters reality.

According to Huxley,  “The function of the brain and nervous system and sense organs is in the main eliminative and not productive.

Each person is at each moment capable of remembering all that has ever happened to him and of perceiving everything that is happening everywhere in the universe.

The function of the brain and nervous system is to protect us from being overwhelmed and confused by this mass of largely  useless and irrelevant knowledge, by shutting out most of what we should otherwise perceive or remember at any moment, and leaving out that very small and special selection which is likely to be practically useful.  According to such a theory, each of us is potentially Mind at Large.

Click here to read more

But in so far as we are animals, our business is at all costs to survive. To make biological survival possible, Mind at Large has to be funneled through the reducing valve of the brain and nervous system. What comes out the other end is a measly trickle of the kind of consciousness that will help us stay alive on the surface of this particular planet.

To formulate and express the contents of this reduced awareness, man has invented and endlessly elaborated those symbol systems and implicit philosophies which we call languages. Every individual is at once the beneficiary and the victim of the linguistic tradition into which she has been born – the beneficiary inasmuch as language gives access to the accumulated records of other people’s experience, the victim in so far as it confirms him in the belief that reduced awareness is the only awareness and as it bedevils his sense of reality, so that he is all too apt to take his concepts for data, his words for actual things.

Most people, most of the time, know only what comes through the reducing valve and is consecrated as genuinely real by local language. Certain persons, however, seem to be born with a kind of by-pass that circumvents the reducing valve. In others, temporary by-passes can be acquired either spontaneously or as the result of deliberate spiritual exercises or through hypnosis or by means of drugs.

What the rest of us see see only under the influence of mescalin, the artist is congenitally equipped to see all the time. His perception is not limited to what is biologically or socially useful. A little of the knowledge belonging to Mind at Large oozes past the reducing valve of brain and ego into his consciousness. It is a knowledge of the intrinsic significance of every existent. For the artist as for the mescalin taker, draperies are living hieroglyphs that stand in some peculiarly expressive way for the unfathomable mystery of pure being.

“This is how one ought to see, I kept saying as I looked down at my trousers or glanced at the jeweled books I n the shelves, at the legs of my infinitely more than Van Goghian chair. This is how one ought to see, how things really are’. And yet there were reservations. For if one always saw like this, one would never want to do anything else.

How I longed to be left alone with Eternity in a flower, Infinity in four chair legs, and the Absolute in the folds of a pair of flannel trousers. I realized that I was deliberately avoiding the eyes of those who were with me in the room, deliberately refraining from being too much aware of them. One was my wife, the other a man I respected and greatly liked; but both belonged to the world from which for the moment, mescalin had delivered me – the world of selves, of time, of moral judgements and utilitarian considerations, the world of self-assertion, of cocksureness, of over-valued words and idolatrously worshiped notions.”

Research suggests that individuals who manifest symptoms of Autism are born with a type of by-pass that circumvents the reducing valve. Consequently sensory information is processed differently, causing hyper and hypo-sensitivities and other integration challenges.

Watch this video to see how hypnosis can be used to alter sensory processing filters and subsequently improve every day emotional and physical experiences.

 

Please contact me to book a complimentary consultation and free hypnosis trial.


 

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Sometimes We Need A Little Magic

Our Minds Make it Real

I was originally inspired to learn self-hypnosis in my early twenties, after watching a hypnotism stage show, which showed me what was possible when conscious barriers were broken down.

If not for the shameless audacity that characterized my youth, I probably would never have taken to the stage and attempted the classic parlour tricks that make people fear hypnosis.
At *almost* 40-years of age, I still love facilitating hypnosis stage shows because they show how powerful our minds are in creating our reality.

Yet we all have the hypnotic power to manifest true magic in our lives.  Liberally interpreted, every thought that we have is self-hypnosis. Our bodies naturally respond to self-created mental pictures – I simply show people how to take advantage of this natural phenomenon to achieve their desired results.

If you are ready to master your mind and manifest true magic in your life, please contact me to learn more about upcoming self-hypnosis workshops and hypnotherapy.


 

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Pop Up Hypnosis !

Pop Up Hypnosis Practice Session. Free Admission.  Please pre-register

Pop Up Hypnosis Practice Session. Free Admission. Please pre-register

 


 

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First Corporate Hypnosis Stage Event of 2017!

It was awesome to perform on Freaky Friday the 13th!! It was a privilege to play with the BIG Shiny Brains at BEworks Inc!!

 

StageShow1

 

StageShow2


 

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Posted in Hypnosis, Stage Performance

Unleash the Tiger Within!

Turn Resolutions into Results – 4-Week Self-Hypnosis Workshop Series Starting on February 1st:

Registration Information Here:

tiger


 

Posted in Hypnosis, Peak Performance

Conclusion of My New Mindful-Body Experiment: Achieving Optimal Balance

trail-running-

 

“If you are willing to do only what’s easy, life will be hard. But if you’re willing to do what’s hard, life will be easy.” – T. Harv Eker

I am thrilled to report that my latest 39-day experiment is finally over!! It was hard and I didn’t enjoy it but I am pleased with the final results. By the conclusion of this experiment, I successfully achieved all 3 of my key objectives:

  1. My scary symptoms disappeared
  2. My period returned
  3. My blood work confirmed that my hormones are all within the normal range

The first two weeks of the experiment were extremely difficult for me. Researchers have concluded that withdrawal from extreme exercise can feel similar to heroin withdrawal (https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090817143600.htm). Although I don’t know what heroin withdrawal feels like, I can confirm that my exercise withdrawal experience was not fun.

My symptoms included:

  • Profound waves of sadness
  • Feeling like my muscles were wasting away
  • Compulsive urges to run hard and push/pull/lift heavy things
  • Achiness
  • Anxiousness
  • Restlessness
  • Exhaustion

I also had repeated nightmares of accidentally consuming forbidden food and drinks (pastries, cappuccinos, chocolate, wine and cheese).

If it weren’t for my son, Blake, who consistently shows me how to be happy for no reason, I likely would not have had many joyful moments during the first few weeks of this experiment.

This 39-day mindful-body balancing experiment focused on 4 pillars of health:

  1. Exercise:

I froze my gym membership for 39 days and implemented a progressive movement plan that allowed me to incorporate light physical activity into my routine.  Click the down arrow for details. 

During the first week, my only “exercise” was 30-60 minutes of walking per day.

During the second week, I added bicycling at a leisurely pace for up to 45 minutes (maximum: 3 times/week).

During the third week, I added six 10 second sprints (maximum: 1 minute of running/week).

During the fourth week, I added 1 set of pull-ups, push-ups, and 10 unweighted squats (maximum: 3 times/week)

After the fourth week, I added 2 more set of pull-ups, push-ups, and 15 unweighted squats (maximum: 3 times/week)

  1. Nutrition:

Meal Timing:

I ate within 30 minutes of waking and then again every 2 and ½ to 3 hours. While this doesn’t sound particularly challenging, I found it incredibly time-consuming and inconvenient to prepare and pack enough “mini-meals” to satisfy my nutritional requirements for an entire day out.

Diet and Supplementation:

I ate at least 1 cup of dark leafy/fibrous greens, 25 grams of protein and some “good fat” with every meal (including “mini meals” AKA snacks). I salted my food liberally (using pink Himalayan salt), added heaps of superfoods to everything (such as chia, hemp hearts, bee pollen, cacao nibs) and started eating more estrogen-producing foods (such as tempeh, sunflower seeds, edamame, sesame).

Click the down arrow to see my diet and supplements list:

I took the following supplements daily for the duration of the experiment:

  1. Urgent care probiotics
  2. Magnesium
  3. Super B Complex
  4. Vitamin D
  5. Bee propolis
  6. L-glutamine
  7. Primrose oil/flax powder
  8. Fish oil
  9. Astragalus
  10. St. Francis Herb Strest Tonic
  11. Genestra TADs Adrenal support
  12. Licorice extract

I also consumed each of the following food/drinks daily for the duration of the experiment:

  1. 2 large cloves of raw garlic
  2. 1 table spoon of turmeric powder with black pepper
  3. Baking soda/Lime diluted with water
  4. Coconut water
  5. Green tea with lemon and *lots* of ginger
  6. Chamomile and Hibiscus tea
  7. A minimum of 2 liters of lightly salted water with lemon

I completely eliminated the following from my diet for the duration of the experiment:

  1. Sugar
  2. Dairy
  3. Wheat
  4. Alcohol
  5. Coffee
  1. Sleep:

I recognized that I need far more rest and recovery time than I had been giving myself so I committed to adjusting my social calendar, my screen time and my sleep schedule accordingly.  Click the down arrow for details.

Week 1: I committed to ending my screen time by 8:00pm and going to bed at 10pm, 5 nights/week.

Week 2: I extended my screen time to 8:30pm and my bedtime to 10:30pm, 3 nights/week.

Week 3, I extended my screen time to 9pm and my bedtime to 11pm, 4 nights/week.

This component of the experiment represented a major lifestyle shift for me. I typically start my nights around 8 or 9pm and trade sleep for social opportunities whenever I can. In general, I find that interesting conversations are much more likely to occur after 10pm!

  1. Relaxation practices:

I did self-hypnosis exercises every morning. I had candle lit, epsom salt baths and castor oil massages before bed almost every night. I listened to “chill” music frequently and got a dose of “trail therapy” in High Park or the Humber River with Blake at least 5 days/week.

Conclusions:

Giving up all of my vices at once was tough.  I have had many dark nights of the soul over the past 39 days and after much contemplation, I have decided to quit long distance running for good. One of my hypnotherapy clients described her experience of quitting smoking and her words perfectly reflected my feelings about quitting long distance running: “I feel both a sense of relief and a sense of loss…like I’m saying good-bye to my worst enemy and closest companion.”

I thought about how hard I had worked to train myself to fight against the most basic human needs – food and rest – and actually win the battle. Ironically, the extreme training that created the imbalances in my body also helped me resolve them.

Once I learned to embrace the pain, something amazing happened: I actually started to enjoy the process. I figured if I could beat the suffering I put myself through in my last 39-day experiment, I could overcome almost anything. I was already used to following a restrictive diet, making countless trips to the health food store and consuming ridiculous quantities of nutritional supplements. Compared to being in survival/starvation mode, the boredom of balance didn’t look half bad! 😉

I had expected my body to start deteriorating the minute I stopped exercising and surprisingly, that was not the case at all. Any changes to muscle tone or body fat over the 39-day period were subtle enough to be imperceptible to me. Now that I’m back at the gym, I see that the break has been good for my body. After shaking off the initial cobwebs, I feel like I’ve come back stronger.

I am now acutely aware of the fact that any increases to the intensity of my training program require proportionate decreases to the duration and frequency. I’m also much more conscious of the nutritional support and rest time that I need in order to fully recover from periods of stress.

As I continue to direct increasing amounts of energy into passions unrelated to exercise/training, new possibilities are emerging in my life. I may be walking my path at a slower pace, but I am moving forward more purposefully. The movement feels less compulsive and more intentional.

This search for optimal balance has helped me temper my sense of urgency with a sense of clarity. It has inspired me to find safer, easier, more direct routes to my ultimate destination. I am finding my way out of the woods and it feels good to finally be coming home.


 

 

 

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Posted in Health and Fitness, Peak Performance
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