A brand spanking new podcast episode will appear…hopefully before the end of the week. It will be Food = Medicine: Mushrooms. But, for now…check out these Food = Medicine podcast episodes:

An interview with Sandor Katz – the Fermentation King

Food = Medicine (1) – featuring two mostly plant-based consuming friends, one with DM1, the other with DM2

Food = Medicine (2) – an interview with Jill Nussinow, R.D., The Veggie Queen

Food = Medicine: Cooking with Love – featuring a chef who prepared special foods for her father with Parkinson’s disease, an organic farmer, and a chef who prepares foods with cannabis

Selective memory? I remember many things. Like that amazing dinner we had last night at a posh vegan restaurant somewhere in London. I even remember the name — Vanilla Black. But I have no idea what I had for breakfast, lunch, or dinner three days ago.

It probably wasn’t as memorable. Not as pretty. Not as tasty. And maybe not as healthy.

Depending on our metabolism, our digestion may move slowly…sluggishly…so it’s prudent to have a sense of what you eat, how much, and when. How can you know what may have disagreed with your system if your memory isn’t always keen?

Last year when I started using the Health Storylines app, I took quickly to the Food Diary feature. Having the app on my home desktop computer as well as my smartphone allows me to capture my meals quickly without relying on three-day old memories.

The feature also provides space for you to record any type of physical reaction to the meal.

Another way I use the feature is to scan how I’ve been eating the past few days — have I consumed enough greens, fruits, and other healthy whole foods? Am I limiting my intake of processed foods?

Because I can’t rely on my memory. πŸ˜‰

Just a few things to mention. It’s your time to catch up on missed episodes while I’m away. Check the website for links to The heat is on: how weather affects our health and Accessible Yoga.

For more tips on how to beat the heat, visit the Brain & Life website.

Don’t forget to sign up for the email newsletter and subscribe to the YouTube channel.

In this third of a series podcast episode, Valerie Sans shares how her cancer experience had a dramatic impact on her life. After surgery and chemo treatment, she left a career of teaching to co-found a travel company, French Escapade, and explored alternative healing modalities including the Budwig Diet, homeopathy, immunotherapy, Beljanski Protocol, acupuncture, Papimi, and a more plant-based diet.

For those of you unfamiliar with sophrology — which includes me — here’s an introduction. Valerie talks about meeting with a sophrologist as routine in the French healthcare system.

If memory serves me correctly, the phrase garbage in, garbage out refers to the quality of computer programming. But it can also be applied to how we eat. Think about it. You’ve heard we are what we eat, but…our poop definitely reflects what we eat. Indeed!

Okay, I crossed that line. I talked about poop. Since we now have poop emoji maybe the discussion is not as profane as it was when I was growing up.

I can’t remember ever being asked by a doctor about my poop/defecation/elimination routine. If you had diarrhea, you talked about it but it was not an in-depth conversation regarding the size, shape, and color of it.

In the mid-90s, when I first went to an acupuncture clinic, there was deep talk about some deep shit (ha!). Until that point I’d not really shared anything about my daily multiple bowel movements. I assumed I had IBS which every other woman I knew seemed to have. But the acupuncture practitioner spent time listening to what my diet consisted of – both food and beverages. She seized on my large glass of fresh organic orange juice each morning.

Even though I started eating a vegetarian diet in college, I still had some GI issues. Once I gave up the daily juice (huge blast of sugar in my system) and the inexpensive veggie restaurant meals, my GI system got some welcome relief. I became the TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) poster child for the perfect one poop a day.

Another eye opener for me happened just a few years ago at a Stanford University Neuromuscular Patient Conference. A young charismatic gastroenterologist introduced the Bristol Stool Chart to us. She reviewed how to use it and gave it her MD blessing. Finally, there was a language to use to talk about poop and not feel juvenile.

Health Storylines Stool Diary Tool

The Health Storylines app has a Stool Diary feature that uses the Bristol Stool Chart to help you maintain a record of your elimination (or poop!). Now, why would you want to do this?

Lots of reasons. The first that comes to mind is to use it along with the Food Diary so you have a better understanding of what you eat and how your system responds. Garbage in, garbage out.

The second reason is cautionary. Just today I was reading an article, “How to Lower Your Risk of Cancer” in the April 2019 issue of Nutrition Action Healthletter. Warning signs for colon and rectum cancer include diarrhea or constipation and bright red or very dark blood in your stool. Warning signs for esophagus cancer include black stools.

If you listened to an early podcast episode about a friend who battled colon cancer, you’ll recall she ignored some early signs of blood in her stool. Your body often sends you messages that you should be mindful of. Keeping track of what you eat and how your system responds is a good way to keep that conversation going.

In the second part of this podcast episode series Jeanette Marin shares her story about a thyroid cancer diagnosis and how it changed her life. Jeanette is married with 4 children and a stand-up comic.

To see Jeanette perform, follow her on social media: Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.

How does a diagnosis of cancer and treatment change a person? In this 3-part series you’ll hear different stories on how a woman – diagnosed with cancer (breast, thyroid, and ovarian) – experienced the changes.

In part 1 Shannon Lee Knorr, a Pilates and yoga instructor, shares how her own yoga practice and teaching style changed.

So, what is fatigue? It’s not a fancy word. Most of us probably think it’s synonymous with being tired. But, is it?

Wikipedia’s entry for fatigue includes:

Fatigue is a subjective feeling of tiredness that has a gradual onset. Unlike weakness, fatigue can be alleviated by periods of rest. Fatigue can have physical or mental causes. Physical fatigue is the transient inability of a muscle to maintain optimal physical performance, and is made more severe by intense physical exercise. Mental fatigue is a transient decrease in maximal cognitive performance resulting from prolonged periods of cognitive activity. It can manifest as somnolence, lethargy, or directed attention fatigue.

There were frequent times when I felt like I had a good night’s sleep but I would experience sudden fatigue during the day. It didn’t make sense until I started paying attention to when the fatigue would appear. It took awhile before I fully understood a pattern and started to have more control over the bouts of fatigue.

Aside from doing my best nightly sleep hygiene, I changed my diet to smaller, more frequent meals. My body can’t handle larger meals nor certain types of food. Once I made these dietary changes, my bouts of fatigue became less frequent.

If you’re using the Health Storylines app, you might want to explore the Fatigue Manager tool to help you track and identify the cause of your fatigue.

Fatigue Manager Tool in Health StoryLines app

February 28 is International Rare Disease Day. There are over 6,000 rare diseases or disorders with 80% having genetic origins. Global events are planned to draw attention to the need for medical research.

This brief, light-hearted podcast episode shares a few less critical aspects to having a rare disease. For a deeper dive, check out last year’s Rare Disease podcast episode.

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An echocardiogram technician told me I have a beautiful heart and that got me going. What makes for good heart health? What role do genetics, lifestyle, and environment play?

Dr. Erica Pitsch talks about the Framingham Heart Study, John talks about congestive heart failure and Mended Hearts, and Saurabh shares how yoga and meditation help his stress level and coping with myotonic muscular dystrophy. For additional tips on heart health, check out the Harvard Heart Letter.

Earlier podcast episodes you may find of interest: