Fresh Start Together

Hi there, PDX!

Welcome to 2021~

Lan Su, Portland Classical Chinese Garden, has held a special place in my heart for nearly two decades. After wandering the intricate stone paths, the beautiful teahouse run by our local Tao of Tea, was the place I would meet my clients early on in my nutrition coaching career, before I ever had a physical office space. We would meet over tea and carry out our sessions right there, in the garden. Sometimes, we would stay in the tea house for the entire duration of the sessions, and sometimes we would walk and talk. The garden’s Scholar’s Pavillion is where I used to hold my nutrition lectures, free to the public. This is where some of you met me for the first time. The garden holds many memories indeed.

And while the start of 2021 proved to be more stressful that we had hoped for, the garden is still here for us. I feel like we need it more than ever before. It is now opened again to the public, with the tea house offering tea and snacks to go, to be enjoyed outside on the bamboo tables and chairs adjacent to the beautiful pond.

This is where I would love to extend a meeting invitation for you.

If 2020 has taught us anything, it is that plans are to be adapted, human interaction cherished and the beautiful outdoors revered. So let us meet and chat about what plans you might have for yourself this year and where you might need a helping hand from yours truly.

Prior to 2020, well-defined Functional Medicine and Nutrition protocols guided nearly all of my client interactions. And while these are still my guiding principles, I am realizing that many of us might need to start a little lighter and a little smaller right now. We have all been through a lot this past year. So let’s allow ourselves to take little steps. One at a time.

The first one can be as simple as chatting over tea to figure out where you think you need help the most.

Is it help around starting your day with a breakfast that is easy to make and gives you energy? Is it figuring out how to get you better, more relaxing sleep, so that you can wake up truly refreshed, ready again to help those who need you most during these trying times? Or it is something else entirely? Let’s figure it out together. After hearing and clarifying what you need help with the most, I will email you a customized “work together towards your goal” proposal that you can make a decision on after reviewing. No strings attached.

If, on the other hand, all you need right now is to meet with a human who is simply there for you to listen and understand, that is great, and maybe plenty for now. You decide. Just come to the garden. Especially if you have not been back for a while. Its calm and wise energy will nourish you, as it always has before – do you remember it? If you have never been to the garden, please come to experience its tranquility, to cherish now more than ever before.

Garden admission, tea and snacks are on me. All you have to do is to pick a time that works for you. I will take care of the rest and meet you in front of the garden. Let’s do this. It has been too long. Here is the link to choose a time that works for you and book it. The total cost to you is $39. I want for you to be able to enjoy the garden right now.

Logistical note: masks are required everywhere in the garden, except for the designated outdoor areas for enjoying tea. If chatting over tea while physically, but not socially, distanced works well for you, we will do that. If you prefer instead to stroll around or sit elsewhere in the garden for a chat with the masks on, that is great as well. In that case, I am happy to buy you tea and a yummy snack to take home or anywhere else your day takes you later. The choice is yours. I am there for an hour of your time (garden admission tickets are currently one hour long, to make sure all guests enjoy plenty of outdoor space with no crowding).

Let’s make our own fresh start together, to support our spirits and the local economy.


Gentle Reset 2021: what do you need help with?

  • One hour of my listening ears
  • Garden admission, tea and snack
  • Customized proposal to follow, no strings attached
  • Total investment: $39

I can’t wait to meet with you soon!

WHY Self Care is More Important then Ever Before

Photo by Lisa Fotios on

“F#CK! YOU ARE IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ROAD!” he yelled. Oddly, the expletive and the rant were directed at me. A man yelled that from the window of his truck traveling the opposite direction from me. 

We were not sharing a lane. I was biking uphill, my bike heavily loaded with groceries. He was driving downhill, traveling in the opposite direction.

Now I do not love biking in the middle of the lane regardless of whether or not a dedicated bike lane is available (it was not today). Today was a different day altogether. High winds spreading the smoke in Portland from the nearby fires were in full swing. There were broken tree brunches towards the right side of each street’s direction making that area dangerous and impassable by bike. That is what I saw before I made the decision to bike in the middle of my lane (NOT the road:-)). Still, I did not want to slow anyone behind me down so I carefully pulled over to the side and let every car behind me pass. Seeing the now completely empty lane behind me, I hopped back on my bike and pedaled uphill in the middle of my empty lane. The uphill bike ride was safe and peaceful… until I was jerked out of my Zen by the man yelling and cursing at me. It took me a couple of seconds to realize he was, indeed, yelling at me (there were still zero cards behind me going my direction). 

I am grateful for what happened next. I have to admit that my first response was to pull (you know which one) finger at the dude. By the time my brain realized he was yelling at me, however, I had biked well past him and the finger would simply had confused and unnecessarily agitated the other motorists facing me. I felt my body pulsating from what my brain had interpreted as hurt and injustice. This is when I realized I need that OUT of MY body.

So, I straightened my shoulders, took a deep inhale and exhaled. I then (briefly while still biking) placed my left hand on my solarpexus chakra area. And I said outloud.  “Dear Universe, I give this man to YOU. He is YOURS to deal with.” And I watched myself smile with relief. And, just like that, my stress melted away. The man’s aggression was not mine to handle any longer. 

I do not know what was going on through the man’s mind when he yelled at me. I never will. While I did have a few seconds of judgement directed at him (“What kind of driver yells at a biker??”), I no longer feel any judgement or resentment towards him. I understand these are very rough times for anyone.  Perhaps, he needed some help from the Universe today. This is what I meant that I “released” him to her. Let HER help him. I, a mother safely biking groceries to my family, cannot. I trust that he finds the help he needs. I would also like to take this opportunity to remind all the Beautiful People out there to #feedyourgutbrain. In order to feel grounded and safe. Please take care of yourselves. It is not selfish, it is necessary. You need to feel strong in order to be kind to others. It is harder to do and needed more than ever. 

Don’t know where to start in order to #feedyourgutbrain? Book a free consultation

“What are your thoughts on taking Zinc for immune health?”

The Choice is Yours…

This was part of the question one of my recent clients asked me.

I answered it to the best of my ability and knowing that I had a legal waiver on file signed by this client:-).  Because I am NOT a doctor and don’t even play one on youtube;-). The very concise summary of my response to this particular client, given my scope of practice, was:  1) Zinc is HUGELY important to immune system health and 2) whether on not ONE needs to supplement really depends one ONE’s individual zinc status.

Personally, I tend to be low in zinc (bunch of genetic variants at play), so I do supplement daily, regardless of how much zinc I get in my diet. How do I actually know this? Well, I don’t like to guess. So I test. 

Sadly, your (well meaning but way overworked) doctor may roll her eyes at your humble request for that “zinc serum test…” Luckily, my friend and business partner, Dr. Alan Hopkins, is running a special on his “Immune Panel” right now. Go ahead and check it out to decide if you want it. One of the reasons I partner with Dr. Alan’s company is because he can guarantee confidentially. You purchase the lab test (frequently, at a fraction of what your insurance would bill you), you decide on the lab to draw your blood and then you choose to disclose those test to your doctor (or whoever else you might be working with) or not. The results are encrypted and emailed to you directly – you are in total control of who gets to see them after you, if anyone. This could be a great tool to negotiate for a prescription or more help from your doctor if you would like to. Or it could be a tool to give you information you need at your own fingertips. The choice is yours. As it should be. So check it out to make your own choice. 

On a related, but even more immediately empowering note, you might want to check one of my recent instagram posts.Warning: there is a rant in it (I am tired of people “hogging” hand sanitizers without regard for others, especially immunocompromised and elderly) . The main gist of the post, however, is to give you a tool out of your pantry to boost your immunity easily. So enjoy.

P.S. I did finally find some hand sanitizers at my local co-op. Not enough to buy up for the entire class for one of my kids’, sadly,  so I simply chose to buy just one for each member of my immediate family (so, a total of four), leaving PLENTY for others on the shelf. 

When Easy Does It For Your Gut…

Follow Your Gut, Mama!

“I want a burger for lunch today, Mama!” exclaims your child who had been running a fever and mostly just drinking a lot of liquids for the past few days 😞. As a Mama, your inclination might be to rejoice that your child finally has an appetite and go get that burger 🍔.

And, yet, your own Mama’s gut and brain know better, however. So you sigh and say:”No Sweetie, you really don’t want a burger right now. You have been too sick to eat for the past few days and your gut needs a more gentle restart 😘” I mean, it’s almost like coming off a liquid #kionfast , right? So you make something wonderful (quick and easy) to nourish your kiddo instead❤️. #vitalproteins to #feedyourgutbrain 👍

What is most nutrient dense?

The most nutrient dense thing you could eat/ feed your family

What is the most nutrient dense thing you can eat/ feed your family?

Well, the liver, of course (from a happy pastured or free ranged animal, please ❤️). And when it’s finally in the pot cooking itself into a delicious pâté, you can finally breathe a sign of relief. Because, after you clean up your space , your cat 🐱 is finally done trying to jump on the kitchen counter to lick it clean😅.

Because , even if you already gave him the appropriate amount of chopped raw liver, he does not always know to stop. All he can feel is that it is deeply nourishing and that he can’t count on getting it again soon. Smart #primal animal but liver is so dense, less can be more, and a little goes a long way to #feedyourgutbrain ❤️.

Happy Holidays to You and Yours!

The simpler, the more nutritious

Simple and delicious
Fresh local strawberries – yum!

I am excited for the fresh, first of the season, crop of local Oregon strawberries. I think they make a fantastic combination with freshly made kefir (I make mine from goat milk), a touch of cardamon and local honey!

Yes, that is all there is in my smoothie. I tend to keep them at three ingredients or less and this one is four already (because cardamon – yum!)

And one more thing I usually do with my smoothies: I try my best to not “over-blend” them in order to keep the antioxidants and other nutrients as intact as possible.

Especially kefir – full of B vitamins, vitamin K and precious probiotics – those bugs don’t love to blended at high speed for a long time. So, for this particular smoothie, I only put a spoon of kefir to blend with strawberries, honey and cardamom first. Then, after blending, I gently poured the rest of the kefir in and just gave a shake in my hand. It was mixed perfectly and delicious.

Try it and I hope you enjoy!

No New Year Resolution?

“Ladies and gentlemen, we have zero visibility. A human cannot land this plane under these conditions. So we are going to let the plane land itself as it knows how to do it better than a human. Please use the restrooms and fasten your seat belts once back into your seats. In 10 minutes, the captain is handing the flight controls over to the automatic flight system. We are going to remain in this mode for the last 40 minutes of our flight. The captain is asking you to turn off your electronic devices. He asks that you honor his request to prevent any possible interference with the automatic flight control system.” 

This is what I heard flying back to Portland with my family two weeks ago. It sounded kind of disturbing but there was not anything to do, really (getting off the plane was no longer an option:-)). All passengers sat quietly, some exchanging nervous glances.

In the end, we had a peaceful and smooth landing. The plane descending on autopilot among the dense fob was eerily quiet.

The last 40 minutes of that flight were a very interesting introspective time for me. Somehow, I expected my brain to go into the “I just want to land safely. This is my wake up call to be doing things differently from now on. I am going to do XYZ (insert your own version of this). Please, Dear Universe, just help this plane land safely. I promise I will not let you down.”

Instead, I found myself quite peaceful. No, I was not really crazy about spending the last 40 minutes of the plane in the “autopilot” mode, including landing. And, of course, I wanted everyone to land safely.

I felt peaceful about the things I have been able to accomplish. I felt like I had been a pretty decent human being overall, both on a personal and professional level. I felt no big regrets and no need to “do things differently.” Of course, there are lots of things I still want to get done while on this planet but there was no desperation and no need  for “a fresh new start.”

And that is when I realized that I did not need a New Year resolution. I mean, I did sign up for a new course of study in Bioindivideal Nutrition and Therapeutic Diets later that day (more on that later) but that action was not predicated on our successful landing, it was just something I had planned on doing once home from our trip and back to a reliable WI-fi connection.

Last Sunday morning my daughter and I went to the Powell’s book store (luckily, just a few blocks from our house). We had a wonderful time reading books and chatting over cappuccinos. I thought that we were really fortunate to be able to do this. Fortunate, on so many different levels.  I want to do more of that in the next year. In general, more of simple things that bring me joy.  I also realize that the more I focus on simple small  things that bring me joy, the more energy I have for doing bigger things that might mean a lot to others.  I do not think this has be a “resolution” per se, just something to do more of. What do you think?

What are some simple things that can bring you more joy in 2019?

beverage book caffeine cappuccino
Photo by Pixabay on


You have my permission…

A couple of days ago, I was having lunch with a friend of mine. Who happens to be an amazing colon hydrotheapist here in town. We were chatting about life and business over some delicious food (we are lucky to have some incredible, true farm-to-table, restaurants around here). It sounded like my friend’s business was undergoing some changes and she commented on being grateful to be able to fully address them right now. Because, apparently,  business is fairy slow at the moment. Still consistent (because she really is amazing at what she does) but slow, by comparison to other times. Like, compared to after January 1st, when everyone you know will jump on the “cleanse bandwagon” again. Replete with those c-c-c-cold (and oh, so unpalatably sweet tasting to me) green juices/ smoothies. In the middle of January, naturally (when it might be snowing outside and nothing growing in nature for what is going into that smoothie/ juice).

Well, o.k., maybe not everyone you know. I mean, if you know me, you will likely see me putting a generous heap of fresh cilantro on top of my nitrate and sugar-free bacon as I do often. Or, perhaps, I am baking my bacon on top of a generous heap of cabbage as I do often as well.  But, no, other than lemon or lime for my warm morning water in the morning, I am not juicing in January (in fact, my beloved Omega Juicer is cleaned and lovingly put away to rest until Spring).

I am also likely not waiting until January for a colonic. I get colonics seasonally yet completely uncoordinated with any cleanse (which I do not do at all, but more on that some other time:-)). Colonics are simply a “maintenance” item for me. I like living my life as if I were on a cleanse without actually being on one. I don’t like sugar (be in straight up sugar, kombucha or so called  “healthy” fiber devoid green juice all by itself) and my brain loves good fat. While I happily poop a few times each day (yes, I did just say that),  I like colonics for clearing out “the junk you cannot see,” especially after being exposed to toxins when traveling, etc. Incidentally, did you know: anywhere under one daily bowel movement defines constipation? Some food for thought, isn’t it:-)?

My colon hydrotherapist friend has another cool friend who happens to be a shaman. Yes, apparently, I have cool friends who, in turn, have cool friends:-).  So she shared some recent words of wisdom from her shaman friend with me. That’s when I learned that November is really supposed to be about the energy of “giving.” Not necessarily in the “Thanksgiving way” as the energy of giving is more of a global source, not restricted to any country celebrating any particular holiday. This made a lot of sense to me as I have been feeling an urge to give a lot lately. In various ways in various places that resonate with me and my energy.

I am in the middle of scheduling free “Simple Steps to Better Digestion” lectures at the Portland Chinese Garden again (stay tuned for specific dates in April 2019). I am also talking to a social services agency to donate my time talking about nutrition and lifestyle practices to support brain health for the seniors.  I love donating to food drives (bone broth is my favorite food item to donate at this time of the year). I love spending more time with my kids and volunteering at their schools.  I love being able to do all of the things that fill my heart this time of the year. I do not think I need a cleanse, come January 1st. I will have plenty of energy to keep on doing more good things.

What about you?

I hope you get to focus on giving what feels good and being with those who fill your heart. Stay safe and kind to yourself this holiday season. Do not forget to take care of yourself and your body so that you continue to be available to help and be with those who need you. They may not have the time to wait for you going through that cleanse, after all… And it might be more enjoyable (and easier, in my opinion) to simply honor yourself every day of the year, not just for a short period of time after the 1st of the year. Doesn’t that sound liberating? I hope so.

You have my permission to be awesome to yourself. Starting today.

I like living my life as if I were on a cleanse without actually being on one…


Is “gluten ataxia” a real thing?

Yes it is real and it is becoming more common these days. What it is? It is an autoimmune condition where the antibodies released in response to gluten consumption start attacking your brain (the cerebellum part, to be specific). There is no “cure” other than a complete gluten elimination. If gluten consumption continues in a gluten ataxia sufferer, the damage to the brain can become irreversible.

And you know what else is really interesting about gluten ataxia?  People who suffer from it experience no gut symptoms. “Only” the neurological ones. Yes, you read this correctly. And it is as bad as it sounds.

So should you worry about gluten ataxia? Well, no, because worry would not get you very far.

Should you stop eating gluten? Yes, you should. Wait, WHAT? You mean, without even testing??? Well, good luck with testing as an accurate test is very hard to obtain in this case. And how would you feel waiting for a test to confirm that gluten may be “eating” your brain… Would you wait to find out? I chose not to.

Which brings me to resurrecting an article I wrote nearly two and a half years ago. Because when you still believe in something you said a while ago, that is a good thing.

Without further adieu, here is an article from my old blog on which it appeared in June of 2016.

And this brings us to the end of the original post. Why gluten ataxia is starting to get more attention, it is still not fully embraced by many professionals, in spite of  medical research on it documented back in 1998.


A cookie that loves you back?

A smart and impressively successful business woman was sitting in my office telling me she needed to lose weight but did not know how to because she “has already tried everything.” She was already eating healthy and exercising plenty. She was not plagued by any disease (and had tested herself for hundreds of them).

Yet, she would periodically do a curious thing. She would make cookies (gluten-free, because she knew gluten was not healthy for her) and then eat the whole sheet of the cookies she had just made. In one sitting. Predictably, she would feel overstuffed and ill immediately afterwards.

She did not understand why she was doing that and wanted to know. “I feel like I am padding myself to protect myself” she kept saying. This woman had been to countless nutrition and mental health professionals, mainstream and alternative kind. I could not tell if the theory of “needing to pad herself” was from her own thinking or something some professional had convinced her of. In a way, it did not really matter because I had a very different hunch: I thought (and still do) that the actual reason for eating a whole sheet of freshly baked cookies was self loathing and self punishment. The fact that, in spite of how incredibly intelligent and successful this woman was (she was also very good looking, even with no make up and in the sweatpants/ shirt she came to see me in), deep inside, she did not believe she deserved anything she had worked so hard to achieve. She had a terrifically rough childhood. Part of her grown-up business success was due to her plea to never feel poor or hungry again. She had plenty of funds to take care of herself now and, yet, deep inside, she did not believe she was worthy of any of it. Hence, the need to eat the whole sheet of cookies to fully justify hating herself shortly after… My heart ached for her and it still does. Because she was one of the most inspiring women I had met with the least amount of self-esteem.

This “self-loathing junk food consumption” thing is nothing new. At all. And, while in the case of that particular individual, a healthier cookie is not the solution necessarily, it is one that could be used as a benign “crutch” if you will. Because you can make cookies with love towards yourself and actually enjoy eating them until you are satisfied without guilt. Enter my grain free collagen cookie. These delicious morsels are stock full of protein and healthy fat. And here is what else is “shocking” about them: your body (even if you do not trust it) will actually stop you before you have eaten too many. You will  simply feel too full and satiated before you are physically uncomfortable. Healthy fat and protein have that effect on digestion and metabolism.

Just to prove my point, the last time I made them, I tried to eat the whole tray and I could not. Not even half, and not even close. It was not possible. These “cookies” are too much like a balanced starvation-free meal than a sugar cookie devoid of nutrition. Check them out. Make them. Have them with your morning coffee or make them into an afternoon snack. See how many you can eat in one sitting. Hint: not many. Extra bonus: these keep extremely well in or out of the fridge.


  • Almond flour – 2 cups
  • Vital Proteins Vanilla Collagen Creamer – 1/2 cup
  • Salt (Himalayan or Celtic is best) 1/2 teaspoon
  • Baking soda – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Grass fed butter melted, ghee or coconut oil – 2 tablespoons
  • Maple syrup (dark, with minerals intact, please) -1/4 cup


Mix in the dry ingredients and wet ones separately, then combine (a simple whisk and then hands work just fine) to knead into moist dough. Shape and bake at 350 F for ~ 10 minutes (do not let them brown as you do not want to oxidize the nut flour).

Enjoy warm or cold. If you do manage to eat too many at once, your body will remind you not to do so again. Word.

Your body (even if you do not trust it) will actually stop you before you have eaten too many of these. You will  feel too full and satiated before you are physically overfull. Healthy fat and protein have that effect on digestion and metabolism.